Adapting an Ancient Greco-Egyptian Dream Oracle

Lately I’ve been trying out some dream magic from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM). The PGM is a collection of Greco-Egyptian texts from northern Egypt in late antiquity, dating from 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. They describe a staggering array of ancient religious and magical practices, and were originally written in Greek, Demotic, and Coptic. There are quite a few dream oracle spells in the PGM, so I took some time to sort through them to figure out what they have in common and which would be the easiest to perform.

A few of the dream oracle spells involve working with Isis and Bes. These were more complicated and looked like they would need more tools and ingredients. I finally settled on adapting one of the tinfoil based spells, which I reproduced below.

This spell ended up being very effective. I performed the ritual and immediately went to bed around 11:00pm without talking to anybody, not even my cat. At around 1:30am, my cat woke me up. I had been having some really intense dreams and was able to recall and record four of them, which I have been trying to interpret as an answer to my question. This isn’t very straightforward, of course, because they are dreams, and dreams can be weird.

I would like to hear if this ritual is effective for anybody else, so I’m sharing a picture of the single-use dream talisman I created and the ritual I ended up using. Try it out and see!

Ritual to Request a Dream Oracle

This ritual is based on the request for a dream oracle outlined in the Greek Magical Papyri, PGM VII.740-55. The goal is to specifically invoke a dream to help address a specific issue. Results and queries should be recorded in the magician’s dream journal. The importance of a dream journal cannot be overemphasized.

Preparation and Materials

To prepare for this ritual, you should keep yourself ritually pure for three days. What this means probably differs from person to person. This may mean that you fast, or that you avoid specific activities, or that you engage in daily prayer and meditation. You can figure out a state of ritual purity on your own.

In addition, you will need the following materials:

  • Tin or aluminum foil (The PGM specifies tinfoil, but aluminum is far easier to get and should make a suitable substitute.)
  • A copper stylus or permanent marker
  • A censer and charcoal for burning incense
  • Frankincense resin
  • Freshly laundered sheets

Writing on the Foil

On the foil, write the following with the marker or stylus.



Around the writing, draw a crown of myrtle similar to this:

Heraldic myrtle wreath

Ritual Execution

The ritual prayer should happen just before you go to bed. Make sure that you also change your sheets and have a fresh pillowcase.

  1. Light the charcoal in the censer and burn frankincense.
  2. Open with a prayer of invocation.
  3. Perform the sevenfold breath.
  4. Put more frankincense on the charcoal and incense the piece of foil prepared earlier. Move it in a clockwise direction only. I found it useful to chant the formula written on the foil to induce a trance state.
  5. Recite the following while incensing the foil:

    Lords, gods, reveal to me concerning NN tonight, in the coming hours. Emphatically I beg, I supplicate, I your devoted and enthroned servant, ZZ.

    (NN is the subject you wish to receive an oracle for, and ZZ is your name or magical name.)

  6. Close with a prayer of thanks.

  7. Immediately go to bed without speaking to anybody. Put the foil under your pillow or in your pillowcase.
  8. Go to sleep.
Talisman for a dream oracle from the Greek Magical Papyri

This is what my finished talisman looked like.

The myrtle crown image is from Wikimedia. An earlier version of this article originally appeared on my Steemit blog.

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Arnemancy : Creating the Magical Robe

[…] before about how I use modern materials in my craft. I’ve used polymer clay for talismans and replaced tin foil with aluminum. We can see that adaptation in the past has happened along both economic and cultural lines. […]


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