Review of The Secrets of Helios by Alison Chicosky

Review of The Secrets of Helios by Alison Chicosky January 13, 2024

Review of The Secrets of Helios: Unlocking the Practical Uses of PGM IV.1596-1715 by Alison Chicosky, Original Translation by Cory C Childs.


The Secrets of Helios is a slim tome which expands on a presentation that Ms Alison Chicosky gave at the AstroMagia Conference in September 2021, titled “Solar Syncretism in the Greek Magical Papyri: PGM IV. 1596-1715: The Consecration for All Things/ Spell to Helios.”

The text analyzes PGM IV. 1596-1715, which is a spell titled “The Consecration of All Things”, that was taken from the Greek Magical Papyri (Papyri Graecae Magicae, or PGM) and was written sometime during the third or fourth century CE. This spell is an invocation of the sun god, Agathodaimon-Helios, as eternal lord and ruler of the cosmos along with a request for various blessings to be granted.

The spell in this text is an original translation by Cory C Childs which has small differences as compared to the translation by Morton Smith in the PGM collection edited by Hans Dieter Betz. Readers not able to read the spell in the original language, may benefit from comparing the two versions side by side to get a better sense of the spirit behind the spell.

The spell is an example of heka [Egyptian magic, an all-pervading coercive power] for personal use, and “draws on the original and daily vivifying forces of the sun from Egyptian theology, combined with astrological lore surrounding the changing benefits of the sun in the hours, which are found in several other spells of the Greek Magical Papyri.”

The heka being tapped into within numerous spells of the Greek Magical Papyri “overtly command the spiritual forces of nature to produce results for the practitioner. Heka was believed to be at the heart of all of creation, present at the beginnings of the universe and accompanying Ra on his daily journey through the heavens. For the Egyptians, nature, spirituality, and magic were one and the same through the primordial creative power of heka.”

The most interesting part of the spell calls upon the sun as Agathodaimon-Helios by twelve animal forms associated with hours, known as the Dōdekaōros, and requests boons be granted by ten of the forms. Each of the animal forms has a name of power. Dr Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum BA, MA, PhD is quoted as theorizing that each animal in the Dōdekaōros actually corresponds to a double hour (i.e., 120 minutes).

Professor Attilio Mastrocinque stated that the animal forms were associated, though not equated, with the zodiac by Teucer the Babylonian.

Professor Franz Boll’s reconstruction of Teucer’s system was taken from a combination of several literary sources and two astrological charts. He concluded that the zodiac attributions of the animal forms were: “Cat with Aries, Dog with Taurus, Serpent with Gemini, Scarab with Cancer, Donkey with Leo, Lion with Virgo, Goat with Libra, Bull with Scorpio, Falcon with Sagittarius, Baboon with Capricorn, Ibis with Aquarius, Crocodile with Pisces.”

Regarding the boons:

“The boons granted by the spell are, appropriately, twelve in number, all of which are somehow related to personal success. Cory C Childs spotted a pattern in the organization of the spell’s boons while translating this spell. Six of them are related to an individual, such as strength and grace, while the other six are related to an endeavor, such as luck and victory. The two groups of six are themselves divided into three pairs of highly similar terms, each of which correspond to one of three stages involved with a person’s success in an endeavor.”

The text quotes numerous secondary source texts to “help the reader understand the cultural context and nature of the spell, while also providing directions for the modern practitioner to perform this practical and well-tested magic.”

I believe that the effectiveness of PGM spells can be enhanced through an in-depth study of their content. This text provides ample inspiration to peruse academic investigations pertaining to the PGM, as well as supplying an insight into how a contemporary dedicated practitioner of magic actually practices her craft. Readers wanting to work with Agathodaimon-Helios using the consecration at PGM IV.1596-1715, will find that all the hard work has already been done for them!


Tony Mierzwicki.

Author of Hellenismos: Practicing Greek Polytheism Today and Graeco-Egyptian Magick: Everyday Empowerment.


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