One doesn’t hear about Abraxas by accident …
“The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas.”
“This name occurs in connection with Greek magical formulas and is frequently considered the name of some magician’s helper such as certain uncivilized tribes believe in even at present. But it appears that Abraxas has a much deeper significance. We may conceive of the name as that of a godhead whose symbolic task is the uniting of godly and devilish elements.”
The learned little man spoke with intelligence and eagerness, but no one paid much attention…
“Uniting of godly and devilish elements” resounded within me. Here was something for my thoughts to cling to. This idea was familiar to me from conversations with Demian. During the last period of our friendship he had said that we had been given a god to worship who represented only one arbitrarily separated half of the world (it was the official, sanctioned, luminous world), but that we ought to worship the whole world; this meant that we would either have to have a god who was also a devil or institute a cult of the devil alongside the cult of god. And now Abraxas was the god who was both god and devil.
Only gradually and unconsciously did this [incestuous and sexually confused dream] image become linked with the hint about the God I was to search for, the hint that had come to me from the outside. The link grew closer and more intimate and I began to sense that I was calling on Abraxas particularly in this dreamed presentiment. Delight and horror, man and woman commingled, the holiest and most shockiing were intertwined, deep guilt flashing through most delicate innocence: that was the appearance of my love-dream image and Abraxas, too… It [love] was the image of an angel and Satan, man and woman in one flesh, man and beast, the highest good and the worst evil.
I called it [the dream image] my beloved and had a premonition of a ripe all-fulfilling kiss. I called it devil and and whore, vampire and murderer. It enticed me to the gentlest love-dreams and to devastating shameless-wickedness, nothing was too good and precious, nothing was too wicked and low for it.
“I can feel the approaching conflict. It’s coming, believe me, and soon. Of course it will not ‘improve’ the world. Whether the workers kill the manufacturers or whether Germany makes war on Russia will merely mean a change of ownership. But it won’t have been entirely in vain. It will reveal the bankruptcy of present-day ideals, there will be a sweeping away of Stone Age gods. The world, as it is now, wants to die, wants to perish – and it will.”
We who wore the sign might justly be considered “odd” by the world; yes, even crazy, and dangerous…. we, who were marked, believed that we represented the will of Nature to something new, to the individualism of the future, the others sought to perpetuate the status quo.
Our circle also included believers, adherents of certain hopes and healing faiths…We, who bore the mark, felt no anxiety about the shape the future was to take. All of these faiths and teachings seemed to us already dead and useless.
“Our god’s name is Abraxas and he is God and Satan and he contains both the luminous and the dark world.”
- All quotes from Demian by Hermann Hesse, 1925
More Abraxas/Abrasax at:
(Sensible my ass! He’s got the head of a chicken!)