Theban Alphabet Know It All: Mastering the Witches Alphabet Magic

Theban Alphabet Know It All: Mastering the Witches Alphabet Magic

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The witches’ alphabet is also referred to as the Theban alphabet or the Honorian script. Its origins remain unclear, and some believe this was done deliberately by the author, who meant to stay hidden.

You’ll notice that the witches’ alphabet contains many curves. This means it would not be easy to carve into wood like the Elder Futhark Runes or the Ogham Alphabet.

The Theban alphabet is most often used by Wiccans, although these symbols are not exclusive to their practice.

Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout AND at the bottom of this article.

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History and Origins of the Theban Alphabet

The first known recordings of the Theban alphabet came from the astrologer Johannes Trithemius. He included it in his book Polygraphia, published in 1518. Trithemius credited the alphabet’s origin to Theban Honorius, revealed by Petries de Apono (also known as Pietro D’Abano).

Johannes Trithemius taught Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. Agrippa started referring to this script as the Theban alphabet in his book Three Books of Occult Philosophy. In the book, he said the Theban alphabet was from Honorius of Thebes.

Who is Theban Honorius or Honorius of Thebes?

The true identity of Theban Honorius or Honorius of Thebes remains a mystery. Some suggest Petries de Apono (who was close to Pope Honorius IV), or his granduncle, Pope Honorius III, as possible sources. However, there is no evidence to support this theory. Neither of their works contains the Theban alphabet, including Pope Honorius III’s manuscript, Grimoire du Pape Honorius.

Another theory links the Theban alphabet to the fourteenth-century manuscript The Sworn Book of Honorius, written by Honorius of Thebes. Legend suggests that Honorius of Thebes, a scribe, compiled the information from a gathering of knowledgeable magical practitioners.

However, this is still speculation because the only copy of The Sworn Book of Honorius that remains today states that the Theban alphabet’s origins are from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.

Yeah, that’s right- Johannes Trithemius’s student. Are you confused yet? I’d also like to note that it’s impossible to tell if he’s referring to Thebes, Greece, or Egypt.

Theban Alphabet Creation

The origin of the Theban alphabet is unclear and lacks definitive proof. Here are a few likely possibilities:

  • 1500-1000 BCE  inspired by an alchemical cipher from the Avestan scripture, which originates from Aramaic script
  • At the beginning of the Middle Ages, due to its close correspondence with Latin letters and the lack of corresponding symbols for J, V, and W (these letters had not been invented yet), Johannes Trithemius combined them using one symbol in his book Polygraphia.
  • Scholars suggest the Theban alphabet may have originated around the 10th century BCE, possibly influenced by Hebrew, which uses similar lettering for I and J, as well as U, V, and W.

Modern Comeback of The Witches Alphabet

In 1801, Francis Barrett created the Magus, which consisted of 3 books contained in a single volume. His goal was to modernize information from ancient and obscure texts and make them more accessible.

This helped to assist in the resurgence of magical theories, including The Theban alphabet from Johannes Trithemius and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa‘s publications. His concept of updating ancient traditions and folklore is most likely where the idea of customizing your Grimoire originated.

Around the late 1800s and early 1900s, English occultists and magical groups began to assemble, like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which used the Magus as a source for its spiritual practice.

Gerald Gardner, the creator of Wicca, incorporated teachings from Trithemius, Agrippa, Barrett, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn into his Wiccan spiritual practice.

Modern Comeback of The Witches Alphabet

Theban Alphabet Translator

Here’s a Theban Alphabet chart if you’re looking for a quick translation guide:

Note – not everyone uses PP for W (as shown below), and may instead include W with the symbol for U and V.

Uses for the Theban Alphabet

One of the most common reasons someone uses the Witches alphabet during ritual work is to require the spiritual practitioner to intensely focus on the matter at hand since it is not a language they’re fluent in. Some believe using the Theban Alphabet will increase the power of your intentions or spells. Here are a few more ideas to incorporate the Theban alphabet into your practice:

  • Inscribe Talismans or amulets
  • Write in your Wiccan Book of Shadows or Grimoire (I would not recommend this if you are not fluent in the Theban alphabet)
  • Carve into candles
  • Write spells or intentions
  • Use it to Create Sigils or Bind Runes
  • Place it on your altar
  • Use in your spiritual artwork
  • Draw on your body with Moon Water or oils
  • Carve into homemade soaps

I hope you found this post about the Theban and Witches alphabet helpful! Lots of love to you, and remember, as always…

Sources

Sacks, David, “Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z” 2003

Britannica – Hebrew alphabet

Agrippa, Henry Cornelius “Three books of occult philosophy” – PDF sourced from University of Michigan Library online

World History – Avesta

Greer, John Michael “The Occult Book: A Chronological Journey from Alchemy to Wicca” 2017

Kynes, Sandra. “Magical Symbols and Alphabets.” A practitioner’s guide to spells, rites, and history. 2020

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