father of magic


December, 2017

Meet the Gods: Thoth


(art by Samantha Sullivan)

Merry meet.

This month we look at Thoth – the Egyptian god of scribes and of the moon, as well as the father of magic, writing and occult wisdom. He was among the most important and perhaps the wisest of the gods.

According to one story, Thoth (pronounced Toth, rhymes with both) was a god without a mother, born from the lips of Ra at the moment of creation. In another tale, Joshua J. Mark noted in an article on ancient.eu, Thoth is self-created at the beginning of time and, as an ibis (a sacred, stork-like bird that waded in the Nile, was a popular pet and was associated with wisdom), lays the cosmic egg which holds all of creation. He was always closely associated with Ra and the concept of divine order and justice. His judgements were believed to be wise and fair.

Mark writes that Thoth was also said to “be self-created or born of the seed of Horus from the forehead of Set. As the son of these two deities, who represented order and chaos respectively, he was also the god of equilibrium and balance and associated closely with both the principle of ma’at (divine balance) and the goddess Ma’at who personified this principle (and who was sometimes seen as his wife).”

Thoth was often depicted with the head of an ibis. He sometimes wore a lunar crown upon his head. Sometimes he appears only as an ibis, and when he is A’an, the god of equilibrium, he appears as a seated baboon, or a man with the head of a baboon – sometimes with a lunar disc above his head.

In this form, “Thoth presided over the judgment of the dead with Osiris in the Hall of the Truth and those souls who feared they might not pass through the judgment safely were encouraged to call upon Thoth for help. … His home in the afterlife, known as the Mansion of Thoth, provided a safe place for souls to rest and receive magic spells to help them against the demons who would prevent them from reaching paradise. His magic was also instrumental in the revitalization of the soul which brought the dead back to life in the underworld,” Mark stated.

Along with written language, Thoth is credited with beginning law, philosophy, science and religion. He is also credited with inventing the 365-day calendar, said to have gambled with the moon to win the extra five days.

Thoth was worshiped by scribes throughout Egypt; many had a painting or a picture of him in their place of work. It is because of him the ibis became a symbol for a scribe. Scribes were said to offer the first drop of their ink to him before beginning their work each day. Writing cases, palettes and other tools of the trade were offered in his name.

His cult center was built at Khemenu in Hermopolis. In his honor, millions of mummified ibis were buried. His festival – Lord of Heavens – was celebrated on the New Year.

For ThoughtCo., Patti Wigington wrote that Thoth can be called upon for workings related to magic, wisdom and fate, and offered ways to honor him today:

Make an offering of handcrafted writing tools – inks, paper, or a quill pen – if you’re working on anything to do with writing or communications – creating a Book of Shadows or writing a spell, for instance.

Are you speaking words of healing or meditation, or mediating a dispute? Offer a prayer to Thoth, praising him for his wisdom and guidance.

Water, beer or bread are typically acceptable offerings for any deities in the Egyptian pantheon – use these in rituals honoring Thoth. Bonus points if you brew the beer or bake the bread yourself!”

Merry part. And merry meet again.


About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.