A Spell for Crossing the DesertEssay 14
The Divine formula of Xepera Xeper Xeperu, whose physical form had entered the consciousness of Magus Aquino from Budge's Egyptian Language, had as its most recent form before Budge “a spell of Slaying Apep and Knowing the Manifestations of Re”, written the same year that Alexander the Great died.
An earlier form of the spell appears on a statue of Ramses III, second Pharaoh of the XXth dynasty, in which Ramses III is depicted as the god Khepher. The image of Khepher exists at a shrine in the eastern desert at which travelers would stop at before attempting a crossing to the East. Ramses III is a significant figure among Setian emperors, because he is described in the Great Harris Papyrus as “Xu tenru ast ast a ari-f em suten” (translated as “He did many glorious things and mighty deeds as High Priest”). This phrase was incorporated in the Book of Coming Forth by Night to describe Anton LaVey, providing a Hidden link to the Xepera Xeper Xeperu formula.
The spell is not intended for illustrative purposes, although it does illustrate the myth of Creation. It was an operative spell for survival across the expanse of the desert. This would have been an interesting moment for you. You would be leaving behind the Known and entering the Unknown. The Known is the divine land of Khem, before you the Unknown desert with its mirages, bandits, scorpions, sandstorms, etc. Beyond that are the foreign lands ruled by Set. What do you say as a charm? Not a prayer to Set, whose lands you were entering. Not a prayer to the familiar gods of Egypt. No, a statement of one's Coming Into Being as the Creator. Now why would this be protective? Or, more to the point, what was being protected? The answer is that it is not protective of the body. It's not a prayer for rain, nor a cantrip for food, nor a conjuration against desert brigands. It is for the soul. The smart traveler has already taken care of the body's needs in the proper realm. They've stored food and water; they've sharpened their swords. But now they pause—at the edge of the Unknown—to strengthen their mind/soul. They are going into a realm where they may lose their purpose—even die in a distracted manner. What better time than using the urgency of an upcoming struggle to Work for the immortalization of the mind/soul?
We too could benefit from the example. As Setians, we are constantly seeking difficult experiences—our semi-divine nature requires us to disturb the Cosmos. So, where and when do we use the divine formula, Xepera Xeper Xeperu? It becomes an operant formula when it is used for the perpetuation and furtherance of the subjective universe. It won't give you water in the desert, but Understanding it will help you gain the strength of mind to remember to pack your water. It won't save your body from bad strategy, but it can change the likelihood of your surviving the body's demise. This was its original magical use, and is still its magical use. It operatively connects the Setian to two points of reference. The eternal point of reference—that realm where such concepts as Justice and Beauty exist— and the fact that you partake of that realm since you can conceive of these concepts.
The other point is the ever-changing world of time, where you can see the effect that your Coming Into being has had. Like the ageless Intelligence of the Universe, you can interact with either realm, and you are in a place of your own making between them. You dwell in this borderland at all times—but one of the best magical opportunities to explore this threshold is when you are on the threshold. Freedom and Responsibility (which are the conscious forms of Chaos and Order) swirl around you. All is made new and the decisions you make shape the future—yet your only guide is the wisdom you've squeezed from your past.
What a wonderful moment to pause and fill yourself with the words “Xepera Xeper Xeperu” (“I have Come Into being, and by my Coming Into Being, the way of Coming Into Being has Come Into Being!”) It reminds you of the importance of the present as shaping the future. It reminds you of your force of Being, which has created all of your knowledge of your past. It actively takes your past, present, and future and Creates from them a gate to the Eternal. It takes from the Eternal and makes a gate for its manifestation through your life which is, after all, the magical link for the Great Work.
Pause at the threshold, touch the Real, and move on. There's a Universe waiting.