Theban: The Witches' Alphabet

Many Pagans, Witches, and Wiccans use the Theban alphabet to encode their writings in their Books of Shadows or spell books. The Theban Script is also known as the "Witches' Alphabet". The earliest known source for the Theban alphabet is Cornelius Agrippa's "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" first published at Antwerp in 1531. Agrippa provided the Theban Script in Book III, Chapter 29 and wrote, "Of this kind of character therefore are those which Peter Apponus notes, as delivered by Honorius of Thebes". This is almost certainly a reference to the author of the early 14th century "Liber Juratus, or the Sworne Booke of Honorius".

Origin of the Theban Alphabet

It is believed that the Theban alphabet actually originated as a Latin cipher before the 11th-century. The origin of the letterforms is obscure, but all the evidence is consistent with an origin as an early alchemical cipher alphabet influenced by Avestan.

Theban, while not a runic alphabet, is also known as the Runes of Honorius or the Honorian Alphabet after the legendary magus. It is used widely in modern Witchcraft and Wicca as a substitution cipher to hide magical writings such as the contents of a Book of Shadows. The Theban alphabet bears little resemblance to other alphabets.

The Theban alphabet, is today, and always has been employed primarily for talismanic inscriptions and magickal spells and works.


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