Biblioteca Arcana: Theory, History,
Rituals, Divination, Hymns, Poetry

Biblioteca Arcana can be translated as a "library of mysterious or specialized knowledge, language, or information accessible or possessed only by the initiate." What follows is the Spelwerx collection of links to material of that nature.

Theory, History, etc.

  • Ancient Greek Samhain Festivals (including the story of Ariadne and Theseus)
  • Seasonal Festivals of the Greeks and Romans
  • De Saturno & Jano Tractatus. Ancient philosophical ideas about Saturn and Janus, and why They are especially honored in December and January.
  • Construction and Use of Ancient Greek Poppets
  • Eoster: Mysteries of the Resurrected Child. Pagan origins of Easter celebrations (with an emphasis on the Hellenic tradition).
  • The Pythagorean Pentacle
  • The Rotation of the Elements. An explanation of this most important alchemical procedure, which has many applications in the material and spiritual worlds. Published inCaduceus, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Winter 1995), pp.2-10.
  • Liber de Octo Mutationibus. A discussion of the eight phases that occur in any cycle between opposing poles, and their relation to the eight trigrams of the I Ching.
  • The Eigthtfold Year and the Stages of Life. A discussion of ancient Greek and Roman systems of seven and eight seasons (separated by the quarters and cross-quarters), and their correspondence with the lifestages, planets, elements, qualities, etc. (A version without tables is available.)
  • The Pentagram and the Elements. How should the elements be associated with the points of the pentagram? (See also the Pythagorean Pentagram.)
  • The Pythagorean Theology of Triads and Information on Pythagorean Figured Numbers (Square, Oblong, Triangular, etc.). An introduction to the Pythagorean theology of numbers.
  • The Parts of the Soul (A Greek System of Chakras). Did the ancient Greeks recognize a system of seven ``energy centers'' comparable to the chakras?
  • Some Notes on the History of Isopsephia (Gematria). Surveys historical evidence for the history of gematria, from Sumeria, to Greece, and then to the Jews; includesinformation on the development and dissemination of the alphabet.
  • Genetic Correspondences Between the Hebrew, Greek and Roman Alphabets. An annotated table showing corresponding letters on the basis of their derivation from common ancestors - a tool for comparative isopsephia (gematria).
  • Objectivity and the Human Sciences. Published in PsychoScience, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring-Summer 1995), pp. 39-40.
  • The Caduceus, or: Wandering Among the Worlds. A short essay arguing for metaphysical pluralism (``you can't have too many realities''). Published in Widdershins, No. 6, pp. 42-44.
  • The Ancient Greek Sacred Lunar Month
  • Axioms of Magic
  • Short Essays


  • Greater Tool Consecration
  • Lesser Tool Consecration
  • Olympic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (now available as hypertext).
  • An adaptation of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to the Graeco-Roman tradition based on the shamanic cosmological principles underlying the original. Published in Caduceus, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 15-34. The basic ritual, in ASCII and postscript forms; fully annotated, in ASCII form. Finally, there is postscript for just the spoken text in English, Latin and Greek (in both Roman and Greek letters)
  • The Orphica Holodemiurgia, a contemplative exercise or practice for aligning the energy centers of the soul and for infusing Divine Energy into them. It is similar to the well-know Middle-Pillar Exercise, but is based on the Greek tradition rather than Cabalistic ideas. A fully annotated version is available, which documents its sources and provides additional commentary.
  • Exercise for Unity (Tantra LITE). This exercise aims to dissolve interpersonal boundaries by encouraging openness, trust, compassion, kindness, connection, respect, affection and love. It is based on the Liturgy of Philotetos. To encourage more widespread practice, detailed instructions for facilitators are now available.
  • Saturnalia Ritual
  • Dionysian Meditations:
    • The Rural (or Lesser) Dionysia (early Jan.)
    • The Lenaia (late Jan.)
    • The Anthesteria (late Feb.)
    • The City (or Greater) Dionysia (late March)
  • The Triple Dionysia (Ta Triploa Dionysia) - a Dionysian Spring Equinox ritual
  • The Labyrinth Ritual (for the Samhain season)
  • Rite of Release for a Pet or Familiar
  • Dawn Devotions, including information about the Goddess of Dawn
  • Astrapsoukhos' Spell for the Favor of Hermes from the Greek Magical Papyrus (London 122)
  • Hellenic Magic Ritual: A General Framework


  • The Pythagorean Tarot. A tarot system based on Pythagorean numerology and ancient Mediterranean spirituality.
  • Limyran Greek Alphabet Oracle in hypertext and ASCII text forms. An authentic ancient Greek alphabet oracle, translated and interpreted. Published in Circle Network News(issue 57, Fall 1995, pp. 12-13), Mythos (Spring 1996), and Manteia: A Magazine for the Mantic Arts (No. 16, Spring 1997, pp. 54-56). Italian translation, "Un Oracolo dell' Alfabeto Greco," published in Mercurio: Pubblicazione Interna della Federazione Pagana (num. 4 (Beltane), 1996, pp. 5-8).
  • Calculators for Isopsephia (Gematria) in Greek, Roman and Hebrew alphabets, and for the related Thesis system. See also the accompanying Alphabet Charts.
  • Ars Haruspicina (modernized Etruscan divination), and a sample reading. Haruspicy was the ancient Etruscan art of reading the liver of a sacrificial victim. Here the ancient principles of haruspicy are applied to a raw egg. ``The Art of Haruspicy, which is The Etruscan Discipline'' was published in Harvest (later Tides), Vol. 11 (1991), No. 4, 22-24 (part I); No. 5, 11-14 (part II); No. 6, 13-15 (part III).

Hymns, Poetry, etc.

  • Sophia Abscondita (The Month of the Fishes: A Parable of Our Times). A prophetic modern gnostic myth about how Sophia (female wisdom) leads the old Gods to retake Olympus.
  • The Yew Demon (a shamanic ``sword & sorcery'' story). Published in Pagan Review, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 21-28.
  • Vaticinatio de Cometae (for the collision of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter, July 16, 1994). Interprets the collision as an omen of the return of the Old Gods.
  • Selected Charms from the Carmina Gadelica, translated and ``reheathened'' (i.e., reconstructed possible pre-Christian forms). Published in Circle Network News, Issue 58 (Winter 95/96), p. 14.
  • The Janid: Historia Sacra Janarum. Mythic history of the Sardinian Gianae from 23,800 BCE.
  • Ariel Psychopompos - an alchemical poem, published in The Terminal Journal, Fall 1997, pp. 12-13.


  • Anecdota Vergilii - The Secret History of Virgil
  • Pauca Anecdota Neapolitana (A Few Anecdotes of Naples). Featered under "Visiting Friends & Scholars" on novelist Katherine Neville's Home Page.
  • Description of Ta Rat', the Subterranean Temple of the Giane
  • Necronomicon Novum. A "Necronomicon," in the spirit of H. P. Lovecraft, but based on authentic ancient sources. Published as "Necronomicon Conjecturale" in Mythos, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Nov. 1995), pp. 4-7.
  • Biography of Apollonius Sophistes (John Opsopaus). To put this in context, see also The Role of History in Practical Occultism.
  • Glaukidai: The Myth of Glaucus and his Descendants, the Blue Men Published in Circle Network News, Issue 66 (Winter 97/98), pp. 18-19.
  • Useful Ancient Greek Phrases in Greek and Roman transcription (hypertext) and in Greek alphabet (postscript)
  • Selections from the Greek Magical Papyri, Books I, II and III
  • Interpretations of Magical Herbs. When an ancient spell tells you to use ``snake's blood,'' it doesn't necessarily mean the blood of a snake. Here is an ancient key to arcane ingredients from the Greek Magical Papyri.
  • Goethe's Pagan Poetry. Many of Goethe's poems are sympathetic to Paganism.
  • Wotan's Invocation of Erda from Wagner's Siegfried
  • Samples of the mysterious Rydumy language
  • The Centaur Skeleton from Volos
  • Review of Burkert's Homo Necans
  • Review of Kingsley's Ancient Philosophy, Mystery and Magic (published in Caduceus, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 37-9)
  • A Brief Guide to Ancient Greek Pronunciation

Dr. John Opsopaus has practiced magic and divination since the 1960s. His fiction has included a variety of hymns, poetry, and prose and his non-fiction works have featured rituals, translations, divination systems, and essays. His writings have been published in over thirty various magical and Neo-Pagan magazines including Traditions Magazine. Opsopaus designed the Pythagorean Tarot and wrote the comprehensive Guide to the Pythagorean Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001). He frequently presents workshops on Hellenic magic, Neo-paganism, Pythagorean theurgy, divination, and related topics.

Opsopaus has been involved in the magical and Neo-Pagan communities online for fifteen years, and his Biblioteca Arcana website has won numerous awards and is featured in several Internet guides. In the early 1990s he founded the Omphalos, a networking organization for Neo-Pagans in the Greek and Roman traditions which then became one of the first Internet resources especially for them. He is the webmaster of The Stele, the website for the Omphalos, which has won awards and been listed in the Circle Guide to Pagan Groups.

Opsopaus is both a coordinator of the Scholars Guild and Third Circle member of the Church of All Worlds. He is Arkhon of the Hellenic Kin of ÁrnDraíocht Féin, and a member of Hellenion with the Pagan Education Network. Mr. Opsopaus is also member of the Grey Council and is the Dean of the Departments of Mathemagicks and Ceremonial Magick of the Grey School of Wizardry. He is listed under the "Who's Who in the Wiccan Community" in Gerina Dunwich's Wicca Source Book (Citadel, 1996).

For more information on all of this, please visit Dr. John Opsopaus's website, Biblioteca Arcana