Egyptian Love Spell (New Year’s Bonus Story)

An ancient Egyptian woman cast an ‘erotic binding spell’ on a man calling upon a ghost to drive him mad with desire. The 1800 year old Egyptian papyrus being translated from demotic-an Egyptian script- states that a woman named Taromeway wants to attract a man named Kephalas. The papyrus features a drawing with the jackal-headed god Anubis shooting an arrow into Kephalas who is depicted nude, igniting his lust for Taromeway. The spell calls on a ghost- the “noble spirit of the man of the necropolis” to find Kephalas and “give to him anxiety at midday, evening, and at all time” until he seeks Taromeway with lustful desire and with “his male organs pursuing her female organs.” “His emphasized penis and scrotum surely are intentional as the ‘male organs’ she specifically wants to pursue her,” said Robert Ritner, an Egyptology professor at the University of Chicago who is translating the spell. The spell also calls for Kephalas to traverse Ursa Major, a constellation that never sets below the horizon until he begins to pursue Taromeway with no other woman in his heart. We have no way of knowing exactly who the two were and if they ever did get together. “Taromeway must have been both motivated and with some disposable means,” Ritner told Live Science, noting that Taromeway likely paid an expert, such as a priest, to write the spell. It’s also possible that their love was cross-cultural. While Taromeway was decidedly Egyptian, Kephalas and his mother have Greek names according to Ritner. The papyrus would have been placed in a tomb and the ghost would have been invoked as the person buried in the tomb. The papyrus is notable also because most of these love binding spells involve men looking for women. Oh, and the Pompeii graffiti said NICIA CINAEDE CACATOR-literally “NICIAS (the person being insulted) SHAMELESS SHITTER.” See here for a link to a study that compared Pompeiian graffiti to that in LA around 1965.

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