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Simon Magus

Simon Magus (first century) Gnostic wonder-worker and sorcerer. Simon Magus’ Christian opponents said that he was a Demon or had obtained his powers from the Devil. Simon Magus became the prototypical heretic and black magician.

Simon came from Samaria. He was attracted to Christianity and the miracles associated with it, and he was converted to the faith by Philip the Deacon, whose magic impressed Simon.

According to Acts 8:9–24, the apostles Peter and John were sent to Samaria to deliver the Holy Spirit into the population by a laying on of hands. When Simon witnessed their supernatural work, he offered the apostles money: “Give me this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands shall receive the Holy Spirit.” The apostles, angry that Simon should expect to buy holy power, had him thrown out of the church. Peter told him, “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.” Simon’s name gave rise to the term simony, the sin of buying or selling a church office. Simon traveled to Rome, where he impressed people with his occult ability, and then to Egypt, where he allegedly learned how to make himself invisible, levitate, move objects with his mind, handle fire unharmed, and shapeshift into an animal. He may have accomplished some of these feats through illusion and hypnosis. The Roman emperor Nero was impressed, however, and named him court magician.

According to the Acts of Peter, an apochryphal text, the apostle Peter went to Rome to challenge Simon and expose him of fraud. They tried to outdo each other in magical feats. Simon is said to have died after he attempted to levitate off the top of the Roman Forum and fell to earth, breaking his legs. Simon is credited with founding a Gnostic sect that became known as the Simonians.
See also : pact.

The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley -a leading expert on the paranormal – Copyright © 2009 by Visionary Living, Inc.

Simon Magus (first c. C.E.) Gnostic wonder-worker who became the prototype of heretic and black magician. Simon Magus, also known as Simon the Sorcerer, came from Samaria, where he was worshiped as a god for his occult powers. He was attracted to Christianity and the miracles associated with it. He was converted to the faith by Philip the Deacon, whose Magic impressed Simon. According to Acts 8:9–24, the apostles Peter and John were sent to Samaria to deliver the Holy Spirit into the population by a laying on of hands. When Simon witnessed their supernatural work, he offered the apostles money: “Give me this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands shall receive the Holy Spirit.” The apostles, angry that Simon should expect to buy holy power, had him thrown out of the church. Peter told him, “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.” Simon’s name gave rise to the term simony, the sin of buying or selling a church office. According to lore, Simon traveled to Rome, where he impressed people with his occult ability, and then to Egypt, where he allegedly learned such magic as INVISIBILITY, LEVITATION, and Shapeshifting into an animal. He is said to have created a man out of thin air and boasted that he was part of the Holy Trinity. He conjured a woman who he said was Helen of Troy, but his critics claimed that the woman was a prostitute from Tyre. Simon said he was God and that Helen was his Thought of God. In Rome again, Simon impressed Nero and was named court magician. His feats, which also included the moving of heavy furniture without touch (psychokinesis) and passing through fire unharmed, probably were illusions or the result of hypnosis. He convinced one of Nero’s guards that he had cut off his own head, when actually he decapitated a ram. Thus, he claimed to Nero that he had risen from the dead. Peter came to Rome to challenge Simon and to expose him of fraud. Simon conjured huge dogs and ordered them to attack Peter and tear him to shreds, but Peter made the dogs vanish by holding out a loaf of holy bread. Simon said that he would offer ultimate proof of his ability by ascend- 294 silver ing bodily into heaven. He went to the top of the Roman Forum and levitated. Peter fell to his knees and prayed to God to stop the deception, whereupon Simon crashed to earth, broke both legs, and died. Simon is credited with founding a Gnostic sect that became known as the Simonians. The Simonians recognized Simon as the first God, sometimes worshiped as Zeus, and his consort Helen as the goddess Athena. Gnostics, who believed that spirit was good, that matter was evil, and that salvation lay in the attainment of esoteric knowledge (sophia), were branded heretics by the Catholic Church. Most of their records were destroyed. In Celtic lore, Simon Magus is associated with DRUIDS; in Ireland Magus is translated as “Druid,” and he is known as “Simon the Druid.” He is said to have aided the Druid Mog Ruith in the making of the Roth Fail, the “wheel of light,” a symbol of the SUN that enabled Druids to fly through the air. Simon is credited with using the Roth Fail to travel quickly to Rome.

FURTHER READING:

  • Spence, Lewis. The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain. Van Nuys, Calif.: Newscastle Publishing, 1996.

Taken from :The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.

 

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