Research and Writing Complete

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update to say that the research and writing for Interlinear Magic are now complete. I will be moving directly into the editing phase this weekend. With around 600 pages of material (and well over 1000 footnotes) to edit, this may take a few weeks, but I will be working every day until it’s done.

I’m very happy with how the book has turned out. More info to follow soon.

Please consider joining my Patreon (it’s free) to follow my work more closely. I will be releasing free excerpts from Interlinear Magic there as the book gets ready for press.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Progress Update

Dear Supporters,

Prompted by a much-improved living situation, I have made great progress toward the completion of Interlinear Magic since the last update. With this in mind, and with an eye toward several follow-up projects, I have decided on an inflexible April 3 deadline to complete the remaining writing, research, and editing. On April 4, if not before, I will begin proofreading and compositing. I remain hopeful that the book will be printed in May, with delivery following soon after, but this may involve factors beyond my control.

The sacred animal commentary (discussed in the last update) is now complete, except for some minor editing and cross-referencing. In the process of comparing the sets of animal symbols in the four ritual-texts (chapters 4, 7, 8, and 12), I realized that the only symbol present in the Solar Consecration (PGM IV.1596-1715) that I hadn’t covered elsewhere was the donkey, so I decided to include that as well.

This is an interesting overlapping set of symbols. If we remove the non-animal symbols from the set (mostly from chapter 7, the lunar rite), there are exactly 24 animal symbols remaining, all of which are Egyptian sacred animals, and none of which are attested in all four ritual-texts. Among other things, this shows that the claims of some scholars – i.e., that the animal symbols of these ritual-texts are all drawn from the so-called Dodekaoros – simply cannot be true. The greatest overlap occurs between Rite-7 (28-day lunar symbolic system) and Rite-12 (12-hour solar symbolic system), but these two sources share only eight animal symbols between them.

I will be publishing some of these findings on my Patreon site (100% free content until after the book is complete) regarding this set of 24 animal symbols. If this interests you, please consider following me there. (If you are creating a free Patreon account for the first time, simply scroll down and click “skip for now” when asked if you would like to donate.)

Even after the book is done and I start to release members-only content, I will continue to release free content as well. And Patreon will be the first place I post anything free.

As soon as the book is sent off to be printed, I will begin recording the videos for the free course promised to Kickstarter supporters. My goal here is to start releasing videos as soon as you receive your copies of the book.

This book has been an incredible challenge to write. The connections between individual ritual-texts blossomed exponentially, both with the addition of extra material from stretch-goals, and along with my increased knowledge of the (Greek and Egyptian) religious backgrounds of these documents. Although this has been very time-consuming and painstaking work, the rewards have been well worth it, and this research will continue to inform my upcoming projects. Most significantly, I will be refocusing more of my time and attention on the historical reconstruction of the theurgic practice of Iamblichus, using the PGM and related ritual-texts as an essential set of sources. I will also continue to produce new translations (Greek, Egyptian, Demotic, and Coptic), as well as new online courses.

Thank you again for your patience as Interlinear Magic enters its final stages.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Another Free Preview Chapter and Progress Update

Solstice Greetings,

Having just returned from holiday travels, I am now back at work on Interlinear Magic. I’m releasing another preview chapter for free, and I’ll cover in detail below what remains to be written.

The free chapter is Rite-31: The Oracle of Kronos, which is timely for the Saturnalia season if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s a divination ritual that combines Greek and Egyptian features in a very interesting way, and I’ve included the full chapter for your perusal, with introduction, English and Greek-English translations, and explanatory notes (6 full pages, 2500+ words).

I’m trying something new, releasing this chapter through my Patreon, which is now free to join (and follow). Once the book is finished, I will be re-launching my Patreon site as the primary point of distribution for my new research, translations, and other content. One of my motivations here is to release material as I produce it, rather than waiting for entire books or other long-term research projects to be released. In other words, this will involve a major effort on my part to “digest” my research publicly, while still preparing books, courses, and other content in the background.

For example, I just completed a 12,000-word academic article on “protology” (mythological/philosophical accounts of first principles) in Iamblichus and the PGM. This article will be published in an edited volume sometime in 2024, but in the meantime, some of the research findings will be released on Patreon. Many of these posts will be free, while more involved content (course videos, live Zoom calls, etc.) will eventually be made available to Patrons at higher tiers. But before the book is complete, nothing here will be behind a paywall; anything posted as free content will remain free, and I will continue to add to the free content as a regular feature of the site.

Please follow me there by clicking “join” and simply skipping the payment screen:

And the free chapter (Oracle of Kronos) is here:

Regarding progress toward completion of the book, there are still a few major tasks to be completed. Most significantly, there is the animal-symbol commentary that runs through several chapters (4, 7, and 8). This is a fairly complex endeavor, involving research into both Egyptian and Greek sources. On just the Greek side, relevant ancient authors include Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Aelian, Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Horapollo. But the end result should be a robust commentary on each of the animal symbols in the book (with the exception of Rite-12, which is already complete at 8000+ words without animal commentary).

Next is the related introductory essay on “symbolic systems,” which is built upon the chapters mentioned above (4, 7, 8, and 12). To my knowledge, no one has previously discussed the relationship of these systems to ancient theurgic practice, which only became apparent to me after performing the research for this book. I expect this to be an important first statement of this aspect of theurgy, within my long-term historical project of reconstructing the theurgic practice of Iamblichus and his followers. But because this aspect of theurgy has so much potential, I will continue to explore these systems on Patreon and in my future published work.

Third, the General Introduction remains to be revised and edited. Beyond this, there are only a few remaining loose ends that need some attention.

I do not yet have a release date for the book, but the first half of 2024 seems very likely. Thank you once again for your support and patience.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Progress Update (#14)

Dear Supporters,

Having experienced multiple back-to-back personal losses over the last two months, this update has been very difficult to write, as I was hoping to be done with the writing by now. Frankly, it has been one of the most challenging periods of my entire life. It has been difficult to remain focused when surrounded by illness, inconstancy, and grief. Because these are still fresh wounds – and, frankly, private matters – I have no desire to speak publicly about any specifics, except what I have already posted on social media. Thank you for understanding.

That said, I have made some progress, but I’m not yet finished with the writing. I am currently putting the final touches on Chapter 6 (“Encounter with the Personal Daimon”), which is now the longest individual chapter of the book at 25 pages. After this, there are only three commentaries (chapters 2, 7, and 10) that require some loose ends to be tied up, and the 100-page General Introduction still needs some attention. I am doing everything in my power to finish these as soon as possible.

As a show of good faith, I have released a free “bonus” translation of one of the lunar poems in the PGM. This ritual-text will not be in the book (it was never part of the plan), but it may be a part of a second volume of PGM translations. In general, I have chosen to leave most of the poetry out of Interlinear Magic because they were recently translated in Bortolani’s Magical Hymns from Roman Egypt (2016).

I have posted the translation of PGM IV.2785-2890, the “Prayer before the Moon for any Ritual Purpose,” on my Academia page. I hope you will find it useful.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

A quick update as the book nears completion (update 13)

Dear Supporters,

I am writing to you with a brief update on Interlinear Magic. The book is very nearly completely written. Chapters 1, 3, 5, 9, and 12-60 are entirely complete. The remaining seven chapters (2, 4, 6-8, 10-11) still require some additional work on footnotes and commentaries only (the translations are all complete), and the General Introduction will need to be revisited when these are complete. I am working diligently on getting the writing done ASAP. I hope that when I write to you next month, the writing will be entirely complete, the book will be in the proofreading and typesetting phase, and that I shall have a final page count. I appreciate your continued patience as this project nears completion.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Progress Update on Interlinear Magic (Update 12)

Dear Supporters:

I am writing today with a full progress report on Interlinear Magic. I have made excellent progress in May, but I have a bit of writing and editing remaining in order to finish everything up. Full details are below.

First, I noticed an error in the previously published chapter 16, “The Egyptian Rite for Gathering Herbs.” Somehow a line had dropped out of the English translation despite being present in the interlinear version. Anyway, it’s fixed now, and a new version has been uploaded to my Academia page:

I will be launching a new online course, Daimonology of the PGM, on July 1. The full details of that course are available here:

Regarding the book, the 48 “shorter” chapters (13-60) are now finished with three minor exceptions. First, I decided to replace Chapter 17 with a different ritual-text. I was having some issues resolving several textual and interpretive difficulties, and since I am currently unable to view the manuscript (not digitally available), I decided to simply replace it with a longer and more interesting ritual-text that I had already translated. The new text (PGM I.1-42) provides a better example of a ritual to acquire a “parhedros” (daimonic assistant), and it is full of Egyptian symbolism. There remain only a few notes to complete on the new Chapter 17 (whereas the old Chapter 17 will have to await a future volume). Beyond this new chapter, there are two others that need to have footnotes finished.

The 12 “long” chapters (1-12) are now about 70% complete, with only a few commentaries and other notes remaining to be finished up. I will be releasing at least one of these longer chapters as a free sample before the book goes to press.

I have made some progress editing the General Introduction (~60K words), but this will still require a full pass-through once the remaining chapters are complete. This will allow me to second-check all the cross-references, and so on.

Since many of you have asked about it, I’m holding off on releasing the pre-order page until I am certain of the final page count, which may be considerably higher than expected. It’s possible the final price may increase, but of course that will not affect those who participated in the Kickstarter.

Considering everything that’s left, and the fact that I will be travelling for part of June, I am aiming to finish the writing and editing by early to mid-July.

Thanks again for your support and patience.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Update 11

Dear Supporters,

I am writing to you today with a progress update on Interlinear Magic. My commitments this semester will wrap up in two weeks, and I will be devoting 100% (instead of about 65%) of my time to putting the final touches on the book at that point. I aim to get the writing done by early June, which will immediately be followed by compositing, test printing, and final proofreading. Since the last update a little over a month ago, I have made significant progress, the details of which follow.

I now have full lesson plans and PowerPoint slides for at least five (of the probably eight) class sessions for the free course for Kickstarter supporters (unlocked by the $50K stretch goal). These video lessons are ready to record as soon as the book is done, and the release of the videos and supplemental materials should coincide with the book’s arrival later this summer. Topics will include:

  1. Hermetic Rites in the PGM
  2. Influence of the Demotic “Book of Thoth” and the House of Life on the PGM
  3. Greco-Egyptian Theurgy and the PGM
  4. The Personal Daimon: Ritual Approaches in Iamblichus and the PGM
  5. Egyptian Heka in the Greek Magical Papyri
  6. Lunar Ritual Timing in the PGM: Cycles, Symbols, and Systems

I also created two new images for the book. These are adapted from Egyptian art in order to illustrate esoteric concepts in ancient Egyptian religion relevant to multiple rites in the book. Previously I had stated that the artwork was already done for the book; that was (and still is) true. I’ve simply added additional images to help clarify some of the more difficult concepts in the commentaries.

Additional progress since the last update includes:

  • Of the 48 shorter chapters (Rites 13-60), 42 are now polished and complete, with only 6 remaining that need some attention (finishing some footnotes, adjusting translations, and making final edits).
  • Of the twelve longer chapters (Rites 1-12), all the commentaries are now well underway (vs. only seven underway in the last update), one of the chapters is completely finished, and the others are getting close, with only loose ends, some footnotes, and commentary paragraphs to clean up.
  • The General Introduction (currently at 63,000 words) is still in need of some attention – both in finishing up a few loose ends and revising the whole thing for clarity – which I am saving for last, since this will also involve checking all the cross-references to the final chapter drafts.
  • There remain a few indices and explanatory tables to create, but most of this material is now complete.

I will be releasing at least one more free sample chapter from among Rites 1-12 so you can get an idea of the longer chapter format that includes commentaries. The two free sample chapters that I have already released are accessible through my page on:

I’m excited that this massive project is so close to being done, and I thank you again for your patience.


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Update 10 – Full Progress Update

Dear Supporters,

What follows is a major update for Interlinear Magic. First, I must apologize for the lack of communication over the last two months. 2023 has proven to be extremely busy so far, but after returning from presenting my research at an academic conference last month, completing the book as soon as possible is again my highest priority.

Of the twelve long chapters (Rites 1-12), seven have extensive commentaries already written and only need to be cleaned up. The other five of these commentaries will probably be somewhat shorter, because the book length is already exceeding the original cost projections at this point. I still have some wiggle room with page format (and very large pages), but it may be the case that I end up releasing some of this material as supplemental PDFs (e.g., the Greek “vocabulary tools” for each of these twelve chapters).

Of the 48 shorter chapters (Rites 13-60), 34 of these are now polished and complete, leaving only 14 chapters that need the final touches.

Supplemental materials, including bonus translations, artwork, and most of the appendices are complete, leaving only a few appendices and explanatory tables (Greek and Egyptian transliteration, etc.) still to create. These additional appendices will also now contain sections on the attested variants of some of the most common divine-name formulae in the PGM (in the original Greek and in English transliteration), including the Harponknouphi formula and the Maskelli-Maskellō formula.

The General Introduction is now around 62,000 words (roughly 105 pages). A few sections remain to be finished up and the whole thing needs a thorough edit, but I am saving this task for last because there is still a fair amount of updating of individual sections that is required before giving the whole thing a revision. And as I go through the final chapters that need to be touched up, I am adding cross-references to these, where relevant, in the Introduction.

The Bibliography (a work in progress) is now posted online. Primarily, this will enable you to look up cited sources from the sample chapters if you want to dig deeper into any of these ritual-texts. I do of course plan on including the bibliography in the print volume.

So far, two sample chapters from Interlinear Magic have been released. I plan on releasing at least one more sample chapter (from among the longer Rites 1-12) before the book is published. For ease of distribution, I have made these available on my page, which also has a free PDF of my 300+ page 2020 PhD dissertation on Iamblichus and the PGM:

I’ve also started writing and recording the course videos for the free course for all Kickstarter supporters. I anticipate that the first few videos will be released right as the book is released (this summer). These first sessions will cover the Greco-Egyptian theurgic practice of Iamblichus and its many connections to the PGM rituals in the book, including the ancient doctrine of the Personal Daimon (the historical precursor to the “Guardian Angel”), which was shared by Iamblichus and some important PGM ritual-texts from the same time period.

I will send more frequent updates from now on. I expect the book to be published and delivered this summer. Please ask questions if you have them.


Brian Alt, PhD

Update 9 – Preview Chapter Released

Dear Supporters,

I am writing today to announce the release of the first of several preview chapters of Interlinear Magic. You can download the PDF file of chapter 16, the “Egyptian Rite for Gathering Herbs” (PGM IV.2967-3006), from this page.

This is one of the “shorter” chapters, so it lacks the commentary and vocabulary tools of Chapters 1-12, but it will give you an idea of the overall format of Chapters 13-60. I will be releasing at least one of the longer chapters (1-12) as well, so stay tuned.

I will also be putting the full bibliography online in January, so the references in the footnotes will be more useful.

If you have any questions or suggestions about the chapter format or contents, please feel free to leave a comment on Kickstarter or Facebook.

I will write again soon with a more comprehensive update on the status of the book.

Thanks for your support, and may you have a joyful holiday season!


Brian P. Alt, PhD

Update 08 – Interlinear Magic

Dear Supporters,

Work on Interlinear Magic continues to progress, albeit more slowly than I predicted. More accurately, I am still tying up loose ends, but there are far more loose ends than I thought when I sent the last update. Additionally, I am considerably busier this semester, since I have had the opportunity to resume my studies of Demotic (the most difficult Egyptian script) in a formal, graduate-level university course. Thus, I must ask for your continuing patience. I am in uncharted territory in a project like this, attempting to synthesize a great amount of research and comparative data into a coherent whole that will likely be 50-80% longer than I originally anticipated. You can rest assured that your pledges at the book level or higher will be the best deal on this increasingly massive book.

With all this in mind, I have decided not to release the pre-order page for the book until I have an accurate final page-count. If the book is significantly longer than my initial range of projections (which included stretch-goal augmentations), the pre-order and post-publication prices may increase somewhat, but don’t worry: this will not affect copies secured through Kickstarter pledges. If you are interested in pre-orders, please keep an eye on, where I release all news and updates related to the project.

The artwork for the book is now entirely finished and ready to go. In some cases, this includes digital traces of the papyri to accurately represent kharaktēres and other drawings in the manuscripts.

Since it seems unlikely at this point that the book will be both printed and delivered by the end of the calendar year, I have decided to release a few chapters in preliminary form as PDFs. These will include at least one of the longer chapters (1-12) with commentary, as well as at least two shorter chapters (13-60). This will be the first place I announce the release of the sample chapters, so stay tuned to for updates.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises I have found in the course of this work is the evidence throughout the PGM of a deep devotional tradition that has its roots in ancient Egyptian ritual forms. Some of the best examples of this are the symbolic systems related to the 28 forms of the moon (the “illuminations” corresponding to the nights of the lunar month) and the 12 forms of the sun (corresponding to the “seasonal” hours of the day and night). These are precisely the kinds of ritual structures that Egypt-adjacent philosophical writers (e.g., Chaeremon, Plutarch, Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus) allude to in their extant writings. The esoteric or initiated knowledge that these systems encode has at least two functions: (1) as ritual structures that track the changing times and conditions through cyclical time in order to identify the opportune time (καιρός) for ritual action, and (2) as devotional or theurgic tools that cataphatically indicate or “point to” the unified reality behind the changing forms expressed in time and space. The evidence for all this, including ancient Egyptian precedents, will be presented in the book. The “discovery” of these symbolic systems has prompted me to write a detailed commentary of the 28 animal-forms and other symbols associated with the days of the idealized lunar month; this addition itself will likely add 10-20 pages to the final product.

Thank you again for your continued patience as this unpredictable project nears completion.


Brian P. Alt, PhD