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 www.interlinearmagic.com, 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 www.interlinearmagic.com 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

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