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Abracadabra

abracadabra-pendant-necklaceThe origin of the word Abracadabra is mysterious.   What we do know is Abracadabra held a lauded position in the ancient medical world as an incantation. Roman sage Serenus Sammonicus from the the 2nd century AD wrote in his Liber Medicinalis that their ancestors used the magical incantation to fight off Malaria.  It’s use is described as follows:

On a piece of parchment, write the so-called ‘abracadabra’ several times, repeating it on the line below; but take off the end, so that gradually individual letters, which you will take away each time, are missing from the word. Continue until the (last) letter makes the apex of a cone.

Could each line have represented a day of healing… each successive day a little less? The exact intent however is lost to time.  The Abracadabra incantation was thought to cure diseases, fever, and other problems by siphoning toxins out of the person and expelling them through that bottom “A”.

So think about that.. the word Abracadabra meant so much to our ancestors that they wore it around their necks for almost 2000 years to ward off booger bears. The magical amulet remained in vogue through the dark ages (500-1000), the black plague (1346–53), the Renaissance (1500’s) and well into the Victorian era. Somewhere in the early 1900’s Abracadabra transitioned from medicine man to magician and became associated with the stage magic we know today.

Sources:
Abracadabra is NOT Aramaic
The fascinating origin of the word “abracadabra”
Abracadabra

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