Thursday, June 18, 2009 by Dave Blum

If you had to list the five “must do” actions or activities in your life, what would they be?
For me, my five “can’t-live-without-’em” list would include, (in no particular order):

–Eating right (healthfully and low-cal)



If even one of these actions or activities is missing, I find that I start to feel grumpy.  It’s as if a watch dog is growling at me, or I’ve developed a limp.  The only way to get the dog off my back, to start walking straight again, is to determine which of the five “must do’s” is missing and then re-inject it back into my life on a more regular basis.

My friend Tim told me about this phenomenom while back in college, calling it “abraxas”.  This morning, I looked up “abraxas” on-line, expecting to see some mention of watch dogs and limps–and what I discovered was far more mysterious and complex. According to Webster’s Dictionary, you find:

“A*brax”as, n. [A name adopted by the Egyptian Gnostic Basilides, containing the Greek letters [alpha], [beta], [rho], [alpha], [xi], [alpha], [sigma], which, as numerals, amounted to 365. It was used to signify the supreme deity as ruler of the 365 heavens of his system.] A mystical word used as a charm and engraved on gems among the ancients; also, a gem stone thus engraved.

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.”

The novelist, Hermann Hesse, mentions the god Abraxas in his novel, Demian, as follows:

“The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas.”

And: “[…] it appears that Abraxas has much deeper significance. We may conceive of the name as that of the godhead whose symbolic task is the uniting of godly and devilish elements.”

It’s hard to know what to make of all this mystical stuff–where is Dan Browns Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, when you need him?!!

My own interpretation is that Abraxas represents unity and totality — he brings together that which has been broken (both the good and the bad).  In order to reach Abraxas (wholeness), you need to make a break with the world of habits that have been holding you back (in my case–sitting on the couch, eating poorly, staying up too late, etc.) and fly towards your ideal behaviors.

Go ahead, now–make that list of your must-do actions/activities.  Put it up on your refrigerator and ask yourself:  what is currently missing in my life?  What’s keeping me away from Abraxas.