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I've Got Soul: Canaanite Magic and Napshu

By Tess Dawson

[Snip] When people ask me for “energy,” they don’t realize that what they’re really asking me is “send me a bit of your soul.” Unless the situation is dire, or unless I deem the situation appropriate, or unless someone consciously asks me knowing full well what they’re really asking me, I will send prayers instead. In addition to prayers, sometimes I will also send offerings to the deities on the requester’s behalf, or I will make an offering of incense to aid the requester’s strength and wellbeing. Magic, or a full-on blessing, however, requires napshu.

I don’t work with “energy.” Canaanite magic works on a fundamentally different paradigm, using napshu as its key empowering factor. Napshu is a word that embodies many concepts in English: soul, vitality, will, charisma, appetite, and throat. The word napshu, from the Ugaritic language, is an earlier version of the Hebrew word nefesh. Canaanite magic (charshu) works with the napshu of the mage, and it can work with the napshu of a deity. Napshu is not an impersonal resource like coal or electricity. Napshu is the very signature of your being, and it should be treated carefully and conscientiously. When you send some of it out, presumably through magic or blessing, you are sharing your vitality, a part of your personal being, with another.

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