A few methods of applying Qabalistic ideas will now be demonstrated, the reader bearing firmly in mind that each letter has a number, symbol, and Tarot card attributed to it. The Rabbis who originally worked on the Qabalah discovered so much of interest ans importance behind the merely superficial value of numbers and of words embodying and representing these numbers, that they gradually developped an elaborate science of numerical conceptions altogether apart from mathematics as such. The devised various methods of number interpretation to discover, primairly, the hidde meaning of their scriptures.
The first method is called Gematria, derived from a Greek root implying the sense of numbers represented by letters. Gematria, therefore, is the art of discovering the secret sesne of a word by means of the numerical equivalents of each letter. Its method of procedure depends on the fact that each Hebrew letter has a definite numerical value and may actually be used in place of a number.1 When the total of the numbers of the letters of any pne word were identical with that of another word, no matter how different its meaning and translation, a close correspondence and analogy was seen.
For example, the word nachosch TTT, a ‘serpent’, adds to 358 ( 300+8+50=358) Also messiah adds 358 (8+10+300+40=358) A certain relation might be theoritically be said to exist, but the problem is, how is this relation to be discovered? The serpent is a symbol of the kundalini, the spiritual creative force in each man which, when aroused by means of a trained will, recreates the entire individual, making him a god-man. Thus, the initiates of ancient India called themselves nagas or serpents, and thus, also, the serpent worship (far more than mere phallicism) in all countries of all ages which ever has been the problem to archeologists. The word naga, too, or naja, is discovered on some of the cuneifom tablets in the ancient temples of Egypt where Osiris, the Sun god was hailed when arising from the primordial deep. The Neophyte, during his initiation, when he was Osirified and plunged into a deep trance enduring for three days, was crowned with glory when the Sun’s rays would illumine the cross to which he had been secured, and given a head-dress marked by a uraeus naja, an emblen of cosmic significance and spiritual knowledge.
Moreover, if we add up the digits, 3,5,8, we obtain 16.2 If we look up the correspondences of the sixteenth path, several attributions may be found there which may tend to edification. It is the ‘Son’ pf Tetragrammaton – Dionysus-Zagreus; and Parsifal who has become the Hierophant or Messiah, able to solve the mysteries of existence, and performing the miracle of redemption. We thus see, the specific analogy between the words ‘serpent’ and ‘messiah’ which the Qabalah has been able to reveal.3 When dealing with the path of Shin, it was there stated that the general implication of that path was that of the descent of the Holy Spirit. Apart from all the other information furnished, how may we confirm such a conclusion? The Hebrew words Ruach Elohim may be translated as ‘The Spirits of the Gods’. By gematria, its numerical value is acertained to be 300. The numerical value of the letter Shin was also said to be 300, and we see, therefore, that they are idential.
The second method of exegesis employed by the Qabalah is notariqon, which is a derivative from the Latin notarius, meaning a ‘’shorthand writer’’. By this method, ne constructs a completely new word from several existent words by employing the initial or final letters of these words and combining them. Alternately, by taking seperately each letter of a given word, and explaining each once into another word, a sentence can be formed.
An example may be given. Previously it was remarked that the docrine of the Qabalah, as a philosophical system, is denominated Chokmah Nistorah, the ‘’Secret Wisdom’’. By taking the first letter of each of the two words we obtain chén TT, a Hebrew word meaning ‘’grace’’. The implication is that the study of this arcane wisdom of teh Qabalah endows one with the Grace or Shechinah from the gods on high.
Another way is to take the lat letters, viz TT, Héh, meaning a ‘’window’’, showing that the Qabalah is that window through which one may envisage the true meaning of exustence.
Moreover, the former method of gematria can be applied to the process or results of notariqon. The numeration of chén is 58 (8+50=58), which is the numerical value of chili TTTT, a wors meaning ‘’my strength’’. The Qabalistic doctrines are the stregth and support of a man’s inner life.
Héh equal 10 (5+5=10). There is a word gevoh TTT, translated by ‘’to fly’’, which also add to 10. The reader can assemble all these meanings and results; the total giving him a conception of the real meaning of the purpose of the Secret Wisdom.
The word of power Alga TTTT, so frequently employed in the rituals of the practical Qabalah, is composed of the first letters of the four words TTTTTTTTT – Atoth Gibor LeOlahm, Adonai; which can translate ‘’Thou art mighty forever, my Lord’’.
The path of Caph was explained to imply the infinite priapic prodigality and fruitfulness of nature. It was also stated to represent the wheel of Samsaric rebirth,7 sweeping us headstrong into existence after existence. This idea can be examplified considerably by notariqon. Caph is spelled in Hebrew TTT The first lette TT may be made to stand for the Greek word TTTT,8 and the last letter TT for TTTT9 implying that the coition of the sexual organs is the instrument of nature’s rash prodigality, which ties us perpetually to the wheel of existence, with its accompanying burdens of yoy and sorrow, birth, and death. The well-known word Amen is composed of the first letters of the words TTTTTTTT ‘’Lord, Faithful King’’ which open the Hebrew prayer called the Schemah. 10
The third method is called temurah, meaning ‘’permutation’’. The letters of a word are transposed, according to definite schemes, and substituted for another letter before or after in the alphabet forming an entirely new word. On method, known as Albam, is to take the alphabet and place the last half below the first half as follow : TTTTTTTTTTTT Various permutations are arrived at, for the top row of letters may be substituted for those in the bottom row, and vice versa.11 An interesting example is supplied by a Qabalist with whom the writer is somewhat acquainted. The word messiah TTTT, when treated by the above-mentioned mode of permutation, gives us the word bishak TTTT. The Mem is subtituted for Beth, the Shin for a Yod (or I), the Yod for Shin, and the Cheth for Qoph. Not having a Hebrew dictionary at any side at the moment we are not able to enquire as to enquire as to whether there is such a Hebrew word as TTTT. But a little knowledge of the Hebrew grammar and our Qabalistic correspondences will suffice, and the difficulty is soon overcome.
The first letter Beth TT may be construed to be the prepositional prefix meaning ‘’in’’, or ‘’by’’, leaving the three letters yishak TTT. The numerical value of these letters is 410, viz : T 10+T300+T100=410. Now there is a Hebrew word qadosh TTTT, whose value is 410 also, and it means a ‘’saint’’, or ‘’holiness’’. Obviously, this is harmonious with our original word messiah, for will not the Messiah come with holiness and in sanctity? If we take a look into a Hebrew lexicon we will discover much confirmatory matter; that TTT may be considered primarily as a verb in the future tense, third person singular, and in all probability derived from the root derivative meaning ‘’to burn, kindle, or light’’.
All these words are very much in accord with the general implication of the Messiah or adept who comes with sancticity, for these words symbolize the facts which appertain to the state of him who is God-Man, the regenerated and illuminated adept. For within his heart, his soul is enkindled, and upon his brows the lissome light of the silver star doth radiate – his ‘’light shining before him’’; and above his head burns the thousand and one petalld lotus of the Sahasra chakra upon which the Sechinah has descended, and wherein Adonai doth disport himself with the gods.
The method of letter analysis, previously described, helps to clarify the general conception. Beth TT is Mercury T, the Magician bearing in his hand the wand representing his divine Wil land Wisdom. Yod TT is the tarotic Hermit; also it is the symbol of innocence and spiritual virginity. Shin TT is the Holy Spirit, his divine Self which has been successfully invoked nin the thaumaturgic rites.12 Qoph TT is Pisces TT, the Fishes; representing the regenerated sex force, or libido, transmuted into kundalini, which Madame Blavatsky informs us is an electric spiritual force, the grat pristine creative power.
Bishak TTTT itself yields the number 412, as follow (T100-T300+T10+T2=412) The words Yehesua Elohim TTTTTTTT, translated by Yeheshua (or Jesus) is God, also have the same numerical value, 412. The correspondence of all this with the idea of Messiah is certainly most clear. Numerous other examples, dealing mainly with the Scriptures, have been worked out with the idea of Messiah is certainly most clear. Numerous other examples, dealing mainly with the Scriptures, have been worked out with laborious painstaking and ingenuity by the Qabalists but we won’t examine them here.
1.4 The Exegis of Tetragrammaton
A few remarks are necessary at this point, since the name Jesus has been introduced into our analysis. We wont engage into polemic about the nature of Jeusus. The Qabalah simply uses the name Yeheshua TTTT because it implies a certain philosophy descriptive of certain of its prime theorems. This is a point which must be remembered. The name refers to a definite type, and not to any individual.
The letters YHVH TTTT of the Tetragrammaton are used to imply the whole gamut of the four elements. Yod TT as the creative function of the Archetypal Realm, is Fire the Chiah; the first Héh TT represents the cup, the symbol of the passive character of the Creative World, and is Water the Neschamah; Vav TT is the Son, the active vice-regent of the Father, an dis Air the Ruach; and the final Héh TT is the Nephesch; the passive receptive Earth, fructifying all things.
The whole word, comprising the totality of these explanations, is conceived by the Qabalah to represent the ungenerate man, who lives entirely in his body eating, drinking, and copulating, etc. The divine Self or the Yechidah has not yet made its appearance within him.
In the course of the practice of meditation nd practical Qabalah, it is conceived that a man so regenerates and purifies himself, that he opens himself to the Holy Spirit, which completely revitalizes him, exemplifying in him a living testimony of the Word made flesh.
The Holy Spirit or the Shechinah, as we already observed, is symbolized by the letter Shin TT. When, therefore, a man has invoked the spiritual Self, his Holy Guardian Angel, and attained to His Knowledge and Concersation, the process is described as the descent of the letter Shin TT into a midst of the elemental name of Tetragrammaton TTTT, thus forming a new world Yeheshua TTTT, the Pentagrammaton TTTT, thus , the symbol of a new being, the adept or tsaddik13 in whom the birth has equilibrized the base and unredeemed elements of matter.
There is obviously no Christian bias in this interpretation, as unfair critics has alleged, the symbolism being merely used as graphically descvriptive of what is considered to be a real fact in mystical experience, without having the slightest reference to the central figurehead of the New Testament.
1.5 The Pentragrammaton
Having made reference to Pentagrammaton we should indulge in a little explanation of its significance. The attributions with reference to the actual geometrical figure are as follow : The Yod represents Fire; the Héh primal is Water; Shinm the crowning pint is the Shechinah, the Holy Spirit; Va vis Air; and Héh final is Earth, the synthesis of all the other elements and principles. (see illustration) The symbol is therefore one which denotes the whole of the constitution of man. Those who are familiar with the process of ceremonial magick, particularly that having reference to Skrying in the Spirit Vision,14 will recall the power of the five-pointed star to invoke or banish, a twill, the spirits of the astral plane.15 That it does actually do so is referable finally to the facxt that it is a very adequate geometrical epitome of a completely enlightened man, the tsaddik or adept, than whom there is no more powerful being in the universe.
1.6 Crowley and the Exegesis of Aiwass
The little grammatial suggestions given with regard to the Hebrew letters also are most important. We shall give an example to illustrate the idea. When Aleister Crowley was endeavoring to transliterate into Hebrew the name of a praeterhuman intelligence by the name of Aiwass.16 This is, of course, neither the time nor the place to go into reason for his desire to obtain this name in Hebrew, and yet have the numerical value of 418. Had Crowley had known of the remark made with regard to the letter of the thirty-second path, Tav TT, he would have been saved several years of effort. For that letter, when without a dôgesh, is pronounced as an ‘’S’’. Aiwass should habe been spelt : T400+T1+T6+T10+T1=418. Those who are familiar with Qabalistic terminology will notice that in this work TTTTT has been rendered as ‘’Sephiros’’ and not ‘’Sephiroth’’. The last letter does not, and cannot in Hebrew grammer, take a dôgesh at the end of a word. Its pronunciation is therefore ‘’S’’.17
1.7 Alternate Methods of Gematria
Some Qabalists also add hidden meanings to Hebrew words by placing the final form of a letter in the middle of a word, or by not using the usual final form of the lette rat the end of a word. (Both would change the numerical value of the entire word.) There is also ways of encoding esoteric meanings into words by using add-sized letters or upside-down letters. Meanings may also be obtained by meditating on the shape of the Hebrew letters.
1.7.1 Transliterating Personal names into Hebrew
The process of transliterating personal names into Hebrew is not an exact science. Variations in the spelling of names, even in English, is common. For example, the name Wendy might be written as ‘’Wendy’’ by one individual. However, the next person might prefer this name spelled ‘’Wyndi’’. The name John could possibly be spelled as ‘John’’ or just ‘Jon’’. Both names sounds alike, but can be spelled different ways depending on personal preference. The same is true for writting personal name in Hebrew. Rules for the exact translitrration of personal name into Hebrew are not carved in stone.
The name Sandra can be broken down as before into the Hebew letters Shin, Nun, Daleth, Resh, and Heh. (Remember that if a word end with an ‘’A’’, it is usually transcribed as the Hebrew letter Heh.) However, in Hebrew, there are two letters which could serve to provide the letter ‘’S’’ in Sandra : Shin or Samekh. Therefore, we could also spell out this name in Hebrew as Samekh, Nun, Daleth, Resh and Heh.
Hebrew is an alphabet composed mainly of consonants, and we will not be using dageshes to indicate vowel placement, so the first vowel ‘’a’’ in the name Sandra could be dropped in the Hebrew version of the name, or it could be left in and transcribed as the letter Aleph. Again, this is a matter of personal preference.
So, in attempting to translitterate the name ‘’Sandra’’ into Hebrew, we are faced with having to choose between two or more versions of the name. Some thought should be put into the decision to choose one version over another. After all, Hebrew is a language of numbers, colors, and other hidden attributions. Choose between several ways of writing a personal name in Hebrew by examining the numerical value of each version of the name.
Let’s look a the two ways of transliterating the name ‘’Sandra’’ into Hebrew and explore the numbers behind the letters. So we have : Shin, Nun, Daleth, Resh, Heh. 300+50+4+200+5=559. Samekh, Nun, Daleth, Resh, heh. 60+50+4+200+5=319.
The gematria of the two versions are 559 and 319 respectively. By referring to Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia, we find that 559 is also the numerical value of Neqadah Peshutah, ‘’the Simple Point’’, a title of Kether. It would be very desirable to associate one’s name with such a phrase. In the same book we find thatthe number 319 is the value of sarton, ‘’the crab’’, or the sign of Cancer. If the zodiacal sign of Cancer was important to one’s natal chart, it might he worthwhile to use this version of the name instead.
Both of these numbers can be reduced to a single digit through what is known as Theosophical Reduction. This is a method of reducing large numbers to a single digit by a process of adding each digit of the number together. The process is repeated until only one digit remains. 559=5=5=9=19. 19=1+9=10. 110=1+0=1. 319=3++9=13. 13=1+3=4.
Our final numbers are 1 and 4. The version of the name can be chosen depending on the desired numerical correspondence that we are looking for. The number one is the number of unity and completeness – the divine, eternal source of the universe. It is the number of Kether, the first and highest of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. The number four is the number of manifestation, expansion, stability, and growth, an dit is the number of the Sephirah Chesed of the Tree of Life.
Suppose we wanted to transliterate the first vowel .’.a’’ of the name ‘’Sandra’’ into Hebrew as wee. We could have either : Shin, Aleph, Nun, Resh, Heh. 300+1+50+4+200+5=560. Samekh, Aleph, Nun, Daleth, Resh, Heh. 60+1=50+4+200+5=320.
This gives us either 560 or 320. The number 560 is also the gematric value of mekeshar or ‘’sorceress’’, an association which may or may not be desirable. This can be reduced to two (560=5+6+0=11. 11=1+1=2), the number of the Sephirah Chokmah or ‘’wisdom’’. The number 320 is also the value of Saritiel, an angel of Sagittarius – a correspondence which might be useful if the sign of Sagittarius is an important association for us. This number can be reduced to five (320=2+2+0=5), the number of Geburah or ‘’strength’’.
1.7.2 Choosing a Magical Mottos
Although it is quite useful to know how to translate one’s name into Hebrew for the purpose of gematria, choosing a magical motto is even more effective. A magician name or motto is used by a magicain to aid one’s focus, assume a magical persona, or cultivate a state of mind that is advantageous in all ceremonial working. The motto is generally a phrase that makes a statement about the magicacian,s spiritual goal or something that he or she is striving toward in the practice of magic. It is usually translated into Latin, Hebrew, or some language that is not the magician’s usual language of everyday life. A good example is the Hebrew motto Yehi Aur or ‘’Let there be Light’’, which was Allen Bennet’s motto in the Golden Dawn’s second order. Yehi Aur (TTTT) has a value 232(T10+T5+T10+T6+T200=232). Another example mentioned earlier of a Hebrew phrase that would make a good magical motto is Achath Ruach Elohim Chayyim (TTTTTTTT TT TTT), ‘’One is the Spirit ofthe Living God’’. The gematria of this phrase is 777 or 1337 (the larger number reflects the value of the word when the two final letters mems are taken into account.)6 The Old Testament and other Hebrew texts are good sources of phrases that can be used as magical mottos. However, it is also possible to use a resource like Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia (Llewellyn, 1979) to string a serie of Hebrew words in order to construct a simple magical motto such as Ahevah, Chokmah, ve-Tom (TTT TTTTTT), or ‘’Love Wisdom, and Wholeness ‘’, the gematria of which works out to 532 or 1092. Using these method the would be magician should be able to discover or create a suitable mott that will reflect his or her spiritual goals and desired Qabalistic associations.
1.8 Qabalistic Sigils
A sigil is a magical symbol that contains the essence of a spirit, deity, or even a human being. Hundreds of examples of sigils can be found in medieval magical texts or grimoires. Drawing a sigil enables the magician to focus the mind on a specific spirit or deity he wishes to invoke or communicate with. As stated in the Neophyte Ritual of the Golden Dawn : « By names and Images are all Powers awakened and re-awakened. » A traditional sigil is made by determining the letters in a name and transliterating them into Hebrew.
1.8.1 The Aiq Beker Method
The method known as Aiq Beker is an important tool used not only to convert letters into numbers, ut also to create sigils and talismans. Aiq Beker is especially important for creating sigils that are to be drawn on Qameas or Magical Squares, a series of diagrams associated with the planets, consisting of grids filled with numbers or Hebrew letters.7 In order to trace the sigil of an angel or spirit name on a magic square, it is important to first reduce the name to the lowest possible numerical value that will fit on a given Qamea. This is done by referring to the Aiq Beker diagram, also called the Qabalah of Nine Chambers. This is a diagram that shows three rows and three columns (nine chambers) of numbers. (see illustration) For example, in one chamber, Gimel, Lamed, and Shian are placed because of their numbers 3,30 and 300. The sumbers in this diagram, from 1 to 900, are read from right to left, in the same manner that the Hebrew is read. The name Aiq Beker comes from reading the Hebrew letters in the first two chambers from 1 to 200, Aleph, Yod, Qoph, and Beth, Kaph, Resh.
For example, if one wanted to trace the sigil of the intelligence of Saturn, Agiel, on the Magical Square of Saturn, the numerical value or less than nine (since nine is the highest number on the Saturn square). The letters in the name would have to be reduced to nine or less than nine (since nine is the highest number on the Saturn square). The letter in the name are Aleph T=1, Gimel T=3, Yod T=10, Aleph T=1, and Lamed T=30. The only letters that need to be reduced in this case are Yod and Aleph, which can be reduced to 1 and 3 using Aiq Beker chart. The number obtained which can be used to trace a sigil on the quare are 1,3,1,1,3. (See illustration) Note : Saturn square is the simplest of the Qameas, containing only nine cells. Other Qameas, such as the Mars Square, are more complex, and some even contain celles of two digit numbers such as Aleph and Yod (value 111).8 (see illustration)
Another way of using Aiq Beker is to take one of the three letters in any given section of the Aiq Beker diagram and exchange it for one of the other two letters in that section. Thus, in the first box, the letter Qoph could be substituted for either the letter Aleph or the letter Yod. This manner of using Aiq Beker falls somewhat under the category of temurah.
1.8.2 The Pythagorean Table
Although not a part of the Qabalistic system, the Pythagorean table is worth mentioning in conunction with Aiq Beker. This Greek-based table shows how our own alphabet can be reduced to numbers :
1.8.3 The Golden Dawn’s Rose of Twenty-Two Petals
The Rose of Twenty-two Petals is a diagram that was created by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as an emblem of the Rosicruscian impulse behind the Order. This diagram was a portion of a larger symbol known as the Rose Cross Lamen, which was used for various purposes, including the construction of sigils and talismans to be used in practical magic. (See illustration)
In esoteric lore, the rose itself is primairly a symbol of completion, total achievement, perfection, the mystic center, and the heart. The rose is a feminine symbol associated with regeneration, productivity, and purity. Because the flower unfolds when it blossoms, it is a worthy symbol of spiritual growth, and to the ancient Greeks, i twas a symbol of sunrise. The rose is also the sacred flower of Venus, the goddess of love, who is attributed to the seventh Sephirah of Netzach. (Seven is described as the most blessed of all the numbers. And it is also the number assigned to the act of initiation into the mysteries.)
On the diagram of the Rose Cross Lamen, the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet are placed on the central Rose in accordance with the attributions of the Sepher Yetzirah. The three inner petals of the Rose are assigned to the three Mother Letters : Aleph, Mem, and Shin. The second ring of petals is composed of the seven Double Letters, which are attributed to the seven ancient planets as well as the seven days of creation and the seven directions in space (east, west, north, sourth, above, below, and center.) The third or outer ring of petals is composed of twelve petals that refers to the twelve Simple Letters. These twelve letters correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve months of the year, and the twelve human properties (sight, hearing, smell, speech, tate, sexual love, work, movementg, anger, mirth, imagination, and sleep).
The Golden Dawn’s diagram of the Rose of Twenty-two petals provides a simpleyet ingenious system for creating Sephirotic, planetary, or elemental sigils to be used in ceremonial workings. Through this method, an entirely new set of sigils can be drawn, vastly different from medieval sigils created from the traditional Magical Squares. Also, sigils created from the Rose may be of more practical value than those made from the Qameas, because there is no need to refer to a system of mathematical reduction such as Aiq Beker. Sigils are created simply by tracing them on the Rose from letter to letter. Another advantage is that the Rose of Twenty-two Petals is universal symbol – it is one diagram as separate diagrams. The magician can also trace the letters of his or her own name or magical motto on the Rose to create a personal sigil or symbol.
1.8.4 Tracing a Sigil
When tracing a sigil on a Qamea or the Rose of Twenty-two Petals, the first number of teh name is marked with a small circle. From there a line is drawn following the progression of the numbers. When the final number of the name is reached, a short line is drawn to indicate the completion of the sigil.
Variations in tracing sigils : If two letters of the smae kind, such as two Beths or two Gimels, are side-by-side within a name, this is represented in the sigil by a wave or crook in the line at that point. If there is a letter in the name through which the loine of the sigil passes straight through to meet another letter, a loop or noose is formed at that point to indicate that the letter is indeed a part of the mane. (the illustration shows variation in sigils on the Qamea of the sun.)