The Shem haMephoresh (Hebrew: "Name of Extension"), is the famed seventy-two-fold Name of Divinity. In truth, it is a collection of 72 three-lettered Names which embody the Great Wheel of the Zodiac. From these Names we derive 72 Angelic Princes responsible for the manifestation of the Zodical Forces in reality, and who act as Guides and Protectors through our world.
They may have been described for the first time in a Hebrew manuscript (No. 830 in the Bibliotheque National), which gave their names, as well as the fashion of obtaining their corresponding “evil Angels”. Later, they (the good Angels) were cited by numerous mages of the Middle Ages, such as Henry Cornelius Agrippa. Later still, in the 17th century, Kircher integrated them into his magickal cosmology. In the 18th century, the True Knight Mason Elect Cohens of the Universe attached considerable importance to these same Angels.
It is thus, perhaps, needless to state the importance of the Shem haMephoresh in both magickal and religious rites. This essay is an attempt to offer to the English-speaking public (perhaps for the first time) a comprehensive explanation of the Divine Name of Extension along with it's practical applications. This is by no means a complete text, as much information about this aspect of Qabalah remains in obscure and untranslated classical texts. My hope is that new information will be added to our store of knowledge and experience with these powerful Angels and the Divine Names which empower Them.
The next logical assumption (and one that I had seen suggested) is that the letters of the Name Itself are to be written out in full- and thus "extended"- so that their numerical values will add up to 72. (Remember that the Hebrew language utilizes letter characters for numbers; as did the Romans- where “MCMXL” is “1940”, and not a word “Mecemexel”).
The famous 42-fold Name of God is symbolized in just this way; by spelling out the Yod and Vav in Hebrew, and leaving the two Heh's as single letters. Add them all together, and the total is 42:
YOD (Yod, Vav, Daleth) = 20 H (Heh) = 5 VV (Vav, Vav) = 12 H (Heh) = 5 = 42
However, this theory brakes down when applied to the Shem haMephoresh. There is no way to "spell" the Tetregrammaton that will equal 72. Even if all four letters are spelled out to their fullest extent, the resulting total is only fifty-two. Therefore, some esetoric route must have been taken.
The Golden Dawn combined the Tetragrammaton with Adonai (0), giving a Name of eight characters. These eight letters were then multiplied by three (the number of Supernals that govern the Tree of Life) to give a total of twenty-four. This was associated with the Twenty-Four Elders of the Apocalypse- who each rule three of the Divine Names. Twenty-four times three finally gives the total of 72. I personally question this process, based on the observation that the inclusion of the three Supernals doesn't seem to relate- outside of simple convenience for the need of the number three. My gut reaction was to feel the same way about the use of "Adonai", but at least that made a kind of occult sense as an "extension" of the Tetragram.
All of this aside, I finally- quite by accident- came upon the Traditional explanation of "extending" the Tetragrammaton. The clue presented itself to me in the annotated version of Agrippa's "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" (Llewellyn), at the very end of Book II, chapter 13- "The Scale of the Number Ten". Interestingly, the Shem haMephoresh was not mentioned at all in the text, and yet the extending Name is displayed there:
Agrippa relates this to the scale of the number ten because it shows forth a method of writing the Name with ten letters instead of four. However, Agrippa fails to include (if he knew himself) the importance of the numeric total of all ten letters added together (1):
Y = 10 YH = 15 YHV = 21 YHVH = 26 = 72
Thus is the Divine Name written in such a fashion as to equal the sacred number of 72. In fact, it has long been an Occult practice to illustrate, and even activate, the Mysteries of a Word of Power by writing it in a pyramid design. For instance, the word "Abracadabra" was written as follows:
ABRACADABRA ABRACADABR ABRACADAB ABRACADA ABRACAD ABRACA ABRAC ABRA ABR AB A
It was to be made into a talisman and placed upon the chest of a sick individual. One by one the letters "retract"- much like a car-antenna- until only the first letter is left. Theoretically, the sickness was to vanish over time; just like the letters of the Word. Likewise, one could bring something into existence by beginning with the first letter, and extending it letter by letter until the Word is complete. Various Words of Power could be used in this fashion, and Agrippa has preserved the fact that the Tetragrammaton Itself is included in this rule.
When displaying the Tetragram linearly, the Letters are associated as follows:
-Ain: "No Thing", the Unkowable Divine Source.
-Y = Fire, Aztiluth: the World of Divinity, Father.
-H = Water, Briah: the World of Creation, Mother.
-V = Air, Yetzirah: the World of Formation, Son.
-H = Earth, Assaiah: the World of Action, Daughter.
This displays the Created Universe form it's Highest to Lowest points, and allows us to track the flow of Divine Energy from it's Source to the physical world and back. However, when viewed in it's aspect of extension, it becomes a three dimensional model of Creation. I often describe this as being- not a pyramid- but a set of concentric circles.
-Ain: The Divine Source. The "Yod" of Tetragrammaton is, in fact, simply an extension of the Ain. Traditional Qabalah explains that the shape of the Yod indicates that it reaches upward and dwindles away into the Ain Itself. Or, conversely, that it is the Ain reaching outward toward the Realms of Being.
-Y = Atziluth, the World of Divinity, Father. The extension process- as just explained- initiates with the Yod- which rests below, and is a part of, the Ain. It represents the first initiation of Creation (“Let There Be Light!”) and/or the birth of the Creator God. (The Ain is often referred to as a “negative” Veil between the world and the Divine Source. That is- a feminine energy with all potential within its womb. Yod, then, manifests as a masculine- “positive” or active- Divine power. ("And there was Light.")
-YH = This is not just Briah the Mother, but it shows the very birth of Briah from Atziluth. Further, it shows forth the Mystery that Briah contains Atziluth within it- as if Y were a circle, and H were a larger circle surrounding and containing the first. From the Ain- and through the Y- comes the H: Just as the Father was born from the womb of the Ain, so does the Father pull forth Her power through Himself. Duality has been created.
-YHV = Again, we add a larger circle around Briah, to show that Yetzirah contains the previous two worlds within. Through the H goes the Y to become V, and this shows forth a long established Qabalistic Mystery: that the Son is the manifest aspect of the Father Himself. This is why V is given to the Creator God (or "Demiurgos"). The Gnostics often called the Demiurgos by the name YHV (written in Greek transliteration "IAO").
-YHVH = the final Circle is added when Assaiah comes forth from Yetzirah: through the V goes the H to become the final H. Assaiah is the end result of all previous forces, and is aptly described by the phrase "all roads lead here". Even when interpreted linearly, the final H is said to be a combination of the Forces above it. Also, it possesses an almost identical Mystery as V- in that it, the Daughter, is simply a lower manifestation of the Mother Herself. Here the Demirugos has taken hold of His Mother, and has pulled Her down (again) into manifest Reality. Hebrew Tradition calls Her the Sheckinah, or "Presence", of Divinity. She is the end result of Creation, and the Goddess who exists all around us. Hermeticism calls Her the Soul of the World.
Thus, we see the Divine Name "Extending" one step at a time (in an almost "leapfrog" fasion) from it's Source to the physical plane. It is written out with ten letters- the Number of the Sephiroth through which that Extension/Creation takes place. Finally, the Sacred Number of that Extension is 72. It is the Divine Name of Extension; Shem haMephoresh.
Rulership: Tetragrammaton and the Twelve Signs
In the study of Western occultism, the Tetragrammaton rules (among other things) the Zodiacal Forces and its four Elements. The four letters of the Name are taken as Elemental Powers:
-Y = Fire
-H = Water
-V = Air
-H = Earth
Then, they are rearranged into twelve "permutations" to show forth the Powers of the Twelve Signs. The following is a list of these permutations, shown in Agrippa’s work, and also used by the Golden Dawn. (Note, I have used a lower-case “h” to indicate the second Heh- or Heh-final- of the Tetragram. I have also kept the modern English convention of writing left to right, rather than the more proper Hebrew convention of right to left.):
It is not difficult to obtain these permutations. First, write down the signs of the zodiac in order from Aries to Pisces. Aires, being the initiation of the wheel of the zodiac, is assigned the primary version of the Tetragram: YHVh. Then, the first letters for the permutations for Taurus and Gemini are also Y. Keep going down the same column to write H as the first letters of Cancer, Leo, and Virgo. The next three zodiac signs begin with V, and the final three begin with H-final.
For the second column of letters, we shift the pattern forward one step. We must begin with the second letter of the Tetragram (H), and it must be written by Pisces (the sign that directly precedes Aires in the sky). The letters are still written in groups of three- so that Pisces, Aries and Taurus are given the H. Gemini, Cancer and Leo are assinged V as their second letter. The next three are given Heh-final, and the final three are given Yod.
Shift the pattern forward a step again for column three: begin at Aquarius with the letter V, and assign it also to Pisces and Aries. Continue with H-final for the next three, and so forth until you reach the H-superior of the Tetragram again.
Column four is self-explanatory, because it contains whatever letter has not been used in each permutation. It does not follow the same three by three pattern as described above, but it does have a pattern of its own. Begin by writing Y in the fourth column by Pisces Then, simply write the Tetragrammaton in its proper order while moving UPWARD in the column. It will repeat three times, and finally land on H-final at Aries. You can check your work by comparing your results with the above list of permutations.
In this way does the Tetragrammaton govern the Wheel of the
Zodiac. There are only twelve possible ways for a group of four letters
to be arranged, and my feeling is that it is meant to illustrate how
the Four Elements combine in differing combinations to produce four
Triplicities. From here, we need only discover how the total of 72
relates to this rulership.
The entirety of this quote will be explained below. For now, however, I wish to concentrate on the emanation from the Singular Divine Source to the Twenty Four Thones of Wisdom, and the 72 total rays of their Crowns.
To begin with, we will focus on the famous Vision of Ezekiel (from the first chapter of Ezekiel)- wherein the prophet was granted a vision of the Divine Throne Itself:
And I looked, and behold, a whirlwind came out of the North [...] Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. [...] As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion to the right: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. [...] Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the midst of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four respective sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rims, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rims were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. [...] And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creatures was as the likeness of an expanse of awesome ice, stretched forth over their heads above. [...] And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. [...] This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Adonai. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake...
Here we are given a glimpse of the Cosmology of the ancient Hebrew "Merkavah Mystics"- who are the ancestors of the Qabalists. The Divine Throne (Merkavah) is the center of Creation, and That from which All emanates. The "Four Living Creatures" (Hebrew - Chaioth haQodesh) are the great Kherubim who represent the Four Worlds, the Four Elements, and the Four Quarters of the Universe. Since the most ancient of times, They have been known as the Pillars upon which Reality rests; and this is shown above by the fact that They uphold the Firmament.
The next important feature of the Vision are the Wheels- known in Hebrew as the Auphanim. These are the Angels which hold the Spirits of the Four Kherubim, and apparently act as Their active Powers. Of course, it is the Zodiacal Triplicities that hold the true power (or Spirit) of the Four Elements, and the Kherubim Themselves are represented by the four Fixed Signs of Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, and Taurus (Lion, Eagle, Man, and Ox). Note that the Auphanim here have great rims covered with "eyes" (which, in ancient writings, means jewels or stars). What else could these great Wheels whose rims are full of stars be besides the Wheel of the zodiac? Indeed, the Qabalah tells us that the Auphanim are the Angelic Choir of Chockmah- the Sphere of the Firmament of the Fixed Stars.
There is a related Biblical text which expands on the nature of these Auphanim, and relates directly to the Shem haMephoresh. That is the vision of the Merkavah had by St. John in the Book of Revelation:
Once again we have the central Divine Source, from which emanates the Four Kherubic Points of the Universe. Here They are separated into Their four distinct Elemental Forms, and plainly described as “full of stars.” Each Kherub has six (or three pairs of) wings- one pair representing the Cardinal, one the Fixed, and one the Mutable Sign of the Element which He embodies. These twelve pairs of wings could be thought of as standards which bear the twelve permutations of Tetragrammaton.
It must be kept in mind that Names of Divinity exist within the Realm of Atziluth- with the Merkavah Itself. These are Forces of Unity, which reflect into the Waters of Briah as Dualities. Briah is the division of the cosmos into "upper" and "lower" from Genesis I; it is the Division of Kether into Chockmah and Binah; it is the manifestation of the Mother and Father from the Divine Source. Therefore, the Twelve Permutations are each manifested through a pair of Kherubic Wings. This makes the Twelve into Twenty-Four. For instance, the Cardinal Sign of Leo will operate in both it's Positive and Negative (or Rising and Falling) aspects.
The Auphanim of the Vision of Ezekiel appear again in John's Revelation in the form of twenty four Elders- who are direct manifestations of the twenty-four wings of the Kherubim. Thus, there are six Elders to each Kherub- two for the Cardinal Sign, two for the Fixed Sign, and two for the Mutable Sign. Like the Wings, the Elders are grouped in pairs- and are shown this way in Dante's "Divine Comedy", where They are described as walking two by two in mystic procession- so that each Triplicity operates in it's Positive and Negative (or Rising and Falling) aspects.
Traditionally (also shown in the "Divine Comedy"), the Elders' crowns are said to be "fluers-de-lis"- a three-petaled "flower" design that you and I would recognize as the Boy-Scout symbol. Solomon tells us that upon each Ray of each crown is inscribed one of the Divine Names Shem haMephoresh. Thus, we have 24 Auphanic Elders, each bearing three Shem haMephoresh Names, for a total of 72. Interestingly, Agrippa (Book II, chapter 15) records the 6-fold division of each Zodiacal Sign, and even relates it directly to the Shem haMephoresh:
The twelve Zodiacal Signs themselves are traditionally divided into three parts each- called Decanates. There are 36 such Decans, each one ruled by a Planetary Force, and the Sun resides in each for about ten days. Just as we saw above how each Sign is shown (by the Elders) in it's Rising and Falling aspects, so each Decan has a dual-manifestation- called the Quinences. Thirty-six times two gives us the final total of 72 "idioms" within the Zodiac. Each Quinence lasts five days, and that is the meaning of the "seventy-two fives" Agrippa describes above. Also, these five-day periods are sometimes referred to as the "day" and "night" of the Decan, instead of rising and falling.
Returning to the Shem haMephoresh: The Decanates of each zodiac sign are ruled jointly by two Elders. The six Divine Names They bear between Them are distributed in pairs through the three Decans. This means that each Elder rules one Decan on His own, but possesses only one of the Names of the middle Decan, sharing it's rule with His companion.
In summery, I will reprint the quote from "The Key of Solomon the King":
Now its obscure wording becomes clear: The Shem haMephoresh is One
when taken as a whole. It exists in Two Rising and Falling Columns.
It's Triple Power is that of the Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable Signs.
It's Form is the Four Elements of which the Zodiac is composed (3).
It's reflection in the Briatic Waters allows for Eight (the Positive
and Negative Aspects of each Element). Those Eight Elements multiplied
by the Triplicity of Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable gives the Twenty Four
Thrones of Chockmah (Wisdom)- the Powers of the Zodiacal Sphere (4). Uoon those Thrones sit the Elders, who wear the three-rayed Crowns which display the 72 Names of Extension.
The technique of deriving Names, descriptions, functions, etc from Scripture is a long-established Qabalistic Tradition. For instance, if an unnamed Angel delivers a message, simply take the first letter of each word He speaks and you will have the Angel's Name. Take a description of an Angel and add up the numeric value of the entire phrase, then see what Hebrew words and phrases have the same value, and you will get a clue into the function of the Angel. The possibilities are endless.
This can also be used to find Divine Names (among other things). An act of Divinity within Scriptures can be worked with in similar ways as described above. From these letter combinations and Gematria-analysis, we can find a Divine Name- a Word of Power- set over similar acts in the physical world. Such a method will be seen below with the Shem haMephoresh.
The three verses are to be written in a pattern called "as the ox plows": the first verse is written on one line, from right to left; the second verse is written directly under the first, from left to right; and the final verse is written below the second from right to left. The result is three horizontal lines of seventy-two letters, which are then read in downward columns to receive 72 Names of three letters a piece. At the time of this writing, I do not know why the verses are written "as the ox plows"- though Agrippa suggests this is one of many patterns that might be used to receive differing "versions" of the Shem haMephoresh. However, such a concept goes beyond the scope of this work.
The verses, in English, follow:
This significance of these verses is rather subtle, outside of the simple fact that they contain 72 letters apiece. The main focus is on the Angelic Presence which guided and protected the Israelites on their escape from Egypt. Exodus 23 describes Him: "Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice; provoke Him not, for He will not pardon thy transgressions; for My Name is in Him. But, if though shalt indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto your enemies, and an adversary unto your adversaries. For my Angel shall go before you, and bring you unto the Amorites, and the Hittites [...etc...]; and I will cut them off."
As most modern Mages will tell you, the above is a perfect description of the Holy Guardian Angel, who is set over you at birth to guide and protect you, and to lead you unto your destiny. You must follow the Voice of this Angel, for His is the voice of Karma, and to ignore it- to refuse learning the lessons the Universe has to teach you- is to invite hardship. The significance of the above is the one phrase "for my Name is in Him", because the Holy Guardian Angel holds the Authority of the Divine Source in your life. As God said of the Archangel Metetron (who is literally the Holy Guardian Angel of the entire Universe), "...what He will command at My bidding, ye must observe and do."
The Angel of Exodus 14 is the Holy Guardian Angel of the Nation of Israel, and there is ample reason to believe that this Angel would naturally be viewed as Zodiacal in nature. The most important clue is that of the Twelve Tribes themselves. For, it is by these that Israel repeatedly defines and identifies itself in Biblical writings, and the twelve-fold power of Israel is shown throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament). For instance, the Magick used by the Patriarchs of Genesis seems always to be Zodiacal, Moses' Staff possessed a twelve-fold Power (much like the Golden Dawn's zodiacal "Lotus Wand"), and the Holy Rites of Israel were always formatted around a twelve-fold system of some kind (such as the stones on the High Priest's breastplate- one for each Tribe). Since anything in physical reality is a reflection of the Holy Guardian Angel set above it, then the Angel in this case must also embody these Twelve Forces. In addition, I will once again point out the phrase "...for My Name is in Him."- ie, the Name YHVH- which Itself rules the zodiac in 12 permutations.
As a last nail to this bridge I'm building here, I would like to point out the last of the three Exodus verses (verse 21). Strangely, this verse does not refer to the Angel at all. Of course, the Parting of the Sea of Reeds is as much a part of the Hebraic "Soul" (Holy Guardian Angel) as the Twelve Tribes themselves. And, in the above, it illustrates the miracle wrought through the Power of the Angel- who was sent to guide them, protect them, and ensure their successful escape. However, aside from this, we should also consider the Qabalistic link between the Division of the Sea in Exodus, and the Division of the Waters of Genesis I. Both events have often been described as mystically linked (as above, so below). It is interesting to note, then, that the Division of the Waters in Genesis is specifically related to the Sephirah of Chockmah upon the Tree- the Sphere of the Zodiac.
Thus we have 72 Names to divide among the 12 Zodiacal Forces of the Angel. As explained above, this allows for six Names per Sign- each pair of Elders bearing six of the Names between Them. Further, this allows for two Names to be associated with each of the 36 Decanates- of which there are three per Sign. Therefore, the "positive" Elder will bear the two Names of the rising Decan, and the first Name of the middle Decan. The "negative" Elder will bear the second Name of the middle Decan, and the two Names of the final (or falling) Decan:
NAME DECAN ELDERS 1) NNN \ Decan 1 Elder 1 (Positive) 2) NNN / 3) NNN \ Decan 2 (co rulership) 4) NNN / 5) NNN \ Decan 3 Elder 2 (Negative) 6) NNN /
"The Key of Solomon the King" tells us:
The practical sources I have seen simply assign the Names to the Decans in order from Aries to Pisces (or, as does the Golden Dawn, from Leo to Cancer). However, the above quotation indicates that this is in error. Instead, they are to be taken in groups of nine pairs (which corresponds to the nine Angelic Choirs). With one pair of Names to each Decan, and three Decans to a Sign, this allows for three Signs in each group of Eighteen (ie- nine pairs of) Names. There are four such groups- assigned to the Elements, via YHVH, in order from Yod to Heh-final. This, in fact, is exactly how the Names are grouped in the "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" by Agrippa (without, however, any mention of the Zodiac, Elements, or Tetragram):
Below is my own illustration of Solomon's instructions applied to Agrippa's Shem haMephoresh table. The Names are grouped in pairs, with each set of three pairs attributed to a Zodiacal Sign. I find it interesting to note that this follows the numerical and Elemental order of the Tarot:
The Names are grouped in pairs, with each set of three pairs attributed to a Zodiacal Sign. I find it interesting to note that this is possibly the exact same configuration of the ancient Breastplate of the High Priest of Israel, not to mention that it follows the numerical and Elemental order of the Tarot.
Following is a list of the categorization of the Names. The Shem haMephoresh Names are given in transliterated Hebrew and pronunciation. The Names of the Elders are to be found in the Angelic Language. (Note: My attribution of the Elders to the Zodiacal signs is explained in "A Discourse on the Enochian Watchtowers" published in "The Terminal Journal" by Eshaton Publishing.)
NAME DECAN ELDERS SIGN 1) VHV Vehu Mars 2) YLY Yeli Aaoxaif 3) SIT Sit Sol ARIES 4) OoLM Olem 5) MHSh Mahash Avtotar Ven 6) LLH Lelah
7) AKA Aka Sat 8) KHTh Kahath Habioro 9) HZI Hezi Jup LEO 10) ALD Elad 11) LAV Lav Ahaozpi Mars 12) HHO Haho 13) IZL Yezel Merc 14) MBH Mebah Htmorda 15) HRI Hari Luna SAGGITTARIUS 16) HQM Haqem 17) LAV Lau Hipotga Sat 18) KLI Keli 19) LVV Levo Venus 20) PHL Pahel Adoeoet 21) NLK Nelak Merc CANCER 22) YYY Yeyaya 23) MLH Melah Anodoin Luna 24) ChHV Chehav 25) NThH Nethah Mars 26) HAA Heah Aaetpio 27) YLTh Yereth Sol SCORPIUS 28) ShAH Shaha 29) RYY Riyi Aapdoce Venus 30) AUM Aum 31) LKB Lekab Luna 32) VShR Vesher Alndood 33) YChV Yechav Sat PISCES 34) LHCh Lehach 35) KVQ Keveq Arinnap Jup 36) MND Menad 37) ANI Ani Luna 38) ChOM Cham Saiinou 39) RHO Reho Sat LIBRA 40) YYZ Yeyaz 41) HHH Haheha Soaiznt Jup 42) MIK Mikh 43) VVL Veval Ven 44) YLH Yelah Lsrahpm 45) SAL Sael Merc AQUARIUS 46) ORI Ori 47) OShL Oshel Slgaiol Luna 48) MIH Miah 49) VHV Vehu Jup 50) DNY Dani Laoaxrp 51) HChSh Hachash Mars GEMINI 52) OMM Omem 53) NNA Nena Ligdisa Sol 54) NITh Nith 55) MBH Mebah Jup 56) PVI Pohi Aczinor 57) NMM Nemem Mars CAPRICORNUS 58) YYL Yeyal 59) HRCh Herach Acmbicv Sol 60) MTzR Metzer 61) VMK Vameb Merc 62) IHH Yehah Laidrom 63) ONV Onu Luna TAURUS 64) MChI Mechi 65) DMB Dameb Alhctga Sat 66) MNQ Menaq 67) AIO Aioh Sol 68) ChBV Chebo Lzinopo 69) RAH Reah Ven VIRGO 70) IBM Yebem 71) HYY Hayeyah Lhiansa Merc 72) MVM Mevem
A Note on Golden Dawn Attributions: I have
already described the differences between Solomon's attributions of the
Names to the Zodiac and those of the Golden Dawn. At this time I feel
it necessary to point out some particulars in the Golden Dawn's list so
that you can cross compare the systems if you wish. Their list- written
entirely in Hebrew- is found on page 82 of Regardie's "The Golden
Dawn". They can also be found- in English- in "The Kabbalah of the
Golden Dawn" by Pat Zalewski. In Regardie's work, you will find the
Names , in Angelic form, in the long column on the far right of the
Page- marked as the "Angel Ruling Quinance". The first Angel listed for
Aries is "Vehuel", but that is not the first Angel of the Shem
haMephoresh. Remember that the Golden Dawn felt that the Zodiac began
with Leo instead of Aries, and Angel number one of their list is to be
found as the first Angel of that Sign: "Yeliel".
Practical Use of the Divine Names
Begin by entering your sacred or usual space for meditation, and gaining as full and deep a state of relaxation and meditation as you can. In my opinion, one might wish to add the LBRP beforehand. Perhaps, also, the use of the four-fold breath would be a good idea for gaining the meditative state. In any case, be sure that you are using full "yogic" breaths, as they will be important for the rest of the Work at hand.
Once a state of silence has been achieved, take another full "yogic" breath, and with the exhalation vibrate the first letter of the Name: "Vav". Another suggestion from myself would be to use the full vibratory formula of the Middle Pillar for this exersise, as each letter is supposed to be focused on entirely, and to the exclusion of all else. You absolutely must allow the vibration of the letter to overtake your entire being, and all the way to the furthest reaches of the universe around you.
There are also head-motions attributed to each vowel sound in the original work, though I have not yet had the opportunity to gather and cataloged these. So far I have seen only one example- for the first letter "Vav". As you vibrate the letter, slowly tilt your head back until you- at the end of the vibration- are looking upward. Then re-center your head before beginning the next vibration. In the future I hope to add all of these head-motions to this essay.
Once you have fully vibrated the Vav, take three full "yogic" breaths. This allows you to re-center and "clear out" your mind from the vibration just performed. Then, take another deep breath and vibrate the next letter "Heh", with full vibratory formula, etc. Take three more breaths, vibrate the next letter "Vav", and end with three further breaths.
Each of the 72 Names are formed of three letters, and these letters are taken together in this exercise as triplets. Following the above instructions, one will end up with a pattern that involves 12 full breaths for each Name (including the breaths taken to vibrate):
It does not, perhaps, have to be outlined why we might find the
number 12 here significant. The "Chayai Olam haBah" instructs one to
continue this exercise, "...if the Divine influx does not force you to
stop..." until all 72 triplets have been so vibrated.
Jewish legend adds an interesting spin on the Magick surrounding the reception of this Vision (from "Legends of the Bible", by Louis Ginzberg):
Once again we have the mystical number of Twelve. Jacob cast a specifically twelve-fold divination spell upon the stone before resting his head upon it. It is safe to assume, then, that the resulting vision would be related to this symbolism. The Ladder, of course, is simply the Zodiac- the starry belt that can be viewed raising from the horizon to the zenith of the Heavens, and back downward again. Thus, the ladder might be said to have six steps- one for each Sign visible at any given time in the sky. More esoterically, however, the Ladder should contain a full twelve steps.
Qabalistic Tradition takes this a step further (no pun intended). The content of the vision is called "Jacob's Extending Ladder"- which is a perfect relation of the Vision to the Name of Extension. The process of the Tetragrammaton extending- literally step by step- from the Divine to the physical finds a perfect allegory in Jacob's Ladder. One source has, indeed, related the Ladder to the Four Qabalistic Worlds, and the flow of Divine Energy both upwards and downwards along it (the ascending and descending Angels).
Taking the symbolism even deeper, we can relate the Gematria sum of the Shem haMephoresh to the Vision: to find a total of thirty-six steps upon the Ladder, each with two Angels upon it (one ascending, and the other descending- the Two Columns mentioned by Solomon) for a grand total of 72. These seventy-two Angels embody the Positive and Negative forces (Quinences) of each of the 36 Decanates of the Zodiac. One Angel rules the Rising Force of the Decan (the first five degrees, or "day"), and the second rules the Falling Force (the second five degrees, or "night"). Thus, the Angels line up perfectly with the seventy-two Names of Extension associated with the Decanates.
The Names of the Angels of Jacob's Vision are easily found.
Once again we are confronted with the words, "...for My Name is in
Him". Each Angelic Name is created by adding El or Yah (7) to the end of the Shem haMephoresh Name which He or She embodies. They
are the basic literally (the most terrestrial and active) of the Great
Wheel of the Zodiac- just as shown by the Visions of Ezekiel and St.
The Demons (or "Bad Angels")
It is also important, at this time, to mention the "Goetia" (book one of the "Lemegaton" or "Lesser Key of Solomon"). This text lists seventy two jinni that King Solomon bound into a brass vessel, owho were later freed by the Babylonians. This particular grimoire is apparently related closely to the "Arabian Knights" tradition of the Middle East, and I would strongly suggest reading that work of legend before attempting to understand the Goetia. This is the same body of work from which we derive "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp".
Each spirit in the Goetia is given a rank, which itself is used to indicate the metal from which to fashion the spirit's seal. By extension, this also grants us an association for each to a planetary force. Viz.: The Seals of Kings are to be made of Gold, thus are Solar; Dukes are related to Copper and Venus; Princes and Prelates are related to Tin and Jupiter; Marquises are related to Silver and Luna; Presidents are related to Mercury (or perhaps a mixture of Copper and Silver) and thus to the planet Mercury; Earls or Counts are related to Iron and Mars; and, finally, Knights are related to Lead and Saturn.
In just a few cases, the spirits are called forth only under certain zodiac signs, or are called from certain quarters (which, in the Classical period, would itself have indicted zodiacal attributes), or are given "physical" descriptions that hint at astrological symbolism. This, and the coincidence of the number 72 being here related, has led many modern mages to the conclusion that the Goetic spirits are the "polar opposites" of the Shem haMephoresh Angels.
However, there is no indication that such is the case at all.
The two groups evolved from entirely different traditions (the Shem
haMephoresh from Hebraic sources, and the Goetia from Christian). Plus,
by taking the planets associated with each spirit, there is no way at
all to relate the Goetic demons to the decanates of the zodiac. As an
example, there is only one single spirit (Furcas, #50) who is related
to Saturn, while Saturn itself appears many times over in the list of
decans. It is, in fact, the planets themselves which seem to be the
main focus of the Goetic spirits, even though I admit a possible
zodiacal connection as well. As for the number 72, we have to keep in
mind that this is a well known holy number within the Qabalistic and
Occult traditions. It is no surprise that unrelated materials have made
use of the same number. My final stance is that the Goetia has no
relation what-so-ever to the Shem haMephoresh system.
Attributes and Functions of the Angels
There is just enough information in the above to verify much of my own findings, and to hint at practical applications of the Shem haMephoresh system. Once such texts as these are translated into English I will most certainly update this essay.
As for Talismans, I have considered the possibility of simply using the related Tarot Cards for this purpose. Of course, it would be best if the Cards sported the Sigils of the Angels somewhere. In any case, a long-range plan of Consecrating all 36 Cards- one at a time, and especially if you use them to actually Summon the Angels (who can then personally touch the Card)- would make for a terribly powerful Tarot Deck.
As for the seals of the Angels themselves, I have used the images as found in Pat Zalewski's "Khabbalah of the Golden Dawn". The same seals are found in "Godwin's Cabalistic Encyclopedia" by David Godwin. Pat Zalewski has to say of the them:
Mr. Zalewski then goes on to describe the three ways in which the seals were to be used within the Golden Dawn; namely by inscribing them upon talismans, using them to summon the angels, or using them as skrying gates for astral work. At this time, the above also marks the end of my own knowledge of the seals, and their source. (I also happen to agree with Mr. Zalewski’s description of the three uses of the sigils.) There is yet much to learn about these seals. Looking over them, you will notice that there are shapes and patterns that repeat throughout. I have attempted- without luck- to find the reasoning behind these patterns. It is obvious that there is a logical reasoning behind the construction of the seals, and I hope to eventually decipher, or at least discover, this mystery.
Finally, also under consideration are the Angelic Choirs. It is obvious that the Shem haMephoresh itself is divided among the Nine Choirs of Angels as recorded in classical documents, with eight Angels attributed to each Choir (thus 8 x 9 = 72). One source, Bill Whitcomb's "The Magician's Companian" (pgs. 293-9), lists them in what appears to be the "Sephirothic" ordering, starting with the Ashim in Malkuth, and going down to the Auphanim in Chockmah. Why this list is inverted I am not sure, and I do not know Mr. Whitcomb's source for this. It reads as follows:
However, another pattern is made clear in the above excerpt from "La Kabbale Pratique". This text attributes the first eight Angels to the Seraphim, which would indicate a much more traditional ordering of the Choirs; in non-inverted order. That list is as follows (according to Agrippa's "Three Books of Occult Philosophy", though I have added the Shem haMephoresh attributions on my own):
This is the ordering I will be using in this document. Also, I should note that the Shem haMephoresh hierarchy overall would seem to be attributed to the "Auphanim" (Wheels), as the Angels of the Zodiacal Sphere. Such multiple membership in various Choirs is not uncommon at all among the Angelic hierarchies. This list may represent these Nine Choirs strictly within the Sphere of Chockmah. Other theories may apply.
Bellow follow the seventy-two Angels Shem haMephoresh. By using the previously given list of Divine Names, one can easily see how the Angels are placed upon the Decanates of the Zodiac. The first and last Decan of a Sign are each embodied by a single Elder, while the middle Decan is embodied jointly by both Elders.
The following list will contain:
I had originally intended to include a Psalm for each Angel, as this is a traditional aspect of working with Them. However, I have yet to find a satisfactory list of Psalms. The Golden Dawn chose 72 Psalms which feature the Name "YHVH"- via a method of which I am unaware. However, Mathers remarked in "The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage" that the proper Psalms are probably supposed to be Psalms 1-72; which are collectively called the "Psalms of David". While neither are definite without a source for verification, I find the latter choice to be most likely. Of course, the above quote from "La Kabbale Pratique", mentions a Psalm itself. However, at this time, such work is left for the near future. The reader is more than welcome to analyze the 72 Psalms of David from the standpoint of Shem haMephoresh.
Finally, I simply have not yet tracked down the source for the
functions of the Angels as listed below. I found them some time ago on
a poster (of all things) which seemed to be an attempt to show a
universal Qabalistic (and somewhat Masonic) glyph. All of the
information on the poster that I recognized was true to form. Plus, I
took special note of the language style of the descriptions, as well as
the functions themselves (which do not mirror common modern "Newage"
descriptions of Angels at all). It may be that the source- once I find
it- will turn out to be a manuscript by Nicolas of Cusa. Eliphas Levi
also wrote an altered version of Nicolas' work, and entitled it "Les
Clavicules de Salomon" (8). In all of this, I hope that we will soon see more english translations of these old works for further study.
Seals of the Angels of Sagittarius
Seals of the Angels of Cancer
Seals of the Angels of Scorpio
Seals of the Angels of Pisces
Seals of the Angels of Libra
Seals of the Angels of Aquarius
Seals of the Angels of Gemini
Seals of the Angels of Capricorn
Seals of the Angels of Taurus
Seals of the Angels of Virgo
0 Remember that these two Names are combined in the Torah to remind the reader to say "Adonai" rather than attempting to pronounce the Sacred Name of God.
1 Since writing the above, I have found a confirming reference for this structure of the Tetragrammaton. The “Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses” contains a Talisman featuring the 72 Shem haMephoresh, displaying in the very center the letters of YHVH written in the illustrated “pyramid” form.
2 Schema Hamphorasch. That is: Shem haMephoresh.
3 The ancients marked the Quarters by four stars that shone brighter than all others in the night sky, and each of which marked the beginning of a season. Three of these stars are to be found in the Signs of Leo, Scorpio, and Taurus. The forth, however, is found in The Southern Fish; a Sign just outside of the Zodiacal Belt, and very near to Aquarius. Or, by another theory, the fourth star resides in The Eagle constellation
4 Personally, I am unsure why "Solomon" did not multiply the Four Elements by three- the Triplicities of each Element- for a total of 12 Signs, and then continue to multiply the 12 Signs by the Two Columns of Rising and Falling- for the total of 24 Thrones of Chockmah. His method simply reverses that, multiplying first by two and then by three. Perhaps he had a reason for wishing to include the number 8, or perhaps he was simply attempting to confuse those who did not understand what they were reading.
5 I find this concept to be vital. The Shem haMephoresh Angels are attributed in pairs to the thirty-six numbered Lower Arcana cards of the Tarot. Taking the Angels in numerical order, They even follow the proper order of the Cards from the Wands to the Cups to the Daggers to the Pentacles. These, then, would seem to be the very Talismans- forming a Book of the Secrets of Nature- described by Solomon above. My own conception of a Tarot Deck would include the Divine Names of Shem haMephoresh upon the Lower Arcana cards, and perhaps even the Names or Seals of the related Angels
6 This, by the way, is further proof that the ancients grouped the Zodiac by Triplicity for practical work rather than taking the Signs by their order in the sky
7 The Golden Dawn holds that "El" represents Severity and Judgment, while "Yah" represents mercy and benevolence. I personally find this explanation to be much too simplistic without further information, though it is true that "Yah" is normally only to be used with Good spirits, while "El" can be used for both good and evil spirits.
8 As well, any of these could be the source for the Angels' Seals.
Refer also to: