Saturday, July 28, 2012

17/18th Century Amulet Reconstructed - Part 4 [image corrected 29/11/2013]

Having perused the two sets of borders of this Kamea, we now turn our attention to the very centre of the amulet in which we note the peculiar presentation of the Ineffable Name adorned with twenty-four little circles, each of which is comprised of three "rays," so to speak. We are told the twenty-four circles pertain to the twenty-four permutations of the Ineffable Name, and, the "rays" (24 x 3 = 72) refer to the "Shem Vayisa Vayet," i.e. the "Name of Seventy-Two Names." Presentations of the Ineffable Name in the same format can be found in several primary Kabbalistic texts, sometimes only indicating the twenty-four circles without the additional three-rayed "crowns." As mentioned in "The Book of Sacred Names," this image of the Ineffable Name "became particularly popular amongst Hermetic Kabbalists, especially with those who marvel at the 'mysteries' of the 'Shemhamforash' referred to in works like the 'The Key of Solomon'." I noted that "the author, purportedly King Solomon, tells us that he had 'done great things by the virtue of the Schema Hamphorasch, and by the Thirty-two Paths of Yetzirah. Number, weight, and measure determine the form of things; the substance is one, and God createth it eternally.' We are also informed in this text that:
"Happy is he who comprehendeth the Letters and the Numbers. The Letters are from the Numbers, and the Numbers from the Ideas, and the Ideas from the Forces, and the Forces from the Elohim. The Synthesis of the Elohim is the Schema. The Schema is one, its columns are two, its power is three, its form is four, its reflection giveth eight, which multiplied by three giveth unto thee the twenty-four Thrones of Wisdom.
Upon each Throne reposeth a Crown with three Rays, each Ray beareth a Name, each Name is an Absolute Idea. There are Seventy-two Names upon the Twenty-four Crowns of the Schema. Thou shalt write these Names upon Thirty-six Talismans, two upon each Talisman, one on each side. Thou shalt divide these Talismans into four series of nine each, according to the number of the Letters of the Schema.
Upon the first Series thou shalt engrave the Letter Yod, symbolised by the Flowering Rod of Aaron. Upon the second the Letter HE, symbolised by the Cup of Joseph. Upon the third the Letter Vau, symbolised by the Sword of David my father. And upon the fourth the HE final, symbolised by the Shekel of Gold. These thirty-six Talismans will be a Book which will contain all the Secrets of Nature. And by their diverse combinations thou shalt make the Genii and Angels speak."
As mentioned, in the case of the Kamea we are investigating, the seventy-two "rays" align with the "Name of Seventy-two Names," these being listed in full on the centre-right portion of the amulet, specifically:
In terms of pronouncing the seventy-two portions of the "Name of Seventy-two Names," a number of variant ways can be found in primary Kabbalistic literature. As indicated again in "The Book of Sacred Names," I was taught to enunciate the "Shem Vayisa Vayet" in the following effective and easily memorised manner:
Be that as it may, the employment of the "Name of Seventy-two Names" in the Kamea in question, certainly does not require any verbal expression on the part of the owner, who simply has to carry it on his or her person to reap the benefit thereof. Hence, we will next turn our attention back to the Ineffable Name in the centre of the amulet.
(More to follow)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

17/18th Century Amulet Reconstructed - Part 3 [image corrected 29/11/2013]

The inner border of the Kamea comprises a written incantation in two lines. To read the invocation, commence bottom right following the innermost line of the two, and trace around the entire amulet. Conclude by perusing the outermost line in the same manner. The invocation reads:
Y’hi ratzon milfanecha YHVH elohei ha-tzva’ot yoshev ha-k’ruvim shadai melech elyon shetashgiach b’ayin chemlah lanose kamea zot v’tetzaveh ha-malachim ha-kadoshim ha-memonim meshartecha sheyishmeru v’yatzilu et Lipman ha-nolad min Shinla midever v’mimagefah michol nofel v’micholi rosh mikishuf v’mikadachat v’mi’ayin ha-ra v’mikol minei pachad v’behalah v’takalah hen babayit v’hen basadeh hen b’hakitz v’hen b’shenah hen b’yom v’hen b’lailah v’mikol minei shedin v’lilin v’mazikin v’ruchot ra’ot v’mi’agrat bat machalat v’mimorah sh’chorah v’miyarkon v’hadrokon v’charchar v’mishidafon v’m’timahon l’vav v’michol chola’im ra’im ANS [Omein Nitzach Selah].
May it be your will YHVH, God of Hosts, enthroned on the Kerubim, Shadai, lofty King, who will oversee with a merciful eye the one who carries this amulet, and will command the holy messengers (angels), those who are charged with serving you, will guard and save Lipman born of Shinla from pestilence and from plague, from sand falls[?] and from sickness of the head, from sorcery and from fever, and from the evil eye, and from all manner of fear and terror and hindrance, whether at home and whether in the field, whether awake and whether asleep, whether in the day and whether at night; and from all kinds of shedin (fiends), and lilin (demonic forces), and mazikin (harmful forces), and evil spirits, and from Agrat bat Machalat, and from melancholy, and from jaundice and the dragon, and wheezing and skin rashes, and heart shock, and from all bad diseases. Amen Enduring Selah.
It appears this Kamea was written for a certain Lipman born of Shinla, in order to protect him against a variety of spiritual foes and diseases. In several instances it is difficult to ascertain the exact meaning of some of the Hebrew terms referring to specific ailments, the meanings of several Hebrew words being in many instances quite different in the 17/18th century, when this amulet was written, from the modern usage of the same words. In this regard, I find translating the following terms in the incantation to be somewhat problematic:
1. (chol nofel—“sand falls”) do not appear to align with the context of the amulet. As the term employed as a verb also means “writhing in pain,” I suspect that the correct reading of the expression in question might be “collapsing with searing pain.” On the other hand, considering the succeeding and associated term in the amulet referring to “sickness of the head,” the problematic expression might be referring to “falling sickness,” i.e. epilepsy.
2. (drokon). Correctly spelled (drakon), the word refers to a “dragon.” Considering again the context, and the preceding term (yarkon) meaning “jaundice,” i.e. the yellow sickness, I tend to think the word in question to be a reference to the “green sickness,” i.e. chlorosis, a very common disease in Europe at the time when the amulet was written. Otherwise the term in question might even be referring to hepatitis.
3. (charchar) is one of those wonderful onomatopoeic words meaning “wheezing,” i.e. the sound of breathing when the lungs are congested. Whilst I have translated it thus, I believe the underlying intention here pertains to protecting the bearer of the amulet against all problematic lung conditions, i.e. asthma, emphysema, etc.
4. (shidafon). Considering the context and fundamental protective function of the amulet being addressed, I am inclined to think the term shidafon to refer to all manner of debilitating skin conditions, i.e. blisters, chronic eczema, etc.
5. (timahon levav). Literally “heart shock,” I believe this expression is indicating in this instance conditions ranging from palpitations to heart attacks, etc.
It should also be noted that the component term in the expression (morah sh’chorah), meaning “melancholy,” is wrongly spelled in the Kamea. Notwithstanding this, the fundamental meaning is perfectly clear, i.e. black depression.
As indicated, a number of infernal hosts which are often referred to in Hebrew amulets, and against whom protection are being sought, also appear in the current amulet, i.e. shedin, lilin, mazikin, etc., but there is one amongst these malevolent denizens whose appearance in amulets is fairly rare. I am referring to (Agrat [also Igrat] bat Machalat), consort of Ashmodai and queen of the demons. We are told that she lives “in strife with Lilith, Adam’s first unruly and rebellious wife,” and that she wields enormous power whilst leading a 180,000 strong ghoulish host. Regarding the latter, the Talmud Peshachim 112b informs us that each of these malevolent spirits “has permission to wreak destruction independently.” However, it is also held in the same verse in the mentioned Talmudic tract, that the powers of Agrat bat Machalat and her diabolic cohorts were curtailed by Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa and Rabbi Abbaye, hence her nefarious activities are limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
(More to follow)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

17/18th Century Amulet Reconstructed - Part 2 [image corrected 29/11/2013]

Herewith the first part of the analysis of the amulet in question. For easy reference I again include the complete Kamea.
Commencing at the top right corner of the Kamea the outer border reads:
Lo tihyeh m'shakelah va'akarah b'artzecha.....
None shall miscarry, nor be barren.....
Transliteration: mispar yamecha amalei
LKY KYL YLK (abbreviation and permutations of the initials of [Lishu’atcha kiviti YHVH]) (Genesis 49:18)
LTM TLM MLT (abbreviation and permutations of the initials of [m'chashefah lo t'hayeh]) (Exodus 22:17 [18])
Translation: thy land; the number of thy days I will fulfil.
I wait for Thy salvation YHVH (Genesis 49:18)
Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live. (Exodus 22:17 [18])
MMM NMA MRW ShRA Taftafyah
I am not at all sure as to the meaning of the four three letter constructs, however, the final term of this set, "Taftafyah" (also pronounced Teftefyah, Teftafyah, Tiftufyah and Tafitofeiho), is considered a most potent Divine Name. It is called the "Name of the Thought," and in this regard we are informed that it pertains to Chochmah (Wisdom) "the source of mind." It is one of the seventy names of the archangel Metatron, and was formed from the first two letters of verses 69, 70 and 76 of Psalm 119 reading:
(verse 69) TaF'lu alai sheker zeidim ani b'chol lev etzor pikudecha.
(verse 70) TaFash kachelev libam ani torat'cha shi'asha'ti.
(verse 76) Y'Hi na chasd'cha l'nachameini k'imratecha l'avdecha.
(verse 69) The proud have forged a lie against me; but I with my whole heart will keep Thy precepts.
(verse 70) Their heart is gross like fat; but I delight in Thy law.
(verse 76) Let, I pray Thee, Thy lovingkindness be ready to comfort me, according to Thy promise unto Thy servant.
Azbogah Tzamarchad Kuzu B'mochsaz Kuzu Matzapatza ANSV
The upper border of the Kamea comprises four Divine Names. The first, Azbogah (also Azbugah, etc.), is a Divine Name which is said to be good for rescue or deliverance. Titled the "Shem ha-Sheminit" ("The Name of the Eights"), because the gematria of each of its three component letter pairs is eight , this Divine Name is also said to be one of the seventy Names of Metatron. However, whilst the Name Taftafyah has been attributed to Chochmah (Wisdom) on the Sefirotic Tree, the Name Azbogah pertains to Binah (Understanding).
It should be noted that this unique Name is both a Divine Name and the title of an angelic "Prince." Here we are informed that the term "Azbogah" originated from the words (izer—"to gird") and (beged—"a garment"). Hence I noted in "The Book of Sacred Names" "the divine appointment of this awesome 'Celestial Prince' to clothe (gird) the 'righteous and pious of the world with the garments of life and wrap them in the cloak of life, that they may live in them an eternal life'," and that these "special 'garments of life,' also called 'garments of glory,' refer to immortal spirit bodies understood to be 'bodies of light'."
Now, the Name Tzamarchad (Tzemiroch'da) was derived from the concluding letters of first five verses of Genesis chapter 1. I am sure many readers will recall the misspelled version if this Divine Name on an amulet published in Henry Cornelius Agrippa's "Occult Philosophy." He claimed the Name, and its sister equivalent which is derived from the initials of the same verses in the "Book of Genesis," are employed "against the affrightments and mischief of evil spirits and men, and what dangers soever, either of journey, waters, enemies, arms.....and by this Ligature they say that a man shall be free from all mischiefes, if so be that he firmly beleeveth in God the creator of all things." As also mentioned in my "Book of Sacred Names," we are told that this Name is really "employed to bring confusion in the mind of the individual against whom it is directed."
Next we note the "Fourteen Letter Name of God," i.e. Kuzu B’mochsaz Kuzu, a popular Divine Name often employed on the reverse side of the Mezuzah scroll. It is comprised of the letters succeeding those of the Names (YHVH Eloheinu YHVH) in the Hebrew alphabet, and we are informed that it has the power to "awaken the dead." We are also told that whereas the combination YHVH Eloheinu YHVH pertains to the sphere of Mercy (Chesed or Gedulah) on the sefirotic Tree, the Kuzu B'mochsaz Kuzu transposition relates to the Severity (Gevurah).
Matz'patz (also Matzapatza; Matzapitza; etc.), the last Divine Name listed in the upper border is also a well-known transposition, in this instance of the Ineffable Name (YHVH) by means of the Atbash cipher, a popular Kabbalistic cryptographic method applied to the Hebrew alphabet in which the letter Alef, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is exchanged with Tav, the last letter; the letter Bet, the second letter, is exchanged with Shin, the second last letter, etc. Applying this to the letters of the Ineffable Name, certain so called "hidden Names" of God are revealed, amongst which is Matz'patz. We are told the latter Divine Name construct means "God protects," and I believe many readers would again recognise this Divine Name from its appearance in a famous Christian magical text titled "The Key of Solomon," where it is employed in the adjuration of demonic forces. However, in primary Kabbalistic literature the Name Matz'patz is said to pertain to "mercy," and whilst it is employed in Hebrew amulet amongst Divine Names meant to protect the wearer against malevolent spirit forces, it is not primarily used in the adjuration of "demons."
In conclusion, the last four letter combination in the upper border of the amulet being addressed, is the abbreviation of (Omein Nitzach Selah V'ad [Amen, Enduring (victory), Selah, Forever]), a final formula which is fairly extensively employed in Hebrew amulets and incantations.
(More to follow)