Thursday, December 9, 2010

Practical Kabbalah & the "Forty-Two Letter Name" - Part 3

According to those Kabbalists, whom we are told are “wise of heart,” the secret behind the functions of the “Forty-two Letter Name” and the associated ruling “Spirit Messengers,” i.e. “Angels,” pertain to Shem Taharah, the “Name of Purity.” However, whilst this is indeed the case, it must be understood that before one can utter even one word pertaining to any practical application of these Names and “Spirit Intelligences,” one is required to keep ones mindset “pure,” i.e. to work each stage of the process with ones Kavvanah, ones focussed intention, exclusively concentrated on the task at hand, and carefully avoiding being distracted by external or unrelated issues.
Now, before we investigate the “Forty-two Letter Name” in greater detail, we need to again take careful note of the fact that, whilst this Name is understood to generally relate to Gevurah, the sphere of “Severity” or “Strength” on the kabbalistic Tree of Life, and likewise the “Name of Seventy-two Names” pertains to Chesed, the sphere of “Mercy” or “Lovingkindness,” each of the seven six letter combinations comprising the “Forty-two Letter Name,” as well as their affiliated stanzas in the Ana Bechoach-prayer, are, as indicated previously, respectively attributed to an associated Sefirah on the Etz Chaiim (Tree of Life). The seven sets of six-letter combinations comprising the “Forty-Two Letter Name,” are believed to represent the “Seven Days of Creation.” Hence, in addition to their respective sefirotic attributions, we are told that each governs an “age,” so to speak, these being: It is very important to keep some of these details in mind when it comes to studying the magical applications of this Name, since you will notice the practical uses of the “Forty-two Letter Name” somehow relate to the quality of the sphere with which it is affiliated on the sefirotic tree. Regarding these “magical applications,” it should be noted that the “Forty-Two Letter Name” as well as the Ana Bechoach-prayer are employed for spiritual protection, hence they feature in their entirety in many Kame’ot, and there are a number of these finely crafted amulets preserved in several collections, of which very good photographic images can be found in a few well researched tomes dealing specifically with this topic. I often like to browse through my own collection of works on Hebrew amulets, investigating and admiring the construction of these wonderful objects, which in many instances were created for personal protection, health, or even for something as simple as plain good fortune.....and why not?
We should also note that the “Forty-Two Letter Name,” as well as the Ana Bechoach-prayer have been used for example in those very large, beautifully painted constructs known as “Shiviti” plaques and amulets, and the Divine Name itself is often included in amulets designed to protect a mother and her newborn from any harm they might meet from malevolent spiritual influences. As far as this “talismanic” use of the Ana Bechoach-prayer is concerned, the entire prayer was often written in the form of a menorah (sacred seven-branched candelabrum), as shown in the accompanying illustration.
We have thus far perused the “Forty-two Letter Name” mainly in terms of its division into seven groups of six letters each. However, the power of several practical applications pertains to this Divine Name being again divided into fourteen sections, each comprising three letters. These are vocalised in a specific manner as shown in the table below: The vowels employed were derived in their exact order from Exodus 2:12 in the following manner: Let us now turn our attention to the practical uses made of some of these three letter combinations. Again it should be noted that due to the limitations of posts like these, I am able to share a very few details here, and hence will address the "magical" applications of the first two three letter combinations of the "Forty-two Letter Name" only, i.e. the uses pertaining to "Chesed" (Loving-kindness):
1. AViGe Sefirah: Chesed [Loving-kindness or Mercy]
The first Name, vocalised AViGe in this instance, is said to have the power to eradicate disagreements and disharmony within communities, or internecine strife amongst city dwellers. We are told that when one observes opposing parties disputing, and the contention appears to be exploding into open conflict, such can be effectively controlled by intertwining with the four letters of the Unique Name, YHVH, expressed in a specific fashion, i.e. (Yihav’ha). This is done in the following manner: The unified Name is vocalised Yi’ahaviv’geha.
Dissipating the mentioned strife in a community requires one to follow on the action of combining the two Divine Names with a recitation of Numbers 13:28 which reads:
Transliteration: Efes ki az ha-am ha-yoshev ba’aretz v’he’arim b’tzurot g’dolot m’od v’gam y’lidei ha’anak ra’inu sham
Translation: How be it the people that dwell in the land are fierce, and the cities are fortified, and very great, and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
Next, whilst keeping the respective Divine Names and their combination in mind, one has to adjure the angel Perachi’el (), the “Flower of God,” in the following manner:
Transliteration: Y’hi ratzon milfanecha shit’batel ha-bilbul v’ha-mach’loket m’ha-kahal ha-ze b’shem Yi’ahaviv’geha halaz al y’dei ha-mal’ach Perachi’el.
Translation: May it be your will to nullify the confusion and the division in this assembly, in the Name of Yi’ahaviv’geha by means of the angel Perachi’el.
Surprisingly there is also a ruinous aspect to this specific magical act. We are informed that one could bedevil the entire issue, i.e. worsen hostilities within the community of a town, by working the procedure with the exclusion of the final adjuration. It is said that in this manner one keeps the “angelic power” out of the situation, and thus actually augment dissension.
Another interesting magical procedure associated with the first three-letter combination of the “Forty-two Letter Name,” pertains to hiding oneself magically from a pack of wild animals, or from a gang of bandits, for that matter. In this regard it is said that if one happens to be on a journey and should spot such brutal creatures on the way, whether these be of the four-legged animal or two-legged human varieties, which might impact malevolently on ones physical well-being, that one should forthwith draw a circle on the ground near a tree, carve the Name (pronounced Z’rach Chan’chon) on the said tree, then enter the circle and cause magical invisibility by adjuring the angel Perachi’el by means of an incantation which again includes the earlier mentioned combination.
In another of its magical uses one is instructed to cut from a fruit tree a small stick about the size of ones little finger. We are cautioned that the stick must not at any time come in touch with a donkey or any “impure” creature, e.g. pigs and other beasts deemed “unkosher.” Next one has to create a hole or a slot inside the stick, in which to insert a small parchment. Afterwards, one has to write the combination with wax on a piece of “kosher parchment”—a fragment of clean white paper and a black wax crayon will do nicely. In conclusion one has to locate the paper inside the slot or hole of the tiny rod, which has now become a potent “power object,” an instrument of rulership and judgment. In this regard we are told that whenever one encounters ones enemies, one is to hold this instrument tightly against ones heart.
2. YaToTzi Sefirah: Chesed [Loving-kindness or Mercy]
The second Name , intoned YaToTzi, is combined for magical purposes with both the Ineffable Name and a special expression of Adonai (). In the case of the latter Divine Name the procedure is again as follows: In this instance the unified Name is vocalised Ayadotonatziye.
We are told these combinations of the second portion of the “Forty-two Letter Name” can be potently employed in Kame’ot (Hebrew amulets). The second combination, specifically the one in which YaToTzi is merged with Adonai, is considered especially powerful with regards to improving the health of a sickly individual.
I was once informed that pronouncing the Name Ayadotonatziye, i.e. the Adonai/YaToTzi combination, first thing every morning, will engender spiritual protection throughout the entire day. I was also told that if you do the same prior to retiring at night, i.e. before falling asleep, that you will be provided with very clear answers in your dreams to any questions you might have.
I have noticed similar, if somewhat more ambiguously delineated, instructions in the “Shorshei ha-Shemot” by Moses Zacutto. Amongst the curious uses made of this Name listed in this text is a very simple and most useful blessing practice. If you focus your attention on any individual, and then utter the Name Yatotzi with Kavvanah, with the total meaning of the heartfelt intention of your soul, that individual will have received a very special blessing.
Now, one of the primary uses of YaToTzi pertains to improving ones learning capacity and ability to comprehend. Moses Zacutto tells us that for its present purpose, this Name should be written on the leaf of a cedar. Since cedar leaves are more like needles than leaves, I personally chose to work this practice by writing the Name in question on an acacia or oak leaf, these trees being amongst the important “sacred” trees of the Bible. Acacia wood was extensively used in the construction of the temple equipment and the “ark of the covenant.” Regarding the oak tree, it is said that Joshua made a covenant with the Almighty in Shechem, and that “he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of YHVH.” (Joshua 24:26) I believe the use of a cedar leaf has to do with the fact that there is a reference to Moses and the “burning bush” in this specific working, and there have been speculations that the shrub in question may have been a cedar tree.
Be that as it may, the original procedure informs us to write the name on a single leaf of a cedar tree, and to say:
Transliteration: B’shem YaToTzi asher niglah l’Moshe rabeinu alaiv ha-shalom ba-s’neh shetagid li ha-emet mikol mah sh’ani sho’el mim’cha.
Translation: In the name of YaToTzi that was revealed to Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, at the burning bush, tell me the truth of everything I ask you.
Next, fold or roll up the leaf from the bottom to the top, and conclude the procedure by saying:
Transliteration: Hineini mashbi’a b’shem YoTaTzi sheta’aseh b’ofen sh’avin ha-davar teichef bli ikuv k’lal.
Translation: I am here adjuring you in the name YoTaTzi, that you will act in a manner in which I will understand the matter (subject) forthwith without any delay.
As said previously, it is not possible to address all the mentioned practical uses of the fourteen three-letter portions of the "Forty-two Letter Name." However, I would like to conclude this brief study of this very special Divine Name by sharing with you a prayer-incantation I chanced upon whilst perusing the great primary literature dealing with Hebrew Divine Names. Like the Ana B’choach-prayer, it is fashioned on the “Forty-two Letter Name,” and whilst I would not exactly employ it as an alternative to the standard prayer, those who enjoy working daily with the “Forty-two Letter Name,” might find the employment of this invocation additionally to their daily recitation of the Ana B’choach-prayer, to be a most meaningful endeavour. This invocation derives from a work titled S’dei b’Samim ("Chest of Spices"), and reads:
Transliteration: Eloheinu ba’shamayim, g’dulato yatzileinu; yachid tamid, tzid’kato y’asreinu. Kadosh, rachaman, anvoteinuto y’rachameinu; Shadai tuvo netzach y’chaneinu. Nora’ot g’vurot, diglo y’chas’neinu; Yah kabir sigvo yishmareinu. Bochen t’horim, r’tzono yisgaveinu; tz’vi tif’eret g’vurato yiflateinu. Chasin kom’miyut, b’tzilo yastireinu; taharat nitzu’ach, izuzo y’aneinu. Yosher g’mulo, levad yoshi’einu; pnei z’chut kadoshav yig’maleinu. Shishah k’tzotav v’ruchotav y’sovoveinu; tzidkat yechido tamid y’varcheinu. Ani (.....fill in your personal name.....), zach’reini v’pak’deini b’klal kol yisra’el amcha, ba’avur sh’chinat kavod malchut’cha l’olam va’ed.
Translation: Our God in heaven, His Greatness will save us; singular always, His Justice will assist us. Holy Compassionate, in His Modesty He will have compassion on us; Almighty, His enduring Goodness will be gracious unto us. Tremendous deeds, His Standard will be our strength; Yah, mighty, His Power will protect us. Tester of purity, His Will will uplift us; Beautiful Gazelle, His Valour will free us. Shielding Power, in His Shadow we will shelter; His Victory is pure, His Strength will answer us. He recompenses in honesty, singularly by Himself He will save us; in the face of His Honour, His Holiness will reward us. His six edges (borders) and His Spirits will encircle us; His singular Justice will always bless us. I am (.....fill in your personal name.....), remember me and visit me and the whole of Israel, Your people, for the sake of the Shechinah whose glorious Kingdom endures throughout eternity!

No comments: