Sunday, March 25, 2012

The "Name of Seventy-two Names": A Biblical Spin-off - Part 1

A friend and fellow Sangreal Companion asked me if I would consider sharing on this blog a complete section of "The Book of Sacred Names," i.e. the section titled "A Biblical Spin-off" from the chapter dealing with "The Name of Seventy-two Names." According to my dear "Brother in Light" in this specific portion of the book, the mentioned Divine Name is explicated in a most coherent manner which would benefit all seeking a deeper insight into this most enigmatic Divine Name. So in honouring the most sincere request of a close friend, and in memory of one who passed away yesterday to continue his journey in higher realms of existence, I am now sharing the mentioned reflections on "The Name of Seventy-two Names."
It should be noted, a major portion of what is termed “Practical Kabbalah” revolves around special meditational and ritual practices employed to open the heart and mind of the practitioner, this being understood to be a necessary prerequisite for anyone wanting to align with those special Spirit Intelligences from whom higher wisdom might be gained. In this regard, as I am sure you can imagine, there are numerous adjurations, incantations, and other ritual techniques which have been passed down the ages and preserved by serious practitioners, i.e. the Sar ha-Torah and Sar ha-Panim narratives in the Hechalotic texts of Ma’aseh Merkavah; the remarkable meditations of Eleazer of Worms, Abraham Abulafia, Yehudah Albotini; the Yichudim and Kavvanot of Lurianic Kabbalah; etc.
A remarkable feature of this great literature, is the use of Divine Names to facilitate a direct communication with a Maggid (Spirit Messenger), or even with a Bat Kol (a Divine Voice [Daughter Voice]). Linked here is a subject of very special interest, i.e. the Shem Vayisa Vayet known as “Name of Seventy-Two Names,” “Seventy-two Letter Name of God” and even as the “Shemhamforash.” The latter is actually a misnomer as the term “Ineffable Name” really refers to the Tetragrammaton (YHVH), the Divine Name incorporating the past, present and the future, and which we noted earlier is considered to be the most sacred of all Hebrew Divine Names.
Over a period of around thirty years I have collected a rather hefty and constantly expanding file comprising documents pertaining to this specific topic, some passed on to me in person by other investigators and practitioners, whilst the majority of which were drawn from the growing list of primary sources which have become available to the general public since the 1980's. What follows next is the final product of my very careful research into the “Shem Vayisa Vayet” termed the “The Name of Seventy-Two Names.”
Now, this Divine Name was derived from three verses commencing with the words Vayisa Vayavo Vayet (Exodus 14:19–21). These verses read:
(Verse 19) vayisa malach ha-elohim ha-holech lifnei machaneh yisra’el vayelech mei’achareihem vayisa amud he-anan mip’neihem vaya’amod mei’achareihem
(Verse 20) vayavo bein machaneh mitz’rayim uvein machaneh yisra’el vay’hi he’anan v’hachoshech vaya’er et ha-lailah v’lo karav ze el ze kol ha-lailah
(Verse 21) vayet mosheh et yado al ha-yam vayolech YHVH et ha-yam b’Ru’ach kadim azah kol ha-lailah vayasem et ha-yam lecharavah vayibak’u ha-mayim
(Verse 19) And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them: and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them;
(Verse 20) And it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness here, yet gave it light by night there; and the one came not near the other all the night.
(Verse 21) And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Each of these three Hebrew verses comprises exactly seventy-two letters, and from these were formed the “Name of Seventy-two Names.” The Zohar informs us that these three verses respectively correspond to three Sefirot, i.e. the first verse to Chesed (Mercy), the second to Gevurah (Strength or Severity), and the third to Tiferet (Beauty or Balance).
As it is, the letters comprising the three verses were combined in a unique manner to construct the “Name of Seventy-Two Names.” Whilst the letters of the first verse were written in the normal Hebrew manner from right to left, those of the second verse were written in reverse order, i.e. from left to right, directly underneath the first line. Lastly the letters of the third verse were again written in the normal Hebrew manner from right to left, again directly underneath the second line. Afterwards the lines of letters were read in columns of three letters each, and so the “Shem Vayisa Vayet” or “Name of Seventy-Two Names” was discovered, each of its seventy-two Names comprising three letters as shown in the following chart:
It is interesting that all the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, except the letter (Gimel), appear in the “Shem Vayisa Vayet.” It has been said this letter, the value of which is 3, is the “key” to this Name, since the seventy-two associated name-portions comprise three letters each. One could say that represents the user of the “Name of Seventy-Two Names.” Thus all the letters are employed when the Name is spoken: twenty-one letters to be uttered, and one for the one pronouncing the “Shem Vayisa Vayet.”
As noted, the verses from which the “Name of Seventy-two Names” is derived, pertain to the biblical saga of Moses stretching forth his hand to part the waters of the sea, whilst a “pillar of cloud” and “the angel of God” separate the Israelites from the Egyptians, their erstwhile oppressors. In fact, tradition would have it that Moses not only learned the “Shem Vayisa Vayet” at the “burning bush,” but there are actually statements to the effect that Moses used the “Name of Seventy-Two Names” to part the waters of the sea, which allowed the Israelites safe passage. There were also claims that the Eternal One had in person edged this remarkable Name onto Moses’ staff.
Another notion, popularly promulgated in Christian and Hermetic Kabbalah as well as in Masonic literature, is that Jacob the Patriarch encountered these seventy-two three-letter names in the rungs of the ladder which he dreamed about, and which was “set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” (Genesis 28:12). Some suggested that the very angels who were ascending and descending “Jacob’s Ladder” were equally numbered exactly seventy-two.
(More to follow)

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