Sunday, April 1, 2012

The "Name of Seventy-two Names": A Biblical Spin-off - Part 8

I have basically concluded posting the promised portion of "The Book of Sacred Names." However, I thought I should add a brief "addendum," as well as a list of reference works which I employed in the shared portion from the "Shem Vayisa Vayet" chapter of my mentioned publication on Divine Names.
To start with, the “Name of Seventy-Two Names” is employed in “Practical Kabbalah” for designs quite different from the previously listed meditational uses. Further applications of this special “Name,” for example in prayer, “dream invocation,” prophecy, etc., can be found in works like “Sha’arei Tzion” by Nathan Neta ben Moshe of Hanover. Of course, since a “Divine Name” is for Kabbalists the strongest focus of Divine Energy in manifestation, the “Name of Seventy-Two Names” is highly favoured for its great potency. Yet, Moses Cordovero informed us regarding the power of the “Shem Vayisa Vayet,” that “Some of the ancients commented that by the combination and permutation of the Name of Seventy-two or other names, after a great concentration (Hitbodedut), the righteous man.....combines the forces and unites them and arouses desires in them, each to his brother as the membrum virile of man and his companion until there is poured upon him a great influx, with the condition that he who deals with this will be a well-prepared vessel and worthy of receiving the spiritual force. For if it is not the case, it will become cruel to be turned into a ‘degenerate wild vine’.”
Keeping that admonition in the back of our minds, we note that the “Shem Vayisa Vayet,” considered “holy and awesome,” and most powerful, has been employed for a variety of “magical” purposes, sometimes to the great indignation of Rabbinical authorities. As it is, Abraham Abulafia himself vociferously voiced his disapproval and dismay at the magical usage of the “Name of Seventy-two Names.” In fact, in his denigration of such magical uses, he unwittingly shared a rather unsavory magical practice involving the “Shem Vayisa Vayet.” He wrote:
“I have found in one of the books, whose title I would like not to mention [explicitly]: ‘Whoever wants to bring a woman to him so that she will love him, let him pronounce the name of VHV YLY SYT ALM, frontward and backward seven times, in the night of Wednesday, during the first hour of night, which is the time of Saturn, and let him conjure Kaftziel, that is the angel presiding over that planet, by that name. At that time let him write four names on a parchment of a deer, without interrupting the writing by any speech. Then, let him put the amulet on his neck as an amulet and then the woman, whose name and the name of her father he has pronounced, will love him a great love, by the virtue of that name.’ Similar things I have found in great numbers, and they are almost infinite; and these things have spread and reached the hands of great Rabbis, but they hide them in a scrupulous manner and they think that their treasury is replete with pearls. And they are very reverent [awesome] while studying the names when they need them.....”
Abraham Abulafia’s objection notwithstanding, the “Name of Seventy-Two Names” has been put to extensive magical usage over the centuries, as expounded in a variety of Jewish magical writings. It is said that Kabbalists employed it in the construction of a Golem, and that the generation of the force that animated this artificial anthropoid, was the fully expressed and perfectly enunciated “Shem Vayisa Vayet.” In fact, the Sefer Raziel, a famous mediaeval Kabbalistic magical text, claims no magic is successfully worked without the support of this Name.
The Name is used in exorcism and other matters of a similar ilk, and thus it is understood that “whoever pronounces this name against a demon, it will vanish; at a conflagration it will be quenched; over an invalid, he will be healed; against impure thoughts, they will be expelled; if it is directed against an enemy, he will die, and if it is uttered before a ruler, his favour will be won,” etc. Yet, the same voice extolling its magical virtues, is also telling us that “whoever pronounces this name while he is in a state of uncleanness and impurity will surely be struck dead.” Of course, included in this last statement of “uncleanness” and “impurity” are unclean thoughts involving any cerebration of ill intent, as well as feelings of the same. Therefore it is necessary that the practitioner should be mentally, emotionally and physically in a state of Hishtavut or equanimity, in order to employ Divine Names of this nature.
Now, I personally believe that before one can enact any of the practical applications of the “Shem Vayisa Vayet,” one needs to be mentally and emotionally aligned with all associated aspects. In this regard, I have found this easy to achieve with the seventy-two triplets by simply vocalising the entire set every day in the form of a simple chant. However, we have to follow different routes when it comes to the associated elements, e.g. biblical passages, “Spirit Intelligences,” etc. As it is, the seventy-two letter triplets comprising the “Name of Seventy-Two Names” are respectively associated with seventy-two verses from the “Book of Psalms,” all said to be arranged by Rabbi Moses Isserles (Rama), in accordance with the “revealed truth” which Rabbi Moses Nachmanides (Ramban) passed on to his students. Each verse is constructed from seven words only, comprises the Ineffable Name (Adonai in one instance), and reveals, in exact order, the letters comprising its associated triad from the “Shem Vayisa Vayet.” I have listed and elucidated these in "The Book of Sacred Names."
As it is, these seventy-two verses from Psalms not only aid one in becoming fully aligned with the “Shem Vayisa Vayet,” but are also collectively employed to invoke the “spiritual forces” inherent in the Name. The “Name of Seventy-two Names” is said to open spiritual “gates of goodness and purity,” and is often employed in its entirety when requiring spiritual assistance, or needing relief and rescue from stressful circumstances. In this regard, the associated biblical verses constitute an awe-inspiring prayer-incantation, which is equally employed for these exact reasons. Whilst it was oftentimes employed as a prayer of protection prior to undertaking a journey at sea or when travelling into deserts, or for travels in general, it was recommended that one utters this prayer every day, in order to protect oneself against anything disadvantageous happening to oneself during the day. However, it is worth noting that the great benefit of this prayer-incantation is that it purifies the soul.
As can be expected, I have included an extensive delineation of the magical employment of the "Name of Seventy-two Names" in "The Book of Sacred Names," however, as said, this comprises an enormous chaper which I simply cannot publish in its entirety on this blog, hence I will conclude this partial excursion into the "Shem Vayisa Vayet" with the mentioned list of references which I have employed in writing the relevant material posted on this blog.
(References/Bibliography to follow)

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