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Shem HaMephorash


Shem HaMephorash - 72 Fold Name of God

Diagram of the 72 names of God

The Seventy-Two Angels of the Shemhamphorash: Their

Derivation, Correspondences, and Invocation

The names of the Deity in religious literature can vary significantly depending upon the
tradition and culture involved. In the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) we
invariably discover that the most complex naming convention occurs in Judaism. The complexity
stems from the fact that in Judaism it is considered a profanity to pronounce the holy ineffable
name of God, and therefore a number of substitute names are used whenever reciting scripture or
otherwise invoking the deity; this is especially ironic since this prohibition may have resulted in
the original pronunciation of the ineffable name (the Tetragrammaton) - which in Hebrew
Characters is spelled as Yod (י), Heh (ה), Vav (ו), Heh (ה) - becoming lost, and leaving the name
virtually impossible to correctly enunciate. The story of how this this loss might have occurred is
itself an interesting topic; traditionally (but probably incorrectly) it is believed that by religious
tradition the ineffable name was uttered ten times only once each year on the day of atonement
by the High Priest while within the Holy of Holies. Since the name is devoid of vowel markings
the pronunciation became lost over time as High Priests perished. There is however evidence
based upon Mishna tradition which indicates that the ineffable name was in common and
unrestricted use up until the time of the Talmud when to pronounce it became a heresy; some
believe that the 40-fold Name was that actually pronounced and not the Tetragrammaton. Modern rabbinical scholars usually point out that there is no specific prohibition in the Torah concerning the use of the ineffable name per se, but there is a prohibition found in Deuteronomy 12:3 against
erasing or destroying the written ineffable name; any printed form of the ineffable name may not
be simply discarded, but should instead be buried in a Jewish cemetery or “genizah”.
Substitute Names The substitute names are based upon the Torah and correspond to a system in which a
different name is used depending upon its inferred use in scripture. More common names include
“Elohim”, “Shekhina”, “El Shaddai” (Shaddai is the name found on the mezuzah scroll) or even
"Ha-Shem" (lit. “The Name”), There are many others names as well as variations of names. Table
1 below lists a few of the lesser used names; this is provided simply to emphasize the broad range
of substitute names in use. Many Christians reading this table may find it interesting that many of
the Names have connotations which are normally applied to Christ.

Table 1- Examples of Judaic Substitute Names for the Deity

Names Based Upon the Kabbalah

In addition to the common substitute names a series of divine names exist which are based upon the Kabbalah. Hopefully, the Kabbalah requires little introduction to the reader; suffice it to say that Kabbalah is one of the four Hermetic sciences , which also include Alchemy, Astrology, and Theurgy (or Magic). Kabbalah is the basis for the study of creation and the workings of the universe, and it embodies a complete esoteric belief system in its own right. Kabbalah is largely based upon the study of the esoteric meanings of Hebrew Characters in the Holy Scriptures including their numerological correspondences (Gematria), their meanings based upon their transposition or use as Acronyms (Notarikon), and their substitution (Temura).

Scholars employing the Kabbalistic system have developed a large number of Kabbalistic God Names, each composed of a differing number of letters. While each of these names bears further discussion, the huge volume of literature available for each Name makes such a discussionimpractical for this brief paper. For the sake of interest, Table 2 provides a listing of these Names along with the powers attributed to each.

Table 2- Names of God based upon Length, listed with inherent powers

Our own discussion will focus upon the 216 letter Name which is subdivided into 72 three letter names, each triad being the name of an Angel of God. This “divided name” of God is called the Shemhamphorash .

The Shemhamphorash

All Worlds, or dimensions were created through permutations of the holy names. The root of all of these names is the Tetragrammaton (y h w h). It has 4 letters and 12 permutations (3 for each letter). Thus, from 4 letters, we obtain 12 unique Names11 (Table 3): Table 3- Permutations of the 4 letters of the Tetrarammaton.

Table 3- Permutations of the 4 letters of the Tetrarammaton

Each of the 12 Names has 6 additional permutations, yielding a total of 72 unique Names.

These are the 72 triads that emerge from the three consecutive verses in the Book of Exodus Chapter 14, verses 19, 20, and 21 which are reproduced here both in English and Hebrew.

"19: And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them" יט ַוִּי ַסע ַמ ְל ַאְך ָהֱאֹל ִּהים, ַה ֹה ֵלְך ִּל ְפֵני ַמ ֲחֵנה ִּי ְשָר ֵאל, ַוֵי ֶלְך, ֵמ ַא ֲחֵרי ֶהם; ַוִּי ַסע ַעּמּוד ֶה ָעָנן, ִּמ ְפֵני ֶהם, ַוַי ֲע ֹמד, ֵמ ַא ֲחֵרי ֶהם

"20: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness, but it gave light by night: so that the one came not near the other all the night." כ וַיָבֹא בֵין מַ חֲנֵה מִּ צְ רַ יִּם, ּובֵין מַ חֲנֵה יִּשְ רָ אֵ ל, וַיְהִּ י הֶעָנָן וְ הַחֹשֶ ְך, וַיָאֶ ר אֶ ת-הַלָיְלָה; וְ לֹא-קָרַ ב זֶה אֶ ל-זֶה, כָל-הַ לָ יְלָה. "

21: And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry and the waters were divided." כא וַיֵט מֹשֶ ה אֶ ת-יָדֹו, עַל-הַיָם, וַיֹולְֶך יְהוָה אֶ ת-הַיָם בְ רּוחַ קָדִּ ים עַזָה כָל-הַלַיְלָה, וַיָשֶ ם אֶ תַ-הָים ֶל ָחָר ָבה; ַוִּי ָב ְקעּו, ַה ָּמִּים.

The 72 Angelic names are taken from triads of the Hebrew Characters in these verses which are formed by rearranging the characters in a specific manner referred to as Boustrophedon . Boustrophedon is an ancient method of encryption which appears in very early Egyptian, Minoan, and Hittite hieroglyphs. To create the first triad, you combine the first letter of the first verse (14:19) which is vav (w), the last letter of the second verse (14:20), which is heh (h); and the first letter of the third verse (14:21) which is vav (w). This produces the first name:

Then you combine the second letter of the first verse (14:19) which is yod (y), the second to-last of the second verse (14:20), which is lamed (l), and the second letter of the third verse (14:21) which is yod (y). The same sequence of progression is followed until all 72 Angelic names have been derived.

Table 4 - The Angels of the Shemhamphorash

The Shemhamphorash when merged to form the name of the Deity is typically written in the form of a spiral (Figure 1). It has been conjectured that this form represents the spiral nature of the created universe

Figure 1- The 216 Letter Name of God formed of the Names of the 72 Shemhamphorash Angels

The number 72 is considered to be explicitly associated with the Shemhamphorash Angels in Kabbalistic literature. The Tetractys, attributed to the Greek philosopher Pythagoras is unique in that by arranging the four letters of the Tetragrammaton rendered in Hebrew characters, (y h w h), in the form of the Pythagorean Tetractys, and applying basic Gematria (Kabbalistic numerology) the 72 powers of the Great Name of God are manifested. (See Figure 2).

I will suggest that a very prominent “blind” exists in our Entered Apprentice ritual when we inform the Candidate that the Greek Philosopher Pythagoras, upon his discovery of the triangular relationship later associated with Euclid’s 47th Problem, shouted “Eureka” and scarified a Hecatomb of Oxen. First of all, it was Aristotle who was credited with exclaiming “Eureka”, and secondly Pythagoras was both a vegetarian and had taken a vow of poverty. It’s unlikely that he owned a Hecatomb of oxen, so readily available to sacrifice. The men who framed our Ritual were highly educated in the liberal arts, and certainly would have been aware of this fact. I believe that our Ritual (as it often does) makes this purposeful misstatement in order to alert the astute Candidate that there is something significant about Pythagoras which he might discover if he looks hard enough.

Table 5 – Influences Attributed to the Angels of the Shemhamphoresh

Table 6 - Expanded Influences of the Angels of the Shemhamphorash

Table 7 - Psalms of Invocation for the 72 Shemhamphorash Angels

The Zodiac and the Angels of the Shemhamphorash

Each of the 72 Angels of the Shemhamphorash influences a 5o arc of the Zodiac (a Quinance); each Sign of the Zodiac (each Sign covers a 30o arc of the heavens) is therefore influenced by a total of six Shemhamphorash Angels which are permanently fixed to that Sign. The Shemhamphoresh Angels operate in pairs (the pairs consist of one Angel of the hours of light, and one Angel of the hours of night (based upon the planetary hour system), so that together they exert influence on each 10o (a Decan) of a given Sign 14(see Figure 3). It may be instructive to compare the Angelic Influences to the Influences commonly attributed to the Signs of the Zodiac (See Table 5)

Table 5 - Attributes of the Signs of the Zodiac

As can be seen from Figure 3, each Sign of the Zodiac is associated with a specific Element based upon the concept of Elemental Triplicityxv (Figure 4). We choose Aries as the starting point of the solar year (i.e. zero degrees) based upon 21 March which is the vernal equinox (spring equinox, March equinox, or northward equinox); it is the moment when the Sun appears to cross

the celestial equator, heading northward. It is the precise moment that spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also at this time when the events of the Exodus from Egypt occurredxvi including the miracle of the opening the red sea by wind from codes (in Hebrew "BERUAH CODIM"). This is described in the Biblical Book of Exodus:

Exodus 12:2: " Let this month be to you the first of months, the first month of the year."


Exodus12:18: “In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day, let your food be unleavened bread till the evening of the twenty-first day of the month."

Note also that four Elemental associations appear in each set of four contiguous Signs within a given 120o arcxvii. This Elemental association is often called the rule of Elemental Triplicity (See Figure 4). In a similar manner the three Qualities of the signs of the Zodiac (the Quadruplicities) are shownxviii in Figure 5. Note that there are four signs with a given Quality.

The Qualities define the different temperaments of the Signs. Note that each grouping by Quality has one of the four Elements. Stated differently, for each Element, there is a Cardinal,Fixed and Mutable sign within that group. Generallyxix, Cardinal Qualities are energetic, Fixed Qualities are Stable, and Mutable Qualities are Flexible and Adaptive.

The Minor Arcana of the Tarot The Tarot Deck

contains a total of 78 cards. 22 of these cards are unrelated to any suit and are called the Cards of the Major Arcana. The remaining 56 cards are called the Minor Arcana, and may be divided into 4 Suits of cards (Swords, Cups, Pentacles, and Wands) with each suit consisting of 4 unnumbered “court” cards – ‘King’, ‘Queen’, ‘Knight’, and ‘Page’, 1 unnumbered ‘Ace’, and 9 numbered cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The correspondences between the Elements and Cards of the Tarot were postulated and published by Athanasius Kirchnerxx in his book Oedipus Aegyptiacus (circa 1653). The specific relationship between the Signs of the Zodiac and the Suits of the Minor Arcana Suits were later derived by Eliphas Levixxi (Alphonse-Louis Constant) and published in his Doctrine of Transcendental Magic (1855). While all of the cards of the Minor Arcana have a direct correspondence to the Signs of the Zodiac, only the numbered cards of the Minor Arcana (9 cards from each of the 4 suits, 36 cards total) will be considered in this paper

Therefore, each suit of cards has an Elemental correspondence, a correspondence to a Hebrew Character, and also a correspondence to one of the Worlds of the Kabbalistic Tree of Lifexxii (See Table 4). The correspondences of the 72 Angelic names with the Kabbalistic Worlds and the cardinal directions originate in passages from the Bahir. In paragraph 110 the Bahir states about the 72 Names

"... These are the 72 names. They emanate and divide themselves into three sections, 24 to each section. Each section has four directions to watch, east, west, 24 north and south. They are therefore distributed, six to each direction. ... All of them are sealed with YHVH ..."

Table 4 - Correspondences of the Suits of the Tarot Minor Arcana

Shemhamphorash Divination

The full evocation of the Shemhamphorash Angels is a time-consuming and strenuous matter. It essentially begins with the Grand Invocation of Solomonxxiii (as given by Eliphaz Lévi in Rituel de la Haute Magie, Chapter xiii)

“POWERS of the Kingdom, be beneath my left foot, and within my right hand.

Glory and Eternity touch my shoulders, and guide me in the Paths of Victory.

Mercy and justice be ye the Equilibrium and splendour of my life.

Understanding and Wisdom give unto me the Crown.

Spirits of Malkuth conduct me between the two columns whereon is supported the whole edifice of the Temple.

Angels of Netzach and of Hod strengthen me upon the Cubical Stone of Yesod.


BINAHEL, be Thou my Love!

RUACH CHOKMAHEL, be Thou my Light!

Be that which Thou art, and that which thou willest to be, O KETHERIEL!

Ishim, assist me in the Name Of SHADDAL

Cherubim, be my strength in the Name of ADONAL

Beni Elohim, be ye my brethren in the Name of the Son, and by the virtues of TZABAOTH.

Elohim, fight for me in the Name of TETRAGRAMMATON.

Malachim, protect me in the Name Of YOD HE VAU HE.

Seraphim, purify my love in the Name of ELOAH.

Chaschmalim, enlighten me with the splendours of ELOHI, and of SCHECHINAH.

Aralim, act ye; Auphanim, revolve and shine.

Chaioth Ha-Qadosch, cry aloud, speak, roar, and groan; Qadosch, Qadosch, Qadosch., SHADDAI, ADONAI, YOD CHAVAH, EHEIEH ASHER EHEIEH! Halelu-Yah! Halelu-Yah! Halelu-Yah. Amen.”

Cubical Stone of Yesod

Each Angel is then conjured in turn by the recitation of a preamble followed by the specific verse of Psalm identified for each Shemhamphorash Angel (See Table 7). A complete explanation of the process is provided in Chapter V of La Kabbale Pratiquexxiv (1951), by Robert Ambelain 26 (trans. Piers A. Vaughan, 2003). Make no mistake however, this evocation is not for the amateur or the inexperienced practitioner. It is absolutely recommended that this Ritual should not be attempted without detailed study of the complete Ritual description and Text.

It is wise when approaching the Angels of the Shemhamphorash that we do so with caution. One such cautious method involves the use of an intermediary agent, such as the Tarot, which may be combined with the Signs of the Zodiac to perform a divination in such a manner as to invoke only a single pair of Angels at a given time. The Angelic spirits will be tasked to influence the divination and nothing more. Much of the same text is used in this ritual as that described by Amberlain et al in the full Shemhamphoresh invocation. If properly performed, each participant will leave the Ritual having felt the palpable presence of Angelic beings. As these Angelic beings manifest, allow yourselves to be filled with their wisdom and to be guided by their inspiration.

A summary of this process follows.

The Floor Cloth will be unfurled, taking care to arrange it in accordance with the cardinal directions associated with the Signs of the Zodiac (i.e. the Ascendant at Aires facing West). The floor cloth for the Ritual not only identifies the Signs and the (Quinnance and Decan) Angles of the Zodiac, along with the transliterated English names of the 72 Shemhamphorash Angels; it also contains important symbols and features necessary for its successful Magical use. (i.e. the Hebrew characters comprising the Shemhamphorash written continuously in the shape of a spiral). The image of the Floor Cloth provided as Figure 3 may be freely copied and pasted, and used by the Reader. The large office supply stores can usually enlarge this figure and print it on vinyl or even heavy poster-board. (If you need a higher resolution image, feel free to email me and I’ll send one to you). Additionally, luminaries (candles) will be arranged on the cloth where indicated and twelve singing bowls will be placed near each Sign of the Zodiac. Proper placements for the bowls is given in Table 8. Use the arrangement indicated for the Chromatic Circle.

Table 8 - Musical Tone Correspondences for the Signs of the Zodiac

Experimentation with the use of musical tones in working with the Shemhamphoresh have been very positive; often where mispronunciation of an Angelic Name diminishes the effect, recovery may be achieved by using the correct tone. There seems to be no difference if the tone is offered before or after the Name evocation. The Author has achieved exceptional results using the tone system devised by Paul Foster Case to intone each letter of the Names. This requires immense preparation however, and is best performed using several knowledgeable assistants.

All participants should have a complete Rider-Waite Tarot Deck available for use. When instructed by the Magus to do so, sort through your Tarot deck and collect all numbered suit cards. This will be the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 of Wands, Pentacles, Swords, and Cups, a total of 36 cards.

The Magus will offer instruction on the use of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) and will banish the room before progressing further. The room is then copiously censed (2 parts Frankincense resin, 2 parts Myrrh resin, and 1 part black Styrax resin) while the Grand Invocation of Solomon is recited. Following these preliminaries, the Magus will Chant a conjuration of the Angelic Orders to prepare for the work at hand .

“Thus said Adonai, The heaven is my throne, and the earth my footstool:

where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest?

For all those things hath mine hand made.” Thus said Adonai: “I was glad also, when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together, Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For except Adonai build the house, they labour in vain that build it;

except Adonai keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

“Father of Power and Greatness, Being of Beings, Almighty Sanctifier, who created all things from nothing, despise not Thy servant, but let it please Thee to purify, consecrate and sanctify this place dedicated to Thy service; command Thy Angels of the Shemhamphorash which bear Thy holy name to descend, reside and remain, for Thy Glory and Service. Amen.

Thoroughly shuffle the deck and place it face down in front of you. Remove the first card (top of deck) and examine it. Search the floor cloth until you find the Decan which corresponds to your selected card and position yourself before the applicable Decan. Place your card face-up on the circle which corresponds to your card number. If this spot is already in use by another individual, return the card to your deck, reshuffle, and select a different card.

Note the names of the two Shemhamphorash Angels which rule the Decan (ten degree segment) where your card is placed. Using Figure 7 in your ritual notes, identify the verses of Psalm (or Biblical verse) which are used to invoke the two Angels which comprise the two Quinnances (five degree segments) of the Decan.

Strike the singing bowl having the proper tone for the Sign of the Zodiac in which you are operating. Allow the bowl to vibrate freely until you can no longer hear the tone. You may strike it multiple times thereafter as you meditate upon the Tarot card. You will now chant the two verses (see Table 7) for the Shemhamphorash Angels of the two Quinnances in which you are working. To the best of your ability, while reciting the chant attempt to match the tone of the singing bowl. Precede each chant by intoning the words:

" I invoke you to appear and render your essence in my divination, which appearance I summon by recitation of your verse"  Amen

Others will be simultaneously invoking their respective Angels; try to focus upon your own work. If you've ever visited a Synagogue you will have noticed what most Christians hear as cacophony during prayer. Again, focus upon your own intent which is the invocation of the Angels which rule the Zodiac for your specific card selection. Meditate upon the card, its associated planet (planetary symbols for each Decan are located near the center ring of the floor cloth), and the sign of the Zodiac in which it appears. Consult Figure 5 and consider the Quality of the Sign in which the selected card appears. Finally, refer to Table 6 to ascertain the function of the two Angels which rule the Decan. Allow yourself to be guided and filled by the presence of the Shemhamphorash Angels you have invoked and the interpretation of the Archetype of the Card you have selected will become known to you.

The Magus will provide a prearranged signal 5 minutes before it is time to finish the meditation. Upon finish of your meditation, dismiss the Angels by saying 'So Mote It Be'. It is customary to also dismiss the two Angels of the Decan by simply saying 'Good night ; Good night . Collect your card and return it to the deck. Reshuffle the deck of Cards and draw another card from the top. Repeat the above sequence until a total of nine different cards have been used for divination. When the Ritual draws to a close, the Magus will ask all participants to join in a Chain of Union and will offer a parting prayer.


If you compare our ritual this evening with that translated by Piers Vaughan and as described by Amberlain et al, you will find significant differences. These variations are purposeful and are attributable to the difference in the intent of the work. For example the ritual of Amberlain (sic) is intended to invoke all Shemhamphaesh Angels as a whole, thereby rejoining all of the 72 Angel names which constitute the great name of God. In this regard the end result will be to summon the God form. Our intent is to summon the individual and specific pairs of Shemhamphoresh Angels which govern the Decans in which our Tarot cards fall. This Ritual is thus an excellent opportunity to learn the form of Angelic Conjuration, and to experience the presence of the individual Angels we invoke before proceeding with the more complex and intense invocation of the conjoined Shemhamphorash name. That said, there should be no doubt upon completion of the described Ritual that the Angelic Spirits objectively exist and are not merely constructs of the mind.


Appendix 2 – Amberlain La Kazbbale Practique, 1951. (Piers Vaughan trans. 2003)

The 72 Names of God, Athanasius Kircher, Oedipus Aegyptiacu

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