Sorry for the lack of posting. The last few weeks have been hectic. I took very ill for a while -an unusual occurrence for me-, I’m preparing for some large ritual work so getting and making supplies along with ritual purification, and lastly now is that time of year when professors like to believe that you have no course other than theirs and try to cram in as many tests and assignments as they can before exam period. While my obligations are lightening they are still heavy for the next two weeks or so. As such I haven’t had time to write up a proper post. Below is an article I wrote for a friend’s book on demons, as I mentioned last time I posted such an article the format of the book changed so my article was excluded though the information was still used to some extent. Hopefully I’ll get something original up here soon, and if this week continues in the same manner it begin I’m sure it will be amusing. This article continues Hebrew characters which appear to post correctly on my end, hopefully they display properly for everyone else.
Intrinsically bound to the nature and use of the demons in some the Judeo-Christian magick systems would be the names of their controlling angels. Perhaps the most important set of angels would be the Shem ha’mephorash angels, or the angels of the Interpreted Name, also translated more poetically but less accurately as the Divided Name, or Shattered Name. The Shem ha’mephorash angels are a collection of 72 angels that were carefully devised or discovered –depending on your interpretation– by early Jewish Mystics.
The Names of YHWH are many, and many were considered lost by the Jewish Mystics. In an attempt to discover the lost Names, the mystics applied a variety of Qabalistic techniques to a variety of names and verses to try to discover more. In one attempt they focused on the number 72, one of the Sacred Numbers associated with YHWH’s name, because of how it enumerates in a triangle.
Writing a Name or a Word in this pyramid style of increasing letters was a method of making a token of increasing or calling upon the Name or Word, writing a Name or Word with decreasing letters was a method of banishing the influence. Because of the importance that was put upon the number 72, for this and other reasons, the mystics searched for an incident in the Torah where one verse had 72 letters. After a long study of the Torah they came across three such verses that happened to be in a row, in English names and notions that would be Exodus chapters 14, verse 19-21. These three verses were written atop each other, the first verse being written normally (which in Hebrew is right to left), the verse below being written left to right, and the final verse being written normally again. To further decode these verses, the mystics read them downward, forming seventy-two sets of three letters each, and at the end of each triplet a divine or angelic suffix was added, either Iah, or El, as those are the most common suffixes in Angelic names. This gave the mystics seventy-two Angels with which to work. The Shem ha’mephorash includes many angels that are unfamiliar to many people, such as Mabahiah but also contain some of the more common or popular angels, like Michael (though the spelling is just slightly different, so it is unknown if this refers to the Michael).
Early modern translations of the Goetia from the nineteenth and twentieth century often began with a single word of warning “Shemhamephorash.” This was often not understood, though the Golden Dawn took it as advice, and began to pair up the Goetic Demons, of which there are seventy-two, with the Angels of the Shem ha’mephorash. Their attempt was admirable and according to some did create a workable magickal system, but more recent developments have cast their attributions into disfavour, if you take Dr. Rudd as correct at least.
One interpretation of the warning of “Shemhamephorash” at the introduction of the Goetia, is that it is advocating for their use as a protective force, but at the time the grimoire was written the use of the Shem ha’mephorash was so widely understood and applied, that it didn’t require repeating. In much the same way, many magick and psychic books don’t include Shielding, Centring or the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, because it is expected that people either already know this, or it is not repeated because it can be easily found anywhere. Another possible reason is that the Shem ha’mephorash was a part of the Goetic grimoires, but was later removed or lost in a transcribing/translation of the text.
Recently the Goetia of Dr. Thomas Rudd, an associate of John Dee, has come to light, and it is one of the earliest translations of the Goetia that has been recovered. The trait that sets this book from other versions is its inclusion of the Shem ha’mephorash. In it, each Goetic Demon is linked to an Angel of the Shem ha’mephorash, which is regarded as its controlling Angel, and it is this Angel that helps contain the Demon on a one-on-one basis, while the magickian works with them. The Angels are simply applied to the Goetic Demons in order, a thought which did not occur to the Golden Dawn, and as such their correspondences of the Goetic Demons with the Angels are different.
Not all who work with the Goetia have accepted this new finding, some feel it is unnecessary, whereas some feel it was Dr. Rudd’s personal addition to the system, rather than something that was a part of the system from an earlier time. The good magickian would be wise to take time and experiment both ways, before falling into such an opinion.