In case you missed my first post on Psalmistry, check it out HERE.
Using Psalm 119, the Chapter that includes a group of 8 verses per each Hebrew letter, one may find new ways to work with the Divine Alef-Bet. You may use portions of this Psalm to connect with certain letters in order to meditate on their meaning, or even for pathworking upon the Qabalistic Tree of Life. However, one may also pray Psalm 119 in order to “spell” out Hebrew words and focus them for your operations.
For example, say you are building a ritual for a specific need and you choose a certain key word to represent your aspirations, say, Wisdom. The Hebrew word for this is Chokmah; חכמה. You would use the verses for Chet(119:57-64), then Kaph(119:81-88), Mem(119:97-104), and finally Heh(119:33-40). As long as they are in this order, this sequence can be inserted into a ritual or meditation quite easily. To do the same with any other Hebrew word, all one needs to do first is to find accurate translations of the key words you would use. Bam! Look at you, you’ve got a seed for a meditation or ritual happening.
This method can just as easily be used to methodically spell out a name of the Qabalistic Hierarchy you’re working with as well, such as the Sephiroth, Divine Name, Archangel, Order of Angels, Intelligence, or Spirit. However this may take a lot of time to do and it may be better to focus your intent into one word for both the sake of brevity and simplicity.
-Using the Talismanic “Pyramid Method”-
Example of a Key Word ritual setup using the Pyramid Method
Once you’ve chosen your key word to work with, you may also want to create some talismanic imagery to accompany your reading of the Psalms. One way to do this would be to use the Qabalistic technique of spelling out the word in a “pyramid” fashion, like the Tetractys set up of the Tetragrammaton shown below. This arrangement symbolizes growth and manifestation of the creative process of the key word as it works its way from the higher realms into the lower planes, and thus the ideas it represents also are brought to life, activated through ritual not unlike any other talisman. One may find this same technique used in reverse to diminish sickness in the Jewish “Abracadabra” amulet. You may similarly use the inverted pyramid arrangement and diminish the influence of a particular word as well.
Another idea would be to paint, carve, or draw this key word onto your incense coal as well, letting its power rise to the heavens like your prayers. Similarly, as we ceremonial magicians are so painfully fond of the dramatic flair in ritual, you might also buy a cheap sash to write this word upon with Divine Names or even just make a circlet headdress out of simple ribbon and using marker or paint.
One possible ritual template to use would be setting three black candles at the top, bottom right, and bottom left corners of a triangular shape where your key word pyramid will be upon some black construction paper. The triangle and black color refer to the Sephirah of Binah and Saturn, of which 3 is the principal number and ideas of firm boundaries and limitations are laid, as you are effectively constructing a Triangle of Art of sorts for the manifestation of the inner symbols, upon which you may afterwards lay a talisman to be charged. Remember that when lighting the candles, begin with the top first, then the bottom right, then finally the bottom left, symbolizing the direction of the Lightning Flash/Flaming Sword of the Supernal Sephiroth, from Keter, to Chokmah, to Binah. Christian magicians may also refer to the Supernals as being the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
After saying opening prayers or rituals of your choice, state your intentions strongly through prayer and announce them to all in the spirit world who witness your actions. In this case as our example deals with Wisdom, I would heartily recommend a prayer taken from the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, entitled “An Humble Prayer For the Attainment of Wisdom and Understanding”, given here in full:
“AN HUMBLE PRAYER FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING
OH, God my Father and Lord of all goodness, who didst create all things by Thy word, and who didst prepare man in thy wisdom to rule over all creatures that were made by Thee, that he should rule over the world with holiness and righteousness, and judge with an upright heart. Give unto me that wisdom that is constantly around Thy throne, and cast me not out from among Thy children. For I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy hand-maiden, a weak creature of a short existence, and too weak in understanding, in right, and in the law. Send it down from Thy high heaven and from the throne of Thy glory so that it may abide with me and labor with me, that I may know and do the things that are pleasing unto Thee. For Thy wisdom knoweth and understandeth all things, and let it lead me in my works and protect me in its glory, and my labors will be acceptable unto Thee. When I was yet in my youth I sought wisdom without fear in my prayer. I prayed for it in the temple, and will seek it to my end. My heart rejoiceth over it as when the young grapes ripen. Thou art my Father, my God, and my Shepherd, who helpest me. Thy hand created and prepared me; teach me that I may learn Thy commandments; open my eyes that I may behold the wonders of Thy law. Remember, Lord, Thy covenant, and teach me what to say and think.
Instruct me and so shall I live. Lord, show me Thy ways, lead me in Thy truth, and teach me. I am Thy servant, teach me that I may understand Thy evidence. Console me again with Thy help and let the happy spirit sustain me. Thou lover of life, Thy immortal spirit is in all things. Teach me to work in a manner that is well pleasing unto Thee, for Thou art my God. Let Thy good spirit lead me in pleasant paths. With Thee is the living fountain and in Thy light we see the light. Let my goings be established, and le no unrighteousness rule over me. Teach me wholesome manners and enlighten me, for I believe Thy commandments. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God who helps me, and I wait daily before Thee. Let Thy countenance shine upon Thy servant and teach me to know Thy justice. Let me behold Thy glory, for Thou, Lord, art my light, and Thou wilt turn my darkness into day. Wilt thou join Thyself with me in eternity, and trust me in righteousness and in judgement, in grace and mercy, yea, wilt Thou join me in faith, that I may know Thee, the Lord. Lord, let my complaints come before Thee, rescue me according to Thy word. Show me Thy ways, oh, Lord, that I may walk in Thy truth. Keep my heart in singleness that I may fear Thy name. I will remember Thy name from childhood, therefore, all people will thank Thee forever and ever. Amen.“
While reading the Psalm 119 verses, have your paper ready to decorate in the middle of the ritual and draw the Hebrew letters one by one after each grouping of 8 verses is read. Building the pyramid in this manner will draw down the influence of the word itself, internalize its meaning, and project your intent, formulated by the Psalms, and also position a convenient area upon which you may now place your talisman. Painting the letters upon the black paper in white or using a silver or gold colored art marker will really make the key word pyramid flash.
If you so choose, you may charge it by vibrating the appropriate Divine Name and work your way down the Hierarchy all the way to Planetary Intelligence and/or Spirit or even lower if you wish to bind an Elemental. [At this point you could even opt to instead build an Astral and Etheric body for the talismanic being using the method I outlined in my Mercury Talisman Ritual HERE]
You may also wish to inscribe the sigils for the Hierarchy Names (using Agrippa’s provided seals or sigils created from the Golden Dawn Rose). The normal opportunities allowed here are great in number and I also recommend inscribing Elemental symbols in the corners of the paper or the Planetary Sigilla found in Trithemius’ “The Magical Calendar” or Agrippa’s Divine Letters, that is, if you feel like incorporating such influences into the working. Otherwise, a simple word pyramid with the candles is an eloquent solution for simplicity and will suffice to be the main working of your ritual if you choose.
From here, there are a million ways to charge a talisman afterwards, and while I often prefer modern Golden Dawn style Hermetic Qabalah methods to do this, there are too many to illustrate here, so I leave that part for your own research. Or, if you like sticking to the Psalms for a complete ritual, take your Bible or Psalter and place it within the triangle at the end of the ceremony and read Psalm 150, for thanksgiving and manifestation, to ground this energy within yourself. Alternatively, place three shot glasses of water atop the key word pyramid, placed in a downward apex direction, read Psalm 150, and then drink the water. In this way you have used the Active and Masculine symbols and power of Fire (the candles in the upward triangle shape) to raise forth the energy of the key word used, and balanced them with the downward pointing Passive triangle of Water, consecrating your ritual in yet another subtle manner of symbolism.
-The Lightning Flash/Flaming Sword-
The Ari Tree of Life path of the Lightning Flash/Flaming Sword
Those looking for a way to ground and manifest their intentions and desires during their ceremony may also read the correct verses of Psalm 119 in the order of the Qabalistic Paths that take on the shape of the Lightning Flash/Flaming Sword. Doing this according to the Ari Tree of Life (shown above, note that the same cannot be done with the Kircher Tree as there is no Path that connects Binah with Chesed) and inserting the 10 Utterances of Creation found in Genesis for the stations of the Sephiroth would yield the following formula:
Path of Heh: Psalm 119:33-40
Path of Shin: Psalm 119:161-168
Binah: Gen 1:9
Path of Qoph: Psalm 119:145-152
Chesed: Gen 1:11
Path of Alef: Psalm 119:1-8
Gevurah: Gen 1:14-15
Path of Tzaddi Psalm 119:137-144
Tiferet: Gen 1:20
Path of Yod: Psalm 119:73-80
Netzach: Gen 1:22
Path of Mem: Psalm 119:97-104
Hod: Gen 1:26
Path of Lamed: Psalm 119:89-96
Yesod: Gen 1:28
Path of Tav: Psalm 119:169-176
Malkuth: Gen 1:29-30
-Pathworking Using the Scriptures and Planetary Archangelic Imagery-
Those looking to Pathwork their way towards any given sphere of influence on the Tree of Life may also use the verses of Psalm 119 in their operations. For the sake of simplicity let’s continue to use our example of Wisdom. Since we’re looking for Wisdom in the intellectual capacity, Hod may be the most relevant sephirah to work with, as it relates to the planet Mercury and to mental processes, data flow, language, mathematics, etc.
Depending on which version of the Tree you are using and which energies you feel necessary to work with on your way, you have some choices here. Most modern magicians use the Kircher Tree, but I’ve also included the Ari version of Lurianic Kabbalah. Users of the Kircher Tree also incorporate the use of Tarot imagery, so don’t forget to use these in your own rituals. If you feel that you should harmonize Yesod/Lunar energies within yourself before moving up towards Hod/Mercury, Kircher users would work with the Path of Tav and Resh, which would incorporate Psalm 119:169-176 for Tav first, and then Resh, Psalm 119:153-160. Alternatively, the Kircher Tree provides the Path of Shin, Psalm 119:161-168, as a direct connection in case you have already been doing Lunar work or do not feel it necessary. Ari Tree users would use the Path of Tav, Psalm 119:169-176, and then the Path of Lamed, Psalm 119:89-96.
For a more complete ritual, use the invocations of the Archangels along the way (HERE), so as to call upon the Divine Name and Archangelic power of the stations of the Sephiroth instead of only using the Paths. Personally I would not neglect this, but it’s yo thang, do whatchu wanna do.
For our present example the ritual would open with a call to Adonai Ha-Aretz and Sandalphon, the Divine aspect and Archangel of Malkuth. Begin visualizing yourself entering an forest temple with monolithic stone slabs of green and black along your path, you know, something Malkuthy. You come upon a large gate guarded by Sandalphon, a brightly shining Archangel with robes of dark earth tones. Read Gen 1:29-30, then the invocatory prayer provided and then in your own words, state clearly your intent to pass through the spheres of influence in order to invoke intellectual Wisdom at the foot of the temple of Mercury by the virtue of Raphael (or Michael, depending on which system of correspondence you use for the planetary Archangels). Then read Psalm 119:169-176 for both Tree versions of the Path of Tav. This is your gatekey. Open the gates and continue.
Repeat the same pathwork visualization but for an underground Luna temple filled with still, whispering waters. Come upon the Moon gate and approach Gabriel, read Gen 1:28, then the Shaddai El Chai/Gabriel invocation, state your intentions, then read Psalm 119:89-96 for the Path of Lamed on the Ari Tree or Psalm 119:153-160 for the Path of Resh on Kircher.
Upon approaching the orange gate of Mercury, read Gen 1:26, the Raphael invocation, and include a longer petition for your intention for Wisdom. Include any extra layered spellwork for Wisdom here. Thank the powers that be, perform any closing rites, and finish the visualizations in whatever way you deem fit.
This is only a brief example of how to do these visualizations, and are quite common in the magical community. The main differences here is relying on the verses of Psalm 119 and of Genesis to unlock the invocatory gates, yet these visualizations need not be this complicated, the scriptures will serve to be invocations in and of themselves to the Hierarchies, so feel free to experiment. One technique of extra spellwork you could incorporate might be the Pyramid method.
-Invoking the Angelic Aspects of the Hebrew Letters-
According to several personal sources that have claimed there may be an oral tradition of using the the “Angels” of the Hebrew alphabet, I have decided to make this a part of my own personal practice, which I shall share with you here. It is quite simple really, but requires some creative thinking and artistic license on the part of the practitioner, yet, there is plenty of that already done with modern magical approaches, so this shouldn’t be too far out of the realm of consideration for most. I’ll begin with a quote from Aaron Leitch from his fantastic book ‘Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires’, here he speaks in reference to the use of the “Angels” of the Planets and their names/titles:
“Everything in existence has an angelic governor establised over it. Hebrew angelology takes this to heart, and thus shows us a universal method for finding the (somewhat generic) angelic name set over any object, place, idea, etc. First, one must consult a Hebrew dictionary or lexicon to find the Semitic word for the object in question. Then, one needs merely append a divine name such as “El”, “On”, or “Yah”, to that word. The result will be the name of an angel.”
He goes on to explain that the Angels of the Seven classical Planets are merely their Hebrew names plus “-iel”, or Yod, Aleph, and Lamed, or just “-el” added to the end.
Those familiar with “The Qabalistical Invocation of Solomon” (found HERE) will see that Eliphas Levi has done exactly the same thing to the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life:
“…O GEDULAHEL! O GEBURAHEL! O TIPHERETH!
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!…”
Using this process of appending -iel, I have decided to make a list of Angels that correspond to the spelled out name of each Hebrew letter in the Alef-Bet. Being a construct of the creative magician, please note that this list is purely my own, it is not authoritative in any way, nor does it originate in any other processes than that which is previously described.
Is this cheating? Valid? I’ll let you decide, once you consider how many man-made innovations and alterations there have been to systems we claim as “Divine” or “from time immemorial”. If you accept Aaron’s description of the theory above that everything does have an angelic ruler, then consider these as a list of possibilities to contact them and transfer some of the insights and the creative wonders that the Hebrew letters are said to hold. Not sure about the validity of the names? You’ve probably had many people mispronounce your name or call you by a nick-name, right? Consider that you are intelligent enough and respectful enough to still respond, and that these names might still work regardless of any man-made linguistic inaccuracy.
Forming a short invocation to the Angel of a given Letter, using the corresponding verse from Psalm 119, and using a prayer that describes the linking of the two virtues of the Sephiroth on your Tree of Life (for example, working with the path that joins Geburah/Mars with Tiferet/Sol might sound something like “[insert Angelic Hebrew Letter name from your Tree here]…ye who yokes Strength with Beauty…) can be a complete ritual in and of itself! This can be used in effective meditations upon the Letters and can also be included as a form of ‘gatekey’ during pathworking, as previously summarized in this post. Meditation sessions and invocations using these correspondences can become powerful angelic rituals and can thereby be worked with in similar ways to any other entity.
Consider tracing these letters upon the Golden Dawn Rose Cross to get an accompanying sigil to work with as well. Also, you could use the various Magical Alphabets like Malachim or Passing the River, or create an appropriate sigil using Aiq Bekar/Qabalah of Nine Chambers method to creating a cypher of the Name, the latter explained in beautiful detail HERE.
Included in this list for easy access is the corresponding Psalm and Yetziratic Title of the Qabalistic Path associated with each letter, sourced from HERE. Use these Titles when addressing the angels in your prayers or invocations.
For my entire blog post on Invoking the Letters, including a list of sigils and meditations, click HERE.
-List of Angels of the Hebrew Alef-Bet-
Alefiel- אלפיאל – Psalm 119:1-8 – Scintillating Intelligence
Betiel- ביתיאל – Psalm 119:9-16 – Intelligence of Transparency
Gimeliel- גימליאל – Psalm 119:17-24 – Uniting Intelligence
Daletiel- דלתיאל – Psalm 119:25-32 – Illuminating Intelligence
Hehiel- האיאל – Psalm 119:33-40 -Constituting Intelligence
Vaviel- וויאל – Psalm 119:41-48 – Triumphal or Eternal One
Zayiniel- זיניאל – Psalm 119:49-56 – Disposing One
Chetiel- חיתיאל – Psalm 119:57-64 – Intelligence of the House of Influence
Tetiel- טיתיאל – Psalm 119:65-72 – Intelligence of all the Activities of the Spiritual Being
Yodiel- יודיאל – Psalm 119:73-80 – Intelligence of Will
Kaphiel- כפיאל – Psalm 119:81-88 – Intelligence of Conciliation
Lamediel- למדיאל – Psalm 119:89-96 – Faithful Intelligence
Memiel- ממיאל – Psalm 119:97-104 – Stable Intelligence
Nuniel- נוניאל – Psalm 119:105-112 – Imaginative Intelligence
Samechiel- סמכיאל – Psalm 119:113-120 – Intelligence of Probation or Tentative One
Ayiniel- עַיניאל – Psalm 119:121-128 – Renovating Intelligence
Pehiel- פאיאל – Psalm 119:129-136 – Exciting Intelligence
Tzaddiiel- צדייאל – Psalm 119:137-144 – Natural Intelligence
Qophiel- קופיאל – Psalm 119:145-152 – Corporeal Intelligence
Reshiel- רישׁיאל- Psalm 119:153-160 – Collecting Intelligence
Shiniel- שיניאל – Psalm 119: 161-168 – Perpetual Intelligence
Taviel- תויאל – Psalm 119:169-176 – Administrative Intelligence
These are but only ideas to get started using Psalm 119 within ritual and I hope that readers get inspired either try them for themselves or get inspired to create their own methods.