Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Triangle of the Art: Translated and Understood

The subject of the Triangle of Solomon is an overlooked one. Oft, the triangle, given to us in the Lesser Key of Solomon and used by Ceremonial Magicians of many paths to bind summoned spirits and keep them away from the magician, is simply recreated as instructed in the Lemegeton and given little more thought.

Consider however, that the nature of solomnic magic requires an understanding of the forces being called, and that Ceremonial Magic is a tradition relying on the weight of older traditions to give its right force and authority. In that light, recreating ritual implements without an understanding of their components is a dangerous prospect (and if nothing else is less powerful than a true understanding of the work at hand).

The Triangle of Solomon, or Triangle of the Art, is reproduced in the Goetia using Latin characters, but it stands outside the Magic Circle (http://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/lks/img/fig153-4.jpg) which is written entirely in Hebrew. This leads us to believe either that the whole setup is made of different and possibly in-congruent systems, or else that the Triangle was meant to be in Hebrew. The later explanation is supported by two of the four words around the Triangle: Michael, being a Latin transliteration of a Hebrew name, and Tetragrammaton, being a well know substitution for the unspeakable name of God. The remaining names within the Triangle are relatively unknown within other sources, but must follow the same pattern for the system to make sense.

So it stands to reason that the author of the Lesser key’s system of magic used the names within the triangle as shorthand for the “real” names he intended to replace them with when actually building his own triangle for use in Goetic summonings.

But what does the shorthand mean? And how do we crack the code?

Here goes:

-----------TETRAGRAMMATON-----------
This is, of course obvious. Tetragrammaton refers to the ineffable name of God, and is used to reference the four-letter name of the creator: YHWH. The Kabbalah abounds with treatise on the meaning and power of this word and it is not within the scope of this study to go into them here.

This leads me to beleive that the other “-aton” names likewise reference certain powerful names of God meant to only be spoken for effect and not spoken or written in reference.

-----------ANAPHENATON-----------
In keeping with considering all the “-aton” names on the triangle to be godnames we look for reference to this in the Grimoires (for where else do we find Grimoiric conceits explained but in other Grimoires).

In a few grimoires Anaphenaton and its derivatives are specifically referenced as Godnames. Taking in to consideration the available grimoiric evidence for Anaphenaton we have the following:

Liber Juratus Honorii, Peterson copy, section C(100)-
"Here followeth the names of the Living God: ...(several names of God)...+ Anephenethon (Anepheneton) + who madest Aaron's rod to bud and florish and to bring forth fruit..."

Heptameron, Tyson copy, Exorcism of the spirits of the Air-
"...for we command you in the name...(several names of God) ...and by the name Anaphexeton, which Aaron heard and spoke, and was made wise..."

Lesser Key of Solomon, Mathers/Crowley edition, Magical Triangle-
“...Anaphaxeton is sometimes written Anepheneton."
An Explanation of Solomon's Triangle-
“Anephezeton.--Thou great God of all the Heavenly Host.”

Key of Solomon, Mathers edition, Chapter VI Conjuration (2)-
"and by the name ARPHETON,17 and in the name ARPHETON, by which the angels who are destined to that end will summon the Universe, in visible body and form, and will assemble (all people) together by the sound of the Trumpet at that terrible and awful Day of Judgment, when the memory of the wicked and ungodly shall perish. [Mather's note: Also written Hipeton; and I believe sometimes replaced by Anapheneton, or Anaphaxeton]"

Thus showing that Anaphenaton is meant to reference a name of god, a powerful one at that, and specifically one that is related to the biblical Aaron.

-----------PRIMEUMATON-----------
Likewise, Primeumaton has Grimoiric explanations as well.

Heptameron, Tyson copy, Exorcism of the spirits of the Air-
(later in the same list as above) "...and by this name Primeumaton, which Moses named, and the earth opened and swallowed up Corah, Dathan, and Abiram: and in the power of that name Primeumaton, commanding the whole host of heaven..."

Lesser Key of Solomon, Mathers/Crowley edition, An Explanation of Solomon's Triangle-
“Primeumaton.--Thou Who art the First and Last, let all spirits be subject unto us, and let the Spirit be bound in this triangle, which disturbs this place."

Key of Solomon, Mathers edition, Chapter VI Conjuration (1)
"Likewise through the strength of God and his ineffable names, namely... PRIMATON... [excluded from mathers Edition but added by Petterson]" (using the same explanation from above it can be assumed that Primaton is the same as Primeumaton)

Also showing Primeumaton to be a powerful name of God, and one used by Moses for his deeds.

-----------Non-Grimoiric, Academic Considerations-----------
http://realmagick.tripod.com/excerpt46.html

Modern occult blogger Amoris, in his Exerpt 46, seems to have done some consideration on the matter.

(note: His site says: “No permission is granted or implied for the public redistribution of this material,” but I hope he’ll forgive me a little referencing here for the purposes of this study. All credit for the following goes to Amoris)

"Here are the results of my research across modern, biblical, and ancient Greek lexicons:
Ana = by, through
Pheneros = manifest, to make clear (although modern usage seems to indicate 'obvious' or 'clear')
Phos = light

Words beginning with a 'phax' or 'phex' root seem to indicate light as well.

Phexe (Phi-Epsilon-Xi-Eta) = daybreak
Pheximo (Phi-Epsilon-Xi-Iotta-Mu-Omicron) = lightning
Primos = first (the ancient definition I found was similar to the Latin "primus")
Prin = before

Possible interpretations of the words when assembled:

Anaphaxeton = through/by the light
Anapheneton = through/by the manifestation”

As for the Second name:

“Primeumaton ...the word might originally have been something like Primoimaiton or Prinoimaiton. ...Greek words beginning with oi (omicron-iotta), ...in ancient Greek the word Oimai, meaning 'think' or possibly indicating 'thought'. That might give the following possible meanings:

Prinoimaiton = before thought?
Primoimaiton = the first thought?”


He also did some footwork in corresponding with several “University professors in Sydney, Australia“ on the subject.

Responses included:

"ANAPHENETON: Perhaps should be ANAPHAINETON: something that has been lit up
(ANA-PHAINW)...

...PRIMEUMATON: Looks like a combo Greco-Latin word. PRIMA (Latin) = "first"; EU
(Greek) = "good" (in
the qualitative sense, not moral); MA (Greek) = noun-making particle; TON
(Greek) = diminutive
ending. ==> "first good thing" ????"


And:

"I would take the second one as a phonetic spelling of anaphaineton, so
'making known, revealing', something like that...

The Latin element in the third word is prim- 'first'
eumaton MAY be eumathon which would mean 'easily learnt'"


And:
“Ana in Arabic means I am. Somehow the first word makes me think of the Sufis.
The meaning in Arabic then would be similar to Greek, but much more."


-----------Biblical Considerations-----------

So to make our determination let us go to the source of names for God, the Bible. In keeping with my traditionalist outlook I will be using the Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete Hebrew Old Testament Manuscript available to us. (A very nice, onlineversion can be found in the Hebrew Interlinear Bible online at http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Hebrew_Index.htm. Check out thier downloadable Interlinear Scripture Analyzer as well, it’s well worth the interested Kabbalist’s time)

The Grimoires establish that:

Anepheneton “madest Aaron's rod to bud and florish and to bring forth fruit... [LJH]" and which “Aaron heard and spoke, and was made wise. [Hep]”

In each case, however, the only name of God mention in those verses is Yahweh.

Numbers 17:1-8 (Aaron’s Rod Buds)
u·idbr ieue [YHWH=Yahweh] al-mshe... phrch mte -aern l·bith lui u·itza phrch...
And the LORD spake unto Moses... the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded...

Exodus 4:27-28 (Aaron hears the word of God for the first time [and is therefore made wise])
u·iamr ieue [YHWH=Yahweh] al-aern... u·igd mshe l·aern ath kl -dbri ieue [YHWH=Yahweh]...
And the LORD said to Aaron... And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD...

And Yahweh is already equivalent to Tetragrammaton.

Likewise:

Primeumaton was the name that “Moses named, and the earth opened and swallowed up Corah, Dathan, and Abiram... [Hep]”

But in the corresponding verse once more the name he uses is Yahweh::

Numbers 16: 28-32 (Moses speaks to the tribes and they are swallowed up)
u·iamr mshe b·zath thdou·n ki -ieue[YHWH=Yahweh] shlch·ni... k·klth·u l·dbr... u·thphthch e·artz ath-phi·e u·thblo athm...
And Moses said, 'Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me ...' as he had made an end of speaking... the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up...

So, either all three words translate to Yahweh or else we’re missing something. So lets look elsewhere in the Bible.

In each of the Excerpt 47 academic definitions of Anaphenaton above we re-see the theme of light and knowledge, “...through/by the light,” “something that has been lit up,” and “making known, revealing...” Likewise the Grimoiric definition speaks of knowledge “and was made wise.”

So we must extrapolate a name related specifically with light and knowledge.
What we are reminded of is the most famous biblical story of someone brought to knowledge through light, that of Moses and the burning bush:

Exodus 3:2-4
...b·lbth -ash m·thuck e·sne... u·iqra ali·u aleim m·thuk e·sne...
...in a flame of fire out of the
midst of a bush... God called unto him out of
the midst of the bush...

From which God gives Moses His name:

Exodus 3:14
u·iamr aleim al-mshe aeie ashr aeie [AHYH AShR AHYH=Ehyeh asher Ehyeh] u·iamr ke thamr l·bni ishral aeie [AHYH=Ehyeh] shlch·ni ali·km.
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:
and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me
unto you.

You will recognise the Kabbalistic power word / godname Ehyeh from the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (among others).

Using this verse, and likewise this name is also supported by Excerpt 47’s professor’s statement: “Ana in Arabic means I am.”

So what about all the business about Making Aaron Wise? The above quote from Exodus 4:27-28 where Moses tells Aaron “all the words of the LORD” takes place almost immediately after Moses comes off the mountain. He seeks out Aaron at God’s behest and teaches Aaron about God. He of course, at this point has been told specifically to use the name I AM when referring to God while talking to the people of the tribes of Isreal, so this is the name Aaron would be “made wise” by. Likewise, when Moses commands the tribes to bring their rods forward to see which one buds and is therefore chosen by God, he would still be using the name God commanded him to use, I AM, or Ehyeh.

Unfortunately the grimoires are less help with Primeumaton, so we will look mostly at the etymology.
Excerpt 47 indicates that the main word here is “prime” and that the word relates to first or before, andthe rest indicates either good or thought. The Lesser Key of Solomon supports that with its explanation “Thou Who art the First and Last.”

So in this regard I am forced to look for the First Name of God. Not necessarily His given name, nor his best or most powerful, but the name used first and used “before thought” or as the first good.

So Genesis creation story it is. Lets look at the very beginning, before thought existed and before evil or even the concept of good existed.

Genesis 1:1
b·rahith bra aleim [ALHYM=Elohim] ath e·shmim u·ath e·artz.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Elohim is the most controversial name of God in the bible, primarily because it is plural rather than singular. Instead of using the singular form of god Eloah, the bible instead uses the plural word Elohim and surround it by singular grammar. It is, however the first name used for God, and the primary (also from the root prime, for first or most important) name used for God, being used more frequently than any other name of God in the whole of the bible, and occuring over 2500 times.

But what about the earth swallowing up Corah, Dathan, and Abiram? This is where our references drop off. One can only theorise that the author of the Heptameron was attributing extra importance to the word, or else was referencing an earlier verse:

Numbers 16:22 (Before swallowing up the tribes)
u·iphlu ol-phni·em u·iamru al alei e·ruchth...
And they [Moses and Aaron] fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits...

These are the words spoken by Moses to God before he speaks to the tribes and they are swallowed up. It isn’t the name of God he uses to the tribes but rather to God’s face. However, while the word translates to El Elohim, which is derived from Elohim, it is Kabbalistically different and is usually considered a seperate name of god, especially because it is spelled differently (ALHY rather than ALHYM) and represents a different function of God’s name. It is, however possible, that in writing the Heptammeron, Abano got confused by the Hebrew words, being similar as they are and chose to assume they were the same. For now we will rely on the etymology rather than this guess and we will assume that the Lesser Key of Solomon has the best indication of the word since it is that test which features the Triangle in the first place.

-----------Conclusion (aka: TLDR, give me the good stuff)-----------

We can safely translate the Triangle of Solomon/Triangle of the Art to the following:

MI CHA EL= Michael=”Who is Like God”
In Hebrew: MYKAL (Mem Yod Kaf Alef Lamed)
Being around the circle Michael, the archangel, God’s right hand and “captain of the host of the Lord” (Joshua 5:13-15), is closest to the demon, subduing it as he does the dragon (Satan) in Revelations , or is closest to the angel (if that’s what you’re summoning) and commanding or opposing it as he does Samael in the Apocryphal accounts.

TETRAGRAMMATON=Yahweh= “The Four Lettered Name”
In Hebrew: YHWH (Yod He Vav He)
The personal name of God and seen by the Kabbalah as a word so powerful that if it is uttered correctly it would topple mountains.

ANAPHEXATON=Ehyeh= “The Bright Name” (my own term)
In Hebrew: AHYH (Alef He Yod He)
The name of God, spoken from the blaze unto Moses, that made Aaron wise and Pharaoh weep, and is the name that freed the children of Israel.
[[See Addendum for alternative]]

PRIMEUMATON=Elohim= “The First Name” (my own term)
In Hebrew: ALHYM (Alef He Yod He)
The first name of God, that created the heavens and the earth, commanded the heavenly host, opened up the earth and swallowed the disobedient tribes of Israel, and is the most of name the LORD. (author’s note: the OCD in me wants to use Eloah for this as it is ALWH in hebrew and therefore makes each of the Godnames a four lettered name and thus looks cleaner on the triangle, but I will refrain because it is less reasonable than Elohim and does not fit the majority of the available sources)

============

As for layout, it's mostly the same but taking into account the right-to-left nature of Hebrew writing.
So if we keep CHA at the top (in this case hebrew K) then that means that MY starts at the bottom right, K is at the top, and AL is on the bottom left: forming the word MYKAL. From there, just follow the pattern. Tetragrammaton is between CHA and EL, so YHWH is on the top left between K and AL. Primeumaton is between MI and EL so ALHYM is on the Bottom between MY and AL. And Anaphexaton is between CHA and MI so AHYH is between K and MY.

Alternatively you could view this that MY is above YHVH, K is above ALHYM, and AL is above AHYH and then rotate as desired. If direction is a concern then keep K at the top (with ALHYM readable from the magician’s position).

Image note: I have made the image in the colors listed in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Also, I have chosen to use Mem rather that Final Mem on the end of ALHYM for simplicity’s sake. If that bothers you then just make it a final M if you choose to draw this on the ground of your Temple. Also, I'm including Both Hebrew and Paleo-Hebrew because Hebrew is used by Modern Occultists (and is used elsewhere in the Lesser Key of Solomon) but Paleo-Hebrew was used during the time of King Solomon himself (10th century BC).


Hebrew Version of the Triangle of Solomon

Paleo-Hebrew Version of the Triangle of Solomon
==============================================================
[[Addendum]]
Brother Enoch, another Occultist here on Blogger, has pointed me toward a counter argument for Anaphexaton at his blog that I find to be interesting and possibly valid.
http://theoccultandmagick.blogspot.com/2011/06/reconstructing-solomons-triangle.html

Here he argues that the reference from the Mathers version of the Lemegeton, "Anephezeton. Thou great God of all the Heavenly Host" is more important than an interpretation of the name it's-self. The phrase didn't really spark my understanding at first so I didn't focus on it, but Brother Enoch recognized it when he was doing the same research a while back, and has reminded us in his blog that the Name of God associated with the "Heavenly Host" is Tzaboath. I had to doublecheck this one since it isn't one that I'm familiar with, and it seems he's referencing tzevoat (latinized to saboath) which means host or armies and is often combined with Yahweh and Elohim to spell out "Yahweh God of Hosts."

Good point thus far. However, I may need to research it further. Mostly because our chief source of that word's connection as a name of God comes from 1 Samuel 17:45, but there it is David speaking, which throws out the grimoiric references connecting the name with Aaron. In any case, regardless here we are choosing one grimoire over another, so I'd like to see which one has a better chance of getting this word right (as the Lemegeton is more likely to have gotten the name from the Liber Juratus Honorii or Heptameron I'm tempted to take their references to Aaron, however the Lemegeton is where we get the Triangle of Solomon from, so it may be better to take that author's word for which Hebrew phrase he meant to be on the triangle).

If it is indeed tzevoat, then the triangle would effectively no longer be three names of god but rather one: Yahweh Elohim Tzevaot, YHWH ALHYM TzBAUT, meaning "Yahweh God of Hosts" and being instead one complete phrase around the triangle, establishing the triangle as being guarded by Michael and backed by his boss the God of the Heavenly Hosts (of which he is General). Nice, clean, elegant. I might be convinced. Not sure yet. Might try testing it for a spin and seeing if I need to edit my conclusion.

Regardless, thank you Brother Enoch.

19 comments:

  1. Nice work and research into the names and meanings behind the triangle of art. I love the recreations you've done in Hebrew. I use ancient Hebrew characters in a few of my Lemegeton grimoric items. There has been some recient scholarly progress in the definitions and understanding of these names that may shine some more light. Joseph Peterson, Stephen Skinner, and John King have some intersting thoughts.
    I'm posting also because I was amused at how simmilar our magical paths appeared to have begun and how they've progressed.
    Celtic spirituality/ Druidism and paganism was my initial calling as well. I pretty much began my 'in depth' studies with 'The 21 Lessons'. Very funny but I think it led a few pagans to become interested in ceremonial magick. I never did acquire a taste for Wicca however.
    I remember those young teen years being filled with "New Age acceptance" in whichever author I was reading from. A lot was happening then but I was able to garner some results despite the lack of credible authenticity in my initial practice. It kept my interest and want of knowledge going.
    Anyhow, without going into lengthy detail, I helped co found a Celtic/Druid group some years ago (www.celtictale.com), went through grades of various western esoteric tradtions, and participated in a few magical groups. Like yourself, I've worn a few hats in the community offering services as minister, healer, and sometimes exorcist.
    For the past eight years my primary focus has been grimoric work without any new age alterations.(ie Drawn circle, full memorized conjurations from the source, actual lion skin belt, etc.) So I can appreciate the stance you take on the occult and am pleased to see more intellectual and Sincere people in the art... Noticed you were a Pisces as well so I had to drop you a note.;-) I look forward to your other posts.

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  2. I'm glad you like it, Brother. Just my little contribution to the great work. I am a fan of all three authors but had trouble finding their research on the names. I'd love to look at it and either modify my conclusions or else add their credits (aside from the bit I have already credited Peterson for above). Can you recall specific publications. Our spiritual paths are fairly common, as many people begin in the New Age, transition through a culture, then begin to heavily study more historical options. I find that my own interest in history and tradition means I am just as harsh on my Celtic beliefs as I am on my Grimoiric studies, both being subject to heavy scrutiny. Thanks for the comments, hope to keep in touch.
    Gilbert

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  3. Gilbert,
    Sorry for the amount of time it took to get back. I check a few blogs and this one unfortunately did not notify me when you responded. As far as the research on the names, I'll have to look through their works to get sources. It would be a pleasure to speak more. I'm mostly involved in traditional forms of Goetic evocation and grimoric workings these days. if you care to, I can be found on Facebook, or esoteric online ...email is BryanAshen@gmail.com ...Hope to chat again soon.
    All the best in the Great Work
    -Bryan

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  5. one of the best blogs on magic i have ever had the pleasure of reading! Congratulations, brother!
    I also did research with the names on the triangle, and had similar results, only i opted for ADNY. For some reason, 3 tetragrams seem perfect.
    My blog follows magic pretty much the same way you do, drop by some time ;)

    www.solomonicmagic.blogspot.com

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  7. Well done and thoroughly researched... I was just doing my own investigations as to why I never saw the hebrew represented in the diagrams... You helped me here thoroughly. My appreciation!

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  8. @Bryan: Thank you. I will contact you.
    @Asterion: You post on Occult Corpus don't you? You're "Ring of Solomon" discussion inspired me to start this little project.
    @Darthcynic: I am under the impression that using Latin was a way for magicians to write down their formulas and rites without risking the uninitiated using them, and the copies we have now have either stayed loyal to that wish or else have ineptly copied the same images over and over again. Glad I could help though.

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  9. Yes, i used to post there! I stopped posting for a while, now i m on evocationmagic.com Wow, I m honored! Keep up the good work!

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  10. I ve just reactivated my account there, and i found your PM! Small world... Thank you so much for your kind words. Hope we can have looots of productive talks!

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  11. I just found your blog last night and haven't read all the posts, but I am very glad to have intelligent occult articles to read for a change. This is a great post with a lot to think about.

    In the late '90s I and a friend of mine decided to make a Hebrew Triangle of the Art. We reasoned that since Tetragrammaton is the four letter name, and the other two words also end with TON, it stands to reason we are dealing with three names. Primeumaton was the first Name of God in the Bible (Elohim) and, as hinted in "An Explanation of Solomon's Triangle", Anaphezeton was related to the Heavenly Host, so we decided on Sabaoth.

    I never did use the triangle, but it's interesting to finally see others thinking about what the original form of the triangle of Art might have looked like.

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  12. I just made a blog post on this topic:
    http://theoccultandmagick.blogspot.com/2011/06/reconstructing-solomons-triangle.html

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  13. @Brother Enoch: Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed my research. I'm a big fan of intelligent occult discourse, so I hope to see you around and will check out your blog :)

    Asterion: Found me :)

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  14. Just made a post on the "explanations". Really just dealt with the first "explanation", but the end of the post may be interesting...
    http://theoccultandmagick.blogspot.com/2011/08/explanation-of-explanations-of-diagrams.html

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  15. were would be a good place to start for a new
    practitioner, reading material ,experiments etc.....

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    Replies
    1. Depends on your predilection. If you have a local OTO or Golden Dawn group then they may have a good place for you to start. You could also hop on the OTO site and head over to their "required reading" section.

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  16. Shalom alheim, notice how alef he yod mem rhymes with halowed be your name.

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    1. I had not noticed. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

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