CONCERNING THE LITERAL QABALAH AND THE METHODS OF GEMATRIA, NOTARICON AND TEMURAH.
So far we have dealt solely with “The Tree of Life” and its “Correspondences,” making no mention of what is known as the “Literal Qabalah.” This, however, plays an important part in our studies and workings.
The Hebrew Alphabet, as previously explained, has a numerical basis, so that, in truth, every Word as well as every Letter is really expressive of a number. Again, any two Words having a similar Numerical Value may be said to have a natural affinity through their vibration. This is the basic idea of what is called GEMATRIA and upon it a system of interesting Correspondences has been built up, especially in regard to the Hebrew Scriptures and other Qabalistic writings, wherein a Word or even a Sentence may be made to disclose some hidden meaning (often concealed in that way by the writer) by finding the numerical correspondence between it and other words or sentences of like value.
To take a very simple example in the case of the “Motto” of the writer which is AChD = ACHAD meaning UNITY. This will be found to add to 13, thus Aleph = 1, Cheth = 8, Daleth = 4; 1 + 8 + 4 = 13, whereas the word AHBH, meaning Love or Beloved, has the same value thus: Aleph = 1, Heh = 5, Beth = 2, Heh = 5; 1+5+2+5=13. The close correspondence between these two ideas or words, is quite plain.
The above is a very simple example, there are of course others not so apparent, but of great interest to Students of the Q. B. L. Of particular value is the correspondence between the Letter Shin = 300 and the words RUCh ALHIM, Ruach Elohim, The Spirit, or Breath, of the Creative Gods,“ for these words add to 300 also. Again Shin = 300 = ALP, LMD, HI, IVD, MM the word ALHIM with each letter spelt in full. Also we find the words AVR BPAHH which are equivalent to ” Khabs am Pekht “ or “Light in Extension” have a numerical value of 300 which brings out their correspondence with the Letter of Spirit and Fire Shin.
Now ALHIM is the word for “The Creative Gods” mentioned in the First Verse of Genesis which reads “In the Beginning ALHIM created the essence of the Heavens and the essence of the Earth” ALHIM has the value of 86, Aleph = 1, Lamed = 30, Heh = 5, Yod = 10, Mem = 40 = 86, and this is also the numeration of AHIH ADNI which means “I AM ADONAI,” Adonai is the Lord who is said to have been one with all the Works of the Creator and is, so to speak, The Holy Guardian Angel of Humanity.
The first Word of Genesis BRAShITh has been commented upon so fully by Qabalistic Scholars that I shall make no attempt to do so in this place. Enough has been said to give an idea of the methods employed in. this type of working, except that we may also obtain the “Key Note” of Words through their TAROT correspondences, after having reduced their number to its essence by means of “Theosophical Addition.” Thus, we take the Hebrew Word ThShMIM = 400+300+40+10+300 = 1050 and after adding the digits of this number 1+0+5+0=6 we may refer it to the VIth Key of the Tarot, which proves to be THE LOVERS. Since the Hebrew Word referred to happens to mean “coition” we find an instance where the Tarot may throw valuable light on the matter and is the Key to the meaning of the Word. Again 6, its basis, is suggestive of the Interlaced Triangles or the Hexagram, which represents the Marriage of Fire and Water, or The Father and Mother. So then we obtain another interpretation by means of a SYMBOL. Further 6 = Vau the letter of the SON in the Ineffable Name IHVH and this SON is the result of the Union of the Father and Mother, which is in turn true numerically, since 4=10 and Heh = 5, 10+5=15, 1+5=6= Vau This example will suffice, but the student will be able to trace many others of equal or greater interest.
Another Qabalistic Method is called NOTARICON, meaning a Shorthand-writer.
In this case the Initial, Final or Medial Letters of a Word, are taken as the Initial letters of the Words of a Sentence which has an affinity with the original Word. Thus, to use a well known example, BRAShITh, the first word of Genesis, is made to suggest the Sentence BRAShITh RAH ALHIM ShIQBLV IShRAL ThVRH, which means “In the Beginning Elohim saw that Israel would accept the Law.” There are many other possible sentences to be formed from these Initial Letters as will be found in the various treatises on this subject.
On the other hand, sometimes the Initials of a Sentence are used to form a Word, as in the case of the phrase ATEH GIBOR LEOHM ADONAI, expressed in the Word of Power, AGLA, which then may be said to conceal the Meaning of the whole sentence “Unto Thee be the Power 0 My Lord Adonai”. Another well known example is ChKMH NSThRH, which expresses the SECRET WISDOM of the Qabalah, the Initials ChN (Chen) forming the Hebrew Word for GRACE.
There are also many methods of “permutation” or TEMURAH of which one is known as ANBM (Anbam). The Hebrew Alphabet is divided into two halves of eleven letters each, the top half in its usual order (from Right to Left) and the lower reversed. Various arrangements form different combinations. In the case of ANBM the lower line appears thus:
Each letter of a Word is substituted for that above or below it in the other line, thus forming a different word or making a cipher system. In the above instance, the word AChD (Achad = Unity) would become NTzTh a word the meaning of which I do not know (the example was taken at random) but which adds to 540. This number is that of another Word meaning “The Upper Part” or, it reduces to 9 (5+4+0=9) which is equal numerically to a word meaning “Became Powerful, Grew High.” It may seem as if we had destroyed the Sacred Unity of our original Word in this instance, but again we may try the Tarot. The first letter of our word is Nun = 50 = Tarot Key XIII. Now 13 is the numeration of the word AChD or Unity. This Trump is that of DEATH, which is called “The Child of the Great Transformers.” Now the other letters TzTh by Tarot give THE STAR and THE UNIVERSE, so we may think this transformation indicates “THE DEATH of THE STAR UNIVERSE,” but this is only apparent, for the UNITY cannot be destroyed, as we shall see on taking the Key of the whole word 540 = 5+4+0 = 9 = IX = THE HERMIT of the Tarot, carrying concealed beneath his cloak his Lamp, in which Burns a STAR, thus secretly bringing the Light of Unity to the Adepts of the Inner College.
There are many other arrangements of the lower line of letters, but the name of the method employed is always obtained from the first two pairs of letters on the right hand end of the lines, thus in this case AN, BM.
Another method of Cipher Writing is called AIQ BKR or “The Qabalah of Nine Chambers” thus:
By arranging the letters in groups of Units, Tens, and Hundreds, we obtain a system whereby a Dot placed in one of the Nine Chambers, would represent the Unit Letter, and Two Dots or Three Dots the Tens or Hundreds.
This grouping of the letters may be used in other ways, such as by taking the Tarot Cards Corresponding and thus obtaining new Combinations of ideas.
Those who are sufficiently versed in the Art of Q.B.L. sometimes draw inferences from the SHAPE of the Letters themselves, but this method is hardly for beginners. One well known example is the letter Aleph which is said to symbolize the letter Yod because it is formed of the letters Yod, Vau, Daleth, which are those of Yod spelt in full. Or by another method, the letter Kaph might be said to conceal Yod, since Kaph = 20 and IVD = 20, etc.
Enough has been said to give the Student an idea of the best known Methods of the Literal Qabalah, and we may now pass on to a brief sketch of some of the important Qabalistic NUMBERS, by the study of which we shall obtain further Light on the Path.