magical alphabets

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A compendium of magical alphabets. Useful for developing your own sigils

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NIGELPENNICK

l!JBoston,MA/YorkBeac h,ME FirstAmericanediti on publishedin1992by RedWheel/Weiser, 1.1.(' YorkBeach,ME Withofficesat 368CongressStreet Boston,MA 02210 www.redwhee/weiser.colll 0706050403 141312II10 Copyright1992NigelPennick Allri ght s reserved.Nopartofthi s publicationmaybereproducedortrans-mitt edinanyformor byanymeans,electroni c or mechani cal.including pho-tocopying,recording,orbyanyinformati onstorageandretrievalsystem, without permissioninwritingfromRedWheel/Weiser.Reviewers mayquote brief passages.Thi s workwasfirstpubli shedinEnglandbyRiderBooks,a divisionof RandomHouseU.K.Limited,London,underthe titl e TheSeerel Lor!'of Runeslind mha AncielllAlp/wbels. Libraryof CongressCataloging-in-PublicationData Penni ck,Nigel. MagicalEOTHl:),the divinecounterpart of thecosmos.Chiisthemarkofpossession,delimitingthat whichisalready taken.It isalso the gift symbol , which,looked athorizontally,linkshumantohuman,andseenvertically, linkstheGodstohumanity.Inform,butnotphonetics,asit represents'CH',itisrelatedtotheruneGyfu(written'X', phonetically'G'),asagiftfromor totheGods.Bygematria, theword'Chi'isequivalent to 610. qt Psi,the23rd, istheheavenlylightembodiedinthe sky-god Zeus.Ithasthesecondarymeaningof daylight ,mostspecifi-callythehighlightofmidday.Thusitisacharacterof illumination, of seeing clearly and precisely. It has anumerical valueof 700,whichisequivalentbygematriatotheChristian monogramChi-Rho,representingtheheavenlylightofthe Christ.Thegematria valueof theword'Psi'is710,equivalent to the words 'piston' (nIl:TON), meaning 'faithful' , and 'pneuma agion'(nNEYMA ArION),'the HolySpirit'. (J)Omega,the 24thandfinalcharacter, standsforrichesand abundance,asuccessfulconclusiontobusiness.Asan apotheosis, it is the seventh heaven of the Gnostics.Its number is800,whichisthenumberof' pistis'(nIl:TIl:),faithand 'kyrios'(KYPIOl:) ,lord.Bygematria,'Omega'is849,the numberof'schema'(l:XHMA) ,meaning'theplan'.Thus, Omega isa representation of faithand the divine plan, both in thePaganand Christian interpretations of 'the Lord' , whether Zeus or Jesus. GREEK ALPHABET TRADITIONS Asaseriesofuniversalmetaphorstodescribetheworld,it followsthatspecificlettersof theGreekalphabetarerelated tospecificpartsof Nature.Thus,accordingtoHippolytus,it wasrevealedtoMarcustheGnosticthatcertainlettersof the Greekalphabetrelatedtothepartsofthehumanbody. 57 Magical Alphabets HippolytusrecordedtheminBookIV of hiswritings;chapter 39: TheTetrad,afterhavingexplainedthesethings,spokeas follows :'NowIwishalsotoexhibittoyouTruthherself, forIhavebrought herdownfromthemansionsabove,in orderthatyoumaybeholdhernaked,andbecome aquaintedwithher beauty;nay,alsothat youmay hear her speak,andmaymarvelatherwisdom.Observethenfirst the head above,Alpha and Omega; the neck,Beta and Phi; shoulders,alongwithhands,GammaandChi;breasts, Delta and Phi;diaphragm,Epsilon and Ypsilon;belly, Zeta andTau;pudenda,Etaand Sigma; thighs,Thetaand Rho; knees,IotaandPi;calves,KappaandOmicron;ankles LambdaandXi;feetMuandNu'... andhestylesthis element Man,and affirms it tobe the source of everyword, and theoriginating principleof every sound. TheGreekalphabet,then,byaccessingthebasicstructure oftheuniversewhichunderlieseverything,providesalink betweenthetraditionsofthePaganworldandthatofthe Christian.Equally,itlinksbothofthemwiththeworldof scientificenquiry.Therearealsolinkswithcentraland northern European Paganism throughtheRunes, some charac-tersofwhichparallelGreekletters(seeChapter3).This connectionmaybeseenintheso-called'Pergamumbowl' , illustrated inFig.15.This isa'divination-bowl' or pantacle that bears esoteric Greek inscriptions.It dates fromaround the year 2ooCEoItisintheformofadiscbearingvarioussigils.The outerpartofthebowlisdividedintothreeconcentriczones dividedbyeightradii .Thismakes24separateareasthat containletters,sigilsandglyphs.Theseareasarerelated directlytothethree'Ogdoads'of theGreekalphabetandthe three'Aettir'oftheearliestrunicrow,knownastheElder Futhark.Theinnerpartofthisremarkablediscisdivided irregularly into seven sectors,representing thesevenastrologi-calplanets.SigurdAgrell,theSwedishexpertonmagical alphabets ,sawthisdivinatorypantacleasaprimeexampleof themagicalideascurrentinthelateantiqueperiodofthe RomanEmpirethatbecameassimilatedintorune-magic.The numericalcorrespondencesofthehieroglyphsandcharacters 58 TheGreekAlphabet Fig.1:5 . ThePergamumBowl. inthis disc,hebelieved, were an example of a link between the Greekmagicaltradition andthea-lphabet-magic of central and northernEurope. Greek letter-magic may be approached ina number of ways, allofwhichhoweverdemonstratelinksbetweenobjects, conceptsorbeings.Thelinksmadethroughnumericalvalues areavaluablemeanstounderstandingthesubtleconnection betweenthings,andmaybeusedasaworthwhilepartof education.Themodernconceptof 'lateralthinking'isclosely relatedtothisancientwayof lookingatthings.To theancient PaganGreeks,numberwastheunderlyingbasisofthe universe . ThisconceptwasnotabandonedwhentheChristian religionwasintroduced.InhisIntroductiontoArithmetic, Nichomachusof Gerasaexplainsthisideawell: Everythingintheuniversethathasbeenarrangedwith systematicmethodbyNatureseemsbothinpartandasa 59 Magical Alphabets whole to have beendefined and set inorder that conformity withnumber,and by the thoughtfulness of the mind of him that created all things. GREEKGEMATRIA InGreekgematria,similarconceptsaresetinorderin conformitywithnumber,oftenhavingthesamegematria value.Linkedphysicalandspiritualqualitiesarealsocon-nected.Agoodexampleof thisisthenumber1500,whichis thenumberoflight'phos' andtheeye'ops',(Q\II). Sound,thevoice,'phone'(QNE)isrelatedbygematria throughitsnumber,1358,toperfectknowledge,'epignosis' theGreatKnowledge,'emega Iegnosis' ('H MErAAEand knowledge and truth, 'gnosis kai aletheia'KAIAAHeEIA). Naturally,thelinkingofconceptsthroughnumberallows oppositestohavethesamenumber.Thusthenumber46 representsjustice,'dikaia'andalso'adikia' injustice.Thisisanexamplewhereanagrams represent opposites.Of course, anagrams always have the same numerical value.The example of the number 1500 given above alsocontainsitsopposite.Theeyeandlighthavethesame numberas'tuphlos' whichmeansblind.The traditionof gematria allowsadiscrepancyof onebetweenany twonumbers.This iscalled colel.In thisway,thegodHermes has the gematric number 353, linking him,as god of roads,withthewordfortheroad,'odos'(H whose number is352.Again opposites maybelinkedinthisway.An example is 'delos'which means manifest, having the valueof 312,and'adelos'unmanifest,equivalent to313. Thehumanperceptionoftheworldisoftenmanifested throughgematria,aswiththenumber430,whichsignifies 'arithmos' number.Thisnumberisalsothe gematria for 'nomos'the Law. Sometimes. gematria linksthingsinanotherway.Forexample.thenumber691. whichmeanspower,'kratos'(KPAalsostandsforthe powerful north wind. Arktosits anagram. Another powernumber,thecosmicfigureof energyandcreation,740, is especially interesting, foritis equivalent to the cycle or circle of existence,'kuklos'creation,'ktisis' 60 TheGreekAlphabet heat.' thermotes'('Hthemusic of the spheres, 'aitheros melos' and the demigod Adonis Plato's nameforthedivinecreator,'0 epipasi theos'('0 'EnI isalso740bygematria.The transmutationalpowerovermatterrepresentedbyHermes Trismegistos deifiedfounderof thealchemicalartsislinkedwiththerulerofthecosmos, 'kosmokrator' (0 fortheybothshare the gematrianumber1791.Theseconnectionsoperateatmany levels,especiallyinpersonalnames.There,unexpectedlinks may emerge.For example, two demigods of Greek mythology, OrpheusandAchilleshavealinkthroughtheirnumbers: Achilleshasthenumber1276,andOrpheus is 1275. Argoswho built the Argonauts' ship,Argo,isidentifiedthroughgematriawiththelove-god Erosastheirnumbersare374and375respectively. ErosalsohasaconnectionwiththeGreatGodPan,through the'Pan series'(seebelow). Throughthemysticalmediumof gematria,itispossibleto traceconnectionswhichmaynotbeimmediatelyapparent. Bycolel,theabodeofthegods,Olympuswhosenumberis890,islinkedwiththeheavens,'Ouranos' 891.Theconnectionsthatgematriabringsus isespeciallyinterestingwithregardtotheCretanlabyrinth myth.ThelabyrinthinwhichTheseusslewtheMinotaur. 'Iabyrinthos'value 872), is shown by gematria to be a species of chaos 871, whose number is also that of foam,'aphros' Thename of thehomicidalman-bull at the centre of the labyrinth, as spelt on the fourth-century labyrinthmosaicatKatoPaphosinCyprus,isMeinotauros Thishasthegematrianumberof1871, whichisequivalent to'tauros', thebull,1071,plus thenumber 800. which is 'kyrios' 'lord'. Thus the Minotaur is by gematria,'lord of thebulls'.The name of the Minotaur-slayer, Thesusis489bygematria.This,throughcole!,is equivalent to Troy (TPOIH), which is 488. It is interesting to note that,allovernorthernEurope,wheretheyarecutinturf or madefromlargestones,classicallabyrinthsareknownas 'Troy','Troy-town'or the'wallsof Troy' . Sacredgeometryandarchitecture,too,arelinkedinthe esoteric tradition of gematria. The following example is typical. 61 Magical Alphabets The macrocosm, 'makrokosmos'has the number 831.Thisisalsothenumber of themysticgeometrical form,thepyramid,'pyramis'andthephallus, ' ph alios' These three demonstrate the esoteric link betweenthreemanifestationsofthegenerativeprinciple. Gematriaprovidesnumericalconnectionsbetweendivinities andtheirattributes.Theirnumberswereusedtodefinethe length,widthandheightoftemples,andthedimensionsof sacredobjectsusedintheworshipofthegodorgoddess. Symboliccarvingsonthetemplesrepresented,throughtheir equivalentnumbers,thenameorattributesofthedeity worshippedthere.Clearly,thesealphabet-magictechniques canbeappliedtoanything,makingpossibleahighlycryptic symbolicart.Inapaintingor sculpture, seeminglyextraneous objects,plantsoranimalsmayactuallyencodethenamesof principles,qualitiesordeities.Thepossibilitiesarelimitless. Throughgematria,thepartsof abuildingsymbolicallyrepre-sented related qualities. 'Pyle' (llYAH), the gateway, has a value of 518