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72 names of God

The Shemhamphorasch (a corruption of Hebrew ) is an epithet for a 216-letter name of a God derived by medieval kabbalists from the Book of Exodus, by reading the letters of three verses in a specific order. The name is composed of 72 groups of three letters, each of these triplets being the name of an angel or intelligence.

In speech and writing the term Shemhamphorasch is normally substituted for the actual 72-letter name for brevity, and, as with the epithet Tetragrammaton, to avoid desecrating the actual name.

Spelling variants include Shemhamforash, Shemhamphorae, Shemhamphorash, Shemahamphorasch, Shemhamphoresh, Shem ha-Mephoresh, Shem ha-Mephorash, Shemhamphoresch.

History and derivation

Shemhamphorasch is a corruption of Shem ha-Mephorash, (Hebrew: "the explicit name", can be also be translated as "interpreted name". In Hebrew, however, its primary use is in reference to the tetragrammaton, the 4-letter name of a God which should not be pronounced, or said "explicitly"). The name itself is derived from Exodus 14:19-21, three verses each composed of 72 letters; by writing these out in boustrophedon form so that the second line is reversed, and grouping the letters in columns of threes (see table below), the names of 72 angels or intelligences or 72 Names of a God are formed.


And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.

The arrangement of Hebrew letters (with Roman alphabet transliterations) is as follows:

Shemhamphorasch: The Divided Name
  18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
י ך K ל L ה H ה H םM י I ה H ל L א A ה H ך K א A ל L מ M ע O ס S י I ו V
ל L א A ק Q ר R ב B ז Z ה H א A ל L ז Z ה H כ K ל L ה H ל L י I ל L ה H
י I ו V םM י I ה H ל L ע O ו V ד D י I ת Th א A ה H ש Sh מ M ט T י I ו V
  36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19
ה מ M ך K ל L י I ו V ל L א A ר R ש Sh י I ה H נ N ח Ch מ M י I נ N פ P ל L
ן N ו V ה H ח Ch ש Sh ך K ו V י I א A ר R א A ת Th ה H ל L י I ל L ה H ו V
ד D ק Q ח Ch ו V ר R ב B ם‎ M י I ה H ת Th א A ה H ו V ה H י I ך K ל L ו V
  54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37
ו ן N נ N ע O ה H ד D ו V מ M ע O ע O ס S י I ו V ם‎ M ה H י I ר R ח Ch א A
י I נ N מ M ח Ch נ N ה H י I ש Sh ר R א A ל L ו V י I ה H י I ה H ע O נ N
ת Th א A ם‎ M ש Sh י I ו V ה H ל L י I ל L ה H ל L כ K ה H ז Z ע O ם‎ M י I
  72 71 70 69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57 56 55
ה ם‎ M ה H י I ר R ח Ch א A מ M ד D מ M ע O י I ו V ם‎ M ה H י I נ N פ P מ M
ו V י I ב B א A ב B י I ן N מ M ח Ch נ N ה H מ M צ Tz ר R י I ם‎ M ו V ב B
ם‎ M י I מ M ה H ו V ע O ק Q ב B י I ו V ה H ב B ר R ח Ch ל L ם‎ M י I ה H

See the Angels and Demons sub-section for the list of names thus derived


The number itself is considered sacred for other reasons and there are several versions of the names of a God found as well as similar lists of names for a God (Dr. J.J.Hurtak's "God-names" is one example that bears similarity).Carroll, Lee, "The Personal Story of how the layers of DNA were channelled. The preparation, fore-knowledge [sic], and instructions from Kryon for four years," at The number 72 is a number which appears to have mythical meaning across various cultures. It is unclear how much is influence or coincidence however. The number of disciples Jesus sent out has often been disputed as being 70 or 72 depending on the text and translation. It is also the number of degrees divided in a 360 degree circle divided by the pentagram or the number of 5 degree heavy ticks on a 360 degree circle.

Because 72 has many factors, it lends itself well to correspondence tables. Similar concepts of a divided circle for a variety of correspondences is seen in the Lo Pan, the compass used in Feng Shui in China. In fact, some compare it to the Ten Heavenly Stems and Twelve Earthly Branches system of 10 and 12 but instead use 70 and 72. This because of the Tree of Life and Twelve Tribes of Israel associations and the fact that both factor into the sacred numbers. In Taoism, there are 36 hells and 36 heavens and 72 hagiographies and Promised Lands for each. Many think this to be more than coincidental due to so many other similarities between Taoism (Oriental Occultism) and western magick (Occidental Occultism).

In the Babylonian-Mesopotamian numerology, the numbers of 10, 12, 60 and 360 hold importance. The use of 70 allows division by 5, 7 and 10 while 72 allows division by all other numbers between 1 and 10 (1,2,3,4,6,8,9). To be able to handle a variety of lists that exist in correspondence table work, this was found useful. Practically speaking, it allowed people to count on their hands and use them as mnemonic devices. Similar approaches were used by Giordano Bruno in his Ars Memoriae or the Art of Memory and Theatre of Memory system who was familiar with the concept. Philip Pullman, author of the book, The Golden Compass, created an alethiometer based on Bruno's work with 36 images based on this very concept although it is not clear if the author had any knowledge of the divided name or the concept of the Lo Pan. Because of the tight relationship with Babylonian numerology, some believe the meaning of this word to be primarily Babylonian rather than Hebrew and believe it may have been a result of growing Babylonian influence on Hebrew culture surrounding the events of the captivity. Aleister Crowley, who contributed to the field of numerology in his analysis 777, (which was based on the works of Eliphas Levi (see the Tarot section below)) was concerned mostly with a Hebrew 22 letters and Hermetic tarot correspondence mapping.

Because of the pantheons or names people may attribute to deity such as in Islam, many are skeptical of these kinds of approaches by modern day numerologists to make such associations. They point out that Islam, an Abrahamic religion has 99 names for God which some numerologists counter can be resolved by introduction of the very divine number 11 (x 9). Although, there is often mention of the number 72 in the Islamic tradition, such as, for example, this famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad:"The Jews split into 71 groups; one will enter Paradise and 70 will enter Hell. The Christians split into 72 groups; 71 will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise. By Him in Whose Power is the life of Muhammad, without doubt, my nation will be divided into 73 groups. Only one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell."


Solomon's Bronze Vessel

According to European magical tradition, King Solomon is said to have evoked seventy-two demons, confined them in a bronze vessel sealed by magic symbols, and obliged them to work for him. These demons are catalogued in various magical grimoires, most notably in the Lemegeton, which gives descriptions of their powers, appearance and manner, as well as instructions for controlling them.

Based on the opinions of some who seek to find consistency of this association with the Shemhamphorasch, these demons may be sigils based on the reversing of the three lettered names of the angels. Using the reverse names and sigils, one would be able to call on the various demons for various favors which may result in destructive events. It is from this that it is believed Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, obtained the word mentioned in the section on Satanism below.

Occult tarot

The earliest known connection between the Shemhamphorasch and the Tarot was made by Eliphas Levi in his Clefs Majeurs et Clavicules de Salomonin which he divides the 72 names into pairs, and attributes each pair to one of the four court cards or ten numbers, or one of the 22 major arcana cards, making a total of 36 pairs.

This was further fleshed out in the Golden Dawn's Book T, which was renamed Liber 78 by Aleister Crowley when he published it in his occult periodical The Equinox. In the system promulgated by the Golden Dawn and Crowley, 36 pairs of angels (or "deacons") are each given rulership of a 10-degree segment of the Zodiac, and to these are mapped the number cards (excluding aces) from the four suits:

In art the Shemhamphorasch can be seen on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapelmarker. Michelangelo's fresco has an architectural design of 24 columns. On each of these columns are two cherubs, which are mirror imaged on the adjoining column totaling 48 cherubs figures. Then on the 12 triangular spandals flanking the ceiling borders are an additional 24 nude figures (two bronze nude figures per triangular spandal) also mirroring imaging each other. This totals to 72 cherub figures or the 72 angels of God or names of God. This spread of 48 cherubs and 24 bronze nude figures coincides perfectly with the reading of the three verses in Exodus 14:19-21. Beneath this cycle of angels are 7 prophets and 5 Sibyline oracles, which are patterned after the Zodiac/Calendar year. Beneath that are the 33 ancestors of Christ plus 3 additional symbols denoting the 36 decans of the Zodiac. It is interesting to note that the Zodiac/Calendar year and the 36 decans coupled with the numerical sequence in the Empyream (nine central panels) on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel denote the spread of the 56 Minor Arcana Tarot Cards.

Card Rulership Angels Card Rulership Angels Card Rulership Angels
2 Wands 0°–10° Vaho'el

5 Wands 0°–10° Vehuiah

8 Wands 0°–10° Nethahiah

3 Wands 10°–20° Hachashiah

6 Wands 10°–20° Sita'el

9 Wands 10°–20° Yeletha'el

4 Wands 20°–30° Nen'a'el

7 Wands 20°–30° Mahashiah

10 Wands 20°–30° Riyiel

5 Pentacles 0°–10° Mabehiah

8 Pentacles 0°–10° 'Aka'iah

2 Pentacles 0°–10° Lekaba'el

6 Pentacles 10°–20° Nememiah

9 Pentacles 10°–20° Hezi'el

3 Pentacles 10°–20° Yechoiah

7 Pentacles 20°–30° Haracha'el

10 Pentacles 20°–30° L'aviah

4 Pentacles 20°–30° Kaveqiah

8 Swords 0°–10° Vameka'el

2 Swords 0°–10° Yezela'el

5 Swords 0°–10° 'Ani'el

9 Swords 10°–20° Aunu'el

3 Swords 10°–20° Heri'el

6 Swords 10°–20° Reha"u'el

10 Swords 20°–30° Damebiah

4 Swords 20°–30° La'uiah

7 Swords 20°–30° Hahah'el

2 Cups 0°–10° 'Aia"u'el

5 Cups 0°–10° Levoiah

8 Cups 0°–10° Vevaliah

3 Cups 10°–20° Ra'ah'el

6 Cups 10°–20° Nelaka'el

9 Cups 10°–20° Sa'eliah

4 Cups 20°–30° Haiai'el

7 Cups 20°–30° Melah'el

10 Cups 20°–30° "Aushaliah



Members who belong to the Church of Satan and other branches of Satanism sign letters and emails and conduct rituals with a Shemhamphorasch, although their version of it is different and contains 72 names of demons, not names of angels or God. This usage is designed as an inversion of the Shemhamphorasch used by Jews and Christians. It is taken to mean a kind of desecration in closing or closing in the name of possibly the backwards reading of the angels and likely refers to the demons of Goetia in their hierarchies and with their own special titles like Marquis or President. The demons, on the other hand are organized into nine orders and differ from traditional lists of the angelic Shemhamphorasch. The relationship is unclear. A misconception attributed to the founder of the 'Church of Satan', Anton LaVey, is that "Shemhamphorasch" means "Hail Satan" in Enochian. It is actually just a reference to these beings as one in purpose for assistance of the Satanist.

The word "Shemhamphorasch" is spoken in Church of Satan rituals, often followed by "Hail Satan!", as outlined in The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey. The Totenkopf Grotto (a German branch of the Church of Satan) proposes an ancient Babylonian-Assyrian derivation for the word as "Šem-ham-fo-raš", a phrase they say implies becoming one with the Powers of Darkness.

Angels and Demons

Kabbalists and hermeticists have proposed correspondences between the 72 names of the Shemhamphorasch and a wide variety of other things, such as the Psalms, tarot cards, and so on. It is because of the flexibility (and numerical factorability) of the Shemhamphorasch that many consider it to be the key of creation of all things and all arts. The names have long been associated with 72 angels, as well as 72 demons (found in the Lemegeton or Lesser Key of Solomon), who it is said can create or destroy the organization or disorganization of the elements into the creation of material reality. By understanding how to use the Shemhamphorasch, it is said one can command these powers.

Subject Angels Demons Letters Decan
1 Vehu Baal VHV Aries
2 Yeli Agares YLY  
3 Sit Vassago SIT  
4 Aulem Gamygyn OoLM  
5 Mahash Marbas MHSh  
6 Lelah Valefor LLH  
7 Aka Amon AKA Leo
8 Kahath Barbatos KHTh  
9 Hezi Paimon HZI  
10 Elad Buer ALD  
11 Lav Gusion LAV  
12 Hahau Sytry HHO  
13 Yezel Beleth IZL Sagittarius
14 Mebha Lerajie MBH  
15 Heri Eligor HRI  
16 Haquem Separ HQM  
17 Lau Botis LAV  
18 Keli Bahtin KLI  
19 Levo Saleos LVV Cancer
20 Pahel Purson PHL  
21 Nelak Morax NLK  
22 Yiai Ipos YYY  
23 Melah Aini MLH  
24 Chaho Naberius ChHV  
25 Nethah Glasyalabolas NThH Scorpius
26 Haa Bune HAA  
27 Yereth Ronobe YLTh  
28 Shaah Berith ShAH  
29 Riyi Astaroth RYY  
30 Aum Forneus AUM  
31 Lekab Foras LKB Pisces
32 Vesher Asmoday VShR  
33 Yecho Gaap YChV  
34 Lehach Furfur LHCh  
35 Kaveq Marchosias KVQ  
36 Menad Solas MND  
Subject Angels Demons Letters Decan
37 Ani Phoenix ANI Libra
38 Chaum Halpas ChOM  
39 Rehau Malpas RHO  
40 Yeiz Raum YYZ  
41 Hahah* Focalor HHH  
42 Mik Sabanack MIK  
43 Veval Vepar VVL Aquarius
44 Yelah Shax YLH  
45 Sael Vine SAL  
46 Auri Bifrons ORI  
47 Aushal Vual OShL  
48 Milah Hagenti MIH  
49 Vaho Procel VHV Gemini
50 Doni Furcas DNY  
51 Hachash Balam HChSh  
52 Aumem Allocen OMM  
53 Nena Caim NNA  
54 Neith Murmur NITh  
55 Mabeth Orobas MBH Capricorn
56 Poi Gomory PVI  
57 Nemem Ose NMM  
58 Yeil Amy YYL  
59 Harach Orias HRCh  
60 Metzer Vapula MTzR  
61 Vamet Zagan VMK Taurus
62 Yehah* Valac IHH  
63 Aunu Andras ONV  
64 Machi Flauros MChI  
65 Dameb Andrealphus DMB  
66 Menak Cimeries MNQ  
67 Asau Amduscias AIO Virgo
68 Chebo Belial ChBV  
69 Raah Decarabia RAH  
70 Yekem Seere IBM  
71 Haiai Dantalian HYY  
72 Moum Andromalius MVM  

See also


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