The 4 Lettered Name and the Elements

In the post, the Natural Order of the Elements, it was seen that there are reverberations throughout a magical system by placing the elements in their natural order. It is important that one set of correspondences be consistent throughout a system. One of the first issues is the 4 Lettered Name and the Elements.

Magical systems throughout time have observed the natural world and within the magicians themselves.

The Hebrew Kabbalah formed the basis of Hermetic Qabalah. In many forms of Hebrew Kabbalah the natural order of elements is consistent. It would be natural this order remain regarding correspondences. It will help to start with the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew- Yod Heh Vav Heh – יהוה. Hebrew reads from right to left.

Elements and the 4 Lettered Name

The attributions of the 4 Lettered Name and the elements here are in use in several schools of Qabalism. But are not in use in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and its offshoots. Those Orders offer decades of study and practice. They set the precedence for how the modern magician practices magic. Whether the pentagram ritual, Qabalistic Tree of Life, Tarot, etc., the influence of the Golden Dawn is there. It is difficult to find sources of Western Magic not repeating what they teach. Looking at earlier sources or traditions that run parallel to the Golden Dawn, seems to enrich the tradition rather than take away from it.

The Letter H Water or Air

Let us look at this excerpt from the Neophyte Initiation Ritual of the Golden Dawn (

Hiero: Very Honored Hiereus, how many chief officers are there in this grade?

Hiereus: Three, Very Honored Hierophant. Namely, the Hierophant, Hiereus and Hegemon.

Hiero: Is there any peculiarity in these names?

Hiereus: They all commence with the letter H.

Hiero: Of what is this letter the symbol?

Hiereus: Of life, because the character H is one Mode of representing the ancient Greek aspirate; Breathing and Breath, are the evidence of life.

The above follows after the Lodge is secure. Only those who are initiates and a part of the Order are there. The letter H in Greek is the letter Eta- Η. It has a long e sound. In Hebrew the letter H is Heh-ה. Heh has a soft H sound in English. Heh is the 2nd and 4th letter of the Tetragrammaton. Eta and Heh don’t sound alike in English. Eta corresponds to the planet Venus and not to life as above.

Where did the Confusion Begin?

The author of the Cipher Manuscripts, which this ritual is based on, may not have had access to this information at the time. Heh was well known to the founders of the Golden Dawn. Somehow the ritual and the correspondences to Heh in later material corresponds to the element of Water. There are several explanations that are in different materials. It is up to the reader to search for themselves.

The Fool of the Tarot has an important lesson on research via Paul Foster Case. The white dog nipping at the Fool’s heels is our intellect and rational mind. It evolved to keep us from falling off the cliff. It is our guide. The white dog is saving us from danger.

Hebrew and Greek Names

Hebrew Kabbalah is a mystical aspect of Judaism. Any pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is considered taboo. Except for seldom occasions and persons. Respecting another’s religious, mystical, magical and esoteric beliefs is important as an initiate. It’s always been interesting to see Non-Jewish magicians not pronounce the Tetragrammaton. They usually pronounce the names of the Hebrew letters.

The “Gnostic” name, IAO, suggests a Greek attempt to translate and pronounce the Tetragrammaton. There is also Yahweh, Jehovah and Yehovah. One translation is Yehowah which emphasizes the Vowels. A history of this version is in John Michael Greer’s Circles of Power. Vibrating Yehowah during a Lesser Pentagram Ritual is very potent. Emphasis on the vowels gives the sounds Yeee Ohhhh Ahhh. This sounds like early Greek attempts at translating the Tetragrammaton. The Vav ו here sounds like Waw.

Natural Order of Elements and the Tetragrammaton

Returning to correspondences of the Tetragrammaton. The natural order of the elements below line up to the areas of the body. Here the body is Adam Kadmon and corresponds to the 4 Worlds of the Kabbalah.

4 Lettered Name and the Elements over the Human Body
4 Lettered Name and the Elements over the Body following an older set of correspondences.

י-Yod- Fire- Atziluth- The World of pure Energy

ה-Heh- Air- Briah- The World of Ideas in their purity without form, much
like air

ו-Vav- Water- Yetzirah- The World of Formation and ideas taking form and shape. Like water taking on the shape of the vessel it is in

ה-Heh- Earth- Assiah- The World of Action. The worlds above taking physical form as the observable universe

The first Heh corresponds with Air and the chest, home of the lungs in the physical body. Heh also corresponds to window and its link to the air outside. The Vav aligns with water. It is over the abdomen, home to the watery aspects of the body. Vav also corresponds to nail or a fastener. Water, or liquids always connect things within the bounds of its container. Like the world of Formation above.

Observing Nature, aligning our magical and mystical practices to it leads to harmony with the universe and ourselves. So that we may continue the Work in strength, wisdom and love.


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