The Hebrew alphabet and vowels

The ETh's (an untranslatable preposition indicating a direct object) in
the first verse of Genesis are said to refer to a higher and lower alphabet,
ETh being spelled Aleph Tav, behind "the heaven" and "the earth".
Positionally, these would seem to be at the intersection of the paths of
Gimel and Daleth and in Tav's path. This makes sense, since Gimel's path
number of 13 can be interpretted as Daath emerging as child of the supernals
and Daleth as 4 as these four together, Daath (knowledge) being made out of
the higher alphabet. Tav as 400 parallels Daleth as 4 at a lower level. In
Gates of Light, Joseph Gikatilla discusses a lower Yod, paralleling the Yod
of YHVH, which is associated with Yesod as it lets things flow into Malkuth.
Positionally, this fits with and can employ the lower alphabet. This Yod can
be seen in the word YaHI "let there be" as in days 1, 2, and 4 of creation.
The YH refer to the supernals as in YaH and YHVH, and these are reflected in
the lower Yod. Likewise, this Yod is found in the work MI (who) which the
Zohar identifies with Binah's 50 gates as giving a flow through Yesod.
Gikatilla gives three words associated with Malkuth in various degrees of
receptivity, well associated with Binah, sea (YaM) with Chokmah, and all
(KoL) with Kether. YaM is the reverse of MI and involves a flow from the
lower Yod into Malkuth. Combining these gives MaYiM (water), and adding a
Shin to the beginning gives SHaMaYiM (heavens). Shin's path number of 31
indicates the supernals giving rise to Daath, which then flows into and
through the lower Yod. The Zohar identifies ETh HaSHaMaYiM with the voice
that does the speaking in Genesis 1 and its source. The ETh is the upper
alphabet, H refers to Binah, and SHaMaYim to the flow from these. Similar to
this is the name 'VHY to which Abraham Abulafia attatched great importance.
The VH being Binah and the Zer Anpin, the Yod is clearly the lower Yod and
the Aleph relates to the upper alphabet. The name's gematria of 22 further
indicates its connection with the alphabets.
A basic Kaballistic practice is the permutation of the vowels for each
pair of letters. There are 231 pairs of letters, ignoring order, these being
the 231 gates referred to in Sepher Yetzirah. One uses these in forward
order to open the connection between them and reverse order to close it.
Permutation means running through all the combinations of the five primary
vowels with each pair. There are a variety of opinions as to the order of
the vowels. I have settled on O E I A U (oe ay ee ah oo) because it fits
with the 5-fold pattern found in relation to the fire of earth path. This is
slightly different than Abulafia's O A E I U. If one wanted to open the
connection between Aleph and Beth, one would repeat:
'oBo 'oBe 'oBi 'oBa 'oBu
'eBo 'eBe 'eBi 'eBa 'eBu
'iBo 'iBe 'iBi 'iBa 'iBu
'aBo 'aBe 'aBi 'aBa 'aBu
'uBo 'uBe 'uBi 'uBa 'uBu
To close it one would reverse the ' and B, likewise for the other letter
pairs. If one practices with this, eventually the vowels will settle into a
natural pair for each ordered pair of letters, and one can simply use these
for opening and closing the connections. In general, this practice relates
to the lower alphabet. Abulafia attatched importance to permuting Aleph with
Yod, Heh, Vav, and then Heh again, the Aleph in this case being the one
from 'HVY and thus part of the upper alphabet. This practice allows entry of
influence from the higher alphabet to the lower. In terms of order, all the
letters of the upper alphabet should be considered as coming before all of
them from the lower.
The vowels are discussed much less than the letters, but there are a
number of pieces of information regarding them. Abulafia relates them to the
groups of letters in which they appear first (and I follow him as to which
vowels come in which letters). A couple are discussed in the Bahir. Also,
the process of permutation can be applied to words as well as letter pairs.
Practicing this with YHVH has led me to the conclusion that it should be
pronounced IHeOHu (ee hay oe hoo). The Yod and Vav are pronounced as vowels,
indicating that they are pure action, and the Heh's are pronounced with the
other vowels that Iod and Vav can be. By the same means, I discovered
that 'HVI can be pronounced EHUYa. Interpretations of the vowels are:
O (Cholam): The Bahir describes O as the soul, which fits with Vav as O
providing the avenue for the supernals influence to enter Malkuth. It's
mention in the Bahir follows discussion of Cheth and Daleth, so its gematria
of 84 may be considered significant, this referring to the lower 8 including
Daath receiving from the upper 4 including Daath. This again suggests an
avenue from the supernals to Malkuth. The letters Iod and Qoph feature the
vowel, and these as 10 and 100 indicate movement from a higer level into a
lower. In general O seems to mean a means of entry.
E (Tzerey): The letters Beth, Heh, Cheth, Teth, Mem, Peh, and Resh feature
the vowel. Beth, Cheth, and Teth have gematrias 412, 418, and 419, the 41
suggesting the throne with its 4 legs (or with 4 living creatures around it),
this being assigned to Binah, as is Heh as the He of IHeOHu. Binah has the
dual functions of binding together the lower 8 sephiroth, which relate to
Cheth, and binding together the upper 9, which relate to Teth. Mem's path
number of 23 suggests the flow of energy from Chokmah to Binah, and Peh and
Resh as 80 and 200 can be seen as paralleling Cheth and Beth. In general, E
seems to refer to a structuring that allows energy to move down. In IHeOHu,
this lets the supernals energy move into the lower 7. In EHUYa, the
structure stays above and is reflected below through the Ya.
I (Chirak): The Bahir refers to I in three passages, first saying it hates
evildoers, then comparing it to ice, then saying it is the fire that burns
all fire. These refer to the supernals. Kether is associated with purity.
Chokmah is associated with water, and ice indicates that a specific direction
is being given through it. Binah is the highest level associated with fire.
The letters Gimel and Shin contain the vowel. Their path number 13 and 31
can refer to the supernals giving rise to Daath. The I of IHeOHu thus unites
the supernals to create below. Similarly, the I of YahI and MI has the lower
Yod as I, and here 13 and 31 refer to Malkuth at the base of the three
pillars receiving from them through the Yod. In general, I seems to refer to
a uniting and focusing into a lower level.
A (Kametz): The letters Aleph, Daleth, Vav, Zayin, Kaph, Lamed, Samekh,
Ayin, Tzaddi, and Tav feature the vowel. This is the largest group and seems
to be something of an other category. A seems generally to refer to
situations where energies can go in many directions. The Ya of IHeOHu thus
indicates that the structure above can be reflected in whatever ways are
available, likewise for YaM.
U (Shurek): The only letter with the vowel is Nun. This has value 50,
suggesting the 50 gates of Binah and a relation to Heh (5) and thus Binah and
Malkuth. Gikatilla gives the word KoL (all, gematria 50) as a name of both
Malkuth and Yesod, depending on the degree on receptivity Malkuth has
reached. This parallels the Hu and HU of IHeOHu and EHUYa, with the former
reflecting Malkuth at its most receptive receiving through an integrated
Tree, and the former reflecting a degree of receptivity assocaited with
Chokmah (YaM and MI also have gematria 50). When KoL is associated with
Yesod, Malkuth is associated with the word for time, also spelled Aleph Tav,
which then fits with the lower alphabet and thus the Ya of EHUYa. In
general, U seems to indicate a filling of the space involved. It is
interesting to note that the Sufis consider Hu to be the basic sound of the
universe and use it as a mantra.
Incidentally, the E and Ya of EHUYa fit with the numbers 4 and 5
respectively in my take on English Qaballah, OHu with 6, He with 7, and I
with 8.
Sepher Yetzirah gives body parts associated with the letters, though the
different versions give different lists and some of the parts are not found
in people. My own experiments have led to the following list:
Aleph - chest, Mem - belly, Shin - head
Beth - mouth, Gimel - right eye, Daleth - left eye, Kaph - right nostril,
Peh - left nostril, Resh - right ear, Tav - left ear
Heh - right hand, Vav - left hand, Zayin - right foot, Cheth - left foot,
Teth - right kidney, Iod - left kidney, Lamed - gall bladder, Nun - large
intestine, Samekh - stomach, Ayin - liver, Tzaddi - spleen, Qoph - colon
These attributions are used in the making of golems. I do not know how
closely my workings actually fit with the traditional methods of making
golems, though I do not think that I did as much to bind the energies into
the physical forms as they did. I invoked the letters into the appropriate
places in figures I had made then used the forward letter pairs with
appropriate vowels to open the connections between them. To create a
connection with higher levels, I then permuted Aleph with the letters Yod,
Heh, Vav, Heh. The first three I used in the places of Aleph, Mem, and Shin,
ie in the chest, belly, and head. Pairing the mother letters with IHV has
precedent in Sepher Yetzirah, and I believe that the pairing I used is
correct both because the orders match and because each of IHV can be
considered as completing the corresponding mother letter. Alpeh can be
associated with top point of Iod in Kether, so Iod completes it. Mem's path
number of 23 indicates a flow from Chokmah to Binah, so Heh completes it.
Shin's path number of 31 indicates Daath as emerging from the supernals, so
Vav completes it. The final Heh I associated with the entire figure. I used
this process to create vessels for the fire of earth path spirits, drawing
the corresponding sigil on the chest and the name in Enochian on the forehead.

As posted to:
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2003 19:27:32 +0000