Tetragrammaton (YHVH, IHVH)

The four letter tetragrammaton (Greek, ‘four letters’) is the ‘true’ name of the God of the Hebrew scriptures. It never appears complete in written form; only the four consonant letters, YHVH (Hebrew, Yod Heh Vau Heh, read right to left), or in the Latin version, IHVH.

At the time the Hebrew scriptures were written, spoken language was considered to be very powerful. With a cosmology that viewed the creation as the result of an utterance, the name of the creator was considered very powerful knowledge. Because the pronunciation of the name of God considered to have such great power, it was kept a secret- only the highest-ranked members of the priesthood were entrusted with the knowledge. Even then, the Name was only pronounced during one time of the year, during the Feast of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

The commandment against “taking the Lord’s name in vain” had nothing to do with making disrespectful comments, but referred to the name’s inherent power. Similar name traditions existed in Babylonian and Egyptian religion.

It is because of this stricture against pronouncing the name that even after the Hebrew language developed a system for marking vowels in written scripture, its pronunciation was concealed by substituting the vowel markings and pronunciation of the word Adonai, Lord. Christians translating Hebrew texts did not understand this tradition, and due to the vowel marks, mistranslated the text of the name as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”

In modern Judaism, the tetragrammaton is commonly referred to as “HaShem,” meaning, “The Name,” and the pronunciation rules still apply.

Esoteric YHVH

The tetragrammaton is central to the doctrines of both the Jewish and Esoteric Kabbalistic traditions, where it is equivalent to the four kabbalistic worlds of creation, the four elements, the four archangels, and the four cardinal directions. Christian kabbalists added the letter “Shin”, rendering “YHShH,” or Yeheshua, Jesus, as proof of the divine origin of Christ.

Kabbalistic doctrine assigns four states of the manifestation of creation the the four letters. The four weapons of Ritual magick symbolize the essence of the letters of the tetragrammaton; these also form the basis for the four suits in Tarot cards. Ritual magicians emply various pronunciation of the names in theurgic rituals, usually intoning the names of the letters rather than trying to recreate an ancient pronunciation.

Ancient “YHVH” from a Phoenician inscription in stone

Decorated tetragrammaton

Related Symbols:

Adam KadmonMessianic Star

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry August 6, 2014 at 11:44 pm

The symbols speak DNA/RNA all over. YHVH to IHVH? What’s different in this picture? The bases are still four! DNA or RNA…still 4. Uracil replaces thiamine in the conversion. So now it’s not just 4 elements, but 5! Adenine,cytosine,guanine,thiamine,uracil. Did I just cover ALL of the bases? Does anybody out there associate the number 5 with the magic of Spirit? It’s not just about belief in God…it’s about the Spirit in all of us. Ay-dja-djan wah nee shee {:-)

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Kryten Garfield March 31, 2014 at 5:42 pm

…The commandment against “taking the Lord’s name in vain” had nothing to do with making disrespectful comments…
Not so! ) One psalmist wrote: “May people know that you, whose name is יהוה (Jehovah), you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18) Why speak about a name so specifically if it was not pronounced? The four Hebrew consonants יהוה, appears nearly 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Those who do not pronounce the name out of deference to Jewish tradition fail to recognize a key fact. While some Jewish scribes refused to pronounce the name, they did not remove it from their copies of the scripture.
Those who say that the divine name should not be used because it is not known exactly how to pronounce it will nevertheless freely use the name Jesus. However, Jesus’ first-century disciples said his name quite differently from the way most Christians do today. To Jewish Christians, the name Jesus was probably pronounced Ye·shu′a‛. And the title “Christ” was Ma·shi′ach, or “Messiah.” Greek-speaking Christians called him I·e·sous′ Khri·stos′, and Latin-speaking Christians Ie′sus Chri′stus. The Greek translation of his name was recorded in the Bible, showing that first-century Christians followed the sensible course of using the form of the name common in their language. Similarly, it is only reasonable to use the form “Jehovah,” even though that rendering is not exactly the way the divine name would have been pronounced in ancient Hebrew.

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Miguel De Zayas March 31, 2014 at 11:25 am

The other day I was trying to find information about the HEXAGRAM and its connection with MAGIC and I found what I believe is the “key” to unveil the mysterious symbolism hidden inside the “Star of David” as it is known by the Hebrew faith. To check this out and actually see for yourselves you must go to: mathworld.wolfram.com/MagicHexagram.html. You will see the mathematical results for what is called a “MAGIC HEXAGRAM”. In fact, the “solution” for the HEXAGRAM is composed by 2 solutions instead and both are complimentary to one another. Bolt et al. 1991 found it using numbers from 1-12. What I found and sent via email to the author of the page and a few selected mathematicians around the world who have spent some of their time in the concept of magic hexagrams, was that the sum of the numbers on both hexagrams on the Y-axis (vertical or perpendicular) was 26 (the gematrics for God in Hebrew). If you continue to sum the numbers in angles (60 and 120 degrees) you will find the same results (21 and 31) on both hexagrams but in opposite fashion (directionality). I made the “magic” connection of what happens here with the atom that makes life possible (Carbon atom). We know of the so-called concept of RESONANCE and HYBRIDIZATION since the last century in chemistry since that model or mechanism is the only possible way to explain how Carbon, Oxygen, Sulfur bond to Hydrogen making up for the foundations of LIFE. Now, if you look closer to the average between 21-31 is obviously 26. (+5 and -5). By now you’d be asking yourselves why the long story? Well, the “resonance” hidden in the hexagram or Star of David explains the meaning of the Hebrew consonants making for the name of GOD (!). I draw the 4 letters and superimposed them in an opposite directions to one another and I found the meanings of the name GOD. What I saw was two “CHAI” symbols on both ends and in the center the “TAU CROSS” !!! The only interpretation I could find is that LIFE and DEATH (represented by the “CHAI” symbol in reverse) are centered by the TAU Cross that represents the resurrection-door or gate to heaven-and the creation itself.
I would like for you reading this post to tell it to others and replay to my post when you get some answers… I draw the picture and placed it by my bed.

Thanks for your time and God bless you all!

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Amber June 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Interesting stuff. I would love to see a picture of the picture you drew :)

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Felix London March 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm

So is the Ancient “YHVH” from a Phoenician inscription in stone
Referring to the same god from hebrew text/scripture?

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Jennifer March 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

It’s assumed so, but there’s nobody left to ask..

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David Hunt October 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

The memorial name transliterates beginning IΩTA, AΛΦA. A λληλ OU I A

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melchor ramon jr June 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm

can i study the I.H.V.H. i would like to know what is really is.

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