Sometime in the mid-1990’s I visited John Michael Greer and Al Billings in Seattle. I was invited to give a presentation on alchemy which was sponsored by their esoteric lodge. At one point I showed Greer a small, black, hard backed book, the kind artists use. It contained hand drawn seals from the Shemhamaphorech taken from Pat Zalewski’s book The Kabblah of the Golden Dawn. Greer responded with a little bit of surprise and amusement, saying, “I am glad to see you are working with the Shemhamaphorech. It seems everyone wants to work with goetia, although I am not sure why.” Little did I know at the time how accurate his statement was and how little work was being done with the Seventy-Two Names of God, or the direction this work with the Shem would take for me and others who would eventually want to learn about it in relation to modern theurgy.
While the process I used was very simple it was also demanding. In my early years I did not know that the Shemhamaphorech was found in the Sepher Ratziel, but through my own deductions and work easily realized that the Archangel Ratziel rules work with this Name simply as a result of their mutual association with the zodiac. While more will be said about this in volumes three and four of the IHS Study Guides Series, Child of the Sun, I want to take this opportunity to direct your attention to some very specific work that was been done between 2013-2015 by students of the Institute for Hermetic Studies who have worked extensively with the Shemhamaphorech. In short, I placed working with the Shem, as did and many still do, at the top of the esoteric totem pole. It was viewed as a sort of graduate work activity performed after one had worked their way through working with the Elementals, planets, zodiacal signs, and the Paths of the Tree of Life. However, while the names of the Shem and their corresponding sigils (most likely of goetic origin in some manner) are very potent, I do not believe that this particular style of work requires such laborious and heroic preliminaries. I believe that working with the Seventy-Two Names can be a stand alone system, and easily be worked without undertaking ten or more years of preliminary practices. Practices of themselves which may or may not have value to the individual working them.
Now, over the last two years, and last six months in particular, I have received numerous email and phone calls from students reporting their experiences. Several of which I was told last night are nothing short of miraculous. Herein a physician has used them to successfully assist his patients recover from what were considered either fatal or inoperable conditions – including but not limited to throat cancer, blindness induced by damage to the optic nerve, and stroke. One patient – who was unaware of what was being added to their treatment plan – even reported having a vision that was nearly identical to that described by Rabbi Abulafia in his directions for working with the Names.
I report this to you to add encouragement and enthusiasm to your practices, and once again, to direct you to the work and programs we have put together at the Institute for Hermetic Studies. More information will be given as it becomes available, and of course, will be fully described in our forthcoming volumes. Until then, we encourage you to obtain copies of Light on the Path – A Study Guide for Qabala, Alchemy and Astrology, and The Inner Way – The Power of Prayer and Belief in Spiritual Practice (both available through Amazon), and our audio program series.