Names of Power

The names of power are the secret names of God or deities, or words substituted for those names, which in Magic are used to raise power.

Names of power were used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Assyrians and Gnostics, who believed that incredible power could be unleashed by the sound vibrations of the words.

The most powerful of all names of power is the Tetragrammaton, the personal name of God in the Old Testament, usually expressed as YHWH, the transliteration of the Hebrew letters Yod, He, Vau, He. The numerical values assigned to these letters add up to ten, which in Hebrew numerology represents the basic organizing principle in the universe. So awesome is the Tetragrammaton that for centuries it was seldom spoken, but was whispered only on Yom Kippur by a high priest. In the scriptures, substitute words were used, such as Adonai, Adonay or Elohim. The exact pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is not known; the most accepted is “Yahweh.” A variation is “Jehovah.”

By using anagrammatical and numerological formulas, numerous names of power have been created for magical purposes. Agla, an abbreviation frequently used by rabbis, comes from the first letters of the Hebrew phrase, Aieth Gadol Leolam Adonai, which means “Adonai (the Lord) will be great to eternity.” Amen is a word of power, because in Hebrew it adds up to 91, as does Jehovah Adonai.

Some names or words of power are nonsensical, created for their rhythm or their numerical value. The essence of the power unleashed by the words is not in the words themselves but in their intrinsic occult power and the faith of those using them.

Names and words of power appear in all of the major magical grimoires. In many cases, the origins and meanings of the words have long been lost. For example, the Key of Solomon ends a conjuration of Demons with the words:

Aglon, Tetragram, vaycheon, stimulamation, ezphares, retetragrammaton olyaram irion esytion existion eryona onera orasym mozm messias soter Emmanuel Sbaoth Adonay, te adoro, et teinvoco. Amen.

Most of the words are unrecognizable, but they probably contribute to the rhythm of the chant, which is important in the attainment of a state of frenzy on the part of the magician.

Aleister Crowley created AUGMN as an ultimate word of power, which he believed was a mantra of such force that a magician chanting it would be able to control the universe. AUGMN is an expansion of the Buddhist mantra Om, which represents God and the Supreme reality, the sum total of everything in all creation. The basis for AUGMN is a gematric formula. In Hebrew, the letters of the mantra add up to 100. By breaking down 100 as a sum of 20 and 80, one arrives at the Hebrew letters kaph and pe, which, transformed into Greek, are the first letters of kteis and phallos, which correspond to the female and male sexual organs. In Magick in Theory and Practice (1929), Crowley describes AUGMN as “the magical formula of the Universe as a reverberatory engine for the extension of Nothingness through the device of equilibrated opposites.”

From: The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.