On Agrippa’s “Of the calculating Art of such names by the tradition of the Cabalists”

In Agrippa’s Third Book of Occult Philosophy there are several chapters dedicated to methods of how to calculate the names and times of a specific spirit (evil or good) to aid in a work. In this article I am going to dive into one of these, chapter 27 “Of the calculating Art of such names by the tradition of the Cabalists”, which I find to be the most straightforward. It is recommended that the magus has a solid understanding of Astrology and at least a passing knowledge of the Alephbet.

Each name consists of three letters selected from a set of two tables, followed by a suffix (commonly -el, -yah, and other two-letter names of God).

Chose first letter is chosen based on which area life the Mage is seeking aid in. This letter is best chosen based on the attributions of the letters found in the Sephir Yetzirah, an old Kabbalistic text that describes the sacred Cube of Space. The letter can also be chosen based on the archetypes of the Major Arcana Cards found in a Tarot pack and the letter it is commonly associated with or Numerology of any sort – whichever the Mage is more familiar with.

The second letter is chosen based on the Planetary Presidency the Mage requires. The Planetary Presidency is essentially which planetary sphere (or Sephiroth if you prefer) you would like the spirit to come from; Sol/Sun relates to the Spirit (Tipharet), Luna/Moon relates to Desire (Yesod), Mercury relates to the Mind (Hod), Venus Relates to the Body (Netzach), Mars relates to Action (Geburah), Jupiter relates to Meditation and Contemplation (Chesed), Saturn relates to Duty, Finality, and Rebirth (Chokmah, Binah, Kether). Once you have found the appropriate planet, find the correct column on the first table in Agrippa Chapter 27 and trace it down to the horizontal row corresponding to the first letter you chose. Be careful! Take care to select the right row – each side of the chart has a column of first letters, one use to call good spirits, the other evil.

The third letter is chosen based on the Zodiac Intelligence the Mage needs to handle a problem. The Zodiac Intelligence is how the spirit will approach the problem and what kind of help or advice it will give, essentially it is the spirits personality. It is common to choose a sign based on one found in the Mage’s (or Client’s if the spell is being performed for another person) natal chart if that area of their personality directly relates to the work at hand. However, this may not always be practical depending on the speed that the planet relating to your second later moves through the Zodiac. If this is the case, it may be practical to choose the sign the planet you chose is in/rising in. Once you have determined the sign needed, find the correct column on the second table in Agrippa Chapter 27 and trace it down to the horizontal row corresponding to the letter you found based on the Planetary Presidency.

Once you have your name consisting of three letters, a short suffix is usually added to the end to add to the power of the spirit. Common suffixes are YOD-HEH (yah) and ALEPH-LAMED (ial/el/al) and other traditional two-letter names of God. I have also begun to experiment with my own suffixes, created to add a specific spin to the spell I am calling the spirit for – these are based on my understanding of the Magic nature of the Alephbet and the Serphir Yetzirah, and I encourage others to dive in and do the same!

Now that you have the proper name to call the spirit to charge your talisman (for later use) or cast your spell you need to find the proper time to do it – essentially when the spirit will be available naturally. There are two ways to deduce when is the proper time. This first, which is the more effective of the two in my opinion, is charging the talisman/casting your spell as the planet represented in your second letter is coming over the horizon in the sign represented in your first letter. For example, when Venus rises in Leo or Mercury in Capricorn. The second way, which is easier to do more regularly, is charging your talisman or casting your spell on the day of the week that corresponds with the Planetary Presidency you are working with, as the sign that you chose for your Zodiac Intelligence is coming over the Horizon. The days of the week relate to the Presidencies as follows: Sunday relates to Sol/Sun, Monday relates to Luna/Moon, Tuesday relates to Mars, Wednesday relates to Mercury, Thursday relates to Jupiter, Friday relates to Venus, and Saturday relates to Saturn. The most effective, of course, is if you can combine the two.

I Hope this has been a useful article and all readers put this technique to use!

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