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Hebrew Gematria: Introduction

by Bill Heidrick

Copyright © by Bill Heidrick

Introductory Remarks

In the following, no deliberate attempt has yet been made to include entries from the Bennett-Crowley Sepher Sephiroth. Crowley's selection should be preserved without alteration as an insight into his thought. This work is intended to supplement Crowley's Gematria, rather than replace it. In the final version, additional notes on Qabalistic significance, special Qabalistic spellings and mystical terms will be added. These entries have been obtained from a 19th century Hebrew Lexicon (Davies' Student's-Hebrew Lexicon) devoted to study of the Torah and the balance of the Old Testament. When complete, the Gematria dictionary will contain many significant words and names from the Torah, variant spellings and important conjugations and declensions. Mythology and notes on points of Qabalistic tradition will be greatly augmented. In the final form, it will be possible for a person with knowledge of Hebrew grammar to use this source to roughly translate the Torah, to access an exhaustive glossary of Qabalistic terms, and to find brief discussions of the differences between Crowley's usage and the usage found in the several schools of Jewish or traditional Qabalah. The work is 80% complete at this time in regard to the Torah and barely started with regard to Qabalistic terms.

Some explanation of conventions may be helpful. Spelling "interchanges" refer to letters which sometimes replace the entry letter in common words. Thus, some words have the same meaning and only differ in spelling by one having an Aleph and the other a Tet. Such spelling interchanges are not rules for substituting one letter for another but clues to use in finding secondary correspondences to a particular entry under a particular number. In many instances, the same spelling has different pronunciations, usually carried by vowel points. Such variant pronunciations are either set off by use of "---" below the primary entry or by use of ";". The triple dash and the semicolon are also used to indicate a shift of thought in instances where variant pronunciation is not the issue. Most notes are enclosed within parentheses.

There will be controversy over the numbering of the primes. In Crowley's day, it was common among non mathematicians to consider the number ONE as the first prime; and he followed that practice in Sepher Sephiroth. ONE is not considered a prime number in mathematics, since it does not allow unique prime factoring of other numbers. TWO is considered the first prime number in modern mathematics and in this work.

For an exposition on Gematria, the numbers associated with the letters, English to Hebrew substitution and the rarely used numerations of the vowel points, see the Thelema Lodge Calendar for December 1986 e.v.

Notes on general considerations:

Some individual words appear to have self-contradictory definitions; e.g. DaletSamekhChet can mean "to be gracious" AND "to insult". This often results over time from use of the word in irony. "O'h, you pulled my beard to show respect? how gracious (DaletSamekhChet) of you!". Alternatively, such dual meanings can derive from improper social usage; e.g. in the case of this word to imply insulting condescension.
Certain words have a number of different spellings not accounted for by conjugation or declension. This is partly natural to dialectical Hebrew and partly the result of "Qabalistic" spellings which have been introduced over the centuries. Where a mystical or artificial spelling has been used, the reason is identified and the tradition described, if known to the author. Where the spelling is an obviously defective construction by improper transliteration, the word will either be omitted or the source described. Most of the latter are outright errors involving one-for-one substitution of Hebrew for English. In proper Hebrew spelling, vowels are often omitted and carried by vowel points. Crowley's usage of Ayin for "O" and Heh for "E" is an example of unorthodox practice. Double letters in English may often be rendered as single letters in Hebrew: e.g. "BB" > "Bet". In particular, the letter "A" tends to be too often replaced by an Aleph, "AI" by "YodAleph" instead of "Yod" alone; and the spelling of the Goetic names by Dr. Rudd is generally in gross error. This tendency of defective spelling is greatest in the names of spirits.
Note that many common nouns become the names of spirits on addition of HayYod, LamedAleph, and
LamedAlephYod to the end of the noun. The choice of ending may be dictated by gender and spelling, with
HayYod slightly predominating for femine nouns; but two different deities are meant by this selection in older words and sources. Exegetical scholarship sometimes addresses this as Yahwistic verses Elohistic usage. There is reason to suspect that the former represents a tendency toward monotheism or henotheism and the latter a tendency to retain a pantheon.
An unusually large proportion of the shorter Hebrew words are representations of natural sounds linked with the meaning. Most of these are associated with exclamations of pain, surprise or contentment and with the cries of animals. E.g. "moo", the sound of lowing cattle, is
HayAyinGimel, which sounds a lot more like certain lowing of cattle than "moo". N.B. "moo" (properly a sound like "hmugh") probably derives from a more placid bovine sound than HayAyinGimel -- I suppose it depends on how recently the cow was milked.
All weights and measures are equated to British; e.g. gallon = imperial gallon.
In calculating gematria, it is traditional to ignore finals in the first attempt. To avoid duplication, words and phrases having final letters are defined under their non-final letter totals. Cross-referencess are included under the numbers to which such words correspond when final letter values are included.
In reckoning the correspondences of a word, it is traditional in gematria to consider also words having a total one less and one more than that of the number in question. This practice is stated as: "it is permissible to add or subtract an Aleph". An examination of the entries for consecutive numbers in this dictionary will show that some words duplicate within short ranges, owing to changes of gender, case, common speech variations, conjugation or declension. The practice of subtracting one stems mainly from the fact that any word with an Aleph after the first letter can have that Aleph replaced by a suitable vowel point. Addition of an Aleph to a word does not effect the pronunciation at all, unless a vowel point is assigned to the Aleph --- even then, such a vowel point can usually be borrowed from a consonant. This property of Aleph is also found to a lesser extent for Yod, Vau and Heh.
Some multiple variants differ only in gender or case of possession.

The following Gematria entries have mainly been extracted and collated from: Student's Hebrew Lexicon, a Compendious and Complete Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to The Old Testament ... by Benjamin Davies, 1960 reprint of the 1880 revised edition. Work in progress has reached AlephPeh. Entries for numbers greater than eighty will substantially increase after this point. The entries under the number 210 will give a better idea of the size of the finished work.

Mystical terms are minimal at present, but are being added from: The Kabbalah: Its Doctrines, Development and Literature by Christian D. Ginsburg, 1863 --- this is the source from which Mathers plagiarized the introduction to Kabbalah Unveiled. Ginsburg's Kabbalah is noted as "G-K" where warranted in the notes.

For serious use, rather than casual examination, check each entry against a Hebrew dictionary or lexicon (latter preferred). If the word can be found in such, there may be additional meanings or a correction to a typo. Serious students of Qabalah should make every effort to acquire at least a good lexicon and preferably several. Pronunciation requires a rudimentary knowledge of vowel points (only listed in such references) and accents (often on the second syllable, but there are many exceptions). Please inform the author of any typographical errors, but be aware that no one dictionary can provide references to all these entries.
This compilation is Copyright © by Bill Heidrick. All citations from it of more than four entries must be accompanied by a notice identifying this source. Entire lists of the correspondences for up to 20 different numbers may be reproduced for non-commercial reasons if properly credited to this source, including address and copyright notice. Electronic copies of this entire work may by distributed by anyone, so long as no fee is charged for the service and the entire work is not reduced or otherwise diminished. Full printouts of this work may be made without charge only by and for an individual in physical possession of the electronic version. Such printouts may not be sold or given away.

For commercial license and/or exception to the above conditions, contact the author:

Bill Heidrick
P.O.Box 167
Artois CA 95913 USA

--- with thanks to Fr. Fons Numeris, who taught me Gematria and is far better at it.

If you have corrections, comments or suggestions, please email me at heidrick@well.com

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