Sounds are an important part of magick. Most occult systems require you to say words, phrases or call on spirits using your voice. If that’s the case, why do I always tell people not to worry about the pronunciation of magickal words? Surely the sound has to be absolutely correct if the magick’s going to work.
For a full audio guide please see: Pronunciation and Spelling FAQ
If bad pronunciation actually had an effect on magick, very little magick would work. Hardly anybody gets it right. My pronunciation is far from ‘correct’. Also, if you cross-check between different primary sources, every angel, demon or other entity usually has several names, all pronounced differently. There are typos in the original grimoires. Bad typos and rushed writing and lots of reinterpretation. And yet the magick works.
People worry about pronunciation so much that I think they imagine some great angel sitting on a throne, listening to every magickal act, and only letting through the correct pronunciations. Thankfully, that just isn’t the case.
It’s better to get the magick wrong, but to do it with conviction, than to get it perfectly right, because there’s no such thing as ‘right. You don’t even have to say the words out loud in many cases. If you whisper them, or imagine them, you can call them out with your imagination and that works just as well. Many occultist disagree with this, saying that the physical vibration is essential, but I’ve done years of silent magick without any problems.
Most importantly, we have simplified pronunciation in the books as much as possible, but everybody has a different voice, local accent and a different way of using their voice. A female voice with a New York accent will sound different to a man from the North of England. There’s no need to worry about this. It’s better to spend some time attuning yourself to the words, by finding your own pronunciation. As mentioned above, the audio guide can be a great help.
We have also made the books Pronunciation Proof. In most of the books, the spoken words are also written out in the sigils, meaning that you don’t need to get the pronunciation right, because the written words are there. This is especially true of Words of Power and The 72 Angels of Magick. These books are based on saying words out loud, where possible, so many people assume that the pronunciation has to be spot on. Nothing could be further from the truth. The magick involves you seeing the words, even if only subconsciously, before you say anything. This means you can get the pronunciation absolutely wrong and it will still work. This is what I mean by Pronunciation Proof, and it’s one of the reasons the magick works so easily for people.
No pronunciation in my books is ‘correct’. Sometimes the pronunciation looks wildly different to the spelling of the original word. This is sometimes down to traditional pronunciations that have been passed down to us. At other times, the suggested pronunciation is a guide to getting a sound that is closest to the ideal sound, even if it looks incorrect. And sometimes, the pronunciation is one we adopted a long time ago, and we use it because it works for everybody who uses it, even though a scholar may say it’s not the ‘correct’ pronunciation.
The books contain the pronunciations that have worked for me, for other members of The Gallery of Magick, and that have worked best when tested in a wider groups of people.
Interpreting the phonetics is really quite easy. If you look at a word like VEE-AH, then VEE obviously just sounds like the letter V, and AH sounds like the English word Ah! It can get more complicated with sounds such as TZ, but even that, if you just sound it out, is the sound of T and Z pushed together, a bit like the end of the word CATS, but as though spelt CATZ. Mind you, this paragraph shows that when you try to explain pronunciation, it can start to look way more complicated than it is. If you just make an educated guess, you’ll be doing a good job and getting it right.
I know this is true because there are so many times when I said a name incorrectly, for years at a time, and still made contact with the right entity and got a good result. You intent is more important than the sound you make, and if you use my books, the visual part of the magick makes them truly Pronunciation Proof.
Sounds are clearly an important part of magick, but somehow they don’t need to be exactly right in an objective sense. It’s far more important to know what you really want and carry out your magick with confidence and joy – then let go and allow the manifestation to occur. This is the process that matters. Pronunciation does not.
– Damon Brand