This page is for questions relating to Pronunciation and Spelling.
Q: Will you produce audio to help with pronunciation?
A: Yes. But ninety-nine percent of your focus should be on the other aspects of the ritual, such as the emotions, but most people put it the other way around. Also, the books are Pronunciation Proof as the sigils and talismans encode the most important words visually, and all other words are open to such wide interpretation of pronunciation that you can’t actually get it wrong. But to make things easier, this video (at just over ten minutes) should show you everything you need to know.
If you’re using Archangel of Magick, there’s a separate video for the words in the book at the Archangels of Magick FAQ.
The above video uses Hebrew to illustrate, but in a few books where there is Latin, the same rules apply; if it looks like English it sounds like English, and all approximations will be close enough to work.
Q: Is it OK for people to use your pronunciations in their own rituals?
A: It is ok for personal experimentation, but not for sharing. The copyright statement at the front of each book makes this clear. The majority of phonetic pronunciations in the books are original to the authors and are thus protected by copyright. Any commercial exploitation of original material will be met with legal action.
Q: Do these pronunciations only work for US or British speakers?
A: No. They are written mostly by people of British ancestry, but the pronunciation guides have been designed to work ideally for all US and UK speakers, but also for anybody who can read and speak English. If your native language is different, it may be more difficult for you to get relaxed with the words, but if you can read the English in the book itself, you will be able to read the pronunciation well enough to get it right.
Q: Can I perform a ritual in my native language?
A: Yes, you can make your own translation if that makes it easier, but all magick words should be sounded out using the pronunciation guide which is based on English sounds.
Q: My native language makes this difficult. Can you just provide the Hebrew instead?
A: In most cases the Hebrew letters, words, and names do appear in the relevant sigils. If you can read Hebrew, this may help you. The vowels, however, are not usually displayed, which is another reason the pronunciation guide has been provided. Even if you do not speak English well, the video above should help you get close enough, and the books are Pronunciation Proof.
Q: What do you mean when you say the books are Pronunciation Proof?
There is great power in sounds, but because most rituals employ a visual scan of the letters, the exact pronunciation is not required. There is no judge sitting on high, admitting you to the world of magick when you get the correct pronunciation. Using these visual scans of the letters, and a vocalised sound, you will catch the attention of the appropriate spirit. As such, the books are Pronunciation Proof.
Q: Can you just print the traditional words and names instead of the pronunciation guide?
A: Most people want to know how to say the words with some degree of accuracy, and transliteration is not sufficiently accurate or useful. Take a name such as El Adonai, a familiar Divine Name, which is formed with the Hebrew letters Aleph, Lamed, Aleph, Dalet, Nun and Yod. Although El Adonai is considered a transliteration of those letters, the truth is, it’s a transcription based on the known or accepted sounds. A true transliteration of the original Hebrew (where you substitute one letter for another), would actually give you AL ADNI. Which isn’t much use to anybody. What people call transliteration is often an attempt to Anglicise a word through transcription. In other words, it’s a half-hearted pronunciation guide. So when you see El Adonai, for example, that’s somebody’s attempt to make it sound like English. It might look like the ‘original’ but it is just an attempt to represent the sounds. The problem is that most people have no idea how to say El Adonai, and certainly wouldn’t be able to use AL ADNI, so we write ELL-ADD-OH-NIGH, which is easier, if you take the time to sound out each syllable. (See above for readers with a native language other than English.) It should also be noted that at least 80% of these Names and Words of Power have no traditional transcription or known sound, as they rarely appear in English texts, so any transcription or transliteration would have to be our own. So we may as well just provide our own pronunciation guide.
Q: Do I have to use your pronunciations? Why should I say VEH-VAH-LEE-AH if the angel’s name is Vevaliah? Can’t I just say Vevaliah?
A: You can just say Vevaliah, but the problem here is that the angel’s name isn’t really Vevaliah. That’s just an English transliteration; a best attempt to write a Hebrew name in English, to make it easy to read. The name is actually spelt Vav, Vav, Lamed, Yod, Heh, which you could write as V V L I H. To make it easier for you, we write VEH-VAH-LEE-AH, which is a pronunciation that works well. In reality, VEH-VAH-LEE-AH is a more accurate representation of the angel’s name then Vevaliah. Although you might get it right if you just say Vevaliah, the problem is that everybody reads the transliterations differently. I have heard people read Vevaliah as VIVA-LEAR and even VEV-ALEE-ER. With that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to follow our pronunciation guide. But, the books are largely Pronunciation Proof (because of the visual Hebrew) so if you want to just want to say Vevaliah your way, you can.
Q: Could your angel names be wrong? I’ve seen them spelled differently in my angel book and on the internet.
A: Everything is exactly as we have intended it to be. Angel names when rendered in English are always transliterations, and as such are open to wide interpretation. We have found that some transliterations are slightly more effective than others, even if they are not objectively correct or traditional. If you are familiar with Hebrew and wish to use your own pronunciation, that will work too.
Q: I googled the names of angels and spirits in your books but can’t find them, and they’re not in my angelic dictionaries. Why not?
A: The spirit names are derived from primary source materials. Such books are not readily available online, but must be accessed from private collections or in locations such as The British Library. Some of the angel names are well-known and appear in popular dictionaries and even on Wikipedia. Others, although they appear (sometimes with different transliteration) in some rare printed English texts, are relatively obscure outside of Hebrew literature. With sufficient research you may see the names we use occurring in occult literature.
Q: Why are the transliterations sometimes different from the Hebrew spellings? For example, Lavel reads as Laviah in Hebrew. Why not just say Laviah?
A: The answer is the same as above. If you read Hebrew and want to use it exactly as written, you can, but we have refined our system to use pronunciations that we believe work best for these angels. This is based on research, experimentation and direct contact with the angels.
Q: What if I want to use the traditional Hebrew pronunciation, but can’t read Hebrew?
A: I can only say that there’s no need to use the traditional sounds, but if you want, the traditional pronunciations are found all over the net, in various forms. You’ll notice, however, that many pages suggest three or more different pronunciations for a single name, and many will be identical to ours. The rituals are Pronunciation Proof (see below).
Q: Some of the Hebrew letters appear to be wrong. Did you make a mistake?
A: In some cases you may just be using different source materials to us. In other cases, you may be looking at acronyms or other encodings which occur throughout occultism. In other cases, we use a technique known as smudging.
Smudging appears in a lot of our work. It is one of the fundamental secrets that empowers our magick. If you look at Gordon Winterfield’s book, for example, the same word appears in a sigil twice – and one spelling is correct, the other isn’t. There are many other examples across the books. The theory behind smudging is mostly secret, but one aspect that we’ve mentioned before is that if we deliberately reproduce a typo from an effective text (that was widely used at one time), or from a significant ancient talisman, that ‘error’ has power. In part it’s an egregoric effect, as though a new sub-archetype has been created through repeated use of something that is not quite technically correct. If you don’t like this approach, you are of course free to create your own sigil, but we believe these small ripples that have already been embedded in the standard order of magick can help to give you access to magickal power.
Q: There appears to be a missing Hebrew word. Is that a mistake?
A: In some cases there are vocalizations or words that do not appear visually in the sigil. This is all as it’s meant to be. (At other time, words that appear in Hebrew just once are read out more than once.)
Q: I’ve tried translating the words myself, using software, but it’s nonsense. Why?
A: See above. The names are rare and will not be recognised by software.
Q: Some of the symbols look like gibberish.
A: Angelic scripts are used throughout the books. Many of these can be located with sufficient research.
Q: Can you provide a translation for the Hebrew and Latin in all your books?
A: Although we could do this, it doesn’t help. (By using an unfamiliar language, you may even be more likely to get results, because it cuts out your judgment and interpretation of the words.) If knowing a translation affected results, we would write everything in English, but it does not. In many cases, the shapes of the Hebrew letters are considered magickal, so you do not need any knowledge of Hebrew. You only need to look at the letter shapes for them to work. Also, many words can’t be translated directly as they are angelic names, acronyms and other encodings. All Hebrew words are sounded out phonetically, so you only need to make the sounds and see the letter shapes to get results. (See the next question for more detail.)
Q: I’d really like to know exactly what’s written in all the talismans and sigils. Why won’t you translate it for us?
A: To do so would take several very large volumes and this theoretical background would not improve practical results. Some people feel uneasy using sigils when they don’t know what it is they are looking at. To elaborate a little, we can say that in Words of Power, you are saying a series of divine names and angelic names. These, when combined in this particular order, using the process described, bring about the required result. To give the history, origin and meaning of every name and word would potentially be interesting, but would also make the book very long and barely practical. As such, the information is omitted, for brevity and practicality.
A few people have asked about the exact content of the Master Talisman in Magickal Riches. This one is even more difficult to explain, because in some places the words are patterned encodings or acronyms. One small word may be an acronym for many other divine names, for example. To fully explain this would make for a long, dry text without any practical enhancement. There are thousands of names, encoded words and letter patterns across the books of The Gallery of Magick, and explaining them all would take well over a year, in a book that would appeal to a small handful of readers. As such, we have focused on the practical requirements for the magick to work.
There are already thousands of books on magickal theory in print, should you want to know more, and it is partly because these volumes are so impractical that we have streamlined the magick in our books, so that the material you need is at hand.
Q: Why are some angel names and words of power pronounced differently across the various books?
A: If you look at Vevliah, for example, you will see that the most recent pronunciation we’ve published is VEH-VAH-LEE-AH, but it has also appeared as VEH-OO-AH-LEE-AH. There are many magickal documents in our posession that add vowel sounds (not present in the primary sources), and these suggest a slightly different way of pronouncing the words, and thus of approaching the angel. But it is the same angel, so there is no real difference. These changes reflect the various methods, names and pronunciations we have used at various times and all are valid. If you use a pronunciation we have suggested, it is one we have trusted and one that will work, even if it varies across the books. This is also true of divine names and words of power.
Q: Why don’t you show vowel markings in the Hebrew?
A: Sometimes we do, but rarely, as in most cases they aren’t required to get results. Often, primary sources disagree regarding the ‘correct’ vowel markings. Different versions of a text will have radically different vowel markings, suggesting the authors and transcribers each used their own best guess. It makes sense for us to use the pure visual Hebrew letters, which work so well when uncluttered by other markings, and provide you with the sounds that work best with these letters, represented phonetically, and based on decades of experience. This makes the magick perfectly accessible to people who can’t read Hebrew. If you use the video above, you’ll know how to say everything that’s in the books.
Q: Do you need help translating the books into other languages?
A: Thanks for the offer, but translation is a project we want to oversee when the major books have all been written and published. Translating phonetics is a challenge and will require our full attention, especially if we translate into five or more languages. We hope this will happen one day, but when it does it will be handled in-house.
Q: I can’t say the words of the ritual out loud, for reasons of privacy. Will it still work?
A: Yes, so long as you imagine the sound of the words clearly, and imagine that you are calling to the ends of the universe. If a ritual requires you to imagine one thing while saying another, simply perform these actions sequentially.
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11 thoughts on “Pronunciation and Spelling FAQ”
is “ME” pronounced as me as in “this is me” or is it MEH without H. Please clarify. Thank you.
Like it says in the video, if it looks like English it is English. So ME is the word ME, like ‘this is me’. Some books use MEH, which is different – you can hear it at the 3.50 mark in the video above. So in YEH-ME-NAY-CHAH it would be ME as in ‘this is me’. In MEH-SHAH-REH-TAHV it would be the MEH sound you hear that goes with the EH sound at 3.50 in the video. I hope that clarifies. Adam B
An Audiobook version of Words of Power or The Greater Words of Power would be a bestseller.
We consider it from time to time, but the main reason we don’t is that it will make people think that audio is essential. It just isn’t – get it nearly right by reading the book and you’ve got it exactly right. Putting out a CD would make people worry that the books are useless unless you buy audio. The review would start to say, ‘Great book, but you have to buy a CD.’ Which would be crazy!
The only way to avoid that is to give it away free, which sounds good to me, but then we’d need to do it for all books and then we’re looking at a few hundred hours of recording, editing etc and it’s a big, expensive project. When we did a survey of readers, only 2% said they really wanted audio. But we did include audio for the Worldwide Ritual last year and it was well received. So maybe we will, sooner or later. But I’m pretty sure we’ll do it for free, if we do it at all.
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