Everybody takes breaks. We need them to slow down, reflect, and adjust to change. But in religious communities, many people encourage a consistent practice. Do something religious every day, every week, or every morning and night–then you’ll be doing it “right.”
As ideal as this seems, this doesn’t fit into everyday life. Work projects, midterms, health scares, and family emergencies pull us out of worship. Sometimes, a combination of little projects adds up, and the stress makes worship impossible.
Throughout my career, I’ve had many people ask me about reconnecting with a deity after a long break. They usually seem anxious. What if the deity is mad at them? Did they do something wrong? Will the deity understand?
Let’s talk about reconnecting with deities. It might seem daunting, but if you break it down into steps, it becomes much more manageable. Since I've taken a break from working with Hades, I'll do it with you!
Work through the Emotions
This idea is a common misconception about Pagan deities, and it usually stems from insecurity. If we don’t tackle these emotions, they will prevent us from worshiping.
First off, rarely do deities end up hating their followers. Will They be upset? Maybe; I can’t speak for Them. But most of the time, deities understand why you took time off. Remember that They are omniscient. Deities aren’t like family members you forgot to call: They can see your life and many things beyond it.
To relieve guilt and anxiety, I recommend writing a letter to your deity. Explain why you took time off and how you feel about it. Are you worried about what They’ll think? Do you feel disappointed with yourself? What’s preventing you from worshiping again? Be honest with your deities. They’ll appreciate it.
If writing gives you anxiety, try this trick my therapist taught me. Set a timer for two minutes, and write. When the timer goes off, take a break. Watch a funny video, hug a stuffed animal, cry, meditate–do whatever you need to process the emotions. When you feel ready, set the timer for another two minutes.
Brainstorming Worship Ideas
Now that we feel better, we need to figure out how we’ll worship. Many people jump into worshiping the exact same way they did before. But don’t be too hasty!
After a long break, your life and daily schedule are likely different from before. So your old worship routine might not work. In addition, a new worship technique could inspire motivation if you feel burnt out.
Let’s break out our prayer journals or a piece of paper. Create two lists: (1) your former worship routine and (2) new worship ideas.
Writing down your old routine might remind you of what you enjoyed and what you tolerated. Brainstorming new ideas will refresh you.
When I wrote about my Hades worship, here’s what I jotted down:
From these two lists, we can choose which ideas we want to pursue. If you want some more ideas, check out these Pagan prayer journaling prompts.
Notice how low-effort some of these ideas are. We can play music or build digital altars while performing other tasks. That’s great! Worship does not need to be high-effort to be valid, especially when we’re just getting back into it.
Make It Easy
Since it’s been a long time, many worshipers want to perform large, complex rituals. But I recommend going easy. Make your new routine as simple as possible.
Consistent worship is like developing a habit. People are more likely to stick to a habit if it’s easier. If the worship takes too much time or energy, we might not want to do it.
Choose one or two worship techniques from the lists you made earlier. While choosing, consider which ones would be the most fun. We want worship to be enjoyable and something that you look forward to.
Also, don’t think about daily/weekly worship yet. Focus on this one ritual. View this as the “reset” ritual, one that brings you back into the groove. Remember, the less pressure you put on yourself, the more fun your worship will be.
Where Do We Go from Here?
At this point, we’ve done our ritual. We have successfully reconnected with our deity or deities. Now what?
Now is the time to look forward. How often do you want to worship? How often can you feasibly worship? What will you enjoy doing? What works with your schedule?
If you desire a consistent Pagan practice, read this post. But remember not to overload yourself. Keep your routine as simple as possible and add steps over time.
How did it go? What’s your worship routine? Let me know in the comments below!
Other Helpful Posts:
Throughout my six years of blogging, I’ve received a lot of questions about Paganism and Pagan deities. Many of these questions stem from misconceptions about the Gods and Their worship.
To be clear: I don’t blame people for having misconceptions. Pagan religions are not widely discussed or well-known. Most people don’t really know what they’re getting into, only that they’re interested. To make it easier on everyone, I want to clear up some of the most common misconceptions I see throughout the community.
DISCLAIMER: The headlines are the misconceptions. The body text explains why these are incorrect. I want to make this explicitly clear for anyone who is skimming this article.
1. You Must Receive a Sign to Start Working with Deities
This is, by far, the most common misconception throughout the Pagan community. It’s such a common idea that I wrote a whole post about signs, and it’s my most popular page by far.
A lot of people read about worshipers receiving “signs”: the deity’s name keeps popping up, they receive a moving dream, a song keeps playing on the radio, etc. Many people view signs as a deity “choosing” them in a glamorous, esoteric way. Personally, I think it’s more accurate to say that signs are the universe’s way of getting you to consider something.
You do not need a sign to work with a Pagan deity. Although people love writing about signs, not many experience them (or realize that they’re experiencing them). Most Pagans I know reached out to a deity because they were interested in a relationship with Them. You don’t need a tangible reason.
On top of that, many people don’t realize when they’re receiving signs. I initially reached out to Hades because I felt drawn to Him. At the time, I didn’t notice that He kept popping up in my literature, on my social media, in my classes…there were signs, but I wasn’t noticing them.
Signs don’t make you a better or worse worshiper. People who receive signs (or believe that they do) are not more valuable than those who don't. Your Pagan path depends on what you do, not what you see/hear/notice before it even starts.
2. You Have to Be Similar to a Deity
Many people think that they have to work with deities who share some similarity with them. For example, if you’re an artsy person, you might assume that you should work with Brigid, Apollo, or Thoth. But for many people, that’s not how Paganism works.
You do not need to work with a “similar” deity. In fact, I find that many people feel drawn to unexpected deities. I often receive messages such as, “Why do I feel pulled to Hades? I’m not interested in death work and have no major deaths in my life.”
In reality, deities are so much more than They appear to be. Hades is the Lord of the Death, but He also governs finances, seasonal changes, justice, shadow work, and the earth. But most people wouldn’t know this unless they researched Hades and His worship.
So if you feel drawn to a deity and don’t know why, start researching. You might uncover something that will change your perspective.
3. There Are Good and Bad Beginner Deities
This myth deserves an entire post just so I can rant about how much I hate this trend. I’ve seen too many bloggers and authors claim that certain deities are good/bad for beginners. Many people have messaged me, worried about Hades being a “bad beginner deity.”
Who decides which deity is good for beginners? What are the parameters? Is there one person in the entire Pagan community who has worked with every deity in every pantheon, in-depth, to develop a list?
All of these “beginner” lists are subjective. Everybody has a different relationship with the Gods. I, personally, would say that Hades is a fantastic beginner deity because He was to me. Does that mean that He’ll be great for you? Nobody knows. We’re not omniscient. That’s why there is no such thing as a “beginner deity.”
Do not let other authors dictate who you work with. If you feel drawn to a deity, reach out. Only you can determine your Pagan path.
4. Pagan Deities Act like They Do in Myths
You can thank Christian culture and vapid history lessons for this assumption. Many people assume that Pagan myths are (and were) treated like the Bible. If you work with Zeus, you’re working with a deity who bangs every woman in existence, right?
Wrong. Historically, many believed that the myths were not real. Myths were treated as entertainment, stories that explain a natural phenomenon or moral standpoint relevant to the times. The deities who were worshiped in, say, ancient Greece, were not the same deities you see depicted myths.
In ancient worship, Zeus was viewed as a God of justice, morality, order–the deity who makes sure that everything is running smoothly. Similarly, Hera wasn’t viewed as just a jealous Goddess. She protected women, mothers, children, childbirth, and the home.
If you’re interested in Paganism, research how the deities were actually worshiped. Dive into honorifics, rituals, holidays, and cults. Do not rely on the mythos; those will not give you accurate information.
5. You Must Have a Matron/Patron or Be a Devotee
Many Wiccan authors promote the idea of a matron and patron. These are the “main” God and Goddess in a person’s Pagan worship. Similarly, many modern-day worshipers are devotees, meaning that they devote most of their time to a specific deity (or two, or three).
Can you have a matron/patron? Sure. Can you be a devotee? If you want to. But you do not need to. In fact, I recommend that you hold off these labels during early worship.
Matrons, patrons, and devotions are big commitments. People take on these labels because they feel a special closeness to a God/Goddess. But how do you know which deity you feel close to? You won’t until you work with Them for a while.
Don’t feel too eager to devote or adopt labels. Slow down, have fun with it, and learn about yourself and your Gods.
6. You Can Only Work with One Pantheon
A pantheon is a group of Gods in a specific religion/culture, such as the Greek pantheon, Egyptian, etc. You do not have to choose one pantheon. In fact, most Pagans I know work with deities from multiple pantheons.
Whenever I receive questions about pantheons, it’s usually from people who work with one pantheon/deity (let’s say Osiris) and want to branch out to another (let’s say Lugh). They want to know if it’s disrespectful to their current deity to reach out to another.
Usually, there isn’t a problem. But if you want to make sure, contact your current deity. Use divination, prayer, offerings–see what They say. If you don’t feel anything wrong, then you’re probably in the clear.
7. Certain Deities Hate Each Other
I hear these misconceptions so often. “I’ve heard that Horus and Set hate each other. Can I not work with both of Them?” “I’ve heard that Hades hates almost every other deity. Is He a jealous God?”
This is another case where people rely too much on mythology for information about the Gods. Historically, Gods were worshiped together. Although many people worked with one or two deities more often, most worshiped the entire pantheon as a whole. If deities were spiteful or jealous, then this wouldn’t have been possible.
Don’t assume how the Gods will act before They do. Contact Them, listen to Them, and worship in good faith.
8. You Must Have Some Niche Psychic Ability to Communicate with the Gods
I’ve seen many social media users claim to “hear” their deities, dream of Them, see Them, etc. And many others have seen these posts, too. These posts make many Pagans think, “That’s never happened to me–am I doing something wrong?
Some people have used the terms clairsentience, clairaudience, and–as much as I hate this term–”godphone.” It implies that people need some niche psychic ability to communicate with the Gods.
You don’t need any special ability to talk to the Gods. Hell, you don’t even need to be a witch or interested in magic. The only requirements are respect for the Gods and interest in the path.
Ignore people who claim to “hear” or “see” their deities all the time. While these abilities are possible, they rarely happen on a daily basis. And most people who say things like “I heard [God/Goddess] say ___” are just rephrasing their own beliefs.
Most people communicate with the Gods through prayer, divination, meditation, and listening to nature. During your path, you will learn how to hear and see your Gods, in your own way.
9. There Is a “Proper” Way to Pray
Many Pagans use historical prayers or poems in their worship. This has lead some people to believe that they need to speak to the Gods in a “proper” way, or you need professionally-written, rhyming prayers.
There is no “right way” to speak to the Gods. Many people just speak normally. Some people even have nicknames for their deities or inside jokes. If you struggle with Pagan prayer, here’s a post for just this topic.
10. If You Don’t Worship Consistently, the Gods Will Hate You
I’ve heard so many people worry about their Gods “hating” them for skipping a holiday, taking a break, or having a difficult time. And it always makes me so sad.
First off, breaks in spiritual practice are normal. Sometimes, life gets in the way. Health scares, financial troubles, school, familial obligations–-all can interrupt your worship for a period of time. Anyone who says that their worship is constant is lying.
Given that these breaks are normal, I highly doubt a deity would hate you for taking one. Would They be upset with you for skipping a ritual you said you’d fulfill? Maybe. I can’t speak for Them. Personally, I’ve received nothing more than a stern talking to for this. They might be annoyed, but hate? That’s a strong word.
It’s easy to forget that the Gods are omniscient. They understand what you went through, probably better than you do. When worshipers have a difficult time, the Gods are here to help, not scold.
Try not to let your personal views get in the way. In my experience, whenever I thought “so-and-so will hate me,” it’s because I’m being hard on myself. It rarely has to do with the deity in question.
When in doubt, honesty is the best course of action. Were you struggling? Were you doubting (which is also normal)? Do you feel guilty? Are you having a hard time returning to worship? Talking to the Gods will not only relieve your emotions, but it could also grant you some clarity.
The Gods are generally kinder and more understanding than some people give Them credit for. Never assume what the Gods will think without consulting Them yourself.
There are many other topics that I didn’t cover here, such as initiation, cultural appropriation, and historical accuracy. If you would like a sequel to this post, leave a comment below.
I often get asked what “intermediate” witches and magicians should study. If you want to improve your Craft but don’t know where to start, I recommend researching folklore. It is the basis of most of the world’s magical practices.
Which folklore should you study and why? That’s what I want to explore in this post. Keep in mind that these are just ideas, and ultimately, you should pursue whatever captures your attention.
What Is Folklore?
Although a lot of people equate folklore with superstitions, it’s much more complicated. According to Wikipedia, folklore is “the body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture, or group.” The American Folklore Society expands upon this definition, saying that folklore covers “art, stories, knowledge, and practices of the people.” Folklorists study a wide range of topics, including holidays, oral stories, funerals, dances, and urban legends.
When it comes to witchcraft, practitioners study folklore for its magic, superstitions, and beliefs about spirits. This is what separates a brujería from a pellar. Brujerías pull from Latin American and Afro-Caribbean folklore, while pellars study British magic.
If you have a culture-specific path, you already know which folklore(s) to focus on. But if you have no idea, here are some options.
Why Is Folklore Important in Magic?
Before we continue, I want to argue why folklore is important to the Craft. Frankly, I would say that it’s essential. Folklore is the basis of magic in many cultures, and without it, most modern magical paths–including Wicca and eclectic witchcraft–would not exist.
For many cultures, magic is a way of preserving tradition. Many study folklore to honor their ancestors or connect to their heritage. But that’s not the only reason to choose a folklore (or a few) to study.
Although folklores have many similarities, they also have several differences. In my post Magical Uses for Cemetery Water and Snow, I mentioned that cultures have different beliefs about ghosts and water. In Thailand, Japan, and the Balkans, ghosts can inhabit water. But in Scotland and the American South, ghosts are said to avoid water–so much that people painted their porches blue so that ghosts wouldn’t enter.
(Caves are another common theme in folklore with different associations and magical significance. To read more, click here.)
In addition, cultures use different methods to achieve the same results. Honoring Russian ancestors will look very different from honoring Chinese ancestors. Both are effective and valid but require unique practices.
If you try to follow every culture’s folklore, you’ll end up getting confused and go nowhere. The history of magic, healing remedies, folk charms, and oral superstitions will reveal much about magic that you might not have known.
Which Folklore Is “Right”?
You might be wondering which folklore is the “right one.” That’s like asking which theory about the afterlife is correct; no one truly knows, and the argument gets people nowhere. Personally, I think the better question is, “Which folklore is ideal for my Craft, specifically?”
Some witches are very talented with tarot; others prefer runes. In the same vein, some people get great results from one folklore’s practices and fewer results with another. How do you know which one works best? Practice and personal experience.
If you’re American, you might think that this country has no folklore (except for Native American lore, which is available only to them). But that’s not true. Where cultures go, folklore follows. I truly believe that spirits of that culture will follow as well. American folklore has blended aspects of several immigrant cultures.
Certain spirits and deities will not work with people outside of that culture. I mentioned Native American practices earlier as a good example; so is Hoodoo. These are called “closed cultures,” and they limit initiation to people within those cultures. But many cultures are open or tied to where you live.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into some ideas about which folklore(s) to study.
Your Culture / Ethnicity
To be clear: your magical path and religion do not have to intersect. I know plenty of magicians who pull from Christian ceremonial magic but don’t pray to Jesus outside of the required magical prayers. Why do they do this? Because they find that it brings results.
Some people feel that they cannot disconnect their heritage from religion. Personally, when I research Irish folklore for my ancestor work, I dive into Irish Catholicism as well. Catholicism is so deeply ingrained in my family’s history that I cannot separate them. (I also recommend that you honor your ancestors’ religious preferences as well.) Others prefer to work with ancient Irish Pagan deities instead, and that’s also a good path. It all boils down to how you approach your culture and religion.
Where You Live
Traditional witchcraft and folk magic both rely on one thing: your local area. Practitioners speak to local land spirits, use native plants, and research the history and superstitions of that area.
But you don’t have to be a trad witch to research your local folklore. Depending on where you live, this could yield some fascinating results. It can also help you feel more connected to the land and your area’s history.
You can learn a lot from local museums and landmarks in your area. Researching local plants also tells you a lot. (Don’t go out foraging without proper guidance, though.) Libraries and bookstores often offer books about native herbs, trees, birds, and more.
Pulling from More than One Folklore
Most practitioners I know pull from more than one folklore. How does one juggle two or three folk practices? It depends on the magician and how they practice.
Whenever I work with a Pagan deity, I work within their cultural context. For instance, I wouldn’t give an Egyptian deity Greek offerings. The same goes for ancestors. In order to honor these deities and spirits properly, I have to research their history.
Much of my death witchcraft is guided by these Pagan deities, so I use ancient Pagan sources for necromancy. But I’ll use British sources for ancestor work. When it comes to more general spellwork–such as money spells, home protection, etc.--I have freedom to choose. I try different methods and figure out which is the most effective.
If I had to explain my magical practice, it would look like this:
But that’s just me. You might have a different method. Let me know how folklore impacts your Craft in the comments below.
I’ve always been fascinated with magical word symbols such as the sator square. How did these words become magical? Why are they arranged in a specific shape?
Most of these symbols are magical word squares (as opposed to magic squares that feature numbers–-see Agrippa’s planetary squares). However, some are arranged in different shapes, such as an upside-down triangle or an oval. The word squares are usually associated with British pellars and cunningfolk, as British folk author Gemma Gary recorded many of them.
But while I was researching them, I found that most of these symbols stem from two authors: a second-century Roman physician and an Egyptian Jewish mage from the 14th century. So how did these symbols end up in Britain? That’s what I want to explore in this post.
The Origin of Magical Word Symbols
Many of these magical squares and palindromes were discovered during excavations. The sator square, by far the most well-known of these symbols, was first found in Pompeii. Even some palindromes made with Greek letters were found as far north as Denmark.
However, many can be traced back to the two authors I mentioned earlier. The first is Serenus Sammonicus (birth unknown, died 212 AD), the personal physician to Roman Emperor Caracello Quintus.
Sammonicus practiced many magical remedies that he learned from his mentors and borrowed from earlier occult authors such as Pliny the Elder. His most famous work, Res Reconditae, is a series of five books featuring natural remedies. Most notably, Sammonicus recorded the ABRACADABRA palindrome and ABLANA / ANALBA. I’ll cover both of these later.
The second author is an Egyptian mage named Abraham, or Abramelin (sometimes spelled Abra-Melin). A teacher of Jewish magic, he was said to live from 1362 to 1458, although historians debate whether he actually existed.
Abramelin’s life was documented in the book, The Book of Abramelin. This 17th-century manuscript features 12 parts and hundreds of spells. But it is most well-known for its magical word squares.
Abramelin created these magic squares out of Hebrew words. However, the earliest found version of the book was in German, as he was said to live in Germany. Although the author quotes many Bible verses, he took them from a Roman Catholic version of the Bible, written in Latin Vulgate. To put it simply, these magic squares are made from Hebrew words that have been Latinized.
So how did these end up in Britain? In the 19th century, occultist Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers translated the work into English. Mathers was highly influential. As one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he pioneered modern ceremonial magic.
Mathers’ translation, which he titled The Sacred Book of Abramelin the Mage, skyrocketed in popularity during the late 19th and early 20th century. I believe that is how these magic circles ended up in British folk magic.
Given how complicated the history is (Roman > Egyptian > Europe and beyond), I’m going to divide these symbols into two categories: Greek/Latin and Latinized Hebrew.
Greek / Latin Magical Palindromes
Latin word symbols were usually arranged within a square, while ancient Greek ones came in different shapes.
The Sator Square
Translators believe that Arepo is a name, possibly of Egyptian origin. (Arepo appears nowhere else in Latin literature.) So the palindrome translates to “The farmer Arepo has [as] works wheels.” In other words, Arepo plows with wheels, possibly with difficulty due to the connotations.
What does this meaning have to do with magic? Well…nothing, as far as I can tell. The point is less about the literal meaning and more about how the letters are arranged. The sator square is unique in this aspect; most other magical word symbols have relevant meanings. The Romans also had many other similar palindromes, so I don’t know why the sator square became the most popular.
The sator square has been put on walls, doors, churches, houses, and barns. Although it came from the Mediterranean, it has been seen as far north as France. Folk magicians often wrote it on paper and folded it to put in witch bags. The type of paper and color ink depended on the spell.
Speaking of magic, the sator square is a protective symbol. In folk magic, the sator square has also put out fires, cooled fevers, protected livestock, and removed fatigue from travelers.
The Pater Noster Square A-O
The square has paster noster in a cross shape with the A’s and O’s in the corners. The oldest evidence of the paster noster square comes from the second century; it is one of the earliest examples of Christianity in Britain.
Like the sator square, the pater noster square is a protective symbol. It’s sometimes used for healing as well. Think of it as a shortened version of the Lord’s Prayer, which asks God to keep food on the table, forgive debts, and guard against evil.
ABLANA / ANALBA
So what does the palindrome mean? The most direct translation is, “Iahweh is the bearer of the sacred name, the lion of Re secure in his shrine.” Iahweh is an Egyptian name and possibly refers to a deity. Some believe that this name is a version of God's name.
During the 5th century, Christianity was the official religion of Rome, but Pagan beliefs still thrived despite being outlawed. The IAEW-palindrome is a fascinating example of how these religions mixed in the Roman Empire.
Funnily enough, Polish researcher Joachim Śliwa noted that the scribe made a mistake. The author wrote “P” instead of “V.” Throughout history, most examples of this palindrome include the P, meaning that this spelling mistake turned into a widely-used magic symbol.
The IAEW-palindrome has been found in divinatory kits. The symbol likely connects magicians to the Gods and spirits. Sometimes, it is drawn with an Ouroboros around it.
Latinized Hebrew Magic Squares That Ended up in Britain
Most of these magical word squares were recorded in Gemma Gary’s book The Black Toad: West Country Witchcraft and Magic. I don’t know where Gary got these because she often doesn’t cite her sources. But when I researched the words, all of them came from The Sacred Book of Abramelin the Mage. Gary refers to these as British pellar spells, but they were likely used in Jewish magic as well.
The Book of Abramelin lists dozens, if not hundreds, of these magic squares. So I am not going to list all of them. I’m going to focus on a few from Gemma Gary’s books, since these have risen in popularity since the 2010s.
Unlike the previous palindromes, many of these don’t have official names. Abramelin did not name his spells, so I will reference them by their uses. All photos are from Gary's book.
Square for Love
But what does it mean? According to Abramelin, raiah is a female companion. It’s also a popular Jewish name meaning “queen of power.” Haiah comes from Arabic and means “modest,” although it could also be referencing Nith-Haiah, the angel of wisdom and magic.
Igogi is harder to translate. It might reference the Greek word agoge, which refers to the speed of music. If anyone knows Hebrew and can think of a connection, let me know.
I don’t know the translation for this square; this will be a common trend in this section. The Book of Abramelin does not translate all the words, and some of them have multiple meanings. I’m not going to act like I’m a Hebrew expert and try to translate these, but I will list their magical uses.
For Divination in General
According to The Book of Abramelin, milon comes from the Greek milos, meaning “fruit tree.” It might also come from the Hebrew MLVN, roughly translated to “the diversity of things.” Irago stems from the Greek eira, meaning “inquiry” or “question.” Lamal is “probably from Chaldaic,” and that’s all Abramelin says about it. Ogari possibly stems from the Hebrew OGR, “to swallow” or “swiftly flying thing.” Nolim is from the Hebrew word meaning “hidden or covered things.” I’m not a linguist, so I don’t want to try to translate the whole sentence.
Magicians put this symbol on divination tools or in their hat prior to divination.
For Divination, Mirrors and Crystals
According to The Book of Abramelin, gilionin is a version of the Chaldaic word GLIVNM, meaning “mirrors.”
This symbol is placed beneath or in front of the divination tool. People have used it on crystal balls, seeing glasses, magical mirrors, and more.
These magical words either have unknown meanings or are used in an unusual method. All are fairly popular in folk magic and deserve a discussion.
Magicians often write it on paper, fold it, and include it in healing bags. It is also carved into amulets that one can wear. Coral stones, metal, and birch paper are common materials to write it on.
Despite researching these words for days, I cannot find a translation of the word nalgah. If you have an idea, please let me know. But from what I can find, the word relates to spirit power, specifically the power of the serpent.
This symbol is similar to the sator square, and both symbols are written on either side of a charm for protection. It seems to draw upon the power of spirits as well.
The tetragrammaton is the five-letter Hebrew word for God’s name. As a magic symbol, it is actually three words–-or, rather, the same word written in three different languages. The first line is Phoenician, the second is Paleo-Hebrew, and the third is Hebrew.
I’m not going to include a picture because this symbol is unique to Kabbalah, a closed Jewish practice that requires lengthy study and initiation. Although the tetragrammaton is easy to find, you won’t know how to use it unless you understand Kabbalah. I can find information on how NOT to use it, but that’s about it.
Interestingly, ceremonial and folk practitioners got around this by writing the word tetragrammaton. As many know, the word tetragrammaton means “five-lettered word,” so they’re literally writing “five-lettered word” on top of other Hebrew words, assuming that everyone will know what they’re referring to. Here’s an example from Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall:
What Do I Do with this Information?
This post is a general overview of some magical word squares and palindromes. Note that each one needs to be used in a specific way. Don’t assume that one method will work for another one.
I find it intriguing that most authors will list these magical words, but not mention where they came from. In my opinion, that’s a massive oversight. There’s a lot of discourse over the use of Hebrew words in ceremonial and folk magic. Although we will never remove Hebrew from these practices, we should at least give credit where credit is due.
Many have also pointed out that these symbols were probably used before Res Reconditae and The Book of Abramelin. And I’m not disputing that. I believe there is much more associated with these symbols than we currently know. Some words, like abracadabra, may remain undefined forever. Historical evidence for folk magic, especially ancient Pagan magic, is very difficult to find.
Until we discover more, we’ll run with what we know. Those who read Hebrew might have corrections and additions to this post, in which case, please comment! We can always learn more.
Thanks so much for staying with me on this unusually long post. Hope you enjoy!