It is useful to remember that most books, even sacred books, contain errors. As magicians we are taught to examine everything with a discriminating eye. So we should not be surprised to find mistakes that have crept into treasured magical grimoires — mistakes that have also found their way into the teachings of the Golden Dawn.

One such example is the name Khamael: the Archangel of Geburah, whose name means “the Severity of God”. Khamael is the protector of the wronged — the Avenging Angel who pursues those who break both human and universal laws. He is associated with Divine justice and severity. Khamael is sometimes called “The right hand of God” — meeting out justice in order to restore a state of balance throughout the Tree of Life. He controls the aspects of burning and destroying in order to purify and preserve.

William Grey erroneously stated that the root of this name was khab, which meant to suffer, to feel pain or make war. However, the original Archangel of Mars was Samael — a name that MacGregor Mathers changed to Zamael in order to avoid connotations with the Qliphotic Samael. When the Qabalists began to assign Archangels to the Sephiroth, someone attributed a list of Planetary Archangels to their corresponding Sephiroth, and the martial Samael was naturally assigned to Geburah. At some point this list was copied into Greek. In late Greek writing, the letter Sigma (the first letter in Samael) came to be drawn in the shape of a “C.” Still later, when the Greek list was copied into Latin, the copist made the error of transliterating the Greek name of CAMAHL as “Camael” rather than “Samael.” Even later, someone (perhaps a member of the Golden Dawn) back-transliterated Camael as kaph mem aleph lamed and thus was Khamael born. And although it originated as an error in transliteration, it does help magicians destinguish between Samael, Archangel of Evil, Zamael, Archangel of Mars, and Khamael, Archangel of Geburah.

Other mistakes: The name of the Archangel of Venus, Anael, has often been wrongly given as Hanael through confusion with Haniel, Archangel of Netzach. The name of the Archangel of Sagittarius, Adnakhiel, has been frequently misspelled as Advakhiel, through a scribal error mistaking Hebrew Nun for Vav. The same error also occurred in Renaissance Latin typesetting, where the n of Adnachiel could easily be set upside-down as a u, producing Aduachiel. Finally, the correct name of the Angel of Elemental Fire is Ariel (“the Lion of God”), not Aral. An error in Agrippa was long perpetuated in the Golden Dawn manuscripts, in which the two names Ariel and Aral were swapped. This confusion was perpetuated because the four Rulers of the Elements have generally not been recognized as the names of Orders of Angels. Seraph, Cherub, Tharsis, and Aral (Erel) are simply the singular forms of Seraphim, Kerubim, Tarshishim, and Erelim.

There has also been a lot of confusion regarding the Divine Hebrew names that are to be painted on the Four Elemental Weapons of the Zelator Adeptus Minor. According to Wang’s book The Secret Temple, the names on the implements are: Earth Pentacle — Adonai ha-Aretz, Air Dagger — Shaddai E Chai, Water Cup — Elohim Tzabaoth, and Fire Wand — YHVH Tzabaoth. These are the Divine names given in the Outer Order Grade Ceremonies relating to the Sephiroth of Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, and Netzach, which also have elemental associations.

However, the correct Divine Hebrew names of the Elements for the Inner Order are actually given in the consecration rituals of these same implements (see Regardie, The Golden Dawn, 324). They are: Earth Pentacle — ADONAI,  Air Dagger — YHVH, Water Cup — EL, and Fire Wand — ELOHIM. These are the Divine names intoned in the SIRP and they relate to the Sephiroth of Malkuth, Tiphareth, Chesed, and Geburah. They are also the Divine names that should be painted on the four elemental weapons of the Z.A.M. (Kathleen Raine’s book Yeats, The Tarot, and the Golden Dawn shows a picture of William Bulter Yeats’ Earth Pentacle inscribed with the Divine Name Adonai — not Adonai ha-Aretz.



Anonymous · July 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Thank You, I like this post but would love to see more examples.

Frater Yechidah · July 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Good post. I think it's important that modern students correct mistakes, or at least understand where they came from and what is really intended. You inspired me to blog about a few other errors I could think of off the top of my head, but there are many of them out there.

Petitor, here's a few more examples:


Tabatha · July 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Thanks Dean,
Happy to be of service.


Anonymous · January 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Great blog entry, very valuable contribution.

A Question though: How does one actually break a universal law?

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