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TitleSwart, Jacobus G.: Spiritual Protection in Practical Kabbalah.
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Spiritual Protection

Practical Kabbalah


Jacobus G. Swart
[from “The Book of Sacred Names”: The Sangreal Sodality Press, Johannesburg 2011]


The Divine Name (Taftafyah—also pronounced Teftefyah, Teftafyah, Tiftufyah and Tafitofeiho), is one
of the seventy names of the archangel Metatron.1 It made its first appearance in Hebrew texts during the fourth
century, and is composed of the first two letters of verses 69, 70 and 76 of Psalm 119 which read:

(Verse 69)

(Verse 70)

(Verse 76)

(verse 69) TaF’lu alai sheker zeidim ani b’chol lev etzor pikudecha.
(verse 70) TaFash kachelev libam ani torat’cha shi’asha’ti.
(verse 76) Y’Hi na chasd’cha l’nachameini k’imratecha l’avdecha.

(verse 69) The proud have forged a lie against me; but I with my whole heart will keep Thy precepts.
(verse 70) Their heart is gross like fat; but I delight in Thy law.
(verse 76) Let, I pray Thee, Thy lovingkindness be ready to comfort me, according to Thy promise unto Thy

Taftafyah is considered amongst the most potent Sacred Names, certainly one which, in combination with the
“Shield of David” (hexagram), was amongst the most popular protective magical charms of the mediaeval world.2

In fact, the two interlaced triangles of the hexagram comprise the symbol of Metatron, the holy intermediary
between heaven and earth.3 Besides this, Taftafyah is called the “Name of the Thought,” some believing it to be
associated with Chochmah (Wisdom) “the source of mind.”4 We are told this Name pertains directly to the “angel”
mentioned in Exodus 23:20 which reads:

Hineih anochi sholeach malach l’fanecha lish’mar’cha badarech v’lahavi’acha el ha-makom

Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee by the way, and to bring thee into the place.

Curiously enough, the Name Taftafyah is associated with six angels, each respectively related directly to one of the
six letters comprising this Divine name, specifically:

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— (Tamtam’el);
— (Pni’el);
— (Tuvi’el);
— (Patchi’el);

— (Yehi’el); and
— (Ho’el).

Called Shem ha-Machshavah (Name of the Thought), Taftafyah is considered particularly efficacious in certain
“magical” practices involving visualisation, e.g. Moses Zacutto recommends it should be visualised in the “colour
of blood (red) in front of your enemies” as a potent protective device.5 Elsewhere he suggested that when you see
your enemies approaching, that you should again utter Exodus 23:20, taking special care to recite it up to the word

(ha-Makom) only, and then to continue with:


b’shem elo ha-shemot, Taftafyah Himel Azbogah Yohach Ori’el [Uri’el ].

In the Name of these Names, Taftafyah Himel Azbogah Yohach Ori’el .

Conclude by saying three times: [Lishu’atcha kiviti YHVH—“I wait for Thy salvation
YHVH”] (Genesis 49:18) whilst focussing specifically on the term (ha-makom), then, said Zacutto, “pass
on your way in peace.”6

Interestingly enough, in a related practice pertaining to one being under attack by an enemy from whom one
cannot escape, it is suggested that one utters with great focus the Name (Kiripogorim pronounced
“kee-ree-po-go-reem”) which is said to have been derived from the verse:


Va’yashkimu va’boker v’hineih chulam p’garim meitim

And when men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses (Isaiah 37:36).

Obviously “passing ones way in peace” would necessitate protection on your way, and here Taftafyah is again
considered to be of inestimable value. Zacutto informed us that this Sacred Name also has the power to “protect
you on the road,” or during your journeys. To gain such protection you need to again say Exodus 23:20, and Zacutto
warned that one should be most careful to utter the verse to the word (ha-Makom) only, stating that the one
“walking on the way” will be harmed if that individual should recite beyond that point. This is because Taftafyah
is said to be an angel, here charged with accompanying you on your journey. Apparently the thirteenth century
Rabbi Samuel ben David (Rashbad) indicated in his writings that this Name equates numerically with ,7

though the gematria of is 193 and that of is actually only 191. Be that as it may, the important
point is that you need to say that verse from Exodus up to the word “ha-makom,” and then continue by reciting:

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In order to decipher the hidden Divine Names and Hebrew phrases, one has to read the first letter in each box
(starting with the right letter in the top right box, then reading from right to left the rightmost letter in each box),
followed by all the second letters, then read the third letters, and lastly repeat the procedure with all the fourth
letters. The hidden phrase will then be revealed as being:

1. Reading the first letter in each box:
Upper Row: hyh)—EHYeH
Middle Row: hwhy—YHVH
Lower Row: ynd)—AdoNaY

2. Reading the second letter in each box:
#dqm Krz( xl#y
Yislach Ezrecha Mikodesh (Psalm 20:3 [4])

3. Reading the third letter in each box:
#” y (r lkm Krm#y
Yishmar’cha mikol ra Y”Sh (Psalm 121:7)

4. Reading the fourth letter in each box:
K)bw Kt)c rm#y
Yishmor Tzet’cha Uvo’echa (Psalm 121:8)

Ehyeh YHVH Adonai, may he send you help from (his) holiness, may he guard you from all evil (Blessed
be His Name), may He guard your going forth and coming in.

This magic square comprises a combination of Divine Names and Hebrew phrases, all of which were carefully
intertwined into a powerful magical unit.21 It is in fact an amulet which is said to have the power of guarding the
wearer against attack and abduction. It is generally a protection against malevolent forces and disease. As a talisman
it is not only written on paper, or on deer skin as is so often suggested in primary kabbalistic texts, but also inscribed
on a silver metal square to be worn on ones person, e.g. affixed to a chain around the upper arm; as a pendant on
a chain; etc., or in the case of a parchment, rolled up inside a special Kame’a holder which is similarly carried on
ones person.

A further use of this magic square is its use as a protection incantation. Each of its component letters is
pronounced in a special manner. These were addressed by Moses Zacutto who indicated the pronunciation of each
syllable to be exactly as they appear in the words they were derived from, as shown below:22

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Each group of four letters in each box is a magical word, and the entire phrase comprises twelve such four letter
words, which should be uttered rhythmically, without pause, for maximum impact on ones own body, mind and
soul. It is after all in ones own being where the real “sacred contact” is made, which will work the desired effect.
Here the “protection incantation” is as follows:




Combining this chant with a circular stomping dance could make for a formidable magical activity, something
similar to the way the native Americans stomp and chant. Of course, this action is not mentioned in the magical
texts, but ritual dancing is not absent in Judaism—think of Simchat Torah,23 or even King David dancing naked in
front of the Ark of the Covenant! You might also look at the interesting circumambulation practices discussed by
Gershon Winkler.24

Regarding this protection amulet and chant being used for anyone other than yourself, you can indeed do
so by simply focussing on the individual you wish to do it for and then consciously repeating the chant a number
of times, i.e. as many as you deem necessary. A stronger method would be if you could do “identification” with that
person first, and then utter the incantation while “inside” that individual, so to speak.25 In using this method, you
should however always remember to “extricate” yourself from the individual in question when you have concluded
the chanting, otherwise you might find yourself walking around with the “presence” of that person around you all
the time. In such instances you have actually created a kind of “ibbur” (impregnation) of yourself into the being
of the individual in question. Whilst such actions have indeed been employed for a variety of reasons, e.g. between
masters and their disciples, it is not really desirable to impact on the private space of individuals in such an ongoing

I was once asked whether procedures designed for protection could be worked with ones own name and a
couple of “words of power.” I thought this a fair conjecture, since there is certainly no absence of personal names
and quite straightforward “power phrases” in the great number of Hebrew/Aramaic amulets which have been
preserved in special collections around the globe. In fact, it should be relatively easy to construct a personal Kame’a
in exactly the format we have been discussing, and work out an appropriate incantation on the same lines as well.

An important factor one has to consider when it comes to “spiritual protection,” is the immediate need to
stop acknowledging that “enemies” have power over one. Every time you affirm their hold over you, you
disempower yourself and empower them more. This is of primary importance! Every time you feel fear, desperation,
whatever it is, deliberately do something which is entirely opposite to these feelings. Stop acting on your fears. I
am not familiar with any particular dangerous circumstance readers may find themselves in, but I do know that ones
fears will increase every time one acts on them, and likewise enemies will become more dangerous. This is the
entire secret of self-creation. You have to believe in your own strength, and then act in a manner which will
empower you.26 Quoting a phrase from one of his great books, my late mentor, William G. Gray, reminds me that
the most ideal way to approach all situations, whether good or bad, is to always “Be of one mind in one place at
one time.”27

After having adopted such a position of mental, emotional and spiritual strength, you can take certain
immediate “spiritual” steps to strengthen yourself and reduce the power of those intending you harm. I have found
the following simple act, which must become virtually an automatic action, to be most effective. It becomes the
foundation for any further future action one may decide to take. Here it is:

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Shmoro la-yeled ha-zeh mikol davar ra, omein netzach selah va-ed

Protect this child from every evil thing, amen victory selah forever.

As simple as that!

Notes and Bibliography:

1. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Hotzaat Nezer Shraga, Jerusalem 1999.
2. Scholem, G.: Kabbalah, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem 1974.

Gutman, J.: The Jewish Sanctuary, Brill, Leiden 1984.
Grafton, A. & Sirtaisi, N.G.: Natural Particulars: Nature and the Disciplines in Renaissance Europe, MIT Press,
Cambridge 1999.

3. Epstein, M.M.: Dreams of Subversion in Medieval Jewish Art and Literature, The Pennsylvania State University
Press, Pennsylvania 1992.

4. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Op. cit.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.

Mizrachi, E.A.: Refuah v’Chayim m’Yerushalayim, Defus Yehudah vi-Yerushalayim, Jerusalem 1931.
9. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Op. cit.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Shkalim, E.: A Mosaic of Israel’s Traditions: Unity through Diversity, Op. cit.
18. Trugman, A.A.: Seeds and Sparks Inspiration and Self- Expression Through the Cycles of Jewish Life, Targum Press,

Southfield 2003.
19. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Op. cit.
20. Ibid.
21. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Op. cit.

Schrire, T.: Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1966.
Shachar, I.: Jewish Tradition in Art: The Feuchtwanger Collection of Judaica, transl. R Grafman, The Israel
Museum, Jerusalem 1981.

22. Zacutto, M.: Ibid.
23. Keene, M.: This is Judaism, Stanley Thornes (Publishers) Ltd., Cheltenham 1996.
24. Winkler, G.: Magic of the Ordinary, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley 2003.
25. Swart, J.G.: The Book of Self Creation, The Sangreal Sodality Press, Johannesburg 2009.
26. Ibid.
27. Gray, W.G.: Western Inner Workings, Sangreal Sodality Series Volume 1, Samuel Weiser Inc., York Beach 1983.
28. Hoffman, L.A.: My People’s Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, Jewish Lights

Publishing, Woodstock 2008.
29. Isserles, M.: Sefer Darchei Moshe, Fiyorda 1760.

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30. Hoffman, L.A.: Ibid.
Gumbiner, A.A.: Sefer Magen Avraham, Amsterdam 1732.

31. Kanarfogel, E.: Peering Through the Lattices: Mystical, Magical, and Pietistic Dimensions in the Tosafist Period,
Wayne State University Press, Detroit 2000.

32. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Op. cit.
33. Ibid.

Palagi, C.: Refuah ha-Chayim, Jerusalem 1908.
Trachtenberg, J.: Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion, Behrman’s Jewish Book House
Publishers, New York 1939.
Schrire, T.: Hebrew Amulets, Op. cit.
Davis, E. & Frenkel, D.A.: Ha-Kami’a ha-Ivri: Mikra’i Refu’i Kelali im Tatzlumim v’Iyurim Rabim, Machon
l’Mada’e ha-Yahadut, Jerusalem 1995.

34. Schrire, T.: Ibid.
Davis, E. & Frenkel, D.A.: Ibid.

35. Agrippa, H.C.: Three Books of Occult Philosophy, transl. J. Freake, Gregory Moule, London 1651.
Budge, E.A.: Amulets and Talismans, University Books, New York 1968.

36. Agrippae ab Nettesheym, H.C.: De Occulta Philosophia (Libri III), Apud Godefridum & Marcellum, Beringos,
Fratres 1550.

37. Agrippa, H.C.: Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Op. cit.
Barrett, F.: The Magus or Celestial Intelligencer, being a Complete System of Occult Philosophy in Three Books,
University Books Inc., New York 1967.

38. Zacutto, M.: Shorshei ha-Shemot, Op. cit.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.
41. Ibid.
42. Ibid.
43. Ibid.

(The End)

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