Hebrew Errors in the Circle in Mathers’ Key of Solomon Book 2, Chapter 9

seal2this site While I’ve been doing intensive research in various manuscripts of the Key of Solomon and Lemegeton and working on my Circle, I’ve been learning some fascinating things, in some cases discovering errors that I haven’t seen mentioned in any other sources.

For example, in Book 2, Chapter 9 of Mathers’ Key of Solomon, Mathers’ diagram shows the Hebrew text of “Who is like unto thee, oh YHVH?” from Exodus 15:11 added in the second Band of the Circle.

However, in almost every source I’ve seen, and in both Mathers’ original presentation and Mr. Donald Tyson’s presentation thereof in Serpent of Wisdom, there are many mistakes in the Hebrew given for this verse (this site quotes the erroneous text as a transliterated “MI KMIK BALIM IHVH”, for instance).

I looked the passage up in the Hebrew Tanakh to verify and in case anyone else is constructing a Circle and wants to include this verse, here is the correct Hebrew as it should be written, shown in the context of the full verse from the Hebrew Tanakh:


If you compare with the transliterated text “MI KMIK BALIM IHVH” that Mr. Tyson and Graycloak Grimoires provided above, you’ll notice the following errors:

1. An unnecessary and additional Yod in “KMIK,” which should rather be given as Kaph-Mem-Kaph-Heh and would be transliterated “KMKH” in English.

2. A word-final Kaph in “KMIK,” which should instead be a Heh, giving KMKH, as explained in point 1.

3. “BALIM” is fairly close to the actual Hebrew, but it contains a superfluous Yod once more. “BALM” would be a more accurate English transliteration.

4. “IHVH” is fine, but I personally prefer “YHVH” as the English transliteration of that word.

Hopefully this is helpful to someone who would like to use the verse in their own Circle. In my own, I used the corrected Hebrew text, which I integrated into the Goetia Circle.

Here is a picture of my Circle in an incomplete stage along the process of constructing it, which shows how the corrected and rectified Hebrew text of Exodus 15:11 was integrated into the tail of the ouroboric Serpent, which I corrected with its tail properly placed in its mouth following a suggestion from the wise Dr. Stephen Skinner:


As a final note, when I shared these corrections in my friend Mr. Aaron Leitch’s Solomonic group, many members agreed with them and were grateful for them. Indeed, the post was approved by Dr. Skinner himself. However, some members wondered if it would be better to integrate the corrupted Hebrew in order to stick “closer to the Grimoires” or correct it as I did.

Personally, I am against sticking to the Grimoires’ erroneous Hebrew out of a misplaced devotion to erroneous ‘traditionalism’ when the errors can be easily corrected and very much in favour of making the corrections.

There are at least three very good reasons for proceeding in this way.

  1. First, as my Medievalist scholar friends like to point out, few people in England and Britain in the Medieval and early Renaissance period spoke Hebrew, and as a result, their Hebrew tended to be very corrupted, and such sketchy Hebrew therefore made it into the Grimoires.
  2. Second, practical experience has revealed that using correct Hebrew is more magically potent, simply because in this way, the invocations, conjurations, and Names used actually reflect their proper way of being written and the power contained therein. This is true both from a traditional magic perspective and from as diverse-seeming a perspective as the yogic view that mantras are not simply symbols of Divine powers, but rather are those powers in instantiated form.

    Therefore, if the Words of Power are riddled with errors, then their potency is reduced and conversely, if correctly written or intoned, their powers are augmented. There is no need to take my word for this point, or the words of the traditional Masters from both the Grimoiric and yogic traditions, however; it is enough to try both the correct Hebrew and the garbled Hebrew in ritual and see which produces more efficacious results.

  3. The original Grimoire writers did the best they could and that their mistakes are unintentional. If so, then correcting them is actually more in line with their original intentions than leaving them uncorrected; if they knew better, they wouldn’t have included the errors. So far, no Spirits have objected to this rationale, so it works for me.

That’s my view on the matter, but feel free to experiment and come to your own conclusions, dear friends. 🙂


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