"The Way of G-d"
Part 3: "The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural"
Chapter 2: "Theurgy"
So, what lies behind the practitioner's art at bottom is his ability to use
G-d's names towards the ends he has in mind, as well as a capacity to
bypass the laws of nature. But there's more to it than that.
We're taught that everything -- above, below, and in-between -- is
interconnected, root to flower, flower to root. Nothing is without its
spiritual and mundane "family". So, when someone schooled in theurgy
pronounces a Divine name, that acts as a catalyst above and below that sets
off interrelated reactions throughout. Ramchal refers to this as "calling
upon G-d Himself" through one of His names to make Himself "accessible" and
to enable those things the practioner has in mind to come about.
Another means of tapping into the supernatural, though, involves angels. As
we'd indicated before (see 1:5:2, 2:1:2, etc.), angels allow for things to
happen in the world by facilitating certain specific ordained
patterns. But they're also permitted to transcend their limitations and to
function on more supernatural as well as more potent levels (as when they
bring about miracles, for example).
Thus, when a specific Divine name is recited in association with a
particular angel with specific functions who's connected to a specific
emanation, that angel becomes even *more* powerful. And it's authorized by
G-d to function the way the person who recites that Divine name wants it
to. Understand, though, that G-d can always undo any request made or any
process at will.
So, there are two forms of theurgy: one that's rooted in calling upon G-d
Himself, if you will, by name; and another that's rooted in calling upon
angels by means of G-d's names.
Understand that no one can make use of either Divine names themselves nor
the angels in conjunction with them any way he wishes to, since each
application has its own rules and regulations. In fact, though, sometimes
even following the appropriate course of action doesn't work, as when
what's hoped for simply cannot be.
As we'd indicated earlier on, not everyone can make use of the Divine names
to call upon G-d Himself -- even if he knows all the tools and techniques
involved. As Ramchal puts it here, the successful practitioner would have
to be "someone who has grown very close to G-d and has come to attach
himself onto Him". And in fact "the closer he is, the more successful will
he be in the process".
That's not necessarily true, though, when it comes to calling upon the
angels to intercede in the world. Using specific Divine names in
conjunction with them is, for all intents and purposes, a "natural
phenomenon" that only require that the practitioner know what he's doing.
Despite that, it's still-and-all "not appropriate for a commoner to make
use of the King's scepter" as Ramchal puts it here. So a practitioner would
be expected to be learned and righteous all-in-all, and he'd be expected to
"use these methods to sanctify G-d's name and to follow His will". For
while someone unworthy wouldn't be prevented from achieving this or that if
he follows the proper procedures, he might suffer some dire consequences.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
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