• TRADITION: Judaism
  • NEED: Spiritual Development
  • LEVEL: Intermediate, Advanced

Tetragrammaton refers to the four letter name for God, which is so holy it is never pronounced. This two-part meditation reveals the power of these letters through contemplation and visualization.

What’s behind the name of this meditation practice?
The tetragrammaton is the unpronounceable four-letter name for God. It is made up of four letters: yod (י), heh (ה), vav (ו), and heh (ה), transliterated into Latin as YHWH. In the Old Testament, God revealed his name to Moses as YHWH, which is best translated as “I AM.” In Judaism, out of all the titles for God, YHWH is the most sacred. It is His personal name, connoting a special relationship with Israel. It is so holy that it is never spoken aloud. When YHWH appears in text during prayer, the name Adonai is read in its place; it is also referred to as HaShem, or “the name.”
What’s the concept?
The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are believed to contain tremendous spiritual power in both the Talmud, the ancient body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law, and the Kabbalah, Judaism’s mystical interpretation of the Bible. According to rabbi and author Aryeh Kaplan, contemplating God’s sacred name provides us with the most direct link to the divine. The letters themselves contain hidden meaning. One ancient Kabbalistic teaching interprets them as a message of charity, based on the appearance and numerical value of the letters. Heh (ה), for example, is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, symbolizing the five fingers of an outstretched hand giving or receiving—our very lives are an act of charity extended to us by God.

The Holy Name is also associated with the Sefirot, the ten qualities or attributes of God that flow through all creation. The Sefirot are often illustrated in a figure called the Tree of Life. Each letter relates to a specific element of the Sefirot, and together they embody the energy of the universe. Since the universe was created through God’s words, each letter is seen to hold the seeds of creation. The Hebrew iteration of YHWH contains both the masculine and feminine aspects of life, again through symbolism. Meditating on the tetragrammaton, either through contemplation or visualization, can unite us with God, and make us aware of his divine guidance in our lives.
How did this meditation practice originate?
Although meditation is intrinsically part of Judaism, centuries of intellectualization all but removed it from sacred texts. Kabbalah’s most important traditions can be attributed to Abraham Abulafia, a thirteenth century rabbi, visionary, and mystic whose influential writings led to an experience of the mystical that isn’t reliant on ritual. Many of the meditation techniques Abulafia taught involve permutations of YHWH; contemplation and visualization of the name is a necessary prerequisite for more advanced techniques.
What’s unique about this meditation?
There is no limit to how deep and nuanced an interested meditator can go in her Kabbalistic studies of the Holy Name. Tetragrammaton visualization also employs two unusual techniques called engraving and hewing to “carve out” the Hebrew letters in the mind’s eye.
What are its chief benefits?
In addition to the powerful spiritual act of merging with the name of God, visualization helps scrub the mind of distracting images that cloud our sense of perception in everyday life. Aryeh Kaplan describes these distractions as static, and once it clears, it is possible to see the world in an entirely new way. Visualization makes us more sensitive to beauty (one of the ten Sefirot in the Kabbalah) and more appreciative of the complexities of creation. And once someone becomes an expert, Kaplan says, she will be able to see things she would never be able to see with her physical eyes—sounds, for example, or additional dimensions. Visualization also makes it possible to receive visions.
Is there evidence of its effectiveness?
Meditating on the tetragrammaton is a time-tested practice that’s transformed Jewish spiritual seekers for eight centuries. Its mechanism, visualization, is an oft-used tool in the arsenal of successful athletes, public speakers, and performing musicians, and the evidence of its effectiveness is both anecdotal and scientific. A 1994 meta-analysis appearing in the Journal of Applied Psychology was one of the first comprehensive studies to conclude that mental practice can improve skill and performance to varying degrees. Indeed, visualization of exercise can be as powerful as actual exercise. It can heal illnesses faster than medical intervention alone and helps the brain better deal with stress. Visualization strengthens pathways between the brain’s one hundred billion neurons, making it easier to achieve an outcome. With repeated effort, a goal becomes easier, whether it’s breaking a marathon record or elevating consciousness.
Are there any side effects or risks?
Are there any controversies?
Some occult scholars hold wild theories about the tetragrammaton’s power. Donald Tyson, who wrote Tetragrammaton: The Secret to Evoking Angelic Powers and the Key to the Apocalypse, believes that the tetragrammaton holds the blueprint of creation and is the basis of the DNA double helix and the binary language of modern computers—a claim that some consider an “experimental theory” at best.
How can it be learned?
Meditating on God’s name is simple and straightforward. However, to gain deeper insight, particularly into the Kabbalistic aspects of this meditation, a teacher or study group is recommended.
Are there any charges for learning?
There is no charge to learn this meditation. For deeper insight, a monthly subscription to the online Kabbalah University comes in four tiers: free for online content, $8 for an introductory course, $18 for unlimited access to video lessons, and $42 for daily live streaming. Instruction costs at local Kabbalah centers vary.
How is this meditation practiced?
There are two parts to this meditation, contemplation and visualization. For the first part, commit the sacred four-letter name for God to memory and carefully write Hebrew letters of God’s name—yod, heh, vav, heh—on a piece of paper, contemplating their meaning while doing so. You are taking part in an act of creation by bringing them to form.

Once you’ve committed the letters to memory, close your eyes to see them in your mind’s eye. Move on to the second part only when you’re ready to do so. Visualization makes the images stronger and uses two techniques: engraving and hewing. Engraving chisels the letters into your field of vision, while hewing uses a small white flame to burn away the background. The result is a powerful experience of standing in God’s presence. Our step-by-step guided meditation is available on this page.
Can anyone practice this meditation?
A basic knowledge of Hebrew is needed to practice this meditation. Those with extensive Kabbalistic knowledge will uncover greater meaning behind characters that already hold special significance. Those with a limited knowledge of Judaism can have a direct, inner experience that’s untainted by doctrine.
Who are the well-known practitioners?
The best-known teachers and authors in this field include:

Karen Berg, Michael Berg
(www.kabbalah.com/teachers )
Micheal Laitman
Is any equipment or material required for practice?
You’ll need only a card or a white sheet of paper, and a pen with black ink.
Tetragrammaton Meditation
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Loved it ! Felt very peaceful, at ease , no need to fight intrusive thought a as there were consumed by the Name of aGOD . Thank
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