Updated: Aug 28, 2022
Here's a list of frequently asked questions about working with the 72 Shem Angels. If you'd like to learn more about them or get cartomancy rituals for harnessing their energies, explore my Spiritsaid Style Meetup group for upcoming events. My Lenormand / Tarot Angels Meetup class is on September 25, 2022!
Where do the names of the Angels come from?
The full name of the group is Shem haMephoresh, or the 72-fold name of the Divine. Its origins are a bit murky, but the 72 names are mentioned in esoteric texts from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment, often associated with the 36 Zodiac decans (in several possible arrangements).
The names are generated from a scripture in the Hebrew Torah, Exodus 14:19-21. The Hebrew letters of the three sentences (exactly 72 in each) are arranged on top of each other and then read vertically to create the core of each angel’s name. A suffix of -iah or -el is added to the end to form the full name.
If you'd like to do more research, you can search for "72 Shem Angels" and find lots of information!
Are they associated with any particular religious tradition?
According to my research, the angel names and their significations were generated using an approach characteristic of the Jewish mystical tradition Kabbalah (also spelled Qabalah) and Western ceremonial magic, perhaps by Jewish mysticists themselves. The earliest mention seems to be in a Hebrew manuscript in the French Biblioteque National. I personally have Jewish and Western European ancestry, but since the 72 Shem angels have not been officially adopted by a set religious tradition, I regard them as appropriate for anybody interested in the Western Esoteric tradition. I don't think that they constitute a closed system that can only be used by initiates or those with a certain cultural racial, or ethnic background.
Are their divine energies Christian or Jewish in nature?
My experience with the angels is that they represent aspects of divine love, and as such, they don't carry specifically Christian or Jewish energy. The Greek word in the Bible that's translated as the English word “angel” just means “messenger.” Many spiritual traditions have Divine or semi-divine beings fulfilling this role. If the word “angel” carries an unwelcome connotation for you, you're welcome to think of them in terms of your preferred tradition or simply decide that working with them is not for you.
Why should I work with angels rather than just asking my general Divine connection or Spirit for help?
When I asked my Spirit guide this, he said, “What would happen if you walked into the library and said ‘Can you recommend a book?’”
The librarian would almost certainly say, “What kind of book are you interested in?”
Similarly, if you sat down at a restaurant and said to the server, “Please bring me some food.” The server would ask what you were in the mood to eat or hand you a menu and let you choose yourself!
Of course, you certainly can simply raise your hands to the sky and say “Please help me!” However, my rituals got a lot more powerful when I stopped doing that.
Working with angels in no way supplants or replaces whatever Divine connection you feel called to, but there are several advantages to choosing a specific angel to work with:
In choosing a specific angel, you must consult a list and pick a set of divine attributes, an area of rulership, or a type of assistance you want. Making a targeted choice primes your brain and psyche for a certain type of change. Just like deciding that you want steak primes your taste buds to expect and enjoy a certain type of meal - fewer surprises, more deliciousness!
In choosing a specific angel, you are exercising your own power to help yourself. Sometimes those general “Help!” pleas are a closet way of not taking responsibility for our own growth - we just want the Divine to tell us what to do or fix it for us. Spirit typically does not want to play the “rescue me” game in the long run. It's your life, not Spirit’s. Choosing a specific type of help shows faith in your decision-making, which positions you for more powerful transformation and change.
When you call an angel by name, especially anchored with a Tarot card or Lenormand card as I demonstrate in my classes, you create a conduit to a specific aspect of divine love, which minimizes the chance that random, stray, or negative energies might enter into your channel of communication.
Do you want to call a general help desk line and get a random technician or use the direct, personal phone number of a highly skilled technician who's helped many people in the past. A targeted communication is much more likely to pull in a proven, tested, helpful energy than just opening the channels to receive whatever station might be coming in over the airwaves.
How do you know Tarot, Oracle, or Lenormand rituals with the 72 Shem Angels will work?
Work with the 72 Shem angels is documented back to at least the Renaissance. Plus, it's worked for me. Shem angel work has underlaid some of the most powerful rituals I personally have done (I really need this extra power because my sticky spots are very sticky!) And I double-checked my cartomancy / divination rituals with the Angels, and got their approval and buy-in to help my community members, so it's Angel-approved to the best of my ability to ensure.
HOWEVER, I can only promise aid for requests in accordance with the principles of Divine love and your soul's personal growth path. This ritual does not enable you to summon an angel and force it to do your bidding (which I consider ethically questionable, anyway), so I can't promise results for lottery numbers, getting a certain job, convincing a certain person to fall in love with you. It's designed to help you release what does not authentically serve your progress and bring in powerful new habits and thoughts to dial in your personal strengths.
If I do a ritual or chose an angel, is this "my" angel for the rest of my life?
You are welcome to build whatever relationship with any specific angel works for you and them (I use “they” pronouns for angels…) - for the rest of your life or just targeting your current desired progress area or anything in between. Some people like to choose one or two angels to focus on whereas others think of it as more of an Angel Buffet or Angel Candy Store, picking what looks like the best spiritual "meal" for the moment.
Is there any danger of bringing in a negative energy or spirit in working with these angels?
Card or astrology-based Shem angel rituals create a very targeted and safe "address" to interact with divine love energy - that’s the point of working with a specifically named angel, anchored in a specific Tarot or Lenormand or Oracle card, anchored in a specific decan of the zodiac.
There can be a danger of interacting with negative spirits in any circumstances, in the same the way that walking down the street, you can encounter people who don't have your best interests at heart. But having a specific door to knock on minimizes that. You're not just throwing yourself open to any random energies that might be passing by. If you do encounter a negative energy, you can recognize it and kick it out forthwith!
Before designing my rituals and sending out these instructions, I checked with my Spirit guides and the angels, and they have vetted this approach as a good procedure.
However, if your intuition is telling you that this is not for you, by all means, honor that. You can certainly just work with the energy of the card or your own higher self. Working with angels is not mandatory!
Is it necessary to communicate with the angels directly?
No. In fact, working with angels directly often triggers a lot of authority figure insecurity (What if they don't like me? What if I mess something up? What if I take up too much of their time?) If communicating directly with the angel seems like too much for you, feel free to ask the energy of the angel to help without establishing a direct or live-communication-based connection.
Will I hear a voice or get a vision?
Maybe. Depending on your spiritual gifts and growth stage, you may receive direct clairaudient or clairvoyant communication. However, you may also see signs, get body feelings, experience synchronicities, or receive messages from other people that relate to your angel’s areas of specialty. Building a relationship with Spirit involves give-and-take - like any relationship. You can't micromanage how Spirit communicates with you. We need to learn to appreciate our gifts, however they manifest. No Clair FOMO!
As mentioned before, I am planning to teach a full class on Tarot and Angels in December 2022 and a Lenormand / Tarot Angels Meetup class on September 25, 2022. So if you're interested, join my mailing list below for more event notifications on this fascinating and helpful topic.
In the meantime, you're welcome to reply to this or contact me with any questions or use the button at the bottom to book a free consultation if you'd like to know more about working with angels.