Kabbalah Secret Circles: Sefer Raziel
Archangel Raziel’s Book of the Secrets
These pages are from the new book on the legends and history of the Kabbalah and the Sefer Raziel, Kabbalah's Secret Circles, Read some of the chapters and download a free PDF sample of the book to preview. Also, download other free books on Kabbalah.
“Each day the angel Raziel makes proclamations on Mount Horeb, from heaven, of the secrets of men to all that dwell upon the earth, and his voice resounds throughout the world.”
Targum on Ecclesiastes 10.20
Although the archangel Raziel is not mentioned in the Old Testament, he is a part of early Jewish mystical tradition. His name is first mentioned in the BOOK OF ENOCH, written sometime before the Common Era (CE) where he sits among the highest class of angels such as Michael, Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel. The archangel Raziel was called the transmitter of secrets and author of the legendary THE BOOK OF THE ANGEL RAZIEL. The Hebrew word raziel (?????) means “Secret of G-d.” • Raz– (??) is Hebrew for “secrets.” • –iel (???) is the suffix used for the word G-d.
According to legend, Raziel stood near the throne of G-d and recorded everything spoken, hence the title as the keeper and communicator of secrets. But, he wasn’t known as one to keep secrets.
Raziel’s role in flagrantly revealing hidden secrets is described in the passage from Ecclesiastes: “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and do not curse the rich in thy bedchamber, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known. Ecclesiastes 10.20 In a rabbinical explanation (targum) about that passage, Raziel is described as standing on the peak of Mount Horeb and shouting out the secrets of mankind for all to hear.
To preserve this wisdom, Raziel inscribed all of the knowledge of the Universe into a book– the BOOK OF RAZIEL (SEFER RAZIEL) or the BOOK OF SECRETS. According to some legends, this “book” was originally inscribed on a sapphire stone. The ancient, magical BOOK OF RAZIEL is often called the first book ever written since Adam is the first human to possess its contents.
It explained everything from Astrology of the planets to the creative life energy– birth, death, reincarnation of the soul, and other occult subjects. This “book” contained the sacred 72 branches of wisdom and the 670 inscriptions. In the middle of the book was a “secret writing explaining the thousand and five hundred keys which were not revealed even to the holy angels,” according to the ZOHAR, the compendium of Jewish mystical tradition compiled in the 13th century from more ancient sources.
According to tradition explained in the ZOHAR, G-d handed this “book” of Secret Knowledge to the Archangel Raziel, the “angel in charge of the holy mysteries.”
Raziel shared it with Adam and Eve, the first human beings. Raziel explained how this the contents of book made out of sapphires, contain “all things worth knowing (that) can be learnt, and all mysteries, and it teaches also how to call upon the angels and make them appear before men, and answer all their questions.”
Adam read the book aloud to the angels. But the holy angel Hadarniel implored Adam not to “reveal the glory of the Master” to the other other angels. It was only Adam’s privilege to possess this knowledge. Adam then kept the secret from the angels.
One version explains that the angels were so envious with Adam, they took the book away from him and threw it in the sea. The angel Rahab was ordered to return it Adam, and he did.
Another version relates that after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam took with him the “knowledge of the leaves of the tree,” referring to the allegorical Tree of Life. Adam practiced these secrets until he “transgressed the command of his Master.” The book “flew away from him” and it was cast it into the ocean. G-d eventually order the archangel Raphael to return the book to Adam, which he did.
Adam passed this sacred knowledge on to his son Seth and it was transmitted through the generations until it came into the possession of Abraham, and later to Enoch, a Biblical figure mentioned in Genesis and the great-grandfather of Noah. This maybe why it was called “the book of the generations of Adam,” in the Old Testament (Genesis 5:1), where the future generations of Adam were revealed.
Enoch is the prophet who “walked with G-d,” (Genesis 5:21-24) but no human can be together with G-d and live. But, Enoch did survive and returned from his stroll through Heaven where he gazed upon the secrets of heaven and earth.
According to tradition, Enoch acquired this “book of Raziel,” and it became incorporated into the BOOK OF ENOCH.
This may not have contained the mysteries of Raziel, but the collection of writings was a major contributor to Judaic mysticism of the time. These mystical secrets of the universe eventually came into the possession of Enoch’s great-grandson, Noah, who used its instructions to build the ark. When he studied the book, the holy spirit came to him and he then gained the knowledge he needed. The book, “made of sapphire stones” was enclosed in a golden casket and placedin the ark. Before he died, this “book” was given to Shem, and then to Abraham, to Jacob, Levi, Moses and Joshua.
Later, the magical text was passed on to King Solomon who used it to practice his magical knowledge. Many medieval grimoires (magic textbooks) revealed the secrets of Solomon’s magic with talismans, amulets, Hebrew inscriptions and prayers to communicate with the angels in order to perform supernatural feats. In Kabbalah tradition, Raziel is the personification of Chockmah (divine wisdom) and is the second of the ten Holy Sefiroth. Maimonides said Raziel is the chief of the order of erelim, (aralim) a rank of angels in the Kabbalah.
Later folklore surrounding the BOOK OF RAZIEL advises the owner to keep a copy of the Sepher (Hebrew for Book) in one’s home to bring a special Divine blessing.
The book protects the home from fire. People also kept a copy in their wallet or purse, or slept with it under their pillow. It is also recommended for pregnant women to assist an easy birth.
So where are the secrets of Raziel? Although the original manuscript is lost, the contents were eventually acquired by 12th century Rabbi Eleazar of Worms. He composed his own version and named it SEFER RAZYA HA-SHEM (BOOK OF SECRETS OF THE HOLY NAME) and included his commentary on the SEFER YETZIRAH.
After his death, multiple versions were reproduced over the centuries. One was reprinted in Latin in the 13th century, again in 1701 (Amsterdam), and again in the 20th century in Hebrew as SEFER SODEI RAZYA HA-SHEM. But, the surviving content contains numerous errors and mistakes in translations.
Top books on Amazon about "Sefer Raziel"
Sefer Raziel haMalach (Hebrew Edition)
This is an original Hebrew version book on the "Sefer Raziel" from Amazon. Paperback. This reprint is being made available at cost by Publish Your Sefer.com in partnership with Hebrew Books.org. 2012 edition, 98 pages. 7.8 x 0.2 x 9 inches.
Sepher Rezial Hemelach: The Book of the Angel Rezial
This is the first English translation from ancient Hebrew of the rare and complete 1701 Amsterdam edition by Steve Savedow. Includes an explanatory text on the holy names of God, the divisions of Heaven and Hell, and the names and hierarchy of the angels and spirits. Paperback: 320 pages. Publisher: Weiser Books (December, 2000). Language: English. Although it is comprehensive and has translations of the text, there has been controversy over Savedow's translations. It is a good starting point if you can't read Hebrew.
Sepher Raziel: A Sixteenth Century English Grimoire (Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic Series)
This volume also includes a foreword which offers an overview of the Sepher Raziel manuscripts, which represent a number of independent traditions. It includes an essay on the literature of Solomonic magic in English, an introduction to the Sepher Raziel manuscript presented, an appendix on incense nomenclature as a supplement to Tractatus Thymiamatus, a list of printed notices and manuscript sources of Sepher Raziel, and a full bibliography of printed works on Solomonic magic and items of related interest. 296 pages. Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (September 8, 2010). This book is highly recommended as a reliable source of information.
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After studying the Kabalah and the occult for more than 40 years, I'm writing aseveral books on the ancient Qabalah, Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation), Sefer Raziel (The Book of Secrets) and dream awareness (astral projection). If you are interested in copies, they will be available on Amazon.com. Email me if you want to be informed when the books are published at [email protected]
Robert Zucker is an author, publisher and retired college instructor in journalism and internet publishing. Read some of his several manuscripts on Qabalah and Astral Projection. See more books by Bob Zucker.
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