The Language of Four: The Meaning of Tetragrammaton

March 22nd, 2023

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Tetragrammaton is the Greek word for the Hebrew four letter word for God, YHWH. The exact pronunciation of YHWH is unknown, in part because of the lack of vowels in Hebrew, and because it was traditionally not to be uttered anyway. The Tetragrammaton was so secreted and taboo it would not be stated in readings, not be communicated openly, and was not even written down, sometimes four dots were used in its place. The tradition of the of secreting or silencing of The Tetragrammaton remains today, it is still a taboo subject.

The literal meaning of Tetragrammaton pertains to four lettered, four symbol based state of being. The Tetragrammaton is a four measure matrix, a four layered contemplation language. A tetragram is a four-sided idea or shape. Tetra means four, gram means measure or count or letter. Add aton and you form a concept resembling grammation. Only we don’t say that in English, in English we say grammar. Tetragrammaton is most accurately translated to Four Grammar or the language of four, or the state of four measure. And so the name of God, the creator in The Bible, is Four Grammar.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ~John 1:1

In this beginning was the word. What is the word? God. What is God? Tetragrammaton.

Simple etymological observation of the word form of tetragram reveals that The Tetragrammaton is not only a four-sided symbol, but tetragram-maton, a four-symbol state. The aton here is similar to the Egyptian name for the sun God Atun, or Ra, of which the Biblical YHWH, or Tetragrammaton, is often compared to. But the aton suffix following tetragram is an approximate to the English suffix ation. The word Tetragrammaton means four grammar. Four Grammar reveals God symbolized by the four lettered name, YHWH. Four grammar provides format for understanding Godliness, and the development of consciousness. The Tetragram-ma-ton can also distinguish the ma of the feminine and the root of the word matrix, and essentially you end up with the same meaning. The Tetragrammaton is The Name of God, but it is more accurately Four Grammar. Understanding Four grammar assists the self-development process to higher consciousness, ascension toward godliness.

The Tetragrammaton is the ineffable name of God. It is traditionally not to be uttered because of taboos, but presumably, I would suggest, at least in part, it is ineffable because it is not a name as much as it is a language, a grammar, a whole modality of comprehension unto itself.

Lord, Dominus, El, and Adonai were all variously used to denote God and The Tetragrammaton as were four dots in ancient Biblical texts so that people did not have to utter, nor even think of, that ineffable name when reading. YHWH is also related to the verb ‘to be’ or ‘to become’ which corresponds to many concepts, most crucially creation of life itself, the very becoming process of self-development, the I Am title or pronouncement, and the state of being/comprehension requiring a whole other set of grammar or terminology.

The prohibition of the annunciation The Tetragrammaton, and further, the prohibition of the consideration of any word/topic, let alone the word for God is strange and suspect, especially in the writings pertaining to God. Language forms the basis for psychological patterns of behavior, language is like a program. When a word and related ideas are prohibited, and when other words and ideas are superimposed, surely it is worth asking about the results, the program.

“Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” ~Exodus 3, 13-14

‘I am The I am, the verb to be.’

This infers the idea of generation or creation of being and becoming. The sentiment perhaps relates such simple lessons that we overlook them. The Tetragrammaton is a language based on the ineffable name, the silence, the stillness, the unsaid. The Tetragrammaton is four grammar.

The Tetragrammaton was likely prohibited because of its development properties and the tendency for such to be restricted by those with selfish interests. The Tetragrammaton is further ineffable because of its depth and breadth. That it represents primordial energy akin to the Tao, or the primordial All, akin to the causative Unmoved Mover, which we cannot quite entirely comprehend.

The Tao and The Tetragrammaton share many qualities. Each is said to represent that which we cannot entirely understand in a way that might assist us to come close to its consideration and comprehension. However, there is no accompanied taboo with The Tao as with The Tetragrammaton. To pronounce it is to reduce it, to encapsulate it toward full comprehension is to limit it, and to limit it prevents full comprehension of it, and yet the best way to begin to perceive it is by way of four grammar.

What is often perceived as a dogmatic Biblical presentation by a commanding and even egoic imbalanced God becomes lessons of universal principles when The Tetragrammaton is considered and better understood. What is on its surface monotheistic dogma becomes esoteric and exoteric wisdom teachings in parables when the four grammar of The Tetragrammaton is perceived. With the comprehension that Tetragrammaton is an terminology on a state of being the lessons presented transform from externalized and dogmatic demands of obedience into internalized and individualized ideas related to individuation and ascended being.

The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

“Non-existence” I call the beginning of Heaven and Earth.
“Existence” I call the mother of individual beings.

Therefore does the direction towards non-existence
lead to the sight of the miraculous essence,
the direction towards existence
to the sight of spatial limitations.

~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The Tetragrammaton and The Tao cannot be entirely known. We cannot properly pronounce the word because it is a representative of a primordial and ultimate energy, it is an idea that is an encapsulation of many ideas unto a whole, like a language, a grammar. The energy is at essence of everything, it is an energy of comprehension and creation.

In Tai Chi practice, which is essentially practicing being in alignment with The Tao, many practitioners eventually consider the concept of not knowing Tai Chi or The Tao, the ineffable and unknowable, but practicing Tai Chi. The subtle difference presents an enormous change in mind state. There is no completion to the practice. There are no belts in Tai Chi practice because practice is continuous as is the potential to integrate bettered comprehension of Tao or The Tetragrammaton into our being.

The Tetragrammaton is the four-letter name for God and more specifically the four measure grammar or terminology of being and becoming. The traditionally conceived teaching concept called The Trivium is an ancient format for learning. Trivium means the place where three roads meet. The Trivium reveals a comprehension process toward individuation overall as well as pertaining to specific subjects. Grammar is first, followed by logic, then rhetoric.

First, we have to learn the language, the grammar of a subject. We can then contemplate the matter at hand with logic, and then we can communicate our considerations and ideas with rhetoric. The Trivium is based on this format. First, we have to learn the grammar of the subject in question before we then can comprehend the logic and present our own rhetorical ideas. Without the grammar there is no way to comprehend derivative logic nor any way to utilize pertinent rhetoric. The grammar or grammaton of The Tetragrammaton implies this modality.

In this way, Four Grammar is the language pertinent to becoming, toward ascension and individuation, and toward comprehension of Godliness. The Tetragrammaton is the grammar towards comprehension and cultivation of Godliness and/or self-development. The YHWH symbolizes The Tetragrammaton, and more than being a name for God, it presents a primal and powerful set of four to contemplate The Tetragrammaton, or four grammar.

Just like most of the Bible YHWH is also a combination of allegorical ideas and tribal stories from Judea, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. YHWH may be traced to any one particular God archetype from prior to The Old Testament. The Bible relates many concepts through Jesus that actually refer to The Egyptian God known as Thoth, Tehuti Tehutimoses, Yaw, Yod, Yahu, Iea, Enoch, Hermes Trismegistus, Mercury. Thoth is the God of writing and wisdom, of mind, of ascension into new dimension, of alchemical and mercurial becoming. Mind is the essential symbolic meaning behind The Name of God. The name of God is the mind of God, the ideas and wisdom manifest with language and idea transfigured and transmitted.

Below the four letters of The Tetragrammaton, read from right to left, is a simple presentation of a point, a circular plane, a line, and a solid sphere as a circle. The energies of the circle and the sphere are similar and share concepts as well as being difficult to differentiate when displayed on a flat surface.

One layer of The Tetragrammaton is the sacred geometry of becoming.

The Fourth Initiation

The Fourth Initiation is universalist story of self-development. The Thoth archetype is explored and utilized to illustrate and inspire individuation and individual pursuit of wisdom. Four aspects of consciousness are explored as are the four dimensions of sacred geometry to form a paradigm book on the ascension process.

The Fourth Initiation is available on Amazon here.

The Matrix of Four

The Matrix of Four - Ethan Indigo SmithMatrix of Four: the Philosophy of the Duality of Polarity is an exploration of our consciousness, and presents a formula to develop our consciousness and surpass the limitations of traditional political and social constructs. In this work, Ethan relates and explains correlations between the four seasons, Om and a myriad of esoteric and exoteric ideas on consciousness to inspire creative thinking and being. He also explores mathematical and philosophical concepts to engage a higher thinking and being, verified using universality and human traditions beginning with the four operations of arithmetic, referencing the four archetypal characters in Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave, and much more.

Matrix of Four: the Philosophy of the Duality of Polarity is available here on Amazon.

About the author:

Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.

You can connect with Ethan on Facebook, check out his author page on Amazon, or visit his websites, Geometry Of Energy and Meditation 108, where Ethan offers lessons on individuation, meditation, the conceptualization of energy, and the metaphysical significance of 108.

Ethan’s books include:

Recommended articles by Ethan Indigo Smith: