The Sacred HU by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
Psalm 30:4 (New Living Translation)

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
2 Sam 22:50

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for this name alone is excellent.
Psalm 148:13

The wording of these passages is very odd. After all, why is God’s name always being praised? It’s like saying to someone, “you must be a wonderful person because you have a lovely name,” or “the LORD must be great because ‘he’ {sigh} has such a great name.” Actually though, as I began to go deeper into my own personal practices of spirit work and chanting, I found that there is a profound truth to this use of praise. Most, if not all, of the ancient names of deities are made up of power syllables. By this I mean certain sounds that have a vibrational essence which not only resonate within our bodies but connect us with all the vibrations that surround us. Sounds made by these syllables are a bridge between worlds created by our breath.

Mystically speaking we could say that the breath of creation and our own breath interfuse. We can experience this through the vibration of power syllables. The most common syllables in the west are familiar ones – AL LA HA AH YA LO WAH and the mighty HU. Think of all the names of divinity that can be created by experimenting with these syllables.

I’ll focus specifically on the multi-powerful, cross-cultural, timeless syllable HU:

  • Hu was one of the names of the Sphinx: “When speaking of the Sphinx, the Ancient Egyptians frequently made use of the Harranian [Mesopotamian] derivation Hwl, but they also knew it by many other names; HU, for example.”[1]
  • Another Egyptian deity with Hu was Tehuti, a god associated with wisdom. “Tehuti brought forth the cosmos through the power of his voice.”[2] Notice the connection between wisdom, breath (voice) and creation. Tehuti is known as the Greek Thoth.
  • The Mayans had their “only god,” Hunab Ku, “who was the Heart of All Beings and each of us is connected through our own hearts.”[3] Hunab Ku was a deity of “measurement and movement.”[4]
  • Huehuetcotl was an Aztec god of fire, one of their oldest divine images.[5]
  • Hum is the seed syllable of Ashuku Nyorai, the Immovable Buddha. A seed syllable contains all aspects of power and meaning for a particular Buddha. Ashuku is connected with “all-encompassing wisdom.”[6]
  • This passage is from Tibet: “From the breath which streamed out of the creator there emerged two syllables HU HU, and progressively, the entire universe.”[7]
  • In old Europe, Hu is “the all-ruling Divinity of Western Celtic mythology.” The god Hu was married to the great goddess Cerridwen best known for her cauldron of life. Druid acolytes would invoke both deities in their spiritual mystery initiation.[8]
  • Ahura Mazda meaning light wisdom is the supreme deity of Zoroastrianism.[9]
  • A common word of praise in English uses HU – Hallelujah. It literally means praise “ya” with “ya” used as a shorthand for YHVH, the sacred Tetragrammaton or LORD. A phonetic breakdown would be: HA-LA-HU-YA

Ross Nichols who was a “Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids” wrote, “Hu . . . is the creative word, the seed of fire, the first sound.”[10]

Eleanor Merry, in The Flaming Door – her opus on “Celtic Folk-Soul,” writes, “The God Hu . . . who represented the whole spiritual world, was attended by his oxen who ‘roared in thunder and blazed in lightning’ – a thrilling allusion to the music of the spheres.”[11]

Sufi musician and mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote about the Hu syllable:

The Supreme Being has been called by various names in different languages, but the mystics have known him as Hu, the natural name, not manmade, the only name of the Nameless, which all nature constantly proclaims. The sound of hu is most sacred. . . The word hu is the spirit of all sounds and of all words, and is hidden within them all, as the spirit is in the body. It does not belong to any language, but no language can help belonging to it. This alone is the true name of God, a name that no people and no religion can claim as their own.[12]

While there is no general agreement as to the pronunciation of the sacred biblical Tetragrammaton (YHVH) my personal favorite is Ya-HU-ah. Y-H-V-H are the 4 original Hebrew letters that are translated into LORD in all the above quotes. LORD as Ya-hu-ah is indeed an excellent name filled with power and mystery, perfect for mystical chanting. Even, Jesus’s original Hebrew name, Yeshua contains the HU syllable thereby recognizing and honoring his connection to divinity.

As I wrote this piece, it really drove home to me how all these deities are identified as male. How arrogant is that? In the face of such powerful vibration, how can we even entertain the notion of duality or sexual separation. Our precious birthright knowledge has been stolen and lost; that is our awareness of our personal connection to the divine.

And lest one think that Jesus has a unique connection to HU as the child of the divine, remember that we ourselves carry the appellation of this divine syllable. We are, after all, HU-man beings.

The knower of the mystery of sound
knows the mystery of the whole universe.
Hazrat Inayat Khan[13]


[1] Hancock, Graham, and Robert Bauval, The Message of the Sphinx.  A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind; 5.
[4] Peter Thompkins, Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids; 282.
[5] Ross Nichols, The Book of Druidry; 132.
[7] sourced from Guiseppe Tucci, The Religions of Tibet.
[8] Eleanor Merry, The Flaming Door; 163.
[10] Nichols; 128.
[11] Merry; 126.
[12] Khan, Hazrat Inayat, The Music of Life, Omega Publications, 1998; 27.
[13] Khan, front plate.


Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a ShamanWhen Eve Was a Goddess, and One GodsIn Ardor and Adventure, Janet

Categories: archetype, Bible, Embodiment, Feminism and Religion, General, Gift of Life, Healing, Interdependence of Life, meditations, Music, Spiritual Journey, Spirituality

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4 replies

  1. Fascinating post, Janet! I was taught some seed syllables to go with chakras, all of them beginning with a consonant and ending with an “m.” Singing them, I felt as though the sound made the wheels start spinning. The person who taught me this system said the syllable that was good for everything, inside and out and all around and about is MA. I remember hearing that syllable in newborn babies’ cries. I often sing Ma three times to root, to branch, and to center at the heart.

    I will experiment with HU. Terrible puns are coming to me, such as: who ever heard of Hu? I am embarrassed that I missed this story in my days of researching Celtic lore. I am glad to know it now. Pondering the syllable HU, I realize I sometimes spontaneously pronounce it or sing it or exhale it, without any devotional awareness, to release tension and reinvigorate.

    Thanks again an informative post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes Elizabeth, the MA sound. I am so glad you added it to the list. I love that you sing MA three times. And yes, have fun with HU – afterall in the spirit of punning, HU are you? Enjoy!


  3. Beautiful. I am always saddened that the powerful concept of YHWH is translated as “the Lord”… such a reduction- an insult – to the infinite, expansive, mind-blowing concept of YHWH. I love what you’ve done here with these sounds. Similarly, the other word translated as “the Lord” in Christian scriptures is Kyrie – which comes from ky-ra, related to ancient persian and sanscrit ideas of light and the sun, so it’s this symbol of light, the rays of the sun, source of wisdom and light and life. Again… we make it “the lord”… smh. Beautiful work, it’s inspiring what you’ve done here, and gets me thinking about this practice and chanting etc. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Trelawney, That is fascinating about the Kyrie. I am going to make a note pay attention to that and to learn some more.

      Whenever I translate YHVH in my own writings I use mother/father creator. I have written about that in other blogposts. I agree with reduction/insult aspect. We have lost so much in this process. Time to reclaim!


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