in the theoretical kabbalah, klipot are these sort of demonic scleroses that encrust the divine light and make it inaccessible, but in the applied kabbalah the word is used to describe cryptographic transformations of the Names of God that allow them to be used without revealing them to listeners. Imagine you’ve discovered a Name that lets you cure cancer, and you want to cure a customer’s cancer but don’t want them to learn the Name themselves so they can steal your business. Instead of speaking the Name aloud, you apply a cipher to it – if you want, change all the As to Es and all the Bs to Zs, so that ABBA becomes EZZE – and speak the cipher while holding the original fixed in your mind. The Name has the desired effect, and your ungrateful customer is left with nothing but the meaningless word “EZZE”, which absent the plaintext version is of no use to anybody.

Problem is, all the Names follow certain numerological rules. The Maharaj Rankings are the most famous, but there are over a dozen. So by working backwards from a klipah it’s usually possible to narrow down the plaintext Name to a very small collection of possibilities, which you can then check by hand – or by mouth, as the case may be. You end up with a race between rightsholders of Names trying to develop better and better klipot, and everyone else trying to discover better and better ways of breaking them. -CHAPTER 5: NEVER SEEK TO TELL THY LOVE