Cheth is my name, my whole name, my legal name, my birth name. It certainly isn't very common. Here's how it came about—and what it means.
Cheth is the Hebrew letter “H.” My parents found “Cheth” in Psalm 119 of the bible and bestowed it on me, their first begotten son. They had no idea what the word meant, they only knew they liked it. Gradually I've uncovered its meaning.
It started with a song. Psalm 119 is the longest song in the Bible. It is divided into 22 sections, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The sections are labelled section “A,” section “B,” etc., only in Hebrew it's Aleph, Beth,.... The “Cheth” my parents saw was simply the title for Section “H.“ Except nothing in Hebrew is quite that simple...
The Hebrew alphabet is the basis for many explorations into the occult: the Bible, numerology, the Tarot. The letter “H“ is surprisingly prominent in these explorations. Notice first that the letter “H” is fully half of Jehovah, the unpronouncable name of God, as commonly spelled in vowel-less Hebrew: JHVH. For years I had the (very dangerous) thought that I was half of god.
Not only are there two H’s in JHVH, there are two H’s in the Hebrew alphabet. As it turns out, JHVH uses the soft “H“ called “He”, not my “H,” the hard “H” called Cheth. Yet there remains a curious shadow of uncertainty about the role of Cheth in the unspeakable name of god. Are the two H's merely one more trick to prevent the uninitiated from bespoiling the sanctity of god's name? <grin>
The Hebrew language gives each letter (and, consequently, each word) a numerological value. “Cheth” has the value 8. Eight is Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. It is the double zero, the head and the body, the Moebius strip of the soul. It is the sideways sign of infinity.
In the Middle Ages, the Tarot became a pictorial representation of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Tarot, Cheth is the Chariot trump, the one invention of mankind included in the Tarot's grand depiction of humanity's place in the Universe. Originally the letter “H” was a pictogram for a fence. Both Chariot and Fence actually depict the same thing, man's ability to change the world. Both describe man as the one creature who would dare to proclaim himself God.
My name is often misspelled and mispronounced. Chuck, Chet, Jeff, Chetch, Cheech, Chong... I just smile now. I gave up worrying about it long ago. Actually my parents (and I) have always anglicized the pronunciation ourselves. We rhyme it with “Beth”. (If you are a Hebrew scholar please don't be appalled.) The worst though, the worst mispronunciation came when The Beverly Hillbillies roared onto America. Cheth Rowe was instantly, tauntingly, terribly transformed into the ultimate hick, Jethro. Ah, the sweet hell of youth!