Archive for January, 2007

Palm Of Devorah, The Dragon Tree

January 11, 2007

והיא יושבת תחת-תמר דבורה, בין הרמה ובין בית-אל–בהר אפרים; ויעלו אליה בני ישראל, למשפט

And she sat under the palm-tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in the hill-country of Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
Shoftim 4:5

The name of neviah (prophetess) Devorah (דבורה), who sat under (in the place of) a palm tree [1], comes from the shoresh (3-letter Hebrew root) DBR (דבר) meaning: collecting, gathering, combining separate items into one, connecting words with coherent speech, word, something, on account of or because of, commandment, judicial regulation, temple interior, raft of lashed planks, bees, and plague or epidemic [2]. This shoresh is associated with the sefirah Gevurah [3]. The dragon is the mythic animal corresponding to the sefirah Gevurah [4].

The name Devorah is comprised of 5 Hebrew letters. These 5 letters represent the 5 unrectified feminine judgments (dinim) in Malchut, where Malchut is represented by the second hei (ה) of the tetragrammaton. This hei corresponds to the power of expression (אמר). Consequently, Dragon’s Blood is a botanical representing “slaying the dragon”. In other words, it represents the rectified feminine power of expression.

Dragon’s Blood is a resinous substance harvested from a Sumatran tree from the palm family. The mature fruit of the Dragon’s Blood palm is reddish resin covered berries the size of cherries which end in points.

see here

The Dragon Tree of the Canary Islands (shown below) is (like the baobob tree) the “oldest living representative of the vegetable kingdom” (see link).

Footnotes:

[1] The word in the pasuk for “beneath” a palm tree is תחת , which can also be translated (see [2]) as “in place of” or “instead of“. As a judge, the implication here is that Devorah sat making judgments. In other words, she could adjudicate the terms of justice, determining the sentence according (in the place of) the crime or violation.

[2] Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R’ Matityahu Clark (p. 46)

[3] Sha’are Orah, R’ Yosef Gikatilla (pp. 48-49)

[4] Grimoire For The Apprentice Wizard, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (p. 138)

Jewitch Shabbat Ritual

January 11, 2007

Here is the first formal Friday evening shabbat ritual I have written for the solitary Jewitch. It may tweaked and refined as time goes by. This is the basic format from which I will build:

1. Take a bath or shower. Visualize washing away physical, emotional and spiritual impurity, letting all negativity flow down the drain with the water. Dress in ritual attire. Put on Jewitch pentacle (pentacle + magen David), saying:

Blessed is this Unity. Her Glorious Name is One. So mote it be.

2. “Sweep” (counterclockwise-“widdershins” and out) ritual space with besom. Visualize removing all negative energy from it, saying:

From this place, I banish all negativity and evil. So mote it be.

3. Perform ritual bath. Add herbs and oil of choice [1] to ritual bowl containing warm water.

Relax. Breathe. Stand facing north (Gevurah, fire) in front of bath bowl. Purify and consecrate the water mixture, placing tip of athame into the water, saying:

Out from you I cast all that is impure and unclean. Blessed are you, with the heart of the Shechinah. You are Holy. So mote it be.

Lay athame upon empty altar “place” (where altar will be or is permanently located). Face north/ritual bath bowl. Hold palms facing upward, saying:

Shechinah, fierce and intense, gentle and mild, blessed are You, and I am Your beloved child.

Dip finger of choice [2] in bath, close eyes. Anoint eyelids by drawing a small pentagram (invoking air [3]) on each with your finger, saying:

Open my eyes to see, my mind to understand and my perception to clarity.

Open your eyes. Dip finger of choice in bath, anointing lips in same fashion, saying:

Open my lips to speak the truth.

Similarly, anoint your breast, saying:

Open my heart to beat with compassion.

Similarly, anoint the palms of your hands, saying:

Open the strength of my hands to do rightly.

Similarly, anoint your loins, saying:

Open my lifeforce to flow with the Source of Peace.

Similarly, anoint your knees, saying:

Open me to be a revealed blessing.

Similarly, anoint the tops of both feet, saying:

Open the path to all good and guard my way upon it.

4. Cleanse the ritual space.

Sprinkle salt-herb water from ritual bowl, starting from the north and turning clockwise (“deosil”, pronounced “jess-el”, also called “sunwise” and the “holy round”); i.e. north to east to south to west. Repeat by carrying a representative of each of the four elements [4, 5], working with one element at a time.

5. Set up your altar.

Faced north, located on the eastern side of the room/space. Sprinkle salt-herb water over altar area. Set up table or other surface. Cover with black altar cloth. Individualize set up of altar space. Place candle trays upon the altar cloth now if you are going to use them. Place “circle” quarter candle (black anointed and consecrated tea candles in clear crystal circle holders) on each side of the altar north to east to south to west.

Generally, and in this order [3], place fire element (main illuminator black candle anointed, consecrated and inscribed using athame) and athame on the northern side of the altar. Place air element (incense in cauldron censor) and witch’s wand (symbolizes “order from chaos”) on the eastern side. Place water element (bowl of water) and chalice/kiddush cup on the southern side. Place earth element (stone or piece of wood) and pentacle on the western side.

Place besom on eastern corner (on or near the altar). Place other objects pertaining to your ritual intent upon the altar if desired [6]. Note, the only steel or iron item upon your altar should be your athame.

6. Call the quarters or watchtowers.

Pick up athame. With projecting hand (right), hold it point up parallel to your heart. Face north, raise up athame, drawing a pentagram in space with your athame in the manner invoking fire [3], saying:

Blessed is She, the Eternal Flame and the Essence of Truth.Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers of the north, element of the fire, I, (your name), do summon, stir and call you forth to witness this rite, and to protect this sacred space and time. Welcome to my circle. Stand in strength. Blessed be in joy, love and light. So mote it be.

Point athame into (toward) the earth, walk/turn the circle clockwise (deosil), then return athame to the altar. Face the east, light incense, raising it and drawing a pentagram in space in the manner invoking air [3], saying:

Blessed is She, Mistress of the mysteries of spices and perfumes, the One over Death, and She who loves me.Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers of the east, element of the air. I, (your name), do summon, stir and call you forth to witness this rite, and to protect this sacred space and time. Welcome to my circle. Stand in strength. Blessed be in joy, love and light. So mote it be. [7]

Holding censor, turning a complete circle (or walk the circle) deosil, reface the altar. Return censor to the eastern quarter of the altar. Pick up water bowl on the southern quarter.

Repeat with south-water, west-earth.

Blessing over water element:

Blessed is She who bestows Wisdom.

Blessing over earth element:

Blessed is She who sustains Life.

7. Cast your circle, pick up athame, extend it outward and down toward the earth, walking deosil starting from the north, saying:

I conjure you, O Circle, to establish in this place sacred ground, with the Brilliance of the Shechinah surround, Her Power within it found.No place or time or barrier may there be, between Her, my word and me. So mote it be.

Baruch shem kevod malchutah leolam va’ed, amen.

ברוך שם כבוד מלכותה לעולם ועד, אמן
Translation: Blessed is the Glorious Name, Her Kingdom stands forever and ever, amen.

8. Light the illuminator-shabbat candle(s), (covering eyes) saying:

Blessed are You Shabbat, Goddess of all life, Who transforms darkness into light.

Uncover eyes and circle flame 3 times with hands (starting and ending over your heart), each time drawing light toward you.

9. Pour and bless wine, saying:

Blessed are You Shechinah, Goddess of all life, Who guides me to wise understanding, proper compassion and right action.

Take a drink.

10. Blessing over bread:

Blessed are You Shechinah, Who nourishes me with all goodness.

Take a bite.

11. Perform other specific observances, shabbat spellwork, meditative study, etc.

12. Release quarters and open circle [8] following havdalah.

Footnotes:

[1] Dragon’s blood, frankincence, myrhh, pinch of salt, drop of vanilla oil, drop of olive oil, drop of red wine (may vary according to intent of ritualwork). Ritual bath general reference: The Craft (Dorothy Morrison).

[2] See Ari’s chiromancy correspondences.

[3] Pentagram invocations and banishings according to correspondences of the Zohar (hat-tip to Jack Nathanson for Zohar reference).


[4] Examples of elemental representatives: earth (stone, small piece of wood, bowl of salt, pentacle), fire (small lit candle, athame), air (lit incense stick or feather, wand), water (bowl of water, seashell, chalice).

[5] Elemental correspondences according to the Zohar: north-fire, east-air, south-water, west-earth.

[6] Book of Shadows (BOS), cauldron, tarot cards, dream journal, ritual jewelry, cakes/cookies/challah, kosher wine or grapejuice.

[7] “Hail, Guardians … so mote it be” – standard quarter call revised from Solitary Witch (Silver RavenWolf).

[8] Walking and moving widdershins (counterclockwise), using pentagram “banishing” formations at the quarters to return the energies from whence they came.

Recognition, Syncretism & Jewish Diversity

January 11, 2007

For the record, for all practical purposes, I feel I have been put into cherem ever since I returned to Judaism. Even though I haven’t been under a ban (to my knowledge), I am basically a pariah left to survive at the mercy of the world. This is likely due to a confluence of many reasons, of which I am left to merely speculate as to what they might be.

My teshuvah experience has not at all been pleasant, and sometimes I wonder how I have survived at all. It has not been via any help from the Jewish community. In my early thirties my life fell apart, and still today, at nearly forty-six, I have not been allowed nor enabled to recover in those areas beyond my control. I am surviving basically.

I imagine my difficult path back to Torah (which has evolved into being a Jewitch) has had the side benefit of augmenting the tendency of my natural INTJ personality not to allow myself to be “told what to do” by Rabbis who would like me to “get with the program” (now, although for many years, Rabbis would have preferred that I “just die” or something). Clearly, they have found, I am not one to get with any program just to fit in or “just die”. I am not going away no matter to what remote corner of the universe they may fling me.

I am what I am and that includes being of Jewish, Celtic and Native American American ancestry. There is no one on the face of this planet or in heaven above with the power to take away my Jewish soul just because I won’t “get with the program”. Nor will I cut off the Celtic or Native American aspects of my neshamah just because some Rabbis want me to and their automata parrot the call. I will be Jewish my way, in a manner which respects the integrity of my neshamah, and that includes being a shamanic Jewitch. I so wish I’d have realized I was a witch much earlier in my life.

Nevertheless, now that I have recovered this part of me, I fully embrace it. There is no way I legitimately couldn’t embrace it anyway. I am a witch. I am a Jewish witch. The world, Jewish and non-Jewish, can accept me or not, but what I am is not (nor ever was) determined by that acceptance or lack thereof.

Further, for the record, most of my kabbalistic learning is chassidut-based. If I had to point to a primary teacher, that would be Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh of The Inner Dimension. Many of my kabbalistic ideas have a foundation in the Hebrew letters as he has taught about them. I have little knowledge of the Kabbalah Center although I have visited and linked to various pages on its website on occasion as a reference to support various ideas. I am not averse to doing this despite the nearly universal disparagement of it among the orthodox. Likewise, I don’t recognize the ban against Sabbatean kabbalah (or any similar ones against Jewitches) and have incorporated some of those kabbalistic teachings when they resonate with my experience and religious or spiritual ideas.

If I learn something from someone, the fact that the orthodox world does not accept him or her, matters not. I am going to link to the source for that learning or reference. So, I’m not sure exactly where I fall on the spectrum of Jewish belief. I have some Reconstructionist leanings as well. My secular education is rather scientific-focused, and I find intellectual Reconstructionism a welcome balance to kabbalistic Chassidut.

Yes, I am syncretic, but only in ways particular to my own “portion” of Torah. I don’t blend into my practice another tradition just for the sake of doing it. The syncretism must be born of my own netivot (personal soulpaths), otherwise it would be disrespectful to the integrity of both the path I was seeking to incorporate illegitimately and to the purpose in creation for my own unique soul.

At this point in my journey, the flavors of Torah in my soul are the Jewish tradition, Celtic witchcraft and Native American shamanism. Consequently, my “syncretic” focus exists there. Clearly, no one else is like me. We are all unique and I have no doubt that there exist Jews who should embrace the Arabic ancestries which they may have. I think Sephardic Jews do this to some degree. I love Sephardic meditation music BTW, it’s beautifully congruent with the shamanic aspects in my soul (so maybe there is a hidden Sephardi ancestry or soul connection in me as well).

As I’ve posted before, I practice a unique form of Abulafian kabbalah and I know Abulafia held Sufism in very high regard, incorporating some of its teachings into his teachings just as I incorporate some of the teachings of Celtic witchcraft and Native American shamanism into mine. Clearly then, focused syncretism is not without precedent among the sages and has a place among the netivot of Klal Yisrael.

Many may or may not like my ideas or me and that’s every person’s right to decide. But one thing is surely certain – no one can tell me who or what I am or am not.

Day 7 – Saturday Correspondences

January 11, 2007

Saturday – Day 7
Please note, these correspondences have been adapted from several sources and may differ from traditional astrological correspondences. All designations follow the planet for the day according to Sefer Yetzirah.

Symbolic Language & Mathematics

Celtic ogham letter –
Hebrew letter – ת
number – 400
permutation – תבג דכפר
vowel – tzerey
“42”-letter name – שקו צית

Astrological & Metaphysical

space/planet – Jupiter
Hebrew name – Tzedek צדק
Sumerian name – Enlil
Egyptian name – Isis
Babylonian name – Marduk
orbit cycle – —
retrograde periods – once per year for 120 days
satellites – —
degrees moved on average day – —
channel – yesod to malchut
sefirah – malchut, chesed
mazal/rulership – sagittarius (keshet, קשת)
firmament – Vilon
earth – Eretz

Archetypes

Hebrew archetype – David
Celtic archetype – Taranis
Germanic archetype – Thor/Donner
Greek archetype – Zeus
Roman archetype – Jupiter/Jove
seal/archangel – Tzidkiel, Tzadkiel
malachim – Tzuriel, Raziel, Yofiel
mythic animal – gryphon

Attributes

concept – reshimu, the impression of emunah upon superconsciousness experience
soul – mouth
gift – grace, personality improvement
direction – center
color – blue and purple
basic energy – expansion
basic mystical energy – money
element – air/fire
metal – tin
trees – oak (duir)
incense – nutmeg, cedarwood oil, frankincense, juniper berry, hyssop, st. john’s wort
oil – nutmeg oil
gemstones – amethyst, sapphire
mundane animal – peacock, bull, eagle

Plants

mint, cedar, balm, olive, oak, clover, st. john’s wort, anise, solomon’s seal

Influences

life, peace, good, prosperity, religious feelings, joy, wealth, political advance

Energy Keywords

aspiration, benevolent, charitable, confident, dignity, expansion, extravagant, faithful, generous, growth, gullible, humorous, indulgence, human, kindness, merciful, optimistic, orthodox, philanthropic, poise, pompous, radiance, religious, reverent, understanding

Concerns

honor, wealth, health, peace, fame, power

Day 6 – Friday Correspondences

January 11, 2007

Friday – Day 6
Please note, these correspondences have been adapted from several sources and may differ from traditional astrological correspondences. All designations follow the planet for the day according to Sefer Yetzirah.

Symbolic Language & Mathematics

Celtic ogham letter –
Hebrew letter – ר
number – 200
permutation – רתבג דכפ
vowel – shurek
“42”-letter name – יגל פזק

Astrological & Metaphysical

space/planet – Saturn
Hebrew name – Shabsai שבתאי
Sumerian name – Ninurta
Egyptian name – Nepthys
Babylonian name – Ninib
orbit cycle – —
retrograde periods – —
satellites – —
degrees moved on average day – —
channel – tiferet to yesod
sefirah – binah/da’at, malchut/yesod
mazal/rulership – capricorn (g’di, גדי)
firmament – Aravot
earth – Chalad

Archetypes

Hebrew archetype – Yosef
Celtic archetype – Arawn
Germanic archetype – Santur
Greek archetype – Kronos
Roman archetype – Saturnus
seal/archangel – Kaptziel, Tzaphkiel
malachim – Shimshushiel, Raphael, Kidushiel
mythic animal – basilisk

Attributes

concept – clarification & rectification of the “yesh” of creation
soul – left nostril
gift – serenity, peace
direction – west
color – black and midnight blue
basic energy – restriction, authority, crossroads
basic mystical energy – banishing, rewards
element – earth/water
metal – lead
trees – alder/cypress (fearn/ -)
incense – civet, myrrh, cinnamon, rue, mullein, yew berries, patchouli, cypress leaves
oil – patchouli oil
gemstones – obsidian, onyx, black pearl
mundane animal – crow, raven, crocodile

Plants

aconite, yew, cannabis, hemlock, thyme, deadly ightshade, jimson weed, cypress

Influences

poverty, destruction, internal injury, sickness

Energy Keywords

authority, caution, defensive, diplomatic, fearful, humility, justice, law, old, patience, pessimism, respect, responsible, restrain, rigid, serious, severe, sincere, stern, thrifty, time

Concerns

harvest, long life, protection, stability, safety

Day 5 – Thursday Correspondences

January 11, 2007

Thursday – Day 5
Please note, these correspondences have been adapted from several sources and may differ from traditional astrological correspondences. All designations follow the planet for the day according to Sefer Yetzirah.

Symbolic Language & Mathematics

Celtic ogham letters –
Hebrew letter – פ
number – 80
permutation – פרת בגדכ
vowel – shurek
“42”-letter name – חקב טנע

Astrological & Metaphysical

space/planet – Mercury
Hebrew name – Kochav כוכב
Sumerian name – Enki
Egyptian name – Thoth
Babylonian name – Nabu
orbit cycle – 88 earth days, ~ 4 times per year, ~ 7.5 days in each sign
retrograde periods – 3 times per year for 3 weeks per period
satellites – none
degrees moved on average day – ~ 1.6 degree/day
channel – gevurah to hod
sefirah – hod
mazal/rulership – gemini/virgo (teomim/besula, תאומים/בתולה)
firmament – Ma’on
earth – Yabashah

Archetypes

Hebrew archetype – Aaron
Celtic archetype – Lugh
Germanic archetype – Woden/Odin
Greek archetype – Hermes
Roman archetype – Mercurius
seal/archangel – Michael
malachim – Shmuaiel, Ra’umiel, Kuniel
mythic animal – hippogriff

Attributes

concept – oral communication of knowledge
soul – left ear, lower eyelid
gift – authority, dominance, advancement
direction – down
color – yellow
basic energy – speed
basic mystical energy – communication, movement, mental energy, analysis, service
element – water/air
metal – mercury/aluminum
trees – hazel/ash (coll/nuin)
incense – storax, mace, sandalwood, cinnamon, sassafras, wormwood
oil – lavender oil
gemstones – fire opal, agate
mundane animal – jackal, ape, ibis, serpent

Plants

wormwood, valerian, dill, carraway, vervain, horehound, fennel, lavender, mandrake

Influences

wisdom, skill, writing, language

Energy Keywords

active, adaptable, agility, alert, analytical, articulate, aware, brilliant, changeable, critical, dexterous, duality, discriminatory, efficient, expressive, indecisive, intelligent, irresponsible, precise, reason, restless, sensory, skeptical, versatile

Concerns

communication, memory, truth, business

Day 4 – Wednesday Correspondences

January 11, 2007

Wednesday – Day 4
Please note, these correspondences have been adapted from several sources and may differ from traditional astrological correspondences. All designations follow the planet for the day according to Sefer Yetzirah.

Symbolic Language & Mathematics

Celtic ogham letters –
Hebrew letter – כ
number – 20
permutation – כפרת בגד
vowel – chirak
“42”-letter name – כטר צתג

Astrological & Metaphysical

space/planet – Venus
Hebrew name – Nogah נגה
Sumerian name – Inanna
Egyptian name – Hathor
Babylonian name – Ishtar
orbit cycle – 225 earth days, ~ 18.7 days in each sign
retrograde periods – every 18 months for ~ 40 days
satellites – none
degrees moved on average day – ~ 1.6 degree/day
channel – chesed to netzach
sefirah – netzach
mazal/rulership – taurus/libra (shor/moznayim, שור/מאזנים)
firmament – Zevul
earth – Charba

Archetypes

Hebrew archetype – Moses
Celtic archetype – Rhiannon
Germanic archetype – Freyja/Frey
Greek archetype – Aphrodite
Roman archetype – Venus
seal/archangel – Anathiel, Haniel
malachim – Chizkiel, Rahitiel, Kidashiel
mythic animal – mermaid

Attributes

concept – ability to actualize potential
soul – left eye, upper eyelid
gift – life, health
direction – up
color – green
basic energy – socialization
basic mystical energy – relationships, balance, manifestation
element – water/earth
metal – copper
trees – apple/rowan (ceirt/luis)
incense – jasmine, egg white, rose petals, gum benzoin, red coral, lignum aloes
oil – musk oil, lilac oil
gemstones – emerald, amber
mundane animal – dove, swan, dolphin, fish

Plants

apple, elder, rosemary, sandalwood, rose, geranium, orris, eryngo, fig, almond

Influences

grace, love, lust, children, fruitfulness

Energy Keywords

love, beauty, harmony, luxury, sex, aesthetics, friendship, artistic, possessive, stable, stubborn, loyal, diplomatic, greedy, indecisive, hypocritical, peace at any price, fickle, judicial, sociable, sensual, self-indulgent, materialistic, dogmatic, cooperative, affectionate, devotion, gentle, impressionable, evasive, indolent, indifferent, obstinate, vacillate

Concerns

love, passion, friendship, joy, safety, fertility