Archive for February, 2007

Kabbalah Of The Pentacle

February 9, 2007

כ” בשבט תשס”ז

The spacial directions of Sefer Yetzirah 2:3 are rooted (first expressed in a distinguishable fashion) in tiferet/zer anpin as continuums between pairs of sefirot which make up “the six” sefirot of tiferet/zer anpin – [chesed-gevurah (S-N), tiferet-yesod (E-W), netzach-hod (Up-Down)]. Kabbalistically, chesed (S) is likened to water, gevurah (N) to fire, tiferet to alef (air/E), and yesod (W) to earth through “ateret hayesod” which is the root of malchut (earth). These spacial directions correspond to the 4 “lower points” (N-S, E-W) on the pentacle and to the encompassing circle (up-down). The top “spirit point” of the pentacle corresponds to ateret hayesod, the root of malchut. Malchut is represented by the letter hey in the middle of the pentagon center of the pentagram.

Note: These directions are based upon Sefer Yetzirah and Zohar and differ from traditional Wicca. I am a non-Wiccan witch, and don’t want to confuse anyone on account of the difference with respect to the pentacle directions.


Dirah Betachtonim, Lady Of The Woods

February 3, 2007

ט”ו בשבט תשס”ז
Tu B’Shevat – New Year For Trees

The first letter of the ogham is beith, represented by the lady of the woods (עצם), the birch tree (the tree corresponding to my personality type).

Beith astrologically corresponds to the archetypes of Yaakov, Beli Mawr, Torah leatid lavo, the hebrew letter dalet and dirah, and the elements of fire/air (like my chotimah).

Beith’s proto-Indo-European root means “resin, gum”, like that used to make incense blends [1]. Celtic myth teaches us that “in birch was the Ogham first written.” [2]

Phonetically, beith corresponds to the “b” sound like the Hebrew letter beit ב. Hebrew beit, like beith of the Ogham in which all was first written, is the first letter in the first word (Bereshit בראשית) of Torah and that with which all was created.


[1] for example, my kabbalistic name incense

[2] Calder, George (1917 (reprint 1995)). Auraicept na n-Éces: The Scholars’ Primer. Edinburgh (reprint Dublin): John Grant (reprint Four Courts Press), pp.273-4.

Unity In Dirah Betachtonim

Aromatic Roots Deliciously Delightful

February 3, 2007

י”ב בשבט תשס”ז

In my previous post, I wrote the final 4 word phrase – ארץ-זית שמן ודבש – which ends Devarim 8:8, and translated the word זית as olive. This is the way the word is translated traditionally. However, the shoresh [1] of olive is זות, not זית.

Consequently, there is room to suggest that the word זית in this pasuk is not olive from the root זות meaning to “flow out slowly”. I think the word in this pasuk is from the root זיו meaning “brighten” and “being bright and shiny”. The word זית therefore, can be implying a “tree” (another meaning of זית)-root or botanical which “brightens”. The Hebrew root of the tree-root which brightens is זיו.

Another root [2] that is bright and shiny is shechelet (onycha), an ingredient of the Temple incense. Incense is often mixed with oil – like the next word in the 4 word phrase following זית is oil, shemen (שמן). Controversy exists regarding the identity of onycha. While many believe onycha comes from the operculum of a shell fish from the Red Sea, there are equally as many who believe it is an oil derived from a plant. Thus, as easily as זית שמן could mean olive oil, it could also mean onycha oil.

The last word in the phrase derives from the root דבש which implies “delicious”, “fat” or “thick” – these are all descriptors of Asher, the epitome of pleasure and happiness.

Taking all this together, we have here in the 4 word phrase a code for “a woman who brightens reality with onycha oil, making it deliciously delightful and thick with happiness and pleasure.”

I imagine no one has ever heard those 4 words translated quite this way before, yes? I just love being a Jewitch. It makes me so happy.

HeBrew Cauldron


[1] Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R’ Matityahu Clark (p. 66)

[2] Rashi believes that shechelet is “an aromatic root that is smooth and shiny like a fingernail” – Kjeld P. Nielsen, Incense in Ancient Israel (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986), 65

Olive Oil, Date Honey & Messianic Consciousness

February 3, 2007

י”ב בשבט תשס”ז

The final two foodstuffs associated with Tu B’Shevat in Devarim 8:8 are olive oil and date-honey. The phrase is written this way – “a land of olive oil and date-honey.”

ארץ-זית שמן ודבש

Aretz (a land) pertains to Malchut, the final letter hey (ה) of the tetragrammaton (יהוה). The gematria of the entire phrase of 4 words is 1410. This value has a digit sum of 6. Six is the value of the letter vav (ו) of the tetragrammaton. Thus, what we have here in this phrase is a land (hey) of vav. In other words, we have a unification of the hey and the vav of the tetragrammaton. Importantly, tradition teaches that these two letters of the tetragrammaton pertain to the messianic aspect of the soul [1].

It is also worth noting that the two letters vav-hey have a combined gematria of 11, the number of the incense spices of the universe of Tohu. Elevating Tohu (via the mystery of the incense spices [2] as traditionally taught) likewise elevates the Divine Name.

Now, we have completed the list of foodstuffs of Devarim 8:8. Having begun in galut with wheat, the pasuk (verse) ends with the arrival of messianic consciousness and restoration of the Divine Name.


[1] Studies In Ecstatic Kabbalah, Moshe Idel (p. 52)

[2] Inner Space, Aryeh Kaplan (p. 86)

Raisin – Key To Achdut

February 3, 2007

י”א בשבט תשס”ז

Raisin is one key fruit eaten and shared among both Celtic Imbolg (February 2) and Jewish Tu B’Shevat (February 3 this year) sacred days. The Hebrew word for raisin [1] is צימוק.

The shoresh (3 letter root) of raisin (צמק) means “shrinking”, “drying” and “shriveling” [2]. The word raisin is found in Torah in 1 Shmuel (Samuel) 25:18 in the form צמוקים. This form, though seemingly plural, is translated as raisin, singular (yachid). Moreover, the form צמוקים follows the Masoretic tradition – the text used by R. Shmuel Raphael Hirsch, from whose commentaries the etymological source dictionary I use was compiled. In other words, צמוקים is the way the word appears according to the Aleppo Codex (כתר ארם צובה).

However, in most printed and online Hebrew texts of Torah, the word in 1 Shmuel 25:18 isn’t spelled this way. It is spelled צמקים. Neither the letter yod (י) nor the letter vav (ו) as found in the normative word for raisin (צימוק) is found in commonly available Hebrew texts of Torah (the Bible).

There seems to be some confusion about whether raisin is singular or plural (where ים is a plural ending), and whether or not it is spelled with a yod and a vav added into the root. Normatively, raisin is spelled with a letter yod following the letter tzadi (צ), and then a letter vav following the letter mem in its open form (מ). However, in the Aleppo Codex, singular raisin is spelled with a plural form, and with a letter vav (as opposed to a letter qof ק) after the letter mem. There is no letter yod in the root in the Aleppo Codex concerning 1 Shmuel 25:18 – but there is a letter yod in the plural form preceding a closed letter mem (ים) in its final form in the Aleppo Codex.

What can all this quasi-confusion mean?

First, the root implies dry because there is no water (מים) in it. Raisin, as found in the Aleppo Codex changes the entire meaning of the root – because (written in the plural form), singular raisin indeed has water in it (צמוקים). The open mem pertains to wisdom of the revealed world, while the closed mem pertains to wisdom of the hidden world. Consequently, the masoretic form contains both kinds of wisdom – concealed and revealed. In the normative Hebrew form of raisin, hidden wisdom is not present.

The root letter yod (in distinction to the yod of the plural ending), missing in most (if not all) printed and online versions of Torah and Tanakh, is also not present in the Aleppo Codex. Yet, the letter is present in the mundane sense, in the normative spelling of the Hebrew word raisin. This means that we have to find this letter in our everyday material world of action. It’s not somewhere “out there”, far from us. It is close, very close to us. It is even within our own souls, each and every one of us. It’s not in the exclusive domain of the learned and mystically pious. It’s ours, every one! Yod, in the soul, represents the feminine power of the left hand. Thus, what brings revealed and hidden mysteries to unified expression is the feminine power of the left hand.

Taking all this together, we can see that sharing is key to uncovering, partaking of, and bringing to revelation, the hidden mysteries. It is for this reason that singular raisin is written in the plural form – written plural yet pronounced singularly – the essence of achdut (egregore) is perfect unity in the presence of multiplicity.


[1] New Bantam-Megiddo Hebrew & English Dictionary

[2] Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, R’ Matutyahu Clark

Pomegranate – Return To Holiness

February 3, 2007

ט’ שבט ה’תשס”ז

The fifth product of the Land of the Divine Feminine eaten during Tu B’Shevat is the pomegranate (rimon, רימון). Thought to be the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, rimon can mean either the pomegranate fruit or shell.

In Jewish kabbalah, a shell is a kelipah. A kelipah is “the outer shell which conceals the godly light within all creation; hence, it is the unholy side of the universe.”

As the epitome of unholiness, the root from which rimon is derived is RMM (רמם), meaning “exalting”, “raise from a low level”, “elevating” and “bringing to life” [1]. Moreover, Ramchal [2] teaches in Secrets Of The Redemption:

At present the shell is in an impure state, but it is needed – its role is to protect the inside. However (in the era of redemption), then the shell itself will be on a holy level.

Thus, the pomegranate contains within its symbolism the holy seeds of “unholiness” and through the meaning of the root, elevates and transforms the impure to the pure. In other words, by eating of this fruit, we are raising the shell which is our material animal nature, elevating it to a holy nature, and bringing vitalized holiness into our life. We are returning our physical nature, not to innocence, but to experienced holiness.


[1] Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R’ Matityahi Clark (p. 245)

[2] Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Secrets Of The Redemption (p. 102)

Fig – Cell Of A Song

February 3, 2007

ח’ שבט ה’תשס”ז

The fourth product of the Land of the Divine Feminine eaten during Tu B’Shevat is the fig. Again, as with the last two “foodstuffs”, the word (in Devarim 8:8) for fig (ותאנה) is prefaced with a connecting vav. The root is תאנ and the final letter hey (ה) is a feminine ending.

Significantly, the gate (2-letter root, sha’ar in Hebrew) to the shoresh (3 letter root) consists of the word “ta” (תא), a “completely dark” cell of the Holy Temple [1] corresponding to midat hadin (the attribute of justice) [2]. Normally, humankind cannot endure strict midat hadin. Yet, this attribute forms the foundation of each feminine cell of the Holy Temple.

Moreover, King Solomon recognized that the essence of the Divine Spirit is contained within the “order of justice” (midat hadin) [2] and prayed for it to be made understandable to man. Understanding (corresponding to the sefirah Binah), as is a Temple cell (corresponding to the sefirah Malchut), is a feminine quality. The feminine quality of Understanding corresponds to the letter nun (נ), the third letter in the shoresh following the gate “ta”. Importantly, the letter nun symbolizes the messianic soul [1]. Thus, it is here, in the symbolism of the fig, where a woman may access her messianic soul spark.

Like King Solomon, the ancient Celts recognized the Presence of the Divine Spirit in the complete darkness of a cell.

In Ireland, Wales and Scotland, bardic colleges would use a technique for incubating tehilim (psalms, songs of prophetic poetry) called the cell of a song. A bard-psalmist would be laid on a wattle bed in a closed, windowless cell …after 24 hours, the bard would emerge from the darkness and write of that revealed there.

Ancient Celtic bards, like ancient Hebrew psalmists and Welsh awenyddion, were prophetic poets whose prophecies were oftentimes accompanied by song or music.

Taking all this together, we can understand that the fourth product of the Land we eat during Tu B’Shevat symbolizes the experience of the complete darkness found in the cell of the Holy Temple. Evidence that we have truly “eaten” of it, and thus internalized its message, is the poetry and artistry that such an experience itself produces in the one who has experienced it.

The musical poetry of Walking On Fire.

Bringing light from darkness and cells of the Temple.


[1] The Hebrew Letters, R’ Yitzchak Ginsburgh (p. 325 and p. 216)

[2] Wisdom In The Hebrew Alphabet, R’ Michael Munk (p. 229)

V’Gefen – A Wind Intertwining Path

February 3, 2007

Celtic tapestry with a Jewish magen David in its design.

ז’ שבט ה’תשס”ז

The third product of the Land we eat during Tu B’Shevat is v’gefen (וגפן). As discussed in my previous entry, the first letter vav is connective. V’gefen is typically translated as grape, and grapes are indeed the “product of the land” on most Tu B’Shevat seder plates. However, the word in Devarim 8:8 is not grape. In Hebrew, the word for grape is enav (ענב).

The root of v’gefen is גפף, meaning “winding”, “curving”, “twisting”, “intertwining vine”, “raised edges” and “body/limb”. The word gefen גפן can mean vine. Grapes are fruits of the vine. Nevertheless, Torah didn’t say “grape”, it used the root implying something that is winding, twisting and intertwining. Why?

The first product we internalize (eat) of the Land, is the kavanah to reconnect each and collectively to our Divine soul. This was characterized by the wheat. The second product we internalize is the realization of reconnection, characterized by the barley. With gefen, the third product of the Land, we begin a long and winding journey toward self-discovery, while at the same time, we are intertwining our natural nature with our Divine nature.

Thus, we can see that the fruits we eat during Tu B’Shevat contain within them a mystical message for us. That message is a recipe for reunifying our natural nature and our godly nature, and for drawing the power of that reunification out into our living reality.

The Subterranean Temple – on the long and winding nature of the path to the hidden ark.

Barley – Evidence Of Reconnection

February 3, 2007

ז’ שבט ה’תשס”ז

Note that today’s Hebrew date rests like a double shabbat, a shabbat shabbaton, and like the double edges of a witch’s athame, between two letters zayin (ז … ז).

The second product of the Land that we traditionally eat during Tu B’Shevat is barley. The word in Devarim 8:8 is ושׂערה meaning “and barley”, where the first [1] letter is a vav (ו) of connection called a vav hachibur. This is the vav which reconnects the letter yod to the letter chet in the word wheat (חיטה) as discussed in my previous entry, Wheat – From Galut To Geulah (from exile to redemption).

Evidence for this reconnection is found in the root שׂער of the word for barley, which implies a strong movement from within [2]. The first letter of the root is sin (“s” sound) as opposed to shin (“sh” sound), with a nikud (dot) over the left pillar as opposed to the right pillar. Consequently, we can see that the movement manifests through action of the feminine left emanation.

What is this movement? It is the movement described in Sefer Yetzirah 1:6 and 6:1 as a stormwind, the se’arah. Ruach se’arah [3] is a klipah (as I’ve distinguished previously here, Sufah and Se’arah), in contradistinction to ruach hakodesh or divine inspiration. Like its ezer knegdo, the shoresh “against it” (שרע), it implies stretching and extending in response to a strong inner movement. In other words, it is deliberate, measured, active work. This klipah gives the soul something to push and pull against enabling growth. As a yetziratic “agitating wind” meant to loosen distorted complexes in the soul for removal and/or reconstruction, ruach se’arah is neither as powerful nor as potentially destructive as Ruach HaShem. Ruach se’arah results when the human moves toward the divine. Ruach HaShem results when the divine bestows upon the human. Consequently, the powerful presence of the “chaotic dynamic” described here is evidence that the reconnection has been established.

In my own life, this dynamic is discussed most notably here (Soul Of A Bat Kohen) and here (Modah Ani).


[1] Hebrew is read right to left, as opposed to from left to right as with English.

[2] Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R’ Matityahu Clark

[3] Inner Space, R’ Aryeh Kaplan

Wheat – From Galut To Geulah

February 3, 2007

ו’ שבט ה’תשס”ז

One of the traditional foods we eat on Tu B’Shevat is wheat (חיטה). However, in Devarim 8:8, the pasuk from which the tradition is derived, the word is not חיטה, it is חטה. In it’s native state, the root חטה implies being “removed from the source of life”, “sinning extensively” and “deviating from the path” [1].

Nevertheless, most chumashim translate the word חטה, as it in its native state, as wheat. What can we learn from this?

First, the reason the root implies being removed from the source of life, is because the root חטה lacks the letter yod (י) which the word wheat contains. With the letter yod included, the entire meaning of the root is transformed. The yod becomes reconnected to the source of life. In other words, from the perspective of the pintele yid (the aspect of the soul hardwired into the Divine and represented by the yod), it is disconnected from life (represented by the letter chet ח) in the root חטה.

When the yod and the chet are reunited in the word wheat, we form the word chai חי (representing both the chayah and yechidah soul levels and life). Moreover, kabbalistically, חי represents one’s messianic soul.

The remaining letters of the word חיטה are tet (ט) and hey (ה), each representing the feminine yesod and malchut (aretz), respectively. Tet (a feminine vessel letter) functions to receive messianic awareness, while hey (a feminine letter of expressive bestowal) functions to express and distribute it.

Thus, by pronouncing חטה as חיטה we are infusing our “native state of awareness” (katnut consciousness) with the kavanah to drive us toward a “messianic state of awareness” (gadlut consciousness). We are making it a reality by pronouncing it the way we want reality to be, by recognizing that at some level, it already is.

This year, Monday January 29, is a Jewish observance called Yod Shevat (the tenth of Shevat). It is, before we celebrate either Imbolg or Tu B’Shevat.


[1] Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R’ Matityahu Clark