Archive for the ‘Sacred Feminine’ Category

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.

Mysteries Of The Flame

November 15, 2006

וכבשה The fire of a candle flame is a low-temperature partial plasma (Plasma Physics). A candle flame, as a low-energy partial plasma, is a subdued form of the high-energy complete plasma characteristic of the feminine “cauldron of mastery“. Candlelighting (hadlakat nerot) is one of the 3 primary mitzvot entrusted to women. These facts taken together suggest that one of the “reasons” for the mitzvah of candlelighting is to provide a connection toward observing the command of Bereshit 1:28 – to subdue, transform and master the feminine energies of malchut (ha-aretz). כבשן

Cauldron Of Mastery

November 15, 2006


Glowing blue plasma streaming upwards from the central electrode of a plasma lamp. (PlasmaPhysics)

Be fertile and increase, fill the land and master וכבשה it … Bereshit 1:28

The hebrew word for cauldron כבשן comes from the shoresh (root) כבש meaning to “subdue”, “master”, “transform”, “furnace where material disintegrates” and “spider” [1].

From the root כבש comes the keyword to the mitzvah to transform and master the land (ha-aretz, malchut) as commanded in Bereshit 1:28. Note, וכבשה in the pasuk begins with the letter vav ו and ends with the letter hei ה. Vav-hei וה is shorthand for the soul of mashiach (messianic consciousness) [2]. Consequently, the command is to transform וה into mastery ן, as evidenced by the transformation of וכבשה into כבשן.

Interestingly, recent details recurrent in my dreams includes the concepts of “plasma“, things/people “disintegrating” as in a nuclear event, the presence of a nightrobe, and spiders. Indexing my dreams, I found that the two colors my nightrobe has taken in the dreams are pink and blue – like in the plasma pictured above.

Disintegration corresponds to the processes of purification ו and transformation ה, which precede “mastery” ן (active reorganization of structure).

In addition to the root letters, כבשן cauldron has a nun-sofit ן, where the final nun implies a perpetual continuity, like the threads connecting the details running throughout all of my dreams. In other words, the transformation and mastery emanating from the cauldron are ever-evolving.

All of these dream details taken together are signs pointing to the shamanistic presence of the power of the female “cauldron energy” in my life. Torah validates it.

In harmony with Torah, Celtic shamanism teaches that the cauldron כבשן represents:

the source of limitless food
the source divine knowledge, wisdom and inspiration
the source of the ability to revive the dead
the source of transformation and mastery of consciousness

From plasma figure below, we can also see how the root כבש also acquired the meaning “spider”. The raw energy of the plasma below is harnessed and transformed in the plasma above.


(Plasma Energy)

רבי יוחנן אמר משיצרפם בכבשן ריש לקיש אמר משיצחצחן במים
Bava Metzia 84a (בכבשן “in the cauldron”, Schottenstein-Artscroll)

Footnotes:

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

[2] Studies In Ecstatic Kabbalah, Moshe Idel

Da’at Torah Emet

November 3, 2006

שנאמר ורחבה מני ים
Sefer Habahir, verse 3 excerpt

Traditional interpretation: “As it is written (Iyov 11:9), ‘It is wider than the sea.'”

The entire phrase has a gematria 953, and digit sums of 17 and 8.

The value 17 corresponds to tov טוב, the primordial light hidden away for the righteous in the “future to come” (that is, in Binah).

The value 8, from the perspective of Will, corresponds to the sefirah Hod. From the perspective of Action, 8 corresponds to the sefirah Binah.

Taken together, these two digit sums immediately connect together the ideas of tov, binah and hod. Kabbalistic tradition (R’ Yitzchak Ginsburgh) teaches:

The spiritual service of teshuvah begins at the level of binah, “understanding,” and concludes with the healing of hod, as the prophet says: “And his heart shall understand [binah] and he shall return and be healed [hod].”

This phrase contains a prophetic assay for ascertaining if the process of teshuvah has been completed. Having concluded the process, binah and hod are sealed with tov (פ).

The Transformation Of Pharaoh’s Arrow

October 31, 2006

In my previous entry, I wrote about the arrow which killed King Yoshiyahu in battle with Pharaoh Necoh [1]. Having survived pharaoh’s arrow [2], I have captured it and transformed it into a witch’s mystical tool, my athame.

An athame is a ritual black handled double-edged magnetized blade used to direct metaphysical energy, kavanah and divine shefa during the mystical workings of a witch. It is never used to draw blood. It is a sacred ritual tool associated with the element of air (avir kadmon) [3] and balance.

It can never be “used” by anyone else. Once a witch has obtained and consecrated her athame, it can never be “deconsecrated”. It is a witch’s tool for the duration of her life. It is used to cast a ritual circle, to invoke, summon, consecrate, bind, banish, awaken, charge and enliven.

The word athame can be etymologically translated as “arrow”. Consequently, pharaoh’s arrow, meant to cripple and kill, has unwittingly provided me with the material from which I have crafted a witch’s most prized possession – a metaphysical athame.

I am truly an initiated Jewitch (as in Jewish witch, not Wiccan) now.

Footnotes:

[1] R’ Yitzchak Ginsburgh, The Hebrew Letters, on the letter shin (p. 320)

[2] See fn.3 in previous entry (link above) regarding chemah/chomah and davah/hod.

[3] R’ Yitzchak Ginsburgh on avir kadmon: “The word avir–“atmosphere” or “air”– is composed of the three letters which spell or–“light”–together with a fourth letter, the letter yud. In Kabbalah we are taught that the or within avir represents the “impression” (reshimu) of the infinite light which shined before the primordial plan of creation (that light in which God “engraved” the plan). The yud represents the “impression” of the Divine plan itself.”

Rectified Binah & My Sephardic Connection

October 28, 2006

I dreamt.

I was in a cafeteria line (seder) gathering up a meal (shulchan oruch). There was a cauldron [1] of beef [2] and noodles [3]. I tried to dip with the cauldron’s ladle [4] to get a portion of mostly noodles for myself. I tried to get mostly noodles (since I like noodles) and just a little bit of meat (since I’m not a big meat-eater).

Everytime I attempted to do it, nearly all of the noodles would fall off the ladle spoon and alot of meat would somehow manage to work itself up onto the ladle spoon. I would dump the spoon and retry again. This would happen each time I tried, so that I each time I ended up with mostly meat and very few or no noodles on the ladle spoon. That meat had kavanah! by golly!

The people behind me in the line were getting impatient. Ok, fine! I dumped the next ladle full of meat onto my thin paper [5] plate. It looks like I’m going to have to eat meat.

Next, I came to the soda fountain. I filled my large styrofoam cup up with ice, then with cola. As I started to put my cup of sodapop onto my cafeteria tray, all of the cola in my cup disappeared. The ice [6] remained. Only the cola vanished. I filled my cup up again with sodapop. Again, the cola disappeared. Ok, fine! I’ll drink water.

I filled up my cup with water. The water didn’t disappear. I moved on down the line and found a seat at a table in the cafeteria.

I woke up.

Footnotes:

[1] The cauldron symbolizes the Divine Feminine principle, the power of transformation and the “place” where Divine Knowledge and Inspiration (Hashra’ah) are brewed. See Samhain as the Scholars’ Festival for women.

[2] Ashkenazi custom (Vilna Gaon) prohibits roasted meat at a seder, but Sephardi custom does not necessarily prohibit it. This detail of my dream suggests that I may also have some Sephardic ancestry (through my paternal Native American ancestry perhaps, or even through my maternal Jewish-British family line, the Grunwalds, since I’ve only assumed the entire Grunwald clan to be Ashkenazi because they came from England). It could also mean that my bashert has some Sephardic ancestry as well.

[3] Noodles are usually found in kugel dishes over pesach and shabbat. Also, lokshen (noodles) is a Yiddish term, where Yiddish is an Ashkenazic phenomenon. Consequently, given the “pot roasting meat” over “noodles”, the dream is deliberately pointing out a Sephardic connection to me (see fn. 2).

[4] A ladle is likened to a Torah scholar. Sanhedrin 52b, perek dalet mitot. (see fn. 1 above)

[5] Samhain (sundown October 31 – November 1) marks the time when the veil between worlds is the thinnest.

[6] See Zohar #301. “If water is poured on them (the ice, like in my dream), the ice absorbs it. By the waters turning into ice, they have become a vessel to receive additional waters.” In my dream, the ice remained as a vessel upon which water was accepted, but the sodapop was rejected and disappeared. Consequently, this detail of the dream speaks to the purity of my “ice vessel” to accept only pure water (of Atzilutic Torah and shefa) and to discern correctly (as ice “originates” from Binah). In other words, the dream is confirming that the Binah acting within my dreams is rectified Binah.

Celebrating The Sacred Feminine

October 28, 2006

Samhain, the holy day of the Ancestors, is observed from sundown October 31 through November 1. Samhain honors the dark Divine Feminine, the “dark half” of the year, marks the onset of winter, and is the Celtic New Year.

As a time when one cycle ends and a new one begins, Celtic tradition teaches that the veil separating the manifest world from the supernal realms is particularly thin and open during Samhain. In consequence to the “break” in the flow of time, Samhain is an opportunity for profound mystical transformation. Like Lag B’Omer, mystical bonfires have a role in the observance of Samhain.

The word Samhain derives from the Proto-Celtic word samani, which means “assembly” (cognate to Sanskrit sámana). [1] The Hebrew equivalent to Samhain is the word כינוס from the root כנס meaning “assembling”, “gathering” and “bringing together”. This root is found in Tehilim 147:2

“The L-rd rebuilds Jerusalem; She gathers in the exiles of Israel.”

:בונה ירושלם יהוה; נדחי ישראל יכנס

The first word in this pasuk is “boneh” בונה from the same root as Binah, a feminine sefirah of the “dark” left emanantion. Literally, the first part of this pasuk reads like a command “build Jerusalem Hashem!” The Divine She is She who commands it be done.

Thus, the secret of Samhain, a holy day of proto-Celtic origin, is mystically connected to the commands to rebuild Jerusalem and to ingather the exiles. Moreover, these commands are directly related to the “dark” Divine Feminine principle, which indeed, Samhain celebrates.

Also, given the bonfire connection to both Lag B’Omer and Samhain, and where Lag B’Omer is called the “Scholars’ Festival” (pertaining to men), I hereby dedicate Samhain to be the “Scholars’ Festival” (pertaining to women).

Footnote:

[1] W. Stokes in KZ 40:245 (1907), see here

On My Own

October 28, 2006

Ok, I have my witchy necklaces now, a book about designing rituals, and the will to do it. I am going to design my own unique shabbat rituals.

I’m going to pick and choose, using elements from traditional mystical Judaism, jewitchery and shamanism.

This is going to be fun. First, I need to outline a general plan which I can develop as I go.

Intention:

To honor sacred time within the sacred space of my domain, to put behind the past, to create a new beginning which respects my Divine Image and the sacred feminine, and to recreate the path of my life as a solitary traveler in devekut with the Divine.

Crafted & Consecrated Tools:

tzedakah box
ritual wash cup & basin
black candles
5 candlesticks
consecrated flame source
alter
alter cloth
incense & censer
spices
fish, foods & challah
challah tray & cover
wine
kiddush cup
clothing
ritual jewelry
witch’s robe
tallit
seforim
book of shadows, grimoires, dream diary
music
sigils and symbols
bachall (witch’s wand)
athame
boline (use as a challah knife)
pentacle & hexagram intertwined
kosher rock salt & container
handmade marzipan bowl
almonds
essential oil
consecrated ritual water container
staff
cords
dream pillow
seashells
stones with ogham & hebrew letter inscriptions
small cauldron
green living plant
mystical mirror
havdalah candle

Basic Ritual Elements:

ritual bath
statement of intent
letting go
meditation music
water & salt sprinkling
casting a ritual circle & banishing
establishing the gates of the elements
welcoming shabbat
candlelighting
blessings
kiddush
hamotzi
ritual meal
contemplation & meditation
torah study
blessing
shabbat morning kiddush, etc.
study & meditation
havdalah
statement of release
completion, integration & grounding

Now, I have a the beginnings of a plan. Many of the items I already have, but some I still need to purchase and/or craft myself. I think I’m going to handcraft some the items I already have too. It may take me awhile, given my longstanding and deplorable economic situation, but all will indeed be truly sacred when I’ve accomplished it.

Enigma Of A Female Mystic Mansion

October 24, 2006

שנאמר ומלא ברכת ב’ ים ודרום ירשה
Sefer HaBahir, verse 3 excerpt

Traditional interpretation: “Because it is written (Devarim 33:23): The filling is G-d’s blessing possessing the Sea and the South.”

The verse quoted here in this excerpt is from Devarim 33:23, where the tetragrammaton (written out in the Torah verse) is typically denoted by ‘ה in seforim. However, in the Kaplan hebrew text, the accented letter ‘ב in the excerpt above appears as chet with an acute accent ‘ח.

Yehudi mentions in his copy of the Bahir (Mosad HaRav Kook), the accented letters are “a ב the first time (in the beginning of the verse) but later with a ה,” but then he provides the hebrew verse (up to this excerpt) from the Kook version where the letter in question is a beit as follows:

ומפני מה התחיל התורה בבי”ת כמה דאתחיל ברכה ומנלן דהתורה נקראת ברכה, שנאמר (דברים ל”ג כ”ג) ומלא ברכת ב’ ים ודרום ירשה

So, there is something being hidden in the musical chairs these 3 letters (חבה) are playing with the accented letters in this verse. חבה by the way means “hide”, “secret”.

an enigma, an absurdity
stringing some strange emptiness, a holy madness bursting full
unfolding favor
like a parchment endlessly, darkly brilliant
surely able, between nothing and one, a no-man’s land
is the palace of a female mystic mansion, where only night senses
one mind effacing piles and piles of chaos softly
upon which this
breathes that
through and through, collapsing eternally
into an ever reverberating lifeforce
hovering plosive pivots of unuttered tradition set free
drunk without distinction, some wine of the timeless time to come
a martial art, utter clarity
running and returning, iterating
feminine mystery communicating all goodness, like a key
ever beyond sound, yet still peacefully permeating script
one essential mark
above without end, below without bound