Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ancestors & Angels

One of the things most cultures have in common, especially earth centered ones, is a reverence for the ancestors and Judaism is no exception. Numerous times in liturgy Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are brought to mind as are the Imahot, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah. These, among others, are invited into the sukkah and we are invited every Pesach to join in spirit with our ancestors who witnessed the plagues and the parting of the sea by being reminded that these things were not just done for them but for us as well.

For those with greater sensitivity it is a short step from intellectualy recalling the Ancestors to actually feeling their presence. In the invocation to my Rosh Chodesh ritual I invoke the Foremothers and most of the time I actually feel their presence. One of the greatest experiences I had was at my wedding where I felt the sprits of the Ancestors attend almost as if a nomadic tribe had come to celebrate with us complete with their goats and all that would have traveled with them. This should have been of little surprise since the opening blessing the rabbi did was an invitation to the Ancestors. It was thrilling especially since my dream was to have my spiritual community join in celebrating with my beloved and myself.

The Ancestors aren't the only spiritual beings I've experienced. Even back in the days when I was a good Catholic girl I had expereinces where I'd be praying alone in an empty church and I'd feel a presence or 2 in specific places in the church. Then there are the times I've been leading synagogue services and standing on the bimah I have felt myself flanked by 2 presences of the same nature; these I believe are angels. Why I should be so graced I don't know - it's not like I'm extra virtuous or anything but Judaism believes that there are angels and spirits all around us so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that they would join me in prayer.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Stones have energies that many witches learn to work with, myself among them. That is not to say that I'm an expert by any means but I do have my favorites. I learned very young about the energies of stones; my mother used to border her flower beds with field stones and would complain how some stones just didn't want to sit next to each other. I get to experience this every spring as I rearrange the stone borders around my own beds that the winter sprites have tumbled about under the snow. How 2 stones could sit comfortably next to each other one year and it be unfathomable the following spring how that could be the case I don't know. Like I said, winter sprites and ground fairies.

And then there is the monument to Earth that I am still trying to construct in my meditation garden - mostly a pile of local sandstone with a 100 lb crowning 'jewel' of white granite. The whole thing is supposed to be about waist high but I can't seem to get the supporting stones to interlock to support the piece of granite. Methinks it might have something to do with the fact that I have tried to impose my will on the stones rather than being receptive to their energies - I had the whole thing together once and then moved it more to the edge of my garden to balance out the placements of Fire (a hanging candle) , Water (a fountain) and Air (windchimes) and since then it hasn't wanted to go together. Time to go commune with Mother Earth.

Another stone related project of mine is a stone path the I'm putting in through garden and experiencing first hand how some stones just will not sit nicely nest to other ones. Either the shape is wrong or the color or something so since I have to gather all my own stones, sometimes from quite a distance, it's been taking a while. Well, between that and that fact that I redesigned it last year to lead from the main artery through the garden to Water; it would help if I could quit messing with stuff.

More artistic creations include most notably my staff (which I use instead of a wand) and my athame. My staff has a crowning piece of a quartz point and inset cabachons of 4 black opals, 2 labradorite, 2 leopard jasper, 4 onyx, 2 garnets and 1 each of amethyst, lapis lazuli, malachite, citrine, amber and carnelian all of course chosen for traditional properties which I'll expound on more in another post about my staff. The handle of my athame has been inset with a large cabachon of labradorite bordered by twisted gold wire.

Labradorite is my favorite stone despite not being all that traditional in magic working. It is the dark companion to moonstone and is held to be sacred to the Crone. Legend has that the aurora borealis was captured in labradorite and freed by a hunter to occupy the skies where we find it today. One of the things I love about it is how that aurora effect is still there and it seems to hint of mystery and things to be captured just beyond the veil.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Wandering Jew . . . Again

Why is it that some people can come across a belief system or philosophy and feel so totally at home there that they don't feel the need to engage in spiritual seeking outside that framework? This is not to say that I think that they stagnate but rather that they delve only further into their chosen path and do not look beyond to other belief systems either to the similarities or just in an analytical sort of way. This assumes that one examines their spiritual beliefs and grows within their spirituality or religion (which are not necessarily the same thing) at all which I know many people do not. Frankly, I can't wrap my head around that one as I have always been insatiably curious and perhaps a bit discontent with religion and where I happened to be in my spiritual journey and spirituality has been so very important to me.

Life lately hasn't permitted too much time or energy to contemplate or engage in spiritual matters with myself being physically and emotionally exhausted, the husband being in and out of the hospital and fall and subsequently winter, which blessedly has been mild thus far, being upon us. Then there's been the 2 equines that beamed down this fall and Dad to take care of and all the other things that life can throw at you to deal with. I have developed a close friendship with a very Christian woman though over the last few months and it is quite an experience. It's nice to find somebody who is just as spiritually engaged as I am but the avenues she has for expressing that spirituality and the grounding she gets from it leaves me a bit envious. Between one thing and another it hasn't been possible for the husband and I to get to synagogue services or for me to make it to the gatherings of the Goddess based women's group around here and I'm finding that I'm feeling ungrounded and somewhat adrift. Judaism puts so much emphasis on the communal structure that there isn't really anything out there for the essentially solitary Jew and as much as so much of the magical community is made up of solitaries and there are resources out there to deal with that they don't seem to give me what I need to feel part of the community. It's like I'm still wandering, trying to find my ideal spiritual home. Perhaps this is why my 2 favorite magical tools are my staff and my cloak.

It seems strange to think that it's been almost 20 yrs since I realized I'm not Christian and found myself wandering over the spiritual landscape of Judaism. One of the things I have always loved about Judaism is it's breadth which is why I don't feel like I'm betraying it as I turn to more nature based and Goddess orientated ways of worship. Conventional it's not but perhaps I am just the type of person who will find times and places to spiritually rest but at heart is always a spiritual Seeker.