Thursday, November 29, 2012

Geothermal Invocation

Lately, I've been cold inside; its like my internal fires are starting to dim.   It might be the grief, it might be the weather, it might be the bronchitis (probably its a combination of all three), but I don't like it.

I recently acquired a mala (buddhist rosary) made out of lava rocks.  Here's a picture of one like mine.  I'm using it to invoke the fires deep inside the earth.  I haven't done it enough yet to really know if it's working or not, but here's the invocation I've been using.  I recite it 108 times, using the beads to keep count. (Which, after all, is what mala/rosaries are for.)  I've been wearing it much of the time.


Fire of the earth, warm my bones.
Fire of the mountains, warm my heart.
Volcano stones, remind me.

UPDATE: It's working.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving



Until very recently, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.  (Except for Halloween, and Purim, which are also my favorite holidays.  Mostly I just like holidays.)  Thanksgiving was a big deal at my late parents' house.  Many years we had more than 25 people for dinner.  Most of the year, my late mother wasn't really a very good cook, but she was the Queen of Thanksgiving.  She made the most amazing turkey and stuffing.  Here is a "recipe".


Ellen Mastros's Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing

Before the Big Day:
1) Save all the ends from every loaf of bread all year in the freezer.  Raid day-old bread section of grocer.  You will require about 5 loaves bread, in total.  The more different kinds, the better.  Also, the crustier the better.
2) Buy the largest turkey you can find.  In case an army should show up, you should be ready!

Wednesday:
3) Argue with Husband about food-safety issues surrounding defrosting poultry on the counter vs. in the fridge.
3) Wed night, rip up all the bread into small pieces.  Use every bowl/platter in the house to place bread on counter to air dry overnight.  Argue with Husband concerning whether or not this will draw mice.  "On Thanksgiving, even mice should eat!"

Thursday:
4) Thursday morning:  Awaken "early" (ie, before 10am).  Grumble.
5) In largest sauce pan (usually reserved for spaghetti sauce), melt 3 sticks of butter.  Argue with daughter about whether this is enough butter.  Find an extra stick of butter added while you weren't looking.
6) Husband, who has been up for hours, returns from the office, singing Zippity Doo Dah.  Send him to grocery store for something not needed in order to avoid people who are happy to be awake before 10am.  Grumble.
7) Chop 3 onions, 1 head celery, 6-9 apples into small pieces.  Chop extra apples because Daughter keeps filching apple pieces.
8) Sautée celery and onions in butter until translucent.
9) Debate relative merits of raisins vs dates with Husband.
10) Add apples and about 4 Tbsp McCormic poultry seasoning.  Argue with Daughter about whether this is enough poultry seasoning.
11) Turn back on pan.  Find more poultry seasoning added without your approval.
12)  Add apples, onions, raisins, AND dates to butter mixture.  Sautée until onions are golden.
13) Muse on the relative merits of walnuts vs pecans.  Pro walnuts:  They are better than pecans.  Pro pecans:  Daughter and her bff used all the walnuts making baklava yesterday, and so Husband must be sent to store again to get more walnuts.  Wait...  That seems like pro-walnuts.
14) Discover Daughter was right, and melt additional 2 sticks of butter.  Mix with butter/spice mix.
15) Mix butter mixture into bread.  Use hands.  This is messy.  Pretend you hate the mess, but secretly lick butter mixture off your fingers when you think no one is looking.
16) Wait for Husband to return with walnuts.  He has also bought 4 kinds of cheese, 3 types of olives, and some weird gourmet poultry seasoning.  Hide this seasoning in the back of the pantry, and use McCormick brand poultry seasoning.
18) Add walnuts to mixture.  Wet stuffing with turkey broth until it is sticky enough to mold.  Chastise Daughter for playing with her food while praising her elaborate stuffing structures.  Husband adds more poultry seasoning while you are distracted by stuffing architecture.
19) Have Husband remove giblet sack from turkey, because raw turkey is gross.  Husband complains that turkey is still frozen inside.  Remind him that someone told him it would not thaw sufficiently in fridge.  Fill turkey with very hot water several times to defrost from within.
20) Drop turkey on floor.  Swear Daughter to secrecy concerning this.
21) Manhandle turkey into large roasting pan with cover.  Reminisce about how Son used to hide in the empty roaster and pop out to scare people when he was very little.
22) Remove turkey from roasting pan because you forgot to stuff it.  Drop turkey on floor.  Swear Daughter to secrecy concerning this.
23) Why are there two #3s and no #17?  You just always have to be right, don't you?!?!  Remember the spoons!  (*)
24) Stuff turkey.  Compact stuffing as much as possible, so that the maximum amount will fit inside. 25) Preform 6-dimension Time-Lord magics to ensure 3 gallons of stuffing fit inside 1 gallon bird.
26) Manhandle bird into roaster.  Add about 2 cups turkey broth (or apple cider!) to bottom of pan.
27) Have Husband put roaster in oven, because it is too heavy.  He will remark that oven door seems broken.  Remind him that he's been promising to fix that for five years.
28) Bake at 200' for 6 hours.
29) During this time, occasionally remove lid to "baste" (this is a technical culinary term, which means "filch crunchy stuffing bits from the edges of the pan").  Add more broth or apple cider if dry.  Husband should cavort around the house "helping" and singing "It's beginning to smell a lot like Turkey!" (to tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas")
30) Remove turkey from oven.  Drop hot roaster on floor.  Swear Daughter to secrecy.  Small burn mark on cork remains as evidence.  "That's just the natural variation in the cork!  It's a beautiful and eco-friendly material!"
31) Husband carves turkey while Daughter filches stuffing and Sisters debate relative merits of various cream-cheese to celery application strategies.

(*) It's an inside joke in our family.  Did you know that sets of silverware come with twice as many teaspoons as other things?  My mother did.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Magic Kingdom


As a result of my parents' death, my brother and I now own several apartment buildings and rental garages.  The magic below is aimed at keeping them safe, well-managed, and profitable.

----

At the hour of Mercury, on the day of Jupiter, I write these words, and they become true.

My estate grows bountiful, prosperous, and well-managed.
My tenants are happy, healthy, well-employed and responsible. 
They pay their rent on time, and keep their spaces in good repair.

I construct a servitor, Estalwen Manethor, who protects my properties and estates, my investments, and my business.  Estalwen Manaethor flies about Lancaster, overseeing my properties, keeping them safe from harm, harm from outside or harm from within.  He protects those who live within them; they are healthy and employed, they pay their rent without incident, their homes are safe and orderly.  All these things Estalwen Manethor does for me, in my name, and by my word.

A spirit of the air, Estalwen Manethor is clever and quick.  A spirit of the heavens, Estalwen Manethor is regal and bold.  A spirit of the earth, Estalwen Manethor is strong and solid.  A spirit of the fire, Estalwen Manethor is eager and brave.  A spirit of the waters, Estalwen Manethor is flexible and creative.  Estalwen Manethor partakes of all the elements, and brings all forces to bear to work my will.  A good and trustworthy servant, Estalwen Manethor always does what is for my best.  Estalwen Manethor eats only sunlight and drinks only rain, and from all the powers of nature does he take his strength.  He is mighty and dependable; he shelters all my properties under his vast wings.  He protects from fire and lightening, from violence and theft, from vandalism, arson, and all maliciousness.  He protects from breakage and from rust, from corrosion and decay.  All properties under his protection stay in good repair.  In all these things does Estalwen Manethor excel. 

With my breath, I give him life, in this, the hour of Mercury, this, the day of Jupiter.  I breath out, and now he takes flight!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Update

I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long.  As some of you already know, my parents were both killed in an accident on Sunday October 21st.  They were hit by a truck full of sheep, and died instantly.  It's hard not to interpret that metaphorically.

Things have been hard since then.  I was extremely close with both of my parents (I saw them last jut a few weeks ago at yom Kippur), but especially my mother.  My boyfriend used to tease me about how often we spoke...he used to call her "BFF Mommy", and it's true, she really was among my very best friends.  In a way, it makes it easier.  I know for so many people, when people die, there's so much guilt about "what could have been", but I don't really have any of that.  There was nothing unresolved.  I had the best parents in the world for 34 years, which is a lot more good parenting than most people get.

Some things I have learned:

1) I think I'm a polytheist now.  In an attempt to escape for a few hours, I got high with my borther and my friends after the funeral.  Turns out, I really can't do drugs recreationally.  I had a very powerful vision quest, during which many of the gods I work with, particularly Mercury, Ishtar, Tiamat/Lilith (in the vision, those are the same?), and several others showed up to tell me how much they love me, and how they're "there to help me".  The Hebrew God made a brief appearance, but then He hid His face and left.  So, fuck Him.

2) Having a pre-existing relationship with a psychopomp made this easier.  I think I understand the draw of religion now, but during none of this did I feel the impetus to worship anything.  I put Mercury dimes on my parents' eyes when we cremated them, and on more than one occasion  (particularly during aforementioned spirit journey) it has been helpful to remind myself that I paid the ferryman.

3) I'm so glad that I'd gotten back into a regular meditation practice this summer (Thanks Jason Miller!).  I'm pretty sure it's what's keeping me from totally loosing it.  I don't know how muggles deal with this sort of thing.

4) OTOH, I keep feeling a little guilty that I'm not falling apart and going mad.  My mother cried at sad movies. Hell, my mother cried at sappy Kodak commercials.  She used to always tease me about that fact that I didn't.  Probably because I'm a heartless monster.  Maybe she was right?  I mean, I am very sad, but I'm surprisingly coping.  Is that ok?

5) During the spirit journey, I climbed the Tree of Life, and made it much higher than I previously had. I made it to Tipheret with few problems, backslid some, but eventually made it to Chesed (where I've been before, but just barely). It was easier than usual...the veils were thin or whatever. I sat there for a while.  Then, I was like "fuck the abyss; I miss my Mommy", so I packed up my camel and went across.  That was brain-hurty, and I'm still processing it.  Is that the so-called "ninth gate"?  Because it was awesome and terrible and sad and joyful and confusing.  So, if anyone has some advice about that, that would be cool.

I'm going to try to get back to doing some regular working again next week, but I don't know if I'm up for it or not.  Everything seems very hard right now, and I'm tired all the time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spirit Conjuration

People have been asking, so here's an example of a Jewish conjuration:

Eloah Elyon, You who predate the beginning and extend past the end of days, Unbegotten and Never-Ending, Unlimited and Impossible, Eternal and Omnipotent, You who moment by moment create the universe, HaMakom Olam, coextensive and transcendent,  Eheh Asher Eheh, whose Name is Being itself, Father of the Forever, Mother of the Ten Thousand Things,  Adonai Tzavaot, Elohai ha Elohim:

I beseech You to send Ophiel, Olympic spirit of Mercury to me. Let him instruct me and counsel me, providing to me all that I ask of him.   Let him appear in my mirror, speaking clearly to me, answering my questions, and granting me those favors that I ask.  

I ask only what is mine by right, by ancient covenant. I am Sara, inheritor of the line of Sarah, daughter of the house of Jacob, created in Your image.  You make me but little lower than yourself. You crown me with glory and honor. You give me dominion over all Your works.  All things are under my feet.  With all your authority do I now call: Ophiel attend to me!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Baal Shem Tov's Sleight of Hand

There is a story that says a depressed tailor came to the Baal Shem Tov and asked him how to understand the place of man in the world.  The Baal Shem Tov gave him a giant hug, said that life was beautiful and that we were meant to enjoy.  He then said that at dawn the next morning, before he even said his morning prayers, the man should check his coat pockets for an guidance. Now, the hug of the Holy Besht was a very good thing indeed, and the man went home happy.  But, as the sun set, and he went to bed alone in his cold empty house, his sadness returned.

Upon awakening, the tailor thought that the Baal Shem Tov was just a ridiculous old man.  After all, he had gone to him with a real problem, and all he had gotten was a hug!  He put on his coat, and started heading toward the Besht's house.  It was cold, and so he stuck his hands in his pockets.  In the man's right hand pocket, he found a scrap of paper, and on it was written "Compared to the Holy ONE, you are tiny mote of dust, floating in a mostly empty universe.  To the HOLY ONE, your life passes in an instant, almost before you are alive, you are dead again."

This made the man sad and angry, but in his left pocket, he found another scrap of paper.  This one said, "The Holy ONE created the entire universe, infinite space, eternal time, all for you.  You are its center, and it relies on your holy spark to continue being created."  Upon reading this, the man was satisfied, and he went back home again.  At home, he took the two pieces of paper, and read one and then the other, the second and then the first, over and over again.  He could not understand why he had been told these two seemingly incompatible things.  Eventually, he sighed, and he said in exasperation "Who needs all this hooey?  Infinity, Nothingness, it's all the same thing!  I know who I am, and only I can find my path through the world!" and at that moment, the tailor achieved enlightenment.

Soon thereafter, taking his own advice, knowing who he was, making his own path through the world, the man began to sew the most beautiful clothes he could imagine.  They were not only beautiful, but very functional, ideally suited to their every purpose.  The man's business became quite successful, and he married a beautiful fat widow who brought her three lovely children to his home.  He was happy, content in himself and his life.  Soon thereafter, the man once again met the Master of the Good Name on the street.  The Besht could see his new happiness, and asked what he had learned.  The man told him, "Why do you always spout all that claptrap about good and evil, meaning and unmeaning?  All that matters is that people enjoy the things I make, and appreciate their beauty, that my wife is content, our union is joyful, and my children are happy.  These are the things that really matter."

The Baal Shem Tov looked at him a little funny, and then said, "Yes, that's what God is always telling me too!" and then he winked at the man, spun about in a little circle, and danced off laughing to himself.


The End.




Balloon Breathing

You know how, when you first blow up a balloon, you stretch it out a couple of times first?  This exercise stretches out your "energy body" (or whatever you call it).  It's very good for when you feel tired or dejected, or as prep for other work.

Get comfortable and close your eyes.  I do is sitting down, because I sometimes get a little dizzy when I do it, but you can stand up or lie down or whatever.  Take a deep breath in making your spine very straight.  Feel your whole body fill up like a balloon; your stomach should be very round.  Breathe in and in and in until you're entirely full of air.  You'll be amazed how much more air your lungs will hold than you usually put in them.  Hold the air in for just a moment more than is comfortable, and then exhale.  Exhale as much as you can, deflating your whole body like a balloon.  Your shoulders relax and your head might dop a little.  Keep your lungs empty for just a moment, and then repeat.  

Once you've gotten a steady slow rhythm, imagine that not just your belly, but your entire body filling up, getting bigger and bigger with every inhale, and smaller and smaller with every exhale.  The goal is to shrink to a single point (like a black hole) on exhale and become infinite (bigger than the universe) on inhale, but it’s ok to just get “very small” and “very big”.  

Once you’ve gotten the hang of that (which takes quite a while), with each full-hold name yourself “Ein Sofit” (which is Hebrew for Infinity) and each time you hold-empty name yourself “Ein” (which means Nothingness).  Or, you can just name yourself in English if you don’t want to use the Hebrew.


Whenever you’re done, start taking smaller, more usual breaths, and return slowly to your regular size by naming yourself with your regular name as you breathe.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Magic!

I don't normally post about non-Jewish related magic here, but I wanted to talk about the magic I did last night.

I had a giant magic flop Saturday night.  I just felt ridiculous, and I couldn't get into "the zone".  After soem soul searching, I tried something very different from what I usually do last night, and I had AMAZING results.  I made some absinthe a while ago, so I had some of that.  Then I listened to this awesome shamanic drumming mp3.  I then listened to Andrieh Vitimus' amazing "Ceremony of Power", which is very powerful; I strongly recommend it.  Then there was more drumming, and then just ocean white noise.  I've never done magic via headphones before, but I really, really liked it.  It was the most powerful shamanic vision-quest I've ever had, even compared to one with mushrooms.  I'm going to record some audio magic of my own soon.  (I'm off work yesterday and today for Sukkoth, and again next mon & tues for simchat torah, so maybe then)

It's hard for me to describe what happened, but I will try.  After working thru the Al i Shan "Ceremony of Power" ritual (seriously, if you haven't tried it, DO IT NOW!  It's a free download; it's super easy and very potent.  If you've always wanted to try magic, but didn't know how to start, do this.), I was all lit up like an electric christmas tree.

I threw my head back and light came out like at the end of the The Fifth Element.  I went swimming through the currents of the world, and turned into a giant fish.  At first, I was afraid I would drown, but of course, I didn't.  I went around eating up all the different kinds of magic.  Thelema: tasty!  Cthulhu?  a little unpleasant, but down the gullet it went.  I choked on the Sun, and had to spit it out.  It was too big for me.  But, I ate the moon all up.  It was hard, but I swallowed it, and had a giant pregnant moon belly.  Astarte taught me a dance, and a drum beat, for turning into a lion, so I prowled the jungle for a while.  I did some magic for some goals I'm not going to talk about until after they manifest.

I went chasing after a goddess named Madeline.  At first, I thought it was Mary Magdaline, but that wasn't quite right. Now, I think it might have been Madelyne Pryor, the Goblin Queen from X-Men.

I shifted through a whole lot of witch archetypes, and I settled into Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi.  Have you seen pictures of that giant prehistoric snake?  That was the Python of Delphi.  She taught me a snake dance.  Then, I met the one-armed Siberian shamaness from American Gods, and she taught me how to assume the mammoth form, which was very powerful and interesting.  This was all in the context of the root evolutionary becoming ritual from Clan of the Cave Bear (don't you judge me!)  Then, I assumed Bear form, which was kind of weird, and felt not so much like me, but still cool. I was Kitara from Avatar, the last Airbender very briefly, and then I was the Avatar Form, which seemed a lot like being Buddha, but with magic powers.

I have arranged these things as if they went in a narrative sequence, but that's not entirely right; they were all happening over and over in a sort of spiral.  Here's another way to explain it:

I started off in the primordial chaos, and Tiamat taught me to be a giant fish (or possibly a Leviathon).  Sometimes I was a river dragon instead of a fish.  I swam about eating/absorbing things, until I turned into the Great Goddess, seated on a throne.  I swallowed malkuth, and went up to the moon.  I swallowed that to.  I shot through Hod like electricity. Thoth taught me a bird-headed thing, which was weird, and my glasses kept sliding down my beak (I don't know why that wasn't a problem when I was, say, a fish...I think because Thoth Hermes is a godform I assume a lot, so it felt like my regular body).  Anyhow, I got to Netzach, which was pleasant and sticky and sexy and wet.  I spent some time there. I tried the Sun again, but Jesus was there, and that freaked me out, and I choken again, and had to spit the Sun out.  It was too big for me to swallow.  This happened several times.  After a while, I realized that I didn't have to worship Jesus, I had to be him, which was less threatening, but getting crucified seemed like it would suck, so I spit that out again.

The next time up, I tried calling him Buddha instead of Jesus, and that was better, but still problematic.  It was the pointy-hat Indian Buddha, not the round curls or the fat one.  (And that is the extent of my familiarity with the Eastern mysteries).  I thought to ask Ganesh to open to way for me, which sort of helped.  I realized that, fuck Jesiu, fuck Buddha, I'm Jewish, and so I just opened the gates of Tiphereth the way Abulafia taught me to.  There I learned that all the gods are One, and they're all me, which seemed more profound and less like New Agey drivel at the time.  Anyhow, I finally managed to choke down the Sun, and I swallowed it.  The Angel of Tipheret (who looked suspiciously like Milla Jovavitch in the Fifth Element) taught me how to make a Gate of the Sun potion (recipe coming soon).  I owe Andrieh a bottle for his awesome Ceremony, which I've used before.  I got good results before, but nothing so amazing as last night.

Then I did some magic, which I intentionally forgot.  I remember it flying away like a butterfly.  Then I got kind of queasy.  I called to Brian to come help me, but he wasn't anywhere (well, actually it turns out he was on the porch, but it seemed like he was no where).  I stumbled to the bathroom and threw up a little, which was lame, but then I rewound time, so that didn't actually happen (which made sense at the time).  Brian finally showed up and helped me to bed.  I just wanted to sleep, but there was one last thing.  Pythia came again, and gave me an important prophecy, which I can't talk about, and I hope isn't true.  I guess we'll see soon.

I slept for a really long time (about 10 hours).  I'm still feeling weirdly disconnected from my body, and not fully grounded, which is not unpleasant, but not very productive either.  Eating is a very sensual pleasure right now.  I wasn't up for cooking, but Brian made me some ramen and peas, and they were the best things ever.

So, there you go.  Magical field report.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kadosh

Sorry I've been gone for a while.  Life's been crazy.  To make up for it, here's a magic ritual.  It's a "consecrating space" ritual, like "calling quarters".


In the Name of the Eternal and Transcendent ONE
Who moment by moment calls the universe into being,
All gods, all angels, all guardians, all spirits of this place
I call to you, I summon you, I evoke you
Attend to me now.
In order that I might work my will,
Which is the same as the One Eternal and Ineffable Will,
I charge you to set this time and place apart for me.
This is request in the name of
Adone ha Adonim
The Lord of lords
Elohe ha Elohim
The God of gods.
Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh!

When I do this, I start in the east and turn slowly to the right.  I normally "kadosh-ify" the whole room, using the walls as the "walls", but you could cast a circle instead.  You might repeat the "kadosh" 27 times instead of 3 if you're having trouble getting it to "take".

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What's in a name?



So, it turns out that a lot of people don't get the "traif banquet" reference (which is, come to think of it, kind of obscure).  A very short, overly simplified, quite biased history lesson follows.  If you already know the reference, skip to the *** below to hear why I chose the name.

From the fall of the second temple until the mid 1700s, there weren't really any significant Jewish sects.  I don't want to romanticize it as some sort of golden age of klal yisrael, but modern notions of "orthodox" and "reform" just didn't exist until quite recently.  There were, absolutely, wide variations is practice, both from one community to another and also from person to person within any given community, but these differences mostly weren't seen as separate "forms" of Judaism.

As the enlightenment began, marked divisions began to appear.  On one hand, a new sort of rural, populist, mystic, results-driven folk religion called Chasidism, or the Pious Ones, started to take hold.  (Seriously!  Chasids used to be revolutionary pagans!)  At around the same time, many urban Jews (Baruch Spinoza is my favorite) advocated for an enlightenment/humanist idea of Judaism.  This movement came to be known as Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment.

In the 1800s in Germany, the more religious Haskalah crystalized into what we now call Reform Judaism.  In the US, Reform Jews (including my great grandfather) ratified the so-called Pittsburgh Platform, which (among other things) says: "all such Mosaic and rabbinical laws as regulate diet, priestly purity, and dress originated in ages and under the influence of ideas entirely foreign to our present mental and spiritual state..."  In 1883, the first class of new rabbis was about to graduate from the Hebrew Union College (the school that "authenticates" Reform rabbis).  They threw a lavish banquet to celebrate, at which several overtly non-kosher (ie, "traif") things.  Many of these attendees walked out, shocked that the reforms had gone too far.  (This constituency would go on to become the Conservative movement.)  The radical reformers who remained sat down to a meal that has become known as "the traif banquet".  

Historical note: Actually, the traif banquet happened 2 years before the Pittsburgh Platform was actually ratified, but the ideas in it were already in place when the dinner took place.

***
For me, that traif banquet is an extremely important act of Jewish magic.  As many of you know, my magical practice especially values transgressive ritual.  For me,  the Work of the Jewish people, both individually and collectively, is to engineer the liberation of all sentient beings.  What makes me a satanist is that I sometimes think the thing we need liberating from is the same thing a lot of Jews worship.  Read the post called "Idolatry in my heart".    However, my point is, "Israel" means "wrestles with El", and the central mythology of our people is walking out of the house of bondage.  I think in 1883, it was important to liberate our people of the tyranny of mindless kosher observance, to let people know that our essential free will and autonomy made keeping kosher a joyful choice, not a dismal duty.  I've gone back and forth about keeping kosher over the years.  Most of you who know me know that when I started teaching at Jew school, I (sort of) kept kosher, and that I started eating pork soon after I started.  Overwhelmed by the (relative to me) conservativeness of the community, I too needed that sort of transgressive magic to hold on to my own Jewish identity.   

ps: My school really walks the walk when it comes to pluralism, and also has amazing hard-core academics and full merit scholarships.  If you doubt that, remember that the lead math teacher, when not teaching topology to 15 year olds, writes a blog about being a sorceress.  If you mean it too, put your money where your mouth is. :) 


Fuck It All, and Fucking No Regrets


A Tashlikh and Hatarat Nedarim ritual from the Pillar of Smoke 
(with some poetical inspiration cribbed from William Butler Yeats)

Purpose: At the end of the rite, each participant is freed from any and all ritual vows or oaths she has made in the last year.  This includes, but is not limited to, vows made to oneself, vows made to other people, vows made to non-human beings, and vows made to G-d.  If there are vows you do not want to abrogate (like marriage vows, for example), be sure to keep them in mind during the performance.

Preliminary considerations:  For best results, you’ll need at least four Jews (but not everyone needs to be Jewish), a natural body of water, and a patch of dirt for this ritual, but it can be modified however you feel is right.  Each person should have a green apple, a red magic marker, and a piece of matzoh left over from Passover.  Pick the most lovely, shiny, symmetric apples you can find.  If you can’t assemble all of those things, just make do.  (sharing markers, in our experience, makes the ritual tedious, assemble as many as you can lay hands on.  it's not vital that they be red)

While traditional practitioners may disagree, we think this ritual works great anytime between from the beginning of Rosh Hashannah until just before Yom Kippur begins. It’s important to pick a warm, bright day when it is pleasant to be outside.  It’s better to skip this ritual, or modify it to be indoors (perhaps by burning the matzoth instead?) than to do it in weather that makes it no fun.  As written, there’s a leader, but that’s just for logistics.   Anyone can read any part.

The Rite:

Leader:  In your hands, you hold the Bread of Affliction.  It was the Bread of Slavery in the House of Bondage, and it is now the Bread of Obligation.  With your words of red, it becomes all oaths, all sin, all regret.  On Rosh Hashannah, the anniversary of creation, you were each created anew, released of all bonds, all vows, all oaths.  Whatsoever oath you renounce, whatsoever sin you regret, whatsoever it is you cast off, write it on the Bread of Obligation.

Wait until everyone is done writing.

Leader:  Inheritor of a Breathing World, we call you into Supernal Beauty.  Break your bonds, and feed the waters of liberation!  Like the tree that sheds its leaves, let go of those things that can no longer nourish you.  Like the serpent that sheds its skin, wriggle free from anything that holds you back.  As you throw these things into the living water, know that you pledge nothing, are bound by nothing, are bathed in Nothing, awash in the Wild Dark.  Repeat!”

Participants should break their matzoh, throw the pieces into the water, and say: 

Each:  “I pledge nothing.  I am bound by nothing.  I am bathed in Nothing.  As I say it, so do I become.”

When everyone is done, hand out the apples.  No one should have an apple while anyone else (including the leader) still has matzah.

Leader:  In your hands, you hold the Fruit of Life.  It was the Fruit of Paradise in days gone by, and it is now the Fruit of Hope. With its seeds, it becomes all resolutions, all goals, all hopes.  On Rosh Hashannah, the anniversary of creation, we are all created anew, infused with infinite potential.  Whatsoever resolution you make, whatsoever goal you pledge yourself to, whatsoever hope you cherish, whisper it to your apple as you eat. 

Wait until everyone has eaten their apple.  (It's ok not to eat the whole thing, but unless you can't it's best to take at least a bit.  If someone can't eat apples, use a different fruit.  If apples won't grow where you live, use a different fruit that will.)

Leader:  Wanderers in the Wild Darkness, you have stepped into the Boundless Light.  Plant your seeds.  Like the tree that aches for the sky, your hope grows strong.  Like the rain that lusts for the silent earth, your goals are met in joy.  Light without Limit pierces the veil, and you are enlightened.  Take the boundless light and hang Stars of Glamor in the Dark.

Leader: Hakol yihtu muttarim lach, hakol mechulim lach, hakol sheruyim lach.  May everything be permitted to you; may everything be forgiven you; may everything be allowed you.  Repeat!

wait for people to repeat

All: Nothing is true.  Everything is permitted.  Selah and Amen.

Everyone plants her/his seeds.  When everyone is done, join hands, spin and laugh until dizzy and exhausted.  Note: spinning and laughing is NOT OPTIONAL.  It’s what seals the Work.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Totem Animal

I've been doing some pathworking lately, indirectly inspired by Jason Miller's AMAZING Sorcery classes. I can't recommend them highly enough.  He and I are paradigmatically more similar that I would have expected, and nearly every lesson has great things to say (Although his technical skill as an explainer is not so great).  If you sign up for lessons, tell him I sent you.  In a later blog-post, I'll tell you about my new work in the "horizon realm" of Solomon's Temple.

Last night, I went looking for an animal spirit guide.  Now, those of you who know me know that this is a thing I do every five years or so with weird results.  This time, like most other times, I was at the place where "the next animal you see come down the path will be your spirit guide" and when the door opened, it was a human.  Again.  Historically, I've just chalked this up as a failure (or a joke).  I've grown a lot as a spirit magician in the laste several years, so I thought I would try to examine it further.  I asked for the spirit to appear to me in my dreams and went to sleep.  I'm a big fan of oneiromancy.  The spirit appeared again, looking not unlike Christ, which would have been troubling to me if I were awake.  Is Jesus my spirit guide?  My yiddishe mama might have something to say about that!  Strangely, it also looked kind of like my boss.  This is relevant because I had a dream about my boss the night before, from which I awoke suffused with a feeling of love (not erotic love...chesed love), which was very weird, but makes more sense now.

I asked it for its name, and it said Adam Kadmon, and resolved into being the referent of the illustration at the left (which I've seen many times).   This is an illustration of the tree of life superimposed upon a human.  The human's, and the illustration's, name is Adam Kadmon, which means "Original Man".  It's the Platonic form of "human", created in G-d's image. Anyhow, immediately after giving me the name, I woke up.  That was about 5 this morning.  (My alarm goes off at 6, so that's not as early as it sounds to people who aren't teachers)

I decided to use the extra hour to meditate.  Other than confirming the name, I didn't really get any clarity.  I am thinking about trying to visit Tipheret (the sphere of supernal beauty where Adam's heart is) to see if that explains anything.  Thank G-d it's Shabbat!  ;)

More updates tomorrow if I have anything to report.  I'd very much appreciate insights on this; especially from people with spirit-animal experience.