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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Religion Belief

Religion Belief Image
In Chapter 3-6 - The Ram's Horn of Passover of my book, "Hearing Shofar: The Still Small Voice of the Ram's Horn", I explain why I use a shofar as the Cup of Elijah on my Passover seder plate. I was recently reminded of another connection between Passover and the Pascal ram symbolized by my shofar: PASSOVER OCCURS UNDER THE SUN SIGN OF ARIES, THE RAM.

This was brought to my attention by a posting at Carly Lesser (Ketzirah) blog, Pealing a Pomegranate, a site exploring "Earth-based Magickal Judaism." I am honored that she quoted from my chapter on Passover. Her posting follows:

The Ram's Head of Nisan

Journey from Adar to Nisan to Iyar, illustrated with the Transparent TarotWith Nisan we leave the lunacy of Adar behind. Rosh Chodesh Nisan is the New Year of Kings, so it makes complete sense that the Emperor is the card for the month. In the Transparent Tarot, the image is of a city. It is the man-made world, well organized and structured. What does this mean for us? In Nisan, we are challenged to once again leave slavery behind us and take responsibility for our lives. In Egypt we built cities for Ramses with nothing gained for ourselves - not even a decent meal. The Emperor reminds us that now we are responsible for ourselves and the cities we build.

The Emperor in the Waite-Smith Tarot sits on a throne with rams' heads as ornaments and wears a garmet with a rams' head on it. The throne is solid and stable, and under the cloak with the ram's head on it, he wears armor. This image reminds us of the interconnection of the ram and the Jewish people. In his writings on the shofar as spiritual practice, Michael Chusid says:

"A totem is a symbol, usually an animal or other natural object, used to signify a tribe or group of people. More than just a mascot, emblem, or iconographic signature, a totem embodies a tribe's self-identity. It carries the tribe's spiritual energy, informs decisions about behavior, and often acts as an intermediary between a people and its god or gods. Jews do not erect totem poles like those of Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest; our biblical proscription against graven images is too strong to allow that. Yet our totem is alive and well and deeply rooted in our history and liturgy; our totem is the sheep; more specifically, the ram. " (Hearing Shofar, Book 3)He goes on to discuss that astrologically the Age of Aries is considered by some to have begun around the time the Exodus that we commemorate with Passover is supposed to have happened. Moreover, the Age of Aries replaced the Age of Taurus - giving new meaning and dimension to the story of the Golden Calf. The Emperor of the Waite-Smith deck reinforces that this is the month were we became a true people, called together under a common banner and responsible for ourselves and our own existence in the world. How do the Emperor and Maiden come together in the same month?

Take a look at the astrological symbol for Aries (on right). It's also a symbol for

female reproductive organs if you just look at the imagery. The Ram that is the strength of the Emperor is also the potential life giving force symbolized by the Maiden in menarche.

Once we understand this, we can move into the month of Iyar and meet the High Priest, the Kohen Gadol, to understand the faith of our people. Following the Exodus the battle over who speaks for G!d(dess) is a major theme of the Torah portions. We must connect with the High Priest as holder of the tradition, before we can stand at the supernal chuppah in Sivan and be wed to YHVH through the revelation at Sinai on Shavuot (Lovers is card of Sivan).

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Regarding astrology: I grew up with confidence that astrology was hokum and worse than useless. My conceit was weaken during a time when I shared a house with several practitioners of astrology in the Vedic tradition. Theirs was not the tabloid magazine's pablum about "romance is just around the corner." Instead, they seemed to be sensitive to subtle influences and to be guided by a consistent set of principles that were based on millennia of observations about human behavior and the natural environment. Indeed, when I consulted their recommended astrological professional, a man who had never met me, he was able to give me insights into myself that were at least as profound as any psychological or other "scientific" assessment I have ever had. Then, when I started looking into the esoteric traditions of Judaism, I saw that astrology is woven into our calendar and rituals as well.

I still take a cautious view of astrology, and I have not invested time to study it. But I am glad to know that "stars" also ordain that the Ram is an appropriate part of our springtime festival.

Also read these ebooks:

Irv Slauson - The Religion Of Odin
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - I Believe

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