Fourth Phase

Lughnasa and the Michaelmas Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Happy Camper. Kol Nidre. Yom Kippur. CBE. Marilyn and Irv. Cool(er) nights. Alan. The Wildflower. Colorado DMV. Ruby. Her new tabs and title. Workout. Black Mountain. Maxwell Creek. That Deer I hit. Shadow Mountain. All the Critters. National Western Stock Show. Bees. Evergreen. Black Mountain and Brook Forest Drive.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Draft Horse Shows

Tarot: 8 of Swords, Druid


Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement. The sealing of the Book of Life for the next year. It is written. Choose life.

I didn’t attend any of the High Holidays though I tried last night on Zoom. I don’t have the same childhood memories of these holidays that bring so many back to the synagogue. Sorta like Christmas and Easter if they were in the same week. Also, I still don’t feel comfortable in large groups, masked or not. In addition I’m tired. Orgovyx still saps my energy, leaves me achy and flashy. (hot flashy, that is)

Sukkot, on the other hand. I’ll go next Wednesday unless I’m still worn out. Sukkot is a harvest holiday and fits with the Pagan Great Wheel Taoist guy that I am. Ruth and Gabe may come up, too. I hope so. We’ll sit outside, spend some time in the Sukkah, see friends. Eat pizza. It will have no meat. Meat and cheese, nope.

Marilyn called last night before Kol Nidre, the first Yom Kippur service. Checking up on me. I appreciate that. That’s Alan, Tara, Rich, Jamie, and Marilyn. All since Sunday. I have friends here.

Interesting to consider the impact Judaism has had on me. Significant, for sure. I still feel no desire to convert, but the way of the Torah is now part of my way. Torah means learning, but learning in a particular way. With keen attention. With observance of details and mistakes and embellishments. With all we have. With others. Rabbi Jamie has taught me that Torah study is the way. And, I try to follow that way. See what you’re looking at.

My investment in applying Torah to biblical and Jewish liturgical traditions is slight, but I appreciate the opportunities. Applying it to Kabbalah, Tarot, poetry, my backyard, my inner world, the lives and times of my friends and family, the Critters that live up here, politics, on the other hand. My investment is high.

The wonderful aspect of Judaism, especially reconstructionist Judaism, is that I fit right in anyhow. I don’t have to try to shoehorn my actual beliefs into some ragged conformity. I can let them hang out, to be seen by all.

Rabbi Jamie, my first true mentor, has taught me a worldview that can accommodate my peculiar religious/spiritual/philosophical bent and add to it. It is Torah. It is grounded in the now. It is communal. It does not find tradition oppressive, nor does it find tradition authoritative.

In the simplest terms it is a hermeneutic. A method of interpretation that insists we be faithful to our experience, that we open ourselves as broadly as we can to the world around us and within us. That we learn with a bias toward merit in all that we study. This means not always going in with the sword of reason or the bludgeon of logic. It does not mean, however, excluding them.

In philosophy and anthropology, even in seminary, I found academics more a blood sport than anything else. What does that mean? How do you know? Who says so? Where’s the evidence? Correlation is not causation. Let’s wrassle!

Rabbi Jamie has taught me a gentler way of approaching learning. It does not neuter the intellect, but it does insist on giving sources a chance. On giving others a chance. On giving your self a chance. It does insist on openness.

In that process I have discovered tarot as a mirror for my soul, a guide for my journey. And, in discovering that, I have reached into my rib cage, spread it out, and exposed my heart. I can feel my way past the veil, again. I can let the totality of the universe, seen and unseen, in. I can feel my presence in Malkut, yes, but I can also feel my presence in the Crown, the Keter, and, yes, I can also feel the ayn sof.

My grief and my past six years at CBE and my own dogged searching has prepared me for this time. My fourth phase. My life has begun to withdraw from the hurly burly toward the spiritual, the soulful, the unseen. I’m thinking of myself right now as a hermit and of Shadow Mountain as my Mountain Hermitage. We’ll see if that lasts, but I think it will. I hope it will. This is the last journey of my soul here in Malkut. May it be a fruitful one.


Eight of Swords



This entry was posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Great Wheel, Judaism, Kabbalah, Mountains, Shadow Mountain, Tarot. Bookmark the permalink.

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