Well I finally received my first email today. The first three questions are from Shella who writes:
Jewitch? I like it. What else is the tarot used for? Do you do spells …? I’m very interested to learn more 🙂
Thank you Shella, for taking an interest in my eccentricities! Anyway, to answer your questions as best I can:
Firstly, what on earth is a Jewitch?
Let me start with two quotes:
“If you take the Torah and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our Torah IS the wind and the rain.” — Carol McGrath
“We are not evil. We don’t harm or seduce people. We are not dangerous. We are ordinary people like you. We have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. We are not a cult. This religion is not a joke. We are not what you think we are from looking at T.V. We are real. We laugh, we cry. We are serious. We have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be afraid of us. We don’t want to convert you. And please don’t try to convert us. Just give us the same right we give you–to live in peace. We are much more similar to you than you think.” — Margot Adler
There are lots of ways to be a Jew. I’m both Jewish and a Witch. I define my spirituality as Jewitchy and thus call myself a Jewitch, blending the two belief systems together in my own unique way.
Judaism has many layers and is always evolving. There are definitely witchy aspects within Judaism. There’s a extensive history in Judaism of meditation, divination, magic etc. Hebrew is our own magical language. Israel is our own ancient ancestral homeland. There are also goddess traditions and fertility talismans from the Middle East and ancient eras. And so forth.
There are a few Jewitches out there, we are just difficult to find. There are a few online Jewitchery communities that I am a part of but I’m sure there are more people out there that identify with this belief system. It is also known as Judeo-Paganism or Jewish Paganism or Jewitchery. We basically combine principles of Judaism, Neopaganism and the Kabbalah to create our own belief system. Historical connections between El/Yahweh, Asherah, the Hebrew Goddess, the Kabbalah and Baal as well as the issue of Lilith and the monotheism or pantheism of Judaism are themes of debate. We might borrow from existing Jewish magical customs or create rituals combining both Judaism and NeoPaganism.
I fervently believe in the concept of Jewitchery and I firmly believe there is absolutely nothing sinister about it, in actual fact it nourishes my soul more than Judaism alone could ever do for me personally. The world is so fast paced and about the quick-fix that people don’t seem to care about the concept of divinity or spirituality in their lives let alone have time to explore it all. I was never raised in a religious family although culturally we were very observant and my parents did encourage a general interest in Judaism but nothing really in depth. That was all up to me. I delved into different religions just to explore and learn what else was out there. I was fascinated by all the New Age books I saw in book stores and developed a huge interest in Tarot, Astrology, self help books and then one day as a teenager I came across a magazine entitled simply “Witchcraft”. This really struck a cord with me. It would be one of my first introductions to the craft and one that remained with me until today.
Kabbalah is a form of magic in my opinion. It is the use of hidden knowledge to affect the world in ways which could be described as magic. All of these magical effects were achieved through the power of G-d, generally by calling upon the name of G-d. The cocept of G-d is as Ein Sof, meaning “without end”. The ten Sefirot or Kabbalistic tree of life, summarise the “qualities of G-d”. The ten Sefirot include both masculine and feminine qualities, with a focus on the feminine aspects of G-d. The Sefirot are in contact with the universe, and connect with all in the universe and humanity. Good and evil deeds that humans do resonate through Sefirot, affecting the universe and G-d. The ten Sefirot are all interconnected. They are, in descending order: Keter (the crown), Chokhmah (wisdom), Binah (intuition, understanding), Chesed (mercy) or Gedulah (greatness), Gevurah (strength), Tiferet (glory), Netzach (victory), Hod (majesty), Yesod (foundation), Malkut (sovereignty).
The use of candles, especially for Shabbat, is also a Jewitch tradition in our home. Invoking the goddess when lighting Shabbat candles is seen as a Jewitch ritual.
God I believe has both a feminine and masculine aspect and therefore in essence the Goddess most definitely does exist and exists in Judaism as well. I feel a connection to this yet still strongly feel that God is one complete entity not two separate deities.
The home is very magical indeed and spiritual. The Mezuzahs themselves are magical talismans. To me, G-d is everywhere and in everything! The shechinah is the feminine aspect of the Hebrew divinity. The moons, seasons, months of the Jewish year are all pagan influenced. You know, if you don’t adhere to Jewish laws, you are still a Jew. If you follow other religions, you are still a Jew. You always are a Jew no matter what. You cannot escape it even if you try.
Jewish law supposedly sees witchcraft as worship of idols and/or sorcery. It is recognised that magic does exist, yet it’s forbidden to perform it because it usually entails the devotion of other gods. (Although I do not worship multiple gods as such, I just believe there is a feminine and a masculine aspect to the one G-d as previously explained). Rabbis denounced magic when it created something other than illusion. However, some Rabbis conduct “magic” themselves anyway. Rabbah manifested a person and sent him to Rabbi Zera. Rabbi Hanina and Rabbi Oshaia were taught and trained every Sabbath and thus they produced a little calf to eat. In these examples, the “magic” was perceived more as great miracles than as witchcraft. So it is all rather contradictory and conflicting information as you can see!
[The other two questions I will answer in separate posts.]