Earth-based Judaism 100 Series

The Earth-based Judaism 100 series is intended as an overview to help anyone along the path. This is not everything I would teach — just the foundations and first steps.

Here’s a few specific articles I’ve written about this topic:

EBMJ 101: Foundations

Objectives:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Jewish Wheel of the Year and expand your understanding of the Jewish holidays with an earth-based perspective.
  2. Begin studying magickal practice from a neutral perspective.

Required Texts:

Seasons of Our Joy – Arthur Waskow
Why start here? Because you probably need to relearn what all the holidays are about. This book gives a great introduction to the holidays from a variety of perspectives, including the ancient practices and modern alternatives. Here you can learn the why and where of holiday traditions, in a simple, engaging style. Its author is a shining light in the Renewal movement, and this book should be on everyone’s bookshelf!

Craft of the Wild Witch by Poppy Palin
This book is a great magickal text, from a non-Wiccan perspective. Once you’ve opened your mind to the world of Judaism through learning more about the holidays and practices, it’s time to move on to magickal study. One of the reasons I like this book so much, is that it does not require a particular spiritual path — so it’s perfect for the burdgeoning Jewitch to study her craft.

 

Assignments:

  1. Read both books.
  2. Begin keeping a spiritual journal. Yes, I’m serious. You don’t need to keep a daily journal, but it’s really important to capture your experiences as you are learning.
  3. Write a 1 paragraph description of each holiday listed in Joy in our Seasons, as you understand it. Additionally write a little about something new you learned and things that surprised you.
  4. Follow all the exercises in Craft of the Wild Witch, capturing your experiences in your journal.

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EMBJ 102: Sabbath & the Daily/Weekly Cycle

Objectives:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the Sabbath and the Daily/Weekly/Monthly Cycles in Judaism
  2. Develop your own weekly Sabbath practice.

Required Texts:

Sabbath by Abraham Joseph Heschel
This book will open your mind to the possiblities of weekly practice through observing the Sabbath. It was written by one of my spiritual heros, and always amazes me considering the time that it was written. A Sabbath practice, I think is a cornerstone of Jewitch practice. What you do as that practice is up to you, but first you need to understand the why and wherefore of having a Sabbath practice.

The Book of Blessings by Marcia Falk
Rabbi Falk’s reinterpretation of the Jewish prayer cycle is a seminal work. Her reinterpretation of the Shma is a cornerstone of my personal practice, and her Mourner’s Kaddish is something I use in everything! Read this book. Use this book. Learn from this book! I highly recommend trying out variations of her Sabbath ritual/service before embarking on attempts to write your own. This book is a great way to move from the Wheel of the Year to the Daily/Weekly/Monthly cycles of Judaism.

Assignments:

  1. Read both books
  2. Create your Sabbath practice. This can be anything from simply wearing a specific necklace as a reminder to doing a simple home ritual with challah, wine, and candles. The key is to keep it simple and do it every week. Commit to your practice for at least three months and write about your experiences in your journal.

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EMBJ 103: Jewish Magick

Objectives:

  1. Develop basic understanding of history of Jewish Magick
  2. Learn about more modern practices of Jewish Magick

Required Texts:

Jewish Magic and Superstition by Joshua Trachtenberg
This is THE book on the history of Jewish magic and superstition. It’s not a “how-to,” but rather a scholarly and interesting look at the scope of amulets and magical practice our forefathers used. This book was originally published in 1939 and still reigns as one of the best books on this subject. I have two copies, because when I find one in a second-hand bookstore, I always buy them. That way I can loan out a copy without worrying about getting it back.

Magic of the Ordinary by Gershon Winkler
Now that you’ve rediscovered the Jewish holidays, learned about magickal practice, learned about the history of Jewish magick, and started a weekly practice, it’s time to start looking at integrating the two. Gershon Winkler is the father of the shamanistic Judaism movement. This book is a brilliant vision of a Judaism which reclaims its shamanistic past.

Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan & Jewish Practice by Jennifer Hunter
Magic of the Ordinary provided you with one man’s vision and practice. Now read Magickal Judaism and see wider range of what Jewish magick looks like and what Jewitches look like. Magickal Judaism is the first book written specifically about the modern Jewitch community. Several people including myself and more well-known names like Starhawk were interviewed for this book — and it is written by a Jewitch! The book will provide you with a good understanding of the many different types of practice that could be labeled “Jewitch.”

Assignments:

  1. Read all three books
  2. What forms of Jewish Magick did you discover that appeal to you? Begin working with whichever has the most appeal.

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EMBJ 104: Go(d)dess(s)(es) in Judaism

Objectives:

  1. Expand your vision of God beyond the Old White Man with a Beard
  2. Learn about the Divine Feminine in Judaism

Required Texts:

The Hebrew Goddess by Rapael Patai
Now — it’s time to balance out that vision of deity. If you were raised in the mainstream of Judaism you probably see G-d as an old man with a big white beard. There’s a bit more to it than that. This book will introduce you to the history of the Divine Feminine in Judaism and it’s place alongside the more masculine G-d that we’ve all grown to know and love.

She Who Dwells Within by Lynn Gotleib
Continuing the exploration of the Divine Feminine in Judaism, we now move on to the personal exploration. This book is a full of rituals and practical workings, as well as thoughtful ideas and explanations.  Rabbi Lynn provides a deeply personal approach to discovering the Divine Feminine in Judaism.

Assignments:

  1. Read both books
  2. Write, paint, sing or dance to express what your vision of G!d(dess) was before you read these books and how it has changed since reading them.
  3. Discover your own name for G!d(dess) to begin your prayers, to use instead of “Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe,” which is the traditional Jewish prayer pattern.

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Where’s The Spiral Dance?

spiraldance

I feel like I need to address why this classic text is not included here.  The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk, is a fantastic book on magickal practice for beginners and experienced practitioners.  I have not included it because it is magick from a specifically Wiccan framework.  While the exercises can be used in an context, it does require the practioner to filter out the Wiccan elements.   I am not Wiccan and do not teach Wicca.  My goal is to teach the craft of the Magelet, Jewish magickal practice and world-view.   I highly recommend this book, once you feel you are ready to learn from other religion’s magickal traditions.

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In the  200 series, you’ll move into an in-depth study of Earth-based Judaism and begin exploring how it fits with classical Jewish teachings and mysticism (kabbalah). Additional advanced series are being developed for magickal practice, “Goddess Judaism,” and ritual frameworks and development.

 

22 Replies to “Earth-based Judaism 100 Series”

  1. Hi, I love this site, its so informative. I am coming from the angle of an archaeology student (except I'm 39, so not a young student) interested in ancient Israelite religion, specifically the origin of Asherah etc. I'm also really interested in the modern mixture of feminism, Judiasm and witchcraft. I am a Witch myself. I'd like to write an article on Jewitchery sometime for one of the magazines I write for. Anyway, just saying really that I appreciate your site and will be back to look more at everything soon. I'd like to learn more about Jewitchery as well – although I am not actually Jewish. What do you think about non-Jews learning about Jewitchery? Do you think non-Jews can practice it, or not?

  2. Thanks for the compliments and for asking. To address your question about whether or not non-Jews or Gentiles, can study Jewitchery — the answer is yes. BUT – I strongly believe that to call yourself a Jewitch, you need to be Jewish. For me, so much about being a Jewish Witch is based around Jewish practice, and the Jewish Wheel of the Year — I don't understand how a gentile could do that. Unless, that is, you actually have interest in converting?

    But — that doesn't mean you can't explore the traditions and respectfully incorporate them into your practice. Just like a lot of the practices and ideas I used are heavily influenced by practices from around the world.

    I don't think that you need to be Jewish to explore the ancient practices, and work with deities like Asherah. No one group can really claim her.

    It makes great sense for you to learn about both modern and ancient Jewish Magickal practices with your interests. I'd be happy to discuss this with you anytime, and look forward to learning from you too!

    1. Carly,

      I share your excitement at being Jewish, but wonder if telling someone they can't really "get it" if they're not Jewish is accurate. Can someone understand paganism if she isn't Anglo-Saxon? This might be a path into Judaism.

      Is Judaism a religion that only a Jew could love?

      Our culture is so filled with lies about Judaism the people can't even recognize their prejudices. It would be a shame to discourage someone from getting a clearer look at Judaism if she wants to learn.

      We have many quirks and one is the "is your mother Jewish" syndrome. I'm a member of a Yahoo group and recently and several people said terrible things to a woman who had converted to Judaism. (I'm not suggesting that you would do something like that.) I had to wonder: do we belong because we know and feel and view the world in a few shared ways or do we only belong when there are people we can exclude?

      For me, anyone who bothers to learn a little about Judaism is helping us. (And anyone who wants to convert and join us… should think twice and then twice more, before giving us that gift.)

      I'm really glad I found your 'blog. I hope you'll understand my comments in the friendly spirit that I intended them. Jean

      1. Jean

        I hope you understand that you were, I think, responding to something I said 5 Years ago. I believe my main point was that I don't think you should call yourself a "Jewitch" unless you are Jewish by some recognizable standard. But, I think anyone can study anything they are interested in — and I encourage this.

        All the best!

        Ketzirah

        1. Yeah, I realized it was an old post, but it's important to me.

          I'm realizing absolutely no one else even recognizes that its an issue, and I should stop beating my head against a brick wall.

          Take care,
          Jean

  3. Thanks for a great, informative and inspiring site!

    When I was younger, I pretty much rejected my heritage and embraced Neo-Paganism. About two years ago I began my process of tshuvah, started keeping Shabbat, Kosher etc.

    Now that I have become more Orthodox in practice I can safely look back to my previous interests. Your informative site has been a great inspirer in my work of bridging the gap between my past and present forms of spirituality.

    Thanks for that!

    Sincerely,
    Adil

  4. Adil,

    I'm glad that my site has helped you find balance that you're looking for! I hope you'll comment and share your experiences with me (and everyone else!)

    Carly

    1. Michael

      I just checked out your website and book. It looks very interesting. Glad you popped by. I look forward to reading your book.

      ktzrh

    1. I started working on one about 2 years ago, but decided to focus on the "sustainable spirituality" features instead. I feel like those, certainly, have relevance to understanding Jewish magick since they focus on a deep understanding of the Jewish experience of the elements and the seasons.

      If you are interested in a custom course of study, do email me and we can discuss it.

  5. Carly, I am going to take this course. Some of these books I have read, but will re-read them and do the exercises (objectives). When I am done, I would like to talk to you about a custom course of study. Thanks for posting this.

    Glenda (Glinda)

  6. Ketzi
    rah, I haven't totally stopped these studies. I got sidetracked with life for a few months, but I now I can pick them back up again.

    Glenda

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