Here I am going to break all the rules of Judaism by not consulting any Rabbinical commentary — which is a great magical structure originally built of spit and baling wire under extreme duress, and I am nodding at it — while also studying Hebrew all the time which is how the Rules of Judaism involve us in This is usually a culture that loves to be studied.
I just finished up the adult version of Hebrew 1 at a local Reform synagogue and am well on my way to having the VERBS as well as the NOUNS, as the blog has taunted.
It was wonderful. The Reform community has learned how to teach adults Hebrew. They start with the prayer book, not the Torah. It is not possible to get through all those DECLENSIONS without POWER.
CALLING IN FROM THE GAME: We do not LIKE declensions!
Our teacher, a very experienced, educated and dedicated FEMALE was working us through part of the liturgy and chanted it ENCHANTED IT. Suddenly I was elevated to the dimension LAYER circuit where all of this stuff is.
Yeah yeah yeah this old Neolithic clunker is full of exactly what you would expect from farm magick BUT IT IS MY NEOLITHIC FARM MAGICK and I am going to sit here and pretend I didn’t see that.
The men of the cloth and the people have turned it all into something elevated and fine that is/is not what it looks like outside the magick, the same way that THE OLD BOY is an Angel stuck to a scarecrow.
I have decided I don’t hate THE GAME. Some of my best friends are secretly in it — on hallucinogenic substances instead of gourds. They are doing much good for the African people. I am convinced that the Black Lives Matter movement — also available as Latinx Lives Matter — Jewish Lives Matter, too! — is greatly supported by this Secret Society and what an inspiring outpouring of love and acceptance has been evidenced in Covid.
To free the slaves, whatever color of skin they have, every year Judaism celebrates a holiday that is about ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY. So let’s escape from the slavery of MONISM racism/non-racism/and LACK OF CLARITY about the delicate questions of race, culture, class, UPDATED magic, tribal factions, money, and sex, for that is what we are actually on about in BUILDING THE UNDERWORLD.
The text is found in Genesis 30-31, and I will as usual reside on my home turf of KJV. I won’t quote the text in full here but refer to it. It can be found anywhere the magic carpet of Google will take you.
First, let us consider what we are dealing with, and that is a family that has been separated for some years and is trying to reunite, and that is the family of the sister Rebekah and the brother Laban. Rebekah went to live with her husband Isaac, Abraham’s son, and reared her two sons very far apart from her homeland.
All families have egregores — group souls — and when a family does a great deal of spiritual work, they become very powerful. If the spiritual work is of a sort that anthropomorphizes — as much human spiritual work does — then the resultant egregore can take on a form that seems like a spirit.
Let’s be modest and call it a troll.
I live in Washington, where my mother’s family has lived for over a hundred years, and quite a few of them. In my youth, I made a journey from my childhood home of Texas to Washington for a visit and a look-see and attended a family reunion wherein I met many of my cousins for the first time. We sat there comparing genealogy, which we all knew and could rattle off, and managed to place each other in the vast family tree that was still functioning as a tribe. My mother and grandmother were still alive then, and knew these people and had stories to tell about them. Those old timers are gone now, and with them, the sense that we should show up for a picnic once a year to talk to people whose lives will never intersect with ours again in any meaningful way. But it was clear as we sat there, sweet white wine flowing like water, local salmon and crab straight off the grill and the pot, that we all not only looked alike, but felt alike in some way.
This family has a troll, a very distinct one, and it always helps me to come here. It tends me and teaches me, and sets me on a good path.
My father’s family also gathers in the summer in California to eat Mexican barbecue and drink beer, and that family troll is also noteworthy and much of my work as a writer has been backed and powered by this elegancia.
These families didn’t ever really get along, and neither did their trolls.
These trolls programmed different things for us, and how our lives worked out depended on how much time we spent involved in the places, people, and activities that were familiar and accessible to the troll.
A lot of what happened in what SKIP would call my magickal career was influenced by the conflict between these two trolls and the fact that Hermetics did not have the rigamarole to problem solve. It is only just now, twenty-five years on, that I am looking at this task in a new way.
So here we have Jacob with his troll that went on to become an extremely famous deity venerated in some form by over half the world’s population. I am convinced that this was partly an accident and partly good magickal engineering on the part of the workers who constructed the religions that grew out of this tradition. There were many cults in the ancient world that are gone. This one stuck.
But Jacob’s wife wasn’t entirely on board with his family troll.
Genesis 30:19 records, “. . . and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.” And in Genesis 31:32, when Laban comes to recover them, Jacob says, “With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: . . . For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.” . . . 31:34 “Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. (35) And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.”
Now what exactly is Jacob good at that would be part of what his troll was good at?
He was good at causing fertility in livestock.
He started out with nothing and, through hard work whose pay was livestock, he built up a considerable flock that went on to include four women from Laban’s household, resulting in probably about twenty offspring. This guy was a great fertility witch who was not above using sympathetic magick, if we can believe the text: (Genesis 30)37-39: And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle. 41 And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
What a fairy tale!
I realize that these associations are not universal throughout the ancient Near East, but let’s go Druid on this and ask what kind of tree magick this might be. Poplar evidently have associations with the deities of death, but on a more mundane level, the plant has an anti-microbial and analgesic property and could be used to treat illness among the flock: https://witchipedia.com/book-of-shadows/herblore/poplar/
The hazel wand formed the basis of the caduceus and was carried by Mercury but it was also a delicious and nutritious nut that might be used as animal feed to fatten up the livestock and encourage fertility: https://druidry.org/druid-way/teaching-and-practice/druid-tree-lore/hazel
Chestnuts evidently carry connotations of fertility https://witchipedia.com/book-of-shadows/herblore/chestnut/ and Agrippa associated them with Zeus or Jupiter, a benefic associated with wealth. At the very least, the consumption of chestnuts with their abundant oil would give a ready supply of calories for breeding and gestating animals https://druidgarden.wordpress.com/2019/10/13/sacred-tree-profile-chestnuts-magic-medicine-mythology-and-meaning-castanea-dentata/
From the standpoint of shamanism, it would have been more beneficial to these trees to be considered useful — if not holy — for their nuts and some of their bark than to have their trunks used for firewood or buildings. Trees propagate, in part, when animals consume their seeds (nuts) and distribute the undigested units far and wide, whereas out-and-out cultivation by humans would have also been WEALTHY for everyone.
Now let’s play Derrida and find the place where the text deconstructs, and that is here, in Genesis 29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.
What does it mean, tender eyed? Her eyes were not strong. She was partly blind.
How in the ancient world did one become blind?
Often through parental venereal disease. Gonorrhea causes blindness in babies as they come through the birth canal and the pathogen gets into their eyes.
How did venereal disease come into human populations?
LOOK THE OTHER WAY IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH.
Discover magazine (September 2008): “Two or three of the major STDs have come from animals,” says Alonso Aguirre, a veterinarian and vice president for conservation medicine at Wildlife Trust. “We know, for example, that gonorrhea came from cattle to humans. Syphilis also came to humans from cattle or sheep many centuries ago, possibly sexually.”
I am going to posit the idea that the rods of cypress and the watering trough tricks were, in fact, at least also partly blinds that the womenfolk were treated to while the men who involved themselves in animal husbandry would be able to fill in the blanks.
And what sorts of battles went on in the pasture to eradicate the practice of bestiality, we can only surmise.
An awful lot of what was good about Jacob’s troll was its literacy, and a lot of what it wrote down was ways to help humans have health, and one of them was to avoid sexual congress with the livestock. In the process, these people became very severe about sex and perhaps went too far in destroying the sensory delights associated with human culture.
It is a Devil’s bargain to be puritanical. On the one hand, perhaps a certain amount of venereal disease and unplanned pregnancy can be avoided. On the other, it is not realistic to wipe out all sexual practices except heterosexual marriage — the saner path is to teach mechanisms to satisfy desire while avoiding disease — plus it causes a significant loss of self-control in terms of NOT GIVING YOUR WIFE TWENTY BABIES.
Not that we notice this Jacob fellow, who was not puritanical in the slightest in his own tent and gave his four wives twenty babies, while governing himself with considerable rectitude around the sheep and no doubt propounding this behavior. Those field orgies so popular with the pagans are part of what we are on about here. It’s a packaged deal with trolls, and we should be advised of that when we sign on.
The notable exception to his largesse being sadly his beloved Rachel, who had only two children and that after much struggle.
We can posit the idea that Rachel’s use of idols — whose egregore would trend toward disease— pinged on her fertility — though it did not hinder the fertility of her servant woman which would presumably have been the case. Troll vs. troll, and the more populous troll wins.
Jacob liked to have it both ways, tricking with those trees in a de facto pagan ritual manner while claiming to be true to his ONE GOD, and seemingly neglecting to protect the health of Laban’s flocks, an oversight that smirched his integrity. Even the family troll called him on this: Genesis 31:11 “And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grilled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.”
And vice versa, no doubt.
ALSO BRAGGING WAS TROLL.
In the end, despite having twenty children, Jacob was a mediocre father whose juvenile delinquent sons were always getting into trouble and a husband of questionable niceness, albeit a very powerful man of the spirit.
Which goes to show.
Being spiritual doesn’t always mean one is good.
And the enhanced effect upon the world of a power worker carries with it the very traits that worker possesses.
At the same time, what Jacob had was a set of trade secrets within a family of great sheep herders, and that in and of itself proved valuable enough to the world that the record of all these shenanigans has been preserved, with spiritual practice also a pneumonic device for safer sex for sheep.
Though the opinion of any right-minded woman toward a guy who tricked his wives into acting like said sheep at the watering trough is that he is as creepy as he is skillful at wizarding.
We must imagine the power struggle that went on between Jacob and Rachel who evidently did not like his troll as well as she liked her own. There is some sense that this battle cost her. Genesis 30:1-2 records, “And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?”
The exact amatory details of this quarrel will never be known, though accusations of er neglect in a hinge marriage with four wives can be speculated about. It is said that history is written by the winners, though it looks to me that it is often written cannily. Her eventual death of childbirth seems like a statement concerning the majesty of overwhelming force, though it was probably also a physiological fact, and even the expert farm technology of her husband could not save her.
“Two nations contend within thy womb.”
Often two nations contend within thy household!
Thus it is that Rachel is remembered in the Yahrzeit prayer along with all of the others, preserving her father’s troll with its voice of dissent.