Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Best Part


the best part ... Vayikra 18:30

Candle waxes are made from a variety of fats, oils and waxy-like animal, insect, plant and rock substances.

Ancient civilizations primarily used tallow derived from animals to produce wax for burning.

"A tallow candle, to be good, must be half Sheep's Tallow and half Cow's; that of hoggs mekes 'em gutter, give an ill smell, and a thick black smoak" ... Anonymous, 18th century

Beeswax was introduced as a candle wax in China between 618-907 CE and in Europe during the middle ages. Extracts from tree nuts, the Coccos pella insect and the fruit of the cinnamon tree were used in Japan in the 12th century. During the 18th century, oil from the head of the sperm whale was made into spermaceti wax. Chemically synthesized waxes were created during the 20th century as were waxy gels, vegetable bases, soy and palm oils.

All waxes are primarily hydrocarbons and when burned, emit some carbon (soot) due to incomplete combustion. There is no such thing as a soot-free wax.

When a candle is burned, the flame oxidizes the wax producing water, carbon dioxide, light, heat and soot. The flame that we see flickering off the wick of a candle is the luminescence of non-combustible carbon particles that are very hot but incompletely burned. These carbon particles combine and form soot. The flickering flame of a candle is composed of the glow of rising carbon particles which will combine and cool into black soot. Adding unsaturated hydrocarbon fragrance oils softens candle wax to produce cooler burning. Cooler burning produces more soot.

Soot is associated with respiratory disease - submicron soot particles can penetrate deeply into the lung. The carbon core of soot can act as a carrier of many kinds of toxic molecules. It also can deplete indoor air of the healthy negative ions responsible for removing harmful air contaminants. Negative ions in healthy indoor air may also fight infection, enhance mood, improve appetite and sexual drive, attenuate allergies and migraine headaches, support the body's resistance to disease in general, increase the ability of red blood cells to absorb oxygen, and promote alpha brainwave activity which augments higher level awareness.

While the flame is made of glowing soot, fire itself is nearly invisible to the naked eye.

So, when choosing candle waxes for ritual purposes, consider the flame and the fire and their respective roles in the ritual, when making a choice.

Related entry - The Science of Scent

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Walking With Giants


and this is the fruit of it ... Vayikra 13:27

This is an incident which happened to me at work yesterday. Nothing more, nothing less.

One of our residents returned from the hospital following surgery. I went to interview her to collect clinical data for the work that I do and to determine whether or not her pain was under control. This resident has some dementia with periods of confusion sometimes. She is also seriously ill physically.

I introduced myself as a nurse from the MDS Office and informed her of my purpose there. Immediately after that, the resident told me that "they've been telling lies." Not quite sure what to do with that statement, I asked her, "who's been lying to you? What lies have you been told?"

She said, "they said I'll get well, that I'll heal. They're telling me lies."

I told her my professional opinion regarding her prognosis which I won't specifically disclose here to protect her identity. While her acute wounds will heal, her physical ability has been forever altered.

She said, "that's right. That's the truth." Then she started talking about healing and God, while I said nothing. I just listened to her as she expressed her feelings about these things and how she was thinking out loud how to accept her "lot in life."

When she had finished what she had been telling me about herself, and from my experience with the resident and her daughter believing her to be Christian or Catholic, I asked her if she would like us to contact a minister, priest, family friend or some other trusted person to come and talk with her about her these kinds of concerns. She said, "yes." Then I asked her if there was a specific person she would like us to contact.

She said she "once knew a Methodist minister, but he's not mine." Then all of a sudden she asked me a strange question, "what is the most ancient faith?"

Realizing that I was wearing my Jewish star of David pearl pendent and that the resident could clearly see it, acutely aware that the resident was sensitized to being "told lies" and needed me to be truthful with her as I saw the truth, and understanding her to be Christian or Catholic - I didn't want to offend her chosen faith. Considering all these things, I decided that it was safe and inoffensive to answer her with "the most ancient faith would be Judaism, with Christianity and Islam daughter faiths of that faith." In my mind, given that she could see my Jewish star, this answer would not cast confusion and doubt into her mind that I was being truthful with her at that moment nor would it be offensive to her own faith by accurately noting the historical connection between the three major Abrahamic faiths.

I didn't feel it necessary to add anything or to clarify my statement with my understanding of how I actually believe the 'most ancient faith' to have existed in ancient times or on its many forms as it exists today, including Jewitchery. Had I chosen to elaborate, I would have certainly included my ideas about witchcraft and Goddess. But I didn't go there because that would have been more than she needed to hear.

She said, "that's right. I'd like to talk to a rabbi."

Now what was I supposed to do? I told her that there was no regular rabbi in our little town, which there isn't. There is a part-time rabbi who comes here from another state to conduct services at the shul once a month. I indicated that there might be a rabbi in a bigger city about 30 miles from here. I asked her if she wanted us to see if a rabbi in that city would be willing to come and visit with her? She said "yes."

Then she said, "be sure to tell him the truth about me."

I said, "other than to make the contact, it is not our place to tell the rabbi any details at all about you. It is your place to tell the rabbi the truth about yourself."

She nodded and said, "yes, that's good." Her whole countenance relaxed and appeared relieved.

I finished gathering the data I had to gather, and as I left, I told the resident that I would make her request known immediately, but that it might be next week before an appointment could be set up with an out-of-town rabbi. She said "okay, that's fine."

I left and went to tell the nurse who was assigned to her care that day and to inform social services of the resident's request, as making such contacts for the resident is not within the scope of my job responsibilities. Making the contact myself could be twisted into something it's not precisely because I am Jewish and she is not known to be - in no way did I manipulate this resident toward making the request she did. In fact, I became scared for my own job when she requested to speak with a rabbi.

Anyway, I was told by the resident's nurse that the resident at some point in her life had had a Jewish boyfriend and that fact may be related to why she requested to see a rabbi. The nurse called the resident's daughter, who is also her POA (power of attorney), and then informed me that the resident's daughter said she (the daughter) would handle her mother's request.

By the time the nurse got back to me with confirmation of her contact with the resident's daughter, I also had informed the director of social services, the administrator and the director of nursing of the resident's request to cover myself as having delivered the request to those with the job responsibility, and thereby the authority, to handle the resident's request. I also added the issue to resident's clinical care plan under the problem statement - potential for spiritual distress. I have done everything within the scope of my authority to do to honor this resident's request - nothing more, nothing less.

The request has been delivered. It remains to be seen what becomes of it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

D’galim Of Clan Wallace

More on B'ha·alot'kha.

35: And it was with the going forward of the ark [that] Moses would say [lit. said] 'Arise Lord and your enemies will be scattered and those that hate you you will flee before you'... 36: ...and when it rested, he said [lit. will say] 'Return Lord, [to] the myriads of the thousands [or the tents/troops/families] of lsrael'. Vayikra 10:35-36. Read about the anomaly associated with these two verses here.

I saw the most amazing documentary on public television last night called Visions of Scotland. The visions of the land brought tears to my eyes. I wept - the land is not only so very beautiful, but it touched something deep inside that I can't quite articulate. I literally felt myself being pulled up and toward it inside out. I have no Scottish ancestry that I am aware of for sure, though my paternal grandmother's maiden name is Wallace, which may hold some clue.

I know I have Irish and Welsh ancestries, but maybe somewhere down the line, there may be some connection to Scotland as well. Clan Wallace is a Scottish clan, according to the documentary. A clan of the Scottish lowlands, Clan Wallace originally came to Scotland from Wales!

These are the six (דגלים) tartans of Clan Wallace. The Wallace surname in Gaelic is Uallas. The motto of Clan Wallace is Pro libertate (for liberty).

Seed Of Success Magical Manna


וְהַמָּן, כִּזְרַע-גַּד הוּא; וְעֵינוֹ, כְּעֵין הַבְּדֹלַח.
Now the manna was like coriander seed, and the appearance thereof as the appearance of bdellium ... Vayikra 11:7

The Hebrew word for 'coriander' in this sentence is גַּד, which is the word גד vowelized with a patach (a line under the letter ג). The root word (פתח) for the word-vowel 'patach' means 'opening wide'. The Hebrew word for 'like seed' in this sentence is כִּזְרַע. The word for 'like seed' is joined and precedes the word 'coriander'. In this construction, the patach of the word coriander 'opens wide' the manna which is like coriander seed.

More explicitly, the construction of the Hebrew word-phrase (כִּזְרַע-גַּד), which is commonly translated as 'like coriander seed', secretly tells us that manna is *not just* like coriander seed, but rather is like coriander seed which is being opened wide.

So, now that we know what manna is like, what exactly is manna? The vowel kametz (the T-like line under the letter ג) tells us. The Hebrew word for coriander (גד) vowelized with a kametz (גָּד) in place of the patach means 'success'. Thus, while manna is *like* coriander seed which is opening wide, manna *actually* is success.

According to Torah, manna (success) also has the appearance of bdellium. The Hebrew word in the verse above for bdellium is הַבְּדֹלַח. This Hebrew word means crystal.

The magical Hebrew letters of the word גד offer further insight. Gimel (ג) comes to bring reward into the physical world. Dalet (ד) is the door through which it enters into manifest existence.

Taken together, success opening into reality through coriander seed and made manifest through the appearance of crystal is magical manna.

Manna, the extraordinary food provided by the Divine to the ancient Hebrews on their journey through the desert on the way to the Promised Land, encodes a magic spell for success in Torah.

Seed Of Success Magical Manna spell mix is available at WITCHCRAFTS by Liorah Lleucu.