Sunday, February 13, 2011
Citadel Press, 2006
An old/New kind of Jew is arising on the Jewish scene, the Jewish Pagan. A Jewish Pagan is someone who combines their Judaism and Paganism is some way or another. Some identify as Pagans of Jewish backgrounds while others bring Pagan practices into their Judaism. Some bring Jewish material into their worship of Pagan Gods/Goddesses.
Jewish Paganism is not entirely new however, the Canaanites were the fore runner of the Israelites. Their Gods included El, Asherah, Baal and Anath. El is the father Gods and is referred to in the Jewish Torah. Ashera was his consort. Jews worshipped Ashera up until the falling of the second temple. The Ancient Israelites were not pure monotheists even though there tribal God was YHVH. YHVH existed along side other deities. It is mentioned in the prophets that the Israelites worshipped Ashtoret the Queen of Heaven and honored Dummuzzi a Babylonian Shepherd God.
Being Paagan and Jewish are not as contradictory as one may think. Many Jews today will adopt Celtic deities and most are predominantly Wiccan. Some of the Wiccns in Israel may be entirely Pagan in many ways but will not touch the Caanaanite Gods. Here is America the story is a bit different.
Some of the most famous Wiccan Jews would include Starhawke,Marion Weinstein and Merlin Stone. These Jews have had a major impact in the shaping of Moden Day Wicca. In fact Jews make up a pretty high percentage of Neo-Pagans. Becoming aa Neo-Pagan is not the same as becoming a Christian or a Muslim both groups which at certain historical junctions have had conflicts with the Jews. Neo Paganism is not antagonistic towards Judaism and both are sort of outsider religions.
The Pagan paths and the Jewish path share many similiarities. Both are concerned primarily with the her and now and creating a sacred space. Both spiritual pursuits lend themselves well to either a solitary or group practice. Both also have a sense of the feminine in the divine although in Modern Orthodox Judaism the trend might be to suppress the femenine side.
Western Occult and magickal traditions use kabbalistic material and inspiration quite freely and Kabbaallah is the bassis for most system of Magick, Wicca included. THere are religious Jews that practice Western Magick.
The author, Jennifer Hunter, has prepared a nifty little book to get the budding magickal Jew started. She covers scholarly material from Raphael Patai and Areyeh Kaplan, two prominent Jewish scholars. Material is also directly quoted from Marion Weinstein and Starhawke. Two Wiccan Jews that have influenced countless Wiccan. Jennifer also interviews some prominent Jewish Pagans active in the community. A nice little bonus are some goodies that aa Jewitch can include in their grimoires. This book is a great starting point to great journey. Happy Trails.
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