selfportraitLlanberisI’ve been struggling with this religion.

Struggling with the forms I was given that at first expanded me — the structures were like a trellis that I grew on.

Now, they bind me; my heart is rebellious, uneasy.

I miss my wiccan traditions; I miss connecting with the pulse and changing of the earth. I feel the pull of her tides and I’m in a structure that doesn’t breathe…a structure I imposed upon myself.

My old teacher is gone – he made the choice, but now I feel that I have shed him , I was outgrowing him, and the glasses he fashioned for me to wear do not fit any more.

Some of his teachings stick. Some of his teachings I have rewritten, because they were theories only, theories that he did not live…beautiful theories that need to breathe and be put into practice in order to become prayers.

If you don’t live with truth, how can any teachings breathe and have life?  Truth is my foundation, always. That is the difference between my old teacher and me — he began with ideas, appearances, and his life was built to please others — what others saw and felt was the most important thing to him – and his heart was in pain.  Oh my dear … how painful it was, this feeling you had that you were not enough, that your humanity had to be hidden.  I pray for you constantly – that you will find peace and healing, that you will learn to love yourself.

“live your life as though it is a prayer,” I said to him once, when I gave him a disk of phaestos from Greece.  No one knows what the disk is, really – they say it is either the story of a man’s life, or it is a prayer.  Why not both?

Life your life like a prayer.

My life is opening up hugely- and what I thought Judaism was … is now too small.

But Judaism has shamanistic roots. Judaism has more texture than I have explored… I am not renouncing Judaism… because I am, and always will be, a Jew.

But the feminine aspect of God – Shechinah, which I have flinched away from for two years as I denied myself my voice and power — as I subjugated my heart and spirit to the control of  a man who needed power over me — Shechinah is something I need to explore now.

I need to get back into nature and connect with my Celtic heart.  It is in my blood and bones.  I have a cauldron that was my grandmother’s …

I can no longer silence the power of the feminine.

He feared it; he needed control of me at all costs — I’ve broken out of his teachings , and they lie in pieces around me – my old shell.

You were wrong, I want to tell him.  And yet – not wrong.  You were learning and you needed to acknowledge that you didn’t know everything.  That you needed to evolve too. You needed to grow, but you forgot that, in your 20 years as a rabbi…you forgot that you needed to grow.

You are not growing now – you’ve chosen to live in the old mask, the old appearance-oriented charade. … it was so comfortable for you both, to focus on feeding the ego; to focus on how you looked, on how you imagined other people saw you; I watch the charade, her speaking for you in the community as she always did— they never were your words.

But the words you spoke to me weren’t truly your words, either – you were trying to please me, just as you tried to please everyone. Who are you, really?

That is what happens when we fear conflict so much that it controls us. That is what happens when we try to be “perfect” and are not living our inner truth…we become mirrors of what we think others want. We become tied to an ego that demands more and more shallow building-up.  We become…nobody.

I understand why you feared the feminine. You thought it meant control over you.  You thought that if I had any power, it would be a repeat … that you would be silenced. Thank Goddess that I escaped.  I am learning to live without the mask you wanted me to wear.  It is not comfortable – it is scary as hell – but for the first time, I am truly alive.

I have deep compassion for you… but I have left you behind.  There is pain in that, and there is great beauty.  Life is a paradox…

Jewitch. It is silly, in a way, to try to find words to define how we fit – we are all different – but it is important to me, because in trying to have any kind of life within the synagogue, in trying to connect again with my tribe, (not your tribe, my old teacher)

I have to find new words.

And in a way, I think this is just a process of evolving.  I am becoming more deeply connected to Judaism than I was before.  It is not a moving away , though it may appear that way to me in my discomfort at times – it is a moving toward. My heart is opening.

You opened my heart in many ways, teacher – and then you got scared and grew small, slammed all the doors and denied your heart .

My heart in its pain and confusion- expanded.  My heart trying to understand how a holy man could lie — expanded.

And so I thank you for the pain…and for the lessons you never intended to teach. accidental lessons that were deeply true… in your actions, not your words – I learned who i do not ever want to be ; I learned who I am…

I am Jewitch.

5 thoughts on “Jewitch

  1. My lovely friend, I’ve just read through everything – or at least, everything on this page, so from Feb 18ish? – and my heart is FULL for you. What a brave journey you’re taking! I’m about to write you a book, so forgive me:

    My therapist’s name is Eve, and while sometimes I think of her as herself – a small, white-haired, roundish, quiet-strength lady surrounded by the painted sunflowers of her office – more and more I think of the things she says as told to me by Actual Eve, our mDNA mother whose femaleness and femininity were so strong that she and all her priestesses were nearly cut out of Western culture all together. And what Actual Eve has been telling me is this: that all our reactions, all of our “parts” (we’re doing Internal Family Systems therapy, or IFS, which is fascinating and both You as You and You as Actor will appreciate it), want what they think is best for us. ALL of them. So when you’re irritated with your Secret Nemesis, that irritated part is competing with her because maybe she thinks that what is best for you is being perfect – the top of your class, never being challenged – and Secret Nemesis is acting superior; that is, making you somehow not perfect and therefore vulnerable. I have that (very LOUD) Perfectionist as well, and Eve has me seek her out in my Mind Library where all my parts live and hug her and tell her that it’s ok, thank you for your input, that Actual Tika – in charge of the Tribe of Tika Selves – has got this and can manage the situation now that the Perfectionist has pointed it out.

    And after all it’s really not that she – the Perfectionist – thinks that what is best is being at the top, but that she is the part of me who believes that if I am not at 100% all the time, I’m FAILING. So she’s just trying to help me not fail, which is very admirable. But Me Myself, I know that failing and not being at 100% aren’t the same thing, and that other people – even Secret Nemeses – might have something to say worth considering. So I hug my Perfectionist and shush her a little and feel quite silly for running around in a library in my brain, but it seems to work.

    And all this to say, your loud little third-grader who is bursting out sounds lovely. I feel like I’ve seen glimpses of her occasionally when we were howling with laughter at the Kat Wok or texting hilarious mad things about absurd Facebook invitations, and that those brave, outspoken girls are the ones who got silenced by being accused of needing too much attention. Remember that she’s just a little and has been quiet for soooo long – she just has so much bottled up to say! Of course she will embarrass you. She’s in third grade, and (ugh I can’t believe I’m going to even type this…) kids do say the darndest things.

    Ok, I need more tea. Maybe with whiskey in it, because it’s Saturday and there are pixel dragons to kill.
    Love you. ALL of you.


  2. This could be me. In fact, it’s EXACTLY what I’m going through. My background is Scottish/Norwegian- the Norwegians are Jewish. I was Wiccan for 20 years before deciding to embrace my Jewish roots. I will always be Jewish but I too need to find the feminine in my spirituality. I miss that. I will follow this blog closely if that’s ok.


    • I love that. would love to hear how it is going for you. It is fortunate we have a feminine aspect of God in Judaism -and it’s a very strong part of Judaism! otherwise I don’t know how I’d connect. I am doing the Maggid program before Rabbinical school, mainly to take time & learn more — but also to get more grounded in my relationship with Judaism…
      although I do think it’s not something one ever just says “ok it’s defined, here it is, and that’s it.” and then is done – because Judaism IS, by nature, a questioning, discussing relationship — blind faith simply doesn’t apply. It is an evolving – and so maybe this kind of questioning and growing never really ends.

      if you have a blog here, I’d love to read how you are doing with all of this. blessed be ❤


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