Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Athame Of Iron On The Altar Of The Temple

The iron blade of a witch's athame upon her altar is a perfect symbol for the rectification of evil and its elevation back into the realm of kedushah (holiness, sacredness). In the Jewish tradition, this rectification and re-elevation is called tikun olam (repair of the world).

The iron of knives and swords have historically been used to shorten life, making them typically antithetical for use upon a sacred altar, whose purpose is to enhance and lengthen life. However, in the "future world" (in Hebrew "leatid lavo" לעתיד לבא, a code for the transcendent rectified feminine sefirah Binah and her parzufim), our Sages teach that the Temple will be built using iron. Normally, it is forbidden to use tools of iron to cut stones for the Temple altar.

Kabbalistically, iron, one of the seven metals [1] corresponding to the seven mystical attributes of the heart, corresponds to the attribute of Malchut and the element of the heart most "vulnerable to negativity and egocentricity". Malchut symbolizes the feminine Kingdom of the world of action and expression (see sefirotic array here). It also symbolizes the Indwelling Divine Feminine, the Shechinah. In the supernal world of Atzilut, in Judaism, Malchut is called Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). Other spiritual traditions have other names for it, but the message is similar - it represents the Land of the Divine Feminine.

Consequently, we can see that Jewish tradition teaches that iron found in the Land of the Divine Feminine is completely holy and invulnerable to the negativity normally associated with iron. This makes the iron blade of a witch's athame a perfect symbol for the completely holy Divine Feminine.


[1] Seven metal correspondences according to the Zohar, Shemot, Va'Era (hat-tip to Jack Nathanson):

silver - chesed (lovingkindness)
gold - gevurah (strength)
copper - tiferet (compassion)
lead - netzach (endurance)
iron pyrite - hod (empathy)
tin - yesod (foundation)
iron - malchut (kingdom)

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