Sunday, August 10, 2008

Answering Tisha B'Av With Purpose

ט' אב התשס"ח
Lughnasadh 10
Tisha B'Av

My handmade casting cloth looks like the one shown. Of very soft brown suede, the seams are hand sewn, the symbols and lines drawn with very dark dragon's blood ink, and the diagonals made using the straight edge of a broomstick.

The Unified Power Of The Divine Feminine Lifeforce

To craft my casting cloth, an 18" by 36" rectangle of material was folded into an 18" by 18" square. Eighteen is the gematria of חי (chai, a word symbolic of the Divine Lifeforce).

Thirty-six is the gematria of בכוח (be'koach, meaning "with energy, power, strength, ability, resource, authority"). Thus, the three measurements of 18 and the one measurment of 36 symbolize the unified three-fold (Maiden, Mother and Crone) Power of the Divine Feminine Lifeforce.

From Within The Land

The "square" turned inside out and completed of seams measured 16.75" by 17.5" for a total area of 293.125 square inches. The value of 293 is the gematria of בארץ (ba'aretz, meaning "within the Land").


The value of 125 is the gematria of ענה (anah, meaning "to answer, reply, respond"). From the root ענה is also derived a word for 'fasting' (see Vayikra 16:29).

To Answer With Purpose Upon My Casting Cloth

The square of the cloth symbolizes the Middle World (also see my recent shabbat entry Endless Legion From The Elementary Sea, where I dreamt I was sitting in the middle of the stairs). The Middle in Hebrew is ha'emtza (האמצע).

The inner square (Midhe) symbolizes Focus, and the powers of concentration, memory, recognition, and sensitivity to meaning.

The two superimposed X's (Cath) in the northern position symbolize friction or resistance (left pillar).

The western spiral curl (Fis) symbolizes enlightenment or expansion (right pillar).

The eastern grid (Blath) symbolizes harvest (ingathering).

The southern base to base triangles (Seis) symbolize balance (synthesis, the creation of purposeful meaning).

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