Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Lion Has Roared: Match 8

The Detroit Lions are playing the Devner Broncos. Since the Lions lost their previous two games I realised that the approach used until now is no longer working.

So instead of refining it, I tried something different. It's a risky procedure and will either do really well or go the other way. If it works, I'll detail it in a couple of weeks.

My apologies for the lack of explanation of technique(s) used. As indicated by the earlier post about First Light, Second light; the first few victories of the Lions were a gift - now the hard work starts to recreate such victories in the future. I want to give it the best chance of success by trying the new technique without a big fanfare, sound and lights.

Edit: Final score Detroit Lions 45 - Denver Broncos 10.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Noah's Ark passanger list

Whilst doing daily study for my Hebrew Immersion project, I came across the following commentary by Rashi on whom Noah took into the Ark:

In case you cannot read it, this verse in Genesis (6:19) reads:
"And from every living thing, from all flesh, you must bring two of everything into the ark, to keep alive with you; they must be male and female."
Rashi comments on verse 19:
"And from every living thing" - Even demons (Bereishit Rabbah 31:13)
The commentary in The Sapirstein Edition of Genesis has the following comment on Rashi's statement:
Bereishis Rabbah 31:13. The verse could have said "and from all flesh" without mentioning "all that lives," and we would have understood that God commanded Noah to bring all species of animals to the ark. "And from all that lives, of all flesh" indicates that God commanded Noah to bring to the ark something that lived which was not of flesh, as well. This refers to demon, who have life, but no body (Mizrachi; Sifrei Chachamim).
For some further reading on demons, I recommend the following blog postings by Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis and his excellent book: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism.
One thing that I would like to highlight is that there is a spectrum of opinion about whether demons (and angels) are real or not. On the extreme of the rationalist camp is Maimonides (who states that demons are not real) and on the other extreme is Nahmanides (who says that they are).

    Tuesday, 25 October 2011

    First Light, Second Light

    A couple of years ago I attended a talk by Rabbi Tatz in which he mentioned the concept of first light versus second light.

    He talked about the light on the first day of Creation and then the creation of the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day. He talked about the first tablets given to Moses and the second he had to carve for himself.

    The theme being that the first light is stronger and is a gift from G-d. The second light is weaker and one that we have to work for ourselves.

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explains the idea further in Inner Space, pp208 note 26.

    “The light with which one can see from one end of the universe to the other is also the light that Adam saw in the Garden of Eden and which will be made available to the righteous in the World to Come; Chagigah 12a; Zohar 1:45b, 2:148b; cf. Rashi on Genesis 1:4; Berakhoth 17a; Likutey Halakhoth, Tefilling 5:1”.

    By experiencing something the first time without much effort, you can’t then say “I’ll never achieve that” because you have already done it once. Sure the second and further times require a lot more effort but that is the way that the world is structured. Understanding the patterns in Creation is the first step to improving your life and the world around you.

    Sunday, 23 October 2011

    A Lion Has Roared: Match 7

    This week the game is against the Atlanta Falcons. Last match was not great, hence I did a lessons learned exercise. Two things that I forgot to mention were:

    1. Although I mentioned giving charity in the past, I failed to do so after that posting. This has not been rectified.
    2. I came close to breaking a vow that could have affected my meditation and influence on the Lions. I've strengthened my resolve and will channel energies away from activities that weaken my resolve concerning the vow.
    Anyway, rather than do an elaborate analysis of the name of the opposing - this week I stuck to what worked previously:

    • Preparation meditation followed by Toning and Tuning from Book of Self Creation
    • Two simple meditation techniques using Hebrew aleph-bet
    • Angel Meditation (Creating harmony between the four elements) from Eye to the Infinite
    • Psalms and selected verses from Scripture about lions
    Final score: Atlanta Falcons 23 - Detroit Lions 16

      Wednesday, 19 October 2011

      Fear of Thoughtforms

      I’m posting 3 posts today as it is the last part of the Sukkoth Festival starts tonight. This post should be taken with a pinch of salt, tongue in cheek, in other words not entirely seriously. Some of the content is very serious – you decide.


      When asked recently what I’m afraid of I answered: “Crocodiles… oh and thought forms”

      “Thoughtforms”, came the puzzled response. “What are those?”

      Well… rather than explain what a thoughform is, here is the Wikipedia version:

      A thoughtform is a manifestation of mental energy, also known as a tulpa in Tibetan mysticism.[1] Its concept is related to the Western philosophy and practice of magic.[2]

      I recommend this book (as one of the few books I’ve read in this area):

      Creating Magickal Entities: A Complete Guide to Entity Creation” by David Michael Cunningham, Taylor Ellwood, T. Amanda R. Wagener.

      Vampiric thoughforms

      A few years ago I tried creating a thoughtform. I gave it a form, a name and a purpose. The purpose of the thoughtform was to enhance healing rates. It then proceeded to make me ill very quickly to the extent that I spent the next couple of days systematically taking it apart.

      After that experience I decided not to create any more thoughtforms. The other effect of this experience was that I stopped writing fiction.

      Which brings me around to the initial conversation in which I mentioned fear of thoughtforms; it was only at that point that I made the connection between my fear and lack of creative output in terms of fiction.

      Digging into it a bit further I found that in the past I’ve often thought of situations to build a story around. Think of it like setting up a stage for a show with propos, scenes and a general context within which the story will unfold. Then as I write the story the character come to life and often the story takes turns that I had not anticipated at the start.

      Sounds great? Well when it works I have found the results very entertaining (as have some of the few people I’ve shared my fiction with). But now I realize that although characters in fiction are (probably) not thoughtforms, I’ve unconsciously shied away from writing more fiction for fear that they’ll come alive in some way and interact with my life in a negative manner.

      To overcome this fear I’ve decided that after two major upcoming events (lecture and addition to the family) I should get back in to writing. Perhaps I’ll write about thoughtforms and crocodiles! If you are inclined to have me waste more of your life by publishing a story or two, please be patient until the start f next year.

      Lessons Learnt from Detroit Lions match versus San Francisco 49ers

      This is a brief lessons learned about what I may / may not have done wrong to affect the Detroit Lions game against the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday 16th October 2011. See: A Lion Has Roared: Match 6

      1. Ignored a warning about use of Water
      2. Tried to influence one over the other of things from same source
      3. Uncertainty about how good a match the Biblical verse was
      4. Too specific about desire for outcome of results

      1. Last week a washing machine which a friend is using and that I own broke down. It’s now being replaced, but it should have given me pause before deciding to use the verse about one of the rivers from Eden. The message to me was “a flow of water has been stopped, take note!”

       2. Trying to promote the river Pishon over the river Gichon in hindsight may not have been such a great idea. They have the same source and although everything ultimately comes from the same source, these concepts of Edenic Rivers may have been too tightly coupled. Also, affecting Edenic rivers may be a little beyond my current abilities.

      3. Re-reading the Biblical verse from Genesis chapter 2 verse 11 about the river Pishon…. It mentions gold in the same sentence as the river. I should have thought more about this as it could be interpreted that by promoting the river Pishon I was also promoting the gold, i.e. the 49ers.

      4. By describing the Lions as encircling the 49ers as the river Pishon does the gold in Genesis 2:11 I may have been too specific about how the outcome might manifest.

      In future I will limit myself to promoting the Lions and possibly looking in to weaknesses of opposing teams based on their names and histories. However, I will not be describing how the success will manifest (unless I have a really good insight and am feeling like gambling on not having a list for results).

      “Occupy” and the Tree as a Pendulum

      I’ve put off posting about this for awhile as I dislike politics. However sometimes it’s difficult to get away from politics. So here are a few of my thoughts on the currently ongoing movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Ocupy movement in London outside St. Paul’s Cathedral.

      Poles on the Tree

      If we look at the Sefirot (Divine Emanations) as modeled on the Tree, see diagram below – then there are three columns. The left side containing Binah, Gevurah, and Hod. The right side containing Chokhma, Chesed and Netzach. The middle column with Keter, Tiferet, Yesod and Malchut.

      Tree of Life (from Wikipedia)

      The Kabbalists refer to manifestations of G-d’s interaction with the world when interacting via the Sefirot of the left side as displaying His Attributes of Justice. When manifesting via the Sefirot of the right side He is displaying his Attributes of Mercy.

      For example, when the name Elohim is used – this means that the Attribute of (strict) Justice applies. When the name Y-H-V-H (Tetragrammaton) is used it means the Attribute of Mercy. When both are used in combination: YHVH Elohim – this means the middle column and a harmonious interaction between the two sides of the Tree.

      Pendulum, Or We Don’t Live in a Static Universe

      A Pendulum, Foucault's

      The thing about looking at the tree in such a static manner is that it’s a bit of an illusion. We don’t live in a stationary Universe. Galaxies, Stars, Planets, Molecules, Atoms, etc are in constant motion.

      Using the rule of thumb: As Above, So Below, we can read in to this that just as the physical world is undergoing constant changes so too are the spiritual realms changing. However, from what I understand the laws of physics, etc cannot be meaningfully applied to the spiritual realms. Instead we need to use symbolism of the Tree to understand how what is happening Below is reflected Above.

      From my limited view of history, I have seen that there are trends of political movements rising and falling. Some rise and & fall fast, others rise and fall slowly. But why is that?

      The theory that I’d like to put forward is one of the “Pendulum on the Tree”. Basically it means that when a movement swings too far to the right or left of the tree – eventually it will correct itself thought one means or another.

      Please note that the left and right on the Tree do not correspond to the left and right of political movements. At the extremes of the left and right – the desire to control, constrain and apply limitations are as strong all of which are representative of the left side of the Kabalistic Tree. The desire to expand, share, overflow and potentially obliterate everything in its path is representative of the right side of the Tree.

      The Sun

      Taking the sun as an example… on the one hand it’s very expansive in terms of giving off light, heat and radiation. On the other hand the sun is limited in terms of its size. Gravity constrains the sun to remain a certain overall size.

      If a star expands too far, from what I understand, it will eventually collapse and lead to a final very large expansion. This is what I understand what happens when a star goes super nova. (Please excuse this gross simplification as I have a childlike understanding of physics).

      In the run up to the super nova, the expansion and contraction reach the extremes of the pendulum swinging between Chesed (expansion) to Din (contraction, limitations). The results are pretty spectacular.

      Occupy Movements

      OK, this is running in to a very lengthy post so I’ll try to be brief.

      The occupy movement to my understanding are going through a period of expansion. Trying to work out new ways of living, changes that can happen without engaging with the current existing political systems of Din (constraints, limitations).

      Eventually the movements will need to move more to the middle ground in order to come to some kind of point of balance to integrate opposing ideologies. The other option is to continue to expand outwards, obliterating what lies in its path – in other words a revolution that overthrows the existing power political structures entirely.

      However, if you look at history the communists revolutions left in place as controlling systems (if not more so) than those that came before. The same can be said for political coups and revolutions driven by ideologies from the right of the political spectrum.

      What bothers me is that the movement has included “Occupy” in its name. This to me implies a root of constraint, limitation and very much points to the left side of the Tree. To strict severity and justice. Perhaps the movement will result in increase in justice to balance the expansive power of the super-rich. On the other hand, it could just turn in to a more controlling power system than previously.

      Daat - Knowledge
      One last thing I’d like to mention. The way that the two sides can interact is via dialogue (verbal intercourse) and action (physical).  “Adam knew Eve” (the word used in Hebrew is from the root Daat) and they had kids. Let’s all keep talking!

      Sunday, 16 October 2011

      A Lion Has Roared: Match 6

      This week the Detroit Lions are playing the San Francisco 49ers. Putting the name of the San Francisco in produced: סן פרנסיסקו

      The interesting thing about this for me is that part of the name Francisco is:  פרנס

      This means "earnings, maintain, support". Which ties in nicely with the name for the city's football team which is according to Wikipedia is due to the 1849 gold rush:

      The name "49ers" comes from the name given to the gold prospectors who arrived in Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The name was suggested to reflect the voyagers who had rushed the West for gold. It is the only name the team has ever been affiliated with and San Francisco is the only city in which it has resided.[4]
      The idea of San Francisco being associated with gold linked up with two thoughts that I came across recently:

      1.  "And a river went out of Eden" - Part 1 post at Jacobus Swart's blog
      2. It's currently the Festival of Sukkot, the time of year when Water (rainfall) is judged
      Taking from the 1st thought - the message that each river coming out of Eden is associated with a particular set of attributes. The river Pishon with the Lion and the river Gichon with Gold. 

      Using this idea of Edenic rivers and combining it with this being a time of year when amount of water to be received is allocated by G-d... made me formulate the following variation on my weekly pre-match meditation:

      • Preparation meditation followed by Toning and Tuning from Book of Self Creation
      • Two simple meditation techniques using Hebrew aleph-bet
      • Angel Meditation (Creating harmony between the four elements) from Eye to the Infinite
      • Meditation on the verses in Genesis about the river Pishon, using the head letters in the verse to create a mantra meditation**
      • Studying Mishna Sukkot
      ** - Genesis chapter 2 verse 11:

      "The name of the first is Pishon, the one that encircles the whole land of Havilah, where the gold is".

      My reading in to this verse is that the Detroit Lions (represented by the river Pishon) will encircle the San Francisco 49ers (represented by Gold). May the mighty Lions surge like a river, encircle the opposition and sweep them away.

      Edit: Something I forgot to mention was that meditating in the sukkah felt quite different. I shall look in to meditating outside my house in future. Also, the feeling of being submerged in the Tuning and Toning exercise was stronger than usual.

      Edit: Final score Detroit Lions 19 - San Francisco 49ers 25. I need to do a lessons learned exercise to work out how to improve next time.

      Wednesday, 12 October 2011

      Horns, Angel Suits and Ancestors in the Back Yard

      It’s a funny time of year in the Jewish calendar. The festivals of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) has just passed in which the ‘big events’ are decided by the Almighty. This festival is followed by 10 days of repentance in which we continue to do an audit of our lives and work to return to the Source of All.

      That to my understanding is the purpose of atonement – not to flagellate ourselves about past sins – but to look back and see what we can do better to strive to be close to G-d. To reach that stage of being one with the purpose of creation – in other words at-one-ment.

      The ten days culminate in the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which is a 25 hour fast (no food or drink) and almost the whole day in prayer. During Rosh Hashanah a ram’s horn is blown, as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice the Abraham almost made and to counter the cries of Sissera’s mother (amongst a whole list of other reasons).

      During Yom Kippur people try to be like the angels, dressing in angel costumes, standing with their feet together (as described in Ezekiel) and pouring out our hearts to be sealed in the book of life.

      Then as soon as the fast is over and everyone’s had a bite to eat and something to drink, people start going outside to build temporary structures. And when I say temporary, I really mean that as mine has almost blown away twice now.

      Here is an article by Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis about how this temporary structure (sukkah – to commemorate the 40 years in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt) enables certain ancestors to visit. It blew me away the first time that I read it.

      A Sukkah

      This year is the first time in ages that I’ve built a sukkah. On the first night I hope to be entertaining the spirit of Abraham the Patriarch. When my wife asked what we should have for dinner, rather than choose something that we normally have on Friday night like chicken soup, meat and vegetables – I asked for pizza.

      “Pizza?” she asked. “Any particular reason why?”

      I decided it was best not to go in to a lengthy explanation about how I link pizza and spirits from having read the fictional novels by Jim Butcher about the Chicago based wizard Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.

      “So that we can have pizza in the hut”, I replied. Again I declined to explain further how this was inspired by a character from the film Space Balls.

      The other things that struck me about the sukkah is that it’s one of the few commandments that surrounds a person from all sides and for some reason here in the UK, putting up a temporary structure is one of THE best ways to summon rain. Lots and lots of rain.

      Perhaps if the sukkah acts as a luminal zone, as a threshold between the physical world and spiritual worlds, the rain is needed to act as a universal lubricant to ease the passage of spirits. On the other hand, perhaps the sylphs, sprites and other things that call these isles home take delight in playing with the booths that pop up for one week every year since the time of Cromwell and for a century or two before 1290.

      Monday, 10 October 2011

      A Lion has Roared: Match 5

      It's week 05 and the Lions face the Chicago Bears. Following the pattern from previous games, my preparations involved doing a little research on the name of the opposing team.

      Having chosen not to focus on the name Chicago, I instead looked up the word for Bear in The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hewbrew and English Lexicon. On pp. 179 the entry listed the places in Scripture where the word Dov (daled-bet) appears. Bear in Hebrew means soft or gliding motion.

      Having looked up the first few references: Amos 5:19, 1 Samuel 17:34, 2 Kings 2:24 and Isaiah 59:11 – I was at first dismayed to discover that the word Bear and Lion both appear in the same sentence on each occasion (apart from II Kings 2:24 that only mentions bears). However, then I spotted that the Lion references always occur earlier in the sentence.

      But then I got a bit carried away and looked up the other mentions of the word bear:
      • 2 Samuel 17:8- mention made of a bereaved bear
      • Proverbs 17:12. - another mention made of a bereaved bear
      • Hosea 13:8,- mentions bereaved bear and then devour them like a lion
      • Isaiah 11:7 - bear mentioned first and then lion
      • Proverbs 28:15 - lion first, then bear and
      • Lamentations 3:10 – bear and then lion.
      However, I'd like to point out that Isaiah 11:7 is part of a piece talking about messianic times when nature will not follow the course that it does currently.

      So it appears that in Scripture the natural order of things is for the Lion to precede the Bear. So I decided as part of the match preparation to study the first Chapter of Genesis which only mentioned one Divine Name – the one that refers to G-d acting within the confines of nature.

      Also looking back at previous match preparation postings, it appears that the following techniques generate positive results:
      • Preparation meditation followed by Toning and Tuning from Book of Self Creation
      • Two simple meditation techniques using Hebrew aleph-bet
      • Angel Meditation (Creating harmony between the four elements) from Eye to the Infinite
      • Study Genesis chapter 1wih Rashi commentary**
      The other thing that I did at the weekend during Yom Kippur was include all the people of Detroit in my prayers. As the sages teach the gate of tears is never closed. Just make sure they are real tears!

      If you like to help the people of Detroit (as Kid Rock did in May), here are a couple of listings (1, 2)of local charities. As with all giving to charity my rule of thumb is research them well and then give generously. The Rabbis teach that giving charity is like salting meat in that it helps to preserve your earnings.

      ** - This is the next portion to be studied in my Hebrew Immersion project, so that works out nicely.

      Edit: final score Lions 24 - Bears 13. Thank G-d the natural order was maintained in this instance with the Lions leading and the Bears left bereft.

      Thursday, 6 October 2011

      Chosen Path and Art

      The latest meme in the blogosphere (at least of blogs that I read) is about a chosen path, labels, titles and names.

      Gordon inadvertently started it by writing about how Chaos magic is enough for him. His article was about also about 'big versus small magic', about re-discovering how weaving magic in to everyday life can lead to some amazing moments of realization. Gordon has in my opinion done some amazing things with chaos magic, I still re-read on occasions his articles on shoaling (see link, link, link). Using the 'making art' metaphor, he can do things with crayons that can make you smile like an idiot or move you to tears.

      Jason, at strategic sorcery, followed it up by picking out the part of Gordon's article that focuses on the successes with a chosen path. His gift is seeing the underlying patterns behind different techniques and he's woven them together in such a successful way that he's for the moment managed to turn it in to a career. For an example of the range of styles of Art that he can teach – see this post.

      Jow joined the discussion with this post about Names, Titles and Labels. Having a think about his blog posting made me come up with the metaphor of Art and artists. Some artists focus on one way of channeling their creativity, for example becoming masters of light in schools for painters. Other can do things with clay that defy belief, whilst others still pour out their creative talents in to multiple art forms such as pop art, sculpture, scrimshaw, etc.

      Rufus Opus at Head for the Red responded by pointing out that during his travels in his spiritual development - he has taken a number of different routes. His use of different techniques made me question whether it is meaningful to call someone a painter if in addition to working on canvas they also work with for example sculpt clay, carve wood and etch on stone? Then again, is label of worker of Art or artists just too broad?

      Over at the Lions Den is yet another blog post about picking a path. It reminds me of what my martial arts instructor said about "there being many paths up the mountain". After a certain point you have to start to climb using the techqnieu that bests suits you. Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) starts by describing 32 mystcial paths, the Hebrew word for path used is Netivot rather than Derech. As Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explains in his commentary it means a personal route rather than a public route.

      Whilst I've read bits and pieces on Druidism, Shamanism, Witchcraft, Golden Dawn, Grimoire magic and Tarot/Divination – I decided after some deep thought to pursue a magical career in Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism. Legends of the Golem had fascinated me since childhood and I wanted to “try to understand the technical specifications of the blueprints of Creation/Reality”. To understand how the metaphysics of creation fit together and how can I experience that?

      As I returned to the practice of the religion/faith of my people I decided that even though this would be a narrow path with numerous limitations on what should and should not be practiced – it would hopefully in time give me a practical understanding and experience of being a Kabbalah technician (so to speak). After some consideration the name “Trainee Golem Builder” came to mind and it sounded more tongue in cheek, but behind that is a desire to develop into a technician of metaphysics in the field of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism.

      Finally returning to the Art and artists metaphors, in my opinion it does not matter so much what the label is for the maker of the art or the type of art. What interests me is how the art is made.

      Wednesday, 5 October 2011

      Level up!

      It’s been almost a week since this blog got started. I’ve just had a quick browse through the postings in the past year and it’s making my head spin a bit. Rather than do an in-depth lessons learnt review, I’ll use a diagram from a previous post about “Navigating Your Magical Career” to highlight was has changed.

      Last year:

      • Hermetic Kabbalah – no change. I’ve got a bunch of books to read but have yet to prioritize those on the to-read list.
      • Merkava Mysticism Theory – 2 point increase. 1 point due to this Project: Understanding the Merkava User Manual in 2000 pages or less.
      • Jewish Kabbalah Theory – no change. Perhaps when I finish and internalize the information in Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s “Inner Space” this could go up by 1 point.
      • Jewish Meditation Theory – 1 point increased. Increased due to books read, lectures attended and face to face meetings with other aspiring Kabbalists.
      • Jewish Meditation Practice – 1 point increase. The project to support the Detroit Lions via meditation and prayer is my first practical application of knowledge gained for non-friend or family members.
      • Hebrew Amulet Writing Ability – 1 point increase. The success of My first amulet writing attempt has yet to be proven. The amulet has been in my travel bag for awhile, but so far I’ve not had call to use it in pressing danger. I'm going to try to create another amulet soon.
      • Golem Building Ability – no change. I’ll admit that I’ve got rather distracted with my studies in Merkava / Chariot / Hekhalot / Heavenly Palaces mysticism. After December I intend to get back to golem building and apply some of my knowledge.
      • Sefer Yetzirah Theory – no change. See golem building ability above.
      • Abulafia meditation in Practice – this is a new category. It encapsulates my desire to translate and make use of the 13th century Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia’s ecstatic / prophetic meditation techniques.

      Final note and advert…

      I’m giving a talk at the Treadwells bookshop on the 2nd of November 2011 at 7:30pm. The topic of the talk is: “Ritual in Early Jewish Mysticism: Descent to the Chariot and Angelic Adjuration”.

      If you’ve never been to Treadwells before and are considering going, here is a handy guide to Treadwells lecture attendance that I wrote earlier.

      Treadwells: 33 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS
      This is a culmination of the following Project: Understanding the Merkava User Manual in 2000 pages or less.

      The outline of the talk is as follows:
      1. Setting the Context
      • Chapter 1 of Book of Ezekiel, Outline of different Hekhalot (Heavenly Palaces) texts, Historical period in which this literature arose.
      2. Inside the Hekhalot Texts
      • Status of current academic research, focus of each text, preparation techniques for heavenly ascent or angelic adjuration, comparison to shamanistic techniques
      3. Deciphering Ezekiel
      • Focus on ritual practice rather than literary constructs, how the 7 heavens fit in to the 10 Sefirot and what the sign-posts are on spiritual ascent

      Sunday, 2 October 2011

      A Lion Had Roared: Match 4

      This is a post that has been pre-scheduled as I’m busy at the moment with the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah and the upcoming Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur.

      Today’s game is between my new all-time favourite team (since a few weeks ago) the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. The last match that the Lions played was against the Vikings and it was a close call. This time I decided to get prepared earlier in the week and do some more research on the opposing side.

      Breaking Down a Name
      So… what meaning can be read in to the name of the Dallas Cowboys?

      Well the word Dallas in Hebrew can be broken in to two parts:

      Da – meaning “know” and
      Las – being the root of the word ‘lu-ee-yu-sah’ (Lamed-ayin-yud-heh)

      According to the Klein etymological dictionary the word ‘lu-ee-yu-sah’ (Lamed-ayin-yud-heh) is post-Biblical Hebrew for chewing and mastication.

      Taken in combination with the word Cowboy, this deconstruction of the word Dallas makes sense. I understand it to mean: to know (the land), to chew (tobacco?) and to herd cattle from on top of a horse.

      Herding Bringing Out the Best and the Worst
      Herding and tending cattle, especially sheep, is a common theme in the Torah (scriptures). In particular there are examples such as the Patriarch Joseph, the Prophet Moses and King David.

      However, there are is also one example of a shepherd who is cast in a very negative light – namely Lavan (Laban). Not only did he initially cheat Jacob of his bride Rachel by tricking him in to marrying Leah. When it came to leaving Lavan’s household and returning to his home, Jacob and his family was pursued by Lavan and armed me. The commentators state that Lavan’s intention was to wipe out Jacob and his entire family, something worse than the Egyptians tried who only drowned the male children.

      So we can see from the above that on the one hand a person who tends sheep can grow to be great leaders of their generation, they can also degenerate to the worst of humanity. Another thing to consider it that riding a horse can be viewed in a negative light, in particular Psalm 147:

      "Not in the strength of the horse does He desire, and not in the legs of man does He favor. HASHEM favors those who fear Him, those who hope for His kindness"

      These are the meditations that I intend to do:
      - Tuning and Toning, from Book of Self Creation by Jacobus Swart
      - Two simple Hebrew letter meditation techniques based on Abulafia and Sefer Yetzira
      - Use the first letters of the verse from Psalm 147 mentioned above as a mantra meditation
      - Study the text about Lavan’s pursuit of Jacob
      - Bibliomancy to see what other texts make themselves available for study and interpretation

      Edit: The score for the game has come in finally at Lions 34 - Cowboys 30. The Cowboys led for the first part of the game and when I logged on to see that the score was Cowboys 20- Lions 3 my heart sank. Today was a fast day and with it being 29 centigrade (the vast majority of UK homes do not have air conditioning), I had to have a drink part way through the day. Anyway despite the score I prayed, studied and worked at mending the harmony in my household. Whilst I was ready to write off the match as a loss, the lesson that I take from this is that G-d always leaves the gates of teshuva (repetence/at-one-ment) open.