Monday, July 31, 2006

Sitra Achra & Shem Hameyuchad

I dreamt.

I was moving into a community house (בית כנסת בית אל). A big flat spider the size of a small plate lived among those of the house. It roamed about at will. I thought this was gross - to have a big flat spider living there roaming about at will. First of all, it was ugly. Harmless enough, but ugly. Second, what if it decided to crawl over me at times when I slept? I'd never know it. Yuck. Or what if I stepped on it if I got up during the night? Yuck again.

I thought to "contain" the ugly spider in a box, so I put a cardboard box over it. Only, I found that the box was open on one side. The open side was shaped like the letter ב in 2 dimensions, and the box itself like the letter מ in 3 dimensions. Of course, the spider couldn't be contained by a box with an open side. And now, the spider noticed me.

Now I was in a house classroom for the first lesson - about the spider of the house. It was in the center of the classroom. We all sat around it for the lesson. Now that the spider had noticed me, it started to walk towards me. Yuck!

I put my pencil between me and the spider as it approached, hoping to "steer" it to turn around when it met the barrier of my pencil. But it didn't turn around. It started to climb up my pencil toward my bare hand. I thought better of flicking it away - that would likely enrage it, making it attack me mindlessly. So, I just removed my pencil as a barrier, thinking maybe that my actions against the spider only drew it closer to me. It stopped advancing once I had removed my pencil as a barrier to contemplate it, as it had nothing to draw it to me. But, it didn't move away because my attention was still on it.

So, I woke up.

Like the snake is associated with a masculine yetzer hara, so is a spider associated with a feminine yetzer hara, the sitra achra. A spider has eight legs (binah) and a middle round body (malchut). The reason a spider is seen as "ugly" is because it lacks the "beauty" of an emotive force. A spider is all mind and matter and no heart - the perfect machine. Whatever is in a woman's heart becomes the "heart" of the spider. The spider itself has no inclination to attack or to not attack. Any action of the spider's beyond random wandering at will is the result of the heart of the woman.

Next, if one's emotional attention is focused on it, to fill its lack, the spider is drawn to likewise focus on the emotive force which is focused on it. As the spider lacks an emotive force of its own, it will be drawn to one focused on it. In contrast, the spider has eight legs and is full of its own mind. Consequently, when one's focus is likewise intellectually contemplative (as opposed to emotively contemplative), the spider is not drawn toward that kind of focus or attention.

Neither ב nor מ can contain the spider. This means that the consciousness of a spider, like that of a human being, originates beyond the three "spiritual" dimensions of space, time and soul (Sefer Yetzirah 3:7). As a spider's web is unique, so too is the essence of a spider unique to the feminine essence of a woman, as an individual and likewise, to the essential tapestry of women who comprise a community.

Beit Knesset Beit El, Mercaz HaMekubalim

School of the Kabbalists
The Holy Congregation of the Pious House of G-d

And Your eyes will look upon us when You return to Zion with mercy

It shows 6 of the gates of Jerusalem:
Gate of Zion, Gate of Yafo (Jaffa), Gate of Shehem (Nablus), Lion's Gate, Dung Gate, Flower Gate

photo @ Mytical Paths

a spider is purely an instrument of the Divine, completely without "a heart" of its own, and perfectly reflects the heart of an individual or collective

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