Hyenas, and lions, and leopards, oh my

November 1, 2014

“Hyenas, and lions, and leopards, oh my!”

We gathered in the Valley, the morning after the first blessing rain of the season.  May the rains continue and bring relief to our parched land and trees and living beings.

 Placing the copper plate and Circle of Friends in the center, with objects to the 4 directions, we began.  Check-ins included fear and danger, joy and joining, and dreams of swirling tarantulas and a dead squirrel.  We heard of a beloved pet’s medical journey seemingly back from being sick and dying, and the new cat, Kippur, hung out with us, going to and fro as we settled into study of the animal powers chapter in “Magic of the Ordinary”. 

The chapter opens with an odd telling of a discussion in the Babylonian Talmud (Baba Metzia 24a) describing that if an object is taken by a lion, hyena, bear, or leopard, it is to be considered lost to the owner, and even if someone recovers it, it does not get returned to the owner and remains in the finders’ hands.  This is not true of all animals.  For instance, if something is taken by a dog, or donkey, and is recovered, it must be returned to its owner.  So what is it about these animals?  It was suggested they are wild, carnivores, and that the item is recovered only through the intermediatry of these fierce animals.  The animal power transforms the property, and that property law could be used to explain the nature of animals.  Or by American law, the concept of abandoned property may be similar to that invoked here, whereby if one of these animals grabs your property it can be imagined to be abandoned to that animal being.  Or perhaps the person grabbing it from the jaws of one of these animals deserves to be rewarded for his courageous efforts. 

  • ·       Lion: new beginnings in the East.  The lion taking the object thus transforms it to a new way of being, alchemically.  We are forced to let go of attachment to allow for the new beginning.
  • ·       Hyena – here we surrender the lifeless
  • ·       Bear – grabs and stores up energy for the winter hibernation
  • ·       Panther – the alchemical energy of suddenness, pouncing at the time that is right for it.

The discussion turned to the personal and the real, as we wondered how this teaching relates to the story one of our members told in check-in.  Was it hyena energy, or leopard, that had caused the distress?  Or neither?  Perhaps this was rabid dog energy, not to be at all confused with what we were looking at today. 

El Nah Rafah Nah Lah . . . R’fuah Sh’lay’mah
Deep grief entered the room and called for healing chants and prayers.  Our PV torah studies seem to have shifted from simple study together to a time when we gather to share our lives, our griefs, our joys, our challenges, in community with those who over the years we have begun to know so well, and care about so deeply.

Next gathering: Saturday, December 6, 10 AM. 
Save the Date: Saturday, December 20 – plan all day gathering, study, hike, Chanukah celebration

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