Counting the Omer: Hod

Lekh Lekha 2012Lekh Lekha 2012

Hod turns energy – strong, pulsating with chi energy – into form. It gives it not just a direction but momentum. Think of your favorite river, sparking and fast, swollen with snow melt. That’s Hod. It’s associated with splendor and glory.

Hod’s about the way you feel in spring, when everything feels fecund and alive with possibility. When the blooming has taken hold, and the smells energize you. Where every place your eye falls you see and feel vigorous growth reclaiming the land, the victory of life renewing itself.

It makes you feel incredibly joyous, and ripe with the fertile beauty and splendor of the world. That’s Hod running through you. It’s a wonderful time to give gratitude.

If netzach is the flow of the river, then hod is the river banks. The channels that form and direct it towards a goal. All the energy in the world is useless if it doesn’t get focused towards a destination. Hod’s what helps you row your boat downstream instead of just sitting in a puddle.

It’s not magic. You have to show up and row. Hidden in Hod is the idea of perseverance. Of moving, even work, but with a vitality that is confident of its own success.

It’s also associated with the belief that what’s unfolding is part of a larger picture, more than we can control or perceive on our own, even when we ask to be shown. This sense of trust and knowing can be elusive when things are not going our way, when we’re in the tank of unrelenting crap rather than shining with joy.

Hod’s associated with resonance and echoing. There’s a great image of Hod as a pipe organ: like with each pipe, the dimensions of a situation, or person, or problem, determines the specificity of the sound.

Your body immediately response to something off-key. But on the hopefully more frequent flip side: Hod’s how you feel when beauty fills you. Feeling it permeate and open you. When you lose your you-ness and you’re inside it too. Hod is all that magnificence.

Like hod’s pairing with netzach, or the balance between chesed and gevurah, the Tree of Life demonstrates how applied restraint, the melding of opposites, can create something of great and powerful beauty.

Hod’s when you realize some long struggle could really be over. You may, to paraphrase the Stones, not always get what you want, but you will get what you need. If you can see that gift as victory, no matter its shape or name, you’ll have a solid foundation for whatever you aim for next.

Just remember to celebrate your abundance. Hod b’Hod, is the 33rd day of the omer. It’s festive: bonfires and fireworks, a unique day with special celebrations.

Think about when you have felt truly triumphant. When you accomplished a goal, achieved some victory that you honestly weren’t sure you’d ever reach.

Hod’s about that success and the desire to create more of it. When have you had this in your life? What’ve you been willing to sacrifice to achieve it? What would you do next if you thought you just might pull it off?

Counting the Omer: Netzach

Vetchanan 2014Vetchanan 2014

Netzach, like each of the sephirot, takes all the energy of what has preceded it and channels it. One way to think of the Tree of Life is as a funnel, where energies are concentrated as they flow into our realm of reality.

Netzach is about energy. Words to describe it include triumph, victory, and power. Think of being victorious in a way that has a chicken and egg relationship with confidence and personal energy. The one begets the other. Its negative counterpart might be self-centeredness or narcissism, or laziness and passivity.

Netzach is about focused will. It’s the chi that energizes you when you apply yourself to a goal. It can come through as a determination to overcome obstacles, to triumph in adversity. It manifests as a creative force, inspiring you to make and do. Netzach has been likened to the current of a river, the vital force that moves it rushing downstream.

Netzach is a very personal energy. It’s where the sephirot are becoming more specifically human. About you and how you live more than a theoretical expression of divinity or godliness. It informs your choices and actions.

There’s a lot of emotional charge to netzach. Charisma in the highest sense, the way a person can inspire people, themselves and others, to reach higher and beyond. To exert their best selves to achieve what might have felt out of reach.

Netzach gathers more power in context. The sephirah is like a placeholder, ready for you to fill and energize it. There’re also aspects of endurance and fortitude, of having the patience and the strategic will to follow through on the vision of knowing where you want to go.

Netzach is correlates to the kabbalistic world of emotions. People and situations take on greater meaning, the more we are involved with them. So the greater your emotional engagement, the more likely your efforts and intentions will succeed.

Netzach is what makes manifestation possible. If you don’t show up, the energy for a given situation won’t either. If you sit on the sidelines only to think and watch and worry about failure, you’re unlikely to be victorious.

One of the deep words in kabbalah is kavannah. It means intention or commitment, not just in the I wanna sense but in the I vow, I commit, I will sense. Netzach is when you make kavannah. When you put some oomph behind your words. Instead of just saying you’re going to clean out the garage, you grab the bucket/gloves, clear the drive, and start picking up and moving things. If you want a promotion, or a new job, or a new partner, what will you do to earn it?

Think about what motivates and energizes you. What makes you willing to get out of your routine, to reach higher, further, and with more effort for a goal? Try to remember times when you have been inspired and those when you have been a slacker. What gets you engaged vs. what makes you sit things out? What motivates you vs. what makes you feel/act like a shopping cart with a bad wheel? What would it take to change that?

Are you ready to feel energized again? Remember how much fun it can be.