את: a Netivot Wisdom Oracle is the first published oracle deck based directly on the teachings of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute.
This is a feminist oracle card deck and companion book based on the teachings of Kohenet – a Jewish womxn’s movement, clergy training program, and beloved community and was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018.
The structure of את: a Netivot Wisdom Oracle is organized around three “suits,” for lack of a better term: Vessels, Offerings, Allies.
- Vessels: manifestations of Divine in human form. This may be work we do on behalf of the Divine, or ways the Divine appears in our waking/sleeping dreams – and in those all around us.
- Offerings: these are gifts the Divine offers us and offerings we may/are asked to give to the Divine. Sometimes these are physical items and sometimes it is simply a way of being.
- Allies: animals, plants, places, objects — anything that provides us with support through a pathway of the Divine.
All of these are facets or expressions of the Netivot, which means that to get the most out of the deck — it helps to understand the spiritual concept of “Netivot.”
In the Kohenet movement, we understand Netivot to be pathways/channels of the Divine in feminine form. The Hebrew word נתיבות (Netivot) means pathways or routes — for example in modern Hebrew an airport terminal is called a “beit netivot” – house of pathways (singular is נתיבה — Netivah). In modern Hebrew an airport terminal is called a “beit netivot” – house of pathways. Sometimes the word “archetype” is used, but I prefer to think of it of pathways of manifestation of the Divine, in Feminine forms. Sometimes these are faces of the Divine, and sometimes it is a way that a person is called to Divine service.
For those who would like a scriptural source, we find this concept in Proverbs 3:17
דְּרָכֶ֥יהָ דַרְכֵי־נֹ֑עַם וְֽכָל־נְתִ֖יבוֹתֶ֣יהָשָׁלֽוֹם
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace
In the book “The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership“, written by the founders of the Kohenet movement and training institute the Netivot are described as “priestess paths.” That is with the understanding that a priestess is a “microcosm of the G!d/dess.” So when we find these pathways of Divine service, we are also seeing faces of the Divine.
“The human women and the Divine images are interconnected, and influence one another.” These pathways run in multiple directions — not just from the Divine to humans — but also from humanity back to the Divine. Just think of Yaakov’s vision of the ladder (Gen 28:12) — the angels were ascending and descending. It doesn’t say first that the angels were descending from Heaven to bring messages — but ascending the ladder — bringing new information back. I believe that what we do influences the Divine in many ways — including the faces that are shown to humanity and humanity’s experience of the Divine.
In the Kohenet movement, there are 13 Netivot:
- Oreget – Weaver
- Na’arah (or Betulah) – Maiden
- Eimah – Mother
- Meyeledet – Midwife
- Chachamah – Wise Woman
- G’virah – Queen/Matriarch/Warrior
- Mekonenet – Mourning Woman
- Tzovah – Shrinekeeper
- Neviah – Prophetess
- Ba’alat Ov – Witch/Shamaness/Spirit Vessel
- Doreshet – Seeker
- Ohevet – Lover
- Leiztanit (Kesilah) – Sacred Fool
When you read these and think, “what about XXX?” She is there – within one of these — or many. The G’virah is recognized as a warrior — but the Na’arah may also be a warrior. A Na’arah may also overlap with the Mekonenet combining the energy of youth with the keening anger/sadness of loss. None of us is one simple thing. We all bring complexity — so when we draw on the energy of one of the Netivot — most likely we are embodying several at any time.
Most of us have one that we are immediately drawn to, and one that repels or scares us. Each of them has something to teach us, and each of them offers us strength and wisdom for different moments in our lives. By learning to embody them all, we become more — we do the work of Tikkun haLev (repair of the heart), Tikkun haNefesh (repair of the soul), and Tikkun Olam (repair of the world).
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