Gevurah of Hod – Discipline of Humility
My partner and I rarely fight. But a few months ago, as we were wending our way through a particularly thorny parenting issue, I unloaded—in a torrent of passion and power—how I saw the matter behind the issue at hand. I recall seeing red but also seeing with tremendous clarity as the words moved through me in an unmediated way. I spoke with passion and also pulled no punches. I have no doubt that I left him feeling jarred and wounded.
Our exchange took place in the morning and over the phone (not optimal). I felt tremendous regret for the mode but not the message of what I’d said. After I hung up, I slowed my breath and noticed that my hands were cramped. I’d been clenching my fists.
A wise friend I later spoke to compared my passionate expression of my truth to a prophetic moment, a channeling of Hod energy, which leaves us open to receiving our truths. When we are aligned with this energy, we feel firmly connected to our inner truths, see a situation with clarity, speak in an unmediated way.
Yet, in those moments of Hod energy, as we open to receiving wisdom or truth and channeling it to others, we can also do harm if we don’t temper that energy. A healthy flow of Hod with Gevurah—the divine energy or power of “discernment”—can provide a balm to the sting of the voice of prophecy.
I suspect we can best notice and channel those energies when we create breath and space and mindful presence. A few deep breaths, the noting of body sensations, making an effort to plant our feet firmly and take note, with compassion, can go a long way in helping us anchor to the present so that we can pivot with compassion. A little mindfulness practice can help us settle, listen to, and respond to the different energies and different voices that flow through us, when we allow them. We can apply discernment (the kinder cousin of “judgment”) what’s going on and which voice to call upon in a given situation.
So after I made peace with the Hod energy that had moved through me I got a cup of tea, meditated for a while, and started to journal my way though the elements of struggle and what they might mean—I began to open up to the Gevurah energy: I was able to discern the situation with compassion: for myself, my partner, my kid. Without backing off from the clarity and the truths that emerged from that inner prophetess and her voice, I was able to reach out to my husband in a different way.
As we talked over lunch, I apologized for the mode but not the message of what I’d said. Fortunately, we have 25 years of “Money in the bank”—a well of goodwill that can weather a few storms. And while my beloved does not speak in the language of (pl of sefirah) In Kabbalah, the 10 “attributes” – channels of Divine energy – via which God interacts with creation., he understood, loud and clear, as I offered an agreement: “I will commit to speaking with you in ways that I can be heard but which also come across as love.”
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).