Biblical Poetry: Vibrational Essence by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Today’s biblical poetry reflects on two passages in Exodus 15:2 and 15:3. Both deal with the vibrational essence that gives rise to the splendors of life.

KJV is the traditional King James Version. MPV is my own Mystic Pagan translation.See notes below for my translations of various words including LORD.

Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation:
he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation;
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

YaaaHaaaVaaaHaaa, is the source of my vivacity and song
Unveiling pathways of liberation.
Rooted in the potentiality of my ancestors
Resplendent in beauty.

Exodus 15:3

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

YaaaHaaaVaaaHaaa is the creative spark.
Experienced by us as Being. Vibration


Whenever LORD is seen in an English translation, the Hebrew is the tetragrammaton YHVH. These four letters are considered magical syllables that indicate the presence of divinity. In the bible YHVH is translated into a male god. The syllables are far more. They express a “miraculous multi-dimensionality” (to quote Carolyn Lee Boyd). They actually are a vibrational tool that sets up the conditions for creation. They are great for chanting as well. The problem in pronouncing them is that there are no vowels. In these passages I use YaaaHaaaVaaaHaaa. You could just as easily use YeeeHeeeVeeeHee, Yiii,HiiiiViiiiHiiii, YoooHoooVoooHooo, or YuuuHuuuVuuuHuuu. When LORD is used specifically as a name in Exodus 15:3, I return to the translation that I have been using in my previous posts: Vibration.Being.

I find these two Exodus passages quite fascinating. Exodus 15:2 is a prelude to war imagery. It is the beginning of the song of praise that Moses sings after the Hebrews successfully escaped from the Egyptians through the passage of the Sea of Reeds. In subsequent passages, the praises go on about how the Pharaoh’s forces are drowned and defeated in graphic war-like yet celebratory descriptions.

In Exodus 15:2, the word which translate as vivacity (MPV) and strength (KJV) is the same word discussed in my blogpost last month in Psalm 93:1. It is oz or as d’Olivet describes it, “generative vigor.” I find that the actual words used in that passage go in a different direction than seen in most translations. I wonder if it had originally been a chant of praise or spiritual poetry that was tacked onto this thread of war. It reminds me more of a verse I would expect to find in Psalms or Proverbs. 

This brings us to Exodus 15:3. The KJV looks at the verses that follows and goes with warlike imagery. I look at the words and the verse before and get a different take. The key word for both translations is milchamah. The KJV translates milchamah as “war.” I use “creative spark.” How do we get to such divergent translations?

Jeff Benner, my go-to source for diving into the derivation of Hebrew words, describes its root as meaning “the kneading of bread.” He explains that fighting with the dough to make it into a loaf of bread is akin to wartime battles.

As an enthusiastic bread baker, myself, I was a little stunned by this description. I was taught to bake bread by an artist who used it as a nurturing, creative, meditative endeavor. Her name was Marion Josephson. We would bake bread together and her husband, Sy, would make elaborate salads. Putting it all together was a feast for our eyes, our sense of smell and ultimately for our taste buds. Together they made the bread baking experience into performance art, which I was lucky enough to be part of. The kneading itself was a practice of feeling and working with the lustiness of the dough, it is the sensory aspect of creating the foundation of a meal. This was long before there were bread machines. I would even call it a loving process. Following Marion’s lead, I would invite my kid’s friends over and we would have bread baking parties. My kitchen, me, the kids would be covered in dough and flour by the end. That was part of the fun. It was like making edible mud pies. We would make small loaves with unusual herbs, so everyone had a loaf to take home to their families.

I am having trouble understanding why kneading bread would then be connected to “fighting” in any manner. I guess that is what happens in a patriarchal system of symbolism. Symbols get reversed and strangely twisted.

In fact, bread is pretty magical. It rises. As a seed grows, so does bread. That is why I translated 15:3 as creation spark instead of war. If you wanted a more exact “word for word” translation, rather than my extremely divergent one, it might be: “YHVH is an instrument of food.”

Bread baking wasn’t just the foundation of a meal and of nurturing the family, but there are many rituals that have grown up surrounded its processing. The rite of “breaking bread” was once a regular and lovely welcoming and honoring of community and companionship.


Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a ShamanWhen Eve Was a Goddess, (now available in Spanish, Cuando Eva era una Diosa), and One Gods. In Ardor and Adventure, available in Spanish. Cuando Eva era una Diosa.

Categories: Bible, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General, Gift of Life, Paganism, Shamanism, Symbols

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11 replies

  1. This is fascinating! The connection between bread and the creative spark reminds me of all the bread-making ovens in goddess temples in Old Europe as described by Marija Gimbutas and others and all the grain goddesses found worldwide. Bread-making has a long history of association with the female Divine.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, fascinating! What blew me away was likening making bread to fighting a war! Like you I am a bread baker and have made my own bread much of my life…. entering into that creative process is like a form of prayer – one moves into a slow creative rhythm that puts me in touch with all there is through flour yeast and water… a miracle of becoming.

    PS fighting with bread makes it tough and flat!

    The world’s patriarchal religions seem to go to any length to liken everything to a battle/war – how insane really, and yet each one of us has been socialized into this horror and has to root it out don’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would sure rather have a creative divine spark running–illuminating?–the universe than a man of war. I totally like your translations of verses of the holy book better than that old patriarchal version that always seems to be about war and superiority and power over. I also much prefer your take on baking bread. Yes, you gotta knead and beat the dough, but, yes, you’re creating basic nourishment. Who actually thinks making war is better than feeding people?? (Well, yes, the Republicans currently seem to have that belief. They’re nuts. But I digress.) The magic of growing seeds and rising bread is a beautiful, life-affirming image.

    Please keep on with your translations and variations and insights. They make that old book so much more humane! Bright blessings to your work!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks Barbara for your words of encouragement. It is a labor of love but sometimes it does get tougher than others and it helps to know that others resonate with the translations as well.

    And it does make me sad that such life-affirming images are so often reversed and used to create destruction instead of love and life.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Janet, These new translations are incredibly powerful. Are you publishing a full collection of such translations? How much of the Bible are you re-translating? Such a powerful project! Thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ali, Your comment made me smile. Publishing a full collection . . . . hmmmm . . .now there would be a dream come true.

      I really only started this project in this form in the spring and I did it after a life changing event happened. I didn’t start it with a grand plan. Perhaps one if forming. The bible is pretty vast, so I am not yet ready to even contemplate how much of it I can do using these techniques. Some translations hit me in the head, like this one with the bread kneading. Others take weeks and more of looking at the root translations and then meditating on their meanings. Some haven’t come to anything, at least yet. Others I have put up here in blogposts.

      I will just have to keep an open heart and an open mind and see what journey this grows into. Thanks for your encouragement.


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