Azazel, that Mystery Beast

Mystery of Azazel

I am writing this from memory sitting on a hill in a Wilderness somewhere in the United States of America.

I am a guest here, the Wilderness, that is clear to me. I asked the animals, the brush rangers, the bottom dwellers to allow me to squat on their ground, to sing the holy song to G*d in my heart. It was pretty, but it was not why I came.

On the fourth day, this day, I began to ask for forgiveness. I sank deeper into silence and an animal I cannot identify wandered by and nibbled from a loaf of bread I carried with me.

Then the animal spoke. “It’s about forgiveness, isn’t it. . .” the animal said. “Yes,” I said, “it’s about forgiveness.”

“Give me your burdens,” the animal said, “I am a load bearing animal, I am a yoked animal, I submit to the yoke of your burdens and I carry them gladly into the Wilderness.”

So I took my burdens, my self consciousness, my separation, my isolation, my flight, my self-fulness, my fear, especially my fear, everything that separates me from G*d and from all that I love the most, and I laid them on the shoulders of this animal, and I watched as the animal disappeared into the hills.

I lifted up my hands and I looked up and said, to the trees, to the sky, to the stones, to the dirt, to the dirt especially, to the mud:

“Is this the way it works?”

From far away I heard,

“Yes, this is precisely the way it works.”

jsg, usa

Sources:
Leviticus 16:8-10: and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for G*d and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for G*d, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before G*d to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.