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Aaron

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Aaron, the Jewish High Priest, wearing his breastplate of precious stones, carrying an incense thurible, and holding his budding rod
Aaron, the Jewish High Priest, wearing his breastplate of precious stones, carrying an incense thurible, and holding his budding rod

Aaron was the older brother of Moses, a prophet and high priest who also spoke on behalf of Moses; he is known for his eloquence and persuasive speaking abilities. Aaron lived from approximately 1396 BC to 1274 BC. When the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt under the leader or Pharaoh, he and Moses confronted the Pharaoh and demanded the freedom of the Jews, Aaron who demonstrated the power of Yahweh over other deities. He transformed his rod into a serpent. This was countered by Egyptian court magicians who demonstrated the powers of their Kemetic deities by turning their rods into snakes. The superiority of Yahweh was demonstrated when Aaron’s snake consumed the others. Ultimately, With Yahweh’s blessing and power, it was Aaron who initiated the first three of the famous ten plagues which eventually convinced Pharaoh to release the Jews.

Under the protection of Yahweh, Aaron survived a trial by ordeal. He also performed a rite on an altar with incense that was instrumental in keeping a plague under control. Finally, he was one of the few people allowed to gaze upon Yahweh while still alive. Despite these extraordinary miracles, outside of Judaism Aaron is not generally portrayed as being as powerful a magician as Moses. However, in the Jewish Kabbalah, Aaron symbolizes the emanation of Hod (“Divine Glory” or “Majesty). When Hod works with Netzach (“Endurance and Victory"), represented by Moses, the result is the power of prophecy.

Within the Jewish religious tradition Aaron embodies the virtues of peacemaking and duty. He possessed, and is often shown wearing, a hoshen ("breastplate") set with twelve magical gems that symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel, as described in the Jewish Grimoire Sefer Gematriaot. This breastplate incorporated a pocket in which were kept a pair of casting stones called the Urim and the Thummim, which were used as an oracle. Interestingly, in addition to his connections to magic and divination, Aaron is also one of the spirit ancestors conjured in a necromantic ceremony celebrated during the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.


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