Entering the Moon of Adar (February-March)

time of
late-winter in the earth,
dagim, fish, in the sky,
Purim, in the soul,

time when you were ages 10-14 years old

Time in the seasons, time in life,
of beauty, struggles, movements,
some visible, some hidden.

Sophie Fleischner

Winter, as does childhood,
nears the end of her reign.
At times storms pass through, rains beat down.
Then bulbs appear, snowdrops, crocuses,
magnolia trees blossom, tips of tulips emerge
from lush earth.

The stars and planets enter the realm of dagin,
two fish swimming
in opposite directions,
mouths wide open, gleaning all.

And you enter the second circle of life,
where the young girl enters her teens,
venturing out
to wider realms.

Cycles of the Earth: Late-Winter

Come, enter transition time, when the seasons wrestle,
winter not wishing to leave, while spring softly, firmly, sends messages
of her impending arrival.

treesinhsprgs

Savor this movement.

Feel that thirst
for new life.

Watch the dawn coming earlier each day
as the sun moves forward
in her cycle. 

 

Let your soul also expand,
embracing this invitation.

Move inward. Attend to the remnants of winter's work.
Bring your projects to completion.
Finish the sewing, painting, verse.

Move outwards.

quince

 

Seek the quince.

Watch their petals unfurl, exquisitely colored
peaches, roses.

Among the first to flower,
harbingers
of spring. 


Scan the fences over which forsythia drape.
Watch their pale green buds thicken with each passing day.

Look for the daffodils planted near foundations of homes,
the warmth calling them to stretch their limbs through icy air.
Watch them reach toward the sky.

Walk to the tree lawn exploding with hundreds of radiant lavender crocuses
nestling amid emerald moss.

rscrocuses

They weave
through the curving tree roots
which harbor them
like a mother hen.

Watch them open in the sunshine.

Your heart expands
in sheer ecstasy.

Visit them every day of their short lives,
soaking
their breathtaking color
into
the core of your being.

Memorize this.

Walk. Feel the winds brush your face. Feel their life.
Let the knowledge of springs approach race through your veins.
Step on the ice's edge transforming it to water.
Hear that satisfying crunch and crackle.
Help it run free.
It calls your soul to do likewise.

Move inside. Hold your numbed fingers against the warmth of a fragrant cup of tea.
Sit in a patch of sunlight. Curl up like a cat.
Feel the sun's fingers stroking your cheeks, your hair,
curl about your shoulders in embrace.

Each morning scan the hillside of trees.
Can you detect movement in their steel-gray winter boughs?
See a faint speckle of red? spatter of pea-green? beginnings of growth?
Feel the longing in your body for spring.

Notice how that hunger grows more intense with each passing year.
Feel that yearning.

And in the Land of Israel
your spirit wanders among the emerging wildflowers.

rsorlypoppies

The weather as capricious
as a teenager in the throes of upheaval,
makes any walk
an adventure,

while the
poppies and calendula bloom

wherever
their seeds

can take root.


Rouse from your winter rest
just as the creatures stir from hibernation, stretching their limbs as their sleep fades.
You too are awakening.

Some years the first blooms proceed brilliantly without harm.
Others, a late snowfall leaves their blossoms battered and browned.
You never know what can happen.

Cycles of the Stars, Dagim, the fish

"I, who dwell in subterranean waters, survivor of Primeval floods,
bring treasures from unseen places;
pearls of understanding, diamonds of dreams, and golden gems of insight,
from your visions of the night.

Lower your net into my waters and I will fill it with riches,
that you might better chart your way forward,
with wisdom.

rsfish

Just as I swim,
wild and free,
hundreds of eggs inside me,

so too, do you bear seeds within,
for creating new life.

I, like you, have a heightened sensitivity,
drawn deeply to the realm of imagination,
holding high ideals.

I need both intense connection and companionship
as well as times of solitude.
Sometimes I'm pulled between these two.

My emotional power, ability to navigate through mysteries,
and my artist's soul, are gifts.
I live to bring beauty into life.

Use these strengths for your well-being.

When pulled two opposing ways,
honor your diverse needs.
Listen to all parts of self, for each speaks truths
that need be heard and attended to.

Steward your energies,
be guardian over your rhythms
even when they differ from those around you.

Make time for your restoration.

Tend your spirit well,
that you might better fulfill your destiny on this earth."

Cycles of the Soul, Purim
Unmasking time


With the full moon comes celebration.

Your pent up energies from winter's inwardness yearn for release.
Life is locked up within you that's longing to shake loose.

Just as the moon comes into her fullness
so do you long to come into yours.

In this time when winds howl and flowers burst forth,
you hunger to have more of your native self
out into the world.

Life is short, filled with openings and opportunities.
Your inner self longs to dance in its light.

So don a shimmering mask, dress radiantly in imperial apparel,
taste how you truly could be in life.

The story of Esther, orphan girl turned to royalty, heroine of her people arrives, saying,

"Come forth as who you are with all your colors flying.

Claim your birthright, your voice, your roots, your possibilities.
Stand tall and walk surely.

Your time has come and it is now.
Unmask.

Take my hand and step out proudly,
into the light of this Moon."

Cycle of Life, the second circle, ages 10-14

Escort and teacher, Dina
Tasks, Limits and Guardianship

I first appeared in text a young girl moving into young womanhood.

Born in Haran in the midst of a large, chaotic family;
I was my mother's last and seventh child. Her baby, the only girl in the clan.

There was my father Jacob, my mother Leah, my aunt Rachel, my mother's handmaiden, Zilpah,
my aunt's handmaiden, Bilhah, my grandfather, Laban, and all the flocks, and all my brothers,
eleven of them at that time.

When I was young my family fled my grandfather, Laban's house.
He pursued us, a type of peace was made, and then we parted ways.

Soon after, my father's brother, Esau approached.
Along with hundreds of armed men.

Finally, we arrived at Shechem where we purchased land.
Long last settling on ground that was our own.

I could hardly wait. I dashed out of camp to find the girls my own age
I had seen by the roadside.

 

We young girls on route to our next stage of life,
how strong and fiery we were.

Do you remember this circle of life?
When all within you was changing?
So filled with energy and bravado. Curious, dare-devil, brash.
Stretching your will in new ways?

Do you remember the upheaval in your body and emotions?
Just like the earth in this season, moving in all directions, backwards, forwards, every which way.
Sometimes craving to be a child. Other times longing to be grown up.
Sometimes following the rules, conforming. Other times testing the limits, seeing how far you could go.

We were feisty, sweet, obnoxious, and loving.
Wanting to be ourselves. Wanting to be liked by others.
Aware of other girls. Of boys. Wanting to be pretty, to be noticed.
And in the quiet times, dreaming, of how our future might unfold.

Like winter trees our bodies growing, awkward, yearning to be camouflaged by leaves
and to be already in the bodies we were growing into.
Yet at the same time, filled, with the mystery of change.

Do you remember your impatience waiting for your breasts to grow?
Do you remember sometimes feeling proud of your curves, other times, feeling mortified of them?
Do you remember watching your girlfriend's changing figures like a hawk,
comparing yours to theirs?

I bet you recall exactly where you were when your first period came.
Do you remember how your emotions ran like wild horses streaking through the plains?

We needed humor and patience, forgiveness and love.

These vibrant young girls on route to young womanhood yet reside within us,
their passion and energy lending vigor to our lives.

They are there.
Impossible and brassy. Delightful and fun.

Her life-force, vivid, funny, wise, smart, whimsical, innocent and worldly.

LaMishnah, LaMitzvah, Spiritual Tasks

A new juncture, adolescence, thus new tasks arise.
Two of them reside in this moon
that every nineteen years doubles seven times.

When ten years old, "LaMishnah", study of the earliest code of law.

Laws guide us, enable us to live in concert with, and with respect for others.
Laws give us safety, limits. They instruct, demarcate where we end and others begin,
honoring both parties needs and rights.

Laws contain us, hold us, prevent chaos.
They provide a structure within which
we can run freely.

The second task when thirteen and one day for a boy, twelve and one day for a girl, "LaMitzvah".

Now we claim for ourselves bequeathed spiritual commands.
Taking our place in the community, we shed some husks of childhood.

Powerful, to take on the mantle of serving as Guardian of a tradition.
Feeling it rest upon our shoulders. Lie within our hands.
Depending upon us. For its life.

Powerful, to cross a threshold,
to be publicly acknowledged and honored by a community,
as we step up into new responsibilities.

With or without ritual we embark on this passage.
Solely by changing age, we cross into this sphere which marks new boundaries
as well as offers structure and shelter,
as our bodies develop and change, as our hearts and souls lie open.

Turn back and come with me into this time of life.

Dina's Song, Ode to this Cycle

I love to comb the hills.
How sweetly alive I feel as the air sweeps through my hair,
brushes across my skin.

I love my freedom,
the call of the wild places.

My body's changing, my breasts developing.
I touch my skin.
It feels soft and good.

I've just met the girls of the village.
They're friendly and curious.
We laugh and tell stories while doing our chores,
and watch the men and boys stare at us.

We know we are beautiful.

And then, in the twilight,
I return to camp.

I see the sheep moving together, wandering across the hillsides.
I listen to the wind whispering through the brush.
I hear wild birds and animals, singing, talking, howling.
I watch the young creatures in the flock frisk.

That's how I feel these days.
Alive, filled with life, and
full, full of freedom.

And there are those moments when I'm alone
in this untamed place.
Where there's quiet enough to hear
my spirit speak.
Where I can feel
my soul sparkle
with the life of it all.
And I feel a deep sense of peace.

I am meant to be here.
And I am glad for it, all.

Then it feels hard to return to camp.
It feels small, confined.
But back I go.

And once there, I'm circled
by the light of the fires, smells of fragrant foods cooking,
and the stories of the women.

My mother's warm distracted embrace, my beautiful aunt, their handmaidens,
and their ever constant competition.
My numerous brothers, their musty smells and noises, different ways.
We all cluster together, my father, occupied.

I like the women's circles the best.
I love the stories and the laughter.
But at the same time it's my father who allows me to roam the hills,
who gives me the gift of wildness.

For that I'm forever grateful.
My soul has needed that too.

There are times I feel I could burst in the camp,
and to get out to the bush is like having air again.

I've the space there to run and shout and sing and dance,
and dream.
To be as free as I wish, with no one to say otherwise.

I can move as I need to.
I can be myself, all me, in that space,
a delicious taste I adore.

There is one young man who watches me in the village.
His eyes smile at me and I smile back.

I feel heat rise within me as I feel his gaze.
He's goodly to look upon and we flirt in the village square.

He watches as I return home.

It feels good. It warms me to be noticed, to be chosen.

I like the way he laughs, the sparkle in his eyes.
He's different from the men in our camp, he's from the city.
He seems more knowing.
And knowing I will see him brings an eagerness to my day.

I feel a warmth inside me.
I swagger a little more when I know he's watching.

I want him to want me.
I like being wanted.
I like too that that is my secret.
That I can have all worlds.
The warmth of home.
The excitement of the village.
The wildness of the hills.

I am young and pretty,
spirited and free,
ready to sculpt my life.
To move out into the open,
to shed my fire,
to brighten this world,
with flame.

Lessons:

Remember that young girl filled with passion and energy,
straight-forwardness and spirit.

Remember her vigor and ideals.
Her desire to burst forth into life.

May the clouds of late-winter cover up all you know,
so that you'll reach out and discover newness.
As the plants roots grow down into the earth and their stalks rise skyward,
may you do the same.

May you swim as wild and free as the fish,
knowing you've seeds of life rippling within you,
and may that potential send a quiet courage through your being.

May you mask,
finding new parts thirsty to emerge into the light of life.
And then, unmask,
standing proudly in your radiance.

May you reunite
with the fiery passion of youth.
With pride and with vigor, and
may you lift and carry your ancient legacies
with honor and with deep gladness.

Reclaim those qualities that your soul now needs.


For Further Reflection, Journaling

1) Late-Winter, In the Earth

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Weariness of winter               Winter holding on       Longing for spring
Gray skies                             Emerging                   Impatience
Anticipation                           Feeling fed up            Restless

2) Dagim, Fish, In the Skies

a) What images resonate for you?


Wild                                    Free                          Primal Creatures
Fluid                                    Fertile                        Peaceful
Pull of opposite forces          Mouths open             Moving in the depths

b) What pulls you in opposite directions?

3) Purim, Holy Day, In the Soul

a) What motifs from the Book of Esther, Purim, and Adar resonate for you this year of your life?


Orphan                                   Hiding her identity                     Risk-taker for her people
Refusing to bow down             Masking                                   Danger
Trying on of new identities       Quick changes-sudden happenings
Sensual woman who captured the attention of the King             Coming into Power
Currying favor through socially approved way: dress, food        Using power to aid others
Feasting                                  Giving of gifts to friends, those in need
Adar-the cloudy month: covering up of all you know to allow newness to enter

b) What potential new part of self would you like to try on?
c) What part is masked? What part of self would you like to reveal?
Unmask?


4) Take out a photograph of a girl in this phase of life, ages 10-14.
Yourself, your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your aunt, a girl whom you know or
a photograph from elsewhere of a girl that appears to be in this stage of life


Write down words that describe a girl in this time of life. The first words that come up from you.
Unedited. Write down the date and your age now

5)Your Personal Map of Life

Creating a personal map of where you've been in life marks your history.
You hold this in your body. In your soul. You carry it around with you every day.
This can show you more vividly where you've been in life.
Inviting you to consciously claim your route. And in time, carry it with grace.
It is yours. And precious.


Your Personal History Page, Ages 10-14
Age:  Date: Ages of Parents: Significant events in the world,in life that effected you:
10_____________________________________________________________________
11_____________________________________________________________________
12_____________________________________________________________________
13____________________________________________________________________
14____________________________________________________________________

Thematics, patterns I notice in this time of life:

Awarenesses, thoughts I want to capture about this time of life:

6) Challenges of 10-14 years of age

What was hard about this time of life? Which words below resonate for you?

Vulnerable        Selfish                      Temper Tantrums       Lonely    Needy
Feeling crazy     Self conscious          Shy                           Hiding     Feeling uncomfortable
Conflicted         Trying to find place   Trying to fit in            Too big   Too small
Shame               Embarrassment        Feeling like an outsider
Wanting to grow up-Not wanting to grow up                     Not feeling good enough
Peer Pressure    Tumult                     Conformist-Rebel     Awkward
Trying to be invisible                          Feeling different        Alienated
Desire to belong  Cultural expectations                               Be sexy-Don't be sexy
Testing limits       Feeling unsure of who we were                Desire to be beautiful
Desire to be 'chosen'                          Separating from parents-struggle with that
Changing body          Struggle with body image        Move from child to sexual woman

7) Gifts of 10-14 years of age

What were the gifts of this time of life for you? What words below touch you?

Saucy                     Frisky                Raucous               Playful
Creative                 Learning             Active                 Out there
Expressive             Spontaneous       Invincible             Exploring sexuality
Sweet                    Curious               Adventurous        Confident
Mischievous           Wanting power   Generous             Idealistic
Hopeful                  Innocent             Exhibitionist         Fresh
Best friends            Passionate          New freedoms     Finding own voice
Self awareness        Invincible           Smart                   Energetic-vital
"All things are possible"                     Dependence-independence

8) Things that need attending to-healing

Are there pieces that surface from these reflections that need attending to
when you've resources available?
Any of the below echo for you?

Mending:


The teenage years we had versus that which we wanted-needed.
The safety-space needed that we might not have had.
The support-affirmation needed.
Claiming and enjoying our full beauty.

9) Qualities to Reclaim

What qualities of this age do you need to reclaim in an updated way for additional aliveness
in your life now?
What qualities do you need to remember as you live your life now?

Things I need remember:


My freshness, vitality                To have fun-my playfulness
To fully enjoy myself                 To enjoy and decorate my body as it is now
To laugh more                           Eagerness to learn
My confidence and hope           Brazenness and gutsiness
My strength                              Openness and courage

10) What was rich for you in those years?
What do you celebrate in that time of your life?

11) Themes of this age

This time of girlhood holds the classical stereotype and cultural teachings of the importance of being
beautiful by an impossible standard. The object being to attract men.

At the same time the culture says to young women, not to be sexual. Not to get pregnant.
And not to get sexually transmitted diseases.

Many women in thinking back to this time in their lives have feelings of having been on the "outside".
Many remember feeling ashamed. embarrassed of our bodies.
Many women struggle with feelings of not having been "beautiful enough.
Some also struggled with being "too smart" or not being "smart enough."
And some women struggled with being attracted to other women and their identity as lesbians.
Our spirits were bottled up, held in, or running all over the place.

Some of us had family issues that intensified during our adolescence.
"True" and "False" selves continued to grow so that we could survive
and make our way through this time.
Trying to please, behaving or misbehaving, getting attention or trying to get away from attention,
rebelling, complying, all mix together in these ages.

a) What of the above was true for you? Feelings that emerge?
b) What of the above was not true for you? Awarenesses?

**Excellent Resource: Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher.NY: Putnam. 1994

12) Tasks of this cycle of life

The task named in Pirkei Avot for ten year old boys in Jewish tradition was "LaMishnah".
To begin their studies of one of the early compilations of Jewish law derived from Torah.

When thirteen and one day, "LaMitzvah."
At that age a Jewish boy's status changed from a minor under Jewish law to being liable to Jewish law.
Taking on the mantle of observance.
Being counted in a minyan. Being a witness in a Jewish court of law.

The study of Mishnah brings a young adolescent into contact with law, with limits.
Law creates boundaries. Speaks of consequences.
And creates a container which can lend a sense of safety as hormones and identity shift wildly.

In the midst of all the physical changes, comes the invitation to step up.
Traditionally for boys to be honored and recognized communally
as able to carry adult responsibilities.

One leaves living as a child in the Jewish world, this ritual marking one's growth,
that one is now trusted to take part in communal tasks.

Imagine having containers as well as limits and being publicly honored
for entering a new phase of life.

a) Did you experience a ritual that felt like it honored this time passage in your life?
b) Was this public? private? communal?
c) What 'worked'/ 'did not work' for you when experiencing this ritual?
d) What would you have liked to have experienced at that age?

Although girls traditionally also made this passage and were considered by Jewish law
to be bat mitzvah, beholden to observe the mitzvot enjoined upon women,
they did not traditionally experience a public communal ritual honoring this change.
The first public ritual for a girl in the United States took place in 1922.
(See myjewishlearning.com  article "History of Bat Mitzvah.")

Numbers of women and some men did not have the option of experiencing a public ritual
when coming of age.
And many men and women who did experience this ritual feel that they really weren't 'there'
or aware enough at that time to truly and fully experience this ritual's true and deeper meaning.

Honoring the Shadow Side of Dina's Story: Genesis 34:2f

In the Biblical story Dina was raped.
We don't know if Dina fell in love with Shechem and decided to make love with him.
We don't know if this story was a cautionary tale passed down as a warning from men to women
to stay in their places, guard their sexuality, and to stay with their own kind.

I chose to imagine Dina when she was wild and free. Before this experience took place.
I tend to wonder if Dina and Shechem had a passionate relationship that just wasn't sanctioned.

However I want to honor the reality of girls and women who have experienced the trauma of rape.

Rape too often is seen as the 'punishment' for a woman who is too beautiful, too sexy, or too flirtatious.
Stereotypically, rape is seen as "that woman receiving her just desserts."
Rape is often spoken of as being with the wrong man at the wrong time in the wrong place.

All these responses do not honor the violence against women.

There is no fit reason for a man to take a woman sexually against her will,
when she says 'no'.
Ever.

 

Photography Credits:

First photograph: portrait
Second, third, fifth photographs: Vicki Hollander
Fourth photograph: Orly Perry
Sixth photograph: Frank Dobrushken