Entering the Moon of Nisan (March-April)

Time of
early-spring in the earth,
T'leh, the ram in the sky,
Pesach, Yom HaShoah, in the soul,

time when you were 15-17 years of age.

Time in the seasons, time in life,
of opening, growth, emergence.


Frosty weather comes and goes,
while the earth's movements proceed, steadily, surely.

Moving outward, the cycle continues, blossoming,
each week, another flower, another shrub, begins
her part in the symphony of spring.

The stars and planets enter the realm
of t'leh, the ram,
moving from water creatures
to creatures dwelling on land.

And we enter our third circle of life.
Where girls turn to young women, in bloom of body,
strong, eager, filled with life,
ready to take on the world, grasp it, explore it,
be in it.

Cycle of the Earth, Early Spring

Breathe in the fragrance of the hyacinths.
Her sweet perfume drifts by you on the passing breeze.


The waves
of yellows begins.
Fields of daffodils
joined by the waving arms of the forsythias,

while sprinkles
of bluebells
in the wind. 


Go to your garden. Dig and prune. Clear away the debris.
Run your fingers through moist earth. Smell the loam.
Mornings the soil's cold, frozen by night,
yet she yields to your touch more each passing day.

Watch the finches now bright yellow,
specially outfitted for their season of courting.
The animals emerge, noises sound, creatures frisk.

Do you remember how eagerly your mother returned to her garden each spring
to once again coax out life?
Climbing the hillside, reviving winter-worn beds,
planting, rearranging?

Do you remember your spring rituals when wee?

rsforgetmenotsStroking the velvety pussy-willow buds,

watching for the sweet 'hellos'
of the for-get-me-nots
planted by the path
alongside the garage,

breaking forth into 'halleluyah's"
when spotting
the first robin's return?



Can you feel your heart
leaping higher at spring's return?

And in the Land of Israel
the earth indeed breaks forth.

Wildflowers blanketing the fields,
waving long grasses on the hills of the Negev,
wheat and barley stalks thicken,
the Rose of Sharon bursting into bloom.

Thistles now green,
flowers spring from every nook and cranny,
the Land's singing herself alive.

Remember her lessons.
That miracles abound.
That just when you think there's no more life, it leaps forth.

In her time, not yours.

In the Skies, T'leh, the Ram

I come forward now, striding the peaks nimbly amidst snow, and ice, and rock.
Reaching the heights, where earth and sky embrace,
where all joins together, a vast universe of mystery and beauty.

Majestic and bold, I call you to follow me,
to step with courage into your life,
keeping the large view before you.


Walk with your head raised high,

heart lifted steadfastly,
and vision clear.

Now is the time
to let your soul soar.

For I,
filled with power and spirit,
am the Herald of change.


Energetic and hale, tumbling with ideas, I lead the way, out in the forefront.
My drive and ability stir up excitement,
my gifts bring new ideas into the world.

Stand firmly with a plan and navigate it through all the blocks that arise,
seeing it to fruition.
To be a true leader requires patience, observation, and
not jumping too quickly to conclusions.

Use my strengths for your well-being.

Savor both
the delicious juice of ideas as well as
the satisfying labor of bringing something to life.

Pace yourself. Stewart your energies so as not to run dry.
For your gift of motivating others
can bring sustenance to life.

Cycle of the Soul, Pesach-Yom HaShoah,
Emerging time,
time of recognizing evil

I arrive with the full moon, the epic tale of your soul.

For liberty, essential to your being,
is your air, your water, your soil,
is imprinted within your cells.

A deep urge now rises.
To cast off all that narrows you, all that confines you.
And in the glow of the Moon this narrative speaks,

rsfullmoonfrk"I am your birthright.
Do not forget me.

You are meant
to travel this life
as a free-souled woman.

Unchain yourself.
Take off your shoes.
Dance barefoot on this sacred ground.

And then walk,
into the heart of the desert,
seeking the Holy,
step by step.

For you are her handmaiden. 


Then as the Moon shrinks in size, moving into her cloak of darkness,
a chill touchs your heart.

You feel the weight of millions of human-beings, murdered,
within the core of your being, your people,
their cries echoing in your heart.

They call that you might know evil yet exists in this world.

"At this very second," they say,
"still more are murdered and slain."

"Remember us.

Look into our eyes,
see our worlds,
memorize evil's face.

Use your voice.
your freedom, your life,
to make a difference in this world."

Cycle of Life, the Third Circle, Ages 15-17

Escort and Teacher, Esther
Task- Sharpening

I first appeared in text a luminous young woman.

Born in Shushan, my father died when my mother was pregnant
and soon after birth, my mother died as well.
Mordecai, from my father's family, raised me.

After the King banished his queen he issued a decree
for all young virgins to be gathered, taken to the palace.

An officer arrived, telling me to collect a few belongings.
Quickly I spoke with Mordecai who instructed me not to disclose my kin.

Strange, to walk the streets teaming with young women
all moving towards the royal residences.

There under the care of Haggai I knew kindness.
He saw I had ointments, gave me handmaidens,
and the best place in the compound.
For six months we anointed with myrrh,
and for six months with sweet fragrances,
waiting, to appear before the King.

Every day Mordecai walked before the women's court to check on me.
Seeing and speaking with him gave me heart.

Once summoned to come before the King we could take
what we wished from the house of women before joining the concubines
in the second house under the care of Shaashgaz, the King's chamberlain.

In the Moon of Tevet, the darkest time of year,
I received my call.
I took only that which Haggai appointed.

Indeed, I was watched over, for my fate differed from all the others.
The King desired me. Graced with the crown, I was made queen.

I devised ways to speak with Mordecai and one day he disclosed a plot
overheard to kill the King. Promptly this was foiled and Mordecai's deed, recorded in the Book of Chronicles.

Intrigue lives in every reign. Power captures appetites and men scheme and advance.
So Haman rose in office, proud and haughty. Craving command he demanded obeisance,
and when hearing a Jew named Mordecai did not bow when he passed by
his wrath flared into obsession. Hatching into a scheme
to destroy all Jews within the land.

Subtly he wove his net, guiding the King to enact a decree sent to each province in the kingdom
to kill every Jew, young and old, and take their possessions as spoil.
Mordecai, garbed in sackcloth, instructed me to intercede,
to supplicate for my people.

Death was the consequence for approaching the King without summon,
yet Mordecai, chastisingly, spoke truth. I would not be spared this ruling.
Thus I instructed him to gather the Jews of Shushan to fast three days on my behalf
as would I, and then,
I would act.

Do you remember your third circle of life?
When you were fifteen through seventeen years of age?
Filled with shyness partnered with fire,
with tentativeness joined to keenness of sight?

The world stood open and beckoning, and
you yearned both to launch and explore this wider, exciting universe, while
also craving at times to tuck away into the sheltering comfort and safety of home and sanctuary.

Filled with unconscious beauty we shimmered,
dewy, fresh, alive, vivid,
innocent yet wise, crafty, moored with honesty, alert,
with parts yet still to be born.

Do you remember venturing out, daringly, boldly?
Do you remember feeling your power, that blaze flickering internally?

Throughout our lives this firebrand remains within,
thinking clearly, articulately speaking ,
that which she sees.

La'Talmud, Spiritual Task

Traditionally, at fifteen years of age, Jewish men begin their study of Talmud,
entering into the twisting labyrinths of law,
meandering down the intricate paths of moral teachings.

Deliberations of justice carry us to arcane corners and wild fields,
and mazes beyond our dreams.

Laws weave together, create a circling fence,
guide us, instruct us, protect us,
shelter us.

In this time in life which holds at times, wild, sweeping tempests,
laws give us safety, moor us,
give us a sanctuary of wisdom, eyes of calm.

The melding of law with stories and teachings, waters head, heart and spirit,
touches our seats of discernment and centers of judgment,
fine-tuning our moral fiber,
honing character, sharpening our minds,
and offering models, of honor and nobility.

These become our steering gages
at those times when lost in storms,
when home changes shape.
As we journey forth towards inner and outer discoveries.

Turn back and come with me into this time in your life.

Esther's Song, Ode to this Cycle

I lived as an orphan.
My parents peeled away from me when I was very young.
At an early age I felt the largeness of this world

when entering my uncle's care, and then
taken from his home,
sitting with numbers of women, all striving for entrance to royalty.

I just sought out a place to hear
my own voice,

to listen
for my mother's voice, Spirit's voice,
all singing, like silver reeds, within me.

I traveled
from orphan to queen,

from royalty to begging for my life.

I knew I had to be careful.
I was in a strange place
with parts of self hidden,

I watched and listened closely,
learning the rhythms, the ways of this world.
Learning the dance that I as foreigner, as woman must weave.

I think in mother's milk therein lies instructions to her daughter,
when we emerge into this world.
After we as children run and turn
to becoming women.

We learn the craft, of stepping cautiously through gossamer webs
that try to enclose us.
We learn the art of walking carefully through the thin, sticky weave.

Usually we learn through pain, from being caught, from falling down.
And each time we fall,
and each time we rise up again,
another veil is pulled from before our eyes.

And slowly, very slowly,
we gain understanding.
Slowly, very slowly,
we learn to see,
we learn to hear,
we learn to listen to that voice inside us.
To honor that voice.

The voice planted within us, within our very core,
by the Holy One.
The voice which speaks, softly and clearly,
softly and truly
within us.

The world of power, the world crafted by men, is intricate and see through,
any smart woman knows.
Yet any conceit by women is folly and leads to downfall.

Though I dress in royal silks, perfumed by exotic flowers,
though I'm attended, any delicacy within my reach.
I know it lies upon a thin thread.
One day in silk, the next, i
n sackcloth.

Thus we women learn the art of walking
not as servant, not as queen, rather as women strong, alive with flame,
as women who know how to tend our own fire,
as women who need keep our inner embers aglow mindfully,
against the night.

We learn to feel the crystal timing of the moment,
to craft like silversmith that which lies within our hands,
to move silkily in sacred dance into the present,
to gently entwine with our keenly tuned wit, the artful response,
to keep our inner waters fluid, our soul soft,
heedful, but open.

And we slowly learn to sharpen,
our sight, our mind, our senses,
to become an observer of not what is said,
but what is done.
To watch for congruency, for character,
that shows itself again and again, over time.

And there comes a day
when we need speak,
clearly, firmly, truly,
what it is we see,
and what it is we need.

There comes a day
when we need stand erect,
garbed in our powers,

There comes a day
when we take off the loom,
that which we slowly, slowly did spin.
That which we wove and that which was woven through us,
which is now ready to be worn.

There comes a day
when we are ready to unhook the happenings of our days.

When our work yields precious jewel,
when we garb ourselves
and are adorned,
with the cloak
of Strength.



Remember the determination of this young woman,
her clarity, her power.

May early-spring surge through your bones, heartening your winter-weary spirit.
May her movement outward, sing to you, lure you to similarly, emerge.

May the power of the Ram fill you,
draw you up those rocky heights, widening your vistas.
His quiet strength, infusing you.

And as you stand, may longing rise,
to know yet another level of freedom,
to hear the call of the Holy,
beckoning you, to race out to the wide spaces,
while keeping your inner eye open, to shadows.

And as you look upon this world in it's glory and it's pain,
may you stride forward,
with both hands open, eager, ready,
to claim your life.

May you cultivate keenness of sight,
wisdom of spirit,
and broadness of heart,
this sharp young woman's sight, gifting you courage.

Reclaim those qualities that your soul now needs.

For Further Reflection, Journaling:

1) Early Spring, In the Earth

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Gentle sun                              Changes happening                         Arrival
Rejoicing                                Birds returning                                Robins
Hope                                      For-get-me-nots                            Forsythias
Pussy willows

2) Te'leh, the Ram, in the Skies

a) What images resonate for you?

Animal                                     Strong                      Clear-sighted
Sure-footed                             Quiet                        Noble
Crowned with horn                  Majestic                   Hearty
Tough                                      Nimble  

b) What is animating you this spring?

3) Exodus. Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), Holy Days, in the Soul

a) What symbols of the Exodus resonate for you this year of your life?

Freedom from Slavery                   Birthing Self                           Going out
Leaving a narrow place, confinement                                           Journeying
Exile                                              Escaping                                Necessary departure
Arduous route                               Exhilarating                             Frightening
Leaving all one knows, the familiar

b) What images from this time of nightmare resonates for you this year of your life?

Savage murder                               Targeting a population        Horror
Genocide: destroying a people        Terror                                Evil
Ripping apart of families, histories, lives                                    Courage
Survivor                                          Bravery                            Nobility of spirit

c) What confines your being now in your life? What holds you in a narrow place?
What enslaves you? What do you wish to leave behind?

d) What do you see as holding evil in the world today? in your life? How do you relate to those?

4) Take out a photograph of a girl in this phase of life, ages 15-17
Yourself, your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your aunt, a girl whom you know or
a photograph from elsewhere of a young woman who appears to be in this stage of life

Write down words that describe a young woman 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 15-17

Age:  Date: Ages of Parents: Significant events in the world,in life that effected you:

Thematics, patterns I notice in this time of life:

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

6) Challenges of 15-17 years of age

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

Loneliness                                      Dependency               Peer Pressure-fitting in       
Pressure to plan the future               Pressure of weight, appearance
Pressure to do well in school, grades, activities                  Sexual learning, pressures
Tension with parents                        Pregnancy                  Wise-Foolish

7) Gifts of 15-17 years of age

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

Smart                                             Sexual                      Falling in love, infatuation
Brave                                             Wild                         Adventurous
Curious, exploring                           Energy                     Freedom loving
Opinionated                                    Passionate                Power to save the world
Vocal                                              Innocent                   Sassy

8) 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 passion, conviction             My energy                     My hope and optimism
To laugh more                           Take more chances        My determination
My love of adventure                To relax more

9) Tasks of this cycle of life

The task named in Pirkei Avot for fifteen year old boys in Jewish tradition was "LaTalmud".
To begin their studies of the explication of the Mishnah, a complex treatise of Jewish law
studied throughout life.

The legal argumentation held within this text has long been known for sharpening one's thinking,
skills of deduction and argument, ways of seeing, intellect,
As well as a text which cultivates moral fiber creating depth of soul.

a) What in the past aided your sharpening of mind? Clarity of thought?
Developed your ways of perceiving?

b) What now continues to do this?

*A beautifully written novel of a 17 year old girl whose 19 year old sister suddenly died and her way through grief: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: fiesty, yet outstanding expression of mourning, with poignancy, humor, spice, romance, poignant honesty. Captured very well.

Photography Credits:

First photograph portrait: taken by Dr. Neil Kurtzman
Second, fourth and last photographs: Frank Dobrushken
Third photograph: 'forget me not' by Chris, 'Alaska June' album in Picasa Web Albums Creative Commons. Forgetmenots