Entering the Moon of Iyar (April-May)

Time of
mid-spring in the earth,
Shor, the bull, in the skies,
Yom HaZikaron, Yom Ha-Atzmaout, Lag B'Omer in the soul,

time when you were 18-29 years of age.


sandra

Time in the seasons,
time in life,
of rich celebration.

 

The earth now teams
with blossoms, in full strength,
deep in her glory.

The stars and planets
enter the realm of shor, the bull,
who stands feet firmly planted on the ground.

And you enter the fourth circle of life,
in flower
alongside of the earth.

 

 

 

Cycle of the Earth, Mid-Spring

Come, I'll teach you my lessons.
Move into my center, venture
out.

Feel the softness of the sun, the breezes brushing your skin.

Wild spring showers sweep the land,
whisking tree branches, rattling the bird feeder, filling the bird bath, the lakes, streams, rivers,
while plants lift their heads drinking lustily.

Follow the waves of blooms. 

falsecherry

Witness
each new movement.

The golds, reds, lilacs, roses, of the azaleas,
stately, regal purples and pale pinks of the Rhododendrons,

magnificent blooms
of the false cherry.

 

 

Listen to them sing,
surging with melody. 

See the fields of tulips, reds, yellows, oranges, shouting out,
"Halleluyah! I'm here!"
Celebrate the lacy white and pink blossoms of the dogwood trees,
like old-fashioned ladies out on promenade.
Be dazzled by the golden chains, shimmering strands of yellows
swaying in the wind.

The waft of lilacs carry you back to childhood,
memories of bouquets scenting each room.
Stop and thrust your nose into each and every one.

See the wisteria wrapped round porches and arbors coming into bloom,
delicate pale purple flowers, their scent too perfumes the air.

Flowering chives, brilliant poppies,
wine-colored stalks of peonies wend their way upwards.

rslilyBend down
peak through the lush green leaves.

Breathe in the sweet smells
of the lilies-of-the-valley.

After a rain
their fragrance drifts
through the air.

 

 

 

 

 

Drive down country roads watching for baby lambs and goats,
standing shakily on wobbling legs, frolicking in a dance to life.
Watch the birds industriously building their nurseries, scooping up twigs, fur, and treasures.

Walk down the street. Greet your neighbors slowly emerging from their winter lairs.
Peek at the garden beds. What's emerging today?

Walk in the late afternoon sun at that moment when the hills and trees glow,
all bathed in gold light, illuminated.

Join in the hymn of oneness. Be held in the music of utter harmony.
Stand in that light, let it flow through you,
lifting you.

In the Land of Israel
heat blankets the earth.

Thorny plants move into their height of flowering.

rsleonidappleblssm

The grain is harvested,
honey gathered,

while the Jacaranda and Locus trees
move
into bloom.

And when
you pass through
the orchards,

rows of fruit-trees
spread their boughs,

blossoming.

 

In the Skies, Shor, the Bull

I too bear gifts for you, I, royal in demeanor.
Tolerant and long-suffering, when my line is crossed, my blaze is daunting.

I symbolize the power you hold within.
Reach into your depths, feel that energy which lies in your core.

For coming into life requires strength, determination, and muscle.
And this season calls you to emerge, find your ground,
kindle your fire, ignite your creativity,
to flower.

I, Guardian of new life, walk with you this moon.

Solid, dependable, I pledge my allegiance to those dear.
And I remind you,
not to let stubbornness stunt your flexibility, nor jealousy, inflame your keenness of sight.
Watch your anger that it not build, flowing onto others.
Rather, sit, and when calm, address that which causes hurt.

I embody the virtues of steadfastness, patience,
deep-loving and reliability.

Use my strengths for your well-being,
that you might add your richness to this world.

Be present where you are planted.
Move in concert with the heartbeat of life.
Retain your fluidity,
while being ever aware of the eternal constancy of change.

And then you will grow well.
And then you will grow well.

In the Soul, Yom HaZikaron, Yom HaAtzmaout, Lag B'Omer,
time of home-coming, time of growth
.

A tension lies within this moon.
For seeds planted need root well.
All life depends on their survival and coming to harvest.

And as the moon is new, on her fifth day,
exhilaration courses through you.
Flowers burst from desert soil,
green shimmers in fields that once lay neglected,
wonder rises after having suffered long travels and travails.

rsstreetjerusalem

 

You've a vivid sense
of coming home.

And you remember,
all the souls,
all the lives offered up,
Yom HaZikaron.


And you stand in awe,
amazement,
of the return
home,
Yom HaAtzmaout.

 

 

And as the moon wanes,
on the eighteenth day,
life rises
and speaks,

orlysflwer

 

"Celebrate
the miracles.

Of that
which appears
inert,

sprouting
new leaf.


Of that which seemed
lifeless,

welling up
with song.

 Celebrate the forces which rise despite all attempts to dim it.
The extraordinary planted within all.

Drop everything,
walk now to the forest.

Build a bonfire.
Release to the beauty that is now.

Lift your face skyward,
embrace it All."

Cycle of Life, the fourth circle, Ages 18-29

Escort and teacher, Rachel.
Tasks- wedding, pursuing

Born in Haran, my father, Laban, my older sister, Leah,
I, a shepherdess, roamed with the flocks,
wild as they, a lover of the hills.

I remember that day keenly.

I was guiding my herd to the spring, where daily the shepherds gathered,
together rolling off the boulder which covered it,
freeing water for us all.

But that day a stranger drew near.
He looked at me and by himself, uncovered the spring, giving drink to my flocks.
Kissing me, he cried, saying his mother was sister to my father.
Lightening passed through my skin at his touch.

Do you remember your fourth circle of life?
When you were a young woman?
Power flooding through your veins, stars sparkling in your eyes,
visions shimmering in your imagination?

Remember feeling 'called'?
To bring your skills, your passions, your energies, out into the world?

Full of dreams you launched yourself.
Excited, full of bravado and curiosity,
so many possibilities lying before you, a bevy of different lives awaiting your choosing.

Do you remember looking at the world, seeing that which appeared stale,
and sensing, you could bring it life?
That with your will, your talents, change could occur for the good?

Bursting with life, you, abundantly in flower.

Natural beauties, we,
filled with innocence and worldliness.
Hopeful, with full souls.

Embarking on our life roads, we walked forward, eyes wide-open.

Seeking as well, soul-mates, friends,
vividly aware of those around us.

Meanwhile, sounding within us too,
the choices of women,
our peers, our mother's path when our age, our grandmother's,
and the deep need to find our own answers for the shape of our lives.

Savvy, sophisticated, smart, the world lay open to us.

Do you remember feeling the drumbeats of your body?
The thrusts of passions teaming within you, oceanic?

Do you remember going beyond your known limits?
Risking, trying out your wings?

At times brimming over with excitement, other times clutched by fear.
At times warmed by companionship, at times feeling starkly alone,
standing as outpost, on the border of a different life.

Sometimes the world felt big and inhospitable.
The noise of the many concurrent tasks, deafening.

Sometimes life glowed, with unlimited possibilities, doors opening.
Sometimes, those doors remained shut, no matter how fine we were.

And we made choices, fleeing from confinement,
moving toward that which promised life.

Later in this cycle the hard pieces fell for me.

On my wedding night my sister not I  lay beneath the marital sheets.
And once married there did not appear the rosy-cheeked children I expected.

Realities, joys, hardships, care-freeness, burdens, responsibilities, exhilaration,
intermingle in this cycle.

Wide-open we trusted, hopeful, all would be just as we wished.
We ran towards aliveness, possibilities, the unknown. Relishing them, relishing our power.

Throughout our lives this young woman filled with dreams,
romance, love, strong will and promise stands within us.
Calls to us.

L'Chupah; Lirdoph, Spiritual Tasks.

Traditionally at eighteen years of age Jewish men married,
entered under the wedding canopy, L'Chupah.

At eighteen years of age, we are called to wed, to commit to ourselves.
To see our lives as holy opportunity, as hallowed trust.
To unfold our gifts and talents into the music of life.

For by 'wedding' ourselves to our own life and possibilities,
are we then able, in right time and place,
to deeply wed ourselves to another.

At twenty, traditionally the second task rose,
to pursue, Lirdoph,
a livelihood, study,  mitzvah-living.

The decade of the twenties calls us
to follow our dreams.
To put forth hard labor to bring them into being.

Like working in the fields, we plant seeds, suffer the harshness of the elements,
experience the joy when witnessing the rising of new life from the soil's bed.

Following calls of the heart requires wisdom of sight, keenness of mind.
We marry, our loves and passions.
Cultivate them, hoping for their flowering.

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

Rachel, our Matriarch's song has two movements.
The first, when a maid.
The second, after seasoning.

Rachel's Song, Ode to this Cycle

I.

I can outrun the fastest of them.
And I can make bread smell so alluring you will run to my tent.

My breasts are full and comely.
And my blood runs as hot as the molten sun.
When I rest upon rocks. They steam.
I am ripe for the plucking.
Ruby red fruit gushing with juice,
even before you take a bite.

My wildness is alive in me.
The hills beat within my blood.
The drum of their life echoes within mine.
I dance beneath moon and stars.
I greet each day, each rising sun,
with joy.

I can go anywhere in a heartbeat.
I'm in love, passionate love, with a husky stranger.
Gave my heart on first sight.
Readying to go into our tent, my dreams are filled with fantasies.
I dance in every one. Decked in veils.
Adorned with shimmering gems
that catch the light of the moon.
Wearing nothing else.
Just light. Jewels. Swathes of filmy cloth.

Dancing. Dancing. Running. Chasing. Capture. Struggle. Yielding.
The hunter and hunted changing places.
Back and forth, back and forth, across the hills.
Alive, free, each sense awake. Bodies quivering
with love and passion, adventure and wildness, joy, free-hearted.

Heady, heady, intoxicated with life.
I am ready to join.
I am ready to wed.

II.

I understand more now. Of the nature of the pit that lies inside the fruit.

I was not the first to share the wedding bed.
I was not the first to bear child.
From fleshy fruit bursting to solid core holding, I am.

Through it all, I held on.
Held on to my vows of love.
Like a woman tossed at sea holds on to the beam beside her.
Held on, through the storms.
Through my heart breaking. Through disappointments.
Through my dreams shattering. As yet another of Leah's children was born.
While my womb lay as empty as a dried gourd.

I held on to my vows of love.
Though my waking days were now so different from the passion
of my earlier dreams.

My heart still remembered its love for this roughly bearded man.
Who sometimes slept between my legs, and other nights, between my sister's.
I remembered my vows each time my blood streamed again.
And I held on.

My prayers, my hopes so long unanswered,
tormented I became.
Wan and saddened, angry and jealous.
My juices drying up beneath the harshness of life's sun.
Withering, I was bleached to the very bone.
Hardening, like the pit spit out from the fruit.

And then, then it came.
After waiting, moving through torrents of emptiness.
My womb, the last to open,
at long last, bore fruit.
Became crimson-full with my own child.
My son, Yosef, who indeed added to my life.

And my fire returned.

My spirit, now wizened, woke in me.
I returned to my young womanhood, differently.
Now a fierce mother.
Ferocious. With lioness cunning.
Wild in a different way.
Tougher, wiser. To the capriciousness and head-strong willfulness
of life.
And of the tremendous strength that wedding requires.

To stay. Stay. When life toughens like hides in the sun.
To hold on. Hold on.
Through the slow, slow, peeling off of one husk,
and the sudden revealing of a yet new layer.

Of the power required.
To stay. Through the deathing.
And then. To emerge again. Newly.

To the living.


Lessons

Remember that free young woman
running as wildly as the desert winds,
sensual, attuned.

And the one as well, who became wizened by life.
Her strength and determination lies within us still.

May you come out.
Blossom boldly. Riotously. Stand bright in color.
As does mid-spring.

May the solidity of the Bull come. To moor you.
His power infusing you.
Enabling you to find and stand your ground.

May you take time alone.
To find yourself. Heal. From where you've been thus far.
And aim towards your highest possibilities.

May you wed. Your self, your life.
Gird your loins.
Enter the fray. Using your gifts, talents.
Letting them out into the world.
Pursuing with wisdom the dreams that now call your soul.

May this young woman's passion rekindle your own.
May her wisdom forged through trial, strengthen you.

Reclaim those qualities that your soul now needs.


For Further Reflection, Journaling:

1) Mid-Spring, in the Earth

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Blossoming                                Being out there                          Glorious
Unabashed                                Brilliant color                             Unfolding
Bold                                          Abundant                                  Untamed
Wild                                          Thrusting out                              Light             
New Growth                              Regenerating

2) Shor, the Bull, in the Skies

a) What images resonate for you?

Animal                                    Strong                       Solid
Majestic                                  Determined               Thunder
Lusty                                       Hearty                      Crowned with horns
Tough                                      Passionate                 Hot-tempered when angered
Anchored-moored-grounded

b) What is animating you this spring?

3) Omer, Yom HaZikaron (Day of Rememberance) Yom HaAtzmaout (Israel's
Independence Day), Lag B'Omer, Holy Days: In the Soul


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


Healing time                                        Counting days                        
Remembering those who gave their lives for the State of Israel
Celebrating Home Land                       Going to the woods            Bonfires
Shooting heavenward                           Aiming higher

4) Take out a photograph of a young woman in this phase of life, ages 18-29
Yourself, your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your aunt, a young woman whom you know or
a photograph from elsewhere of a woman who appears to be in this stage of life
.

Write down words that describe a woman in this time of life.
The first words that come up for 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 18-29:

Age:  Date: Ages of Parents: Significant events in the world,in life that effected you:
18_____________________________________________________________________
19_____________________________________________________________________
20____________________________________________________________________
21_____________________________________________________________________
22_____________________________________________________________________
23____________________________________________________________________
_
24_____________________________________________________________________
25_____________________________________________________________________
26____________________________________________________________________
27_____________________________________________________________________
28_____________________________________________________________________
29____________________________________________________________________
_

Thematics, patterns I notice in this time of life:

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

6) Challenges of 18-29 years of age

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

World seems big                              Yet Dependent                    Fear      
Long hours                                       Having to prove self           Uncertainty
Guilt                                                 Anger                                Feeling deprived
Over Responsible                             Confusion                          Illness                    
Innocent                                           Leaving home                    Adult responsibilities
Sexually Uneducated-naive               Pressure to succeed           Relationship snafus
Pregnancy                                        Economic pressures           Turmoil, change
Shedding of old self                          Feeling tired, exhausted      Feeling stretched out
Out of Eden                                      Despairing                         Loss of friendships
Compromising                                  Living in my head               Losing voice, identity
SIDS, miscarriage, difficulty conceiving                                       Isolated, lack of support
Too many tasks, not able to do anything well                               Politics, discrimination
Disappointments-dreams, expectations                                        Losses                       
Societal scripts, stereotypes of women, mother                       Search for intimacy-partner-commitment
Struggle between career-work and relationship and sequencing 

7) Gifts of 18-29 years of age

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

Leaving parental home                       Confident, sure of self          Powerful
Perseverance                                     Sexy, voluptuous                  Headstrong
Exploring interests                              Curious                               Adventurous
Fertile                                                Experimenting                      Mothering
Wandering, searching                         Stood up to the challenges  
Time of learning, expanding                Wakening                            Discovering
Conventional and Unconventional        Risk-taker                          Moving, starting over
Finding voice                                      Confident and capable: able to hold a lot
Super organizer to pull it all off            Good at multi-tasking          Strong
Launching dreams, visions into the world
Finding my own way of doing things

8) Healing-Attending to

Any of the below resonate for you? Are there pieces that need healing-attending to
when you've resources available?

Mending:
*The gifts of this age which we may or may not have allowed ourselves full reign to feel
due to the pejoratives of what we were or were not supposed to do, be, feel, accomplish.

*What we chose from survival instincts or need that didn't allow us to feel the full glory of this stage.

*What we chose from the weight of the social picture we as women were 'supposed' to fill at this time
due to cultural pressures, pictures.

*The relations we chose and did not choose well.

*Things that just 'happened', illnesses, losses.

*The directions we chose for other reasons than our true desire.
From our head. Our heart. Our hormones. Our culture's telling us what we wanted-needed.
From our parents viewpoints. From fantasy versus reality.

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 own native wisdom                 When I was number one              My enthusiasm
My courage                                   My energy                                  My belief, vision
My hope                                        My power                                  My dedication
My strength                                    My compassion                          My idealism
My tenacity
My determination to bring things into life the way they could be
My competency, having gone through a lot and given the situation, handled things well

10) Tasks of this cycle of life

The tasks named in Pirkei Avot for young men in this cycle were:
18: L'Chupah: For wedding canopy, marriage
20: Lirdof: For pursuit (of mitzvah living) righteousness, occupation.

a) To what did you 'wed' yourself to, commit yourself to,  in those years?

b) In your current life-stage?

c) What relations do you now desire? what relations do you need?
(these may be different things)

d) What did you pursue in those years?

e) Many women experience at this stage struggle with choices, conflicting needs and pressures.
The mix of relationship with a partner, with children, friends, educational demands,
professional work/life, economic realities, the desire to create artistically
all by their very number do not allow fulfillment in each.

Then there's luck, fate, life. The things that just arise.
llness. Death. Moves. Wars. Loss of work. Disasters.
Needs to alter ones own plans to give care to another.
Different timing between two people. Opportunities that rise.
Economics. And more.

What in the above was true for you? Feelings that emerge?

f) What are you currently 'pursuing' in your life?

g) What 'tasks' were fulfilled? Which not? At what price? Which took place concretely? symbolically?

Marriage        Motherhood         Career-profession-work       Creative endeavors    Travel

This time in life where so much vies for energy, attention, time, space, and accomplishment,
wearies many women. From juggling so many pieces, the self often cries for water.
Sometimes fantasies about these various parts wear thin. And the shadow sides, difficulties, emerge.
Expectations and desires may conflict with realities.

There can be need for solitude as well as support.

Just the sheer number of needs require some parts to go underground for a while.
Relegated for later on in life, but their loss mourned now.
Solitude             Reflection           Body           Spirit            Sensuality.

What above resonates? Your memories? words?

We also live with primal drumbeats within our bodies, souls.
Many of us have engraved within the timing of our mother's marriage and giving birth.
And some, the timing of their grandmother's marriage and giving birth.
We may feel the beat of generations of women who've desired to wed and bear a child.
Even when we've witnessed tragedy and disappointments in our mother's lives.
Even when we've experienced cruelty.
Somehow that pristine hope often remains. That it will be different. Good for us.
That we'll find our soul-mate. That we'll wed for life. That we'll bear children whom we'll cherish
and be close to and who in turn will cherish and be close to us.

For some there are variations. Imprinting of home, culture, economics, self.
Opportunity, history, and aging impact and may change our desires for these pieces in our lives.
Yet still we need find a resting place for them within us. Need settle them in peace within ourselves.
Whether we choose them or not. Whether they come to be or not. They are the drumbeat of culture.

And in our times. We women add the layer of desiring to use our energies and talents
in the world outside our homes. We hunger for creativity and power.
To play ourselves out freely into the world
.

We wrestle when our ways are impeded by political entrenchment, and social and cultural blocks.
Some have dreams of professionally rising. Of being seen. Of creating great works.
Making stunning breakthroughs in our art, our work. Making a difference in the world.
These dreams too we need find a place for.

In this time in our lives we sift through it all. Trying to order it. Orchestrate it into being.
Trying to play out all these melodies concurrently.

And how these all played out, our loves, our hopes, our dreams, our realities, our hardships,
our inner demons, will impact the next decades of our lives.

And each spring time of our lives. We revisit what we dreamt and that which came to be.
That which flowered and that which died. That which took on different forms than we imagined.
That took us to different places than we anticipated.

What of the above was true for you?

Photography Credits:

First photograph: portrait
Second and fifth photographs: Vicki Hollander
Third photograph: Susannah Anderson, Lilies of the Valley, Picasa Webpages, Creative Commons.
Fourth photograph: Leonid Rozenfeld
Sixth photograph: Dan and Orly Perry