Entering the Moon of Tamuz (June-July)

Time of
Early-summer in the earth;

Sartan, the crab, in the sky;
Bein HaMetzarim in the soul;
Time when you are, were or will enter the decade of your forties.

Time in the seasons, time in life,
when the spring blooms fade into the slow deep greens of summer.


The vegetables grow now in the fields,
celebration reigns. 
For now the light is greater than the darkness.

The summer solstice nears.

Into the night skies comes the crab,
feisty dweller at the border
of both land and sea.

And we enter into the sixth circle of life,
where use of will rises again.



Things begin to heat up now 
on every level.

Cycles of the Earth, Early Summer

Come, I will teach you my lessons.
Move into my center,
for we near a new movement in the dance.

Frank YN Moorings 1

Feel this turning point
in your chest.

We approach
the day of longest light.

The tides of illumination shift.

From hereon, each day
the sun will faintly lessen. 

Walk down country lanes.
See the lilies bloom.
The yellow blossoms hold the sweetest fragrance.
Look for those amazing flowers of orange and red, like earthly stars, alight with color.

The annuals preen themselves in the garden beds.
Petunias, zinnias, back once more.


The huge
bouquet-like blossoms
of the Hydrangeas

now turn
rich hues
of purples and blues. 


Smell the whisk of lavender wafting
through the morning air.

Rub the tiny flowers in your fingers, breathe in their throaty musk.
Feel relaxation
ripple through your body.

The scent of freshly cut grass fills the air, keynote of summer,
reminding you to mow before the next rain comes.

Take up the trees invitation.


To stroll
their deep green leafy canopy.

Give thanks
for their kind shelter.

the coolness
beneath their branches
as you flit
in and out
of their shadows
on your morning walk. 


The balmy evening beckons you outside again.
The aroma of wet hoses and barbecues wafts through the air.

Birds flutter their wings as they dip in stray puddles,
thoroughly enjoying themselves between rounds of nesting.
If you're lucky
you may spot a hummingbird
zipping in to sip nectar from your red hibiscus flowers.

Enjoy the butterflies lighting on your scented geraniums,
soul birds, messengers to other realms.
Feel the peace after the pace of spring.

In the land of Israel


the sun

the hillsides,

the pomegranates,

the grapes,

the blue thistles,

the lizards to soak in it's warmth.

Marjoram thrives,
while the cactus fruit reddens.

Walking at dawn and dusk the light catches in the Jerusalem stones
turning the city to gold, it's beauty captures your heart.

We hoe our fields and pull the weeds now,
working in tandem with the earth.

In the Skies, Sartan, Crab

Digging deeply into sand, I make underground passages to new regions.

At home both in watery realms of that which lies beneath the surface,
as well as that which lies in plain view, I live at the edges.

I now coming bearing gifts for you,
offering routes for sensing your way in this world,
looking up, down and sideways,
brings different perceptions into view.

rscrabFilled with courage
I explore,
hard-shelled outside,
soft within.

When hot I move into the cooler deeper places.
When need rises, I tuck within my shell.

Tenaciously I hold on
when the waves swirl around me,

and when they abate,
I slowly, surely
find my way.

Living a rich life requires valor, bravery, and wisdom on how to walk well.
So I come as your guardian in this moon.

Both you and I are sensitive and powerful.
Sometimes needing to tuck into our shells, sometimes needing adventure.
Homebodies and explorers both.

Compassion and the ability to assess a situation and order it for the good of all involved,
are our strengths.
Makers of beauty, our surroundings sooth our spirits, restoring us,
enabling us to better use our energies, sharp sight, and passions
to create fairness and bring light into this world.

Weather the sea of feelings that rise within,
for you keenly absorb the challenges of others and those that lie in this world,
taking them into yourself.

Moody, we've our own internal weather patterns, which we and those we love
learn to navigate.
Mastering our own internal storms, knowing signs of when we're over-tired,
over our edge, we watch that these might not cause destruction.

We, givers of care, need mother ourselves.
Create sacred spaces for our own refueling, moving at times into the sanctity of our inner shells.

Use my strengths for your well-being.
Use your incredible power, perseverance, determination, and sense of justice,
to care for this universe.
For these are essential for the life of this world.
You are essential for the life of this world.

In the Soul, Bein HaMetzarim,
descending time.

I arrive as the moon passes her fullness, in her waning time.
Your soul feels me as she begins her descent,


downward, inward,
to regions she knows only in dreams.

The fates of her ancestors
echo now through her,
a profound sadness


Your body remembers
the siege of Jerusalem.
The heartbeats of your ancestors resound in your cells.
You feel their terror.
Losses of land, home, sacred space, lives,
their worlds aflame.

You walk alongside them now through the waxing of the next Moon.

Thus your soul lies heavy at times
despite the abundance of earth's fruits ripening in the fields.

Cycle of Life, the Sixth Circle, Ages 40-49

Escort and Teacher, Ruth
Time of moving into Understanding

Born in the land of Moab, when young, a foreigner caught my eye,
and him I married.

It's true what they say. When you marry you wed family as well.
My husband's family came from Beit-Lechem to Moab due to famine.
His father, EliMelech died before we met.
His mother was Naomi.

Him I wed, his brother marrying, Orpha, also from Moab.
Sweet were the ten years of our marriage.

How life can change beyond our imaginations.

Both my husband and his brother died, a horror,
all three women, survivors, all widows,

Naomi robbed of mate and all her children.

Famine then had ceased from Beit-Lechem and my mother-in-law decided to return.

I will always remember walking, the three of us, Naomi turning to us,
freeing us from her side.
I chose to stay. She was my family.

So I left my homeland, my birth-place, becoming a foreigner,
embracing another destiny.

Then, when meeting Boaz, my life changed again.
And later, yet again, and then again,
heart-breakingly painful and heart-breakingly sweet.

Do you remember your sixth circle of life?
Again surveying your life choices, your life fortunes.
What grew richly? What did not?

Do you remember wrestling with your deeply embedded dreams?
Struggling with whether to try to fulfill them, or to mourn and release them or
simultaneously to do both?
With knowledge gleaned and with the eyes of a truth-teller
you again take a look at your life.

You can feel your body changing.

Stripping down, you more nakedly examine your life.
The beauties, the wreckage, the emptiness, the treasures.
And in inventorying, there's that vivid need,
to come out and live as the self you've inside yourself,
the self that has not yet been released.

Do you remember asking yourself how you truly wished to live your days?
How you truly wished to spend your time?
About what gave you deep-hearted joy and meaning?
Who augments your life? Who and what dissipates it?
Which relationships are mutual.
Are you the one regularly giving care?
What would enable you to thrive?

Sifting. Sorting. Desiring to simplify your life. Ridding yourself of excess. Emerging.
You find yourself. Going through your closets. Purging your home.
Reviewing relationships, work, time expenditures,

Asking yourself, what is essential?

All is grist for your mill.
Actively mothering yourself you now powerfully say 'yes' and 'no'

Do you remember feeling that this time period holds a window in which to risk?
That now was the time to leap towards dreams?
Do you remember venturing out, trying new things?

Some dreams took flight.
Some were unveiled as illusions, and painfully, crushingly, shattered,
taking us to places unanticipated, unimagined.
Learning lessons of soul.

You acknowledge what you have borne, and what you have born.
You own once more the strength called out of you
by the living of your life.

L'Binah, Spiritual Task
Gaining Understanding.
The task of this decade you ask?
L'Binah "gaining understanding"

You learn
from your attempt to grasp your fantasies and your dreams.
You learn
from your painful failures.
Sometimes having to repeat these again and again.
But eventually, you glean lessons invaluable for your life and spirit.

You learn how essential it is to listen to that clear truth-telling voice nestled in your core.
To distinguish between what your heart or body wants and that which in your gut you know to be true.
You learn
of the vital importance of listening and being guided by your own wisdom.
And through this process, you gained

Ruth's Song, Ode to this Cycle

A song with three movements. 

It was not what I expected, at all.
I saw my husband, a foreigner,
and loved him deeply.
I loved his widowed mother, his brother, and my sister-in-law.
The land was full, and life was to have been the same.

Death came, piece by piece, dismantling and robbing me of my life.
My husband, a young man, dead, and we with no children.
My brother-in-law also stolen away from life.
My mother-in-law, about to return to her country,
enjoining me to return to my family home.

Return to my family home?
I couldn't go back.
I no longer had a place there.
My life had changed me.

I loved my mother-in-law, and wanted to stay with her.
She was my family, and to her ways my soul cleaved.

So I set foot towards a new country, a new city.
I placed my lot with strangers.
I became the foreigner.
I followed my mother-in-law, overcome with grief as she returned home,
empty-handed, raw, sore, defeated.
And bitter.

I vowed to tend her.
I vowed to make my life beside her until my life ended.
How different my life was from that which I expected as a young woman.

I had envisioned living on the land I knew
with those I knew and loved surrounding me.
I had imagined a loving partner, and children everywhere, and their children.

Now, I'm in a distant land with my mother-in-law.
I go out each day to the fields to gather ears of corn, heads of wheat, barley,
what I can reap to sustain the two of us.
I care for us, watching for what I can glean.

And that is enough. That is enough.


Here I am, freshly bathed, anointed with herbs and oils.
The full moon shimmers silver,
the fields alight, a sea of gold.
Cloaked I enter the threshing floor and stand near a heap of corn,
tutored by my mother-in-law.

My heart races. I watch him.
How handsome he is.
Such a powerful man, ripe in age.
Kindness etched upon his cheekbones, compassion upon his forehead.
I didn't think I would ever again feel my heart race, feel warmth within my loins.
A miracle, truly.

There he lies. Lovely in sleep. Lovely to watch sleep.
Gently exposing the beauty carved. Now unguarded, revealed.

I uncovered his feet. And lay down beside them.

Strange to lie beside this man quiet in rest,
in the arms of the moon, waiting,
following the voice of my soul.


The day after I wed, my second husband died.
Left, again. But this time, differently,
for how we loved that one night.

And now, though well beyond the age of bearing,
I suckle a little one. Obed, pink-white innocence.
My milk runs. I'm like a stream.
Who would have guessed that I would have grown a garden?

How my life weaves round like a river.
Curving in ways unforeseen.
Never straight in course. But each bend unfolding
yet another twist, yet another view, yet another surprise.
And just when you think you've seen it all, that here it lies,
it changes, still again.

I follow the voice of my soul.
I place myself in Your hands.
You Who guide my way,
You Who lights my nights and my days.
I walk this earth with strength.
And I walk this world
ripe with Understanding.


That wizened woman remains within us
meditatively reflecting on where it is she's roamed, and
holding it all, with wonder and awe.

As you walk this time of greatest light.
May its radiance illumine your path, your heart.

May the crab, wise observer and swift one to adapt
be by your side.

May you allow your soul to waft to places of sadness,
honoring losses that have risen in life,
taking you wherever it is you may need to go.

And from all those ports that you have traveled,
may you reap the gifts. Of Understanding.
Unlocking doorways that lie ahead.
Accompanied by this strong and seasoned woman,
there, by your side, as guide, as you step over the rocks and crags that stand in your way.
May she hearten you. Gift you courage.

Reclaim those qualities that your soul now needs for your life and well-being.

For Further Reflection, Journaling

1) Early Summer, in the Earth

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Deep Greens of Summer                 Fragrance                                Beginning heat
Longest days of light in the year    Shifting taking place-darkness grows
Digging into the earth                       Nesting birds                           Light

2) Sartan, the Crab, in the Skies

What images resonate for you?

Tenacious                                     Living at the edges             Digging below the surface
Moving with the tide                     Beach                                Ocean
Moving sideways                         Seeing in all directions
Dwelling on land and sea: in-with conscious and unconscious

3) Bein HaMetzarim, in the Soul

What symbols resonate for you this year of your life?

Between the fences                             Siege                          Ancient memories
Paradox: want and abundance          Things-life crashing     Feeling turmoil

4) Take out a photograph of a young woman in this phase of life, ages 40-49
Yourself, your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your aunt, a woman whom you know or
a photograph from elsewhere of a woman who appears to be in this stage of life

Write down the first words that rise from you describing a woman in this time of life.
Note 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.

For those not having traveled yet this cycle
Sit with a woman who's either in or who has passed through this cycle of life.
Ask her to reflect on the questions below: the significant events in the world, in her world, the challenges of this age,
gifts of this age, things she experienced and learned when in this decade of life. And to share this with you.

Your Personal History Page, Ages 40-49

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 40-49 years of age

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

Struggles with work                           Struggles with children        Struggles with Spouse
Working too hard                                Getting sick                        Relocating
Gambling on a new relationship          Retraining-back to school   Confronting self
Crashing of illusions                             Letting go of owning a home
Mourning not being able to have another child
Mourning life I wanted                                                                 Loss of identities
Didn't listen to my gut, my 'inner voice'                                       Body changes-aging
Juggling work and caring for children                                          Children leaving home
Risk-taking a new direction                                                          Losses of roles in mothering

7) Gifts of 40-49 years of age

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

Chose to start again                             Risked                                          Learnings
Learned to mother myself                  Creativity                                      Strength
Learned to respect and listen to my gut                                                   My daughter-son
Learned to grieve-got the tools and know-how                                     Found new resources
Learned to never let myself be abused again                                           Wizened
Better boundaries                              Learned more of my likes-needs    Finding balance
Awakened                                         Explorer                                       Sturdy

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 courage                                     My desire for life                       My belief, faith
My hope                                            My power                                My dedication
My ability to learn from my mistakes                                                 My strength

9) Tasks of this cycle of life

The task named in Pirkei Avot for the decade of the forties
L'Binah: For understanding

a) How did your experiences teach you understanding from those years of life?

b) What understandings have you gained in your current cycle of life?

This is a time when some of us have had to struggle with dreams we've had to honor and then mourn and release.
There are times when we come to a place of saying, "that which I've wanted may not happen for me." And let go of the dream.
And come into life as it is. With whatever may come, but choosing to live with that which we do have in our hands.

These are life-shaping junctures. And how we handle them, how we frame them effects our outlook and our lives. Powerfully.

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

10) Age forty-nine

In Jewish tradition the symbol of forty-nine, seven times seven, appears annually
as we move in the Omer time, counting the days from the second eve of Pesach, through the Moon of Iyyar,
and into the early days of Sivan.

The mystics see this as a time to cleanse the soul in preparation for the 50th day, Shavuot, time of spiritual binding.

Some women may wish to use their forty-ninth year as a time to cleanse from all their journeys thus far.
A time to learn from where they've come. To demarcate this first part of life from the next.

The symbols of forty-nine and fifty also appear in Shemitah, the seventh year and Yuvel, the fiftieth year in the Land.
The land was worked for six years and on the seventh was left ungleaned so all could take for their needs.
The land being owner-less and thus open to all.
Symbolizing the land's true owner, God.

On the fiftieth year, the Jubilee, according to Jewish tradition, all debts were nullified. Jewish slaves were freed.
The Land reverted back to its tribal owners. The people returning to their ancestral homes and lands.

Imagine preparing for your Fiftieth year of life.

All the parts of yourself yet enslaved soon to be freed. All debts incurred, erased.

Imagine turning fifty. Coming to a deep sense of home. Claiming your true inheritance. On this earth. In this life.

Imagine each year reaching this cycle in the summer.
Either readying for this time in your life or
rekindling this juncture. Claiming it each year of your life in a deeper way.

What above resonates for you?

As you ready for your forty-ninth year before your 'Jubilee'. What needs cleansing? repairing? Changing?
So you can boldly claim your true freedom? your true place?


Photographic Credits:

First photograph: portrait
Second and third and fifth photographs: Frank Dobrushken
Fouth photograph: Vicki Hollander
Last photograph: Alon Kvashny
Sixth photograph: 'Sand crab in bathurst' by Jake F, 'Best so far photos 2011' can be found on Picasa's Web pages, Creative Commons. Crab.