Entering the Moon of Shvat (January-February)

Time of
mid-winter in the earth,
deli, the water-drawer in the sky,
Tu B'Shvat in the soul.

Time when you were 5-9 years of age.

Time in the seasons, time in life 
sometimes gentle and peaceful,
sometimes filled with tempestuous energy.

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Winter now rests in mid-reign.
The bears in their caves lie as deep in sleep as do the fields,
regenerating themselves.

It's time for us to do the same.

To move into dream-time to reflect
on the parts of self we need now in life.

This we do,
just as Deli, the water-drawer,
generously bathes flora and fauna,
nourishing all life.

So we enter the first circle, 
where we meet ourselves as a young girl.

Cycles of the Earth: Mid-Winter

Move into winter's center, while the storms sweep through, blizzards whistle, 
rains sing, and roads are covered with ice.

Savor the velvet of mid-winter early morning.
Sit in the darkness with your cup of hot tea, see the world sleep while soft streetlights gleam.
Feel the stillness in your body.

 

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Watch the mountains
emerging from the dark mantle
of the Prussian-blue night.

Let delight
move up your spine.

Move inward, as your ancestors did long ago at this season.
Weaving garments and stories, teachings and songs, warming hearts and homes.

Take out your paints, needles and journal.
Move into lands well-hidden within. Let them speak, spinning new threads of soul.

Move outward.

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Catch snowflakes on your tongue,
skate on the frozen pond,
walk in the winds.

Notice each day
the light returning to the sky.

Play. 
Make snow-angels,
let snowballs fly,
sled down hills,
scream with laughter.

 


Ride in a sleigh to a lean-to in the woods.
Eat pancakes outside at a picnic-table while snowflakes fall all around you.
Taste the newly-tapped maple syrup fresh-drawn from the trees.

Move inside.  Strip off tights and leggings, mittens, hats, and scarves.
Drink hot chocolate. Feel your nose and cheeks burn, on fire still from the cold.
Snuggle into long-underwear, warm sweaters, and soft socks.
Tuck under an afghan and sip savory long-simmered soups.
Enjoy the gifts of this season.

Watch the garden beds for emerging shoots.
See the vivid chartreuse and wine-red limbs of shrubs snaking through the earth.
Look for the Christmas roses.
Smell the perfume of the golden witch hazel blossoms
and the sweet scent of the evergreen honeysuckle.

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Winter-blooming
Camilla's
now unfold.

Recognize these
as the gifts
they are.

 

  


Savor the warm, peach glow of sunrise, 
and the electric orange-red of sunset, 
reflecting on snowy mountaintop and windows.

Feel those colors in your belly.
Let your heart ache from their piercing beauty.

And in the Land of Israel
while icy rains fall on the hillsides,
the almond trees are blooming.
Heralding the returning life-force.

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Anemones waving in the winds
dot the fields with spots of red.

Fig trees unfurl new leaves and

wild cyclamen
snuggle among
rocks in the fields.

 


In the world,  as with the young girl,
life moves in bursts and also infinitely slowly.

Much is happening beneath the surface.
What you see, isn't necessarily all that's taking place.

Cycle of the Stars: Deli-The Water-Drawer

"Compassionately sprinkling the earth, I joyfully fill up the riverbeds, cisterns and wadis.
In exaltation, they now sing.

Tending all life, I croon everything into being,
mistress of life-giving waters.

With sharpness of intellect as intense as winter rains
I cut through the layers.
Thirsting for change, I break through all existing forms.
Sweeping away stagnancy, I sculpt new routes
so that all creation might thrive.

Join your energy with mine.
Call up your wisdom, curiosity, and belief in goodness,
to aid Creation's well-being.

And water graciously the earth.
And graciously water the earth.

Join me,
in graciously watering the earth."

Cycle of the Soul: Tu B'Shvat
Arising time
 

The New Year of the Trees arrives.

Your soul echoes with the music of the sap stirring.
Rising up towards the full moon.

Feel your life-force rippling.
Jubilation climbing up your bones.

First to bloom in Israel,
the almond tree unfurls her lacy pink blossoms saying,


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"Stand strongly
through the winter storms, my friend.
Take heart, and remember my name.
Sh'kediyah.

For woven within it
lies a message,
"
God is watching out for you."

Flowering in mid-winter cold, I stand,
in testimony,
that hardships will not last forever,
that light will indeed return to the earth,
that your time of blossoming too, will soon arrive.


Just as the cosmic Tree of Life
renews at this very moment,
so do I.
So can you.

So stand with me, dear one.
Let's dance in the light of the Moon."

Cycle of Life, the First Circle: Ages 5-9

Escort and Teacher, Miriam, 
Spiritual Task: Beginnings.

Born a slave in Egypt,
when I was five, I traveled with my mother, Yochebed, the midwife.
I cared for the babes and children while she tended their mothers.

Blowing bubbles I made the children laugh.
And if a newborn looked to be fading from this world, I gently blew their breath back into their small bodies.
Instinctively, I knew how to save life.

As a young one I cursed Pharaoh to his face for his oppression of my people.
My mother quickly intervened, shielding me from danger.

I challenged as well my father's ruling, that husbands and wives separate so no more
children would be brought into a life of slavery.
It was enough what Pharaoh enacted. Our people needed life.
My arguments convinced him to end his sanctions.

Hiding in the bulrushes, I trailed my infant brother's reed basket as it floated down the Nile.
As the Egyptian princess bathed in the river and spied the babe, I could see her longing for him.
I approached, volunteering to find a nursemaid.
Running, I fetched my mother to nurse her son.

We young ones hold fierceness of soul.


Do you remember when you were young,
and when those tending you were also young to the task?

So filled with life were you as a wee one.
Looking, touching, tasting, learning, all the time.

Everything amazed you. Everything appeared breathtaking, fascinating.

As bare-boned as the winter trees in this season,
you were a natural born mystic, filled with innocence. Pure and as sweet as sweet could be.

You saw everything, and everything entered into you.
You were wide open.
You absorbed the world around you, your family, parents, their natures, their unfinished places,
their ways of looking at and responding to life, and all that was happening in their world.

You absorbed your brothers and sisters, their ways of being and coping with their worlds.
All came into you, coloring your life.

And you learned, in time, to protect yourself.
Found ways, to handle all the forces in your life, enabling you to survive in your world.

Like the winter trees, you reached towards light.
No matter how faintly nor how infrequently it shone.
Opening your arms you stretched towards love, kindness, attention, your nutrients.
Sheer determination and will raised you upward.

These little ones live within us still,
determined, enchanting, difficult, delightful.
Endowed with humor and whimsy.

LaMikra, Spiritual Task

The task of this cycle of life you ask?
When we turn five years old it's time to learn the mythic tales. 
Enter into realms of spirit and mysteries, LaMikra.

We move through the door of Beginnings.
Studying Torah, prophets, kings, and into the books of Ruth and Esther.
We cross the threshold into the Garden, enter the vineyards of the Song of Songs,
drink the waters of Proverbs, ramble the pathways of the Psalms.
Our young-old soul lies open,
porous, eager.

And all these teachings and stories pour into our bloodstream
offering us drink.
Inviting us in to wander, imagine, picture, dream.

These ancient wellsprings nourish us.
The milk
by which we grow.

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

Miriam's Song, Ode to this Cycle

I see things the old ones do not.
I see the winds play within the reeds,

the water traveling to far away places.
Sparks of light dancing in everything that is.
I see sparks in everything, everything is infused
with radiance.

When my baby brother Moses was born I saw light, surrounding him.
I knew he would lead our people out of Egypt.
Later my mother struck me on the head for my foolishness.

We children know so much more than those of age.

We carefully observe the birth of creatures, and
watch closely the death of all things.
I learned from the air the story of beginnings.
I gaze at beginnings each day.

I am at my beginning.
All is beginning.

All is Beginning.

The angels don't kiss away all primal wisdom.
People just forget it.

It's the young ones who see.

I see spirit everywhere.
I can tell about each person I meet. I read their soul.
I say what I see.
When things are wrong, I speak what I know.

I know how it works.

I laugh and frolic as God fills me with the joy of it all.
I spin, whirl, celebrate, explore.
Wonders are wherever I am:
the frogs, wild dogs, the palm trees, the moon, the rising sun.
Each season, each moment, is filled.
Filled with wonders.

Drops of dew, diamonds that sparkle in the sunlight,
the morning mist sheltering mystery,
the birds songs holding messages.

And I dance, dance, dance,
and say, thank You, thank You, thank You, God.

Lessons

Remember the life-force of this young girl, which yet shimmers in your soul.
Remember her awe and fire, her spirited ways of being.
Her depth and richness of soul, her innate, intuitive wisdom.
How she danced and celebrated life, awash with the joy of it all.

May you move into dream this Mid-Winter,
uncovering the messages you need.

May you be watered,
abundantly.
And may your inner streams rush with the music of song, refilled.

May you feel stirrings of life rising within your core.
Blossoms within your spirit, unfolding.

May you reunite with your childhood mystic who yet lies within you.
And may she reignite your spirit.

May the ancient sources, font of your soul, sing and revive your being,
questions, curiosity, wonder, well up.

And may you know the power of this young one.
And experience
deep and utter Delight.

Reclaim those qualities that your soul now needs.

 

For Further Reflection, Journaling

1) Mid-Winter

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Snuggling under a blanket       Sleeping more          Snow, rain, gray skies
Darkness                               Reading more           Short days, long nights
Cooking soups, stews            Fires, candles           Clouds
Watching the snow fall           Burrowing in             Inward, internal time
Reflection                              Silence                     Creating, crafting
Peacefulness                         Crafting                     Hot chocolate 
Playing in the weather            Bundling up, sweaters, warm socks

2) Deli, Water-Drawer

a) What images resonate for you?

Abundance of water              Compassion               Giving forth new life
Graciousness                         Generosity                  Dipping into the well


b) What waters do you thirst for?

3) Tu B'Shvat, New Year of the Trees

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

New Year of the Trees            Sap rising with the full moon     Life-force rising
Renewal of the Tree of Life     God watching out for us           Promise of blossoming

b) What is rising up within you that wishes to emerge in this new year of life?
That you'd like to bring into the world?

4) Take out a photograph of a girl in this phase of life, ages 5-9
Yourself, your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your aunt, a girl whom you know or
a photograph from elsewhere of a child that appears to be in this stage of life
.

Write down words that describe a child 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 5-9
Age:  Date: Ages of Parents: Significant events in the world,in life that effected you:
5_____________________________________________________________________
6_____________________________________________________________________
7_____________________________________________________________________
8_____________________________________________________________________
9_____________________________________________________________________

Thematics, patterns I notice in this time of life:

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


6) Challenges of 5-9 years of age

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

Vulnerable        Selfish      Temper Tantrums     Fearful              Cruel     
Demanding        Needy     Dependent              "Responsible"      Pushed away
Lonely               Jealous    Loss of Innocence

7) Gifts of 5-9 years of age

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

Clear about wants-needs     Friendships     Generous      Playful
Innocent                              Imaginative     Wondrous   Trusting
Open                                   Creative         Curious         Eager to learn
Independent                         Active            Expressive    Belly laughs
Spontaneous                        Protected       Secure          Spiritual
Tactile-Sensual                    Concrete-literal                   Close to Nature
Exploring Sexuality

8) What was your earliest spiritual experience?

9) Life Patterns

This time contains the seeds for many life long patterns.
Many women had childhoods where we had to grow up quickly.
Where we had to deal with family issues that did not allow us the idyllic childhoods
for which we longed or wished.


a) What in the above is true for you? Feelings that emerge?
b) What in the above is not true for you? Feelings that rise?

10) Things that need attending to-healing

Are there pieces that surface from these reflections that need attending to?
Any of the below echo for you?

Mending

The childhood we had versus the childhood we needed.
The safety-space to be a child that we might not have had.

10) Qualities to Reclaim

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

What do you need to remember as you live your life now?

Things I need remember:


My gift of imagination                 The playful one            To let the little one run free
To delight in the little things         Simple delights             Art play
Wonder of nature                       Belly-laughs; whole-hearted enjoyment

11) Tasks of this cycle of life

The first task named in Pirkei Avot for five year old boys in Jewish tradition was "LaMikra".
To begin their studies of
Torah, Prophets and Writings, the Tanach.

a) Imagine writing a mythic creation story for your life. Write of your "Beginnings."
b) What "Beginnings" are you welcoming into your current life stage?

 

Photography Credits:

First photograph: portrait
Second and Fourth photograph: Frank Dobrushken
Third photograph: Orly and Dan Perry
Fifth photograph: Alon Kvashny
Sixth photograph: Vicki Hollander