Entering the Moon of Tishrei (September-October)

Time of
early fall in the earth.

Maznayim, the scales, in the sky.
The Yaamim Norraim and Fall Haggim in the soul.
Time when you are, were or will enter the decade of your seventies.

Time in the seasons, time in life,
when all is in balance.

joanna

Now the light turns gold,
as the earth steps into her harvest time.

In the night-skies symbols of the scales arrive,
image of truth-telling.

And we, enter into the ninth circle of life. 

Into the task of ripening,
alongside the fruits, hanging now,
juice-filled.
 

It's time to be as we are,
joyfully.

 

 

Cycle of the Earth, Early Fall

Come I will teach you my lessons.

Go outside, feel the softness of the sun.
Feel and watch the breezes moving the shrub's limbs making them dance.

rskathyapples

  Go the apple orchards.

  Climb into the tree branches.

  Pick the jeweled globes
  of reds, greens, yellows.

  Bite.
 
 Feel their sharp crunch,
 juices spurting
 from their crisp, ripe flesh. 

 

 

 

See the farm kittens tumbling in the grasses, frolicking with delight.
They peek out of your straw basket, stride through the orchard with a propriety air,
queens of their domain, as if owners of all the land stretched out before them.

Look for the pumpkins growing in the fields. Spots of bright orange, flamboyant against the brown soil.

Walk into the forest. 

frankreds

 Collect the  brilliant           
 colored leaves,
 clarets, reds, oranges,  yellows.

 Bring them home.        
 
 Press them into wax  paper,
 stained glass, 
 colors radiant.

  

Celebrate the last "hurrah" of garden color.

The yellow-orange of the Californian poppies blooming valiantly,
the purple, pink, lavender cosmos leggy stems waving in the wind,
the Dahlias, rich queens of the beds, with their gem-like colors, standing regally.

rsfranksdahlia

Lush begonias, fuchsias, and trails of petunias hang from window boxes yet glowing with color and in their prime.

There the asters wave, purples, pinks,
while Black-eyed-Susan's wink in their beds, flowering vigorously.
The decorative kale's, mums, and winter pansies wait for you in the store, heralds of the approaching season.

Clean out your beds of plants past their prime.
Dig out their long webbed roots, let them dry in the sun.
Watch out for swarming yellow-jackets, neighborhood hoodlums, breaking up picnics with glee.

See the swirling flocks of birds making elegant patterns against the sky
signalling their near departure.
Observe the squirrels endlessly busy, scurrying and digging with great intensity.

Soak in the maple trees decked in purples, wines and reds.

If you're still, you can almost feel the trees standing breathlessly
at the border of their change.

rsvickiclevel

 

 

 

Any moment it will begin.

You'll wake up and suddenly see
their green leaves

have turned to golds.

 

School buses mark the mornings and afternoons now. You time your chores accordingly.
Fall echoes
in the trees, in the ground under your feet,
in your body, in nature all around you.
The cycle's moving.

You start sleeping longer. The mornings are darker now when you rise.

Take the red, green and yellow peppers, the lush purple globes of eggplant,
the rich, ripe tomatoes from their beds, and put them up to cook.
Feel the earth's abundance offering itself up to sustain you, begging you to celebrate its life.

Feel that haunting wistfulness as life withdraws from growth, as the light lessens.

In the Land of Israel
shifts too now take place.

The light spills from the tree boughs
embracing all life and turning it to gold.

Life is full, abundant, overflowing.

In the Skies, Maznayim, Scales

"Distinct from all other signs, neither creature nor human,
I stand apart.

In my pans all deeds, all thoughts, are placed and weighed,
lives measured.

I come to you at this turning of this season,
symbol of Justice,
to serve as your guide.

Craving steadiness, stability, longing now for well-being,
you seek equilibrium.

Sign of balance,
arriving when night and day are equal in length.
I come at this perfect juncture.

To remind you to be mindful
of the power of your choices.
Of the art of walking with generosity,
with extended hand.

Take this opening to create harmony in your life.
Keep your heart open, be present,
remember your task.
To relish this gift called life, and to bring light into this world."

In the Soul, Rosh HaShannah, Shabbat Shuvah, Kol Nidrei, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hoshannah Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret,Simchat Torah

Like stepping stones that lie across a sparkling stream,
the many holy days shimmer throughout this moon.

Like a fountain they rush, 

IMG 7470

 

  yielding countless teachings,
 a soul expedition.

 And now
  you are ready for your quest. 

 

 

 

For walking through this spiritual pathway with intention
can bring you into fruition.

So you begin,
in the hush of the new moon.

You enter through the portal
of a new spiritual year.

Keenly feeling your place
in this wild and wonderful Creation.

rsvickirockypath

 

 You begin your walk.

 
 As the moon grows,
 so your reflection deepens.

 As you undertake repair

 of your relations
 with others,

 with yourself.

 

 

On the tenth day you rise, don white garb,
and stand before your Maker.
Seeking forgiveness, you shed layers, strip down, purify,
Return.
Praying to be written into the Book of Life.

As the moon moves to her fullness, out into the air you go.
Shaping a booth made completely of nature's garb.
Wood and fruits, dried herbs and tree boughs, reeds and flowers.
And you enter this fragile dwelling
which mirrors your own transitory existence on this earth,
decked with simple beauties.

And within her you know deep joy.
You sit free, cleansed, another beautiful creature amidst all the wonders of this earth.
For seven days you sleep and live there celebrating, creating yourself anew.

Then on the twenty-second day,
prayers rise within you

rskathyrain

 for gentle life-giving rains to fall,

 that the seeds sown deeply into earth's beds
 might begin their work of transformation.


 And as the moon wanes,
 you too feel a thirst,
 to rise like those seeds,

 

 

to begin again once more.

And you turn the scroll of sacred text with gentle hands,
reading it's very end,
Moses deathing and promise.

Rolling it back to its Beginning,
to Creation once more.

Readying for a new chapter
of your own Becoming.

Cycle of Life, the Ninth Cycle of Life, Ages 70-79

Escort and Teacher, Lilith
Task- Ripening.

For those who have not yet entered this sphere,
or who are just at her doorway, come, imagine, try on, and listen to the whispers of what lies ahead.

For those who are in or have passed through this corridor,
do you remember this ninth circle of life?

Do you remember how you stopped on route yet again to survey the fields of your life?
How you halted to weigh what it was you had planted, what had flourished, what withered,
and what indeed was coming into harvest?

In this cycle shifts may occur.
For some health changes demand readjustments in lifestyle,
our own, that of our companion, and or of dear friends.
Those we love wrestle with varying shades of illness.
Death intrudes too often, changing our existence with each entrance.
We give care as we are able, our worlds sometimes growing smaller.

Should we have a mate who's ill, our life changes to full-time caregiver.
Should we have a mate who dies, we are plunged yet into another world,
parts of ourselves, parts of our lives as we know it, passing on as well.
Thrown into a netherworld, all we know, parts of who we are, now differs.

A woman who dwells alone lives a different life, requiring different muscles.
Creating a life alone is a unique art form.
Every single thing alters.
From the basics of cooking, sleeping, eating, and fixing things broken,
to the lack of someone to speak with, be with, loss of companion, lover, and friend.

Determinedly summoning our power, we seek
like-minded souls on this road who understand, have retained their humor,
are able to weep and then rise and glory in the gifts of the moment.
Spirit and strength of will make the difference in this time.

This woman falls down and then she rises up again.

We've weathered rough currents before,
and our nature and our way of thinking about what is occurring now become key.

Again the questions rise.
What do I want to do in my life that I haven't done thus far?
What do I really want to experience, create, explore, learn in the time I have left?
What gives my soul joy?
And how do I make these things part of my everyday life?

For just as the light in the sky grow more golden now,
so too does the gift of life.
We know in our bones this gift must be used well and savored.
At this very moment.

L'Sevah, Spiritual Task

"L'Sevah", aging, gray hairs, ripening.

We claim the process of aging with fierce honesty now.
Striving more keenly to live with integrity, kindness, and using our full power.

Just as the trees change in this season, so do we.
Our skin becomes more frail, our hair changes texture, color.

Just as the trees release, and stand in their glory, so too do we.
We decide to stand in our skins with grace.

We stand in dignity, own our magnificent beings,
shedding that which we no longer need.

We bear our age with pride.
Each worn spot, each scar testifies
to having lived on the face of this wild and rugged earth.

To ripen takes work, concentration, feistiness and will.
Choosing to develop strengths and outlooks, cultivate attitudes, and curb our rough edges.

We strive not to cause harm, to take the high road, disciplines of life.
To stand in our beauty requires work of soul.

Now, finally, we live life just as we wish to,
with color, sparkle, edge, abandon, joy.
No longer caring what anyone else thinks, we do life our way now.

Turn back or turn forward and come with me to this time in life.
For those not yet there, listen. It's time to start practising.

Lilith's Song, Ode to this Cycle

I now am in the autumn of my years.
I stand, ripe in Glory,
all my hairs, silver,
all my inner songs, gold.
I am lush, fecund as a river.
I am full.
Full of life.

Though my skin is wrinkled and lines etch my face,
I have within me still
the young woman struck with wonder, gazing at a fresh new world,
the lover wrapped around her mate,
the one with justice rising in her heart and fire on her tongue.

I have within me the rebel.
She grows stronger with age.
She's also wiser now,
k
nowing when and how to speak.
I have within the Seer,
who sees visions and hears the voice of Spirit.
But now, we've all learned to walk together,
singing joyously, in harmony.

Like water's passage shapes the river bed,
my channels have been carved by time.
Though my eyes are weaker,
my vision is stronger.
I see more clearly
what is vital in life.
I am gifted with a crown of silver,
my soul blessed with diadems of light.

There's a grace that comes with age, attentiveness, work and determination.
One learns to separate the shaft from the grain,
what's important, from what truly is not.
One can allow with compassion the husks to float away
in the day's breeze.
Knowing time and Spirit reveal most things.
That eventually, all shows its true self.
If one waits, trusts, believes,
most times it will be revealed.

I've seen much in this world.

I've been a traveler following my own map which
God imprinted within me.
Heeding my instincts,
listening to the feelings playing like a wooden flute through my body,
heeding that clear, quiet voice flowing like a copper stream through me,
staying true most times to the truth I know.

The way has not been easy.
I've walked a solitary path.
Joys beyond imagining, heart and soul in flight,
soaring in gold of light,
and sorrows as deeply laden as the earth,
reaching down to her very core.

I live quietly and enjoy my own company,
enjoy the songs of my own soul.
I cherish my freedom,
and follow my own internal sense of where there is water.
I dig my own internal wells.

I know my time is limited, 
and I've no patience for foolishness.
I walk more nakedly inside myself,
feel more stark joy.
I follow what delights my soul,

what's medicinal for my spirit.
I care for no conventions.

I move with the rhythm of moon, sun, seasons, and holy days,
moored and directed by My Source.

My message to those who come after me?

Remember you were shaped by the hand of the Holy One.
Remember that no matter what they say of you, you are good at your core.
Remember you were sculpted with love and hope, planted with seeds of possibilities.

Remember you were meant to live in freedom.
Remember that your soul glows.
You are exquisite, you are precious, just as you are.

Free your innate song,
keep your sparks kindled,
let your beauty shimmer.
Listen deeply to your inner visions, they will not fail you.
Live decently, with a kind heart.
Live truthfully, zestfully, rhythmically.

Carry my fire within you,
hear the Holy One's voice echoing through you.
Remember your Glory.

Bear yourself proudly and humbly,
walk firmly and with faith,
accept no nonsense.

So I bless you on your way.
So I Bless you on your way.

Lessons

Remember the power of this woman.
Her truth, her candor and her wit.

May your field's ripe abundance light your soul
and permeate your being.

May harmony, balance and peace stream through your spirit.

May you cleanse and walk into what remains of your life with lighter step,
renewed and fortified.

And may the lushness of this cycle shimmer in your eyes and flame in your heart
as you reinvent your life yet one more time.

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


For Further Reflection, Journaling

1) Early Fall, in the Earth

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Golden light                                   Beginning of turning                              Harvest
Bees swarming                              Squirrels busy                                Leaves changing color
Celebration                                    Fullness                                               Last fling of heat
First leaves falling                         Back to school                                    New Routines
Business                                        Getting used to shoes once more

2) Maznayim, the Scales, in the Skies

What images resonate for you?

Justice                                              Balance                                      Measuring             
Day and night equal length              Weighing                                     Truth-telling
Time of reckoning

3) Rosh HaShannah, Shabbat Shuvah, Kol Nidrei, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hoshannah Rabbah,Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, in the Soul

What symbols resonate for you this year of your life?

Forgiveness                                      Making changes in life            New Year begins
Birthday of the World                       Creation of humanbeings          Choosing Life
Standing before God                        Justice-Din Compassion-Rachamim
Building                                           Returning to nature, simplicity    Fragility of Life
All is 'owned' by God                      Temporariness of Life                Water for growth
Spiritual Water                                 Endings
Beginning again with Creation

How does undertaking a spiritual journey-immersion at this time of year link with your life?
Life review?
Celebrating that which is a gift, while not owning a thing?

4) Take out a photograph of a woman in this phase of life, ages 70-79
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 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.


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, the 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 70-79

Age:  Date: Ages of Parents: Significant events in the world,in life that effected you:
70_____________________________________________________________________
71_____________________________________________________________________
72____________________________________________________________________
73_____________________________________________________________________
74_____________________________________________________________________
75____________________________________________________________________
_
76_____________________________________________________________________
77_____________________________________________________________________
78____________________________________________________________________
79_____________________________________________________________________

Thematics, patterns I notice in this time of life:

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

6) Challenges of 70-79 years of age

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

Health challenges                             Changing energies                      Changing Desires
Economic stresses-fears                   Friends moving away                 Friends ill-dying
Illness of Spouse                              Death of Spouse                       
Navigating with adult children           Caring for surviving parent

7) Gifts of 70-79 years of age

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

Coming into my own                           Freedom                                 Feel my own power
Stately                                                Making changes                       Dignity
Wise                                                   Travel                                      Peaceful
Being myself, no need for pretense       Observant                               Slower pace
New Friendships                                 Letting go to delight                Exploring new areas
Following my own tune, rhythmn, interests                                          Learning new things   
   
What speaks to you?

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 dedication                  My strength
My resilience                                   My own wisdom, listening to and trusting my gut feelings
My faith

9) Tasks of this cycle of life

The task named in Pirkei Avot for the decade of the seventies
70: L'Sevah: Ripening

How did you see yourself as ripening?
How did/does this show itself in your life?

 

Photographic Credits:

First photograph, fourth photograph, sixth photograph : Kathy Berendt
Second photograph, third photograph: Frank Dobrushken
Fifth photograph: Vicki Hollander