Entering the Moon of Cheshvan (October-November)

time of
mid-fall in the earth,

Ahrav, the scorpion, in the sky,
rest in the soul,
time when you are, were or will enter the decade of your eighties.

Time in the seasons, time in life,
when the days are growing shorter.

auntieellen


The leaves immersed in their dance of transformation
issue an invitation
for us to join them.

And in the night-skies, the scorpion appears,
one who burrows below the surface 

as do we,
in this tenth circle of life.

 

 

Cycle of the Earth, Mid-Fall

Rise each dawn and drink in the lush colors.
The once-green hills are brilliant reds, rich ochres, burnished oranges.

rsfrkbrgttree

The trees stand
like royalty,

tall and proud,
dignified,
glowing.

No longer hidden,
their true colors
now revealed.

Feel this penetrate
through the pores of your skin,
within your chest.

Fall resounds with lessons on how to age with grace.

Remember how the spring trees in blossom seemed like young girls
decked out as if to be noticed?
Preening, wanting their beauty to capture the viewer?
As if waiting to hear the indrawn pull of admiring breath?
As if to see people stop in their tracks and stare?
In naive innocence they stood,
half aware and relishing the attention, half unconscious of their beauty,
adorned in brilliant spring greens,
flowered with pastel pinks and creams, lavenders and roses.

Notice how different the fall trees.

rsfrksfall

How they stand in brilliance,
radiance.

Their colors now
rich clarets, wines,
golden yellows, burnt sienna's
regal, lush,
a whole different palette.

Majestic they stand
with a calm presence.

Every now and then
gently relinquishing
another leaf. 

 

Learn from them
how to release with grace,
that no longer needed.

Like richly mature women
who have no need of others to tell them of their magnificence,

alonyellowlves

their inner beauty
now shines
through their skin.

Let them teach you.

This comes
from deep
within themselves.


They don't depend on other's views.

They know inside themselves
their souls are glorious.
And they stand,
allowing that to be seen.


Go out into the air.
Walk around the lake. Gather pine-cones and fallen pieces of birch-bark, silky and white.
Observe the squirrels busily gathering stock for the winter.
Watch for the acorn shells strewn across the path.
Pick up and stroke the glossy buckeyes.
Soak in their color, feel their rich mahogany coats. Beautiful.

Finish clearing the remnants left in the garden beds.
Rake the leaves into piles, listen to their crunch, smell their musky scent.
Let yourself go back in time, jump into the piles with sheer abandon.
Make a nest with them all around you, lay back and watch the clouds pass.
Feel peace soak through your being knowing all the outside work is almost done.

Gather different shaped leaves.

frankyellowsGo indoors.

Take an old comb and a toothbrush,

lay them on paper

spatter paint around the edges
making silhouettes 

 

Draw up inventories.
Have you enough candles for winter emergencies? Tins of food, water, and batteries?
Enough flannel nightgowns and warm socks?

Take down the comforters, flannel sheets, sweaters and sweatshirts. Old comfortable friends.

Make hot soups and roasted vegetables. Buy freshly harvested apples.
Inspect the green and gold gourds in the stores. Admire the gold and purple mums.
Make pumpkin bread. Light scented votives.
Let them all yield to you their fall song.

Watch the rains arrive. Wake and see the gray skies, test the air.
Sometimes it's balmy, other day's it's chillingly cold.

Take a walk and soak in the waves of colored trees on the hillsides.
Let yourself be dazzled.

frkyllwleaf


See the rains
bringing down
the leaves
more quickly now.

The gusting winds
undress the trees. 

 

 

 

 

 

See them stand,
their bare gray bones blending
into the sky, becoming one.

What winter projects call your soul this year?
Women of old turned to their stitching come winter.
Feel the clarion call to have color and texture in your hands.
Stock up for those shorter, colder days and longer nights ahead,
before the onslaught of holiday shoppers.

vickitreeslubbk

 

 

Should the sun shine,
rush outside
and take a walk.

Let the soft, faraway sun caress your face.

Feel your heart rise, pure grace.

 

Feel the sense of departure in your bones,
and your struggle with separation.
The loss of light echoes in your chest as you feel this dance of change.

Descend into this cycle of darkness, let her soothe your spirit.

And in the land of Israel
Cheshvan holds respite
after the steady stream of holy days.

Her quiet equally precious.

In, sweep the rains.
Life-giving, relief.
Don waterproof clothing.

rsfrkredleaves

 

Stand now like the trees

aflame
with the vintage
of your life.


Aglow. 

 

Enter into the calm.

In the Skies, Akrav, Scorpion

"Living beneath the surface, digger into the lower realms,
I invite you now to do the same.

For there are mysteries lying in worlds below
waiting to be discovered.

Carrying poisons in my tail secreted away til needed, I've learned how to protect myself.
Those who see me make way for me
giving wide berth, using caution.

I am your guide to the depths.

scorpionFierce and proud,
known for my passion and curiosity,

I explore the borderlands
between life, death, and rebirth.

Vital and intense,
I push away from the mundane,
vigorously creating new forms. 

 

Celebrate your courage and strong will.
Stay with your ventures, see them through to completion.
Plunge into the waters of life
emerging with new understandings and wisdoms.

Be mindful of your hard edges. Watch not to harm others.
Forays into darkness can keep parts of self hidden.
Loneliness for soul companions sometimes overcomes our spirits.

Call up your intuition as you walk worlds some fear to enter.
Glean wisdom from where you've been, using them to bring greater illumination
to this our troubled, beautiful world.

Use my boldness and do not fear.
Use my will to sculpt the life to which you aspire.

Be mindful of your shadow-sides and each day choose life.
Follow your heart, soul, and gut,
for behind each ending lies a beginning."

In the Soul, Quiet

You reach this realm deeply grateful
for space in which to rest and regather.

frankwaterfall

After the previous moon's swirl of movement
this space is medicinal.

For all seeks balance.
Times of action need times of quiet,
times of creating need times of being fallow.
Therein lies the kernel for future growth.

Your spirit knows
that in the dream-state
new life is born,
seeds are sown,
visions rise.

Cycle of Life, the tenth cycle, Ages 80-89

Escort and teacher, Eve, Chavah,
Task- Claiming Power

Shaped by the Holy One, fashioned from a rib of Adam, I came into life
at the Beginning.

All creatures, friends and companions,
I still remember when the serpent bade me walk with him,
questioning me about the tree which stood in the center of the Garden.
How he fanned my curiosity, stoked my desire.

Beautiful as well as holding knowledge,
it's fruit, succulent, a bite of heaven.
I shared it's lusciousness with Adam.

And in our innocent foolishness, knowing we had disobeyed, we hid from God,
instinctively blaming each other, due to our own shame.
Then curses flew, as they always do, springing from that place.

I was then named, Eve, Chavah, life-giver,
mother of all the living.

Banished from the Garden, heartbroken, all worlds fractured,
longings mixed with grief and change and unknowns,
tossed out, we two, orphans, having to find our own way.

Twining ourselves together we found comfort and release,
skin upon skin, heart upon heart, healing our torn places, 
we knew moments of peace.

And then my belly grew and grew and grew.
I watched each day with amazement, feeling stirrings within me,
my skin stretching beyond what seemed possible.

And one day wrenching pains began. I, not knowing what was happening to me.
These rolled through me, on and on.
And I moved with them, then pushing, til a small one came from between my shaking legs.

I, mother of all living, became a mother twice, bearing two sons, Cain and Abel.
And so we lived, worked, learning, the cycles of the seasons
around me, within me.
The boys grew, fought, became.

Then Cain killed my youngest, becoming a marked one,
moving far away.
And I bore once again, and once again, and then a grandmother became.

But it is from this cycle I wish to speak to you.
Having sown seeds and made harvest for many moons now.

For those on route, those entering this doorway, come and learn.
For those who crossed this terrain, do you remember this tenth circle of life?

Do you remember the surge of knowing inside your being that your time is limited?
Do you remember feeling "it's finally time to be just who I truly am?"

You ask yourself,' how shall I live meaningfully now in my life?'
'On what will I spend my precious life energy?'

You quieted, listening, moved with the ebbs and flows of the moons
until voice within spoke
of what your soul needed.

You knew you'd reached a turning point which called for wisdom.

Both slowly and quickly now in this cycle those who decorate our days can be struck.
Losses ride one on the crest of the next.
Those who warmed our days mired in illness, death snatching them from our midst.

We learn how to be with this.
We guard lest our worlds shrink too greatly.
Keep our world populated with friends of different ages,
continually replanting our flower-beds, diversifying our days,
expending energy to vivify our existence.

We've mastered the art of going in the moment with that which arises
and of realigning with as much grace as we can muster.
Change barges in to our routines with regularity.

We shift our beds, our homes, the way we sleep, our care when we walk,
our forms of movement,
adjusting to that which no longer works as well,
like the tide, we keep reshaping ourselves
to newness and need.
Knowing in an instant it can all alter again.

And once more our voice whispers
what do we long for? what lies undone? un-experienced? what do we need more of?
Passion rises. To live. And to do so with no regrets.

Handling the anxiety of the unknown, meeting vulnerability, we do not allow fear and uncertainty of what will be
to overwhelm or rule our precious hours or days.

We savor each bite of life.
Stay with the sweet.
Relish the beauties.
Allow ourselves to be permeated with awe,
our hearts remaining open to others.

We halt recitations of woes.
Firmly grasp that which does function, and hold blessing on our lips,
while letting go of that which cannot be changed nor controlled.
Life tests. All the time.

We yet again re-learn
we are not
our bodies.

And we strengthen our souls,
re-kindle our humor,
steward and re-stoke our energies,
re-charge our resiliency.

L'Gevurah, Spiritual Task, Claiming our power

Not the physical power, this, of our twenties,
nor the power of being proficient at our work or art.
Rather now we forthrightly claim, in new ways,
the power of our soul.

Tradition says Moses was eighty years old
when leading the Exodus from Egypt, climbing Mount Sinai,
receiving Torah, "seeing" God's back.

Finally, he was strong enough in soul,
prepared enough in spirit,
to travel to sacred places of power and transformation.

He was seasoned enough to receive the deep gifts.

Holding the stone tablets in his arms
with the power of his being he transmitted them.

Passing through the wilderness
he survived trials and challenges,
receiving illumination.

We, like he, can grow to contain sacredness,
radiate light,
emanate it.

Eighty in Jewish tradition equates to "yesod", foundation.
From the solid core of knowing who we are, allowing our true essence out,
like sweet fragrance from a vial.

Each task of each cycle requires muscle of soul.
If cultivated, these gain power as we age.

Now we consciously dig this soil, fostering this gift.

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

Eve's Song, Ode to this Cycle

Many  years have passed through me.
Many worlds have I passed through.

I now stand,
my soul naked against the sky,
like the tree limbs.

It takes courage to stand thusly.

To stand open, wide open,
to life.
Arms open, heart open,
legs firmly planted on earth.
Standing with determination, standing defiantly, standing triumphantly.
And letting what comes, come.

Letting life come through you.
Flowing through your limbs. And then
choosing. Choosing to stand up.
Choosing to stand up
bare and in your power.

Etched within my bones is still the freshness of Eden.
I can yet see in my soul,
the sight of angels bearing flaming swords,
the young woman I was, venturing forth,
out into a new world.

I still remember the wonder as my body changed shape,
the feeling when out from between my legs a child came forth.
My first child.
The first child.
Bloody and hardy, into my arms.
I can still see his little eyes opening, his tiny fingers waving.
This is engraved upon a mother's soul.
You never forget.

I still have within me
the struggles, the sweetness.
One boy, a second boy.
Later, a third.

But there was no little girl.
No one like me.

And I still have within me,
carved clearly,
the image of the limp body of my son.

I will ever remember holding him in my arms, dead,
while my other son spun out into the world,
a troubled wanderer, marked, and although protected,
living in death more than life.
The trauma, a permanent shadow on his body and soul.
Every woman's worst nightmare.
Worst nightmare,
from the very beginning.

All these things I have seen.
All these things I have carried.
All these things still live within me.
I, Chavah, the mother of all living,
the mother of the dead,
the mother.

I remember my feelings when hearing of Abel's murder
at the hands of his brother, my son.
It was as if my body cracked in half, differently than birthing.
I felt my soul shatter.
I didn't know what was happening to me.
I didn't know the word 'grief.'
I was frightened, bereft,
all I knew was gone.
My earth was upside down.
Again.

I had no teachers. I traveled  by myself. There was no help-mate for me.
I had no woman to turn to. No sister. No aunt.
I had no mother.

I had the earth and the heavens. I had the creatures.
I had my Source, my Maker.
I had my name.
To them I went. And in them I was held.
I was held. And I held on. Tightly.
I, The Mother of All Living Things.

Let me tell you.
It is not so easy to live.

It has taken much of my life to learn how.
Things that sound simple,
in truth, are
quite hard.
Living in Eden? That was simple.
Living when shadows fall into your world?
That is quite another matter.

I'm going to tell you what I learned.
To save you some steps maybe.

But then again.
Who listens to their mother's wisdoms?
Until after it appears like wisdom,
after the experience itself has taught the lesson.

Never mind.
One always hopes.
The mother always hopes.
To teach, to spare another perhaps from pain.

In most lives shadows fall,
grief, hurt, pain, suffering enter,
always surprising us.
Our minds, our fantasies think we live in Eden.
Death comes as a surprise,
as an injustice, an affront.
Though we live in a world outside of Paradise,
a world of striving and of loss, of anguish as well as of life.
Funny creatures, we,
parts still thinking we are in the Garden and not in the world in which we live.

I'll tell you what helped me
when my spirit was living in the land of the dead
and grief was my cloak.

Mother of the All the Living.
This is the name of every woman alive.
Our legacy.
And we are called back to this task
constantly in our soul.

Our soul is called to the living
whether we want to or not at the time.

I spoke aloud to the creatures, nestled into their fur and wept.
I screamed to the hillsides and mountains
and slept in the warmth of the sand.
I spoke and spoke and spoke
to God and to the creatures and to the wilds,
and I cried and filled the caverns with my tears.

And I listened.
And they all held me,
and they all comforted me.

And there came a time when I knew
I could wander the earth as haunted as my son Cain,
or that I could learn to walk the earth,
the mother of a dead child, the mother of a hunted child,
the Mother of All Living.

I was called to the door of life
and I chose to enter it.

That is the key my dears,
over and over, that is the key.
We are again and again called to walk through the door.
It is a choice.
Again and again as we grieve and as we age.

Will we choose to walk through the door
or will we moan eternally outside of it?

We need to moan and wail and howl and run wild with grief.
And then there is a point
when we need to choose
to walk through that door.
Over and over and over again.

I became a mother of all living in a new way.

I mothered the herbs and they taught me healing.
I mothered the wounded creatures and they taught me gratitude.
I mothered those whose hearts were breaking, I held them in my arms,
and they allowed me to love them.
And they showed me their courage and the beauty of their natures.
I served my Maker and I served the world
and they healed my spirit as I healed them.

They did not come to me.
Each time I had to come to them first.
And that is the teaching my dears,
that is the teaching.
And that is the medicine.
And that is the wisdom.

I am getting old now. My body has been shedding its husks.
It is weakening.
My soul too has been shedding its husks.
And it is strengthening.
I am becoming more powerful
with each passing year.

Each year a veil is shed.
Each year my inner light is growing stronger,
I am becoming lighter and brighter,
more and more radiant.
I am more powerful than ever before.

My heart feels intense joy at each rising of the sun,
and each time I see the light beaming through the clouds at sunset.
Each time I see the brilliant reds of the maple leaves.
Each time I hear the piercing songs of the larks at dawn.
My soul bathes in the soft gold light of spring.
And keenly meets the knowing eyes and smiles of a young child passing by.
And that too is the teaching.
And that too is the medicine.
And that too is the wisdom.

And now, as I age,
as I stand,
bare and ripe and powerful,
I choose again, each day, each moment,
life.

I choose to use my power.
I choose to kindle my spirit.
I choose to keep my fire alive.
I re-find my stubbornness,
the feistiness of the old and the very young.

I seek and open to Awe.
I seek and open to Mysteries
that lie casually strewn around
in simple daily living.

I choose to move in the cycle of time and the seasons.
They companion me.
I speak with my Shaper.
I claim the name embedded within every woman since me,
implanted within our spirits from our very conception.

Chavah, stubborn one,
the Mother of All Living Things.

Lessons

Remember this defiant, soul-vigorous woman.
Remember her fire.

May you stand like the trees, alight in your soul's radiance.

May you dig deeply into your own soil,
discovering new worlds and bringing new visions into life.

May you nestle into this quiet time
and find renewal for your being.

And may the spirit of this woman buoy your own.
That you might clasp your power
and bring it forth,
with feistiness,
into this universe.

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


For Further Reflection, Journaling

1) Mid-Fall, in the Earth

Which images evoke memories of your own?

Colored leaves                              Falling leaves                                     Change
Darker outside                              Colder                                               Dreary
Planting bulbs for spring                 Fire                                                   Decay
Transforming                                 Last Hurrah                                       Bare tree limbs
Majestic-regal                               Raking leaves                                    Cleaning gardens
Stocking up                                   Readying for storms                           Apple Cider
Apples, gourds, pumpkins             Shedding that no longer needed

2) Akrav, Scorpion, in the Skies

What images resonate for you?

Digger of the depths                         Poisonous                             Sharp
Stinging                                            Earth-bound                         Traveler
Dangerous one                                 Sand                                    Crawling
Feisty                                               Unpredictable                       Small
Bold                                                 Brave                                   Determined

3) Quieting, in the Soul

What symbols resonate for you this year of your life?

Resting after much movement             Stocktaking                        Quieting
Lying still to feel, listen

4) Take out a photograph of a woman in this phase of life, ages 80-89
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 80-89

Age:  Date: Ages of Parents: Significant events in the world,in life that effected you:
80_____________________________________________________________________
81_____________________________________________________________________
82____________________________________________________________________
83_____________________________________________________________________
84_____________________________________________________________________
85____________________________________________________________________
_
86_____________________________________________________________________
87_____________________________________________________________________
88____________________________________________________________________
89_____________________________________________________________________

Thematics, patterns I notice in this time of life:

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

6) Challenges of 80-89 years of age

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

Personal health challenges                             Changing energies                  Changing Desires
Fearful at times of the future                          Economic stresses-fears            Friends moving Friends ill-dying                                            Illness of Spouse                     Death of Spouse
Depression                                                  Descending, decline                  Lack of mobility
No longer driving                                         More vulnerable                      
Loss of Independence                                 Navigating with adult children

7) Gifts of 80-89 years of age

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

Inner vitality                                       Fierce with aliveness                Rambunctious
Aware of mystery                               Inward                                    Thankful
Have perspective on life                     Patience                                  Reflective
Solitary                                              Wisdom gained                       Slower moving
Softer                                                 Crusty                                    Live well-deeply
Impatient with nonsense                      No need for pretense              Being oneself
Following my own tune, rhythm, interests                                         Learning new things      

What were-are your hopes for this time of life? Your fantasies for yourself?

What were-are your fears-concerns for this time?

What feelings-awarenesses rise in reflecting on the above?

Thinking about your mother and/or your father at this ag or other family members-friends-what awarenesse rise? what did you learn from them about approaching this age?

What was your best experience at this age?

Most challenging one?

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 eighties
80: L'Gevurah: Power

In what ways do you see yourself as now being in your true possession of power?

In what ways do you connect with the image of Moses at this stage of his life?
Leading his people out of Egypt, climbing Sinai to receive Torah, becoming illuminated from his spiritual relationship with the Holy, times of spiritual power?

Photographic Credits

First photograph: portrait
All other photographs except the last: Frank Dobrushken
Ninth photograph: scorpion from Stupid News Stories-Political Roast photos on Picasa Web, Creative Commons. Scorpion.