Cattle: Symbol of Elul

Elul is a month of preparation for Rosh Hashanah — at least in modern Judaism.  It’s interesting then, that the first of Elul is the “New Year of Cattle.”  In ancient Israel it’s the time when the cattle were counted and tithed.  Cows are mentioned from time-to-time in the Tanakh and other scripture — think about…

Elul: Rituals and Activities

Some practices and rituals to try out or adapt during the month of Elul. Consider the Hermit card of the tarot and the message of Elul.  What private journeys must you take before you are ready for the new year?  What truths must you seek out?  What hidden things must you illuminate? Connect to the…

Elul: Tarot Card: Hermit

In Av we explored the meaning of Strength.  Now in Elul, we must find the strength to Journey alone.  Elul is a month of private reflection and inward turning.  We turn inward, so we are ready to stand in-front of our community at the Days of Awe and state our case to be written and…

Av: Rituals and Activities

Some practices and rituals to try out or adapt during the month of Av. Tarot Card Consider the Strength card of the tarot which shows a woman in control of a lion or a woman holding up a pillar.  What does each of these say about the power of the a wise woman?  What does…

Av: Tarot Card/ Strength

It’s very interesting to me that the months of Av and Elul, I have in previous years assigned different cards and/or Netivot.  In theory, I’ve been using the same system for several years — but for some reason these months were reassigned. I don’t think there is any one system, so I could simply make…

Shimon: Tribe of Av

Shimon, also known as Simon and Simeon, is the second son of Jacob and Leah. His name alludes to the word for “hearing” in Hebrew, as Leah said in Genesis 29, “because the LORD hath heard that I am hated, He hath therefore given me this son also.” His story is often one of the wielding…

Eyes: Symbol of Tammuz

Tammuz is another one of those months with no holidays, except for a minor fast, and no real practices associated with it.  At least not any I’ve found.  This makes a lot of sense when you think of the Jewish wheel of the year in relationship to agrarian cycles.  The summer months are when there…

Milk: Symbol of Sivan

It’s traditional to eat dairy on Shavuot, which begins the first week of Sivan.  So let’s explore dairy for the month of Sivan. Let’s start with the separation of milk and meat in the Torah.  What it actually says is “don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk” (לֹא-תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי, בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ). This prohibition is…

Iyyar: Rituals and Activities

Some practices and rituals to try out or adapt during the month of Iyyar. It’s said that the flavor of manna was like “wafers made with honey,” (Exodus 16:31) so you can honor this and the double portion of manna provided for the Sabbath by being sure to purchase two challah and dipping your challah…

Barley: Symbol of Iyyar

I’m not sure there can be a more potent symbol of the month of Iyyar, which generally falls between April and May, than barley (שְׂעֹרָה). Many of us are disconnected from the agricultural cycles of our world, and especially disconnected from the agricultural cycles that part of Jewish tradition.  But in the ancient world, and…