Welcome to the Devotaj Sacred Arts Guide to Counting the Omer.
I first created this guide to help people explore the practice of counting the omer in an earth-based, embodied, witchy way — many years ago for Peeling a Pomegranate. This year (5781/2021), I’m refreshing it for Devotaj Sacred Arts. Each week I’ll release the refreshed guide for that week. Follow along on your own or on Instagram @devotaj_arts.
I hope if you engage in the practice this year, you’ll share your experiences with me and the community in the comments
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Devotaj Guide to Counting the Omer
On the second night of Passover we begin the process of “counting the omer.” Remember that the Jewish day, at least in Rabbinic Judaism begins at sundown.
This 49 day period is what I’ve called before our, “trek in the desert.” It is the time of purification and growth between leaving Mitzrayim and receiving the revelation at Sinai on Shavuot. The practice that many people use is based in kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. This omer-counting practice uses the 10 sephirot, emanations of divinity, also referred to as the tree of life.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to know anything about kabbalah to give this a try! And if you want something totally different, check out the Karaite approach to counting the omer in the resources below.
And remember — this practice started as a physical offering of barley each day — so explore what works for YOU! For example many years I use tarot or the Netivot Oracle paired with prompts created by Rav Kohenet Rabbi Jill Hammer to mark the days and explore the spiritual meaning. You’ll find others also using tarot and cards for counting the omer on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #taromer.
A quick explanation of the Rabbinate (aka Rabbinic)practice is well summarized by the folks at RitualWell.org:
For many people, the “counting of the Omer”—these 49 days—provides a time for reflection and growth, often using the seven “lower” emanations of God in the kabbalistic system as spiritual themes for each day and week.
Week by Week
Each week there is a “lead” sephira” and each of the others is put “within” that lead. You’ll see it phrased as Chesed within Chesed (חסד שבחסד) or Gevirah within Chesed (גברה שבחסד). In this way, you can explore the spiritual meanings of these concepts as they sit within each other — what is the impact when Chesed (loving kindness ) is within Gevirah (strength/boundaries) vs Gevirah within Chesed.
- Week 1: Week of Chesed
- Week 2: Week of Gevurah
- Week 3: Week of Tiferet
- Week 4: Week of Netzach
- Week 5: Week of Hod
- Week 6: Week of Yesod
- Week 7: Week of Malchut
- Kohenet Community Offerings
- Wider Jewish Community Offerings
- Guide to Counting the Omer (Ritual Well)
- Counting the Omer (My Jewish Learning)
- Omer Poetry Prompts (Jewess / Poetess)
- Counting the Omer: The Basics of the Jewish Ritual (Bim Bam Video)
- Counting my Genders: A Neo-Kabbalistic View of the Omer (Keshet)
- Counting the Omer (A Way In)
- Devotaj Omer Calendar Board (Pinterest)
- Omer Calendar of Biblical Women (Telshemesh)
- Omer Calendar of Biblical Women Book (amazon)
- Rami Shapiro Omer Calendar (dropbox)
- Omer Calendar Coloring Book (amazon)
- Laser Cut wooden omer counter (Etsy)
- The ‘Homer’ Calendar (website)
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Adapted from a post originally written for Peeling a Pomegranate (2003-2013) by Kohenet Ketzirah haMa’agelet