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 in honey, on the Shabbat following Iyyar 16th.  
  • Add a rose or rosette to your altar to symbolize the month of Iyyar.  According to Wikipedia (and other sources), the word Iyyar is derived from the Akkadian word ayyaru, meaning “rosette” or “blossom.”
  • On Iyyar 14 take a moment to clear out any spiritual chametz that may have stayed with you past Pesach.  One month after Pesach is the little known holiday of Pesach Sheni, or “second Pesach.”  Links to learn more about Pesach Sheni can be found in the Learn More section.
  • Rebbe Nachman of Braztlav noted that Iyyar is an acronym for Ani Adonai Rofecha, Hebrew for I am G-d your Healer.  R’Nachman felt that this was the perfect month for harvesting healing herbs. Most herbs, and many foods, have healing properties.  Take the time this month to learn about a few and try harvesting them for your own use. This is a great way to honor the craft of the Midwife, who is traditionally a holder of the knowledge of herbal medicine.
  • Think about what you need healed in yourself.  Make a packet of healing herbs and use them in a soothing bath or burn them as an offering.  If you are unfamiliar with an herb, be careful ingesting it or even burning or soaking in it.

Count the Omer:

If you haven’t explored the practice of counting the omer, it’s not too late. 

Give a daily offering of barley groats, available in the bulk food section of many stores, to physically count the omer.  Pick a space outside and give your offering.  The birds may accept it on behalf of G!d(dess). Try using the kabbalistic sephirot associations as you give your offering.

Use a traditional omer counter to explore the 49 steps to freedom.

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Spiritual Focus Activities

Spring  is the season of Earth (עָפָר) within Air (רוּחַ), according to the  elemental system of RK’Jill Hammer.  RK’Jill assigns each season with an inner and outer element.  The outer element, Air in this case, is the element we have in abundance.  The inner element, Earth in this case, is the element we need.   In the Peeling a Pomegranate approach to a sustainable spiritual practice which I developed years ago, this translates to the idea of Earth (Resources) through Community (Air). 

Lag B’Omer doesn’t just mark the midway point in the counting of the Omer.  It is also the gateway between the elements and that means it is time to transition your spiritual focus.  Consider using RK’Jill Hammer’s 5 Souls ritual to mark this transition or creating your own adaptation. 

To honor the biblical name of the month, Ziv, stand in the bright sunlight and say a prayer of gratitude for everything that is wonderful and right in your life.  Feel the radiance and light of Shekhinah flood through you. Try this on Lag B’Omer to to allow the transition in spiritual focus.  Let the sun fill you with a sense of Divine connection and then immediately dance, sing, write or draw to allow the Divine connection unleash your creativity.  If you live in the Balt-Wash area, try taking a “Touch Drawing” class with Angela Raincatcher to learn a new way of channeling that Divine connection into creative expression.

Make an omer counting bracelet. Each day is associated with two sephirot and by weaving a bracelet you can fill it with intention.  This idea comes from Moving Traditions

Build a shrine to the Midwife Netivah of the Shekinah if you need help birthing something or have recently had help birthing something new.  Use that shrine or altar as your Mizrach or focal point for your prayers for the month.