October 2020 – Cheshvan 5781
After the vibrational recalibration of the High Holidays, we take a dive down into the depths in this new month of Cheshvan. It is often called “Mar Cheshvan,” “Bitter Cheshvan,” because there is a stark contrast between the holidays and relationship building in the previous month of Tishrei and this time of reckoning. This year we are particularly challenged to keep our faith in the midst of the pandemic, the chaotic elections, the fires and floods raging across the country, and our uncertain future.
Now, we come face to face with the personal ingrained patterns we identified during the Days of Awe but also with the institutional structures that no longer fit the evolving needs of our society. This month provides no holidays to relieve the intensity of our own personal journey, and the tension around election outcome only heightens our anxiety.
At his time of Cheshvan 2020, we feel a deep loss, a loss of equilibrium, a loss of clarity and stability, of safety and protection. We are overcome with floods of emotion as we witness the tragedies large and small, personal and global, that trigger feelings of profound sadness within us. We trust that this falling down is part of going forward, that this descent into division is a precursor to a greater unity, that this chaos is a harbinger of a new paradigm that creates justice and shalom.
Yet, Cheshvan is the month of transformation and regeneration, under the water sign of Scorpio. We begin the Torah cycle again by reading the stories of Creation, Noah and the Great Flood, and the call from God to Abraham to leave home and undertake a profound spiritual journey into unexplored inner and outer terrain. Each year and in each generation we reinterpret these messages according to tradition, our own levels of consciousness, our own personal struggles, and the social and political worlds that we inhabit.
I just returned from a solo twelve-hour drive to visit my son, daughter-in-law and two-year old grandson in Boston. Though my body aches and my legs are in knots, I feel an exhilaration at seeing a new generation coming into life on this planet. This new generation will interpret the challenges we face with fresh eyes and a keener sense of smell, (the healing energy of this month), that can sniff out our future direction and move all humanity forward.
This is the time to root ourselves in our core values as we simultaneously connect and align ourselves to the One, creating a sturdy and secure ark for ourselves to negotiate the turbulent waves around us, grounding and sustaining us in hope and trust. We can transmute our fears and insecurities into fuel for our upward movement and support the next generation as it gains tools and wisdom, so together we can right the ship of state and steer a steady course into healing waters. May it be so.