What does it mean to be fully alive? To be fully awake? To be fully present to the fragility of the narrow bridge we call life. Is the wild freedom we feel upon being with this bridge fully due to the vastness of the expanse on either side? What does it mean to know underneath the current backdrop of reality, there lives an inherent opportunity to know ourselves fully? How does this allow us to access our birthright of happiness? How does this allow us to harness our ability to give to others?
I love this month because it is now that I can experience the canyon walls of my cracked open heart. In the new space once filled with clinging, limiting bonding I now see cliff swallows making nests and hear a river flowing by horsetail and willows. In this newly carved canyon which continues to grow each day I find that more life can be found and yet less life can be defined. Is this cracking open akin to the ice thinning upon the frozen lake?
Adar is called a month of concealment. What upcoming freedom is hidden in this month? What wondrous life is hidden in the fuzzy, ready buds frozen in place? No divine name is mentioned in the Book of Esther and yet where can we detect its presence? Adar is the last month of the 'days of rain' (yemot hageshamim), the six months we say this prayer and turn inward to examine our spirits. What did you find during this time? Do remember back to Sukkot when you began this phase of your internal landscape journey? Next month's Nissan will begin the six months of the year when we examine ourselves as a collective during the 'days of the sun' (yemot hachamah). We will soon begin our outward journey together across the awakening landscape.This potent time when the garlic bulb lies still underneath the soil underneath the snow, I revel in knowing I have one more sweet moon phase of waning to finish my inward pilgrimage for now and wrap the medicine bundle in such a way that I can approach the boundary of my outward pilgrimage with blueprint instructions handy and present. As the threshold approaches I ask you what gift do you bring from this winter descent? For me it is a little pearl beginning to form from all the muck and rubbing away of layers within the shell.
We can ask ourselves as we read the commandment to wipe out Amalek, what is this that we are wiping out? Or do we invite it to have tea with us and get to know this destructive energy; to discern into where it is wounded? Who/what is Amalek? Is he the ancestor of Haman? Is he a grandson of Esau? If so how do we repair? How do we prevent? How do we treat this part of the shadow?
According to the Babylonian Talmud, this is the month that Moses was born and died. What does this mean for us in our process towards freedom, when Joshua takes over? At this time Jews come together and offer their individual gifts towards the common good. There is a spiritual challenge in witnessing infinite light refracted into various colors of our subjective experience. As Shefa Gold says in her Torah Journeys, “It is only through the dailiness of practice – the repeated touch of the eternal, the persistent effort of the heart, the frequent affirmations of a wider expanse - that we can begin to free ourselves from the trance of our particular drama and enter into the holiness of conscious presence that crowns this world.”
So where does this bring you now and here? As the heart wisdom begins to awaken, the forms are no longer mistaken for the light which they conceal. What is your shadow side and what would it look like to dress like it, embody it, and share it with the world? What are we saying yes to?
Are we saying 'no' to those who treat Jews as poorly. as those who treat women as poorly. as those who treat the earth poorly as..” The grand masquerade ball is a chance to honestly encounter what is. Perhaps these cookies (hamontashen) we give to one another, once claimed to be haman's ear or hat, really are garments of the once oppressed rather than the oppressor. Once the Jew, the woman, the earth is freed then perhaps the oppressor transforms? When his role is removed what is he to be? These yoni like cookies as shared in an article in Lillith may very well be fertility cakes we offer to the goddess, to the presence beyond the male G-d we know. At this age of Gender bending it is worth investigating the line between patriarchy and matriarchy, between the animus and the anima, between the soul and the body; can we find the wellspring of wholeness where the two merge?
As Jill Hammer's Book of Days and Arthur Waskow's Seasons of our Joy helped me to gain a bit more understanding of this loony festival, I also recognize the opportunity here in this season, in this time, in this moment through the rising arc of the sun, the quickening beat of my heart, the fluttering of sleepy eyelids, the wild freedom ebbing layers allow. May you be blessed to feel the increasing joy, the flow of giving, the release of layers, the wildness of edge walking, and the freedom in transcendence through deep presence.