The Jewish Month of Kislev: Darkness My Old Friend


We need the help of our ancestors, the help of all the benevolent ancestors of this earth. Those who have faced the most adversity have the most to offer us about making resilience beautiful and in alignment with love. I think that is why many have really supported the efforts of Standing Rock. And in the tradition of Kislev, we remember the stories of resistance.

Cedar is a tree of many of our ancestors. The smell, texture, the smoke of cedar are grounding. The sight of a cedar tree eases our eyes with it’s beauty. Even in the cold, cold months it stays green to enliven and brighten our spirits. The energy of the tree is like an ancestor--deep, present, grounded, full of vitality if we chose to tap into it.

This is like the dark. The dark time of year is a gift because it’s so much easier to tap into our own depths in the darkness. Most of the universe is dark. Though our skin is exposed to light and we see an outside world of light - the inside of us is completely dark. Yet that is where most of our functioning exists. Our organs, our brain, our genitals are shrouded, protected by darkness. As soon as we close our eyes, we’re invited into this mysterious, exciting place of dark and imagination.  

My blessing for the collective: May there be a global turning to center Indigenous voices and leadership. May our love of clean water be greater than our love of convience, progress and cultural amnesia. May we wake up to the memory of our heart, which has neurons in it, to use it as our brain.

Card for the Month: Veils (Yiddish: SHLEY-ers)

As we move into the end of the gregorian year and into the darkest time of the year, we’re given the opportunity to face what may have been obscured or hidden below layers because it’s been too painful to look at. However, with the recent election the scab of our dwindling democracy was peeled away and the wound is infected, bleeding, throbbing. 

There’s emotional pain but there’s also the pain we feel in our bodies. This is often a veil to something deeper. The physical pain covers up and hides the spiritual and pain of the world we all hold on some level. This pain in our bodies can also hide from us the beauty and bliss of the world.

Beyond the veil of pain is beauty. For me, my pain gives me an opportunity to feel the beauty of life. (That’s in a good moment. Sometimes I’m like FML for several days of the month because of endometriosis.) We can’t experience joy without pain. There’s an acuteness, a vividness to life I experience after an episode of pain.
Veils are things that obscure something else. I’ve often heard, we are spiritual beings living in physical bodies. So, in this way our bodies are veils but they are also tools, an opportunity to stay tethered to the earth with our physical pain but also with our joy of earthly things. Ah, to have a body, to have sensation, to be alive.