Shvat 2018: Manifesting the Tree Bodies and Tu’b’shvat

The sap is rising dear ones. Can you feel it in your body? Can you feel it in the trees? Happy Tu b’Shvat! Next Tuesday night is the beginning of the New Year of Trees. In Judaism we have four new years within the calendar year-- which means we’re always getting a chance to begin anew and renew our intentions! Or, if you missed one of the new years, you get three extra chances. Thank you Judaism for always having our backs.

Today is a sunny, gorgeous day in Philadelphia. Thank you goddess! The park by my studio has been locked, but today they opened it so I could get away from the EMF’s (Electro magnetic field emissions from mobile phones and wifi) and hug a tree. I’ve been working with the oak tree body/spirit since September and I love this epic beauty that’s home to so many squirrels and birds, insects and earthworms, spores and fungi and all the humans who walk by.

The spirit of oak is grounding, faith-building, and steady. It is helpful for letting go of worries, building resilience in hard times, and is a connector to our ancestors. In Judaism, it is a symbol of strength and the possibility of growth when things have been destroyed.

This time of year we are deep into winter, we’ve been hibernating. This time of rest and going inward gives us a chance to lay down the roots for what will come alive in the spring. I am seriously into this living with the seasons again. Although the Instagram-induced fantasies of sparkling San Francisco Bay water are ever present, I am grateful to remember the gifts of the cold, and the dark.

I’ve found a home, and after being very transient (to say the least) for the last year, this stability is everything. I love falling asleep in a comfortable bed (the same comfortable bed, over and over again, the same comfortable bed), knowing exactly where the tea is kept, being able to host people and not having to worry about MOLD. Simple things.

In this time of celebrating trees I also am focusing my prayers towards Palestinian people whose lives have been tragically affected by the Israeli government cutting down a big source of their sustenance, olive trees.

There is a teaching in Judaism that when the Jews were liberated from slavery and the Red Sea parted, fruit trees bloomed and birds landed in them, singing the Jews into their liberation. This Shabbat is Shabbat Shirah, the “Sabbath of songs” and there is an Eastern European tradition of feeding birds and the tale of crossing the sea is chanted.

Today I am making a donation in honor of healing and Palestinian self-determination by supporting Palestinian refugees with UNRWA. May we soon know the day when we can sing Palestinians into freedom.

I love Cannan, a Palestinian company for olive oil!

I also love this art by Micah Bazant and prayer by Rabbi Brant Rosen.

Forever grateful to Rabbi and Kohenet Jill Hammer for her wisdom in the Book of Days, a constant reference.