Part V — Summer | Elements of Embodied Judaism

summer´s ripeness
Summer’s Ripeness by Cornelia Kopp used by CC-A permission

Now the wheel of the year has turned to our final chapter, Part VI – Summer, the season of Water within Fire. Summer  is the season of Water (מַיִם) within Fire (אֵשׁ), according to the elemental system of RK’Jill Hammer which my concept is built on.  RK’Jill assigns each season with an inner and outer element. The outer element, Fire in this case, is the element we have in abundance.  The inner element, Water in this case, is the element we need.  In the Peeling a Pomegranate approach to a sustainable spiritual practice, this translates to the idea of Creative Expression (Water) through Divine Connection (Fire). This is the flip-side of Winter where we explore the idea of Divine Connection (fire) through Creative Expression (water).  In the winter we use our creativity to reconnect us to the Divine, G!d(dess).   In the summer, we use our Divine Connection to be expressed in creative ways.  It’s a subtle difference, but it’s an important one.

Let’s start, like we did in Winter and all other seasons,  by diving a little deeper into the elements themselves and a few of the correspondences that create our vision of “Fire” and “Water” in Judaism.

Here are few correspondences for our outer element of  Fire in Judaism:

FIRE (אֵשׁ): Summer, Noon, Burning Bush/Pillar of Fire,  Strength, Issac, RebekahCandles (Sabbath, Havdalah,Yahrtzeit, Chanukiah, Menorah), Ner Tamid, Bonfire of Lag B’Omer, Burning Chametz, Sun, Gabriel, Gold, Priesthood, Divine Connection, Cooking, Aaron, Staves, Burnt Offerings, Letters on Parchment, SalamanderMyrtlePhoenix (חוֹל Job 29:18), Snakes, Spiritual authority, Light, Atzilut, Existing, Chayah (level of the soul), Divine connection

Now let’s look at a few correspondences for our inner  element of Water in Jewish tradition:

WATER (מַיִם): Winter, Midnight, Well of Miriam, Love, Sarah, Abraham,  Silver, Michael, Mikvah, Washing,  Dipping Greens in Salt Water at Passover, Tashlich,  Bat Yah, Moses, The “Whale”, Water libation , Willow Branches, Reeds, Sea of Reeds, Wine, Miriam, Joseph, Noah, Anointing oil, Divination, Intuition, Dreams, Willow Branches, Lotus flowers, Water lilies, Emotions, Leviathin, Darkness, Yetzirah, Feeling, Ruach (level of soul), Creativity

In a sustainable spiritual practice we are looking to do more than have abstract ideas.  We need to be able to work with them in a concrete fashion. To begin bringing these to life in a way that we can use them to guide and enhance our spiritual practice, we should start looking at the holidays and practices that are present in the Summer, and how these elements appear in them.  Our key holidays of the summer are Counting the OmerShavuot,  Tisha B’Av, and the Selichot period during Elul.    Lag B’Omer, I see as the transition holiday from Spring to Summer — especially since it is a holiday where we light bonfires.

There are long gaps between holidays in the Summer.  We experience Shavuot, which is our holiday of very direct connection to the G!d(dess).  Shavuot is the holiday that commemorates the moment at Sinai when all the Israelites heard G!d(dess) themselves — each in their own way — and accepted the covenant that they heard.  The summer is the season to work with the heat and connect directly with the Divine Fires, but we don’t want to burn up.  It must be balanced with the cooling waters, and creative expressions are a perfect way to do this.   Don’t try to be creative, just listen to your heart.  Twirl, spin, sing, dance, paint — whatever G!d(dess) calls you to do.

Questions to Explore:

  1. How do you experience G!d(dess)?
  2. What type of personal connection do you have to G!d(dess)? Do you have one?
  3. What forms of spiritual expression deepen your connection to G!d(dess)?
  4. What forms of creative expression might be outlets for your personal connection to G!d(dess)?  Why?
    1. Visual art: painting, mixed media, collage, fiber art, sand painting, mandalas, calligraphy, bonsai, touch drawing, etc
    2. Written arts: poetry, prayers, prose, calligraphy, etc.
    3. Audible arts: chanting, singing, intoning, etc.
    4. Physical arts: dancing, movement, etc.
    5. Interdisciplinary arts: menu planning, cooking, decorating, gift wrapping, gardening, dressing, ritual design, altar design/building, etc.
  5. What creative expressions of your connection to G!d(dess) have you been resisting?  Why?

At Shavuot listen carefully and see how you can deepen your relationship to G!d(dess) over the summer.  This is the preparation we all strive for before we enter the Autumn and high holy day season.  Use this season to find how G!d(dess) moves through you and what your personal covenant is and how that connects to the communal Jewish covenant?  How do you “choose to be chosen?”  This is the season to gain deeper understanding of that and learn to express what you are called or chosen to be and to do.

I hope you’ll share what you experience by applying this, or just reading about it.  If you want to share your answers to the questions — that’s most welcome!  If you want to share ideas you have or actions you take that is also most welcome.

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