Excerpt from the Peeling a Pomegranate Rosh Chodesh Guide for Cheshvan.
Cheshvan is often called “mar cheshvan,” which means bitter Cheshvan. The month has no official holidays and also, traditionally, marks events such as the biblical flood and the death of Rachel the Matriarch. There were also other historical tragedies this month, which add to the name such as the recent assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish Israeli extremist.
The work of the Mekonenet is to make us remember, which is in direct contrast to the meaning of the Manasseh, the tribe associated with Cheshvan. Manassesh comes from the word meaning “to forget.” The Mekonenet makes us remember things we’d like to forget. She opens our eyes to pain and suffering. She is Rachel weeping for her children Israel.
The month is also associated with the uncomfortable transformative power of death. The tarot card associated with the month is the Death card, which represents transformation. The letter Nun is associated both with the Death card and the month of Cheshvan. In my own explorations the letter nun has the meanings of Vibrant Faith, Confidence, Transformation – Process, Song without Words. All of these things are tools of the Mekonenet.
As Autumn begins to move into winter we watch the world around us follow this cycle of transformation through death. Here in the Mid-Atlantic United States, the leaves are turning and falling. Through them we see the working of Cheshvan, watching new life emerge from the past.