October Festivals

Amanda Nube

Amanda Nube

“This body is made of earth and gold, sky and stars,

rivers and oceans, masquerading as muscle and bone.

Every substance is here: diamonds and silver, magical elixirs,

ambrosia that gives visions, herbs that nourish and heal.

The foundation of the planet, immortal magnetic iron,

circulating in the blood… Every cell

is an organ of sense infused with majesty.”

-The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, The Radiance Sutras

I’m weaving together strands of verse surrounding the Jewish New Year and the “Days of Awe” as well as preparing for this month’s yoga classes, workshops and a much needed …

YOGA RETREAT: OCT 6th – Find out more HERE: www.healingmama.com/yoga/

We are in the time of the Equinox, the balance of day and night. We are in the time of waking up to the fullness of what the earth has given us this past season and year, time to let the earth rest and recuperate. As we start to see the sunset earlier and earlier, it reminds us of the return to winter time. For me, this time of year always brings up a lot of memories and some nostalgia for autumns of the past here in Berkeley and Oakland. One of the books I’m reading to prepare for this month, is funnily enough called, “This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared” by Rabbi Alan Lew. It is about a process of turning inward and reckoning, and in so doing, coming back to experience life, coming out of our numbness, our slumber, out of the rote or burnt out practice and experience of life. He narrates the journey the soul takes to transform itself and to evolve, the journey from boredom and staleness, from deadness, to renewal.

I will be leading a journey of mind/body/soul preparation for this turning of our seasons, and lives, in  YOGA FOR RENEWAL – ToMoRrow! Information about this 2 hour workshop by clicking this link: www.embodiedjewishlearning.org/ejl-events/2019/9/27/yoga-for-renewal

I know so many of us have felt this staleness, this numbness, this burn out, at some point or in some places in our lives, with ourselves, with our relationships, with our work or social networks, and with the world at large. We have now come to the time of year to shake things up, wake things up, let the dead leaves fall, and step into the Days of Awe, and yoga, prayer, meditation and/or mindfulness practices of eating, sleeping, waking, and relating can be a great source of preparation and reparation!

For those not celebrating the Jewish new year of 5780, maybe this autumn is time for you to engage in preparation for the seeds you will sow in January 2020, just around the seasonal corner!


Tish’ray תשרי, meaning: “It shall be smooth”

Attribute: Intimacy, Sexuality תשמיש tash’meesh

Animal: Snake, נחש nachash, whose quality is Trickster

Stone: Jacinth לשם leshem, whose quality is self-reflection

Herb: Spikenard/ valerian שבלת נרד shee’bo’lehd nehr’d

Zodiac: Scales מאזנים m’az’nayeem

Letter: lamud ל Teach

Direction: North, צפון tsa’fon, “Hidden” “Mystery” “To Peek into the Unknown”

Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shiminei Aretz, Simchat Torah: All of these occur in the moon of Tish’ray.  Miriam Maron writes, “This series of festivals, or phases, starts at the very beginning of the month, unlike all the other festivals of the Hebraic tradition. They begin at the first sliver of the moon, and conclude toward the end of the month when the moon begins to wane. They therefore represent whole new beginnings, beginnings leading to fullness, and then letting go, trusting the process of waxing and waning in our lives…Teshuvah means “return”: return to pristine beginnings, return to the intrinsic perfection of the soul. For the essence of the soul is immune to corruption. Teshuvah is the return to one’s true self, the cutting through of all those outer layers of misguided actions and distorted priorities to awaken one’s true will and desire.”

Sukkot: Festival of Huts

As Sukkot approaches, we enter into our relationship with weather, with the winds and rains coming from any of the 4 directions, and locate our prayers in the other 2 directions of above and below, as well as heart center. We wave the lu’lav (4 species of plants) as a ceremony of tempering extreme weather so that what we just seeded in Summer and Fall is not damaged and is rather supported in growth and unfolding. Many interpretations of why we wave the lu’lav and the signficance of the 4 species abound. According to the teachings of the sixteenth-century Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed, the tightly constricted multi-layered foliage of the lu’lav is a prayer tool intended to constrict the Divine Light just enough so that it does not overwhelm Creation. In Ancient Moon wisdom, Miriam Marin writes, “Waving the lu’lav, then, is a shamanic ritual directed at invoking balance in the Life Force by tempering the Light of Creation sufficiently to enable individuation and life perpetuation, and to prevent the “black hole” of the Creative Force from swallowing up Creation. The act of waving this constricted “light beam” into the Four Directions, Sky, Earth, and inward, addresses the seven sacred “pressure points” of the te’heeru טהירו, the great primeval void into which the Infinite Source emanates its intention to manifest Creation. These seven pathways of Divine Flow are Peace, Power, Wisdom, Life, Seed, Grace, and Bounty… Rabbi Luria’s teaching goes on to describe the sukkah—the temporary hut we construct and eat in during the harvest season—as symbolic of the womb. The ceremony of waving the lu’lav inside the sukkah is then a rite of consummating the [primal] energy of raw intention with the [creative] energy of transformation.”

Have fun with it, y’all!

“The entire Earth is full of Beauty, Splendor, and Goodness” -Isaiah 6

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