Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

The Shock of Tammuz

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Jul• 12•12

Living near the ocean increases my awareness of the moon. I locate it more frequently in the sky than I do when I’m living in the city. Here on island, I’ve been awakened by the moon in the morning; sometimes even in the middle of the night. I’ve been writing and reading about it, meditating on it, and working its powerful presence within me. And still—bam!—without fail, the shock of Tammuz shakes my world every summer.

Most of us anticipate the coming of summer with excitement: more free time, longer days, fun adventures, travel, swimming, barbecues, and more. Right?!

Yet, on the 17th of Tammuz, a couple days after the full moon, all the fantasies of carefree summer fun most likely end up at the beach without you. The heat of Tammuz is the harbinger of challenging times, not frivolous ones. Tammuz begins an inward expedition into the narrow straits of deepest healing, where chambers of concern, fear, breached integrity, and lamentable action open for viewing.

Sometimes the tour of emotion is earth shaking. Sometimes you’re able to perceive it from a tolerable distance. But rarely will you completely avoid it. Tammuz begins a three-moon-cycle journey, which includes the coming moons of Av and Elul, and leads us into the Jewish High Holidays (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur). You may feel the earthquakes of Tammuz emotion as small tremors or as giant 8.9s on the Richter scale. But you will feel them. Don’t despair. Notice with compassionate awareness what arises when you feel the disruptions, fear, and intensity of Tammuz.

According to the Tammuz permutation H-V-H-Y of the four-letter Divine Name, there is a lot of emotional intensity to what unfolds in your life this month. Approach it with courage, steadfast alignment, patience, and trust. What is happening isn’t within your control; but you do have some say in how you feel and breathe your way through it.

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