Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

Soul Sense

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Nov• 06•11

Not everyone walks around aware of the soul. This month, however, this awareness may be easier to access. Your soul is related to your breath and your smell. In fact, they all are connected. If you are conscious of one, you most likely can be attentive to the other two simply by being sensitive of this awareness.

Make time this moon cycle to breathe and sense a quiet presence that rests in the core of your being. This feeling may be difficult to identify inside of you. That’s ok. Continue the practice of breathing and smelling throughout the month. At the least, you will lower your blood pressure and enjoy the stillness that you may sense. Perhaps, you may even hook into a still quiet voice that is within you. To help you remember this, perhaps you can take minute-long pauses throughout your day. During these minutes, do nothing but breathe and smell as you sense the quiet around and within you.

Again, because of the quiet energy of this month, you needn’t actively do much of anything to reap the benefits of Cheshvan. It’s an easy restful month during which simply breathing and smelling and allowing will provide all that you need.


The Quiet Cheshvan Moon

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Oct• 28•11

The moon cycle of Cheshvan crests tonight and sheds its last light in the final weeks of November (October 29 through November 26, 2011). The focus of Cheshvan is to be quiet and to allow the insights and experiences of last month to deepen and take root within you.

The last moon cycle of Tishrei was a full and intense journey: from acknowledging your Divine purpose and calling straight through to intimate dances with holiness, joy and celebration.

Conversely, the moon cycle of Cheshvan is a month of quiet. It is the only month in the Jewish calendar that has no special holidays. This means that there is no infusion of new insight or awareness. Instead, the focus of the Cheshvan moon is to allow the spiritual intensity of last month to take root in your normal everyday life.


Waning Quarter Moon—Intimacy and Celebration

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Oct• 21•11

The waning quarter moon lessens in intensity though not in affect. These final days of Tishrei are good times to reflect on the activity and heart openings you may have experienced earlier in the month.

Call to Action: Look up at the moon and bask in the glow of insights you may have gleaned. Smile into your heart; sense the awe and acceptance of your unique life, remember your union with the Divine, the connection you felt as you ate meals outdoors, and any enhanced feelings you had of purpose, joy, intimacy, or celebration.

Eleven additional moon cycles follow this most holy moon of Tishrei. Each has a specific area of focus and healing. By following the moon cycles through the year, you may find yourself in a more honest and dynamic relationship with the Divine, yourself, loved ones, and all that unfolds in your day-to-day living. The moon in the sky is your reminder.


The Cantor Within

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Oct• 21•11

We opened our family Torah this week. It was passed down to us from my ninety-nine-year-old grandpa.

Family Torah

My boy’s eyes grew wide.

“Can I read it?” he asked?

“Of course,” I replied, even though he doesn’t know Hebrew.

Here’s what happened: Click here to see the video: Connecting with the cantor within…

Celebrate Your Precious Life–Days of Joy

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Oct• 12•11

Tonight’s full moon begins the second half of Tishrei, referred to as the Days of Joy and Celebration.

So, make the time to celebrate! Look up at the moon—feel yourself within the Divine Unfolding—and exclaim your joy for being alive. Sure, there may be some, maybe many, parts of your life that you hope to change or improve on. But these are not the weeks to think about that.

Look up at the moon. Celebrate your precious life.

Now through October 28 is the time to celebrate the very fact that you’re alive. The extraordinary feat that you are living for another minute, another day, another experience. Many of us are in the habit of pretending we are stronger than we actually are. More independent than is possible. We puff ourselves up to insulate our hearts from the raw, vulnerable, state of being human. We deny our vulnerability and dependence.

I’m practiced at this. It took me till I was forty years old to even admit that I was sometimes vulnerable. The truth, of course, is that I’m always vulnerable—we all are. Anything that distracts me from that truth is an illusion. Still, I have spiritual narcolepsy. I fall asleep again and again. Do you?

As this second half of Tishrei begins, the focus is to stay open to—and, in fact, to celebrate!—the gift and extraordinary opportunity it is to be alive and vulnerable to the Divine Unfolding. Alive exactly as you are right now. No improvement necessary. Celebrating your every thought. Your every feeling. The relationships you have with God, with yourself, with other people.

Call to action: Be outside. Walk, eat, sleep, outside (perhaps in a sukkah). Allow the night’s breeze to blow through your unprotected heart. Invite people to spend time with you. Enjoy yourself. Look up at the moon. Feel the strength of your vulnerability. Celebrate your precious life. Sing aloud.


Full Moon—Sukkot—Joy and Celebration

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Oct• 10•11

At its fullest expression, the Tishrei moon is also called the harvest moon. It lights the night sky as no other, illuminating the evenings and gently stirring you from your warm predawn slumber. Tishrei’s full moon is about joy. Not the joy of happy ha! ha! isn’t this fun, but the source of joy that you are alive. You are breathing and living. You are fortunate to be engaged in relationship with God, yourself, other people.

During this time of the moon, many people build a sukkah (a three-sided structure with a roof of palm fronds, branches, reeds, or bamboo) to remind themselves of their ultimate dependence on God and the environment. Vulnerable to nature’s elements, they joyfully celebrate that life is both fragile and resilient.

Call to Action: Build your own sukkah, visit someone else’s, or simply be outside as much as possible on the full moon and for the week following.  Invite people to share a meal with you. Stare into the heavens. Feel the brisk fall air against your skin. Celebrate the joy and privilege of being alive.

Hooked into Pure Holiness

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Oct• 07•11

The Tishrei moon grows in intensity for ten days, after which the infusion of light shifts from purpose to holiness.  On the eve of the tenth of Tishrei, as the sunsets, you touch the deepest part of your soul. You are in contact with the Divine in a way that you typically feel only at the most miraculous of times. Such as the undeniable holiness that allows a mother to pick up a 1,000 pound car to save her trapped child, or when you are standing beachside at dawn beneath a miraculous pink-hued sky and suddenly whales breach across the horizon.

At extraordinary times like these—and on the tenth of Tishrei—you are hooked into pure holiness. You experience holiness directly in your body, blowing past your emotions and intellect so that without interference you are moved by something larger than just yourself. Typically, this level of purity and holiness may take you by surprise. But on the tenth of this month, you can expect it.

Call to Action: Mark your calendar. Whether you are formally participating in temple services or ritual, make an appointment with yourself to have a direct and personal conversation with God. Connect with your breathing. Look around you and acknowledge the color of a flower, the miracle of strength in your body, the community that surrounds you. This is the holiest of days. You are encouraged to say aloud to the Divine any and all requests for the coming year that spill from your heart.


Happy New You—I mean, Moon!

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Sep• 30•11

The Tishrei moon cycle runs from September 29 through October 28. It is filled with more holidays then any other month of the year. To stay in close connection with yourself, God, and the holiness that surrounds you, use each phase of the Tishrei moon as a cue.

Know that whatever it is you are doing during the moon cycle of Tishrei—whether your actions are intentionally holy or focused more on the mundane—it is being noted in the heavens and accepted. Your coming year is being reviewed, determined, and set into motion.

When the new moon of Tishrei crests in the sky, we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of humanity. So, wish yourself a sacred happy birthday. During this phase of Tishrei, you receive an infusion of energy that specifically celebrates you. Be reminded of your unique purpose, and feel it move deeply within you.

Call to Action: Ask yourself, where are you? What is the reason for your unique existence? Make time at the start of this moon cycle to connect with yourself, the Divine spark within you, and the purposeful direction of your life.


Elul’s Final Four

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Sep• 23•11

The final four days of Elul are a time of intensified forgiveness, compassion, and healing.  Between now and sunset on Wednesday, carve out time to breathe, feel within yourself, and act. The gates of compassion and forgiveness are beckoning. Be willing. Be brave. Walk through them.

Forgiveness crawls along
soul chambers
yearning to find
secret doors, cracks, rusted locks,
access to outer worlds.

Whisper, cry, moan, plea, write.

ancient combination:
Thirteen attributes of mercy
break open the dawn,
shed light and warmth,
compassion and healing

Even the darkest, dank,
shriveled, frightened
out-of-my-mind recesses
that only I—and God—know
ever existed,
still exist.

Before and after transgression,
with bowed head &
longing heart.
Brave encounters
lead to dissolution
—sometimes resolution—
assured forgiveness,
and peace.

The Shaken Snowflakes of Your Heart

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Sep• 18•11

Elul is like those water filled dome toys that fascinate all children.  Each time small hands shake the miniature vacation scenes within, floating snowflakes suddenly appear everywhere.

During the Elul moon, it’s as if the Universe gently (or not!) shakes up the issues settled in our hearts. In these final weeks of Elul, open your perception even more to recognize the small residuals of issues floating all around you. If you grasp at them, they may disappear like melting snow. Instead, allow them to float within and around you. You may be surprised that flakes of long forgotten experiences still stake out territory in your heart. Others may be familiar, here for review after being set aside from relentless pursuit years ago. Some float by casually, so subtle and soft that you may miss their stirring.

According to the Kabbalistic book of Yetsirah, the healing area of Elul is action. This means that whatever action you take, healing occurs.  Be aware, however, in Western culture, action nearly always is equated with speed and change. Truthfully, the possibility of action is vast and not necessarily hurried.

Action may include: Asking; Seeking; Writing; Feeling; Talking; Holding; Learning; Listening; Smiling; Praying; Crying; Silence; Caring; Being; and more.

Don’t be quick to do anything. Yes, Elul is a moon of healing action. It is also a moon of deep compassion. Be as soft and gentle in your actions as the snowflakes floating around you.