New Moon Meditations

By Dr. Terry Segal | tsegal@atljewishtimes.com

Rosh Chodesh Iyar begins Sunday, April 19. Iyar is a month of illumination and radiant brilliance. Having come through a cold and overcast winter, it’s finally time for the sun to shine brightly on

Dr. Terry Segal

Dr. Terry Segal

the flowering trees and blaze across the palette of hues painting the sky.

Let’s unwrap the mysteries of our gifts and tasks this month. Iyar is healing, like a ray of sunshine breaking through dark clouds. The hint about that is in Exodus 15:26 in the acronym for Iyar of “I am G-d your healer.” It was during this month that King Solomon established the Temple in Jerusalem so he could take advantage of the highest vibration of healing energy.

Iyar’s Hebrew letter is vav, Zodiac sign Taurus, tribe Issachar, sense thought and controlling organ right kidney. The letter vav is like a connecting pipe between the upper spiritual realm and the lower materialistic world. The trials of the month lie in taming our wild natures that desire to break free in uncontrolled expression. We all must transcend those energies to maintain balance. We can move our vigor upward into the spiritual realms and use that fire or passion as fuel for tikkun olam.

Taurus, an earth sign represented by the bull, can get rooted in possessions and sensualities of the physical body. At their best, those born under this sign are patient and generous with their time and energy. They’re dependable and persistent in the completion of tasks. At their worst, they can be stubborn, insensitive to the emotions of others, and a bit too frugal and possessive of things. The challenges of each sign are there for all of us to master.

We are commanded to count the Omer, which falls in Iyar. There are 49 days, which is seven times seven. During this time, the realms of the soul and the flesh must be integrated through Midot with Kabbalah’s seven attributes of mercy, judgment, beauty, victory, splendor, foundation and kingship. The ruling planet is Venus, which governs physical beauty and sensuality and, with regard to land, rich agricultural growth and abundance.
Issachar is the tribe associated with Iyar and higher thought form, regarded as a scholarly tribe, able to decipher and understand secrets of the universe. They were astronomers and mathematicians. As with composting rich soil, their work was to turn over and rake through the tenets of our tradition to keep it alive and fruitful for future generations. Like seeds that are planted this month, we are preparing ourselves to be ripe and ready during Sivan, when we receive the Torah.

The controlling organ is the right kidney, which is slightly smaller and lower than the left one. When we have two limbs or organs, such as arms, legs, kidneys or lungs, there is a yin and yang flow of energy between them. Yin is feminine, and yang is masculine. In traditional Chinese medicine, the right kidney is yin, and the left is yang. Kidneys create, store, regulate and transform bodily energies and fluids such as qi, urine and blood. The kidneys deal with water, but the “gateway of vitality” between them is the source of our fire. Kidneys perform the task of purification, which is required for us to refine ourselves before the month of Sivan arrives.

So while we desire to burst forth like the juice from a pomegranate seed, we are charged with the discipline of distributing our energies between the lower and upper realms to separate us from the beasts. We can feel our passions, but we must also remember not to lose our minds.

Just before Passover, we lighted a candle in the darkness and searched every corner of our dwellings for chametz. If any was found, we used a feather to sweep it up and dispose of it by burning. That light heralded the beginning of the illumination of Iyar, followed by the clean sweep of our souls.

Meditation Focus

Untamed energies can manifest in the form of fire-breathing dragons of lust, sharp-tongued speech that scorches others, or hoarding possessions. Quiet yourself and consider what thoughts have been ruling you. If they are lower-level notions, practice elevating them to higher ideals. You will be more available to help others in the process of becoming free yourself.