New Moon Meditations
By Dr. Terry Segal
Rosh Chodesh Nisan begins Saturday, April 9. The first day of Nisan is a historic day, commemorating the two weeks before the Exodus when G-d showed Moses the sliver of the crescent moon and instructed him about the mitzvah of observing a new month.
From that time, we have followed the commandment to sanctify the new moon. This gift of mastery over time has allowed our holidays to fall within the same season and phases of the moon each year. Nisan marks the beginning of months for the year. It also contains Passover, which falls on a full moon in spring, on the 15th of Nisan, corresponding to April 22 this year.
Ancient practices remain relevant as we take our cues from each month to enrich the way we incorporate Judaism into our lives. The Zodiac sign is Aries; Hebrew letter, hey; ruling planet, Mars; tribe, Judah; sense, speech; and controlling limb, right foot.
Our task during Nisan is to use the energy of increased light for new growth and beginnings while clearing ourselves from negative, warring influences. Nisan, at the head, controls and directs everything that is to come for the remainder of the year. We must be in charge of ourselves, aware of the forces of others and the universal energies.
Although we’ve just come out of eclipse season, which shakes us up with unexpected events, we’ve been experiencing a volatile time. We’re challenged to keep our focus.
Eclipse season is the only time in which an eclipse can occur. It lasts about 34 days and returns again in just under six months, with two full eclipse seasons each year. Each of those seasons has two to three eclipses. A solar eclipse occurs on the new moon, and the lunar eclipse happens during a full moon.
In the zodiac’s fire sign of Aries are the qualities of being enterprising, spontaneous, daring, active, courageous and energetic. We must guard against the negative impulses to be impatient, impetuous, vain and egotistic, which can translate to others as selfish, ruthless and even violent.
This is where we set the stage for the two weeks of preparation from the new moon until Passover. We’re not only cleaning our homes and sweeping away the hidden crumbs, but also doing a clean sweep of our souls to remove any trace of hatred, intolerance or doubt about our neshama, or pure soul essence. These acts allow us to truly be free.
The Hebrew letter hey is a whisper on an outbreath that we can use in meditation to release negativity. With this letter, Hashem spoke the world into being.
Mars, the red or warring planet, rules at this time, so from the new moon to the full moon on Passover, our wars and conflicts are also determined for the coming year. External wars occur in the physical world when our internal wars burn out of control. Especially at this time of political change, it’s important to use this fire to fuel creativity and connection as opposed to destruction and divisiveness.
Nisan’s tribe is Judah, the first of the tribes, whose name means “to give thanks.” The sense of speech is highlighted, and kings rule by the power of their speech. It’s the essence of leadership.
On Passover, we are commanded to fulfill the mitzvah of telling the story of our people. Haggadah means “telling.” This is the one time each year when we also perform the mitzvah of reciting the blessing when we first see the flowering trees.
The controlling limb is the right foot. We can’t just walk on one foot and expect to move forward or be graceful. Only in combination with our left foot, which is featured in the month of Sivan, can we progress.
Meditation focus: Quiet yourself and consider the ways in which you’re still enslaved and those in which you are free. Do you base your decisions each day from a place of love or fear? Declare your intentions, speak your gratitude, gain your balance, and walk in the direction of love and peace.