By Dr. Terry Segaltsegal@atljewishtimes.com

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz begins Wednesday, July 6. The zodiac sign is Cancer, Hebrew letter is chet, ruling planet is the moon, tribe is Reuben, sense is sight, and controlling limb is the right hand.

Dr. Terry Segal

Dr. Terry Segal

There are no Hebrew calendar holidays to celebrate. In commemoration of the historic events of the 17th of Tammuz, this is a time of mourning. We recall the worship of the Golden Calf, the smashing of the tablets by Moses, and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

For three weeks from then until the 9th of Av, we’re supposed to be introspective rather than ruled by the internal heat of uncontrolled anger or passion.

During this country’s summer celebrations, which include fireworks, food, parties and freedom, the tendency is to disregard somber events on the Jewish calendar. Our task is to be inclusive and bring balance.

The sign of Cancer, represented by the crab, reminds us to notice where we’re crusty and hard-shelled, where we’re soft, how we walk in one direction and then the other, and how we’re sharp-clawed yet also vulnerable.

Cancerians are loyal and family-oriented but, when out of balance, become selfish and overly concerned with hedonistic desires. They’re sensitive but may hide it under a tough exterior.

Crabs live in water, burrowed underneath the sand. The element of water signifies emotion. Both can be tranquil or choppy.

We assess our lives at this time. Tranquil or choppy? Do the waters run deep, or are they shallow and stagnant?

The Hebrew letter chet, translating to sin or transgression, is also in the word chai, or life. Like a hut, it’s perfect for containing emotions.

The moon as the ruling planet represents the Shechinah, or divine feminine. Emotions, intuition and nurturing align with feminine qualities, while power, plans and action are masculine. Both males and females can achieve balance by expressing these energies within controlled boundaries.

This new moon urges us to take care of ourselves. We need our oxygen masks on first to be useful to others. It’s time for rest, sustenance, hydration and emotional care.

The tribe of Reuben, whose root is “to see,” connects to the sense of Tammuz, which is sight. It requires us to evaluate our vision. What do we see? How do we see it? Who shares our views? Who does not?

How do we respond when others disagree with our perceptions? What are our blind spots? We must look at the darkness within ourselves, as well as the light, so it doesn’t rule us unconsciously.

Limiting what we see is a way to exercise self-care. In our daily lives, we’re bombarded with sensory-flooding images of violence and overwhelming hopelessness shown on all forms of media. Seeing just enough to remain informed is up to us.

The media inundate us with sound and imagery too overwhelming to process. As with the sun, especially at this time of year, we must be vigilant about limiting our exposure or it can cause damage.

The controlling limb is the right hand, which we extend to others in a gesture of peace. We show that we are free of weapons and are reaching out to connect. This is also the hand we place on our hearts when we pledge allegiance to our country and the one we raise when being sworn in in a court of law.

This Tammuz, let’s practice being powerful in our self-care and care of others and in pursuit of our goals and dreams. We need clear vision to rebuild, as we have in our past. We need to be able to say yes to new relationships, experiences, business ventures and opportunities and to a new way of looking at our lives.

Meditation Focus

Whether because of politics, violence or advances in technology, our vision of the world has changed. Look outward to see who’s in your circle. Do they encourage your powerful self-expression and success while also supporting you in times of need?

Look inward to see who you’ve become. Then close your eyes to join with Hashem and see who you can become and align yourself with the highest vision.