By Dr. Terry Segal | tsegal@atljewishtimes.com

Rosh Chodesh Tishrei always begins on Rosh Hashanah, which this year is Monday, Oct. 3.

Hashem blesses Tishrei on the last Shabbat of Elul. Based on the Book of Formation, we address Tishrei’s challenges through the zodiac sign Libra, Hebrew letter lamed, tribe Ephraim, sense touch and controlling organ gallbladder.

We exfoliate the tough outer skin developed over the last year, strip down to our essence, and ready ourselves for self-reflection and reinvention.

Dr. Terry Segal

Dr. Terry Segal

For me, Tishrei conjures images of a jeweled crown and an enchanted journey. Do you remember this from childhood? “We’re going on a treasure hunt; X marks the spot.”

Each year, at the same time on the Hebrew calendar, we take this journey. Yet each year it appears to be different. No matter where we are, conscious of it or not, we hear the sound of the shofar during Elul. It awakens us and signals that we must prepare for what’s ahead.

We are HERE, at the open gate. We may have different starting points each year, but our goal is always to arrive at and stand firmly on the X, the crossroads where we intersect and humbly realign ourselves with Hashem.

At each stop on our treasure hunt, we gather a jewel to place in the crown. I imagine these jewels and their teachings coordinating with the chakra colors. Chakras are the wheels of energy and colored light located in a column at the body’s points of opening.

We actually began our preparation in Elul. We went out into the field to meet Hashem and collect the deep-red first chakra jewel for the crown. It joins us to our tribe and the way we walk on Earth.

Next, we honor the creation of Adam, the first man, on the first day of Tishrei with the orange of the second chakra stone. Then there is Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,” represented by the place of wisdom, knowledge and learning through which we examine our words and actions over the past year.

The color of the gemstone located at the third eye, or sixth chakra, is indigo. Yom Kippur brings the energies down to the verdant, fertile, fourth chakra green of the heart.

After the contemplation of Rosh Hashanah, we experience the cleansing and compassion for ourselves and others. Sukkot brings vulnerability and connects us, at our core, to Mother Nature and her rhythms. This third chakra stone is the citron color of the etrog.

During Simchat Torah we raise our voices in song and celebration. The crown receives its blue fifth chakra stone. Once we’ve arrived at the integration of the head and heart in thought and deed, we align with Hashem and receive the final violet seventh chakra stone.

Libra reminds us to balance the scales of justice. The letter lamed invites us to reach above our personal lines on the path ahead.

The tribe, Ephraim, means “procreation.” It’s a time to balance our masculine and feminine energies to birth our fully empowered selves to heal, achieve, contribute to tikkun olam and progress in the coming year.

The sense of Tishrei is touch. We don’t just touch other human beings with our hands. We can also touch them with our words. In doing either, there’s connection.

This month we become present again. We pray with kavanah, or intention. We ground ourselves, reconnect to our souls, reach out to join with others and realign with Hashem. The goal is to remain as conscious all year as we are at this time.

The ruling organ is the gallbladder. It stores and excretes bile. Bile translates to bitterness that we need to expel by forgiving, connecting and clearing ourselves to begin anew.

Meditation focus: Scan the events of this past year that felt like they were injected with poison. Now draw them up to a head and visualize releasing them. Ask the Angels of Peace to carry the poison away from you. Then fill the empty space with gratitude for all that you have received this past year. Whisper the words “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Hashem.”