BY DR. TERRY SEGAL/ATJ CONTRIBUTOR//
The Hebrew month of Tevet began on Dec. 3, 2013. This month we will focus on Enchanted Key No. 4 and seek to heighten Sensory Experiences.
In Tevet, the season of winter begins. The tenth of Tevet marks the final fast day of the year, one of four, which commemorates the destruction of the Temple.
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Historically, this month is about altering the Evil Eye of the snake and restoring our vision. Journeying in the darkness of winter, we may encounter the Dragons, akin to snakes, that can turn the eye inward in the form of depression and isolation.
The word, “Tevet” comes from “tov” or good, as in tov ayin, or “good eye.” We must train the “good eye” to see outward, in appreciation of our gifts.
We use the light that lit the Chanukah candles to illumine our path. When we can see the G-dliness present in the world, then we can recognize it in ourselves and in others.
If we are spiritually immature, we may be judgmental and align ourselves with Critical Dragon. It is believed, however, that in the month of Tevet, our souls have the opportunity to grow and mature.
Mastering use of the Enchanted Key for Sensory Experiences allows us to see beyond the petty nuisances of each day and the perceived annoyances of others that separate us from them, ourselves, the world, and G-d.
To begin this practice we must slow down and not only smell the roses, but truly look at them, listen to them, perhaps taste their petals and appreciate their textures. We must also take note of how we feel in their presence.
Whether we experience roses, sunsets, the eyes of a child or those of the elderly, our task is to realize that all of these gifts from G-d are fleeting. Today, right now, may be our only chance to capture these moments and etch them on our souls.
Experiencing the world, alive and awake, through our senses, brings vitality to life. This is a way to correct our vision.
Think, for a moment, about a pinecone. Better yet, go outside and find one. Pick it up and hold it in your hand. Already you are connected to something greater than yourself as you commune with nature and the universal whole.
Study the pinecone. Note which variety you have. Did you know that pinecones are the reproductive parts of pine trees and that there are male and female ones?
Observe the color of your pinecone. What shape is it? Male pinecones are soft and small. Female pinecones are the ones on the ground that have completed their reproductive cycle.
The Canadian Hemlock pinecone is the smallest, measuring only one inch. The biggest ones come from the Coulter pine and are 8 to 16 inches long and can weigh up to 10 lbs. Sugar Pines are the longest ones, growing up to 24 inches.
Is your cone woven closely together or are there spaces in between? Do you know that this reveals the moisture content of the pinecone? Cones are open when they are dry and closed when wet. After the female cones have housed their seeds to maturity, they open so that the wind may distribute those seeds.
When you listen to a pinecone you realize that you don’t hear anything. However, can you recall a time when you walked in the woods or in your yard and heard that crackling sound of a pinecone that had loosened itself from the branch and fell to the ground?
Smell the pinecone. Unless it was purchased at a craft store and coated in cinnamon oil, it may smell fresh and earthy. You certainly wouldn’t think of tasting a pinecone, but have you had pignoli or pine nuts?
They are the delicious edible seeds of the pine. They are quite fragrant when toasted and sprinkled over pasta with garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
When exploring the texture of a pinecone, be careful. Each individually crafted “petal,” or scale, has its own sharp tip, much like the thorn on the beautiful rose.
You might have thought that pinecones have nothing to do with Judaism, Tevet, the evil eye and the darkness of depression. But have you altered your vision to focus on the possibility of seeing G-d’s gifts everywhere and in everything?
Throughout the month of Tevet, from Dec. 3 to Jan. 2, take time to smell the pinecones. Watch the remaining leaves release and twirl to the ground. Feel the crisp night air on your cheeks. Listen to the call of a hawk echoing through the trees. Search out the exquisite perfection in all things and express gratitude from that vibrant, G-d-filled place of goodness, within. Adjust your vision to 20/20, seeing inside and out with joy.
Dr. Terry Segal is a licensed marriage & family therapist, Ph.D. in energy medicine, hypnotherapist and author of “The Enchanted Journey: Finding the Key that Unlocks You.”