Rosh Chodesh Adar began Thursday, Feb. 15. We know that during this month “our joy increases.”
Does it? Does this miraculously happen on its own, or are we required to take some action?
We know we’re creeping toward spring in the next few weeks. The days offer us longer hours of sunlight, and the temperatures rise.
Those who suffer with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) from decreased sunlight begin to catch a break. But feeling a depression lift somewhat is a far leap to experiencing joy.
The new moon of Adar kicked off a solar eclipse. During a regular new moon, the moon passes between Earth and the sun, but a solar eclipse new moon is more powerful because it darkens the sun.
Eclipse season happens twice a year, usually just under six months apart. Each of the two seasons lasts about 34 days. During this time, mirroring the eclipses themselves, things are hidden, then revealed.
Many great writers have dealt with this theme.
Edmond Rostand wrote “Cyrano de Bergerac” about a man who spoke through another man to profess great love to the woman of his heart. William Shakespeare, in the iambic pentameter of the famous balcony scene, wrote of love divulged when Juliet tells Romeo: “Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face; else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek. For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.”
Focusing on things hidden and revealed, some people are more comfortable being seen and expressing themselves on a grand stage, while others only emote when hiding in the shadows or behind a mask. Sometimes they hide behind a gun.
New York astrologer Anne Ortelee speaks of the cosmic effects that influence patterns of behavior here on Earth. In her report for the week of Feb. 11, she said that, sadly, the energies revealed a likelihood for a shooting in the week ahead. She also spoke of aspects involving “letting go of things that are dear to you, and perhaps the loss of an important relationship.”
She doesn’t call herself a “predictive astrologer,” but her reading chilled me when the school shooting of Feb. 14 took place. She references what’s hidden and what’s revealed in the astrology of our connection to the cosmos. “Above as it is below.”
It’s fitting that the eclipse season, in the month of Adar, coincides with the story of Purim and Queen Esther. Those themes also revolve around things hidden and revealed but result in great celebration.
The joy in the Purim story comes from the strength and power of Esther to assess the situation, hide the fact that she was Jewish, calculate the risks, and reveal her secret with exquisite timing and grace, saving the Jewish people.
Our current world still struggles with power, anti-Semitism, violence and the objectification of women. Technology expands our lens and outreach but makes us privy to greater pain and evil. It steals our time and obliterates connections to soul and Hashem.
Where can we find our joy?
I believe the answer lies within meditation and prayer. We can explore the depths of that inner well to find peace in just being. To sit and track breath as it moves in and out of the vessel of the physical body heightens awareness to thoughts and impressions that flow from Hashem through our souls. It allows outer chaos to settle and dissolve into peace, clearing the pathway to joy.
All that’s hidden is revealed so we can act or ignore. We receive inspiration as we align with Hashem, even if we’re unsure of the action to take. It’s a continuous process of flowing through darkness into light and back into darkness again.
Meditation focus: Quiet yourself, and be still in darkness. No lights. No candles. Be there with your breath, your heart and Hashem. Sit in silence.
Ask what would bring you joy, and listen for the revelation. Then take action on that. The world needs each of us to take this challenge in Adar to continue our work of tikkun olam (repair of the world).
Be joy. Spread joy.