Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan begins Oct. 29 at sundown with two days of Rosh Chodesh. We’ve come through the busy holiday month of Tishrei, just in time to arrive at Cheshvan, often called “Mar” or “bitter” Cheshvan, because of no holidays to celebrate. Personally, I’m glad, so there’s time to rest and digest the work of cheshbon hanefesh, the accounting of the soul, teshuvah, turning and returning to the purity of our spirit, forgiveness, atonement, and the plans we made for change in the year ahead. We need an out breath and a move inward to let that simmer in our souls and reverse the energy from “mar” to “ram,” which means “elevated.”
In our history, Cheshvan is associated with the Great Flood. In energy medicine, floods represent released emotions. The “floodgates open,” refers to shedding tears that can no longer be held back. Tears are not only linked to sadness. Pent-up emotions of fear, anger and frustration can overwhelm us and lead to watery expressions. Some people cry when they’re choked with tears, while others lash out in anger.
This month can be a time of deep introspection. The light of day is decreased, the temperatures cool off and we can pause and breathe. All too soon, the events on the secular calendar, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, with Chanukah on our Hebrew calendar, rev up, requiring our presence and participation. Look at how you typically parcel out your energy during Cheshvan and Kislev. There’s a lot of cooking, eating, drinking, parties, shopping, wrapping, gift exchanges, and an overload of sugar. When the physical system is taxed, it often gets out of balance or crashes.
Cheshvan is the Zodiac month of Scorpio, the scorpion, whose tail is quick to strike. The Hebrew letter is nun, resembling a scorpion with a raised tail. The venomous poison injected into its prey renders the insides of its victim liquid, so the scorpion can suck it out for nourishment. The scorpion’s venom is reminiscent of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Those born under the sign of Scorpio, out of balance, exhibit jealousy, obsessiveness, being power-driven, suspicious, manipulative, controlling and inflexible. Add that to the excessive mix and we can understand how tempers can flare and patience run thin. The positive qualities of Scorpio include loyalty, passion and resourcefulness, wrapped up in the package of dynamic personalities. We all have Scorpio somewhere in our astrological charts, so this month we must ward against being out of balance in this way.
Spend some time looking at your emotions. Are you watery and prone to tears? Do you dam up your feelings until you light the room on fire with your anger? Do someone else’s tears quench the fire? Scorpio is often mistaken as a fire sign due to its passion and intensity, but it’s actually a water sign. Just like fire can be warming or destructive, water can be soothing or drowning.
The ruling organ of Cheshvan is the intestines, linked to the lungs, which represent grief. Waste must be excreted. Fiery Scorpions can retain too much heat as a result of toxic relationships or environments. The default to old habits must be monitored. Water is important to keep the system flushed.
Think about the stressors you had last year at this time. What were they? How did you cope with them? Did your choices honor or dishonor the holy vessel of your body? Did you choose acts of kindness from your heart or out of obligation?
Do something different this year. Delegate, set limits on your food and drink, and create boundaries around how much you do, what you expect of others, and also of yourself.
The current astrology is about structures and cycles that are ending, and choosing new ones to be put in place. January 11, 2020 begins a new 36-year cycle, so we’re urged to flip the “mar,” bitter energy, to “ram,” elevated to begin 2020 in alignment.
Meditation focus: What are the structures around your work, relationships, how you spend your time and energy? What needs to be cleansed and washed away and what changed to allow you to flow downstream with the waters?