Sukkot- A Place of Our Own
Jewish holidays are multi-layered. They recall our history and speak to current times. The cords of ancient ceremony entwine with modern day. Religious practice has been enhanced with a psychological and wider spiritual dimension which moves us from only a communal to a deeply personal encounter. These meaning-making additions create a relevancy to what we experience far from the sands of our lost Temple. This has created a multi-faceted dimension and significance to celebration that we can access and step toward each month.
Tishrei is one of the richest months for this, and Sukkot is also the most physically robust when we can feel our history join with the present. Connecting to the past converges with connecting to our own journey.
We build a sukkah and take our meals, if not live in it. This temporary house recalls what our ancestors did in Temple times when they made their yearly pilgrimage. They would remain there for several days. Many had long journeys, so it only made sense to bring a temporary structure much like today when we camp.
Sukkot is the chance to create the house, spiritual and sometimes otherwise, that you want. It is an energetic blueprint. We have come through Yom Kippur cleansed and ready for what is to come. This is the time to cast your dream. Begin to create. Shake it into actuality with the lulav and etrog ceremony. The Sukkah is the structure and the ceremony of the lulav is the energizing force that animates and brings Sukkot to our lives. Ushputzin-Inviting our ancestors in to our succahs each night is a powerful connection to help us and remain connected to the community and history.
If you do not have an actual outside sukkah it doesn’t matter. You can create this in your heart and mind, you can draw it, you can imbibe your home with the spirit, or for some of us, you can bring your Samhain decorations and decorate with intention. The Jewish new year may be closing but the Samhain veil is just beginning to sway. We still have work to do.
We begin in Zier Anpin-the sfirots of emotions, Yetzirah-the world of Formation of the physical, Ruach-the breath of animation. This is the world that forms our emotional landscape
We begin with what we are feeling, what we want to shift and where we came from. Our emotional. What state are we in. What is our emotional state after the High Holidays? Have we let go of what we no longer need, have we begun to open to what can be after all of the self-examination and self-inquiry? We begin where we are.
Next is Malchut-the sfirot of our physical world Assiyah—the world of this plane Nefesh-the animal aspect of our soul. This is our grounded, physical world
Then we place this in the current moment, the real world. This is not the place of the past or the future. This is the place of our present truth. Feel your feet on the solid ground. This is your outer landscape, the world that we live in together. This is where dreams manifest. Breathe in the verdant power of the present
Then to Chockmah and a glean of Keter-the highest sfirot of knowledge that touches the spirit hole toward the Divine Atzilut-the highest world of the Divine emanation Chaya-the highest level of the soul. Here we connect to the big ‘why’, the highest source of knowledge
And exhale your self-awareness. Let your breath illuminate your path to the highest world of the Source of All, the place and face the cosmic way to knowledge. Feel the abundance of expansion of consciousness.
Finally to Binah-the sfirot of understanding Beriyah-the world of creation Neshama-the soul of the spiritual. This soul comes to us for Shabbat. We call it to us when we light the Shabbat candles. This is the realm of understanding and wisdom in the realm of archetypes.
And end in the world of understanding. This is what informs what you do moving forward. This is the potency and energy that contains you. Understanding is plush with. Understanding moves propels us. It energizes us. Understanding isn knowledge in action and is informed by compassion and morality. This is wisdom. And wisdom is what we need to walk with.
We begin in the world that forms our emotional landscape
We bring this down to the more grounded world to grow and heal
We connect to the big ‘why, the higher source for deeper support of our souls
We end in the realm of understanding and wisdom in the spiritual realm of archetypes
Lamed is in the middle of the alphabet. It is a pivot and a place where we purview our lives and have a full view of our life landscape. We can see all perspectives, but we must remember to turn and look. We can gain a panoramic understanding. Lamed mean to teach and to learn. We can share our stories and receive other’s stories. We can learn how truly connected we are while also seeing our uniqueness. Lamed is also the first letter of the word ‘Lev’ which means heart.
Peh is the letter that created Venus. It also has to do with speech and the freedom it can offer and the freedom it can take if used unwisely and without compassion and discernment. Speak your love with generosity and speak your dissent with tempered thought. Take your space.
The fixing for the month is Coition. This is about merging and joining. This month we merge with the Source of All and with ourselves, others and Nature.
If you shake your lulav and hold your etrog with this in mind and heart,
you will truly shift your world.