Ink, oil and oil pastel on paper 151/4'' x 15''
Shevat: I Choose Life, I Choose to Be Here
Shevat is the eleventh month in the Hebrew calendar.
Shevat is a month related to water, the essential element of life. It promises a slow softening of winter as the day lengthens and the earth awakens.
All things awaken when you embrace life - when you consciously choose to connect to your authentic life. Shevat promises that we will experience great happiness in this connection and that choosing life, choosing to be here, is a righteous act.
Tevet: Release Guilt, Receive Acceptance
Tevet is the tenth month in the Hebrew Calendar.
Guilt, and the fear it can create, can result in self destructive anger. In Tevet we are given the spiritual strength and wisdom to deal with self destructive anger. If we answer the call to “release guilt”, we effect a healing that releases fear and anger as well.
When working with the energy of Tevet I found myself drawn to the Sefirah of Gevurah, that of strength and containment, (for more about Sefirot and their meaning go to the Sefirot Series on this web site). I envisioned the container of the womb, a strong muscle, holding my guilt, fear and anger. I trusted this “container” to have the power to both transform these aspects and the ability to discern when and how to release them, making room to receive.
Tevet: Release Guilt, Receive Acceptance
In November of 2009, I decided to create a series of paintings that would connect to the passage of time, be enriched by spiritual textual study, involve the practice of intention, and work with rebirthing affirmations. This has been my approach to other series, such as my paintings for the counting of the Omer (see my Omer series 2009 & 2010). In this new project, I wanted my intentional painting to reflect my journey over a longer period of time. I therefore decided to paint one painting for each month.
I began the month’s work at the new moon, which marks the beginning of each Hebrew month on the Jewish calendar. I read and studied many different sources, not exclusively Jewish. I let whatever I read call out to me, without judgment and in the moment. I let myself notice what resonated with me. Then I read through the 100-plus rebirthing affirmations that I have used in my work over the years, settling on an affirmation I felt to be connected with the month. The affirmation I chose become part of the title of the painting. Each month I was able to let this study, as well as the practice of intention and affirmation, guide the painting; the titles themselves became a form of meditation as I painted.
I proceeded to paint the way I always do. First, I choose paper, selecting or creating a size and dimension that called to me. Then I stained the paper with permanent ink, again using a color or a layering of color that called to me in the moment. I began with the color that is associated with the month according to Kabalistic writing, even though the end product did not necessarily reflect those colors. I then began to paint, using primarily oil pastel, my hands, brushes, rags, linseed oil and turpentine. When I was done, I was done; this process took no more than the month and may have taken only a few days.
In this blog, I will share one painting a month, beginning with Kislev (covering part of November & December). I will post the last painting in the month of Cheshvan (October - November, 2011). During the study period, I wrote down some of the thoughts/words/images that called to me or resonated with me as I read and reflected. I will share these "writings" in the blog; they reflect my own ruminations as well as the sources cited. They will be shared in a very simple form, and I welcome your response.
The first Painting, Kislev: Dissolve Loneliness, Affirm Life, is posted below.
151/4 x151/4 inches
Kislev: Dissolve Loneliness, Affirm Life
Kislev is the 9th Month in the Hebrew calendar. It is considered a month of dedication, as reflected in the celebration of the holiday of Chanukah when the Holy Temple was rededicated in Jerusalem. In my study I began by focusing on the sense of security and trust that comes from creating sacred space and on the energy of dedicating oneself to that creation. In nature, as in human life, this time of year is a time of darkness and of light returning in the darkness. It is a time in which the anxious nature of separation is palpable. The experience of feeling separation can lead to a sense of loneliness, and loneliness can take away from the joy of living, leading us to devalue the gift of life. In this quiet month of resting, of being in the darkness, a sense of tranquility can ultimately return. Security, trust and confidence are possible if we dissolve loneliness.
With the work of this month, I dedicated myself to dissolving loneliness and affirming life. I committed to working from the belief that each of us can choose the sanctuary that comes from not to feeling separate, we can choose to know we are not alone. From this intention I created the painting Kislev: Dissolve Loneliness, Affirm Life