In the narrative of the Creation, the moon is indicated, without any special name, as one of the two great luminaries. Relatively to the sun, it is "the lesser light to rule the night"; and it is to serve together with the sun for signs, seasons, days, and years (Gen. i. 14, 16).
In the midrash there is speculation that G-d repented and madeT-shuva for stating the moon is the “lesser light.”
Jew’s have and continue to use the moon as the marking passage of time. We celebrate each new month on the Jewish Calendar on the holiday called Rosh Chodesh, marked by the day the new moon starts to enter the dark night sky.
Growing up on the Gregorian calendar, my life was not in sync with the moon. I saw the moon as a foreign entity in the universe, and would only acknowledge its presence when it was full because I felt slightly more awake at night.
As I began to grow in faith, I have created the symbol of the sun being a loving fatherly figure,protecting and embracing me with warmth and giving me strength. I only acknowledged the “brighter light” in the sky, until I faced my darkest times and noticed the moon in the sky felt it’s nurturing energy.
In 2019, I was living through a long and dark winter in Beijing, China. My intuition told me that I was ready to return to the states after two and a half years of living abroad and building a Jewish community home but I felt trapped and scared. I knew my relationship with my partner, whom I was living with at the time, had come to an end. Although I had this inner knowing, my external world did not seem to comply with my yearning to leave. I felt trapped in my responsibilities to continue running and funding a community home, to please my partner and continue trying to make the relationship work, to stay loyal to my jobs…
In this place of darkness, I struggled to have faith that things would turn out ok. I was living in the darkness and wallowing in my misery until I looked out my window and saw a big beautiful full moon. I began to pray to her, something I had never done before, believing that she was listening. It felt good to ask for what my heart wanted and felt like my prayers were being heard.
I soon learned they were, when I came back to the states on January 20th. I was returning for my graduate school intensive in San Francisco and convinced myself that I would go back to my toxic situation in China, because I had to. Then the coronavirus news became public, and I began to see the signs that I didn’t have to go back. That I could stay in the states.
During my intensive for my graduate school program in expressive arts therapy, we did a drama therapy practice about a story called: The Story of the Stolen Moon.
The story goes: There was a beautiful harmonious village surrounded by black murky bogs where darkness lies. At night, these villagers were protected by the light of the moon to guide them at night. On the nights when the moon did not come out, the struggling travelers would drown. The moon heard about these nights and came down to the earth with a black cape to disguise her. While on earth, she slipped on a vine and became trapped. In her absence, more and more villagers became lost in the night and a group decided to go on a search to find the moon. They used their torches to guide them and protect them, and eventually saw the little bit of light she had trapped under the rock and saw: “eyes filled with the love of humanity”. The villagers removed the boulder she was trapped under and escaped from her prison and escalated the dark staircase up to the sky with her radiant light everywhere.
When performing this drama, I chose to play the torch and began to realize that I have to ignite my own faith in order to find the light. I began to connect deeply to the moon, and felt its protection and love in the dark night, and knew that I had to use my prayers to light the torch and find it’s guidance.
The moon can be a symbol of our faith: waxing and waning. Living in the darkness, filled with fear and doubt, trusting that there is light in the darkness brings us faith and hope. For me, my faith in a power greater than me is not a constant. I have to continue to remind myself to believe that there is a protecting and loving energy force in the universe, and I am reminded of this when I live in sync with the moon.
The new moon is a time of darkness. Where infinite possibilities can emerge. With this concept, I have learned to set an intention for the upcoming month to remind myself of something I want to develop and grow in my life. As the moon is waxing, I can see the shadows or the obstacles that are getting in my way of my intention manifesting. When the full moon comes, I can witness my intention whole in the sky staring at my face and in my body. When the moon begins to wane, I can begin to let go of striving for this intention and let it live within me naturally.
For this upcoming month, starting this Friday, February 12th, 2021 my intention is to live moment by moment. I will create an art card to remind me of my intention, and keep it at my altar where I do my morning and night rituals. I believe this practice is transforming me, and the transformation practice always reminds me of becoming a butterfly. We as humans have the ability to transform, but it helps to have an anchor in time - which for me is the beautiful moon.
It’s my turn to remember, remember that the moon is an equal light in the universe. It is not less than the sun, and can be a symbol of our continuous struggle between dark and light, between faith and fear, between growing and letting go. We are lucky that it is here, so let's continue to prayer and honor her!
Stephanie Landes is an Expressive Arts Therapist (in training). She is a blogger at wuweiletgoandlive.com
Check out her Artspiration coloring pages and prints on Etsy, link below! etsy.me/38QctkA