Rosh Chodesh Shevat and the New Year of the Trees

As we move into 2021, we also have another new year right around the corner. We welcome the new moon and month of Shevat In the Jewish calendar and the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat is Tu B'Shevat or the New Year of the Trees. Though we are in the midst of winter, Tu B'Shevat marks the time when the first almond trees begin to blossom in Israel. Though I am not a fan of making "new years resolutions", I find that setting intentions at the start of each season is meaningful practice. If you're looking for a visioning exercise for Tu B'Shevat to help you set some intentions and goals for this season, check out my Tree of Vision exercise.

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Just as each tender seed and sapling needs soil, sunlight, water, and nutrients to grow up strong, so do each of us in our own ways. Deuteronomy 20: 19-20 says, “for every person is like a tree of the field.” We each need our own kind of fertile ground, warmth, and energy of the sun, life-giving force of mayyim hayyim (living waters) and the nourishing support of parents, mentors, friends, lovers, and collaborators in order to grow. Our roots go back further than we can see or know but influence us in undeniable ways.

In her book Kabbalah Month by Month, Melinda Ribner teaches “that the month of Shevat is a time of conceiving new projects, planting new seeds, and beginning anew.” A beautiful mystical teaching says that the seeds that are planted in the month of Shevat (winter) bloom in the month of Nissan (spring time). We must do what we can to till the soil, water and nourish those seeds so that they truly can blossom forth!

Visioning Exercise Creating Your Own Tree of Vision for Shevat

Take some time to reflect on following parts of the tree and how they relate to each element of your vision. Then, using any medium you choose, paint/sketch/collage/sculpt your Tree of Vision.

1. Roots or the seed are the kernel or source of your vision, dream, hope or goal. Think forward to springtime, and identify one intention or a goal you want to bring to fruition. That’s the root of your vision.

2. The trunk is the support you already have in your life to realize the intention or goal you’ve set. Identify your skills, passions, and resources. These will provide the strength and energy you need to grow.

3. The branches are the connections, help, and collaborators you can reach out to. Identify those people in your life by name. What kind of help will you need to grow your vision?

4. The flowers, leaves, and fruits are the fruits of your labor – what you will achieve? Identify the joy, sustenance, sweetness, and nourishment that will come forth. What will bloom when you’ve achieved your goal?