In the longstanding tradition of mystical Jews and lifestyle publications, we bring you New Moon Readings. They aren’t fortune telling or magic, and they’re not about luck or a mysterious power. They draw upon on the wise monthly themes of the Hebrew calendar, the influence of the solar system on our daily lives, and, sometimes, totally pagan prognostication tools (tarot!) to guide us.
Av is the fifth month of the lunar calendar year. According to the Kabbalistic Book of Formation, this moon is dedicated to enhancing one’s hearing, in its capacity to be a vehicle for understanding.
Traditionally, the month of Av is divided into two distinct parts: destruction and profound mourning with the waxing moon, which yields ashes from which love and lasting intimacy are birthed as the moon wanes.
The month of Av reminds us that we can either be consumed by our own projections and ideas of the way things should be or we can turn toward the truth, however challenging, and hear what is being offered and communicated to us. In choosing the latter, we exercise presence of being in support of nurturing a path based on truth and compassion.
I find myself drawn to black holes in common life— painful, complicated, shameful things we can scarcely talk about at all. The art of starting new kinds of conversations, of creating new departure points and new outcomes in our common grappling, is not rocket science. But it does require that we nuance or retire some habits so ingrained that they feel like the only way it can be done. We’ve all been trained to be advocates for what we care about. This has its place and its value in civil society, but it can get in the way of the axial move of deciding to care about each other.
Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability— a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions.
This Av, offer your hearing ear and practice generous listening. You may be surprised at what arrives when your assumptions melt away.