Happy Elul, the Hebrew month that precedes the Jewish New Year.
Jewish tradition teaches that the name of the month, אלול ELUL, is an acronym for אני לדודי ודודי לי Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li, a phrase from the Song of Songs, which translates to “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is Mine.”
This month, the veil between the Human and the Divine is thin. S/He is so accessible to us (as God/dess always is but this month, WE may feel that accessibility with greater ease.) The rabbis would say that in Elul, “God is in the Fields.” This is in contrast to the High Holy Day liturgy that puts the Divine on a throne, high above us, crowned in glory.
I imagine a benevolent royal in ancient times, riding from farm to farm this month and dismounting from Their horse to talk to Their subjects, ask how everyone is doing and what they need. In Elul, the Sovereign comes to us, rather than the people travelling to and prostrating before Them.
Over the years, my analogy for this closeness has evolved. I offer you these two Elul poems and an invitation to imagine what this visit and this opportunity for Divine connection might look and feel like to you.
So, Goddess, You are here, dancing with me in the field.
I pray to receive You.
Help me to be aware of Your nearness.
To notice You passing by my humble home
on Your rounds through my city
Help me to see You clearly.
With open heart-eyes.
To catch a glimpse of Your glory.
To feel that I am not alone.
I want to know a personal connection has been made
so next month, when I sit/lay prostrate/rise up at Your feet
in Your throne room
I'll know You're looking out for me
listening for the sound of my voice in prayer
ready to answer me
with a wink and a nod that says,
I remember you.
I've got you.
This year will be a year of life, movement forward, sweetness and joy.
Yes, I know you from the dancing-field.
I remember you.
Thanks for coming to My party!
Let's have a drink after the formalities are over
and you can tell Me how everyone is doing back home.
(Not that I don't already know but I like to let you share.)
I am fantasizing about our New Year's eve after-party and I lose my place on the page.
But it's okay.
I can close my eyes and savour Your loving attention
and I'll find my way back to the words, the path
Where everything is in balance for even this moment
and everything is this prayer
and We have returned to each other -
I at Your feet and in Your heart
Your voice inside my head and my heart.
In throne room, in sanctuary, on the dance floor, at the kitchen table
You receiving me and I receiving You.
This year, I'm thinking about Goddess at my kitchen table, having tea with me and catching up. She is a good listener.
I can kvetch and also share what I'm so excited about it scares me.
She gets comfy, holds the baby for a bit, kisses her head. She tells me We done good.
When our teacups are empty, she brushes cookie crumbs from her chin and rises to go.
I promise to keep in touch.
She promises to wink at me from Her throne, next month, where she'll be all dressed up and crowned - surrounded in pomp and circumstance - but still just Her, she reminds me. We agree that it's a good show every year, worth checking out.
She's out the door in a flurry of swishing, colourful robes.
The baby squawks and bangs on the table.
I put the teacups in the sink, humming Her latest tune.
I am planning some intimate, in-person High Holy Day experiences! Email me if you’d like the details.