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Sometimes it’s not so easy to transcend the daily grind.
Thankfully, the Torah offers a blueprint for how to live a conscious awakened life. Its stories are archetypal, living and resonating within our souls. Divided into weekly segments – called “parshas” or portions – and read year after year, they ignite our imagination and provide a framework for living. Each year, they are revisited, accompanying us through our emotional and spiritual potential and journey. Each year, we have a new opportunity to grab hold of their energy and, in an instant, renew ourselves. The Torah also punctuates the year with holidays, each imbued with its distinctive lesson that further prepare us for life and illuminate how to lead a value driven, joyous life.
The Jewish yearly cycle is infused with monthly, weekly and daily energies that change throughout the year. Right now, we are in the Hebrew month of Elul, and approaching the High Holy days. Elul, in particular, contains and offers powerful energy for change which we can harness to propel us and stir our inner movement to life. The first day of the Jewish calendar is Rosh Hashana, it’s the date of the birth of the world and so offers opportunity for rebirth to all of humanity.
The gates of heaven are aways open to our desire to reflect and change our ways; during this time of year there is an enhanced possibility, and we can imagine the gates of heaven opening even wider. Before Rosh Hashana it’s traditional to ask ourselves, how can I make this year a deeper and Holier existence? What can I do to impact myself and those around me to live on a higher plane? This may seem overwhelming; however, it’s not for us to worry about the whole task, it’s for us to just show up and start the journey. An ancient Midrash (legend) teaches that each blade of grass has an angel whispering to her “grow, grow.” 1 At all times, we too have angels and G-d surrounding us whispering the call to grow. This legend brings us beautiful images encouraging us to deepen our imagination and connection to a world beyond the everyday.
At the School of Images, we teach Saphire Imagery exercises. A profound and deep practice based in ancient Jewish wisdom and teachings. While based on Judaic practice, Saphire Imagery is open to all regardless of religious or spiritual orientation.
Saphire Imagery exercises allow us to enter the imaginal worlds in a way that creates a dialogue between the subconscious and conscious minds, the realms of inner truth and the realms of outer discernment, between the visible and invisible worlds. Through the breath, each exercise opens the portal to this dialogue and the growth it creates within us. With the power of Saphire Imagery, we can tap into the inner images reflected in the weekly portion and illuminate our Souls.
As we anticipate the riches that the Torah portions will yield, let us enter this portal of the imaginal realm. Take a moment, close your eyes and breathe out slowly three long exhalations, seeing the numbers 3,2,1 and, on the last exhalation, seeing the 1 is tall, clear and bright. Now, imagine yourself starting the new year cycle, as you listen deeply, remembering the angels are whispering to you, and sense yourself beginning to open and to hear the Divine call and message: Grow! Grow!
What do you notice? What do you hear? What do you feel? Know you are on your way!
– Jackie Schiff, Psy. D.
SOI Practitioner and Teacher
1 Midrash Rabba, Bereshit 10:6