What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year, and it began last night at sundown. Unlike the secular New Year’s celebration, which mostly invites drunkenness, wedding proposals and resolutions that are quickly dropped, Rosh Hashanah has some beautiful themes, and you don’t have to be Jewish to engage them. Although I am not as religiously observant as I have been at other points in my life, this holiday holds deep spiritual significance to me, and I wanted to share some Rosh Hashanah reflections on how you can use the energy of this time of year for your own growth and as a more sexually authentic and empowered being.
Why is it a Different Day Every Year?
The scheduling of Rosh Hashanah falls on the first and second days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, so it doesn’t line up with our Western (Gregorian) calendar. I did not know this until recently, that this particular day is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first human beings. What if it could represent our birth, as unspoiled perfect humans?
Themes of Rosh Hashanah
Releasing Our Past
On the afternoon of this first day of Rosh Hashanah, many Jews participate in the ritual of Tashlich, which involves symbolically casting off their sins. People gather near a body of water, often a river or a pond, and recite prayers while tossing pieces of bread into the water. As the bread is carried away by the current, it represents the act of letting go of one’s sins and regrets and starting anew. I don’t really believe in sin anymore, however this theme of letting go of our past, and our judgments touches me. And where in our life do we have as many judgments of ourselves and others than in our sex and relationships?
It’s a time for reflection, introspection, and renewal. We are encouraged to forgive those we feel have harmed us, own our own sins (ie mistakes) from the past year, and seek forgiveness both from God and from those we may have wronged. This act of contrition is a powerful way to shed the burdens of our past actions and pave the way for a fresh start.
The Wake-up Call
One of the most haunting parts of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the Shofar. Its piercing, unadorned notes are a wake-up call for introspection and self-improvement. The shofar’s blasts are meant to remind us to shake off complacency, break free from the shackles of our past, and embrace the potential for change and growth. The sound of the shofar is a powerful and evocative symbol of Rosh Hashanah
Starting the New Year Fresh
Rosh Hashanah serves as a reminder that no matter what has transpired in the past year, we have the opportunity to begin anew. It is the ultimate invitation to choice. If done mindfully, you do not bring the old you and the old patterns into the new year. During the next ten days, the gates of heaven are considered open, when all your prayers are heard. What will you ask for? What will you demand of yourself?
Here are some ways in which you can shed your past and start the Jewish New Year with a fresh perspective:
- Reflect on the Past Year: Take some time to reflect on your actions in your relationships and sexual expression, without judgment, from the past year. Like a shopkeeper taking inventory, what is working? What isn’t? What gifts have you been hiding? Where are you settling? Where are you giving less than the kindness that you are capable of to yourself and others? What behaviors or substances are you using to numb out your awareness and/or potency? Total awareness is the first step towards personal growth.
- Take ownership: Your life is the sum of your choices up to now. If you don’t like what you have, what could you change? If you have given your power to someone else, painted yourself as their victim, where can you take your sovereignty back? What have you been doing to contribute to the relationship or sex life you say don’t want, and yet still somehow have?
- Live from the Kingdom of We: Choosing for yourself doesn’t mean you seek to harm others, it means being willing to see the consequences of your choices. Not everyone will have your vision of the future, or be able to flow with what shows up. If your actions have created separation or distance in a relationship, have compassion for yourself and reach out and seek forgiveness. Taking responsibility for your actions and making amends can be a freeing and empowering process. What if there are no right or wrong choices? Just choices, and then the chance to make another? And that everything gives you awareness?
- Set Targets: Consider what you want to achieve in the coming year in your relationship to you and your body, and everyone around you. Choose goals that align with your values and aspirations. What can you be and do that will bring those things to fruition? Use the energy of Rosh Hashanah to propel you forward.
- Embrace Change: Change can be challenging, but it is also a source of growth and transformation. Be open to change, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
- Connect with Community: Rosh Hashanah is a time for coming together with loved ones and the Jewish community. Pleasure Evolution can be this community for you, as you shed who you used to be, and embrace new ways of living and loving. The connections you make at our Conscious Party, Five Day Challenges,and other events can provide support and inspiration as you embark on your journey of sexual authenticity.
Rosh Hashanah is a deeply meaningful holiday that encourages us to shed the weight of our past and welcome the new year with a fresh start. Through the various rituals, we are reminded of our capacity for change and growth. At this time of year, will you embrace the opportunity to reflect, seek forgiveness, set intentions, and embrace change, so that you may enter the new year with enthusiasm, energy, and a renewed sense of your own value and purpose? May it be a year of blessings, growth, and awesome juicy sex and self-love for all.