by Judy Tsafrir MD
I came to Mayyim Hayyim to consecrate, by ritual immersion, the ending and beginning of a 30-year astrological cycle, the Progressed New Moon. My wish for this upcoming cycle is to embody the Goddess, to remember and honor my Feminine Divinity as well as the Sacredness of all of Creation. I set an intention to relate to my embodied self as a Goddess, deserving of reverence and celebration, and to formally pledge myself to tikkun olam (repairing the world).
It is a most extraordinary and unprecedented time of crisis and polarities on our planet. There is a palpable sense of urgency, uncertainty, and fragility in the air. It becomes clearer with each passing day that we are either going to find a new way of living together sustainably and peacefully, or our very survival as a species is threatened.
Yet simultaneously, evidence of a new paradigm is beginning to emerge, one that remembers our essential Oneness with each other and the Earth. For many there is an increased appreciation of the value and need for ritual, to consecrate human experience through symbolic actions and setting intentions that create a bridge between the mundane and the Divine.
I was surprised to discover that the ancient mikveh ritual, with its Seven Kavanot for Mikveh Preparation, perfectly resonated with my private intention to embody my Divinity and to dedicate myself to planetary healing.
1. Hineni. Here I am. At the beginning of the last Progressed New Moon I was 30 and now I am 60. What a different season! 30 was early summer and 60 is late fall. At 30 I had just moved to Boston for residency training and my three children were not yet born. Now I have lived here for 30 years, am a seasoned psychiatrist, and my children are young adults. I stand at the threshold of my years as an Elder, with all of its joys, losses, and responsibilities. The immersion in the mikveh represents spiritual transformation from one state to another. I recognize that I am not simply an aging woman, but also a powerful Goddess living in a human body.
2. Hiddur Mitzvah. The unadorned body is beautiful. Under the Patriarchy, so many women hate, abuse, and neglect their bodies. I am a Goddess, and I love and honor my body. I do not think I am too fat, or that I look old. I am beautiful and deserving of reverence and impeccable self care.
3. Nekavim nekavim. You fashioned the human being intricate in design. I intend to live with a constant gratitude and appreciation of the miracle of embodiment, to celebrate my senses and the pleasures and wonder of living in a body.
4. B’tzelem Elohim. I am made in the image of God. I am a simple, naked human being who will die one day, but I am also a Goddess living in a Sacred World. This is the central Mystery and Paradox. I intend to devote myself in the coming 30-year cycle to raising consciousness about the inextricability of Spirit and Matter, which is at the heart of healing our planet.
5. Elohai neshama shenatata bi tehorah hi. The soul in me is pure. I mindfully wash every part of my body with reverence. Every bit of me is vital to my wholeness and functionality. I could not survive without my lungs, my liver, or my kidneys. Similarly, every part of the planet is vital for its survival. The destruction of the wetlands and rainforests, the pollution of the air, and the extraction and burning of fossil fuels will render our beloved planet uninhabitable. Not to mention the daily heartbreak as species go extinct en masse. It’s a precious, holistic, living, breathing, self-regulating system that must be honored and protected.
6. Kol haneshama t’halel yah. The breath of every living thing praises You. Praises you and praises me. I plan to live this next 30 years with blessing consciousness, with gratitude for all the daily small miracles. Nothing must be taken for granted. It’s all profoundly amazing in its beauty and brokenness.
7. Tikkun Olam. We can stand for justice; we can build a world of peace and justice. I focus upon my hands and feet and dedicate them to planetary healing. There is not a moment to lose and I cannot wait for someone else to do it.
Mayyim Hayyim is a treasure and resource for our community. We are so fortunate to have this gorgeous mikveh readily available, not only for traditional, prescribed use, but also for creative, personal ceremonies of healing and transition. I felt deeply moved and transformed by the personal ceremony I created. I encourage all of you reading this to do the same. Live in the Beauty and Mystery by sanctifying the meaningful milestones in your life with this ancient, powerful ritual. Dedicate yourselves to your Divinity and tikkun olam and you will be blessed.
Judy Tsafrir MD is a holistic adult and child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, artist and writer, with a private practice on the third floor of her Victorian home in Newton Center, MA. She believes that the way conventional psychiatry is practiced today, with its almost exclusive focus on pharmaceuticals, is misguided and harmful. She advocates a radical paradigm shift from treatment of a patient as a collection of symptoms to be suppressed with chemicals, to healing the whole person through integration of heart, mind, body and soul. She writes about a holistic approach to psychiatry on her blog.