I am excited to tell you the Omer count begins next week! On the evening of April 11, second night of Passover some of us will begin a daily practice that will take us through the spring into the early days of summer.
What is the Omer?
Simply put, counting the Omer is a way of marking the forty-nine days in the Jewish calendar between the festival of Pesach (Passover) and the festival of Shavuot, between liberation from Egypt and the receiving of Torah at Sinai. For me, the Omer has become an indispensible spiritual tool for expanding awareness and increasing receptivity to the many faces of the divine in daily life— the special energies of spring and the connection to Jewish tradition boost the power of my personal practice. I don’t know about you, but in the context of current political urgencies I need all the help I can get to keep my feet on the ground and my spine aligned with the heavens.
Seven years ago I wrote my way through the seven weeks in the context of Rabbi Shefa Gold‘s community of Hebrew chanters. With wonderful support and encouragement from my spiritual companions, the daily letters and poems I wrote then became the book Through the Gates: A Practice for Counting the Omer. This is an invitation to use my book, if you haven’t already, as your guide and companion through the forty-nine luminous gates of this year’s spring. The writings serve Jew and non-Jew alike, those who have counted the Omer before and those who never have—they are meant for anyone willing to open to the extraordinary gifts available when we pay close attention to our every day lives. Through the Gates is available in print, e-book, pdf, or all three if you like. You may find links to all options and to descriptions of the book here.
A Special Invitation for this Year
If you have read your way Through the Gates at least once, and if you have found the guide meaningful and helpful, I invite you to join me this season in a new adventure, the creation of volume two. I have a foundation from the Omer messages I wrote in 2016 and a body of poems to collect and integrate into the daily messages. The structure of the Omer count—and your presence—will support me in reviewing and renewing these writings. I expect to finish the count with a manuscript draft by summer’s start.
If you have read and appreciated the first book and the prospect of being involved the creation of the next one intrigues you, contact me, and I will tell you how to become part of this year’s Omer community. A small band of pilgrims is already assembling. Would you like to join us?
There will be no charge for coming along on this journey. I ask only that you help spread the word about the original Through the Gates to those you think might benefit and, when it comes time, to help me spread the word about Volume Two (“Volume Two” is the working title—we will see if it sticks!).
If you know you would like to be part of this adventure, please contact me now. I will explain how the group will work—in google docs, with the “comments” open. And if you haven’t yet read Through the Gates, but are looking for a way to begin or renew your Omer practice, enjoy your first journey. I will meet you there.
Blessings on all our preparations!
PS: Would you like to write with me this spring? If you have never experienced a Writing Circle before and would like to try one out, contact me. We can roll you into the Thursday afternoon group for one or more sessions. Fee: $25 per session. See the Upcoming Events on this page for more information.
- Thursdays, March 23-May 18 (NO Apr 20) Spring Wissahickon Writing Circle meets for 7 Thursdays at in the Pavillion on Forbidden Drive, Northwest Avenue end, across from The Cedars House: If you have never experienced a Writing Circle before and would like to try one out, contact me. We can roll you into this group for one or more sessions. 2:30-4:45 pm. Fee: $25 per session.
Through the Gates
Letters and poems illuminating each of the forty-nine days of the Omer, the ancient Jewish practice marking the days between the spring festival of Passover and the summer festival of Shavuot—for spiritual explorers of all traditions! Read more or purchase….