2011 Kavanah: Our Spiritual Intention

Shalom Haverim,

It’s that time again . . . time to start thinking about our upcoming 16th annual Passover Village retreat. This year we will again be returning to Joshua Tree, where the rocky amphitheater of the land is calling us to another year of earth-based ritual, prayer, camping, and being together.

Once again, we remember that Pesach is a time to renew our connections with our ancestors as we explore our ancient roots in ritual fashion. We are instructed to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt as if we ourselves had gone out from that “narrow place” over 3000 years ago. It is a time to reflect on the meaning of slavery and freedom, oppression and transcendence, repression and growth. We celebrate what it means to be a people dedicated to service of Hashem/Elohim, and renew our connection with the story and the people with whom it all began.

In addition to these general themes of Passover, our particular group seeks to explore the connection to our people’s past as an indigenous people. That is to say, what does it mean to be a Hebrew - an Ivri, a boundary crosser - one of the Children of Israel, an indigenous tribal people who lived day to day connected intimately to the land and to nature? This was our initial motivation way back in 1995 for holding seder on the land, in the desert, much as our ancestors must have experienced it.

Each year we establish our “ Passover Village” for the weekend, where we enjoy each other’s presence and spirits in a cooperative, and heart-felt endeavor. Our vision is to create a place in which we all dwell together as Brothers and Sisters, in which each Soul is fully seen, recognized, and acknowledged, creating a lattice of contribution, in which each person serves a different role, a vital role in the community aligned as much as possible to his/her core self.

Every year we also add a bit of additional community Kavannah (spiritual intention) to our Seder weekend, to help us explore more deeply our tribal history together. Last year, again setting up our seder ritual space in accordance with the dimensions of the ancient Tabernacle, surrounded by the flags and banners of the 12 Tribes, we experienced deep and very personal teachings about the character and nature of our ancestress Ruth, as well as the nature of the Feminine in our tradition. We each took home from our seder weekend our own very particular lessons and understandings of the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz, and were blessed with what we received from the Hebrew Feminine.

For this year’s kavannah, we want to further explore the archetypal nature of our ancestors, to see what lessons we can derive from their lives that will inform our own lives. Building from our experience of Ruth and the Feminine aspects of our tradition, and having studied many of the Masculine archetypes in past years, we decided that this year we would take the next step and explore the nature of the relationship between Masculine and Feminine as embodied by our first couple, Avram/Avraham and Sarai/Sarah.

With these 2 ancestors as our guides, together we will seek to gain some insight into what our tradition teaches us about being in relationship, the nature of Masculine and Feminine, Father – Mother, HaKadosh Baruch Hu – Shechinah, union, intimacy, generosity, laughter, hospitality, infertility, polyamory, ancient wisdoms, relations with neighbors, the division of the Ishmaelites from the Yitzhakites, offerings of healing at personal, relational, communal, and inter-tribal levels. These are just some of the possible teachings that might flow from a study of the first Hebrew couple.

Maybe learning the lessons within the story of our first archetypal ancestral couple could even open up a path to world peace. Im tirtzu . . . (if you want it . . . )

We look forward to what we will discover together at Joshua Tree under the sun and moon of Nissan, through our prayers, discussions, rituals, and general interactions together.

We are indeed a fortunate People to have so much of our ancient history written and available to us in our sacred texts. As we gather this year among the stones of Joshua Tree, and among the memories that we have built over the preceding 13 years, we will celebrate the freedom that we hold so dear, and again learn from one another what it means to be a people connected to the earth, to our ancestors, to Spirit, and to the best within each of us and each of our fellow human beings.

If you want to read about Abraham and Sarah, you can find it in Genesis. Some members of the Village have been studying this text during the past year, and notes from our discussions are posted on this Blog. 

Shalom U’L’hitraot – see you in Joshua Tree!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the work is setting up the Passover Blog.
    The comments appear to be working. I am just checking this out now.
    6:45 am; April 25, 2011.