erika davis is a washington state-based writer, blogger and jewish diversity advocate. For almost 8 years she recorded her journey to judaism in her popular blog, Black Gay and Jewish. Today she blogs about her life in the PNW and occasionally writes in third person

Full Moon, Blood Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Tu'Bshvat, Oh My!

I mentioned a few blogs back that I’d done some DNA tests via Ancestry.com and 23&me. In my humble opinion the Ancestry tests were better than 23&me in terms of helping to more finely narrow down my African ancestry. 23&me let me know that I was Nigerian (with a bit of Congolese and Cameroon), but with over 250 ethnicities making up Nigera, I got a better sense of self with Ancestry. Since the test results I’ve been working with the orishas (gods and goddesses) important to the Yoruba people of Nigeria and weaving them into my more earth-centered Judaism.

This week’s huge moon seemed like a good time to start re-focusing and re-aligning these aspects. The eclipse allows us to release and let go, while Tu B’shvat reminds us of the regrowth and rebirth ahead of us (the coming of spring). It’s also interesting to me that the Pagan holiday of the nearing spring, Imbolc, is also approaching. And right after that holiday (which I’m still deciding whether I want to partake in) brings us to the Jewish holiday of Purim. And the wheel continues to slowly turn, eh?

Anyway, through therapy and just some personal growing I’ve come to realize that I’ve been holding onto my miscarriage in a way that was possibly causing growth and the bringing in of a new child to be a bit stagnant. To be sure, my therapist did not name this, I did. Miscarriage, pregnancy loss and infertility is a trinity I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy. It’s a complex and complicated maze of self doubt, wild emotions (thank you hormones) despair and hopelessness. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of body shaming and body hatred because of my body’s apparent inability to do the one thing it’s biologically meant to do -to grow and nurture life. This manifested itself in a variety of ways; one was not actually looking at my body, another was constantly telling myself that my body was too fat, too bad, not right. What my therapist help me to see is how damaging this self-talk could be not only to my emotional well being, but the idea that these kinds of words and thoughts can lead to the results we see. She asked me to see myself in a different light, a more positive light, find the ways in which my body was good just as it is.

She also asked an important question. Had we done anything to mark the end of our pregnancy and the pain of the miscarriage? I thought about it and remembered we hadn’t. I’d prepared to get a tattoo remembrance on my finger, a small bean since we called the baby “Bean” but the guy at the shop didn’t do tattoos on hands and then I spiraled again and forgot about closing that chapter. We hadn’t done anything.

So on the eclipse, the evening of Tu B’Shvat I cast a circle of salt, called the angels of the four directions (hello, Jewish Shamanism) called in the mother goddesses, I asked my matriarchs; Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah, Leah, Devorah, Dinah, Esther and my ancestors to take our child. I entrusted them with her guidance and rearing in the world beyond. I poured out my heart and salt tears and released her to the world of the ancestors. And then I turned in the opposite direction to greet the Yoruban god of the crossroads, asked for his permission to summon my orishas and then took a direction.

So here I sit. Buzzing and exhausted from the draining and release of the moon, a bit lighter, still sad, but open. Hopeful and confident that the next steps will be the right ones.

EXHAUSTED

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