Category Archives: Circadian

New Moons

moon phases

Today is a new moon, on October the fifteenth of 2012, a Monday. We don’t think of new moons in our modern age, although we might still observe a full moon just because we like the way it looks or we equate it with a time when people act oddly. But it used to be that a new moon once had significance.

Since the Hebrew year was marked as a lunar year, the new moons would mark the beginning of a new month, and had the spiritual significance of new beginnings, considered Holy convocations in some instance; especially the first new moon of the new year.

There are questions about just what constitute a “new moon”. In the Lunar calender that didn’t seem to be so much of an issue since it was defined as”The New Moon is the beginning or the first day of the month.” We can guess that it is the transition from the full moon to the crescent, presumably with a specific point, such as the visible crescent. However it was, the moon at the beginning of its new phase was the beginning of a new month and so the “beginning” had a certain importance.

During the New Moon observance in ancient Israel the shofar was the blown. It was holy, a Sabbath Day. Worship, singing, and sweet incense was burnt to mark the observance.

A beginning was an important event, taken seriously, entered into joyously.

Today is the change from the month Tishrei to Cheshvan and it has two days set aside:”two Rosh Chodesh (“Head of the Month”) days for the month of (when a month has 30 days, both the last day of the month and the first day of the following month serve as the following month’s Rosh Chodesh). So the two days celebrated this month are the 16th and 17th of October.


Can We Be An Encouragement Today?

People are somewhat schizophrenic in focus during the holiday season. On the one hand they want to spread cheer, be jolly and bright, and lighten each others day; on the other hand they get stressed with the effort, become pushy and grumpy, if not outright hostile. They drive more erratically, become exhausted with their efforts and worried about their budgets…. unless…

Unless they slow down, meditate on the soul edifying meaning of the Christmas message, focus in on the good and loving messages that sprout everywhere during this season.

There are many things to rob us of joy, no doubt, but the magical thing about Christmas is the way God’s ways are given a chance. We just want to Believe. We want to believe in peace and good will towards men, we want to believe in the power of kindness and the meaningfulness of sacrifice and loving acts.

In those moments when our cynicism is held in suspension, and the doors of our mind open -just a little bit- to believe the best, hope against hope, and allow God a toehold inside the darkened rooms of our worries, striving, and daily concerns; in those moments we experience a little of something that is very rare in our world.

True peace. True altruism. Selfless sense of things greater than ourselves.

It is not magic really, but it feels like it, in the way that it springs so quickly and readily into blossom. Start spreading seeds of kind words, smiles for no reason, genuine thanks and listening with attention, and watch for the effect, on yourself if no other.

Think of something to encourage in the people you meet. That you appreciate how they do their job, that you love their laugh, that you are thinking of how much their friendship means.

Christmas gained a reputation as being a special time of year, one full of tenderness and charity. That didn’t magically happen, though it might seem so. It was the fruit of the believing acts of generations of those who made concerted efforts to be kinder, better, more considerate people during the season in honor of the Christ Child.

It is that season again.

Merry Christmas to you!