This article on the month of Virgo was previously published in 2016.
The twelve months of the year, the twelve signs of the zodiac, and the letters that created them, are a spiritual bridge between humanity and the many aspects of the Creator’s Light. The month of Elul, or Virgo, is the 6th month of the year, and it is considered the last month because it is the month that precedes Rosh Hashanah, the time when all of humanity can re-chart our destiny for the coming year.
There are so many dynamic aspects to this month that it will be almost impossible to cover all its secrets, all the wisdom, all the energy that the Creator placed here for our use. What I hope that I can convey is the tremendous love, which the Creator has woven into these coming 30 days.
We know that these days are often named a time of reconciliation, meaning a time of reuniting. A restoration of a relationship, a mending between ourselves and God. The word Elul is an acronym for the letters which begin the words Ani le Dodi, ve dodi li. “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me,” describing the great love of the Creator for the created, and for our love in return.
Following the sin of the golden Calf on the 17th of Tamuz (Cancer), Moses spent 40 days praying to God asking that the people not be removed from this Earth. God heard his pleas and agreed to forgive them. Though the forgiveness came, it did not restore the energy that was taken away by their action-- it did not restore the at-one-ment that existed between the Creator and the people. The prayers of Moses spared the nation of punishment, but it did not mend the connection.
From Rosh Chodesh Elul (the New Moon of Virgo) until Yom Kippur Moses prayed again, only this time not for forgiveness but for restoration. God agreed and in this time renewed His Love, once again bestowing his entire presence upon the nation. Elul is the time of this reborn closeness. With his prayers Moses awakened the energy of penitence in this month which opened the channel for reparation for all of humanity for all time. What followed the forgiveness of the Golden Calf was a relationship with God that was based in fear, but in the month of Elul, fear became love once again.
In the book Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Formation, which is the source wisdom that describes the spiritual and physical formation of the world including knowledge of the months, we find this essence of Elul reactivated by Moses. Sefer Yetzirah in describing Elul, tells us that God “enthroned the letter Yud upon action and attached a crown to it forming with them the zodiac of the maiden in space.” The word “maiden” helps us understand that the Shechinah is present at this time, restoring what we once experienced as fragmented and making it whole once again. As the Zohar tells us, the sign of the maiden -- betula, the virgin -- is the reparation of yesterday today and tomorrow. It is not coincidence, of course, that this is in fact the astrological symbol for the month of Virgo. The Virgin represents the purest possibility of manifestation -- a vessel which can embrace the flawless reality known as the Tree of Life.
Rav Berg would remind us that Elul is not a time of repentance or Teshuvah, but rather a time of Tashuv–Hei. Tashuv means to return in time before the mis-step, before the misdeed, to the moment undefiled by the realm of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This is the greatest secret of Elul: with the support of the force of Mercury , the planet that controls the month of Virgo, we can travel in consciousness and maybe in deed from the physical world that we inhabit to the pure flawless maiden-like universe of God’s presence. We can travel back to the moment in which we wronged others or ourselves, and do things differently, ultimately returning back to the present new and once again connected to the Light.
Imagine the grace that we are being given to uproot regret, one of the greatest sources of our pain.
And what’s more, when the Rav refers to the Hei it means the final Hei where our Desire to Receive is transformed, into another form of energy. Revisiting that quality of our own personal Desire to Receive allows us to plant a new seed that will bring forth a future without the effect of the pain we caused. In this way, we transform our DNA, in effect becoming a new person. On Rosh Hashanah, when we face our maker on the day of Din, judgment, there is no need for apology or forgiveness. For in correcting our vessel we can safely say, “It was not me.”
Of course in accepting this gift there is a condition: That the new me does not repeat once again the actions that severed my connection, and lastly that I too like the Creator allow others to be new in my eyes.
So powerful is this time that Rav Berg’s teacher Rav Brandwein said that if we used the month of Elul completely and totally, we would not need the instrument of Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, it behooves us to make the most of this time, making these days ones of self-reflection of our past, of our blessings, and to make them worthy of this gift that we receive.
Please remember, it is so important to be kind to yourself and others during this process. It is so easy to look at those things that we are not so proud of, and beat ourselves up, but this is not the intention of the Light, nor is it the way of the Light. The purpose of these thirty days, and the gift of the Creator’s closeness at this time, is to bring us to a point of change. What we receive in these days is the love and the space to do so.
Wishing you love and grace in this month and always!