Gaye Mack’s Blog

POMEGRANATES AND BLESSINGS

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Writer's Work Leave a comment

Slightly different from what I typically write about, for this post I welcome my good friend, Judy Tsafrir, MD as my guest.  Judy is a holistic psychiatrist with a busy practice in Boston. I highly recommend following her blog, as she’s incredibly multifaceted as a mind/body/spirit oriented physician, evolutionary astrologer, Tarot practitioner and expert in nutrition.  Her recent post discussing reflections and blessings in our lives is something we all can well be reminded of as the fall equinox approaches and we prepare to go within for more self-discovery in the months ahead.

It is September, a season of new beginnings, the initiation of a fresh cycle. We just celebrated Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. The children went back to school, the summer is waning and it’s getting dark earlier. Autumn is at the door. September is a time linked in my mind with the ancient mythic pomegranate, a cross-cultural symbol of fertility and sweetness. It is traditional to eat pomegranates with its many seeds on Rosh Hashana, as a symbol of fruitfulness.

As a child in the 50′s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we called pomegranates “Indian Apples”. I have always loved them, though they were a challenge to eat. I would extract the juicy crimson seeds individually, staining my fingers, until I learned a brilliant Israeli technique.

This is really amazing: Take a knife and slice the pomegranate in half. Take a heavy spoon, and holding half the pomegranate sliced side down over a large bowl, whack it repeatedly, and all of the gorgeous scarlet seeds will tumble out. Then you just need to remove the few pieces of creamy rind that were dislodged as well, and you have a luscious pile of pomegranate seeds.

The pomegranate is a symbol to me of all of the blessings in my own life. I was very inspired by the sermon that my rabbi,  Wes Gardenswartz, gave on Rosh Hashanah. It is linked in my mind with appreciation and pomegranates. This is my reconstruction of what he said:

The British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips proposed that each of us has the actual life that we live, which is the result of all of the choices we have made and all the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Simultaneously, each of us has a parallel unlived life, one that shadows us with what might have been; the regrets, the opportunities not embraced, the roads not taken. He spoke of the wonderful novelist Richard Russo, who wrote a memoir of his relationship with his mother entitled , “Elsewhere”. Russo’s mother never was happy where she was; she was always longing to be somewhere else.

The rabbi reframed the tasks of daily living that can at times feel onerous, like doing the laundry, as something that he GETS to do, rather than something that he HAS to do. In order to do laundry he has to be able to see to sort the colors, have functioning legs which carry him up and down the stairs, and arms that have the strength to hold the basket. The capacity to do laundry presupposes a great deal of able-bodiedness. I know for myself, I can sometimes feel burdened by having to weed the garden, or having to figure out what to make for dinner for the children, or being obliged to seriously restrict my carbs if I don’t want to gain weight and feel tired. But OMG, what a blessing to still have children under my roof to make dinner for, to have a garden to care for, or to be in such a privileged position that I can choose what to eat.

The rabbi addressed the importance of simultaneously being aware of those aspects of our lives that are still unlived, and striving to manifest those dreams and potentials, while experiencing gratitude for the reality of our lives as they are. Not to be like Richard Russo’s mother who was focused on what was missing. The rabbi noted that none of our lives are perfect; there are those who have wealth but poor health, a meaningful career but trouble with our kids, a good marriage but constant money worries; and yet for all of us, there are so many blessings that we often just take for granted.

Warm wishes to all my readers for a sweet, fruitful and healthy New Year, filled with consciousness of the blessings in our lives, as the numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate.

 

 

equinox

 

             Fall Equinox, Chicago-September 22, 2013 3:44 p.m. CST

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EVOLUTIONARY ASTROLOGY~THE SACRED SCIENCE THAT’S BEYOND FORTUNE TELLING

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Writer's Work 2 Comments

For today’s post, I welcome Judy Tsafrir, MD as my guest.  Judy maintains an active, holistic  psychiatric practice in the Boston area and as you will read below, in addition to traditional psychiatric approaches. evolutionary astrology is among the tools  she incorporates into the healing models for some of  her patients .  For those of you who are interested, you can read more about Judy and her practice by going to her three websites:

http:www.judytsafrirmd.com, http:www.bostonastrologer.com, http:www.bostontarot.com

BEYOND FORTUNE TELLING

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside us as fate”~ Carl Jung

It is my belief that we need to attend to body, mind and soul in order to balance and heal ourselves. The physical, psychological and spiritual are inextricably linked components of a whole person, who is part of nature and the cosmos; the microcosm that mirrors the macrocosm. If an individual comes to see me, and is interested in exploring metaphysical perspectives and practice, I am glad to do so.

The modern prevailing contempt for astrology has resulted in a loss of precious ancient knowledge. For most people in our culture, astrology is an unfamiliar metaphysical practice, which is deeply misunderstood and misrepresented. If anything is known about it, it is the daily or monthly horoscopes in newspapers and magazines, which are gross oversimplifications.

In popular astrology, everyone is reduced to representation by one of the 12 zodiac signs, which defacto is very non-specific. This, of course, trivializes the field, and astrology is dismissively equated with superstition. In contrast, the practice of astrology by a skilled and refined practitioner, paints a highly specific unique portrait of an individual’s personal reality.

The astrological birth chart (horoscope) is a map of the sky when we were born. In The Inner Sky, one of my mentors, Steven Forrest, described the birth chart as “a blue print for the happiest, most fulfilling, most spiritually creative path, available to the individual.” He observed that astrology is rooted in nature, as we are.  I have no rational explanation of how astrology works, but only have observed empirically that it is an extremely useful and sophisticated body of knowledge, which has great healing potential.

It is a methodology for increasing awareness, and is in no way about fate or determinism.  Each person is the author of his or her own reality, and ultimately responsible for his/her unique situation. No astrologer could reliably predict an individual’s response to their birth chart. When looking at the horoscope, we have no way of assessing the level of a person’s psycho/spiritual development, or consciousness. This can only be determined by learning about an individual, and the way he or she thinks about themselves and others, and the way they live their life.

The clear validity of sophisticated astrological interpretation is a profound and endlessly fascinating mystery to me.  It is an indispensable tool for understanding myself and others, making meaning, and directing my energies.

Astrology describes character, pointing to an individual’s strengths and vulnerabilities, affinities in work and love, seasons of growth and decline, beginnings and endings, and times when we find ourselves sailing both with and against the wind. It has the capacity to provide helpful insight into the past, present and potential future. Astonishingly, it is capable of commenting upon most aspects of the human experience.

Flower Remedies are another therapeutic modality that can support an individual’s psycho/spiritual growth and development. They bear resemblance to homeopathy, in that the mechanism of action is on an energetic level, rather than on a material plane. On occasion I also make of use of the Tarot with my patients. The cards can illuminate a situation, expand the scope of the conversation, and provide additional insight and clarity.

I consider these energetic practices tools for healing, along with medication, nutrition, detoxification, life style changes, and therapeutic conversation. I take the lead from my patients in this regard.

 

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