You are receiving this message right in the middle of the Jewish month of Kislev – the darkest month of the year. It is hard to even write that without thinking about the darkness that can seem stifling during infertility. It can feel like one long winter. And technically speaking, winter hasn’t started yet.
Long dark days also means that the full moon, just finishing its peak, has the longest opportunity to shine. Alas, the moon doesn’t actually shine. The moon reflects the light of the sun. During the long dark nights, the moon is a reminder that somewhere the sun in still shining brightly.
The reflection of light, the waxing and waning of the crescent moon, and the monthly timing of the moon are ripe for fertility metaphors. What could it mean for you to only be able to reflect light? What, if any, hopeful messages – or comforting messages – can be found in the cycles of the moon?
This month of Kislev is also the month of Hanukkah. This festival of lights was most certainly linked to the darkness of the season. The rabbis taught the story of the jar of oil that miraculously lasted eight days to ground the holiday in commitment to God and the season in time. From there, one rabbi suggested that the menorah ought to be lit first with eight candles with decreasing light each night representing how the oil ran out.
However, we follow a different rabbi’s opinion.
Hanukkah celebrates overcoming obstacles. Hanukkah moves from darkness to light, from the depths to the heights. This leads to another question: during your experience with infertility or other family building challenge, what is a light that you can bring into being or increase? Is there something you can attend to and raise up to bring light into your life?
One last lesson is tied to the waning and waxing of the moon. Dealing with infertility sometime necessitates setting aside your emotions and focusing on logistics. Sometimes you may benefit from taking risks. Sometimes you need to hit the pause button and take a break. These are forms of expansion and contraction – like the moons phases. Expanding and contracting are neither inherently good or bad. They can be used, however, in helpful or harmful ways. What are the ways you expand and contract that hinder you during your experience? In what ways can they support you?
As you continue in the month of Kislev, as December comes and light from the sun decreases, may you find your own light to warm and comfort you.