Rosh Chodesh is the first day of the month in the Hebrew calendar and is marked by the appearance of the new moon. The full moon is always fifteen days later on the 15th of the Hebrew month, often marking the start of Jewish holidays. In 30-day lunar months, we celebrate Rosh Chodesh for two days, on the last day of the prior month and on the first day of the new month.
On Rosh Chodesh we have the opportunity to connect to the seed level energy of the month and inject greater control over our spiritual and physical well being. Each month has a unique energy influenced by a different planet and astrological constellation with two corresponding Hebrew letters as written about by Abraham the Patriarch in the "Sefer Yetzirah" or Book of Formation, one of the first books of Kabbalah.
The month of Shevat is the eleventh month in the Hebrew calendar and is connected to the astrological sign of Aquarius. It is referred to as the month of redemption based on the opportunity to use the attributes of the sign to achieve redemption or freedom. The Hebrew word for Aquarius is D'li, which means bucket or pitcher and we can see that the symbol for Aquarius is a water bearer pouring out water. Since water represents mercy and purification, the sign is a channel for pouring out and sharing mercy with the world. Aquarians generally detest constriction and structure and seek to break down walls that may limit their progress. The issue or correction that Aquarians have is that their desires for freedom are at the macro level. They care about grand causes and global pursuits and often are disconnected from personal, local matters. It is important for the Aquarian's correction to be part of society and not above it - while they exchange barriers for freedom. The "Age of Aquarius" started approximately 400 years ago when the Baal Shem Tov revealed Chassidus with the world and signaled the age of revelation and redemption. The accelerated knowledge during this period has resulted in increased personal power which in turn has led to unprecedented personal freedom.This period of time that is applicable to all of us, reflects the essence of individual Aquarians that aspire to the infinite and are willing to give up traditional structure for freedom. Aquarians with their big picture desires consider the world to be unified, the basis of redemption. When all of the negativity and evil inclination in the world is cleansed, the energy of redemption will prevail and the age of Aquarius will come to completion. The key to achieve this type of freedom and redemption is to convert our selfish desires for growth and freedom, into the desire to share with others. As channels for redemption, the Aquarian needs to remember their desire for freedom must be for the benefit of humanity as opposed to personal glory. The spiritual work of breaking away from your limitations creates the energy of freedom, while the internal transformation to share this freedom, helps to manifest it in the physical realm.
According to the Sepher Yetzirah, the Hebrew letters are spiritual frequencies that created the universe. A different Hebrew letter controls or influences the constellation and planet of the month. By connecting to these letters through meditation we can draw down specific energy to empower and enlighten us. The letters for the month of Shevat are Tzadi and Bet. Tzadi created the constellation of Aquarius and serves to connect the upper (spiritual) and lower (physical) worlds. The letter Tzadi is a combination of a Yud (facing backwards) and a Nun. Yud is representative of G-d's Holy Light while the Nun represents falling from the word nefilla and, visually, the nun appears to be bent over or falling down. When we combine these distinct energies from the letters that create the Tzadi, we unite the higher and lower worlds. This unification is practiced by the Tzadikim, righteous souls, the word upon which the letter Tzadi is based. We can meditate on the Tzadi during the month to help us elevate all of our "fallings" and to be more proactive to reveal Light in our lives and help to manifest the gift and energy of freedom this month throughout the world. The letter Bet created the planet Saturn which controls the month. Saturn also controlled the month of Tevet, but with opposite energy. One aspect of Saturn faces in towards the Sun and the rest of our solar system with a clear structure and set of rules - this is the energy of Tevet. The other side of Saturn faces outwards towards space and has the energy of infinite and open space and freedom, which is connected to Aquarians and Shevat. By meditating on the Tzadi Bet on Rosh Chodesh and throughout the month, we are able to the spiritual balance found in the Tzadi and the open, infinite aspect of Saturn which helps us to achieve freedom and redemption.
The holiday connection of Tu B'shevat on the 15th of of the month, also a full moon. This holiday has great mystical significance and is known as the New Year for the trees. The same way that G-d is both hidden and revealed, a tree has it's trunk and leaves revealed and its root system hidden or concealed. On Tu B'Shevat, we are able to connect the spiritual and material worlds by combining both energies. G-d's holiest name, the Yud Key Vav Key is connected to the spiritual realm and has the numerical value of 26. G-d's name associated with the physical realm is Adonai, which has the numerical value of 65. When combined, we get 91 the same numerical value as Ilan, the Hebrew word for tree. Kabbalists stay up all night and study aspects of the Torah, Talmud and Kabbalistic works that pertain to fruits. Some mystics in Safed have a special Seder of the Fruits in order to correct the original sin of humanity when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. The holiday has become like Arbor day too, where kid's plant trees in Israel. The historical significance is associated with the date on which the tithe of the fruit was determined. Trees, like Aquarians, break through limitations and boundaries and grow tall, opposing and overcoming the limits of gravity. The full energy of redemption and freedom is manifested on Tu B'Shevat when we join the higher and lower worlds with special connections to the trees.
Have a great month and powerful Rosh Chodesh Shevat! Use the power of the Tzadi Bet to connect to the infinite energy of freedom and help to usher in Moshiach consciousness and the completion of the Age of Aquarius.