This week, I have been mostly scanning Zo-har..
Oh heck, are we there already? The start of the month of Elul (Virgo) in the Kabbalistic calendar. The time for repentance is now! Repent now and your sins may be forgiven on Yom Kippur - the Day of Judgement!
The Day of Judgement! The day when the Great Celestial Santa evaluates every one of us and decides whether we have been Naughty or Nice ("I've been good! I've been good! Honest, guv!"). And then what? Do we go to Heaven or Hell? Can we be forgiven? Does He really see everything? Like, EVERYTHING?
It all sounds a bit Fire and Brimstone, but actually, it's all in the translation.
For one thing, the word Repentance implies that the power of forgiveness lies with God - that all we have to do is say "I'm sorry" at regular intervals and all of our sins will be forgiven and we will be allowed in to the Kingdom of Heaven. Which leads to the assumption that we can do what we like as long as we are sorry afterwards and the only reason to apologise for our sins on a regular basis is because we don't know when or how we are going to die. It doesn't imply anything about changing our behaviour so that we have less to ask forgiveness for - as long as we feel sorry, maybe He will take pity.
Kabbalistically, it's all about energy. I don't picture the Creator as an old man with a white beard sitting there in judgement, but a force of unconditional love constantly wanting to share. There is no question as to whether this force wants to forgive us - the energy is constantly available - we just need to earn it. The month of Virgo happens to be the time when this Light is the most easily accessible - when correction of our actions brings the greatest reward.
Everything is based on the Laws of Cause and Effect. What you put out there, you get back. The great Jedi Mind Trick of the cosmos is that you never know when you are going to get it back. If you 'plant a negative seed' (e.g. kick the dog, poison your best friend, bitch about somebody behind their back) then this could come back at you instantly (the dog clamps its jaws on to your leg and won't let go), in a few months (a long spell behind bars) or in the next lifetime (not having any friends despite being a really lovely person). It's a great explanation for all of the crappy things that happen in your day to day life which you probably feel are totally undeserved. And also the reason why I have no friends. (And yes, I'm sorry for kicking the dog - I will never kick another dog ever. As for the poisoning, my sinuses were blocked and I couldn't smell that the salmon was off. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it).
The month of Elul is an opportunity to go back in time and 'undo' those negative seeds - to look in to the past and take responsibility for all of the times where you caused upset, where you weren't your best self, where you judged others, reacted in anger or held yourself back. Realise where you went wrong and understand what you could have done differently - and how that might have affected your outcomes. And work out what you can do in the here and now to make things up - whether apologising to the people you hurt, or helping an old lady cross the street when usually you wouldn't have the time. Whatever you normally do for reasons of selfishness or fear, change it. In fact, even altering your smallest 'bad' habits (e.g. the number of sugars in your tea) is a sign of willingness to change.
Crap, my days are going to be unrecognisable. Did I tell you about my constant issue with procrastination? No? I'll probably fill you in tomorrow...