Tisha B’Av this year came at the end of another hard week of lockdown in the Greater Sydney Region, with the delta variant of covid-19 continuing to strike with a vengeance at the heart of a largely unvaccinated population.
In the days leading up to Tisha B'Av, I had a feeling of overwhelm, of being engulfed or swamped with grief and loss. My senses were awash - waves of emotions, tears, a dissolving heart. Gradually, towards the end of the day, I began to sense a different kind of flow - a flow of water that was cleansing and purifying, akin to the mayim chayim of the mikveh.
Pour Out Your Heart Like Water by Chana-Toni Whitmont
I created this watery collage in the afternoon of Tisha B'Av. I was inspired by Rabbi Shefa Gold’s “From the Depths” chant, into which I had taken a deep dive earlier in the day, exploring it through voice and crystal singing bowls. I was also mindful of the energy of Av, which I had been studying through teachings from Rabbi Daniel Silverstein as well as a workshop I took recently with Rabbi Tirzah Firestone on ancestral healing of intergenerational trauma.
On erev Tisha B'Av, I attended a meaningful, intimate zoom recitation of Eicha at Sydney's North Shore Temple Emanuel where I realised for the first time that several of the chapters of Lamentations were written as an acrostic. This inspired me to use an alphabetical approach for my own lamentations - all the qualities in myself for which I am weeping at this dark time - as well as the turning towards their transformation that might be possible as we move towards Tu B’Av and then on to Elul.
The collage includes prose/poetry written and shared by Rabbi Diane Elliot in the zoom gathering of California's Tap Root Community that I attended on Tisha B’Av 2020. The Hebrew verses are from Lamentations (1:16 and 2:19) and Psalms (42:8 and 130:1).
Chana-Toni Whitmont is an artist, crystal sound healer, teacher, student and creative whose practice and passions are born from her spiritual connection to her Jewish lineage. She lives with her husband close to nature in the magnificent Blue Mountains of eastern Australia and can be contacted at email@example.com.