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Tisha B’va

I hang out with mystics. These are people who groove with mystery, dance with shadow and light, and go deep into their own universe. Cassandra Sagan is one of these. She lives in Portland, does InterPlay and is a Maggid, a Jewish storyteller. She wrote today….

As many of you know, my beloved grandson, Sidney Lev, was stillborn last year on Tisha B’av, rendering this day powerfully and eternally significant for me and my family, and I will be telling a very personal story about that loss at our minyan in Portland tonight.  This morning I woke up with this image in my mind: Tisha B’av is like the intentional bee sting to an arthritic joint, a healing dose of intentional sadness.

Rob Brezhny who wrote PRONOIA, An Antidote to Paranoia, a book about (the very Jewish topic of) how the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings, recommends that in addition to HAPPY HOURS we take time occasionally for SAD HOURS. Days of Mourning and intentional sadness are built into the cycle of the Jewish year, and I think that in addition to  simply NOT FORGETTING the tragedies of our collective and individual past, they are also an opportunity to heal some of the associated trauma. As we all know, the story lines of sadness, loss, and tragedy are connected to each other through energetic and neural pathways; each new loss or sadness or betrayal seems to “light up” the whole sad string of lights, reactivating unhealed trauma. And each year, each time we come to Tisha B’av, we are in a new place in our own spiritual development, and by hanging out with, or at least playing tag with, touching on, having a safe container for a glimpse of our deepest grief and loss, we have the opportunity to bring new insight, light, strength, and story to what we hold in our bodies from the past—restorying, restorative.

I know most of you are understandably not fasting this Tisha B’av, or perhaps even NOTICING that it is Tisha B’av, but I do want to gently recommend that you take even a few minutes of silence on this day, when the gates of healing are opened to the collective Jewish bodywisdom, to reflect on, or write about, or davven on or dance on behalf of a little SAFESOMETHINGSAD, just a tiny sadness or loss or memory. TAKE THE BEE that’s here today for the taking. The Mystics say that Mashiach will be born on Tisha B’av; may she be born in you today, just a little!

Cassandra ZHRH

Thankful for all who play in the big spirit of life!


  1. Maree Haggerty says:

    I am grateful to both Cynthia and Cassandra for this post. I hold closely Cassandra and the loss she is honouring at this time. I am reading this on 10 August in Australia, so I guess Tish B’av is still being honoured in USA. Today is my mother’s fourth anniversary and I am holding this as my SAFESOMETHINGSAD day. While I am Catholic, I’d so like to honour the Jewish tradition of Tisha B’av from now on. Thank you so much, Maree

  2. Dyck Dewid says:

    Casandra, your post is so very sensitive and poignant. It draws me into the light with some unexpected observations from within.

    It may seem hard to swallow, but I have such infrequent company with sadness I wonder about it as I see it all around me at all times. Part of the wonder is why I don’t find others who share my experience with it.

    (after age 55 or so) When I lost my beloved mother, when Bush said “we’ll get even”, when ‘I am’ hungry people I see, when a sister is forced to act & look like a male, when my wife is loosing her memory, when I get cancer, etc..

    The voice deep inside informs me “these are dispassionate happenings of the universe that Must occur.” My strong, sure response and lasting question with each occurrence is, “what reality is there to learn here?”

    There is no sadness that appears in this. Nor is there optimism in this. Only my profound humility.

    Yet, sometimes I sense a shadow too, a weak one like on a somewhat overcast day. It beckons “come stand in me.”

    Especially with my wife’s decline with dementia she’s sometimes sad for she says, “losing my brain,” and her control, her intellect, etc.. I am actively engaged as I cry with her and hold her. But I don’t understand what’s sad here. Can it be that its her suffering? Can it be her painful journey to learn in her life a higher lesson than I can know? And what is here for me to learn? Maybe I just don’t need to understand any of this!

    For now I’ll just keep my question alive and allow my awareness to gather from the fields. Welcome to any comments.

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