The poems you hold in your hand embody the intersection of spiritual practice and creative process. They arose from simple day-by-day awareness, cultivated over a 49-day period through the ages-old practice of counting the "Omer." In ancient times an Omer of barley, a sheaf, was brought to the Jerusalem Temple just after the start of the Passover observance. The priest was to wave the sheaf and to count each of the 49 days between the Israelite pilgrimage festivals of Passover and Shavuot, the crucial days of the growth of the summer wheat crop. Retooled by the rabbinic sages as a historic journey from freedom to revelation and by the 16th century kabbalists as a means of personal spiritual refinement, this potent practice enjoins us to wake up, moment by moment, to the depth and value of our unique lives, to offer ourselves fully to the path of liberation through wisdom. These poems and the accompanying guide for practice are also an offering, an expression of one practitioner's journey on that path and an invitation to deepen your own creative engagement with the Spirit that radiates through your own life.
Rabbi Diane Elliot is a spiritual director, ritual leader, dancer, somatic therapist, and writer. Currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she teaches courses and leads retreats nationally, with a focus on embodying Jewish spirituality.