Counting the Omer 5781: The High Priestess

After just over a year of the pandemic lockdown, we come again to the Omer. 

It seems surreal to observe the Omer during this pandemic. The Omer is when we count seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot—a journey of increasing awakening and expansiveness. And yet we are still quarantining, and it seems that we count every day, not just these 49.

The Omer period has a definite beginning and end. Not so with this lockdown. The lockdown began in small bursts: first it was to last two weeks, then a month, then two months. Eventually it became an indefinite situation. Even now as vaccine distribution has begun, there is no clear end in sight. 

All this to say too that we feel we need to take this year off from the daily Omer with Tarot count. Over this past year we have all perhaps had to focus more on survival than we have had to in the past, and that comes with a need to conserve energy.

So we offer a kavannah (intention) for the entirety of the Omer itself: the High Priestess.

The High Priestess is about the unknown, the patience, the waiting. And this is how it often feels for us these days. But we need to trust that something is happening on a deeper level that we may not yet comprehend. Transformation may be occurring even when we don’t recognize it. So too with the Omer, we count each step along the way, but may not see how far we have come until we look back over the entire path.

We can pay the most attention to what is NOT presented in the Fountain Tarot’s depiction of the High Priestess. The Rider Waite Smith deck seems adorned with symbols; here we don’t have the pomegranates to celebrate the newness coming. Here we have the scroll — the text, the Torah — and the unknown. The days fold out before us. The scroll is both written and being written.

Counting the Omer shows us what to look for but doesn’t tell us what we’ll see. As you travel these 49 days, pay attention.

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