My Omer Counting Journey (#2): Family Practice and Colors of the Omer
After my daughter was born, I wanted to come up with a way to truly engage and include her in Counting the Omer. Appreciating the impulse of Waldorf Education to completely infuse the young child’s world with beauty, I turned to a trusted Waldorf staple: silk scarves! I chose seven pastel colors and purchased two vegetable-dyed 7” squares in each color. Since my two year-old daughter’s world was drenched in pink, she chose dark pink for the first day and week (Chesed/Lovingkindess) and light pink for the next one (Gevurah/ Structure). The beloved Waldorf rainbow of pastel colors continued: orange (Tiferet/ Beauty), yellow (Netzach/Endurance), green (Hod/Humility), blue (Yesod/Bonding) culminating in the regal purple (Malchut/Majesty).
A note on matching colors to the sefirot: I have done a fair amount of research and exploration on this topic and have found a variety of configurations and models. I figured my daughter’s sense of matching the color dark pink to lovingkindness, and following the rainbow to its lavender end (using a double dose of pink!), seemed as reasonable and appropriate as any other combination out there, so we went with that … and it has taken hold of us in a very deep way over the course of the last decade.
Back to the silk scarves … One scarf of each color is hung on a gold cord (beginning with dark pink on the far right and ending with lavender on the far left) in front of a window, wherever the best place is for sunlight to shine through. (Over the years, we have moved our Omer Counting scarves from the living room to the bedroom and now they are back in the living room.) We found these cute little colored clothes pins to match the colors of the scarves and they work great. Each week, one silk scarf (from the second group of scarves, not the ones that are strung on the gold cord) makes its way across the arc of colors–journeying from right to left (as Hebrew is written)– through the entire color spectrum and all of the qualities of the sefirot. In this way, there are 49 different color combinations, each offering a unique color experience of sunlight shining through. To see photos of the silk scarves, < click here >
Our evolving practice includes saying the blessing for Counting the Omer each night at bedtime and moving the scarf over to the next day. When we wake up the next morning, the sun is shining through a bright new offering of color! Sometimes, we change the scarf first thing in the morning, giddy with excitement to see the sun dancing through the changing combination of colors.
In the morning, then, delighting in the new color qualities of the day streaming into the room, we read from Rabbi Simon Jacobson’s Omer Counting flipbook for inspiration and encouragement to meet the day. A practice we added some years back was for each of us to then do some kind of movement with our bodies that is inspired by the reading. Each person in the family (or group) takes their turn. Then we do all of them together. Then we are really ready to meet the day!