|Image from a Torah binder, Germany, 1858, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem|
Tammuz is the month of Cancer the Crab and the Tribe of Reuven. It's one of the four Cardinal (initiating) Signs, each of which contains a "Tefukah", or turning point in the year. In the case of Cancer, that's the Tekufah of Tammuz, a.k.a. the Summer Solstice.
Check out my column on Tammuz in the latest edition of J-The Jewish Weekly of Northern California.
There are four Tekufot during the year: Tekufah Nissan / Spring Equinox, Tefukah Tammuz / Summer Solstice, Tekufah Tishrei / Autumnal Equinox, and Tekufah Tevet / Winter Solstice.
Each of the four Tekufot occurs in one of the four Cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Cardinal energy is "initiating" energy: Cardinal signs are "starters". New beginnings!
The other modalities are the Fixed signs, which is "establishing" energy (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius), and Mutable signs, which is "transformative" energy (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces).
Tammuz, the month corresponding to Cancer, is Cardinal Water: Initiating Emotion. This quality can clearly be seen in the archetype of Reuven, the Tribal Ruler of Chodesh Tammuz.
Reuven is concerned with his mother’s fertility (in the incident of the mandrakes) and her honor (in the incident of moving his father’s bed). His sincere but unsuccessful efforts to save his brother Joseph in the pit and to sacrifice his own sons to redeem his brother Benyamin from Egypt reflect Cancerian concerns with family identity, responsibility and status.
Cancer’s gift to us is sensitivity, loyalty, intuition, pride in our heritage and sacrificial love. The New Moon in Cancer today can help us all initiate heart-centered connection, repair our family ties, and strengthen communal bonds during this Moon-ruled month.