Every Friday evening, before the sun sets, the Tree of Life community and guests gather for a unique ceremony called Shamanic Kabbalat Shabbat. The ceremony is to receive the Shabbat, a day of rest and remembrance, measured from sunset to sunset. Kabbalat simply means “to receive”, and we describe it as “shamanic” because in this ceremony, as we observe it, we honor the aboriginal roots of the great Torah tradition. We share this ceremony in the spirit of the Torah as a universal gift to all of humanity.
We begin the ceremony by honoring the four directions and dancing and singing to invoke a spirit of joy amongst those in attendance. Our hearts are lightened, and we shake of the concerns of the week and enter into a state of sweet receptivity to the Divine Presence in all of creation. Throughout the evening we share freshly pressed grape juice with a toast “to life”, sing songs, hear stories with wisdom applications for our lives, and bless and eat raw, organic, kosher, gluten-free challah bread together (a unique recipe developed by Rabbi Cousens and Shanti right here at Tree of Life Center US).
Before we close the ceremony, we meditate together, and Rabbi Cousens gives S’micha M’shefa (Haniha), an ancient energetic transmission to awaken the Divine Presence (the Shekhinah) within each person in the group. The evening is contemplative and relaxed with time for questions, answers, and sharing. With a final blessing, the group dismisses into the night permeated with a quiet peace to relish all throughout this sacred day.