Whenever I’ve brought up the subject of astrology in Jewish circles, I’ve either been hushed or validated, nothing in between. Some have cited Deuteronomy 18:9-12, that if a person is “an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer, one who casts spells…” that it is “abhorrent to the Lord.” Others have supported the notion that Talmudic scholars followed astrology and viewed it as part of G-d’s domain.
I was not aware of this growing up. I was taught to love G-d and G-d’s people. I didn’t study astrology myself, but learned to utilize the information shared by those in that field, in order to understand planetary influences and patterns that appear to impact the world, both historically and currently. I listen to the weekly astrological forecast from various astrologers, in the same way that I check in with weather forecasts. Jim Cantore, of the Weather Channel, doesn’t appear to me as a soothsayer any more than someone who studies the constellations.
I hope that no one is offended by this. That’s not my intention. It’s helpful to me to know if a late afternoon thunderstorm is likely. If so, I’ll take my walk in the early morning and whisper a prayer of thanks to Hashem for the heads up. It’s the same with the likelihood of knowing that tempers are likely to flare during Tammuz and Av.The Sefer Yetzira, or Book of Formation, is an esoteric Jewish text believed to be from the Second Temple period. I refer to it in my AJT New Moon Meditations column, to explain the influences as we approach each Hebrew month. It emphasis the lunar nodes along with the energy of the sun signs, with which most of us are familiar. Think of sun signs as the old 80’s pick-up line, “So what’s your sign?”
My birthday is July 25th. I was born under the sun sign of Leo, (to a father named Leo) and have the physical characteristics of the full mane, big eyes, long legs and upright posture. Being mindful to move gracefully is also important to me.
I decided to consider the message of the parshah, or weekly Torah portion, that coincides with the date of my birth and is relevant each year at this time.
It’s D’varim, The Words, from Deuteronomy 1:1−3:22. These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan. He went from having a speech defect, as he is quoted as saying, ‘I am not a man of words … for I am of slow speech, and of a slow tongue,’ to instructing a whole lot of our people.
So it’s about words. Interesting. Words can hurt, words can heal, they can instruct and express emotions. I’m mindful of words and their impact. And then there are words which I use for the purpose of helping others.
I love Hashem and have turned to Hashem for guidance through the challenges that COVID-19 has brought. Not able to offer a hug or see others in my therapy room, I’ve used my words in the Zoom room, to address the fears and anxiety of others.
I’ve listened to astrologers to understand patterns and the information has allowed me to feel more prepared, much in the same way as if I took an umbrella with me, even though the sun was shining.