Astrolojew The Jewish Astrology Podcast

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vayetzi - Birth of a Nation

#‎Vayetzei‬ The Parsha this week unveils the birth of 11 out of 12 of the Tribal Patriarchs and is primary to understanding the Cycle of Sacred Time which is the Jewish Year. 

The order in which they were born, the spiritual identities of the four mothers who gave them birth, and their unique functions both outwardly in physical reality as well as inwardly in the realm of symbols and archetypes within the individual personality all have their seeds in this Parsha. 

The corresponding Parsha is BaMidbar, in which the positions, directions and functions of the now-mature Tribes are described, and which is the symbolic archetype of the Zodiac itself (the Tribes around the Mishkan (Tabernacle) is the reflection of the heavenly arrangement). 

Study and meditate on this graphic, because it is the map to both your inner and outer reality.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Most Intense Week of Cheshvan Coming Up!

Detail from my "12 Tribes" Plate
Chodesh Ram Cheshvan 5776 is coming to an end later this week. Everything about this month has been deceptively external - violence, death, treachery and betrayal, shocking events - which distracts us from the deep internal work of this Fixed Water (Establishing Emotion) month. This week, particularly Monday night through Thursday morning, unplug (if you can) from the external noise long enough to hear the sound of your own voice crying in the wilderness of your own heart. What is she saying? 

The deepest message from the root of your own soul wants your conscious mind to hear it, know it, absorb it. 

The flag of the Tribe of Menashe (Cheshvan's Tribe) was a ra'im (a wild ox). It is the horn of this wild ox which is alluded to in Psalms 92:10: "But my horn hast thou exalted like the horn of the wild-ox". 

"Horn" is a metaphor for strength, honor, power, dominion, glory, dignity, prosperity and triumph. In struggle the horn is an symbol of fierceness and the ability to both attack and defend.

Don't be afraid to use your horn to dig DEEP this week. Fiercely defend yourself against toxic distractions, and you will triumph! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Learn Astrology Using Your Own Personal Natal Chart - 2016 Classes!

Learn about astrology with Astrolojew in 2016!

Now taking signups for a series of online classes beginning in January!

Learn LIVE online together with Lorelai in a small, intimate group setting.

You will participate in two 90-minute live online classes per month with your small group (limit 6 members per group) as well as one private half-hour meeting with Lorelai every month during the 6 months of the course. 

You'll learn about:

  • The cycle of sacred time, the Jewish Year, and you
  • Basics and Foundations of both classical and Jewish astrological archetypes & symbolism
  • Planets, Signs, Houses, Aspects, Transits, Progressions
  • Astrological Diagnostics - Understanding Yourself & Others

You'll come away from this 6 month course with an intimate working knowledge of your own personal natal chart as well as practical diagnostic skills for practicing astrology on your own!

Cost: $350
Time Commitment: Two 90-minute live classes per month, one half-hour private class per month, keeping an astrology journal and various readings.
Course Length: 6 Months (January - June, 2016)

To reserve your place in class, email:


Friday, October 2, 2015

Unity: Armageddon's Antidote

The Jewish Year balances upon the East/West axis of Nissan and Tishrei, Yehudah and Ephraim. The two Full Moon Festivals – Pesach and Sukkot – lie directly opposite each other in the Jewish Year, balancing the Nissan/Yehuda/Aries/Mars energy with the Tishrei/Ephraim/Libra/Venus energy.

The Haftarah for Shabbos Chol haMoed Sukkot is Ezekiel 38:18–39:16. “Gog v’Magog”, aka “Armageddon”. Directly across the Jewish Year, the Haftarah for Shabbos Chol haMoed Pesach is Ezekiel 37:1–17, the “Valley of Dry Bones”, in which the prophet is told to take two sticks – one for Yehuda and one for Ephraim – and they became “one together” in his hand. 

The resurrection power which is the unity of Yehuda and Ephraim is positioned directly across the Jewish Year from Gog v’Magog, the “End of the World”, Armageddon, the final battle. Need this apocalyptic vision be literally fulfilled? Not if unity within the Jewish people is achieved BEFORE all hell literally breaks loose.

Unity is the antidote to just about everything that ails us, and lack of unity the reason for most of our woes. Unity will literally bring us back to life as a whole people, unity is what can withstand any external pressure.

Blessings to everyone, everywhere, to see each other with eyes of love, to seek unity, and together may we have a supernaturally sweet, uplifting, restorative and refreshing Shabbos Chol haMoed Sukkot – and may those places in our hearts which seems to have withered and died be brought back to life!
The Jewish Year

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rosh HaShana! Shana Tova u'Metuka - Happy New Year 5776

As we approach Rosh HaShanah 5776 I want to bless us all for a sweet, healthy, happy New Year. 

May this be a year of revealed blessings, a year of tender mercies, a year of unexpected delights, a year of profound connectivity to the Divine root of our own souls, and a year when we see the face of G*d reflected in the faces of both our dearest loved ones and total strangers. 

May we all be signed, sealed and delivered for LIFE.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah l'Kulam
Shana Tova u'Metuka

- Lorelai Kude ("Astrolojew")

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Moon / Solar Eclipse Erev Rosh HaShana 5776

The New Moon / Solar Eclipse (at 20 Degrees Virgo) Sunday at 9:41am Jerusalem time makes Erev Rosh HaShana the energetic doorway to the fourth and final "Blood Moon" of the rare "Blood Moon Tetrad", which will occur on Sukkot.

These upcoming "Days of Awe" are indeed awesome days. The New Moon / Solar Eclipse conceals and the Full Moon / Lunar Eclipse reveals. Many will look at the upheavals, chaos and fear in this world and point outward. Those who are wise will look inward and see where upheavals, chaos and fear are hiding inside our own souls, and root them out entirely. When we've taken out the proverbial trash, then we'll understand how much of our external reality is being created by our own internal perceptions. May the light illuminate all that seek it.

Tikkun Elul

Shavua Tov! It's the 29th of Elul, the final day of Tikkun HaChodeshim 5775!

We've been counting down the months from last Tishrei until this Elul in preparation for Rosh HaShanah 5776. Tikkun Elul is all about "Fixing Discernment". Elul is the month associated with Virgo, and the function of Virgo is that of "borer", separation of what is useful from what no longer serves a purpose.

In Elul we refine our discernment, and the morning Shofar call is meant to be an auditory attunement of our souls. Without the right attunement, we go "off key", and that manifests itself in a critical spirit and punishing perfectionism. 

"Attunement" is very close to "Atonement" - the way to atone for being out of tune is to deeply, profoundly integrate the reality that nobody and nothing is "perfect". Fixing the distortions of context and perspective heals discernment, and healthy discernment becomes wisdom.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tikkun Av

28 Elul, "Tikkun Av", fixing the Ego (the very last thing that wants to be fixed, and it will assure you, even as you try, that it doesn't need fixing)!

Av is associated with the Tribe of Shimeon, the zodiac sign of Leo and the Sun. So powerful is Leo's energy that Av is the only month capable of holding all the destructive, negative power of ego gone wild. At the same time, Av is the month destined to herald the birth of the Messiah.

"Ego" is where the greatest danger AND the greatest deliverance comes from. Ego can go to pride and hubris, or great strength and dignity. The Sun, the most powerful influence on humankind, shines on the good and the wicked alike.  

Where has Ego blocked the (proverbial) Sun from shining in our lives? Where Ego casts a giant shadow, that's where the fixing must happen. If it's ever time to say: "I'm sorry", it's now. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tikkun Tammuz

27 Elul, "Tikkun Tammuz", during which we fix our emotions. Tammuz is the Sign of Cancer, associated with the Moon, and vulnerable to the most extreme emotional fluctuations. Reuven, the patriarch of the Tribe associated with Tammuz, was told by his father Jacob that his nature was as "unstable as water". Today we fix our emotional instability. Easier said than done, right?

Yet Reuven himself demonstrated the secret of this fixing when he acknowledged his father's frank assessment without bitterness, rebellion or resentment. Self-awareness and honest self-assessment anchors unstable emotions to a fixed reality: We are all Works in Progress. Neither veering towards morose nor grandiose, but aiming for equanimity in our in our daily lives and integrity in our relationships. Being able to accept critique from those with our best interests in mind without going off the deep end is emotional maturity. 

May Tikkun Tammuz give us the energetic opening to fix where we've been off the deep end or stuck in the shallow end with our feelings!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tikkun Sivan

26 Elul, "Tikkun Sivan", we're "Fixing Communication". Sivan is the month associated with Gemini, the Twins, the Planet Mercury ("Kochav"), and the Tribe of Zevulon. The holiday of Shavuot occurs during Sivan, and the energy of the month was given to us to refine and elevate the way we communicate with ourselves, each other, and G*d.

Miscommunication comes from lack of understanding. Sometimes we have to slow down just to hear ourselves think. Do you regret misunderstandings which occurred this past year? Is there a way to go back and refine what you meant to say? What have you left unspoken and unshared, what have you been carrying around in your heart which should have been out in the open long ago? 

Fix your own internal communication system by listening to your own heart and shutting off all the noise in your head. Once you know what your heart is really saying, you'll know how to share your truth with others.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tikkun Iyar

25 Elul, "Tikkun Iyar". The last time Iyar was upon us (April 19 - May 18, 2015), we were counting the Sefirot haOmer. Does that seem like a long time ago? Or just yesterday?

Iyar is connected to Taurus, the Fixed Earth ("Establishing Manifestation") sign, and the Tribe of Issachar. Were you taking the opportunity to build yourself up last time around? How have you manifested what you laid the foundation for during this last Iyar? If manifesting the reality you've built from the ground up is eluding you, reflect on where you may have missed a step or two. Take the time for a do-over, if the do-over will make the foundation of what you're building in your life stronger and more secure. 

Issachar is said to be the Tribe of Torah Scholars. Nobody ever got to be a Chocham by skipping steps or calling in their performance. Take the time to shore up your foundation so you can build something worth keeping.That's what "fixing manifestation" is all about.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tikkun Nissan

It's the 24th of Elul, "Tikkun Nissan", we're fixing those things we can still fix from last Nissan (21 March - 18 April, 2015). Nissan is the month associated with the sign of Aries and the planet Mars ("Maadim"). Mars is your energy, your "koach", your "Chi" (life force), it's your Yetzer - neither "tov" (good) nor "ra" (bad), but simply the impetus, the get up and go, the raw energetic "Ummmph" a person needs to do anything at all in this world.

Nissan is when we inaugurated the Tabernacle, it's the time of the Exodus from Egypt, it's a time of energetic rebirth and the raw power that accompanies newness. It's about INITIATIVE - taking initiative with courage. The Tribe of Yehuda is connected to Aries. Yehuda is about overcoming discouragement and accepting the mantle of leadership. So too in our own lives we allow discouragement to tell us others must lead and we must follow, because (as Yehuda himself did after the incident with Yoseph being sold into slavery) we've made mistakes and feel unworthy. 

When you allow life to take the initiative, you become reactive. Did you lose your individual initiative somewhere along the way? Has the world beat you up so badly you feel like "it's no use even trying"? Are you discouraged? Today's energy is to fix discouragement and re-energize your individual initiative so that you may boldly go where you've never gone before - to the next level! Chazak, Chazak! Be strong and of good courage!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tikkun Adar

It's 23 Elul, Tikkun Adar, we're halfway through Tikkun HaChodeshim and only 6 days from Rosh HaShanah!

During Tikkun Adar we're fixing our belief. We look at what we believed in this past Adar (February 19 - March 20th, 2015) and where our faith might have sprung a few leaks. Adar isn't about dogma and it's not about doctrine - it's about pure faith, starting with faith in one's own self. How many times have we let ourselves down by not believing in ourselves when we really needed it the most? 

At Purim during Chodesh Adar, we drink "ad lo yodeah", until we don't know, can't tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman (between our "light" and our "shadow" selves). We can fix our broken belief when we get to "ad lo yodeah" - beyond "knowing", into the realm of pure faith. 

Believe in yourself because G*d believes in you. Don't give up on yourself because G*d hasn't given up on you. Keep on going "ad lo yodeah", no matter what, until you can't tell the difference between "you" and G*d's illuminating spirit within you. Because - truth - there's no difference. That spark of Divinity IS "you". 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

23 Elul - Energetic Potential for both "Universal Peace" and "World War"

Today is the 23rd of Elul, in Jewish history this is the day the dove returned to Noah's ark with the olive branch in his mouth. This motif has become the universal archetype of the cessation of hostilities between G*d and man, and the beginning of humankind's "Second Chance" on Earth. 

23 Elul was also the date on the Hebrew Calendar that the horrific tragedy of 9/11 occurred in 2001.

How to reconcile the tremendous moral gap between these two events? 

It's a spiritual principle that whatever has potential for kedusha (holiness) also has the same degree of potential for evil (and the other way around as well - those with the biggest "Yetzer HaRah" - "evil inclination" - become the highest and holiest when that energy is turned around for good)

If 23 Elul has inherit energetic potential for the expression of "peace on Earth", it must also have the energetic potential for "world war". We've seen it used both ways. We can use it ourselves in our everyday lives. Today when that energy is available to us, let's use it for good.

Tikkun Shevat

Shavua Tov! It's 22 Elul, Tikkun Shevat in the process of Tikkun HaChodeshim, and we're "fixing" knowledge.

Shevat is the month associated with the Sign of Aquarius, the Water Bearer, and is the "New Year of the Trees". 

Serach, a daughter of Asher (The Tribe of Asher is the Tribe associated with Shevat) taught the secret of fixing knowledge by the way she broke the news to her elderly, sad and frail grandfather Jacob that his son Joseph was still alive in Egypt. By her gentle, gradual and sensitive way of breaking dramatic news, Serach shows us knowledge can be a weapon, and isn't something to hit someone over the head with. 

How have we used our knowledge against others, or ourselves? Have we been arrogant and unteachable? Is it more important to be right than it is to be fair, sensitive or open to learning from others? This is our opportunity to "fix" our knowledge and our knowing. 

As Reb Shlomo said: "What do we know"? May we "fix" our knowing in the deepest way!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tikkun Tevet

Tonight is 21 Elul, the fourth night of Tikkun haChodeshim תיקון החודשים, and we're fixing the Month of Tevet of this past year (December 22, 2014 - January 20, 2015).

Tevet is associated with Saturn ("Shabtai"), the Tribe of Dan, the sign of Capricorn, and the ability to structure, organize and use the material and spiritual world in tandem and with responsibility and maturity. The greatest threat to Tevet's power is the destructive force of anger.

This is your opportunity to sweeten the judgement of anger that may have been destructively expressed this last Tevet. Can you see where your anger may have come from fear, hurt, mistrust, or the disappointment of a broken ideal - even a broken heart? Let the healing power of this day of Fixing Tevet give you a fresh perspective and a fresh approach towards impediments you may have brought upon yourself because of anger.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tikkun Kislev

Tonight is 20 Elul, the third night of Tikkun haChodeshim תיקון החודשים . We are now fixing Kislev (November 12th - December 12th, 2014). 

"Fixing Inspiration" is one important aspect of what may have gone wrong this last Kislev. Associated with the Tribe of Benyamin, the Sign of Sagittarius and the Planet Jupiter ("Tzedek"), Kislev is the month that supplies us our yearly dose of inspiration. 

Did we drink deeply enough? Did we appreciate it, or did we take it for granted? Did depression, anxiety or doubt make the abundance of inspirational Kislev energy unable to be absorbed? Can we use this day to fix our ability to receive, retain and reflect inspiration?

The Mecurial Kim Davis

Kim Davis (September 17, 1965) is a Virgo with Moon in Gemini, making her Sun/Ego and Moon/Emotions a double-dose of Mutable (changeable)Mercury, Planetary ruler of both Virgo and Gemini.

Adding to her Mercurial nature: Jupiter at 29 Degrees (the "Ultimate" or "Critical" Degree of any sign) of Gemini, and North Node in Gemini enlarges and enhances her changeability.  With her Moon in Gemini as well as her Jupiter and North Node, Kim Davis is a woman whose very sense of destiny is dependent on adaptability to circumstances in which she finds herself and not upon the impetus of her own will. "Stability" is not her middle name - at least not in the areas ruled by the Moon (her emotional self) and enhanced by Jupiter's expansiveness and the North Node's sense of destiny. 

When a personality such as this meets a dogma such as "Not my will, but Thine, O Lord", this is what we call "a match made in heaven". 

Mercury in it's home sign of Virgo, right behind the Sun in Virgo, Uranus and Pluto conjunct in Virgo, and Saturn, the Planet responsible for things like structure, order, responsibility, etc. is OPPOSITE all that Virgo - Saturn in Pisces: the sign least likely to have functional, strong personal boundaries. 

Saturn: The part of her personality in charge of saying "no" is disabled and overwhelmed by its placement in Pisces, the boundary-less sign, and its opposition to the Sun (Ego), Uranus (Unique Self) and Pluto (Death and Resurrection, Transformative Self) in practical, constantly sifting and evaluating Virgo. 

Basically this woman is someone who has spent her life changing from one thing to another. The only stability she has exhibited is in her employment (over 25 years at the same job). But wait, there's more.

Her Venus, Mars and Neptune in Scorpio give her a strong, passionate, stubborn, intense, secretive,  and focused sexuality. At the mercy of all that Mercurial energy, her passionate need for intimacy may have taken all sorts of twists and turns along the road of life. 

Kim Davis is a woman whose lifetime of boundary-less enslavement to her darkest passions resulted in repentance and a deep need to set a boundary and stick to it - a boundary in the area she herself perceived as the mortal enemy of her soul - that of forbidden and secret sexual desires. 

I'd love to know her birth time to determine which Houses these Planetary clusters fall in! I'm guessing she might have Sagittarius Rising, putting all that Gemini drama into her 7th House of Marriage and Partnerships, all that Virgo into her 10th House (public persona, career and vocation) where she is perceived as both "steady" (employed at the same job for almost 30 years), analytical (critical/picky) and in some ways, "purer-than-thou" (Virgo's shadow side). Sagittarius Rising would also put her Venus/Mars/Neptune in Scorpio in her 12th House, right where she'd feel the most guilty about her "secret" passions (and most likely the place from where she "repented" when she became a born-again, Apostolic Christian after four marriages and a set of twins born out of wedlock). 

If anyone discovers her birth time, please forward me the information at: - thanks! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tikkun Cheshvan

I9 Elul, Tikkun Cheshvan - Day Two of Tikkun haChodeshim, תיקון החודשים , the "Fixing" of the Months of this past year as we count down to Rosh HaShanah.

Cheshvan is about the deepest and most intense intimacy, the kind that transcends time and space, circumstances and limitations, even life or death. Think back to last Cheshvan October 24th - November 22nd, 2014. What or whom are you missing? If intimacy was breached, can it be repaired? Intimacy is impeded when secrets exist between two people. Which secrets are you no longer obligated to keep now?

May we go together from strength to strength as we move through the months of 5775 in preparation for 5776!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tikkun Tishrei

It's תיקון החודשים Tikkun haChodeshim and today, 18 Elul, is Tikkun Tishrei.

We look back to last Tishrei - September 24th through October 23rd, 2014. Where were you? What were you doing?

Tishrei is concerned with PARTNERSHIP relationships. How did you relate to your partners last Tishrei? A spouse, a business partner, a significant other? Is there something you left unsaid, or wish you could say all over again in a different way?

Tishrei is associated with the Planet Venus - "Noga" in Hebrew. Bright and beautiful, romantic and inspiring, "Noga" is the Star connected to Libra/Tishrei and the Tribe of Ephraim. Meditate on that Venus/Noga energy when you close your eyes and think about last Tishrei. What kind of "light" shines for you? Is there anything you can change? 

I bless you all (and thank you for blessing me back!) that you should find the deepest depths of spiritual connection, release and transcendence during Tikkun HaChodeshim.

Tikkun haChodeshim, 5775

Tuesday, September 1st at Sundown begins 18 ("Chai" = "Life") Elul, the Baal Shem Tov's birthday AND the beginning of Tikkun haChodeshim - the fixing of the months of the previous year (5775), as we prepare for Rosh HaShanah 5776.

On 18 Elul we examine ourselves for what we did, said and thought during this past Tishrei. On 19 Elul, we look at ourselves as we were this past Cheshvan, etc. etc. until we arrive at 29 Elul, and our self-examination for what we've said, done, thought, etc. for this month.

Good tools for doing Tikkun haChodeshim yourself - use a journal. Write down your reflections. Check your Facebook history, your personal calendar, journal or datebook from past months for where you were at during different times of the year. 


May we "fix" whatever can be fixed, may we let go of what is beyond ours to fix, and may we have wisdom to know the difference!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Chodesh Elul Tov!

Chodesh Elul Tov from Astrolojew!

Elul is associated with the Zodiac Sign of Virgo. Virgo is the Mutable Earth (Transformative Manifestation) Sign, whose function is that of sifting, separating and purifying.

On Shabbat there is a form of "work" called "borer" which we are forbidden to do. "Borer" is about separating the useful from the not-useful. This is Virgo's function and it is Elul's specialty. All month we do "borer" to our own soul - sifting, separating that which is useful from that which no longer serves, analyzing ourselves under the microscope of our own truth, confronting and owning our part in whatever it is that is holding us back from fully engaging with our spiritual lives.

Wishing everybody a good "housecleaning". Don't be too harsh or hard on yourself, and don't let judgmental, punishing perfectionism fool you into thinking that you're really bad. Remember Elul is an acronym for "Anee l'Dodi v'Dodi Li" - "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine". What is beloved is already perfect. Love is perfect. You are perfect. Elul is the perfect time to become deeply connected with that reality.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bernie in the Sky with Diamonds

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was born 14 Elul, 5701 (6 September, 1941) in Brooklyn, NY. It was Shabbat, Parshat Ki Tietzei. 

The Full Moon of Elul is always in Pisces. Although his birth time is unknown so we can't calculate his Ascendent (Rising Sign), we can see his Mars in Aries - Venus in Libra opposition as a perfect balance of harmonious, naturally placed energies - this person was BORN a "feminist"

He has powerful Virgo placements in his chart - his Sun, North Node ("Karmic Setpoint / Tikkun Point"), Neptune, several asteroids, and most strikingly his Mercury at 29 Degrees Virgo (29 is the "critical" or "ultimate" degree of any sign). He is MR. ANALYSIS. Virgo's role is to sift and to separate what is useful from what is not useful - that's why they call Virgo's "picky". They call themselves "discerning", which would be more accurate. 

Mercury, the ruling Planet of Virgo, at Virgo's "ultimate" degree, is the quintessential analytical communicator. His Saturn in Taurus gives him an internal, fixed structure which is illustrated by a lifetime of persistence and consistency.  

Uranus at zero degrees Gemini is interesting, as the general rule is that "a Planet is not established in a Sign until it reaches 1 degree". Any zero degree Planet is like a free-form energetic free-fall and sort of like a Joker is to a deck of cards. Uranus is his "unique" self, and this placement almost abrogates the ego need for differentiation and individuation. Combined with his compassionate Pisces Moon, it's no wonder he self-identifies as a "Socialist".  

Pluto/Chiron conjunction in Leo is the most striking indication of someone who is willing to effect radical change in order to right a wrong and heal what is wounded.

Starting this week, transiting Jupiter will be in VIRGO until the middle of September, 2016. Jupiter EXPANDS everything it touches. This is going to be GREAT for Bernie. Keep on watching the stars to see how it all unfolds. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why Pluto Matters

July 2015 has been an historic month for Pluto. After a nine and a half year journey, the spacecraft "New Horizons" finally reached the outer limits of our galaxy, and has sent us stunning photographs, startling and unexpected data, and generated a myriad of new questions regarding the mysterious, far-off  of the planet (nee asteroid, nee planet) at the furthest edge of not only our solar system, but our imaginations as well.

Pluto was "discovered" in 1930, but astronomers and astrologers had long suspected it's existence. Pluto was assigned astrological rulership of Scorpio, previously associated with Mars (classical co-ruler of both Aries and Scorpio).  Astrologers, philosophers and those concerned with symbolic meanings and archetypes understood at once that Pluto's mythical qualities - power, desire, passion, secrecy, remoteness, intensity, focus, privacy - belonged to the zodiac sign of Scorpio, associated with the Hebrew Month of Cheshvan.

"Phoenix Rising", Alisa Manning
Pluto's symbol is that of a phoenix rising from the ashes. Pluto understands, embodies and demonstrates the spiritual and biological truth - that something must die in order for something else to be born.  Pluto's "discovery" in 1930 coincided with the most intense period of human history, one which saw the rise of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, WWII and the discovery of atomic power (ruled by Pluto). From the ashes of the Holocaust rose a reborn State of Israel. The "Pluto Generation" saw the rebirth of a people, a nation and a hope that had all but been extinguished in the ovens of Europe.

Cheshvan, the Hebrew Month associated with Scorpio and therefore Pluto, is known to be the "Month without holidays" in the Hebrew Calendar (read more about the "incepted" months of Cheshvan and Iyar in the Jewish Year HERE). Yet there is a well-know midrash that teaches that the Holy Temple itself, the Third and "Messianic" Temple, will be built during Chodesh Cheshvan. This third, final and "Messianic" Temple is promised to the Jewish People as not only a sign of redemption, but as the actual, physical place on Planet Earth from which universal love will flow to all peoples and all nations. This "font of all blessings" is prophesied to be build during the "deprived" month of Cheshvan, truly a "phoenix rising from the ashes" of history, time, death and rebirth.

Pluto reminds us that the (atomic) power, passion, intensity, focus and will that is associated with its symbols and archetypes is at work in our world as well as in our personalities. Everybody has Pluto somewhere in their chart. By House and by Sign, the position of Pluto illustrates the role of power, passion, personal ego, death and rebirth in your life.

A personal example: like many of my generation, I have Pluto in Virgo. It falls within my 11th House of the "Claal" - community, friends and friendships, affinity groups I belong to, the collective consciousness. At 2 Degrees Virgo, my natal Pluto sextiles my natal Neptune in Scorpio (Pluto's ruler) in my 1st House, supporting my "function" in the arena of the "collective" as one of transforming (Pluto) perception (Neptune) through the raising of consciousness (Scorpio) via analyzing. sifting and evaluating (Virgo) processes. The role I often play in friendships, groups to which I belong, affinity associations and the claal/collective is one of consciousness transformation. I have often acted as a "midwife" to bring to birth new levels of awareness - but first the old ones have to die so the new ones can be reborn. This is the function of Pluto in my natal chart. How it functions in your Natal chart is your own individual manifestation of that transformative energy.

A little about "rulership" of planets in both classical and modern astrology:

Classical astrology assigns double rulership to every planet except the Sun and Moon. In classical astrology, planetary rulership looks like this:

Sun - Leo (Av/Shimon)
Moon - Cancer (Tammuz/Reuven)
Mercury - Gemini (Sivan/Zevulon) and Virgo (Elul/Gad)
Venus - Taurus (Iyar/Issachar) and Libra (Tishrei/Ephraim)
Mars - Aries (Nissan/Yehuda) and Scorpio (Cheshvan/Menashe)
Jupiter - Sagittarius (Kislev/Benyamin) and Pisces (Adar/Naphtali)
Saturn - Capricorn (Tevet/Dan) and Aquarius (Shevat/Asher)

As stated elsewhere upon multiple occasions in my writings on astrology, the Tribe of Levi is not assigned a planetary ruler because, in the configuration of a person's natal chart, the pattern of the "Tribes around the Mishkan" it is the soul of the person which is the "Mishkan", and the Leviim around the inner circle of the Mishkan have each their own specific functionality (see "Your Inner Leviim" from this blog).

After the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, modern Astrology assigns planetary rulers as follows:

Sun - Leo (Av/Shimon)
Moon - Cancer (Tammuz/Reuven)
Mercury - Gemini (Sivan/Zevulon) and Virgo (Elul/Gad)
Venus - Taurus (Iyar/Issachar) and Libra (Tishrei/Ephraim)
Mars - Aries (Nissan/Yehuda)
Jupiter - Sagittarius (Kislev/Benyamin)
Saturn - Capricorn (Tevet/Dan)
Uranus - Aquarius (Shevat/Asher)
Neptune - Pisces (Adar/Naphtali)
Pluto - Scorpio (Cheshvan/Menashe)

In Modern astrology, only Mercury and Venus continue as double-rulers of signs. However, most astrologers still consider the traditional co-ruler influence as at least worth noting, and some believe there's another undiscovered planet (famous astrologer Linda Goodman called the possible "ghost planet" by the name "Vulcan" and hoped upon its discovery it would be assigned as the "true ruler" of Virgo). Goodman also believed another planet, Horus or Pan-Horus, would eventually be discovered and assigned rulership of Taurus.

"Linda Goodman explains how previously other signs had different ruling planets before their true planets were discovered:
Vulcan is the true ruler of Virgo, and is “the lame goddess of thunder,” since Vulcan is definitely a female planet. Let me explain what I mean by “the true ruler.”
An example: At one time, both Pisces and Sagittarius were ruled by Jupiter – until Neptune was discovered as the original and therefore natural (or true) ruler of Pisces. At one time, both Aquarius and Capricorn were ruled by Saturn – until Uranus was discovered as the original and therefore natural ruler of Aquarius. (Abraham Lincoln was a Saturn-ruled Aquarian, Franklin Roosevelt a Uranus-ruled Aquarian). Uranus was rediscovered by a farm boy named Herschel, and was called by his name at first. But metaphysicians knew that the planet’s true name was Uranus.
To continue, Aries and Scorpio were both ruled by Mars and Scorpio, until Scorpio’s true and natual ruler, Pluto, was discovered. And so on.
Each time this repeated circle of discovery occurs, it manifests in the same pattern - or order of discovery - and the last two original planetary rulers to be re-discovered are always (in each cycle) Vulcan, the true ruler of Virgo – then Horus (Pan-Horus), the true ruler of Taurus. Virgo presently shares with Gemini the rulership of Mercury, although Mercury is the true ruler of Gemini, and is only “on loan”, so to speak, to Virgo. Just as Taurus presently shares with Libra the rulership of Venus, although Venus is the true ruler of Libra, and is only “on loan”, so to speak, to Taurus.
- Linda Goodman's Star Signs, quoted by  "Earth Woman/Virgo-Centric"

Linda Goodman believed that in the end, each of the 12 Zodiac Signs will have it's own planetary ruler.  That remains to be seen - but as things stand, it's obvious that the addition of the previously unknown (but suspected) planets to the zodiac has enhanced our ability to understand the more subtle workings of each sign - and therefore, our own selves.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Capricorn Full Moon - Establishing Manifestation

"Full Moon over Jerusalem" by Israeli artist Zoe Sever
Full Moons occur when the Sun and Moon are in opposite signs. The Sun in sensitive Cancer's Full Moon in practical, ambitious Capricorn this evening is supported by a gentle Trine from dreamy Neptune in watery, mystical Pisces. If you can imagine it, you can manifest it. Energetically speaking, it's a good time to take practical steps to fulfill your dreams.

Cancer is associated with the Tribe of Reuven, and Capricorn with the Tribe of Dan. They are placed on the North/South axis as the "Natural First-Borns" of their mothers, and represent the Cardinal directional energies (North/South). The "Natural First-Borns" Reuven and Dan are in contrast to the "Supernatural First-Borns" (Yehuda and Ephraim), which are associated with the East/West axis. 

When we come to a turning point in the tide of time, we examine the quality of that time. During Reuven/Tammuz/Cancer it is important to refocus one's attention on family relationships, and to make repairs in areas of your life that concern food/home/mother/money. 

Rededicate yourself to the mitzvah of "Kevod Av v'Am" (honoring your parents), check your mezuzahs to make sure they're in good condition, check the contents of your refrigerator to make sure you're eating right, and check your bank balance to remind you, no matter what the number, true security is not to be found in cash on deposit but in love on deposit in your heart.As the Wizard of Oz said to the Tin Man: "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others".

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Spiritual Power of Ramadan in the Jewish Calendar

The Islamic calendar is a lunar system, and the annual occurrence of the month of Ramadan runs on an approximate 32 year cycle varying as to which Hebrew month it falls in, throughout the years, decades, centuries. 

Unlike the Hebrew solar/lunar calendar, the Islamic calendar has no feast or fast that must fall in a certain season (as we do with the Month of Nissan, Chodesh Aviv, which the Torah mandates must start in the Spring). 

Ramadan always begins on a New Moon / Rosh Chodesh  of the Jewish Calendar (Head of the Month). This year (2015), Ramadan begins on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, as it did in 2014, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1948, 1949 and 1950.

The Sons of Ishmael enact great spiritual power during the fast of Ramadan. Their zealous devotion in fasting from sunrise to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan is intended to provoke we, their cousins, to envy their level of commitment, and seek to emulate, and indeed, exceed it. 

The area we need to renew our commitment and passion in is indicated by the month Ramadan falls in each year. For the Tammuz years, we look at our patriarch Reuven, to which Tammuz corresponds.  

The tikkun of Reuven had to do with filial duty, and proper care for parents. The Jewish people are being provoked by our Ishmalite cousins to do tshuva this Chodesh Tammuz in the areas in our life where respect and responsibility to our parents are concerned.  

Just as the Hebrew Calendar and the Jewish Year is the manifestation of Sacred Time, our cousins have been given the Islamic Calendar to know the times and the seasons they are to enact their devotions, which are intended to arouse us to a purer and more passionate response to our own spiritual calling. It is a dance of devotion between root souls - Isaac and Ishmael, both sons of Avraham - and in the end, the time of one is the time of both and the time of both is the time of All.

To contemplate which Hebrew Month Ramadan has fallen in since 1930, I present the following data:

Ramadan in Tammuz - 1948, 1949, 1950, 1981, 1982, 1983, 2014, 2015
Ramadan in Sivan - 1951, 1952, 1953, 1984, 1985, 2016, 2017, 2018
Ramadan in Iyar - 1954, 1955, 1956, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2019, 2020, 2021
Ramadan in Nissan - 1957, 1958, 1989, 1990, 1991
Ramadan in Adar (I and II) - 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
Ramadan in Shvat - 1930, 1931, 1932, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1996, 1997
Ramadan in Tevet -  1933, 1934, 1966, 1998, 1999
Ramadan in Kislev - 1935, 1936, 1937, 1967, 1967, 1969, 2000, 2001, 2002
Ramadan in Cheshvan - 1938, 1939, 1970, 1971, 1972, 2003, 2004
Ramadan in Tishrei (Rosh HaShanah) - 1940, 1941, 1942, 1973, 1974, 1975, 2005, 2006, 2007
Ramadan in Elul - 1943, 1944, 1945, 1976, 1977, 1978, 2008, 2009, 2010
Ramadan in Av - 1946, 1947, 1979, 1980, 2011, 2012, 2013

Monday, May 25, 2015

Take The Great Leap!

"Great Leap" by Jane Evershed
From Shavuot to the 17th of Tammuz is a very unusual time of year, I like to call it "The Great Leap".

Energetically we've come as far as we can on the momentum of the progressive holiday cycle, and we've been shot out of a cannon at Shavuot - we're FLYING, leaping over a 42 day period of "empty" time that we must fill with everything we've learned, everything we've become, all our realized potentiality, until we run up against the constrictive energy of "The 3 Weeks" (17 Tammuz-9 Av). 

What we do with our time NOW will have everything to do with how we experience the 3 Weeks, followed by Tu b'Av, Elul Zman, and then of course Rosh HaShannah 5776. You now have EVERYTHING you've worked on developing in your soul since last Rosh Hashanah. USE IT OR LOSE IT! Take the Great Leap!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Chodesh Sivan Tov!

Rosh Chodesh ‪Sivan Tov!

Sivan is the month associated with the Zodiac Sign of Gemini and the Tribe of Zebulon. Gemini - "The Twins" - is the only Zodiac Sign whose symbol is exclusively human and specifically androgynous, in that the male and female are both equally represented in this Mutable Air (Transforming Thought) sign.

How perfect is that as a symbol for the month during which we celebrate the giving of the Torah to ALL Am Yisrael - men and women alike? The Kiruvim ("Cherubim") atop the Holy Ark in the Tabernacle are "The Twins" - male and female - who face each other and whose wings touch and it is from between those wings, atop the Ark, that G*d speaks to us. G*d speaks to us from the space where male and female energies meet. The gift of Torah is for everyone.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Moon, Mercury Retrograde, Chodesh Sivan and The Red Sea

The New Moon at 26, almost 27 degrees Taurus invites Gevurah Sh’b’Malchut to draw upon the Fixed Earth (“Establishing Manifestation”) energy to put down roots in our hearts and our lives. It's a short-lived New Moon though, as early Monday morning the Moon moves into Gemini, the “Mazal” (Zodiac Sign) ruled by Chodesh Sivan – and indeed Rosh Chodesh Sivan begins Monday night, Tiferet Sh’b’Malchut, when the potentiality for beauty and balance of divine manifestation is not only possible but an actual energetic imperative. 

Mercury, ruling Planet of Gemini and associated with the newborn Month of Sivan, turns Retrograde Monday night / Tuesday morning. This Mercury Retrograde will last through June 11th, and its shadow return period won’t be over until June 26th. During this Mercury Retrograde, Mercury will “move backwards” from 13 Gemini to Zero Gemini. It was last in Zero Gemini on April 10th/11th – the festival of Shvi’i Shel Pesach, the 7th Day of Chol haMoed Pesach, the commemoration of the parting of the Red Sea, and the Sefirot haOmer of Malchut Sh’b’Chessed – the manifestation of pure loving-kindness!  

It’s as if this Mercury Retrograde period is going to take us backwards from Tiferet Sh’b’Malchut to Malchut Sh’b’Chessed, the crossing of the Red Sea, to re-learn those lessons all over again in a whole new way. It will be important to remember that this is the work and this is the goal in the weeks ahead.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Hebrew Calendar and the Jewish Year as a Devotional Tool of Spiritual Practice

The cycle of sacred time we call the Jewish Year is laid out in the almost supernaturally wondrous Hebrew Calendar. The importance of this tremendous gift - that of making time itself sacred - was the very first of many gifts given to the newly liberated slaves who were about to become a Nation.

Rosh Chodesh, the "Head of the Month", was the first mitzvah given to the about-to-be-born Nation of Israel. Indeed Rashi, in his commentary on Genesis 1, begins by asking why the Torah didn't start with the commandment of Rosh Chodesh, as given in Parshat Bo, rather than the historical background of the Book of Genesis. He answers by telling us that in future times when the nations of the world accuse Israel of taking a land which wasn't their own, the entire Book of Genesis and in fact up until Parshat Bo - Exodus 12:1 - exists to prove to the world that God is the sovereign creator of heaven and earth and that all belongs to Him, and He will choose to give whatever is His to whomever He chooses, and He chose the Land of Israel (known at the time as Eretz Canaan) to the Jewish People.

Why does the Torah place the giving of the commandment to observe Rosh Chodesh prior to the actual deliverance from Egypt? Why give slaves the gift of time? Only free people own their own time. The gift of time is the gift of sovereignty, of independence, of freedom. The secret to the arranging of sacred time and the enabling of the Hebrew Calendar was given to still-slaves so that when Jacob's children became the Nation of Israel, they would not forget that they too were once slaves, as all the other nations were and are enslaved to false gods and idols - and that the function of sacred time is to create order for harmony and holiness. So too when we incorporate the inner symbolism of the Planetary configurations of not only our own personal natal charts but the movements and motions of the heavens into our spiritual practice, we must not forget that unless we have divinely given order within us, we are in chaos, and the "nations" within us (our disparate parts, each competing with each other for attention and dominance) must be enlightened by the light we receive from these energetic realities in order to function at their highest intended capacity, for which they were created.

It's important to understand that the Jewish People are intended to be a "Light unto the Nations" and that this light consists of demonstrating to the rest of humankind that there is a real, vital and living connection and conduit between God and humankind, and that connection can be reflected in the order of human society as laid out in the Torah.

It's equally important to note that the vital, living idea of being a "Light unto the Nations" can never be divorced from ethics, and that the Jewish People, more than any other population on earth, have a particular responsibility not to allow their light to be extinguished by disconnection and disassociation from the entire underlying structure of ethics and moral responsibility. That is to say, on the purely material and political level, the Jewish People are never to act as though doctrine and dogma are more important than the souls and lives of other human beings, or that human beings may be sacrificed on the altar of doctrine and dogma. This is a terrible misunderstanding (all too common) of Torah. 

Thus the Rashi on Genesis 1 is not to be taken as an imperative for political and military dominance of others, but instructions on humility, to understand that receiving the heritage of Eretz Yisrael is to be awarded stewardship, not ownership. God makes it very clear Who "owns" the Land of Israel. In the metaphorical sense, God makes it very clear Who "owns" the body, mind and soul. One cannot say: this belongs to me by right. One can only say: this is in my care because I am to cultivate it as a conduit of connectivity to the Divine and all Creation.

On the ideal level, this is a world of various independent, distinct and unique societies (known as the "Nations") which are transformed by being TAUGHT and instructed by the Jewish example, into nations which live together in harmony, without violence or strife, because they have a living, vital, dynamic, perfectly just, perfectly righteous and perfectly FUNCTIONAL example of how the meaningful, fulfilled life can and should be lived in community and society.

These ideas are true on both an internal and external level. "Astrolojew" astrology as I practice and teach it is concerned with the INNER ORDER and the INNER MANIFESTATION of that order which comes from understanding and incorporating the symbols, archetypes and indeed energetic realities which are the "Mazalot" (the Zodiac). 

To take Rashi on Genesis 1 as a starting point, the entire reason for Genesis 1 - Exodus 11 within our own soul is to prove to "the nations" within our own psyche who question and challenge God's existence, sovereignty and benevolence that our lives are not exclusively our own, but belong to God, and in fact, the life force that exists within us is made of the same God-stuff that the sovereign, transcendent God consists of.

In the same way that human lives must never be less valued than doctrine and dogma, within our own psyche, we often find that which is our "human life", our weaknesses, our frailties, our challenges, our undeveloped, underdeveloped or even distorted parts - must never be valued less than the doctrine and dogma with which we govern our inner life. Structure is meant to bring order, and order is the environment where harmony may flourish. Just as this is true on an external level, it is true on an internal level. "Astrolojew Astrology" invites you to enter an already functional, already existent world view of structure, order and harmony specifically designed to best develop your soul. Your soul was MADE to flourish within the cycle of sacred time when it began to live in your body! 

If indeed "deep calls unto deep" and "iron sharpeneth iron", only that which is already God within our own soul - the imminent God - can yearn for and respond to the transcendent God. It is that yearning which drives the soul to seek God, and it is that response to what happens when we discover that which we have yearned for IS ALSO YEARNING FOR US, which makes us "Bnai Yisrael", Children of Israel. For it was Jacob, our forefather, who WRESTLED with God and prevailed, winning a new name - ISRAEL. To be "Israel" one must wrestle with God - one must wrestle with every false conception and every distraction, every detour and every cul-de-sac, one must wrestle with one's YEARNING in order to learn how to connect, and how to indeed be a conduit, of the Divine.

Using the Hebrew Calendar and the cycle of sacred time which is the Jewish Year as a devotional tool helps to bring this cycle into the forefront of our everyday living and our consciousness. It is a Divinely structured prescription for spiritual practice intended to align the body, mind and soul to the cycles of sacred time and the rhythms of creation itself. When a soul yearns, that yearning invites a response. Right usage of Sacred Time can help channel that yearning and create a vessel for that response.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chodesh Iyar and Chodesh Cheshvan: “Incepted” Mysteries and Midrashic Insights

Iyar and Cheshvan, opposite each other in the Zodiac and the Jewish Year, are both “incepted” months. Iyar is incepted by the Sefirot haOmer period, which begins on the 15th of Nissan and ends on the 5th of Sivan. Energetically, Iyar is encompassed by the Sefirot haOmer. 

Cheshvan is “incepted” by the holiday and festival cycle. Notable for being “the only month without a holiday”, Cheshvan is incepted by the Chaggim of Tishrei, specifically the final holiday of Simchat Torah, after which there are no holidays, feasts or fasts until Chanukkah on 25 Kislev. 
"Issachar" by Lynette Joel

Iyar is associated with the Tribe of Issachar and the Zodiac Sign (“Mazal”) of Taurus, the Bull. Taurus is the Fixed Earth (Establishing Manifestation) Sign, whose energetic task is to take the great passion and love and freedom of Nissan and establish it, laying the groundwork of manifestation by deep thought and discernment. 

Opposite Iyar in the Jewish Year is Chesvan, associated with the Tribe of Menashe, and Scorpio. Scorpio is the Fixed Water (Establishing Emotion) Sign, whose energetic task is to take the love and intimacy initiated in Tishrei during the Chaggim (Rosh HaShanah through Simchas Torah) and establish it, manifesting it through hidden, secret, powerful, mysterious and sexual means. 

The birth of Issachar was a “supernatural” birth, as was the birth of Menashe, in an opposite and yet complimentary way. In Parshat Vayeitzei, Leah had left off bearing children after already giving birth to Reuven, Shimon, Levi and Yehuda. Her handmaiden Zilpah had also given birth to Gad and Asher on her behalf. At that point, Leah’s sister Rachel had not yet given birth to any children herself; only her handmaiden Bilhah had born Dan and Naftali. 

Bereshit (Genesis) 30:14-18 reads:
Reuven went out in the days of the wheat harvest; he found dudaim in the field and brought them to Leah his mother; Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s dudaim” But she said to her, “Was your taking my husband insignificant? – And now to take even my son’s dudaim!” Rachel said, “Therefore, he shall like with you tonight in return for your son’s dudaim.”
When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said: “It is to me that you must come for I have clearly hired you with my son’s dudaim.” She he lay with her that night.
God hearkened to Leah; and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. And Leah declared: “God has granted me my reward because I gave my maidservant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.”

Issachar was conceived “supernaturally”, in that his birth was the result of a trade or exchange – Reuven’s dudaim (which were fertility herbs) went to Rachel, to help her conceive Joseph – in exchange for Issachar’s birth, which was “supernatural” in that Leah had left off bearing. Her eldest son Reuven’s intention in gathering the dudaim was to give it to his mother to help her bear more children. Instead, the dudaim went to Rachel, and Leah was assisted “supernaturally” in conceiving Issachar by G*d, who “hearkened to Leah” (v. 17), granting her another son.

The birth of Menashe, Joseph’s firstborn, also has “supernatural” undertones, understanding it in the context of Joseph’s great efforts to resist Potiphar’s wife and to guard his sexual purity, even to anguishing lengths. The Midrash relates that the difficulty of resisting the sexual lure of Potiphar’s wife was so intense that Joseph plunged his fingers, out of which came semen, into the very earth itself of Egypt itself, rather than succumb to the powerful, overwhelming sexual urge with Potiphar’s wife. 

When at last Joseph was married to Asnat, his first :permitted" or sanctified seminal emission brought about the conception and birth of Menashe, his first-born. 

From Midrash Rabah:
"Rabbi Isaac states: ‘His seed is scattered and leaves his body through his fingernails, as it is written, 'and the arms of his hands were made supple,' which could also be interpreted as 'and the arms were spread.'" Rabbi Isaac, also citing Jacob's blessing, says that Joseph's sexual desire is liberated not sexually, but rather via his fingertips. Thus, in this view, Joseph is prevented from relations with Potiphar's wife not because of impotence, but rather because of the wondrous sublimation of his sexual power that is forced upon him.”

Menashe is the Tribe associated with Scorpio and Chodesh Cheshvan. Scorpio is legendary for being the most sexual of all the Zodiac signs. Scorpios energetically “Establish Emotion” (Fixed Water) through sexual intimacy. Menashe was the product of permitted and therefore holy sexual union between Joseph and Asnat, but his father Joseph’s initial seminal emission (through his fingers into the earth of Egypt) carried with it an energetic charge as well. This tremendous effort to "do the right thing" is the universally cited reason Joseph is called "Yosef haTzadik", the righteous one, who overcame overpowering sexual urge and therefore elevated the "Yesod" (foundation), symbolized by the Sefirot "Yesod" in Sefirot haOmer and personified by Yosef (as the Tzadik and the Ushpizin of Sukkot's "Yesod" night).

Menashe is, in this sense, the “exchange” or “reward” or “trade” Joseph received for his great effort in sublimating his sexual desire, just as Issachar is to Leah the result of her great effort to increase her portion of the Tribes of Israel. The dudaim which Leah exchanged for Jacob’s company were the fertility herbs that helped Rachel eventually give birth to Joseph, who would become the father of Menashe. The linking of Issachar, the son Leah bore as a result of the exchange of her son’s dudaim for the right to lay with her husband and conceive, to Menashe, the son Joseph bore in exchange for guarding his sexual purity, even to the point of excruciating anguish, is one of the deepest secrets of Torah. 

An even more subtle and powerful level of this linking exists in the person of Asnat, the wife of Joseph and the mother of Menashe and Ephraim. Asnat was the daughter of Dinah and Shechem ben Hamor, the product of Dinah’s abduction and rape. After Dinah gave birth to Asnat, the child was left under the shade of a bush by the roadside (“Asnat” is a version of the word for “bush”), wearing a bracelet which identified her as the grandchild of Jacob. The child was rescued and adopted by Potiphar and his wife, and raised in the royal palace of Egypt. 

Some years after the incident with Potiphar’s wife, after Joseph had risen from a prisoner to Pharoah’s Prime Minister, he was walking through the streets of Egypt and women were throwing tokens at him  - jewelry and such – begging for his attention, for he was very handsome (the son of the beautiful Rachel and the image of his father Jacob). Asnat was watching him from the rooftop of her home, and threw her token to him in the street – the very bracelet which had been with her since birth, signifying her as a grand-daughter of Jacob, and in fact, Joseph’s niece, the daughter of his sister Dinah. Joseph recognized the token, and married Asnat, bringing her back into the family of Jacob by marriage. 

Menashe then, the Tribe related to Scorpio and Cheshvan, comes from the deepest and most mysterious strain of the personal histories of the sons of Jacob and his wives. Joseph, who guarded his powerful sexuality, was able to “redeem” his niece Asnat and complete the tikkun which began when Joseph’s soul and Dinah’s soul were prenatally “switched” between their mothers, Rachel and Leah, and the consequences of that “switch” – one of which was the taking on of seeming sexual impurity in the event of Dinah’s kidnapping, rape and impregnation by Shechem ben Hamor. The birth of Menashe was the manifestation of that tikkun.

Similarly, Issachar, the son of Leah and Jacob, related to Taurus and Iyar, comes from the most hidden convolutions of the personal histories of Jacob and his wives, the mothers of the 12 Tribes. The conception of Issachar was a supernatural exchange in the same way the conception of Menashe was a supernatural exchange.

Both Issachar (Iyar) and Menashe (Cheshvan) are related to the “incepted” months. The Sefirot haOmer which surrounds Iyar (Chessed Sh’b’Tiferet through Gevurah Sh’b’Malchut) reflect the qualities of Joseph haTzadik, and the “lack” of holidays from Simchat Torah/Isru Chag through Chanukkah which “incept” Cheshvan is prophetically speaking, the “placeholder” for what will become the biggest holiday of them all: the dedication (Chanukat haBayit) of the third, final and Messianic Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

Midrash Yalkut Melachim 184 as cited in Bnei Yissaschar:
“The Tabernacle of the desert was completed by Moshe in the month of Kislev, however the Holy One, blessed be He commanded him to wait until the following Nisan to inaugurate it. The month of Kislev was embarrassed, and so G-d rewarded her with the rededication of the Second Temple, during the era of Chanukah.
The First Temple built by King Solomon was completed during the month of Mar Cheshvan (the month known as ‘bul;’ see I Kings 6:38) however through Divine Inspiration, King Solomon knew that he was not to dedicate it until the following Tishrei. So, the month of Mar Cheshvan was embarrassed... and G-d promised to repay it in the future, with the dedication ceremony of the Third Temple.”

The energetic reciprocity between Taurus and Scorpio, Issachar and Menashe, Iyar and Cheshvan is evident by these examples. Each month of the Jewish Year is a particular manifestation of the cycle of sacred time, and with the coming of each new month, opportunity arises to apprehend that particular energy and apply it to our own lives and spiritual development.

Issachar has been associated with Torah scholars, “Talmudim Chochamim” and those whose lives revolve around and draw their sustenance from the study of Torah.  There are some (myself included with such great company as Rashbam and Ibn Ezra) which see Issachar as the archetypical Taurus personality – solid, thoughtful, earthy, loving the soil and the land, hard-working, steadfast (stubborn, certainly “fixed” as his sign indicates), a lover of beauty and order (ruled by Venus (“Noga”) and concerned with the sensual (Earth) delights and rewards of a well-lived life. This too, may be “Torah”.

In David S. Zimburg’s “Re-Imagining Issachar”, the author writes:
“Orthodox Judaism promotes neither a single religious archetype, nor an ideal “Torah personality,” nor a monolithic economic theory. Over the centuries, our religion has accommodated multiple paradigms for all aspects of life. There are many great and varied figures in our history and in our literature from whom we can draw inspiration. The Issachar most of us know -- the full-time scholar -- was never held up by our Torah or our Sages as the one and only model of authentic Jewish living. His image has taken on other, no less ideal, forms in biblical and rabbinic tradition, including that of a man who loves to work the soil under his feet and returns home daily soaked in the sweat of physical labor. That Issachar is no less a ben Torah than the one who has never left the beit midrash. With a sense of responsibility stretching beyond his own borders, the Issachar we have described is the one the Jewish people can look to for support and for leadership, on and off the battlefield. It is time to rethink our fixation on the two-dimensional Issachar, to the exclusion of all others. The others, on closer examination, may be even more inspiring.”

The symbols and archetypes of Jewish Astrology are rich and varied. Each of the 12 Tribes, as well as the months, the “Mazalot” (Zodiac signs), the Planets associated with them, and the various other “characters” that inhabit both the pantheon of symbolic imagery and Jewish history, both literal and figurative, imbue particular qualities and characteristics which exist to help us understand ourselves, our world and our spiritual destinies in a deeper and more profound way. Just as Avraham is both the human progenitor of the Jewish people as an historical figure AND the embodiment of the Sefirotic archetype of “Chessed”,  the Planets themselves are both physical objects made of identifiable matter with observable and predictable behavior, AND energetic lenses through which particular archetypes are channeled and focused “as above, so below”. Jupiter is both the largest Planet in our Solar System, AND the “great beneficent” of the Zodiac, acting as an energetic lens for expansive generosity.

With this foundational understanding, we can see the beautiful function of Issachar and Chodesh Iyar in the cycle of sacred time which is the Jewish Year. Iyar’s “incepted” position allows it to gather, refine, establish and lay a foundation for the Spring-like rush of spontaneous growth, newness and rebirth that characterizes the Month of Nissan which precedes it. The Rashbam and Ibn Ezra’s Issachar as the powerful, physical, earthy and wholesome “farmer”, sowing his land corresponds to the classical description of Taurus, the bull, who derives great joy from his physicality and the work that a healthy, well-developed and balanced body might do with the land he is given, bringing forth abundance and “shefah” to share with his brethren.

Of course it’s widely known that Torah study is compared to a field in which the laborer toils and brings forth abundant fruit as well. Not that one need be exclusive of the other, and in a way, it’s the balance between the mental and the physical where Taurus and Issachar reaches his perfection. A Talmud Chocham was never meant to be a pale, sickly, emaciated scholar, bent over an open book for 70 years, his frame distorted and bent from study, his limbs wasted from ignoring exercise in favor of “learning”. A true Torah scholar must find his balance and his physical strength by connection to the Land, and sow not only in the field of Torah but in the literal field itself, by his very labor. True vitality, true health, true beauty lies in the art of bringing heaven to earth, and earth to heaven – and Chodesh Iyar, which begins on Chessed Sh’b’Tiferet (Generosity/Kindness in Beauty/Balance – the “Venus” manifestation in Taurus) and ends on Gevurah Sh’b’Malcut (Strength of Manifestation  – “Establishing Manifestation” function of Taurus, the “Fixed Earth” Sign ) opens the energetic doorway to be able to access the strength, wisdom and endurance to be able to access this potentiality and fulfill it.