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Friday, November 17, 2017

Mercury Retrograde December 2017 Preview - It Actually Starts Now!

Remember how you spoke/heard, communicated/listened, interfaced with others and how it made you feel on Wednesday / Thursday (November 15/16) of this past week? 
That was 13 Sagittarius, the degree of the Zodiac where the upcoming Mercury Retrograde stops before it turns around again and stations Direct.
Even though Mercury Retrograde does not begin until December 3rd, we're in the pre-Retrograde period because we'll be revisiting 29-13 Sagittarius and back again between now and January 4th.
December 3rd also happens to be the Full Moon, with the Sun at 13 Sagittarius (the degree of the Mercury Retrograde) and the Moon opposite at 13 Gemini.
Which House of your Natal Chart contains 13-29 Sagittarius? That's where all the lights/camera/action/stop the cameras, rewrite the script/take two action takes place. Conversely - an "opposing effect" may occur in whichever House 13 Gemini falls, as that powerful Full Moon in Gemini which kicks off the Retrograde is, of course, associated with Mercury (the Ruler of Gemini) and therefore comes under the category of "A Mercury Retrograde in Big-Picture, Don't Bog Me Down With The Fine Points Sagittarius with a Heaping Side Order of Data and Details Delivered by Gemini". 
Pre-Retrograde: November 15-December 3
Retrograde: December 3 - December 22nd
Post-Retrograde Return: December 22 - January 4th

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Back To My AstroloJew ROOTS!

The Stars say it's time to go back to my Astrolojew ROOTS!

By the grace of G*d, B"H I'll be in Israel mid-December 2017 through the end of January 2018, and I'm already booking natal chart reading and couples chart reading appointments! 

If you'd like to have your natal chart done in person during that time, please be in touch! 
I'll be mostly in Jerusalem but will also be visiting Tzfat, Shiloh and Tekoa. Let's get together for some soul-star gazing!

Write to me at: to make an appointment!

Pictured: Synagogue Wall Painting, "Kislev", Kiebylec, Poland 1850-1900

Sunday, October 15, 2017

"Astrolojew" 5778 / 2018 Overview (Jerusalem Post Article)

I was very flattered and humbled to be asked by the Jerusalem Post to write an article about the "Astrolojew" perspective on the 5778/2018 outlook in general, and for the State of Israel in particular.

In case you didn't get a chance to lay your hands on the print copy (which appeared in the Jerusalem Post's special Sukkot insert on October 4th), or you can't get through the paywall to read it, here's a link to download a PDF version of the article

I'd love to hear what you think. Please send any feedback you might have about to: 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Neptune in Scorpio Generation: Jupiter's Coming For You!

Art by Marc Valdez: "Objects In Your Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear"
If you were born between October 1956 and November 1970, you are part of the Neptune in Scorpio Generation. This is the astrological signature of the "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" generation, those of us who sought transcendence and intensity via these substances/behaviors, as well as through meditation, esoteric practices, and alternative religious experiences. In other words: "The Sixties".

As Jupiter transits Scorpio over the next year and makes a conjunction to your natal Neptune, it's possible you'll experience enhanced sensitivity, elevated instinctual awareness, expanded compassion, and enlarged empathy. Depending on other aspects in your individual natal chart (which of the 12 Houses your Neptune in Scorpio is located, as well as other Planetary aspects), you may also experience extreme delusion and distortion of your perception of reality, enhanced vulnerability to substance abuse and addiction, and emotional boundary-shredding. 

The potential for the sublime as well as the ridiculous, however in this case the ridiculous is potentially fatal. Neptune's natural proportion-distortion qualities are gigantically enlarged by Jupiter's transit, which super-sizes everything it touches. I'm issuing this warning to the Neptune in Scorpio generation to take heed of Jupiter's transit and remember that "Objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear" during this time.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Eclipses, Lunar Nodes, Alexander the Great, and Israel 5778/2018

The Total Solar Eclipse of 4 July 336 BCE was part of the Soros 60 Cycle [i] which was fully visible directly over Jerusalem [ii], and coincided with the ascension of Alexander the Great to the Macedonian throne, after the death of his father Philip [iii].

4 July 336 BCE was Erev Rosh Chodesh Av of the year 3425 [iv] The Eclipse reached Totality at 13:35:01 (1:35pm local time) and the length of Totality was 5 minutes and 53 seconds [v]. The latitude and longitude of the Center of Totality was 30.6 degrees N, 37.4 degrees E. [vi], which is situated in the southeastern desert east of the Jordan river [vii]. The path of Totality was 225 km (140) miles wide.

The Saros 60 Cycle began in the year 1020 BCE and ended in the year 260 CE (the Year 4020-4021 of the Hebrew Calendar). It contained a total of 72 Eclipses, of which 14 were partial, 40 were total, 14 were annular, and 4 were hybrid [viii]

The Saros 60 Cycle ended in 260 CE, the year which is sited as the end of the First Generation of Amoraim (225—260 CE) [i], as well as the establishment of academy of Pumpeditha in Babylonia by Judah ben Ezekiel in 260 CE [ii], the capture of the Roman Emperor Valerian by the Persians (with whom the pro-Persian Jewish opposition was allied) in 260 CE [iii], among other events. Although it is impossible to speculate regarding exact dates in antiquity, the Fall of Troy is dated at 1020 BCE, while religious historians put the beginning of the reign of King Saul, the first anointed King of Israel, in 1026 BCE [iv], shortly after the beginning of the start of the Soros 60 Cycle. This “bookending” of world events marked at the beginning by the fall of Troy to the Greeks and the beginning of the Israelite Monarchy, and ending with the firm establishment of the rabbinic enterprise in Babylon (which would eventually produce the Talmud itself) and the diminution of the tattered remnants of Jewish political activism which found itself backing Persia against Rome, continues to have a ripple effect on Jewish history due to the sensitive position of the North Lunar Node during the exceedingly powerful eclipse of July 336 BCE. 

The Lunar Nodes in Jewish Astrology

Jewish Astrological tradition gives enhanced emphasis and attention to the Lunar Nodes and the annual eclipses in natal charts for both individuals and nations. The North and South Nodes of the Moon are not planets, but theoretical mathematical points in space marking the intersection between the Sun’s orbital path around the Earth’s ecliptic, and the Moon’s orbital path around the Earth. The function of the Lunar nodes in astronomy is to predict the path of the annual eclipses through the constellations. Eclipses occur only near the Lunar Nodes. Solar eclipses occur when the passage of the Moon through a node coincides with the New Moon; Lunar eclipses occur when the passage coincides with the Full Moon.

The Nodes are the “head” (North) and “tail” (South) of the cosmic Dragon (“T’li” in the Sefer Yetzirah). Medieval commentators Saadia Gaon, Shabbtai Donnolo, and Ibn Ezra, among others, identify the “Head” and “Tail” of the Dragon in the Sefer Yetzirah with the Lunar Nodes.

The Sefer Yetzirah, which is the foundational text of Jewish astrology, states:

The Dragon (“T’li”) in the Universe is like a King upon his throne

The (Celestial) Wheel in the World is like a King in his province (country, land).

The Heart within the human being is like a King at war.

The Talmud and ancient Jewish mystical texts such as the Sefer Yetzirah (as well as other “magical” texts of the pre-kabbalistic literature belonging to the school of “Merkevah Mysticism”) are the foundation of Jewish Astrology’s close attention to the significance of the lunar nodes and eclipses. 

The Lunar Nodes during the time of the 336 BCE Eclipse were at 7 Capricorn (North Node) and 7 Cancer (South Node) [xiii]. The Zodiac Sign of Capricorn is ruled by the Planet Saturn (“Shabtai” in Hebrew), classical astrology’s Planetary Ruler of both Capricorn and Aquarius, strongly associated with the Nation of Israel and the Jewish People [xiv]. At the time of this Eclipse, Saturn was at 12 Capricorn, within a 5-degree orb of the North Node and therefore a powerful influence on the Eclipse.

There is no need to cite references to state unequivocally that Alexander’s reign, which ushered in the Hellenistic Era in Jewish History, had the most significant long-term impact on every aspect of Jewish culture, religion, and world-view than any other era in pre-modern history. Indeed, whether one believes the rabbinic enterprise which began at Yavneh was an adaption to or a rebellion against Hellenism, it was the Greek world-view, imported to post-exilic Judea through Alexander and those who came after him, which most profoundly influenced the development of Judaism until the Enlightenment. Taking the Solar Eclipse of July 336 BCE as the celestial portend of the ascension of Hellenistic culture and its subsequent impact on the Jewish people, the following is a brief examination of the latest phase of the historical trajectory of that event.

The 20th Century

In the 20th Century, the North Node at 7 Capricorn coincided with the outbreak of World War I in August 1917, the beginning of the Arab Revolt in Palestine and the deadly Arab-Jewish riots of April 1936, the ascension of Gamal Abdel Nasser to the presidency of Egypt in November 1954 as well as the birth of future Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on November 19th, 1954.

The North Node was also at 7 Capricorn in June and July of 1973 during the time US President Richard Nixon’s secret Watergate tapes were discovered, as well as during the Lillehammer Affair and the formation of the US Drug Enforcement Agency.  Interestingly, the Total Solar Eclipse of June 30, 1973 (part of the Saros 136 Series), which was the last and longest eclipse of that Saros series (7 minutes and 4 seconds), took place when the North Node was at 7 degrees Capricorn.

February and March of 1992, during which the North Node was again at 7 Capricorn and Saturn was in Saturn-ruled Aquarius, saw the Bush-Yeltsin meeting at Camp David during which the Cold War was officially declared “over”, the signing of the Maastricht Treaty which formed the European Union (EU), the outbreak of the Bosnian War, and South Africa votes to end the Apartheid government. 

The 21st Century

During September 2010, the last time the North Node was at 7 Capricorn, President Barak Obama met with Israel’s PM Netanyahu, PA Authority President Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and Egyptian President Mubarak in a major push towards crafting a 2-State Solution in the Middle East. During the same month, Israel bombed Gaza’s smuggling tunnels and blocks the Flotilla headed towards Gaza, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the Palestinian Authority, and PA President Abbas addresses the United Nations. Additionally, during this time North Korea dictator Kim Jong-Un takes power during the transition from his father, Kim Jong-Il.

Future Aspects
  • The North Node will return to 7 Capricorn next in May 2029. 
  • Saturn, which traveled through 7 Capricorn in January 1901, late October/early November 1930, December 1959, August-September 1989, will be at 7 Capricorn again during March, May, and November-December 2018.  
  • Saturn and the North Node in Capricorn do not conjunct again until December 2047, during which they will be at the same astronomical positions they were during the Total Solar Eclipse of 4 July 336 BCE.

The Talmud [xv] tells us that while Solar Eclipses are a negative omen for the non-Jewish nations, the total eclipse of the Moon is a negative omen for the nation of Israel. The next Total Lunar Eclipse visible from Jerusalem will take place on July 27/28, 2018, which is both Tu b’Av and Shabbos Nachamu, 5778. Saturn will be at 4 Capricorn during that Eclipse, considered “conjunct” (with a -3-degree orb) of the sensitive 7 Capricorn degree, and the Full Moon in Aquarius (co-ruled by Saturn) opposite the Sun in Leo and the North Node in Leo is a significant omen for the Jewish Nation.

Immediately prior to the Lunar Eclipse on Shabbos Nachamu 5778, the Planet Mercury, the “cosmic messenger”, stations Retrograde at 23 Leo, closely conjunct the Natal Mars position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and halfway between the Natal Mars and Natal Saturn positions of the chart of the Modern State of Israel. Occurring in the “public” 10th House of “career and vocation”, this Mercury Retrograde will not happen in a secluded corner or under cover of darkness; but front-and-center for all the world to see. 

Mercury’s Retrograde “message” for the Israeli government and the Netanyahu coalition, delivered via communication channels such as the Mercury-ruled media might go something like this:

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin

As the Jewish Encyclopedia [xvi] explains:

Once when King Belshazzar was banqueting with his lords and drinking wine from the golden vessels of the Temple of Yhwh, a man's hand was seen writing on the wall certain mysterious words. Frightened by the apparition, the king ordered his astrologers to explain the inscription; but they were unable to read it. Daniel was then summoned to the royal palace; and the king promised him costly presents if he would decipher the inscription. Daniel read it "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" and explained it to mean that God had "numbered" the kingdom of Belshazzar and brought it to an end; that the king had been weighed and found wanting; and that his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Dan. v. 1-28).
How exactly this might play out on the political stage is anybody’s guess, but aspects to the Luminaries suggest a change in government, leadership, or political structure is indicated. A radical and sudden change in leadership may indeed be “in the stars” for the Modern State of Israel in 2018. Time alone will tell.

End Notes:

[i] NASA Eclipse Web Site, Saros Series Catalogue of Solar Eclipses, Saros Series 60

[ii] Ibid

[iv] Moon and the Molad of the Hebrew Calendar, Dr. Irv Bromberg, University of Toronto, Canada

[v] NASA Eclipse Web Site, Saros Series 60

[viii], Saros 60 Cycle

[ix] Yohanan Aharoni, The Jewish People: An Illustrated History, p. 113

[x] Norbert Samuelson, Jewish Philosophy: An Historical Introduction, p. 95

[xi] Sylvie Anne Goldberg, Clepsydra: Essay on the Plurality of Time in Judaism, p. 86

[xiii] 5000 year ephemeris, 350 BCE – 300 BCE

[xiv] M. Glazerson, “Above the Zodiac”, pp. 98-109, specifically the discussion of Planetary Rulership of the two Saturn-ruled Zodiac signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, and how they relate to the Jewish people. Also see Sefer Yetzirah.

[xv] Sukkah 29a

[xvi] MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, by Isidore Singer, M. Seligsohn, Jewish Encyclopedia online,

·        All references to astronomical for the 20th and 21st Centuries are from the Astrolabe World Ephemeris series.

·        All references, unless otherwise noted, to historical world events of the past by year and month are from Wikipedia.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Great #American #Eclipse of August 21st, 2017

The "Great American Eclipse" at 28 Degrees Leo, which takes place on August 21st, is directly opposite the natal Moon of the United States at 27 Aquarius. 

 This is a huge challenge for America, as the Solar Eclipse at the Cusp of America's 8th House (Shared Values, Shared Resources, Shared Intimacies) and 9th Houses (Higher Mind, "Foreign" or "Exotic" people, places and things, Long-Distance Travel, Religion/Philosophy/Higher Education) makes a direct opposition to the Natal Moon (Emotional Self) in Humanitarian Aquarius. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses..." This is the Aquarian Moon of America, the generous, benevolent humanitarian persona of the American archetype. Opposing those humanitarian emotional instincts is the flash point of individual ego (Sun) in the Fixed Fire Sign of Leo, King of the Jungle, who tolerates no rival. 

It's the Pratt and the Claal, the Individual and the Collective, the Personal and the Universal. "Battle lines are being drawn / Nobody's right if everybody's wrong..."

In terms of the lowest common denominator: Prepare for a battle between value and belief systems, each sure they alone contain the sole truth. It's not going to be pretty.

Concerning those who are not living on the level of the lowest common denominator, but who are in fact developed in Consciousness and willing to rage, rage against the dying of the Light: We who are able must travel as close as we can get inside the Path of Totality to the Center Point of the Eclipse, and there we must draw down the power of the Eclipse and focus all our kavanah (intentionality) on the TRUE work of Leo: PROTECTION OF THE VULNERABLE, the meting out of JUSTICE to the abusers of women and Mother Earth, and the wherewithal to "TEACH YOUR CHILDREN" to repair this broken world.

The Eclipse also falls right on top of Trump's Natal Mars in Leo and his Leo Rising (Ascendant), and opposite his Parts of Fortune (his "Shefa Point", the source of his prosperity). It's also Inconjunct his Natal Venus in Cancer. Expect ENRAGED OUTRAGE from the Ego-wound, and perhaps some revelation concerning family & finance.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The T'li in The Sefer Yetzirah : The Karmic "Hook" in Your Natal Chart

I've been looking at the astrological materials in the Sefer Yetzirah. Of particular interest is the T'li, (  תלי ), the celestial dragon which is said to be "like a king upon his throne" in the universe. T'li is the Lunar Nodes, the North/South Nodes, which in Kabbalistic Astrology are indicators, by Sign and House, of the soul's primary Tikkun in this current gilgul (incarnation). 

Using A. Peter Hayman's critical edition of the Sefer Yetzirah, which examines the three medieval recensions  (K: Short Recension, A: Long Recension, C: Saadia Gaon's Recension), I looked at  Section 59, the only place in the Sefer Yetzirah where the T’li is mentioned in all three Recensions. With only very minor variations in one word, Section 59 as follows:

There is a law of ten, three, seven and twelve. They are (K: “Officials over”, A: “Present in”, C: “Have command of”) the Hook the celestial sphere, and the heart. The Hook in the universe is like a king on his throne, the celestial sphere in the year is like a king in a province, the heart in mankind is like a king at war.

חק עשרה ושלושה ושבעה ושנים עשרה ופקידים בתלי ולגלגל ולב
תלי בעולם כמלך על כםאו גלגל בשנה כמלך במדינה לב בנפש כמלך במלחמה

The striking thing about the T’li here is the power ascribed to it.  The T’li here is positioned as greater than and in fact encompassing of both the Gilgul (“Wheel”, translated by Hayman as “celestial sphere”) and the Lev (heart). The T’li in the universe has power over / controls all, like a king on his throne. The Wheel (the celestial sphere, or the array of constellations around the earth) controls time, which creates boundaries, divisions and sub-divisions indicating ownership, like a king in a province (“medina”, country, state, or sovereign province characterized by a distinctive or singular ruler, bounded by borders). The heart in mankind controls his actions, like a king at war who must focus all his strength and effort to overcome an enemy.

Speculation about what the T’li might be abounds in medieval commentary. Scholars and commentators don’t even agree on the source of the word itself. The word t’li seems to be related to the verb TLH ( תלה) – to hang. In the Torah it is mentioned in the context of Esau’s hunting gear, as Isaac asks Esau to “take your gear, your t’li and bow” (Genesis 27:3). The chief baker is told he will hang on a tree (   תלה), cursed is the one who is hanged on a tree (Deut. 21:23), Absolom was seen hanging in an oak by his hair (2 Samuel 18:10), etc. In these and the rest of the some 28 uses of one or more verbal stem versions of the root TLH found in TaNaCH, always in the context of hanging, being hung, dangling, etc. The translation of T’li into “hook” follows that meaning.   

Physician and commentator Shabbtai Donnolo, born in 913 at Oria in Byzantine Italy, discusses the T’li in his Sefer Hakhmoni, his commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah, written between 946 and 982 [i]. “And what is the T’li? When God created the firmament above us, which is divided into seven heavens, He created the T’li from water and fire in the shape of a great dragon, like a great twisted serpent, and made for it a head and a tail and put it in the fourth heaven, which is the middle heaven, the abode of the sun …it is…through learning handed down through ancient books that we can get to know the T’li, its power, its rule, how it was created, its goodness and its malignancy” [ii]. Donnolo’s T’li is the cosmic dragon, possessor of great power and dominant in the universe. Scharf states in regard to Donnolo’s interpretation of T’li as that of dragon:  “‘Tli’ is a word of doubtful etymology and several interpretations. It is comparatively rare; there are less than a dozen sources where it occurs instead of, or in addition to, the common words for a dragon – nahash or tannin[iii].

Saadia Gaon, writing in 10th Century rationalist Babylonia, views the T’li in purely astronomical terms.  “I understand this to be a place where two orbits intersect …It is not a constellation resembling a dragon or any other creature” [iv]  Saadia’s perspective on the Sefer Yetzirah is a philosophical one, informed by the Muslim Kalaamist thinkers of his milieu, and in line with the prevailing doctrine of divine incorporeality seeks in his commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah to neutralize any magical or astrological elements, and proceeds to discredits the theory, of which he is apparently well aware, that the T’li refers to the celestial dragon.[v]

Donnolo’s T’li is “The Dragon, and it governs all the planets and constellations. The (celestial) sphere turns the planets, the constellations and the luminaries. This sphere is set within the depths of the firmament, and the constellations re permanently attached to it, never straying from their fixed position. This sphere surrounds the firmament to the south, the north, the east and the west, and the Dragon stretches within it from end to end, like a cross-beam…and it is stretched out in the middle of the sphere, from the central mid eastern point to the central mid western point” [vi].

This T’li, the “hook” upon which the universe itself hangs, is depicted as a serpent eating its own tail in illustrations, such as this one taken from the 9th Century aggadic Pirkei de Rebbe Eliezer.

Figure 2. T'li and Serpent Pole, R'Eliezer of Worms

Some have speculated that the T’li might be a reference to the axis mundi [vii], the Ptolemaic system’s imaginary line bisecting the spherical universe, which turns on a fixed axis (axis mundi) connecting the two terrestrial poles (north and south), passing between them through the center of the earth. Donnolo in his Sefer Hakhomi describes the Dragon’s position in the “Fourth Sky” which contradicts the Ptolemaic definition of the axis mundi [viii].  Donnolo’s dragon “darkens the light of the two luminaries and the five planets, it moves the luminaries forward and backward and the planets and constellations from east to west and from west to east; it draws the planets back and holds them in one place, preventing them from straying either forwards or backwards…it cannot be seen with the naked eye but rather it is by the study of ancient texts transmitted to us that we gain knowledge of the Dragon…and how the twelve constellations are attached to it” [ix].
The idea of a serpent connecting and controlling the universe and the importance of the North and South Lunar Nodes in predicting eclipses is illustrated in “The Dragon of the Lunar Nodes and the Eclipse Points”, from Kircher's Ars Magna Lucis et Umbra.

Figure 3 The Dragon of the Lunar Nodes and the Eclipse Points”, from Kircher's Ars Magna Lucis et Umbra.

Looking at the text with an astrologically trained eye, the Dragon appears to be none other than the lunar nodes themselves.  The lunar nodes are not planets. They are points in space indicating the intersection of two orbits, the points where the orbit of the Moon crosses the ecliptic. The north node (“dragon’s head”) is where the moon crosses from south of the ecliptic to north of the ecliptic. The south node (“dragon’s tail) is where it crosses from north of the ecliptic to south of the ecliptic. Their glyph (symbol) recalls the tail-eating dragon in form:

Figure 4 North / South Lunar Nodes (Glyph)

The function of the Lunar Nodes in astronomy is to predict the path of the annual eclipses through the constellations. Eclipses occur only near the lunar nodes. Solar eclipses occur when the passage of the Moon through a node coincides with the new moon; lunar eclipses occur when passage coincides with the full moon.

Of the entire celestial phenomenon, eclipses are the most important and significant in Jewish understandings of astronomy and astrology (indistinguishable in their ancient, historically undifferentiated phase). Eclipses are tied to the fate of nations as well as of individuals. These beliefs are detailed the Talmud: “At the time when the sun is eclipsed, it is an unfavorable period for the world. A parable: This can be compared to a human king who made a feast for his subjects, and placed a lantern before them. When he grew angry with them, he told his servant, ‘Take away the lantern from before them, and place them in darkness!’"  (Talmud Bavli, Succah 29a). Succah 29a also says that solar eclipses occur for four different reasons: 1) If a Torah scholar is buried without being adequately eulogized; 2) If a betrothed girl is raped and nobody responds to her cries; 3) Homosexuality, and 4) Two brothers being killed at the same time. The Talmud in Succah 29a continues:

When the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the nations of the world.  [When] the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel,. Since the gentiles reckon their calendar by the sun, and Israel by the moon. When it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who live in the east.  When it is in eclipse in the west, it is a bad omen for those who live in the west. When it is in eclipse in-between, it is a bad omen for the whole world.  When it turns red, it is a sign that punishment by the sword is coming into the world.  When it is like sack-cloth, it is a sign that punishment by pestilence and famine are coming into the world.  If they are smitten at its entry [into sunset], the punishment will tarry. [When they are smitten] when they rise, the punishment is coming fast.  And some say matters are reversed.

Just as the path of the lunar nodes predict the constellation and the degree therein an eclipse will occur, and in Jewish thought the eclipses are tied to the fate of nations, the function of the Lunar Nodes in astrology is tied to the fate or destiny of the individual.

Although references to the nodal function of predicting the fate or destiny of an individual abound in modern astrology [x]  and are used by many modern astrologers to describe the evolution of the soul in the present incarnation, Donnolo may well have been aware of ancient Arabic astrology’s teaching on the caput and cauda, the two lunar nodes described by Abu Ma’shar (787-886) who wrote extensively about their function in his Kitab al-mudhal al-kabir (“Great Introduction to Astrology”) and in Kitab tahawil sini al-alam (“The Book of Revolutions of the World-Years”), works that were greatly respected by the Byzantine astrological tradition in which Donnolo operated during the 10th Century [xi]. Whether Ma’shar drew on knowledge of Sanskrit (Vedic) astrology’s Rehu (“Dragon’s Head”) and Ketu (“Dragon’s Tail”), which may have reached Arabic astrology via Alexander’s foray into India (my speculation), which in Vedic astrology the lunar nodes take an even more prominent and important position than they do in Western astrology, is impossible to ascertain. Nevertheless, whether the association of the lunar nodes with the dragon originated with Ma’shar or if he derived them from a Vedic source, their function is the same: prediction of and control over the fate, “karma”, and destiny.

The celestial beast whose body twists and stretches across the universe, holding the stars in place, are seen through astrological eyes as “Caput” and “Cauda” in Muslim astronomy and “Rehu” and “Ketu” in Vedic astrology,  the means by which eclipses are predicted and tracked for the purpose of determining whether misfortune is about to befall the nations or Israel. The dragon upon whose undulating scales the starry universe is hung, holds the fate and destiny of all creation between his head and tail. “The T’li in the universe is like a king upon his throne” – sovereign over all, as the North and South lunar nodes in astrology are sovereign over human fate.

[i]Andrew Scharf, The Universe of Shabbetai Donnolo, (Warminster, England, Aris & Phillips LTD, 1976, p. 11)
[ii]ibid, p. 34
[iii]ibid, p. 34
[iv]Sadia Gaon, Commentaire sur le Sefer Yetsirah, translated by Mayer Lambert (Lagresse: Verdier, 2001), p. 73
[v]Marla Segol, Magical Letters, Mystical Planets: Magic, Theosophy and Astrology in the Sefer Yetzirah and two of its Tenth-century Commentaries, (Societas Magica Newsletter, Issue 21, Spring 2009), p.2
[vi]Piergabriele Mancuso, “Shabbatai Donnolo’s Sefer Hakhomi”(Studies in Jewish History and CultureBoston, 2010, Vol. 27), page 348
[vii]Karen Silvia DeLeon-Jones, Giordano Bruno and the Kabbalah: Prophets, Magicians, and Rabbis, (University of Nebraska Press 1997), p. 175 (among others)
[viii]ibid, p. 344, note
[ix]ibid, pp. 344-345
[x]For a modern look at the ancient esoteric belief about the lunar nodes, see and . While no ancient esoteric astrological “cookbook”-style texts exist to my knowledge which describes the karmic functions of the lunar nodes, the internet abounds with modern astrology’s “New Age” version of the ancient belief.