Jewish astrology is as old as the Jewish people themselves. The stars as subject matter, ranging from their role in the Creation to their influence upon the inhabitants of the Earth, is present in Jewish text via the Hebrew Bible, rabbinic literature of the talmudic era and the scientific writings of the medieval commentators, as well as within Judaism’s mystical texts.
Based on the lunar-solar Hebrew calendrical system, the 12 constellations (mazalot) correspond to the 12 months of the Jewish year and the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Although each Hebrew month corresponds with a specific constellation, the months are not always 100 percent contiguous with the fixed 12 months of the secular Gregorian calendar, as everybody who has ever exclaimed “The holidays are coming early (or late) this year!” already knows by experience. This is because the Hebrew calendar is calculated according to the 19-year Metonic cycle and always rectified to ensure the feast of Passover occurs in the spring. In some years, a birth may take place during the few days when the sun is transiting the constellation of Pisces but when the Hebrew month of Nissan already has begun.
Despite these periods of overlap and lag time, the correspondences are consistent and accurate enough to create a uniquely Jewish set of symbols and archetypes, enriching our understanding of ourselves and others.
A kabbalistic understanding of astrology derived from Jewish mystical texts seeks to discern the path of the human soul in this particular incarnation (gilgul) and the specific rectification (fixing, tikkun) the soul needs to make during this lifetime. This process of individual growth and development is the focus of this column.
Taurus (April 20-May 20): “There is a hole in everything — that’s how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen). Your broken places are where the greatest opportunities for deep communion with your own fragile humanity occurs. You’ve already proven to yourself and the world that you know how to be strong. Now the lesson you will teach and learn is that vulnerability can be your greatest strength.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): The transit of Venus through Gemini from April 24 to May 19 illuminates the broad variety of creative opportunities available in your life. People/places/things you’ve taken for granted suddenly reveal their rarity and thus become infinitely more valuable. What you thought might be trash could turn out to be treasure: Make sure you examine it closely before discarding.
Cancer (June 21-July 22): This is not the time to head for the hills, it’s the time to double-down on all the efforts you’ve been making toward growth and self-improvement. Fear of failure recedes into the rear-view mirror as you trust your instincts — you know you’re headed in the right direction. When self-doubt and self-sabotage come to call, do not answer the door. Delete their voicemails and block their texts.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): You feel a sense of destiny about everything you’re doing now, as if fate has conspired to bring you to these present circumstances. Guess what: You’re right about that. The spotlight is on you, and the performance you’ve been rehearsing a lifetime for is happening now. It’s far too late for stage fright or hiring an understudy. You know your lines — now hit your marks and trust the Director. You were born for this.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Gratitude is your greatest weapon right now — use it liberally. This is the time to lay the groundwork for that creative project you’ve been dreaming about. Doors are opening as you step inside; you find welcome in unexpected ways and support from sources both old and new. Don’t be astonished to find that as you believe in yourself, others will, too.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): While it will seem like you’re going back over things you’ve already done between now and early September, this “review process” will shore up any loose ends and prepare you for the new stage you’ll be moving into by mid-December. This is the time to hone your skills and polish your capabilities in preparation for the next step forward.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Bountiful, beneficent Jupiter in Scorpio is challenging you to stop rejecting abundance because of shame or feelings of unworthiness. “You’ve been living in the dark, eating from a can, you’ve been running away from what you don’t understand” (U2). The door is open, and the festive table is set before you. Rise and take your rightful place in the sun.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): If you’ve been riding the status quo, you’ll need to use this time to smell the proverbial roses and think about how to bottle that scent for succor in times to come. Don’t get so comfortable that you forget how to rock the boat. The stability you craved isn’t a life sentence, it’s just a pit stop on the road to bigger adventures.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Saturn in structured, responsible Capricorn is activating your ability to assess and re-evaluate yourself in terms of ambition and the productivity you need to manifest to achieve that ambition. You’re taking your own measurements using the yardstick of your expectations. Don’t compare your progress to those who may outpace you. You’re building a house made of brick, not sand.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Empathy is your keyword right now. Dive deep and bring up the pearls of compassionate wisdom, which are your greatest gifts right now, and don’t cast those pearls before swine. Your famous humanitarianism is wasted on those who reject the humanity of others. Cultivate discernment as you discover the best ways to invest your energy into what matters most.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Already the most sensitive sign of the Zodiac, your hyperawareness of other people’s feelings can affect your health if you forget where you end, and others begin. Boundaries are never easy for you, but you need them now more than ever as you’re tempted to overcommit to everything and everyone. As anyone who has ever flown in a commercial airplane already knows: “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.”
Aries (March 21-April 19): As a leader your most important job is cultivating the leadership potential of those around you. Sharing what makes you great with those who admire you doesn’t diminish your own status; it enhances it. Learning to share isn’t easy, but mastering the art of graceful give-and-take is a skill you’ll find easier to develop when you understand that rivals are made, not born.