Close to the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (9/4/13), a rare astrological figure is arising, called the Star of David. The Star of David consists of two interlocking equilateral triangles. The planets, around the last week of August, are laid out in the sky by such a symmetrical design.
According to the astrologer Barbara Goldsmith, the Star of David serves as a conduit for uplifting cosmic energies. http:// www. youtube.com / watch? v=jujsesFkPCA
How shall we “read” this sign in the sky?
Symbols and signs can be double-edged. The Star of David, emblazoned on Israel’s flag as a symbol of liberation, marked Jews during the holocaust for exclusion. The planet Mars symbolizes the god of war, who divides and conquers, but also the god of sex, who unites and propagates.
To appreciate this sign in the sky, which is both a Jewish and an astrological symbol, we may need to “un–learn” some of what we’ve been taught about Religion by textbooks and by well–meaning teachers and pious guides.
The “textbook” view of Religion typically creates a barrier between superstition and the sacred. Astrology counts as superstition, while religious rituals, grounded in tradition and scriptures, are sacred.
Polytheistic pagans, who revere the planets as gods, divine their fate by means of astrology. Monotheistic Jews, rejecting paganism, heed prophets who speak the word of God.
According to this view, religion (the sacred) stands on one side and astrology (superstition) on the other. Orthodoxies of all kinds distinguish “religion” from “superstition.”
Contrary to this view, in actual religious practice, and among children, quite often people of different races and cultures mix and match, sharing with one another their different rituals, practices, customs, and festivities.
Jews in antiquity decorated their synagogues, for instance, by astrological mosaics, sharing the symbols of their pagan friends. Such synagogue zodiacs (e.g. at Beth Alpha) have been found in Israel. Certain zealots, however, would sometimes desecrate these mosaics, in accord with their “textbook” view of what religion should be.
Archaeologists who have uncovered the zodiac mosaics speculate that this art work emanated from circles of non-conformists or Jewish-Hellenistic mystics in the ancient period. The orthodox rabbis would have forbidden pagan symbols in houses of Jewish worship and have considered religious art forms, more generally, to be a violation of the second commandment (which forbids idols). The orthodox might hold that since God is the law–giver, God would not permit astrology and pagan philosophy, which dictate that the planets are responsible for our fate.
However, as other experts point out, in the Talmud, which is the body of writings that represents orthodox Judaism, the rabbis sometimes accept and respect astrology, while at other times warning against an over-reliance on the stars.
[For further information, see the discussion by the Biblical Archaeology Society: http:// www. biblicalarchaeology .org/ daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/jewish-worship-pagan-symbols. See too: http:// www. chabad. org/ library/article_cdo/aid/269721/jewish/Is-Astrology-Kosher.htm)].
What then shall we make of the astrological Star of David? If we revere the Jewish symbol, may we also believe the astrological sign?
The Star of David sign, which appears right before the Jewish New Year, may be like a divine gesture of peace, between people, whether Jewish or pagan, religious or “superstitious,” as if to say:
The music of the spheres declares the handiwork of God. Enjoy the Music!