Jews have been actively engaging in astrological research and practice since the Hellenistic period. The Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, contain astrological discussions of human physiology, and in the 8th and 9th centuries, Jews were considered masters of astrology. It wasn’t until the 12th century, however, when Ibn Ezra wrote his astrological encyclopedia, that a distinct Jewish astrological tradition, complete with Hebrew scientific astrological terminology, began to crystallize.
But it’s not as intense as it seems. Some of our most commonly used Hebrew and Yiddish phrases have astrological origins. The phrase mazel tov comes from the word mazzal, meaning constellation or destiny—that is, one’s fate as determined by the stars. The Yiddish word schlemazel means “one on whom the stars don’t shine.”
I first became interested in astrology, and how it intersects with elements of Judaism, while preparing for my bat mitzvah, which took place on October 23, 1999. I had been reading the play Inherit the Wind and fortuitously came across Clarence Darrow’s contention that creation began on October 23, 4004 BC at 9 A.M. That’s all a teenager needs to hear to know that everything does, in fact, revolve around her.
Although I pay attention to trends in planetary movement—taking into consideration planet retrogrades and moon cycles, as Susan Miller does—I do not directly observe planets. These horoscopes are based on people and my study and comparison of individuals. It is a fusion of personology based on astrological patterns, rather than pure technical astrology.
CANCER (JUNE 21-JULY 20): Ruled as you are by the moon, you are especially affected by lunar phases, particularly new moons and lunar eclipses. A water sign, Cancers rule the cyclical rhythms of the universe. Although water flows, taking on the shape of its container, Cancers often find it difficult to remain flexible. Instead, you hide inside of your shells of logic, skepticism, and neuroses.
Cancer is the widest ranging of all the signs. Because you are ruled by the moon, you often find yourself in the thrall of your extreme mood swings. Cancers are very contradictory creatures—some are fundamentally conservative and give the impression of being unemotional and uncompromising, unyielding and sulky, inclined to self pity and self-absorption.
Alternately, Cancers can use their sensitivity as a way to relate to others. If they’re able to embrace this sensitivity and turn it outwards, they can be some of the most nurturing and emotional individuals in the zodiac. Often romantic and idealistic, Cancers rule domesticity and motherhood—it tends to be a feminine sign. Your connection to the lunar energies and attraction to the mystery of night keeps you up at all hours.
Because Cancers are very private people, you thrive when left to your own devices. But as much as you may want to seclude yourself in your private nest of doom and gloom, it is important that you share your gifts with the world.
With several planets in retrograde (appearing to move backward through the zodiac), now is not the best time to start a romantic entanglement. Cancers will be pleased to hear that they should avoid making any radical changes to their life at this time. Saturn turns direct on June 25th, which will help in any decision-making processes that you’ve been putting off.
Venus ends her retrograde cycle on June 27, opening up the possibilities for progress in romance and career. Let yourself break the rules sometimes—after all, you’ve gotta have something to atone for!
Famous Cancer Jews: Carl Levin, Emma Goldman, Emma Lazarus, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Marc Chagall, Mel Brooks, Walter Benjamin, Larry David, Richard Lewis, Dear Abby, Ann Landers, Harrison Ford (1/2 Jewish), Fred Savage
LEO (JULY 21-AUGUST 20): You may have felt like you were on top of your game last month, but now you’ve been forced into a powerless position—which is something Leos will simply not tolerate. While you lions have the monopoly on chutzpah, you tend to sink into a pit of despair when not getting the attention you crave. Snap out of it! Although you hate to wait, if you’re patient for just a bit longer you’ll see that your efforts weren’t for nothing.
VIRGO (AUGUST 21-SEPTEMBER 20): While you’re predisposed to all things practical, now is the time to pay extra attention to your fantasy life. Although you are an Earth sign, you are ruled by swift-moving Mercury, the god of communication. Your strengths lie in system-building, but it is essential that you pay attention to your fantasies. It’s time you either acted or put the kibosh on them once and for all.
LIBRA (SEPTEMBER 21-OCTOBER 20 ): There’s no need to look to one extreme or the other—what mishegas! You’ll find your balance once you’re able to see how ridiculous it is to reduce life to either/or. Once Venus turns direct on June 27, matters of the heart gain momentum. But remember: with too many irons in the fire, you’ll never be able to pinpoint your true calling.
SCORPIO (OCTOBER 21-NOVEMBER 20): You have been working hard to maintain your so-called values. But by forcing yourself into a position for form’s sake you have given up an essential part of your character. Rather than getting defensive, relinquish some control and get real with yourself. Playing with fire might get you burnt, but it can also be an essential element in the process of self-discovery. So let it burn.
SAGITTARIUS (NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20): A tendency to over-analyze can ruin something before it’s even begun. Sometimes you lose sight of your passionate origins: fire signs rely on intuition, not logic. Suppressing your instincts is dangerous. If you find yourself stymied by an idea of what you should have accomplished by now, you will only secure yourself a position in the dark chasm of spiritual deadlock.
CAPRICORN (DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 20): It might do you some good to embrace your subconscious desires. Ruled by Saturn, the planet of boundaries and limitations, you often err on the side of rationality. While you prefer to fly solo, blaming other people for cramping your style isn’t going to hold up for much longer. You only have yourself to blame.
AQUARIUS (JANUARY 21-FEBRUARY 20 ): Ruled by wild and erratic Uranus, you are able to detach yourself from your emotions. You hold grudges and play for keeps. Your dispassionate approach to relationships means you tend to value career over your personal life, but this is often to your detriment. Focus your energy on letting go of resentments. Whatever you put into the universe will come back to you.
PISCES (FEBRUARY 21-MARCH 20) : With your ruling planet Neptune in retrograde until November 11, you and your heightened psychic perceptions will go on a supernatural wild ride. Because your intuition is strongest now, it would be wise to avoid psychic overload. Whatever happens, just know that everything will make sense in the calm after the storm.
ARIES (MARCH 21-APRIL 20 ): Warrior Mars, your ruling god and planet, does not spend needless time devising strategies for love. However, he does often take impetuous, reckless action, seizing the beloved in a knock-down drag-out fight. Consider your opponent’s strengths without taking their weaknesses for granted. You’ll be glad you did.
TAURUS (APRIL 21- MAY 20): You’ve been through so much this year. With your ruling planet Venus turning direct on June 27, you finally have the opportunity to assess the value of the decisions you’ve made and figure out what’s working for you—and what isn’t. If you aren’t getting the most of a situation, then give it the kiss off. Good riddance to bad rubbish!
GEMINI (MAY 21- JUNE 20): Your mischievous duality is wearing thin, you tricky little dybbuk. You may have let some of your most treasured passions fall by the wayside in deference to others, and you’ve been questioning your choices. Use the next few months wisely to determine where your priorities lie.
(Art by Margarita Korol)