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The Sefer Yetzirah, or Book of Formation, written around 4,000 years ago by Abraham the Patriarch, was the first to reveal information about the stars and planets, and how they affect us. It also discusses the DNA not only of the universe, but of the soul; according to Abraham, this soul DNA sets us on a course to best help us transform our desire to receive into a desire to share, and to achieve fulfillment in this lifetime. Great insight into our spiritual DNA can be found by our astrological chart - the placement of the planets and stars at our exact time and place of birth.
The kabbalistic calendar is lunisolar, in which months are based on lunar months, and years on solar years, with each month corresponding to one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. And while kabbalistic astrology and conventional astrology – the “pop” astrology that is prevalent in society – share the names of the zodiac signs, that is about as far as the similarities go. Conventional astrology would tell us that our personal character, and our lives, is predetermined by the position of the planets or stars; kabbalistic astrology tells us something completely different.
Rav Berg said, “There is nothing written in the stars that cannot be changed.” This is because Kabbalah teaches that choices we have made in past lifetimes determined where we start out in this one, and our choices in this lifetime will determine where we end up. The decisions, therefore, are ours to make, and our fate is in our own hands. We come into this life to correct mistakes we made in past lives, and our soul chooses the exact time which offers us the best opportunity to: achieve what’s called our tikkune (or spiritual correction), to make different choices, and to overcome the limitations which previously held back our soul’s growth. Kabbalistic astrology would say, then, that our lives are not determined by the arrangement of planets, but that the arrangement of the planets is determined by our lives.
Each astrological sign has its own unique positive and negative attributes. As such, the signs we were born under are like a map pointing us to both our strengths and to what we came to correct. For example, those born under the sign of Leo have the incredible ability to influence many people, but need to be aware of coming from a place of ego, so that they can be a pure channel for the Light. And Geminis, who have the gift of wisdom, also tend to have trouble committing or following through. So someone born in the month of Gemini would know it is important to focus on sticking with something and seeing it all the way to the end.
When we understand this, we see that there are no “bad” aspects to our astrological charts, only different opportunities. Kabbalistic astrology allows us to be aware of these opportunities, making it easier for us to achieve our correction, erase the negativity we created in the past, and become, essentially, the cause of our own fulfillment.
How do we know what each sign’s positive and negative influences are? How can we identify what our tikkune is based on an astrological sign? The 22 Aramaic letters, the same as used for the Hebrew language, are the building blocks, kabbalists teach, that make up the entire universe. Each letter reveals an aspect of Creation, and is therefore like the DNA for each of the 12 astrological signs. Two Aramaic letters make up each month: one is associated with the planet that rules it, and the other is for its corresponding zodiac sign (for example, the two letters associated with Aries are Hei, which created the sign of Aries, and Dalet, which created Mars, Aries’ ruling planet.) Each letter has its own energy, gifts, and positive and negative attributes, and is, therefore, both the Light which shines down to us during that month, and why each person born under those signs is born with unique strengths and weaknesses.