Blessings of the Sun in this season of Passover, Good Friday, and Easter
in the Jewish Talmud tells the people Israel that "when the cycle
renews and the season of Nissan falls in Saturn", then they are to
recite a blessing to 'the maker of works of creation.'
event, which occurs only once every 28 years, is called Birkat HaHammah
- which if you look it up on the Internet you will find listed with several
alternate spellings. Going beyond that, if you read the articles attached,
you will also find that some Rabbis (and Jewish sects) hold that the ceremonies
to honor this event should be conducted at sundown, because sundown marks
the beginning of a Jewish day. Others prefer that ceremonies be observed
at sunrise: within the first three hours of daylight absolutely, but essentially
as soon as you are able to see the face of the sun.
a Jewish matter, the instructions (and questions on same) are, frankly,
virtually limitless. For instance, can you properly say the blessing if
your first sight of the sun is a reflection in a mirror? Does wearing
eyeglasses count as not looking "directly at" the sun? I know
one wise and merry Rabbi who with a twinkle in his eye always begins his
comments on all such matters with: two Jews, three opinions what
can I tell you?
all the 'how to's of liturgy and ceremony lie the interesting essence
of this event what it marks in spiritual and historical terms,
which all who celebrate this spring may well appreciate. Birkat HaHammah
remembers Creation as told in Genesis 1:1 of the Torah which is
a bit different than the same passage in Christian bibles. The Jewish
version is much more a direct set of references to the fact that at its
roots, Judaism began in Babylon among the Chaldeans. And thus the
Genesis of the Torah is (in part) a reflection and spiritual commentary
on Judaism's parting from the pagan (multi-god) thinking of ancient Ur,
that being where Abraham, patriarch of Islam and Judaism hailed from.
this Babylonian beginning we get such interesting customs as the beginning
of the day at sundown which Judaism and Islam both do. But with
regard to Birkat HaHammah, the interesting astrological note is unquestionably
the reference to Saturn.
is that about? Many might guess the reference to celebrate Birkat HaHammah
'when the season of Nissan falls in Saturn' has to do with Saturn's
orbit, which though 29.46 years in actual length is often rounded of (and
referred to) as 28 years long.
isn't the reference. How would we know that? Well because the Talmudic
instruction is so precise. The 'season of Nissan,' is a reference to the
vernal equinox - what those in the northern hemisphere call the start
of spring and which astrology calls the Aries ingress. Remembering that
Judaism uses the lunar calendar (a lunisolar calendar*, actually) the
season of Nissan is not exactly the Aries ingress, but thereabouts. From
that start, one then counts to the 4th day, that being when God creates
"firmament" our world.
all this said, how can any date fall "in" Saturn?
a clever question, Grasshopper!
answer? The answer is that the reference to Saturn pertains to the Chaldean
system of planetary hours, a concept which, on a rotating basis, assigns
the hours of the day to the 7 planets (i.e., 5 planets plus Sun and Moon)
which in being visible to the naked eye were used in ancient astrology.
we who live in modern times miss this point, ancient astrology was ancient
astronomy. Way back when, astronomy and astrology were one and the same.
Religion and science were one, not to part ways until Hellenistic Greek
times. So when you look at any system of thought or belief which arose
in 'pre-Greek' times, it bears remembering that spiritual/religious philosophy
was science back then. Thus anything which comes from that time bears
the stamp of such thought.
we end up looking at with our Talmudic instructions is the direction to
look for a 4th day of Nissan where sundown falls in a Saturn hour. Given
all the variables, that only happens once every 28 years hence
the infrequency with which the Jewish people celebrate Birkat HaHammah.
we think other religions don't use such calculations
.they do. Easter
always falls on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Aries
ingress, which has an astronomical ring not so very different from the
Talmudic instruction for finding Birkat HaHammah.
religions don't like astrology right? And why is that?
as we know them have mostly all had 'issues' with astrology. And most
of those issues reflect one thing a concern that congregants will
substitute astrology for God, which is an obvious error in any monotheistic
system. But that doesn't mean modern religion doesn't use astrological
precepts. Apart from plainly basing the timing of Birkat HaHammah on ancient
astrological timing systems, the Jewish 'short' calendar of 19 years is
quite plainly one and the same as the astronomical/astrological metonic,
or eclipse cycle. And in Christianity, though it isn't talked about much,
the Jesuits continue the study of astrology among their priestly ranks.
Their thought? That the more you know about the workings of God the better
you can appreciate the vast scope of Creation which is God.
goes back to Babylon. To digress (but not digress) a moment here, have
you ever wondered why we have sixty seconds to the minute and sixty minutes
to the hour? It's because ancient Babylon worked in base 60 like
we use base 10. Sounds awkward to us, but that's what they did. And the
twenty-four hours in a day part? That's Egyptian. Ancient Egypt divided
the day into twelve daylight hours and twelve nighttime hours. So if you
step back and think about it, the 'cosmic means' by which these systems
have come together to create the system by which we 'tell time' is the
migration of the Jews from Babylon to Egypt, which suggests from a philosophical
point of view the people of Israel are part of God's cosmic clockwork
specifically the clock part of the clockwork. Without Judaism,
we might none of us have wristwatches.
other subject, yes. But interesting.
line here goes two ways. The first is that Jesuit/Catholic (though plainly
universal) greatly spiritual thought: the more you know about the workings
of God the better your appreciation of God.
other hand, we have science. With the great rise of science in the 1800's
everyone speculated about the possibility that God and religion would
ultimately die out. Yet nothing of the sort has proven true. By the mid-late
1900's religion began a resurgence. Why? Probably because we had figured
out that science doesn't 'fix' everything. Far from it!
specifically, science doesn't hold the answers to human nature. (Probably
two world wars proved that!) Plus there are the legacies left by scientists.
So many who have delved so deeply and learned so much about nature and
the cosmos have become so dazzled that they find themselves unable to
think that anything but the existence of a God is possible. Science itself
as a power which convert skeptics into spiritualists? Evidently so.
which brings us back to looking at astrology as an earth science. As celestial
objects move through space, they distort the time/space continuum by virtue
of movement, gravity and mass. They plow through streams of solar waves,
disrupting their patterns. Those planets (and other objects) emit and
throw off ripples of electromagnetism. That's what astrology is about
the using of predictable celestial positions like the hands on
a clock to 'diagnose' the effects of all that 'essential power' on Earth
and on all life on Earth. So while planets (asteroids, et al) don't 'do'
anything, they do tell us what's doing out there!
measure those forces succinctly? Not yet. Can medicine tells us the full
effects on the human body? No doctors and researchers are still
working to understand the common cold. But it took us a while to figure
out the Moon and tides, too. So one must have patience.
of this brings us to the moment of blessing the star of our local cosmos
our life-giving Sun. Birkat HaHammah is a lovely celebration in
that its greater essence is both celestial and cosmic. That Babylon lies
at its roots calls to the unity of three of our world's great religions
(Christianity, Judaism and Islam). Add in a touch of astrology, a soupcon
of science, a smidge of ancient Egypt
in short, this is a wonderful
event, one which we will only get the opportunity to celebrate less than
a handful of times in our lives.
outside. Find a place where you can watch the sun rise. Say a prayer
either the official ones or one which arises from the depths of your heart.
Who knows you may just come to a better understanding of what the
phrase 'Let there be light!' actually means and feel more
Charts for the Holy Days
HaHammah (April 7/8): Sunrise on April 8th in Jerusalem puts the Sun
at 18 degrees of Aries in the 1st house. The house placement speaks to
the essentials of existence (i.e., life itself) with the degree being
an emotional one referring to a "Magic Carpet" and use of creative
imagination, which astrologer Dane Rudhyar correlates with a strife-transcending
and unattached outlook upon everyday reality. And may he be right in that:
asteroid Chaldae is conjunct this Sun, calling the Jewish consciousness
back to Babylon, that deepest of ancestral root sources where Judaism
becomes united (and thus at peace) with both astrology and Islam.
in this chart is posited at 1 Libra in the 6th house. The house placement
speaks to health, work and service and on a mundane level to all those
who 'serve' including the military. With this Moon moving towards (i.e.,
still being drawn into) super massive Black Hole M87 at 1 Libra, there
is a massive transformation still to be experienced. The image is that
of a 'perfect biological form' - one of many in a collection - which only
through being held in place by a fine "dart" displays the beauty
of its creation. With the keynote here being given as "made sacred"
is a conjunction being made to asteroid Ianthe. Ianthe being associated
with three different myths, we are given a triad of meanings. The first
implies such great beauty that honor is bestowed even beyond death, the
second speaks to being beloved even by those who do not identify well
with their natural origins and the third speaks to being born immortal,
but one of many who share in such immortal blessing.
(begins April 9): Setting a chart in Jerusalem for sundown and the
beginning of Passover on April 9th, the Sun is at 19 Aries and the Moon
at 20 Libra in the 12th house. The image for 19 Aries is 'a young girl
feeding birds in winter' with the keynote being about the overcoming of
crisis through compassion. Astrologically, the image of the Sun is always
about our will or free will, in Judaic terms. The choice to be
compassionate in our working through our problems and those of our world
is thus ours. And since I find it hard to think that patriarch Abraham
would have wanted his children to not learn their lessons together, this
message is offered to all Christians, Jews and Muslims in equal spirit.
Everyone else is invited to join in, for we are all children of this world.
at 20 Libra here tells us several things - at least. One, by virtue of
being a 3rd decanate symbol (something pictured in degrees 20 29
of a sign) we are told there are no 'instant solutions.' All 3rd decan
symbols must be put out into the world and made whole and complete there
before the good which in this case is Libran and thus about being
well received can come into being. Second is the issue of this
image coming from the 12th house, a house which calls for spiritual unity
and a release from bondage in fear or fear of bondage. The Jews
(the people and nation Israel) have long lived in fear. Most of us see
this in very worldly terms, but perhaps it would do well to look at the
history of Passover and the metaphysical implications thereof. Passover
is a celebration of freedom but freedom from what? From being a
people 'born' in the slavery of Egypt. Like Islam, Judaism traces its
heritage to Abraham but 'claims' its initiation elsewhere. That Judaism
sees itself 'born' in slavery may tell us a lot: certainly that the Jews
have continued to be periodically persecuted throughout time and that
their nation (Israel) itself has been under attack since inception implies
a lack of metaphysical 'owning' of the slave energy. With the meaning
of 20 Libra being a revivifying contact with the Mother-force of nature
and of social togetherness, one hopes the Jewish people will indeed seek
their 'mother force.' In coming together not just within themselves as
a people who need to heal inner wounds but with others, the Jews may yet
live in peace.
lesson here is twofold: in reclaiming one's true essence, a person (or
people) once enslaved becomes whole and wholly empowered. By doing this,
they reclaim energies formally un-owned by them but taken on by others,
turning them into aggressors. Once this process is complete, neither side
has any need for defensiveness or killing.
Friday (April 10): The chart for Good Friday morning in Jerusalem,
we are shown a Sun at 21 Aries and Moon at 26 Libra in the 7th house.
the image of the Sun - which having just risen is in the 12th house of
faith, charity and the need to be freed from fear and bondage is
focused in a degree which speaks of abundance made possible through human
togetherness and cooperation. Rudhyar calls this a 'social feeling of
abundance' and the summoning of (or to) 'cosmic optimism,' but clearly
with asteroid Nemesis and the sacrifice of Good Friday involved, the Nemesis
willingness to stand up for what is true and right regardless of what
it may cost you is a challenge being given every Christian and
the rest of us, too.
standing pretty much alone at 26 Libra echoes this sentiment, pointing
to the need to be an individual, regardless of a 7th house placement in
Libra which says a lot about our desire to be accepted by others. Remember
that any 3rd decanate symbol means you have to do all which is necessary
and then wait to see how things turn out. That just adds to the challenge,
seeing as a 7th house Moon wants to 'fit in' and Easter is very much about
being with family and friends in a celebration of inspirational renewal.
the best thing is to recall another aspect of the 7th namely that
it's all about how you approach others that determines how you (or what
you have to say, offer or speak up about) get received. With 26 Libra
picturing an image of 'transcending conflicts' goes the promise of 'transcendent
realizations' for those willing to step forward and negotiate the challenges
in being human with humanity, faith and feeling.
you be judged? Maybe. But that's also a Good Friday theme. Christ didn't
judge and endured all which has foisted upon him with patience in spite
of pain and faith in the ultimate purpose. Should we do otherwise?
(April 12): Setting a chart for sunrise in Jerusalem, we are given
the specter of the Sun (again in the 12th house, having newly risen) at
22 Aries. The nature of the 12th is that of what it means not only to
be human in admitting our frailties, strengths and commonalities. The
image here is of a pregnant woman, which quite fittingly here offers us
a triad of images.
is about something yet to be born, implying things which need doing once
we move beyond the pain of facing our mortal desire for things to be otherwise
as pictured by the crucifixion and Good Friday.
image is about the ongoing fertility of human nature, which is not just
physical, but certainly also mental, moral, emotional and spiritual. There's
more for all of us to do, and to do it we need to transcend our mortality
through taking the 'higher' road and the path of greater perspective.
image here speaks to the idea of highly personal fulfillment. That this
is pictured through the image of a child yet to be born says what we do
going forward is what brings that 'child' to be and creates the world
that child (real or metaphysical) will then have to live with.
this is highlighted by the asteroid Agamemnon, an image of determination
and choices which have long-term repercussions. As this is part and parcel
of the story of Easter it seems particularly apt; choices made long ago
and attitudes right and wrong which have been adopted along
the way have created countless misunderstandings, brought much which is
to be treasured into being and yet ...
yet we're not quite there yet. But as the sun rises on yet another day,
so we start again.
idea we add the idea of the Moon in Scorpio, a sign which the Moon is
not well attuned to in that Scorpio implies some sense of discomfort as
situations and values get challenged. There is an implied level of effort
always implied in Scorpio, along with a reluctance to take the task on.
Positioned at 22 Scorpio, we again are confronted with a 3rd decanate
degree, telling us we cannot know whether something will turn out "well"
except by trying. This forces all of us to at some level confront the
question of just how much faith we actually have in the process of life
as symbolized by Christ and the position of 22 Scorpio, which speaks
to the raising of animal drives to a higher level. With asteroid Hidalgo
a degree ahead at 23 Scorpio there are heraldic deeds and stands which
will yet need to be undertaken and taken on.
thus becomes what do we believe in? What does it mean that the Sun rises
yet again with every single day? Birkat HaHammah gives us the start of
a new cycle in which to live and be and build. What will we do with the
next 28 years?
Astrological Mandala (Dane Rudhyar/Vintage Press)
calendars reconcile the lunar cycles to the solar cycle by adding what
is called an 'intercalary' month. There are other lunar calendars (such
as that used in Islam) which in not having such "corrections"
do not correspond to the calendar most of us use in everyday, secular
More from Boots:
The End Of The World? (posted March 26, 2009)
Ages Patriarchal, Matriarchal, and Religious (posted February 24,
Madoff: Web of Need and
Greed (posted January 27, 2009)
MetaphysicYear End Musings
December 27, 2008)
Economics and the Federal Reserve
The Astrological State of
Pluto in Capricorn
The Fixed Signs
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