The following is an excerpt from Cosmic Navigator by Gahl Sasson:
Astrology is not a fortune-telling tool. Our astrological chart is actually a spiritual con- tract that we signed with God and a constant reminder of our chosen path in life. That means that we cannot bellyache to God, our mothers, or anyone else that we don’t like our chart. We can’t loathe the fact that we have eight planets in the house of death or six planets in the house of suffering. We—and only we—created and agreed to it. Accepting our chart marks the first step in changing our lives.
We know from the accounts of people who have died clinically and then returned to life that when we die, our entire life flashes in front of our eyes. Reportedly, it feels like we relive our lives all over again. It sounds as if we download our lives from our body, which contains our memories in its cells, brain, and other organs, into the part of ourselves that is eternal. After completing this file transfer, we are welcomed into the Light by an entity that most mythologies call the psychopompus, or the guide of the souls. This guide helps us travel up and down the divine highway, which has two lanes: one that runs from life to the Light and one that leads from the Light to life. The first is known as the path of death; the other is called the path of birth.
According to many spiritual traditions, we have all made this journey from death to life and back again many times, and we will experience it again and again until we attain enlightenment. It goes something like this. After recovering from the shock of dying, we slowly begin to accept the fact that this round is done and we are about to begin anew. We meet a guide, who often appears in the guise of a relative. This benevolent sherpa of our soul leads us to a place where we can review the file that we downloaded from our body and contemplate all that occurred in our life. Then, with the aid of our mentor, who is actually an ambassador of God, we identify the uncompleted trials and lessons that we probably ought to deal with in our next life- time. Together with our guide, we figure out how best to do that. Should we be reborn a woman or a man, a Christian or a Jew, black or white, rich or poor?
As an example of how this all works, let’s imagine a soul who lives as a bartender in a Chicago nightclub. He is a good man who strives to help his endless stream of imbibers with a sympathetic ear and savvy advice. As he serves up his words of wis- dom, however, he also pours liquor into their empty glasses. And he soon realizes that by the time his counsel finally registers with his customers, they are too drunk to remember it. The next night, they inevitably return to the bar, complaining still about the same problems and misfortunes, without any recollection of the insights he had imparted just twenty-four hours before.
The barman dies. His soul travels to the Light (or God, if you want) and plays a melody, the music of his life. Because he lived a rather rough and rugged life amongst drunks and melancholy and frequent fisticuffs, he pumps out too much bass in his song. He lacks treble, the tenderness of the melodic instruments. His guide listens to this lively but discordant tune and suggests that he reincarnate as a woman psychologist. He—now she—is born once again and matures into a therapist in China.
She becomes a great healer, and when she dies, she returns to the Light and plays her song. It sounds so much fuller now, but it still does not match the perfect symphony of God. This soul yet misses the midrange tones and a few other crucial notes. And so she reincarnates as an inner city football coach in Los Angeles. With monumental strength and compassion, he single-handedly transforms the commu- nity. He fights the drug dealers, the skeptics, and even the board of education. When the coach dies, the entire city mourns. More than five thousand people arrive to grieve at his funeral. When he returns to the Light this time, his music rings so beautifully that it harmonizes perfectly with the melody of God. This soul is then ready to wash seamlessly into the Light, like a river that finally joins the sea.
Each of us sits with the ambassador of God before the Light between our every incarnation to outline our next plan of action on earth. Each of us decides what we will experience on this planet. All the challenges, joys, our parents, our hometown, our profession are selected by our soul prior to your arrival in your mother’s womb. God merely gives us a seal of approval and perhaps a few editorial notes. The rest is up to us.
According to Kabbalah and many other spiritual traditions, our prime mission in life is to fix our soul or “burn” our karma. Kabbalah’s name for karma is Tikkun, which in Hebrew means “rectification.” Your astrological chart outlines exactly how you can rectify your soul. Next time you find yourself in trouble, and you cry, “God, why have you done this to me?” you should not be surprised if God, or God’s lawyer, replies, “What are you talking about? Haven’t you looked at your chart? Don’t you know that you agreed to embrace this obstacle? I warned you that it’d be difficult, but you assured me that you could handle it. So come on, face the challenge, don’t start blaming me now!” Even in the face of such difficult challenges as a fatal disease or the loss of a loved one, we should remember that we signed up for it all.
You might say to yourself, “Why don’t I remember signing this contract? Was I drunk or something?” Well, yes, in a sense you were intoxicated by God’s presence. When we find ourselves up there in the proximity of God, engulfed by so much perfection and Light, we are likely willing to sign just about anything that will propel us toward a day when we can sit there with God permanently. But you signed because you understood that the sor- rows and challenges that you’d face on earth, that you might face today, would not be rotten, horrible misfortunes, but blessings in disguise that would push you closer to that everlasting embrace of Light.
At the moment of birth, every baby, fresh from the lap of God, remembers the rationale of his or her chart and his or her accepted mission. Yet this information could interfere with the process of pure experience. For example, would you truly enjoy a basketball game if you knew the outcome before the game was played? When we are born, one beautiful Kabbalist tale recounts, an angel of God with a finger of fire seals the lips of the newborn and quietly whispers, “Shhh, don’t tell anyone you know all that you do. Don’t even tell yourself.” At the angel’s touch, the story explains, the baby forgets everything—the divine contract, past lifetimes, the image as well as name of God. And that is why we all sport the finger-width indentation—what’s known as the Cupid’s bow—in the strip of skin between our upper lip and our nose.
A Nobel Prize winner dies at the age of fifty-eight in a skiing accident. The world of science mourns. Indeed, much of the entire world mourns. A prestigious scientist who moved humankind closer and closer to a cure for cancer, he earned medals and fame and applause around the globe. Suddenly, he is gone.
The ambassador of Light meets him in the land beyond the living and asks, “So, my friend, what do you want to be in the next round?”
The brilliant soul thinks for a few minutes and then answers, “I want to work on my emotional side. As you surely know, I was a protégé; people were feeding me chemical for- mulas before I even had a chance to learn about the nourishment of love.”
The guide listens, nods and asks, “How can we rectify that?”
The soul hesitates and then says quietly, “I wish to avoid the temptations of the mind, to shut down my intellectual faculties.”
The guide pretends to be concerned. “Do you have the spiritual credit for this? Remember, you will not recall making this choice. I don’t want you going about later slandering God.”
The soul says, “Please, let me be born under a silent star.”
The guide shakes his head. “Hmm, I am not sure about this. Do you have any- one to cosign for you?”
The prizewinning soul calls forth two other souls with whom he had traveled in many past lifetimes. “Here, these two soul mates of mine share the problem of an over-exercised and over-cherished intellect. They are too clever for their own good, and they too yearn to nurture their emotional potentials. They are willing to be born before me, and I will be their son.”
The guide knows them well; in fact, they were his two previous appointments. He looks at their charts, specifically into their house of chil- dren, to determine how the scientist might fit as their child. He finally smiles. “OK. You will be born in a body that has three of the twenty-first chromosome; you will be born with Down’s syn- drome. Your IQ will be one-third of what it was in the life you just concluded, but you will be an emotional genius. You will feel intensely everything that other people go through, and yet you won’t possess the capacity to commu- nicate it intellectually. Do you accept?”
All three agree.
Twenty-nine years later, a young and successful couple buys a huge loft in Manhattan. She is CEO of a software company, and he is a litigation attorney who has never lost a case. Everyone, including their so-called friends, envies them. They are masters of their little universes. They meet up on occasion late at night to have sex—a high-performance ritual, but not a truly intimate one. Finally, she becomes pregnant. They don’t bother to check on the progress of the fetus. There is no need—they are both winners. Their confidence clouds their judgment. They plan to call the newborn Leonardo, after Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo’s birth goes smoothly. And then, to their horror, they discover that little Leonardo has Trisomy 21.
“What does that mean?” the father asks.
In her frustration, the mother screams at him, “He’s retarded!” She wails to the God she never believed in, “What did I do to deserve this? What am I being punished for?” The father is perplexed. Nothing in law school prepared him for this. He suddenly despises his wife. He hypothesizes some genetic anomaly in her family that she kept secret from him. Then he suspects that she must have been unfaithful to him, because surely this child is the product of an inferior gene pool. And then he begins to sob. How can he possibly present this . . . this . . . thing to his colleagues?
The baby grows, slower and differently than others. Strangers in the park could see that something was different about the boy, but they were too polite to inquire. And yet anyone who looked at the smiling child could not help but notice some deeper understanding, a wisdom not spoken in words but communicated silently through his innocent and pure joy. The boy knows nothing but love and kindness. No matter what his parents think of him, he expresses nothing but love for them. He does not love them for their success or status. He has no means of evaluating their intellectual brilliance or professional acclaim. His IQ checks in at sixty-two, but what test can measure spiritual intelligence?
Of necessity, his parents alter their lifestyle. Since Leo demands extra attention and care, they start to spend more time together. After just four years, little Leonardo has generated more tears and hugs and authentic bursts of emotion from his parents than they had experienced in their entire lives. At the beginning, feelings of rejec- tion, blame, anger, and guilt triggered these emotional displays. But soon these awful feelings transformed into nothing but love and compassion.
The two young parents slowly fall in love with the little Leo, and they learn to treasure him. The mother decides to work from home on a new Web design busi- ness. The logistics involved in raising Leo also compel her to spend time with her own mother, a woman she once disliked and shunned. Moved by the perspective gained in caring for this child, adult daughter and mother begin to appreciate each other in ways no one thought possible. Such was the powerful magic of little Leonardo. What his mother’s highly intelligent therapist failed to mend in hundreds of long hours, Leo fixed with a smile.
His father changes too. He quits his job at the big firm in Manhattan to head up a nonprofit organization that supports children with special needs. Best of all, he begins to relish his softening, loving wife, often holding her for hours after they put their son to sleep. And this newfound intimacy delivers two more children. They name their second miracle Kuan, for the goddess of compassion, and the other John, after the Baptist.
This story illustrates the core premise of Kabbalistic astrology: you are the maker of your own chart. It is not fate that ordained you to be sick, broke, wealthy, happy, or miserable. You made that solemn decision yourself. Your chart, merely one page long but signed with your first breah of air, symbolizes your divine contract with God.
Cosmic navigators take responsibility for everything that occurs in our lives, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. All that we do, all that we experience— whether we soar, fall in love, or tumble hard against the rocks—is designed solely to make us better, stronger, and more equipped for our ascension back to the divine.