Judaism

Trumpeting Spirit

My father visiting the Central Synagogue and Museum in Germany

My father visiting the Central Synagogue and Museum in Germany

Son Trumpeting

Son Trumpeting

My father recently entered the magnanimous Philosopher King phase of his life. He is trumpeting his spirit and I had also trumpeted for many years in the medium of classical trumpet playing. What is a son but an extension of the father? Below is a brief meditation he wrote.

As a young boy I was interested in music featuring the trumpet and the shofar. I remember going to High Holiday Services looking forward to hearing the Shofar Blasts. Rabbi Kaplan always visited the youth service looking for volunteers to blow the Shofar. I always raised my hand. I wanted to blow the Shofar at the High Holiday Service, but it was a yearning I kept to myself. Coincidentally

I received an email from Rabbi Gerber saying he had heard I could blow the Shofar and our synagogue was in need this year. I had studied the trumpet and still possessed a Shofar my parents purchased when they had visited Israel. While I was interested, playing the Shofar at home and playing the Shofar on our holiest day in front of fellow congregants was a wholly different matter. I asked the Rabbi if we could meet for an audition and proceeded to tell him the background of my playing. I told him I was about to retire partly due to a successful heart operation that had me looking at the miracle of life differently. I had gone through a personal process of discovering my priorities—family, health, faith—and was trying to keep them in a positive perspective. Retiring is a scary phase in one’s life. I was also looking for a new purpose when the email from Rabbi Gerber came.

So on the second day of Rosh Hashanah I stood with our congregation and proudly blew the Shofar. My heart raced and I was extremely nervous. It felt like when I was called to the Torah in the same Synagogue in September 1969, 49 years ago. I was able to take my new found purpose and perform this time honored ritual so important to our faith. 

My brother in law Rabbi Novoseller of Beth Tovim then asked if I could play the final Shofar blast at Neilah where my family celebrates break the fast, and so I did. 

I did not realize the importance of the Shofar, until so many people came up to me saying that they thoroughly enjoyed the sound of my playing. I felt honored.

After the High Holidays I then traveled to Munich where my wife Leslie and I toured the The Central Synagogue and Jewish Museum. A part of the museum featured a Shofar to teach the Jewish Rituals. I asked our German guide if I could blow the Shofar and he immediately said “please do.” The sounds echoed through the Museum, and I can now say I am an international Shofar player.

As I finish my career I am starting to re-define my purpose which now includes playing the Shofar.

 

The Devil and the Moon

Saturn in close aspect with Moon Original: https://bit.ly/2xyPh9W

Saturn in close aspect with Moon Original: https://bit.ly/2xyPh9W

 

If you look up to the heavens tomorrow evening, just after 10 PM Central Time, you’ll see the planet Saturn in a close aspect with the very bright, waning gibbous Moon. This is the moment of this year that Saturn is most visible. I approach the planets, along with various symbols, signs, and omens, as an invitation to interpretation and creative reinterpretation. Thus, when I realize that Saturn and the Moon are to be very closely conjoined in the sky, in fact the most visible this year, I take note and reflect.

Saturn gets a bad rap in astrology. You’ve probably heard of your Saturn return, and even language itself has relegated that word saturnian, saturnine, saturnalia, even satan or the devil to a reviled position, meaning “slow and gloomy.” Even astrology itself is not immune as the word saturnine was originally used to describe the mood of astrologers! I’m at times inclined to agree. Regardless of the history, is there a constructive way to view Saturn? 

In her book Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey suggests that “When the disciple knows Saturn as the God who offers opportunity and does not only feel him to be Deity who brings disaster, then he is on the path of discipleship in truth and in deed and not just theoretically.” The Greco-Roman cultures understood this, exalting Kronos, the Greek equivalent to Saturn, as a ubiquitous symbol of a golden era of youth, agriculture, and abundance. Temples were erected to honor Saturn. Saturn is also the root of the word “Saturday” which is the day of rest in Judaism and a modern respite from the work week for everybody else. The key here is to find the limiting factors in your life that need to check normative and uncontrolled expansion and movement, embodied in the planet Jupiter, and subsequently make necessary, disciplined, restrictive adjustments. 

Temple of Saturn in Rome

Temple of Saturn in Rome

 

So what does it mean that the Moon will so closely aspect Saturn? They both take on the conservative, structure-oriented garb of the sign Capricorn, but unlike Saturn who feels at home in Capricorn, the Moon does not like being in Capricorn. The Moon would prefer to be at home in the floating, emotive sign of Cancer or the beautiful, earthly sign of Taurus. Structure and conservatism does not fit the Moon, the original planetary body of communication, emotion, spirit, and nurturance that builds things over time. Therefore, even if you’re not feeling the desire to structure yourself the way you know you need to, do it anyways. 

As you expand in your life, determine what you need to put the brakes on to truly master where it is you want to go. Saturn, though doling out destruction, can be abated by wisely making choices within the bounds of free will. Of course, there still is fate, for better and worse, but if you reject Saturn i.e. the devil’s offerings, you are sure to succeed. 

I'm Dan Beck, an astrologer, writer, and spiritual consultant based in New Orleans, LA. To explore my offerings and book a session, click here .