How I Became a Cosmic Navigator
The following is an excerpt from Cosmic Navigator by Gahl Sasson:
It was for this purpose that the stars and their planets were created. Through their cycles, all phenomena rooted in the spiritual realm are transmitted and reflected to their physical counterparts.
—Rabbi Chayim Moshe Luzzatto, The Way of God
I was twenty-three when I returned from a journey to India and the Far East. It was time, I thought, to settle down and choose a career path. Reared in an ultra- academic family in Haifa, Israel, I felt pressure to further my education. But what should I study? I could not avoid answering the question, “Who am I?”
I remember the day I finally made my decision. I took a swim in the Mediter- ranean Sea and stopped by my parents’ house on my way home. I looked at the sign on the building where I had lived most of my life. It read “Freud Street 26.” I said to myself, “Could it be so obvious?” The next day, I enrolled in the psychology depart- ment at Haifa University. Years later, as I deepened my studies in Kabbalah and numerology, I discovered that twenty-six represents the numerological value of the unpronounceable name of God, associated with the archetypal energy called Wisdom. I realized then that the sign on my parents’ house had not only directed me to learn about Freud, but it had also launched me on a path to explore the wisdom of Kabbalah.
I completed my B.A. and planned to pursue my master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology. However, in Israel, there are more individuals who yearn to heal than people who require healing. Most years, the university accepts only one in every four hundred or so applicants. The crucial requirement is a recommendation from a sen- ior professor. I thought I had that sewn up. I had excelled in my studies. My grades were first rate. And I believed that the head of my program believed in me as well. I had been one of eight students specially selected by that professor to participate in an exclusive psychoanalysis workshop. I was certain that my stellar performance in his class had insured his endorsement and a spot in graduate school.
I was wrong.
When I asked for the letter, the professor refused. He told me that my outlook on life and healing deviated markedly from those of mainstream psychologists. Since I had shared my interest in symbolism, synchronicity, and mysticism during the course of his workshop, he argued that my overactive imagination, in conjunction with my bizarre theories about life, death, and spirituality, would constitute “a threat to the system.”
“You have too much creativity to be a good clinical psychologist,” he told me in what I perceived to be a patronizing voice.
I was devastated. I was shocked and humiliated. Most of all, I was furious. Being an Aries, the warrior sign, blood rushed to my head. I saw him suddenly as my archenemy. My sudden feelings of anger signaled nothing less than a mental declaration of war. And if you had stopped me there and then, I would have told you that this denunciation was the worst thing that I had ever endured.
But then something else happened, as it always does. The universe is more creative than we are. My best friend called and asked me to join him on a surfing trip to Mexico. I was still mourning my recently deceased career, and my initial reaction was, “Are you out of your mind? Can’t you see how miserable I am?” But then I thought about it for a second. Gahl, my name in Hebrew, means “wave.” I figured that the only way to truly understand waves, and therefore myself, was to learn how to surf. In hindsight, I recognize that I simply fol- lowed the course that was inscribed for me when I was born. I did not know it then, but my astrological rising sign is Pisces—the fish. The rising sign is the symbol that shows us our path, our road to self-awareness. I was not summoned to the waters of Mexico by my friend, but by my astrological constitution and my name. My friend— and indeed my nemesis, the professor—were just the messengers.
I traveled west to follow the message of my name. And I found myself in Mexico, chasing Gahl, chasing waves, and learning the art of flowing with life. The mantra I picked up from my surfer friends was, “No fear.” It has served me just as well outside the waters as it did in the swelling sea.
After a month, my friend had to return to Israel via Guadalajara’s international airport. Since I had a few more months to burn before I could reapply to the univer- sity, I decided to accompany him to Guadalajara for a couple of days and from there make plans to visit South America.
On my fifth day in Guadalajara, a muscular young man approached me as I wandered the streets looking for something to do on my last day in the city. He offered to show me the “real Mexico.” My first instinct told me to politely refuse. I had all my money, my passport, and my expensive camera with me. Surely he was out to take it all, and perhaps he planned to take my organs for black-market trans- port while he was at it as well.
But a deeper voice inside me told me to surrender. No fear. Surf the waves. So I thrust my hand inside my pocket to protect my wallet and climbed on a bus with him. We traveled for more than an hour to a rather impoverished—some would say sketchy—part of the city. We ended up working out at his gym and then meeting up with his tequila-drinking buddies, who sang boisterously about the Mexican revolution. On the way back, we heard live music blasting from a little house. We wandered inside and found two guys playing their instruments. I saw a wired-up microphone standing unused beside the musicians. I had always dreamed of being a rock singer. On an impulse, I grabbed the mike, and I sang and screamed until my throat ached from the strain. After hours of rocking improvisation, I went back to my hotel. It had been one of
the most fantastic days of my life. And I still had my wallet. The next morning, as I was packing to leave Mexico for good, the two musicians,
accompanied by a team of three translators—each of them apparently understood a different third of the English language—showed up at my hotel and asked me to join their band. The previous day, they had set up the mic to hold auditions for a lead singer. And I had been the only one who’d showed up. I told them, thanks, but I was leaving that afternoon for Guatemala. They asked me, why?
“To learn Spanish,” I said.
The five men looked bemusedly at each other.
“Well, we can teach you Spanish,” one of them said.
Within three weeks, the band and I were performing in clubs all over Guadalajara. I also found myself adopted by a family that provided me with free lodging, meals, transportation, and love. I was humbled by the generosity and open heartedness of the people. It seemed everywhere I went, I bumped into another lucky synchronicity.
One day as I was taking a run in the park, I saw a group of people dressed all in white. They sat on the ground and chanted some words in a strange language. I inched closer, and I witnessed for the first time in this incarnation yogis practicing yoga. Without waiting for an invitation, I joined them. And from that day forward, I eagerly went to yoga class nearly every day.
After about a month, the yoga teacher asked me to join him on a visit to one of his students who had been laid up ill at home. While we sat with the ailing man, I offered to try out on him some Tibetan energetic healing that I had learned a few years back. It seemed to invigorate the man, and his grateful wife insisted on giving me a gift.
She ushered me into another room, and she asked me three questions that since that day I have never stopped asking anyone who comes to me for help. I call it the Trinity: What is your date of birth? Where were you born? And at what time? I gave her the information, and for the first time in my life I witnessed the casting of an astrological chart. She was new to interpreting charts. She constantly turned to her books and read from them. But her comments were stunningly accurate. By that point in my life I had gone to see five different psychologists, who, after innumerous sessions, could not understand me as well as this novice astrologer.
I closed my eyes and whispered to my higher self: “If I am supposed to study this art that feels so familiar, please show me the way.”
Less than two weeks later, the guitar player in my band dragged me to some mys- terious meeting. I was suspicious. “What do they do? Why do they meet?” He dis- missed my queries and said, “There are great looking girls in the group.” I stopped talking and followed. I walked into the meeting and sat in the back, close to the door to insure an easy escape. The teacher talked in Spanish, which, at that time, I did not understand, but every once in a while he slipped in a Hebrew word. And then to my amazement, thousands of miles away from Israel, surrounded by Mexicans, the teacher began to write Hebrew letters—my native alphabet—on the blackboard. I had stumbled upon a group that studied Kabbalah and astrology. The guitarist somehow figured I would like it. He was another messenger.
I joined the esoteric school Circulo Dorado and studied with them for two years. I suppose that program in Guadalajara served as a substitute for my master’s in psy- chology back in Haifa.
Did I plan to dive into Kabbalah, astrology, and yoga? No. Did I think it was my destiny? No. I just followed the direction of my name as well as the other signs and synchronicities I encountered along the way. Now, looking back, I consider my old professor who refused me access to the academy to be the most influential person in my life. He is perhaps the most important Kabbalist or mystic that I have ever met, even if he would reject both of these titles. He was not the enemy I thought he was that day years before, when I left his office without a letter of recommendation, with- out my hopes for any sort of worthwhile future. He was my savior, my guide, and my healer.