People like reading their horoscopes, getting feedback from psychics, astrologers and other spiritualists, and looking for clues to their nature and destiny in Torah codes, tea leaves and tarot cards. Some of these modalities are legit and kosher. Some are pagan and idolatrous. All of them are dangerous.
The same can be said for life coaches, therapists, rabbis, consultants, and advisors of all kinds. When taken the wrong way, when I become dependent upon them for my self-definition and evaluation of who I am, then I risk becoming imprisoned. It may be a comfortable prison, even a luxurious one, but it is a prison nonetheless, one which stifles my potential and my ability to recognize and achieve my real purpose.
Anything in life can become a prison – people, work, money, religion, fast cars, expensive clothes, fancy gadgets – if I allow it to. Instead of seeing everything in the context of the big picture of life, and utilizing everything to serve that purpose, things take on an importance in and of themselves. In the absence of a higher power to give the fragmented elements and events of my life a sense of perspective, order and continuity, each item jumps out at me as the end all and be all of my life, and tries to take over. When things are divorced from the big picture, from the ultimate reality that they and I are supposed to serve, then I become enslaved to them, even worship them. The result is chaos, if not in my life trajectory then in my mind.
We are all guilty of worshipping these idols sometimes. The good news is that Abraham’s experience shows us the way out. Abraham was a gifted spiritualist, an expert in Astrology. When G-d told him that he and Sarah would have a child that would inherit and continue their legacy, Abraham was skeptical. He consulted the Astrological charts and it was clearly not in the cards. So, the Torah relates, G-d took Abraham outside and showed him the stars, and told him that his descendants would be numerous like the stars. But what was the point of taking him outside? He could have mentioned the stars without taking him outside, and if G-d needed him to see the stars Abraham could have taken himself outside. The Sages conclude that the Torah must be teaching us something else: That G-d took Abraham outside of the universe and showed him the stars from the outside looking in. From that perspective, the stars, and the Astrological forces and horoscopes that come with them, are merely tools serving a higher purpose, instruments in the orchestration of a supernal will. From the perspective of the Master Conductor, anything is possible.
I was blessed to be raised by a mother (of blessed memory) who taught me that anything is possible – that there is no such thing as not smart enough, not connected enough, not tough enough. She always told me I can go anywhere and do anything, and she promised (or perhaps threatened) that she would go there with me. I am equally blessed with a father, a man of logic and science, who quietly raises his eyebrow and smiles skeptically at such talk. The combined lesson is that while I can go anywhere, I have to be logical and figure out the details and steps of the journey that will get me there, within the natural order of things. But, as I learn from Abraham, if that nature gets in the way, with the right energy and momentum, I can override it, leap past it, and channel a power from beyond the stars.