Astrological ages and religion

Jupiter is the Planet of Expansion, said to preside over faith, optimism, law, religion, wisdom, philosophy, idealism, fortune and the Higher Mind. It is also the Sign of the Savior, of Redemption and of the Martyr. In light of these influences we can better see and better understand the events of the last two thousand years. Taken together they paint a clear picture of the Age of Pisces and of the evolution of human civilization within the last two millennia. From the above paragraph it is easy to see the major role that religion has played in the Age of Pisces.

In the Age of Faith the major religions of the world have grown and thrived, putting down deep roots and branching out into nearly every corner of the globe. Their influence can be seen and felt in nearly every aspect of society all around the world. Even in the undeveloped countries and the countries of the developing Third World some sort of spirituality or religion is practiced and maintained. Religion is meant to bring Man closer to God. It is meant to be a source of strength and spiritual comfort to those of us living in a material world.

Religion is meant to remind us that we are all Children of God and that we are all part of one divine family of Humanity. It is meant to bring us together and to unite us for in the eyes of God we are all One. However, this ideal of a united Humanity under a common Universal Deity is far from our present-day reality. On the contrary, religion has proved to be one of if not the main source of divisiveness within our modern society and between our differing nations.

A religious wedge is being driven between peoples and nations around the globe and the simmering hostility is palpable and threatens to escalate to alarming proportions. Besides being an indicator of the general direction and development of civilization, any current Astrological Age is an indicator of the form that the dominant power base of society assumes during that particular Age. Behind the veil and under the guise of spiritual authority the Roman Catholic Church has sought to amass and to secure and to wield material power.

Religious matters and religious concerns and political and state matters and political and state concerns have become closely entangled with one another for century upon century in the Age of Pisces. The Institution of Religion has become deeply enmeshed and deeply embedded within our global society, wielding great influence over the masses.

The Age of Faith is coming to a close and with it comes an urgent need to seek and find a final, lasting resolution to all of the malignant religious strife which presently holds sway around our world. Still as with all things there is a balance of energies and the coming future of Mankind holds the potential seed of great hope and great promise if we but choose the Higher Path. However, Libras tend to be rather moody and thin-skinned, and they hate anything painful or ugly. Luxury has a great attraction for them; and with their tendency to avoid the unpleasant aspects of life, many Librans live to a ripe old age, having the ability to recuperate from illness more quickly than those born under other signs.

Scorpio, the Scorpion, October 24 to November 22, is a water sign.

Astrological Ages as an Accurate and Effective Model of History

Diana, the moon-goddess of the Romans, commanded Scorpio to kill the hunter Orion when Eos, goddess of the dawn, fell in love with him. After his death, Jupiter set the scorpion and Orion, still armed with his armor and sword, in the stars. Scorpios are definitely possessed of a passionate nature, and they are highly successful in winning the affections of those whom they desire.

Scorpio people do not tolerate contradiction, and they can become exceedingly bitter once they are aroused to fury. On the other hand, they can be devoted friends and marriage partners once they have been made to feel secure. Scorpios are blessed with great reserves of strength, which they may draw upon in emergency situations.


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Sagittarius, the Archer, November 23 to December 21, is a fire sign. Sagittarius is represented by Chiron, the wise centaur, a half-human, half-horse creature, who taught the ancient Greeks and Romans philosophy, music, and medicine. Freedom and change are the watchwords of Sagittarius people. They often find their minds divided, and they hate to have to make a choice between two courses — thus they usually end by trying to get the best of both. Impulsiveness is second nature to them, and movement and change are essential to their peace of mind. Sagittarians are often able to retain their physical youth into advanced maturity, and they are relatively free of health problems as well.

Capricorn, the Goat, December 22 to January 20, is an earth sign. Capricorn was named first in honor of the ancient Babylonian god, Ea, a part-goat, part fish entity, who emerged from the sea to bring learning and culture to the valley of Mesopotamia. The Romans transformed Ea to Pan, a half-goat, half-human god who ruled the woodlands and the fields. Capricorns are individuals of deeply rooted habits who tend to become industrious and economical individuals with great powers of endurance.

Although generally kind, Capricorn people tend to be somewhat moody, often brooding over imagined slights and injuries. Capricorns are liable to feel sorry for themselves, and they may develop into super pessimists unless they are careful. A Capricorn needs to keep things carefree and light. Aquarius, the Water Bearer, January 21 to February 19, is an air sign. Aquarius hearkens back to ancient Egypt and the god Hap, who represented the Nile River , the sustainer of all life. Aquarians are difficult to describe, for they are often moody, untidy, and rather eccentric — while at the same time being highly gifted and intellectual men and women, who contribute much to art, literature, and allied subjects.

Aquarians do not fit into the general concept of conventional living, and they make for most interesting, albeit unusual, friends and companions. Aquarians must be free of mental and emotional tensions if they are to be healthy. Pisces, the Fish, February 20 to March 20, is a water sign. Pisces, the fishes swimming in opposite directions, has been known by that designation since the astrologers of Babylonia named the constellation Two Fishes as long ago as b.

Although Pisces people are industrious workers, they do not possess a great deal of stamina. It seems that fate often picks on Pisceans, and they are more liable to come into contact with suffering. For this reason, nursing, social work , medicine, and missionary work tend to attract Pisceans, and they are generally willing to make sacrifices for other people. Pisceans must always try to keep their own emotional life on an even keel in order not to disturb their health. While many people associate astrology only with the brief summaries of the zodiacal signs in their daily newspapers and probably don't affix a great deal of serious attention to the advice provided by astrology columns, there are millions of men and women today who still regard the celestial bodies with the same veneration as did the ancients.

Zolar, once described as "the dean of American astrologers," wrote in the preface to his book It's All in the Stars New York : Zolar Publishing, : "Astrology, in its purity, though forming a system of divination, is totally unconnected with either fortune telling or mediumship.

It is a divine science of correspondences, in the study and application of which the intellect and intuition become blended in a natural, harmonious manner. They commence to vibrate in unison.

Interreligious Transfers in the Middle Ages: The Case of Astrology

When this union becomes complete, the ignorant man becomes the prophetic sage. Joseph Goodavage, author of Astrology: The Space Age Science , began his book with the following declaration: "Over many thousands of years astrologers have deduced a connection between the motions of the planets and positions of the stars with every kind of terrestrial activity. Their ability to predict future trends — even actual events — has been repeatedly demonstrated.

The Star Gospel uses the same 12 zodiacal signs as does astrology, but begins with Virgo and ends with Leo. Katter stated that, according to tradition, Jacob and his 12 sons carried zodiacal tablets and banners into Egypt and carried them out in the exodus. Like astrology, the Star Gospel holds that the 12 signs stand for 12 positions of the Sun in relation to Earth. While Western astrology evolved from the Egyptians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Greeks, Chinese astrology developed independently of outside influences and was formed around the belief that the emperor was divine.

Some scholars of astrology place the beginning of Chinese astrology during the reign of Emperor Fu Hsi around b. The figures of the Chinese zodiac bear no similarity to those of the West. Each sign is represented by a different animal and is composed of a year cycle. The interpretations of these signs emphasize different animal characteristics from those typical of classic Western stereotypes. For example, while a rat fills a European with revulsion, the Chinese zodiac sees the rodent as hard-working and industrious.

In addition, there are five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal, and water — rather than the four of Western astrology — earth, air, fire, and water. The animals of the Chinese zodiac are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.

According to tradition, when the Buddha c. The first 12 to arrive were the ones who are immortalized in the Chinese zodiac. Astrology has been an integral aspect of daily life in China for centuries and remains so today. Although Communist doctrine and its rationalistic leaders have attempted to stamp out the influence of astrology and to depict its tenets as nothing more than superstition, the average man or woman in China will still make major decisions based on the guidance received from astrology.

Throughout Western history astrologers have claimed an association with the movements of the planets, comets, and eclipses with every important event that has taken place. Among the more familiar are the appearance of comets at the birth and death of Julius Caesar c. In addition, astrologers have proclaimed the influence of the "stars" on the lives of everyone from Alexander the Great — b. Bush —. Many of the great philosophers who shaped the ideals and concepts of the West employed astrology as an aid in developing their thoughts.

Individuals such as Pythagoras c. Nicolaus Copernicus — , who gave science its first rational view of the universe, was a doctor, theologian, astronomer, and astrologer. In the Middle Ages , magi, alchemists, scholars, and even the papacy embraced astrology.

Pope Julius II — trusted his astrologers to set the date for his coronation; Pope Paul III — was guided throughout life by his horoscope; and Pope Leo X — established a chair of astrology at a major university. Church scholars began to associate the signs of the zodiac with the 12 apostles, and cathedrals throughout Europe were decorated with zodiacal symbols. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe — , who built the first astronomical observatory in the Western world, practiced and defended astrology.

Brahe's exact planetary figures allowed his pupil Johannes Kepler — to work out his great Laws of Motion. Sir Isaac Newton — , who followed in Kepler's footsteps, used an eclectic mix of science and astrology to arrive at many of his theories. Admiral George Dewey — and President Grover Cleveland — consulted astrologers throughout their lives. Psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung — used astrology charts to assist him in diagnosis and treatment of his patients. John J. O'Neill, science editor of the New York Herald Tribune, the first science writer to win a Pulitzer Prize , began as a skeptic and ended up a believer in astrology.

Astronomer Gustaf Stromberg — of the Mount Wilson Observatory believed in the charts of astrology as well as the science of astronomy. French psychologist and statistician Michael Gauquelin d. British astronomer and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society Percy Seymour — set forth his theory that astrology is neither magical nor mystical — but in fact — magnetic. During the dark days of the blitz of London, someone in Great Britain 's newly established Psychological Research Bureau PRB decided that if they had an astrologer in Britain who could make the same calculations that the Nazi astrologers would make, the Allies might be able to ascertain what Hitler intended to do next.

Louis de Wohl — , the son of an officer in the Royal Hungarian Army, a novelist by profession, was known to be an expert in the field of astrology who had studied the subject for more than 20 years. De Wohl was solicited by the PRB to chart a course in the stars that would help bring about the downfall of the Third Reich. While de Wohl made some startling hits, such as predicting the date that Germany would invade Holland in , overall he scored only an average number of accurate predictions. However, for whatever astrological accuracy he may have lacked, he more than compensated when he devised the ingenious plan of forging 50 astrological quatrains allegedly from the pen of Nostradamus — in which the great seer predicted the downfall of the Third Reich.

These astrological leaflets were then dropped over Germany with the desired demoralizing effect. De Wohl had done such a superb job of imitating the old French seer's unique style in the "newly discovered quatrains" that even Joseph Goebbels — , Hitler's propaganda minister who earlier had employed a similar deceit to predict Nazi triumph, was fooled. The Reagans continued to confer with astrologist Joan Quigley regarding important dates and meetings while in office.

While some Americans were shocked to learn that their first lady was using the advice obtained from an astrologer to plan her husband's day-to-day schedule, citizens of India seemed to accept calmly the fact that Indira Gandhi — , prime minister from to and to , used astrology to assist in decision-making until her death by assassination in Many astrologers feel that the figure of a ship upon the ocean, with no visible paths to follow, no clearly defined turns or alternative routes, and with no landmarks on which to guide itself, is appropriate to describe the methods by which they may assist an individual in a situation that requires decision-making, for, in the majority of decision situations, there can be more than one alternative.

The astrological diagram of the zodiac places each individual facing a moment of decision in the center of destiny, represented by a circle, universally known as the symbol of infinity, as well as perfection. The astrologer then draws radial lines from the individual's position to the circumference, or, poetically, the perimeter of eternity, thus symbolizing the unperceived number of possibilities accessible to him or her. Even if the individual is aware of only 12 of these, as might be illustrated by the houses of the zodiac, it is enough to cause him or her to wish for some sort of "navigator" to help interpret any directional signs that may be present.

The art or science of astrology, as practiced by a competent astrologist, may serve as one star to be used in making a fix on the chart of destiny. The astrologer and the celestial navigator have a number of things in common. Both look to the heavens for their points of reference; both make use of charts and tables developed during centuries of observation and recording. Both arrive at their conclusions through mathematical computation. The navigator charts a course, but does not establish a destination.

The astrologer casts a horoscope, but does not determine character or destiny. The role of astrology, so say the astrologers, is comparable to a ship's compass. The compass points the way to a predetermined destination, but it does not establish that destination. As a helmsman turns the ship's wheel to bring the vessel into accord with the compass, so the individual's free will must bring the vessel of his or her life into accord with the findings of astrology, if he or she is to benefit from them.

By placing each individual at the center of the zodiac, astrology affirms that person's rightful place at the hub of the wheel of life, and it maintains that there is more in heaven and Earth than is conceived of through various philosophies of the five senses. Modern astrology recognizes that human beings were not created to be mindless marionettes able to move and act only through the remote direction of forces they cannot comprehend, much less influence. At the same time astrology requires its adherents to accept responsibility for themselves and for their actions.

In one sense it imposes an even greater responsibility, for having been made aware of their greatest potentials, according to the best knowledge and techniques available, those who steer their lives by the stars can no longer plead their failures due to blind chance and the fickleness of fate. According to the astrologer, free will includes the prerogative of individuals to avail themselves of the best advice and direction from any and all sources they deem creditable before embarking on any course, before setting foot on any path, before making any decision, great or small, and to follow through once he or she has decided.

Astrology, as practiced today, not only affirms the pre-eminence of free will, but insists upon it; and, according to its adherents, astrology, rightly used, serves as a dependable compass, pointing the way across time. Adams, Evangeline. Astrology for Everyone. New York : Dell Books, Forrest, Steven.

New York: Bantam Books, Woolfolk, Joanna Martine. New York: Madison Books, Yad, Avodah Zarah , 9. In the book of Daniel the Babylonian astrologers are called kasdim Chaldeans , and in Aramaic kasda'ei , 4, 5, 10; ; , The Sibylline Oracles — praise the Jewish people for refraining from astrology, which is a delusion.

The Book of Jubilees —18 depicts the patriarch Abraham as overcoming the beliefs of the astrologers. The first Book of Enoch includes astrology among the sins spread among mortals by the primeval giants nefilim. Josephus, however, writes that astrology was common among the Jews in his days and that Jewish misinterpretation of celestial signs was partially responsible for the outbreak of the revolt against the Romans and its continuation for four years Jos. In the Babylonian Talmud astrologers are known as kaldiyyim Pes. In the Jerusalem Talmud and in Palestinian Midrashim astrologos and astrologiyya are the most frequent terms.

The majority of the talmudic sages believed in the decisive role played by celestial bodies in determining human affairs in the sublunar world. On the one hand the patriarch Abraham and his descendants are spoken of as having been elevated beyond subjection to the stars Gen.

Astrological consultation is one of the methods suggested by Jethro to Moses for governing the Children of Israel Mekh. Several instances are cited of astrologers whose predictions of future events came true e. Gentile rulers were considered to have been especially well versed in astrology or to have consulted astrological experts; but knowledge of astrology was also attributed to King Solomon Eccl. Nevertheless, the rabbis of the Talmud were skeptical of the astrologers' ability to interpret the stars correctly; they conceded the possibility that the astrologers might be able to predict the future by consulting the stars, but claimed that they err in understanding the contents of their forecasts.

In several places in the Talmud it is stated that every man has a celestial body mazzal , i. Two people born under the same star have a bodily and spiritual kinship Ned. Not only human beings are influenced by the stars; but "there is not a blade of grass that has not its star in the heavens to strike it and say to it: grow!

As among most ancient peoples, eclipses were thought to be an evil portent, particularly for Jews, "because they are accustomed to calamities. Some held that there was a direct connection between the signs of the days of the week and the characters of those born on those days: a person born on Sunday would have one perfect attribute, either good or bad; a person born on Monday would be irascible, and so forth.

According to another opinion, "it is not the sign of the day, but the sign of the hour, that determines. A number of important tanna'im and amora'im , such as R. Akiva, R. Isaac, were of the opinion that the power of the stars over ordinary mortals did not extend to the People of Israel. Johanan said: there is no star mazzal for Israel" Shab. Samuel, b; also, Suk. The rabbis were divided as to whether a fully virtuous person could transform and abrogate the decrees of the astral configurations for himself. Mar Samuel, who was an astrologer as well as an astronomer, formulated several rules of health and agriculture on the basis of astrological principles Shab.

Such deliverances were said to have been granted to R. Akiva's daughter and to R.

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Isaac and his mother. The contrary position was upheld by Rava: "Life, children, and sustenance — these things depend not on merit, but on the stars" mk 28a ; by way of illustration he cited the histories of several great men of learning and faith. Because of the warnings of the "Chaldeans," R. Joseph refused appointment as head of a yeshivah Ber. Rashi and Samuel b. Meir ad loc. In several places in the Talmud mk 27a; Ned. The astrological character of this custom was forgotten and the noun gad , originally the name of a star, came to mean simply "luck," as was eventually the case with the term mazzal "star of luck" itself.

During the eighth to the tenth centuries several famous Jewish astrologers lived in Islamic lands and wrote books on astronomy and astrology. Both were found among the astrological manuscripts of Ibn Ezra, and accordingly, it has been conjectured that Ibn Ezra himself was their translator.

Toward the end of the Middle Ages the Hebrew translations of both these astrologers were translated into Latin and printed. Ibn Ezra refers several times to the Persian Jewish astrologer Andruzgar b. Zadi Faruk ninth century. Several astrological treatises in Arabic composed in the ninth and 11 th centuries, some anonymous, were translated into Hebrew, and some of them, apparently by Jewish translators, into Spanish.

Hebrew translations of Arabic version of the astrological works of Ptolemy, the Tetrabiblos and Centiloquium , have also been preserved. Abraham b. The former even based decisions in practical affairs on astrological considerations. He also undertook to prove from the Talmud that the rabbis of that time in their use of astrology agreed in principle with the gentile sages about the role played by the stars, differing only in that "they say that the power of the stars and the constellations is not a perfect power … all being at the beck and call of God, who can at will set aside their rule and abrogate their decrees whenever He desires.

In his Megillat ha-Megalleh Abraham b. Abraham ibn Ezra's reputation as a great student of astrology spread beyond Jewish circles. He believed that all beings in the sublunar world were influenced by the configurations of the stars and the zodiac, and that most men were entirely enslaved by the powers of the seven planets Commentary on Ex.

Nonetheless, it is within the power of man to free himself of the dictates of the stars by perfecting himself spiritually. In his commentary on Deuteronomy Ibn Ezra writes: "It is known from experience that every nation has its own star and constellation and similarly there is a constellation for every city; but God bestowed His greater favor on Israel by rendering them starless and Himself their adviser. To reconcile predestination by the stars and divine providence, he assigns an astrological significance to the two biblical names for God: Elohim refers to the Creator in His "natural" manifestations, revealed in conjunction with patterns of the stars, while the Tetragrammaton refers to the Creator as He is manifested miraculously, i.

Ibn Ezra composed a large number of astrological books; some of these were printed, but the majority are in manuscript. Most of these writings were translated into Latin at the close of the 13 th century and were printed in ; several were also published in a French translation. Judah Halevi never took a definite stand concerning the value and reliability of astrology. He admitted Kuzari that the celestial bodies had an influence over terrestrial affairs, that terrestrial sublunar life was due to the changing constellations, and that all astrological sayings attributed to the rabbis of old were based on genuine traditions.

At the same time, however, he rejected the astrologers' claim that it was possible to determine the exact influence of the stars on sublunar beings. Halevi complained that the Jewish people continued to be seduced by astrological charlatanry despite the biblical injunction to the contrary ibid. Inquiring whether the movements of celestial bodies really exercised "leadership and governance over the events of human life," he came to the conclusion that while there is no clear evidence rebutting the assumptions of the astrologers, in view of human free will and divine providence it is nevertheless impossible to attribute an absolutely decisive character to "the dictates of the configurations" Or Adonai He launched a series of attacks against the beliefs of the astrologers based not only on dogmatic considerations but on empirical events as well: many times thousands of people had perished by plague, in war, or had been drowned at sea, yet it was unimaginable that the horoscope of each should have been responsible for his untimely death in the general disaster.

Accordingly, Albo fell back upon the opinion of Abraham ibn Ezra that there are several factors capable of annulling the destinies of private individuals Sefer Ikkarim Upon being asked by the rabbis of southern France whether it was possible to combine the theories of astrology with the principles of Judaism, Maimonides replied: "… This science, which is called the decree of the stars … is no science at all, but mere foolery … and it behooves us never to engage in it…. Those who composed treatises upon it… were the Chasdeans, the Chaldeans, the Canaanites, and the Egyptians … however, the wise men of Greece … scorned, mocked, and condemned these four nations… and compiled proofs to reject their notions completely….

I well know that you may seek and find in the Talmud and the Midrashim isolated sayings implying that the stars at the time of a man's birth will have a certain effect upon him… but this need not perplex you," inasmuch as "he is unworthy of pursuing knowledge … who would forsake it for the isolated saying of a rabbi of old who may perhaps have been mistaken…. David ha-Kohen of Lunel. He also ruled: "Who is a me'onen ["soothsayer"]? He who allots dates in the manner of the astrologers, who say … such-and-such a day … is good for performing such-and-such a task, such-and-such a year or month is bad for such-and-such… and even though he does nothing but tell lies, the foolish believe that his words are the truths of the wise.

Thus, whosoever heeds the astrologers when he chooses to do something or go somewhere at a certain time, such a one should be punished by stripes, for it is written 'Ye shall not soothsay'" Yad, Avodah Zarah —9.

Similarly, in his commentary on the Mishnah he speaks of "the falsifying astrologers, who are wise and enlightened in their own eyes" Sanh. Despite Maimonides' great prestige, his criticism of astrology had practically no influence on subsequent Jewish writers. With the exception of Joseph b.

Gershom maintained that the activities and events of a man's life were predestined by the positions and movements of celestial bodies. Asher Commentary on Ex. In the Sefer Razi'el ha-Malakh "Book of the Angel Raziel" the principle basis for a systematic astrology is found, for example: "How can the seers know what a man's life will be as soon as he is born? The ruling planet ascending in the East [at the hour of his birth] is his life's house. If the house of Saturn is in ascension, he will live to be 57, if it is the house of Jupiter, he will live 79 years, and so forth… Saturn presides over wealth, poverty, and the like… Jupiter presides over life, well-being, favorable circumstances, happiness, riches, honor, greatness, and royalty; Mars presides over blood, the sword, and the like… Venus presides over comeliness, grace, appetite… and the like.

The Zohar takes astrology for granted and in several places employs imagery and terminology that are clearly astrological e. Raya Meheimna. It is stated explicitly: "All the stars and constellations in the heavens were appointed to be rulers and commandants over the world… there is not a single blade of grass in the entire world over which a star or a planet does not preside, and over that star one [angel] is appointed who serves in the presence of the Holy One Blessed Be He, each according to his merit" d; see Mishnat ha-Zohar , Tishbi-Lachower trans.

Astrological reasons for the commandments mitzvot are occasionally also given a—b, Raya Meheimna. On the whole, however, the Zohar's kabbalistic system deprives astrology and astrological beliefs of most of their relevance and importance. According to the Sefer ha-Peli'ah , the higher powers descend on the seven planets from the divine name of 42 letters, each planet receiving the influx appropriate to it from six of the letters of that name.

Several Jewish astronomers and astrologers served in various royal capitals of Southern and Western Europe as court astrologers. Among them were Judah b. Jacob b. Emanuel Provinciale Bonet de Lattes served as physician and court astrologer to popes Alexander vi and Leo x. In his Prognosticum , dedicated to cardinals Valentiniani and Borgia, he expressed the opinion, based on the prophecies of Daniel and on a conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn in the house of Cancer due to take place on June 10, , that the Messiah would appear in In the Jewish religious literature of modern times there remain only vestiges of earlier astrological beliefs.

On joyful occasions in individual and family life, Jews everywhere congratulate each other by saying mazzal tov "good luck". A successful person is popularly referred to as a bar-mazzal "one of luck" , and a perennial failure is known as a ra-mazzal "poor luck"; Yid.

The Evolution of a Sign

It was customary in some parts to begin no new undertaking on Mondays or Wednesdays Sh. Another custom was to perform marriages only in the first half of the month while the moon was waxing ibid. Mordecai Jaffe explains the custom of fasting on the anniversary of a parent's death Isserles to Sh. Until recently it was the custom in certain localities to prepare a bed or table; see Isserles, ibid.

Ginzberg, Legends, index; R. Levy, Astrological Works of A. Ibn Ezra ; A. Ibn Ezra, Beginning of Wisdom , ed. Levy and F. Cantera ; S. Sachs, Ha-Yonah, Keneset Yisrael , 59ff. Rubin, Ma'aseh Ta'tu'im , 39ff. Altmann, Alexander " Astrology. Altmann, Alexander "Astrology. The art of divining the fate or future of persons from the juxtaposition of the Sun , Moon, and planets. Judicial astrology foretells the destinies of individuals and nations, while Natural astrology predicts changes of weather and the influence of the stars upon natural things.

The characters used in astrology to denote the 12 signs represent natural objects, but they have also a hieroglyphic or esoteric meaning that has been lost. The figure of Aries represents the head and horns of a ram; that of Taurus , the head and horns of a bull; that of Leo, the head and mane of a lion; that of Gemini , two persons standing together; and so on.

Traditionally, the cases for which astrological predictions have chiefly been sought were nativities, that is, in ascertaining the fate and fortunes of individuals from the positions of the stars at the time of birth, and in questions called horary, which comprehend almost every matter that might be the subject of astrological inquiry. Sickness, the success of business undertakings, the outcome of lawsuits, and so on are all objects of horary questions.

A person is said to be born under that planet that ruled the hour of his birth. Thus two hours every day are under the control of Saturn; the first hour after sunrise on Saturday is one of them. Therefore, a person born on Saturday in the first hour after sunrise has Saturn for the lord of his or her ascendant; those born in the next hour, Jupiter; and so on in order. In drawing a nativity or natal chart horoscope a figure is divided into 12 portions representing the astrological houses.

The 12 houses are similar to the 12 astrological signs, and the planets, being always in the zodiac, will therefore all fall within these 12 divisions or houses. The line that separates any house from the preceding is called the cusp of the house. The first house is called the ascendant, or the east angle; the fourth, the imum coeli, or the north angle; the seventh, the west angle; and the tenth, the medium coeli, or the south angle.

After this figure is drawn, tables and directions are given for placing the signs, and because one house corresponds to a particular sign, the rest can also be determined. When the signs and planets are all placed in the houses, the astrologer can augur, from their relative position, what influence they will have on the life and fortunes of the native.

The precise origin of astrology is lost to history, but its practice appears to have developed independently in both China and Mesopotamia, and was quite known early in India. One of the most remarkable astrological treatises of all history is the fabulous Bhrigu-Samhita of ancient India, said to contain formulas for ascertaining the names of all individuals, past, present, and future, and their destinies. Unlike popular Western astrology, the key to a Bhrigu consultation is not the birth sign and conjunction of planets, but the moment of consultation of the oracle. Marco Polo found astrology well established in China, although Chinese astrology developed apart from Western history and only recently has been imported into the West.

Western astrology seems to have originated in Mesopotamia, and all of the cultures of ancient Iraq and Iran contributed to its creation. Among the earliest records of astrology are the cuneiform tablets from the library of King Ashurbanipal of Assyria B. Astrologers were making periodic reports to Ashurbanipal on such matters as the possibility of war and the probable size of the harvest. Astrology had been present in the region for at least a millennium but was given a distinctive boost by the Chaldeans who took over the Tigris and Euphrates valleys in B.

The Chaldeans mapped the sky, improved the methods for recording the passing of time, successfully predicted eclipses, and accurately determined the length of the solar year within 26 minutes. Thus astrology was well developed in Chaldea when in the second millennium B. The conflict between the emerging religions of the Israelites and Babylonian astrology can be seen in Isa. A primitive astrology had developed among the Greeks, but during the conquests of Alexander in the West beginning in B. Chaldean astrology flowed into the Mediterranean basin. Alexander's conquests also introduced astrology into India, although the Indians took the Chaldean notions and developed them in a unique direction.

In Egyptian tradition the invention of astrology is attributed to Thoth called Hermes Trismegistus by the Greek , the god of wisdom, learning, and literature. He is the Mercury of the Romans, the eloquent deliverer of the messages of the gods. In imperial Rome astrology was held in great repute, especially under the reign of Tiberius C.

Augustus 27 B. Domitian C. They prophesied the year, the hour, and the manner of his death, and agreed with his father in foretelling that he should perish not by poison, but by the dagger.


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The early Christians gave some sanction to astrology in the Gospel of Matthew, which opens with the visit of the three magi Persian astrologers who, having seen the star in the east, have come to worship Christ. After the age of the Antonines and the work of the third-century C. Roman scholar Censorinus, we hear little of astrology for some generations. In the eighth century the Venerable Bede and his distinguished scholar, Alcuin, are said to have pursued this mystic study. Immediately following, the Arabians revived and encouraged it.

Albumasar added to this work, and the astral science continued to receive new force from the labors of Alfraganus, Ebennozophim, Alfaragius, and Geber. The conquest of Spain by the Moors carried this knowledge, with all their other treasures of learning, into Spain, and before their cruel expulsion it was naturalized among the Christian savants.

Among these Alonzo or Alfonso of Castile has immortalized himself by his scientific research, and the Jewish and Christian doctors who arranged the tables named for him were convened from all the accessible parts of civilized Europe. Five years were employed in their discussion, and it has been said that the enormous sum of , ducats was disbursed in the towers of the Alcazar of Galiana in the adjustment and correction of Ptolemy's calculations. Nor was it only the physical motions of the stars that occupied this grave assembly. The two Kabbalistic volumes, yet existing in cipher, in the royal library of the kings of Spain, and which tradition assigns to Alonzo himself, indicate a more visionary study.

In spite of the denunciations against this orthodoxy, which were thundered in his ears on the authority of Tertullian, Basil, and Bonaventure, the fearless monarch gave his sanction to such masters as practiced the art of divination by the stars, and in one part of his code enrolled astrology among the seven liberal sciences. In Germany many eminent men pursued astrology.

A long catalog could be made of those who have considered other sciences with reference to astrology and written on them as such. Faust has, of course, the credit of being an astrologer as well as a wizard, and we find that singular but splendid genius, Cornelius Agrippa writing with as much zeal against astrology as on behalf of other occult sciences. Of the early developments in astrology in England little is known. Bede and Alcuin have been mentioned.

Roger Bacon included it among his broad studies. But it is the period of the Stuarts that can be considered the acme of astrology in England. Then William Lilly employed the doctrine of the magical circle, engaged in the evocation of spirits from the Ars Notoria and used the form of prayer prescribed therein to the angel Salmonoeus, and entertained among his familiar acquaintance the guardian spirits of England, Salmael and Malchidael.

His ill success with the divining rod induced him to surrender the pursuit of rhabdomancy. The successor of Lilly was Henry Coley, a tailor, who had been his amanuensis and was almost as successful in prophecy as his master. While astrology flourished in England it was in high repute with its kindred pursuits of magic, necromancy, and alchemy at the court of France. Catherine de Medicis herself was an adept in the art.

At the Revolution, which commenced a new era in France, astrology declined. Astrology has now permeated every activity of modern life, from daily household activities to politics and stock market speculation. Leading names that have emerged in the astrology revival include Luke D. Also still popular in its various editions is the mass circulation almanac of "Old Moore," which first appeared nearly three centuries ago. The psychologist C. Jung related astrology to "synchronicity," an acausal connecting principle in nature as distinct from normal cause and effect , and believed that horoscopes offered useful psychological information on patients.

The most noticeable aspect of the occult revival of modern times has been the widespread popularity of astrology, particularly among young people. It is estimated that there are more than ten thousand professional astrologers in the United States , with a clientele of more than twenty million people.

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Most American newspapers run an astrology column. Even the respected Washington Post includes a horoscope column. Regan in his book For the Record caused widespread media comment with the claim that Nancy Reagan consulted astrologers on questions relating to presidential schedules of her husband, Ronald Reagan. Joan Quigley was cited as her astrological consultant. Caroline Casey, daughter of a former congressman, was also revealed as a leading astrologer to politicians, high-ranking officials, and Georgetown socialites.

None of this would be surprising to Indian and other Asian celebrities, since the astrologer is still an indispensable figure in Asian society, consulted on marriage dates and partnerships, business enterprises, and affairs of state. But the extent of American involvement with astrology surprised and infuriated many commentators, who condemned "occult superstitions. He replied, "Recently a study was made of Wall Street people and stockholders — and 48 percent admitted that they used astrology of one sort or another in the stock market.

One astrologer responded, "What's new? Queen Elizabeth I set her coronation date by her guy, John Dee , and consulted him every day. Kings have always used us — and popes! Others just kept their astrologers in the closet, like Nancydid. There has been little new to add to popular belief in astrology in the present revival except its linking with modern technology in the use of an IBM computer for rapid calculation of horoscopes.

In spite of its pseudoscientific basis, deriving from outmoded theories of the planetary system, astrology can point to documented successes, particularly by astrologers who combine their calculations with an intuitive faculty of interpretation. There is also scientific evidence for the influence of lunar and solar rhythms on human activity. One interesting development in modern astrology has been the research of the French statistician Michel Gauquelin and his wife Francosise Gauquelin, beginning in They claimed to find a significant correlation between the position of planets at birth and the chosen professions of a large sample of people from all walks of life.

The research of the Gauquelins, whose collaboration lasted until , is so significant that it is the most frequently cited research validating astrology. Gauquelin, Michel. The Cosmic Clocks. Chicago : Henry Regnery, Dreams and Illusions of Astrology. Buffalo, N. Scientific Basis of Astrology. Reprinted as Astrology and Science. London: P. Davies, Howe, Ellic. London: Rider, Lewis, James R. The Astrology Encyclopedia. Detroit : Gale Research, Thompson, C. The Mystery and Romance of Astrology. London, Reprint, Detroit: Singing Tree Press, Reprint, New York: Causeway, Defining early modern astrology is a thorny issue.

The early modern distinction between "natural" and "judicial" astrology, still widely used among scholars, served to express moral and religious qualifications. Hence, its meaning was highly localized. A more useful starting point is obtained from astrology's status as an academic discipline, which endowed it with more universal pedagogical narratives. For instance, late medieval astronomical textbooks often included considerations of the distances and size of celestial bodies, astrological aspects, planetary conjunctions, eclipses, and lunar mansions. It is therefore best to approach late medieval astrology as a "science of the stars" that comprised both celestial motions and judgments.

This definition reflects astrology's position within the disciplinary hierarchies of the late medieval university. The emphasis on prediction reveals the simple fact that astrology was mostly taught as an auxiliary tool for medical prognosis. A practical ability to calculate astronomical data and assess concomitant celestial effects was widely expected from medical graduates. The reference to a more "theoretical" study of celestial effects reflects the pervasive influence of Aristotelian logic, epistemology, and physics, which was institutionalized in the arts faculties.

Just like medical physiological textbooks, most introductions to astrology typically Ptolemy or Alcabitius sought to express basic parameters like planetary effects, or the nature of zodiacal signs, in terms of Aristotle 's four manifest qualities hot, cold, wet, dry. When this proved unconvincing, astrological effects were counted as "influences," based on "occult qualities": one could perceive their results on earth, but not their manifest action in the celestial bodies.

This did not necessarily undermine astrology's academic status. Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly — , for instance, promoted a "concordance of astrology and theology" that proved highly successful in several universities. Many developments in the early modern period can be interpreted as attempts to safeguard astrology's status as it branched out beyond the university.

Most academic astrologers were trained to perform a wide range of astrological tasks: they discussed large-scale predictions mundane astrology , individual fates natal astrology , or even particular events horary astrology, subdivided into elections and interrogations. Courts and local town authorities increasingly drew upon political astrological consulting in the late Middle Ages. Beginning in the s, print technology brought these political particulars to a wider, predominantly urban, audience through a new astrological genre: the annual prognostication.

The propagandistic value of such initiatives contributed to the formation of close alliances between prognosticators and court culture in Italy, France , Germany , Poland , and the Low Countries in the late fifteenth century. Such alliances proved to be a liability in times of political or religious crisis. The self-fulfillment of popular prognostications, and their ability to stir unrest, provoked several astrological debates, where both prognosticators and their university learning came under attack. Undoubtedly the most influential example of such criticism was Giovanni Pico's massive Disputations against Divinatory Astrology By the early sixteenth century, humanistic astrologers in both Italy and northern Europe addressed the Piconian challenge through reform proposals.

These were often, but not exclusively, directed at the courtly audience that supported the rise of the prognosticators. In the course of the sixteenth century, astrological reformers accomplished two significant feats.

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By advocating a return to ancient, mostly Ptolemaic astrology, they inaugurated a departure from the Arabic traditions that dominated the late medieval "science of judgments. For example, it is now becoming clear that the astronomical innovations of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe , and Johannes Kepler can be interpreted within the framework of Pico's attack.

Their reversal of the traditional subordination of mathematics to natural philosophy seems to flow from an attempt to rescue the physical basis of astrology. Likewise, educational reformers like Philipp Melanchthon — strongly emphasized astrology as a part of physics.

This development also provoked a gradual separation of the "science of motions" and "science of judgments. As a result, reformers gradually abandoned public astrological predictions: first horary astrology, then natal astrology, and finally weather prediction and some forms of medical astrology. Likewise, "astrological" prediction was gradually ousted from official university curricula. After the s, and well into the second half of the seventeenth century, Catholic and Protestant church authorities issued numerous condemnations of "judicial" or "superstitious" astrology.

The "science of motions," on the other hand, was flourishing. It is important to realize that this emerging "astronomy" retained several astrological interests, such as the nature of the heavens, the size and distance of celestial bodies, and the origins of comets. The pace at which such changes occurred depended on local circumstances. In England , central licensing through the Stationers Company , the absence of strong academic links, and the subsequent explosion of astrological consulting during the Civil War propelled astrological reform projects into the late eighteenth century.

Possibly due to local academic structures, Italian medical astrology also seems to have enjoyed a longer lease on life than elsewhere on the Continent. In the seventeenth century, influential astrologers Simon Forman, William Lilly, and Jean-Baptiste Morin remained highly visible, while astrological almanacs even outsold the Bible. But although extraordinary phenomena like eclipses , or comets — still provoked general unease, a gradual popularization of astrology occurred in the second half of the seventeenth century.

The new royal scientific societies rejected astrology from their research agendas. The upper class no longer found its way to reputed astrological practitioners by the late seventeenth century. After , ecclesiastics and university physicians increasingly left the writing of popular almanacs to surveyors, engineers, or local teachers. Their products became increasingly pseudonymous or anonymous, showed a rapid decline in astrological content, and were mainly distributed in rural areas by peddlers.

By the early eighteenth century, the middle class and the nobility were closing ranks in the condemnation of an "irrational" astrology, which, at the same time, became socially innocuous. Paradoxically, this situation may have contributed to the survival of local pockets of astrological beliefs, both "traditional" such as Ebenezer Sibly and "modernized" for example, among British colonial army doctors. Curry, Patrick. Princeton, Innovative in its systematic focus on the social and political meaning of seventeenth-century astrology, but with a somewhat narrow selection of relevant backgrounds.

Grafton, Anthony. Cambridge, Mass. An entertaining introduction to Italian astrology in the Renaissance. Harrison, Mark. Smoller, Laura Ackerman. Thomas, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic. New York , Leiden, Investigates the links between astrological practice in the university, court, and city, and the implications for elite astrology, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Westman, Robert S. Although the study of astrology has been pursued in many cultures and continues to have an important role in the Far East, this article deals only with Babylonian astrology and its subsequent development in the Greco-Roman world and in Europe.

It is important to note that astrology, in many aspects at least, was recognized as a science — not as a pseudo-science — until the 18th century. Babylonian Astrology. The chief source for information about Babylonian astrology is the library of King Assurbanipal — b. Babylonian horoscopes were applied to the royal family and the land; the earliest known prediction for a private person dates from b. The following example is typical: "If an eclipse of the moon occurs on 14 Sivan and the fourth [east] wind is blowing, enmity will prevail; there will be deaths.

It is not surprising that astrology arose in Mesopotamia, with its extremely clear atmosphere and a religion that identified various gods with particular heavenly bodies. Babylonian astrology rests ultimately on a single large work of unknown date written in about 70 large tablets, fragmentarily preserved in several recensions. This system, unlike that of the Greeks later, made the Moon more important than the Sun probably because of its easy observability and conspicuous phases and arranged the planets in the so-called Babylonian order: Moon, Sun, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Mars.

More than constellations were distinguished, as well as 12 signs of the zodiac, and attention was paid also to comets, meteors, winds, storms, earthquakes, clouds, thunder, and lightning. Although the documents are in Old Babylonian and Assyrian, traces of Sumerian usage suggest that some of this material is earlier than b. In Classical Greece. Though the early Greeks practiced various forms of divination, they had no astrology. Minoan art shows little concern with the heavens, and few early Greek myths deal with the stars.

Even an author as late as Aristophanes Peace — ; b. Zeus, despite the etymology of his name, was far more to the Greeks than a sky-god; and this broader conception accords with the fact that the major Greek gods, unlike the Semitic, were not closely bound to nature. The stars were observed for purposes of navigation, but there is hardly a trace of astral religion. Thales of Miletus 6th-century b. Typical of classical Greek rationalism is the story of Pericles Plutarch, Pericles 35 , who calmed a frightened sailor by holding up his cloak to show how an eclipse occurs.

Among the classical Greeks prophecy based on such phenomena as eclipses and lightning was on the same footing as prophecy from the flight of birds, the entrails of sacrificial animals, and dreams. There were no special astrological techniques. Greek reason, however, provided a potentially hospitable environment for the introduction of astrology: if the world is governed by unchanging scientific laws, then fatalism becomes easy.

The early Pythagoreans illustrate the possibilities. They discovered the oldest known scientific laws by experiments with the strings of musical instruments , but they also developed numerical and geometrical symbolisms involving astral elements, such as the harmony of the spheres. Plato and even Aristotle who was no mystic believed the stars to be divine, no doubt under Oriental influence. The planets play an important role in the myth of Er, son of Armenius an Oriental name , at the end of the Republic, and Plato emphasizes the relationship between souls and stars in Timaeus 41D.

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