Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions | HuffPost
For Christianity(and Judaism), we do not accept astrology. the Bible mentions the constellations though What is the difference between astrology and religion?. It is obvious that the author answers the question of the origin and essence of astrology in connection with religious concepts; otherwise, this article would not be. Astrology is thousands of years old and most religions come from the and guidance to your questions concerning relationships, business.
These Gods, this indefinable divine Spirit, should not be confused with the everyday astrological spirit of Jupiter. The mundane may mirror the divine but the divine is of a different, higher order. The Kabbalah is quite explicit about these ascending metaphysical levels, finally attaining the divine. The characters of the eight principal Hindu Gods fit the characters of the eight principal Sephiroth, or Shining Ones, of the Tree of Life.
There are some remarkable similarities between the Birth stories of Krishna and Christ. Buddhism dogmatically denies any external deities but in practice Tibetan Buddhism acknowledges a full pantheon.
Tibetan Buddhism also recognises the four astrological elements, earth, air, fire and water, at its very heart. More graphic evidence of the Tradition of the Tree of Life can be seen in the image of Avalokitesvara, the God of Compassion, which reproduces the central column of the Tree.
Several elements in the story of the Buddha strongly echo the Tradition of the Tree, particularly his ascension to the top of the Bodhi Tree when he attained Enlightenment. Perhaps the clearest evidence of the worldwide knowledge of the Tree of Life can be found in the most far-flung and unexpected quarter. The eight tri-grams of the Tao date back over three thousand years and are used for oracles, divination, for a faith which has temples of the ancestors rather than the gods, though the Tao does recognise a Supreme Unity, Supreme Spirit, or God.
The eight tri-grams are traditionally placed on a wheel representing the eight directions. In this arrangement their different elemental characters relate extremely closely to the zodiac characters of the major planets in the corresponding positions on the Tree. An astonishingly precise reproduction of the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life Behind the Bible: Immortality and Reconciliation The astrology and Kabbalah Tradition of the sacred Tree of Life reveals its celestial wisdom and symbolism at the heart of the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament, from Genesis to Revelation.
This Genesis verse holds the promise of immortality for all who recognise the spiritual nature of the Tree. The spiritual forces on which astrology operates confirm our own spiritual natures and the immortal Spirit which all religions have celebrated for many millennia, denying death.
In plants which were held to have exceptionally strong healing powers, the sun was likewise at work. All the other planets and signs of the zodiac were also thought to be connected to certain human characteristics and organs, animals, plants, and metals.
In this way, an entire system of analogous relationships between the heavenly bodies and the things on earth was established. Each particular thing we see exists for the Hellenistic astrologers in one animate, divine context.
Closely connected to this sympathy and analogy of all cosmic powers is an astrological tradition which might better be called astral-magic Astralmagie. We encounter it in a variety of Greek papyrus scrolls concerned with magic, where only marginal use of astronomical calculations was made. Hellenistic astrology thus assumes that all of nature has a "spirited" beseelt or animate essence.
And without this, the analogy would not work. Those who today cannot believe in this "spiritedness" Beseeltheit of all nature will have difficulties taking astrology seriously. The world view of astrology just described refers only to the visible cosmos.
The gods and demons or divine powers belong completely to this world. From a Judaeo-Christian or Islamic perspective, we would say: They are not themselves creators of the heavenly bodies or of humans, but rather they were themselves created. The Greek philosopher Plato speaks likewise in his dialogue "Timaeus" of how the creator god created first the world and then the gods of the heavenly bodies. Astrology is thus thoroughly capable, by nature, of comfortably adapting its world view to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; for the creator god of these religions, who created the world, also created the heavenly bodies and their gods.
On this basis, the great monotheistic religions were also able to accommodate the polytheistic astrology without thereby infringing upon their central creeds. And so it happened as well that astrology was taken up in all three religions. Claudius Ptolemy AD attempted, in his astrological text "Tetrabiblos," to adapt the divinatory astrology in the Egyptian tradition to the natural-scientific world view by leaving out all references to revelations and limiting himself completely to a sober presentation .
But no contradiction arose thereby, for Aristotle, whose scientific authority in cosmological questions remained unchallenged until the early modern period, likewise saw gods in the luminous stars whose effects reach beyond the ether into the sublunar world. Other astrologers of late antiquity viewed astrology in connection with the wisdom of the priests.
Thus, Marcus Manilius reports that it was gods who had inspired the priests on the Euphrates and on the Nile to their knowledge of the laws of the cosmos . Here Saturn and his children, performs official duties by farmer, craftsman, banker etc. And it thus assumes that such prognoses and statements can be made in terms of the particular positions of the heavenly bodies.
To demonstrate this with a very simple example: Now astrology, from its beginnings on, claims that it relies upon experience. Already the Mesopotamian omen interpretation, as we know it through the omen tablets of Enuma Anu Enlil, makes clear the importance given to empirical confirmation.
This reliance upon experience is put forth as the main argument by all the great astrologers of the ancient world, but also of later times. For example, Johannes Kepler argues in defense of astrology: First it is important to note that astrologers in all epochs rely first of all upon experience when they put forth justification for astrology. The above-mentioned omen tablets of Enuma Anu Enlil, part of the library of King Assubanipal BC, king in Niniveshow us an amazing system of astronomical observations.
The astrologers worked according to the following method: Parallel to this, all political and naturally occurring events were likewise recorded. This was continuously repeated, and in this way continuous records spanning many centuries came to be, records which minutely checked the phenomena of the heavens against the events on earth, compared these with older records, and completed them with new observations.
The assyrologist Carl Bezold, who translated a large portion of these clay slabs, describes this so: Then comes the concrete observed case: Many texts then confirm the forecast with the addition: However, many of the researchers who have concerned themselves with these texts are in agreement that the Babylonian astrologers seriously endeavored to erect an astrological system that rested completely on empirical data.
But here the position of the astrologers must also be considered. They were simultaneously priests and performed an important political function in the government. The example above shows that the astrological forecast was meant for the king. We can therefore assume that astrology was an important method for making important political decisions. Likewise, since around BC certain philosophers and astronomers have criticized astrology.
This critique sometimes only takes aim at particular statements of astrology, whereby it is fundamentally held to be true. Some critics, however, reject astrology altogether as useless. The practice of astrology in the Roman era The Roman Empire made possible not only the unhindered spread of Judaism and Christianity throughout the entire Mediterranean region; many other religions and, naturally, astrology as well were now able quickly to reach destinations everywhere.
Astrology offered a multifaceted and confusing picture in the time of the Roman Empire. In Mesopotamia and Egypt, it was reserved exclusively for the priests who stood as advisors at the side of the rulers. Only gradually did an astrology which was accessible to individuals in the population develop. Horoscopes were now no longer just produced for kings and important governmental events, but also for individual persons.
It has been pointed out earlier that the oldest known birth horoscope dates back to the pre-Roman era, from the year BC in Mesopotamia. This individual astrology made it possible for many more or less gifted astrologers to turn their trade into a profitable source of income.
Many citizens of Rome carried small, inscribed sheets of papyrus around with them from which they could read which hours of the day were or were not favorable for which activities. Questions about health, but also about everyday affairs such as a trip to the hairdresser, were determined astrologically. Everything turned on whether a day or an hour was "favorable" or "unfavorable" for a particular action.
Behind this was the view that every day and hour was ruled by its own particular gods of the celestial bodies. Above all, an opportunity was provided by the Athenian philosopher Carneades, who came in BC as an ambassador to Rome and argued vehemently against the practical astrology.
His most important arguments were: The heavenly bodies are too far from the earth to exercise an influence. Children who are born at the same moment lead, regardless, totally different lives he offers as an example: Conversely, many people simultaneously die en masse in catastrophes and wars despite various horoscopes.
Many among the learned were convinced by these arguments and likewise did not believe in the possibility of producing an exact forecast on the basis of the stars. Nevertheless, the vast majority of aristocrats remained faithful to the world view of astrology and particular astrological practices.
The belief in the gods who populated the entire heavens and the earth was not shaken, and not even Carneades doubted their existence. It was likewise undisputed that each person had a particular destiny which he could not escape. Many philosophers professed this as well. Thus, it was not the astrological world view which was disputed, but rather the arrogance in thinking that precise predictions were possible for every event.
Gaius Julius Caesar BC provided an example of this "learned" astrology which rejected the "vulgar" forecasts. He was also skeptical of predictions. On the other hand, Caesar revered the goddess and the planet Venus personified together as the progenitrice of his family.
It was said that he would ascend to the planet Venus after his death. Also belonging to the planet Venus is the zodiac sign "Taurus," under which Caesar was born and which he raised as a heraldic figure to a symbol of the state. The emperor Augustus did similarly with his birth sign "Capricorn. Many had a whole army of astrologers at their side who produced and evaluated especially the birth horoscopes of children from influential families.
Paradoxically, some of these emperors banned the practice of astrology several times within the city-limits of Rome. As a result, many astrologers were forced to leave Rome. There were various reasons for this. Above all, the fear of losing power was great.
Astrologers could predict the death of an emperor by simple means or declare some rival of the emperor as successor and justify this with the destiny of the stars. We know of a similar case from the New Testament: All kings and emperors had this fear. They knew of the power of astrologers, and they were convinced of the power of these omens. In addition to obviously failed forecasts, spectacular successes were also reported time and again.
The emperor Domitian was initially opposed to astrology; however, this is because an early and violent death had been predicted for him while he was still young. This prompted him to ask an astrologer how he himself would die.
He told him he would be torn to pieces by dogs. To disprove the astrologer, he quickly had him beheaded and immediately burned. But then the stake at which he was being burned collapsed and the body of the astrologer fell to the ground, upon which dogs immediately pounced on him and tore him to pieces.
From that time on, Domitian was a follower of astrology. In daily life as in politics, astrology played an almost undisputed role. But how did the science and philosophy of late antiquity stand with regard to astrology? The inferior interpretation of the stars which was widespread among the population provoked the mockery of some poets with its forecasts. The poet Ennius made fun of the astrologers who professed the ability of showing others the way to riches but who never themselves attained riches.
Other poets, such as Petronius or Lucilius, mocked the predictions of the exact hour of death which did not after all come true. Things looked quite different regarding the world view of astrology and forecasts which were kept more general.
Reverence for the Heavens: How Astronomy and Religion Intersect
Here, the state of the natural sciences as well as philosophy and religion offered enough material not to fundamentally doubt astrology. Not only the religions, but also most natural scientists and philosophers saw the cosmos and the earth below as "spirited. Hardly a philosopher or scientist doubted, therefore, the influence of these bodies.
But they distinguished themselves from simple fortune-telling in that they saw the "influence" of the stars more generally, so that the heavenly bodies caused tendencies or merely "indicated" them. Above all, it was important for them to show that every individual could resist the influence of the stars by virtue of their reason. Marcus Manilius around the beginning of the common era and Claudius Ptolemy AD were expressly representatives of the learned astrology. From Marcus Manilius, we have the oldest surviving complete astrological textbook.
This "Astronomica" was written around the beginning of the Christian calendar. In poetic form but nevertheless systematically, it explains the cosmos in a Stoic sense as a divine order with its astrological laws .
The astrology of late antiquity, with its two lines of "vulgar" and "learned" forms, is finally not just the model for all subsequent astrology throughout the entire Middle Ages and into the seventeenth century, but also for contemporary astrology. The basis for both traditions is formed by the writings of the Hellenistic Vulgata, thus the writings which are traced back to Hermes Trismegistos and to Nechepso-Petosiris.
Additionally, there was the influence of many Babylonian astrologers. It should be mentioned briefly here that astrology lived on in a hardly modified form in the Middle Ages. In the sixth century AD, Rhetorios appears in the Byzantine Empire as a compiler of the astrological tradition, following especially the Egyptian-Hellenistic line. They are concerned with mundane problems as well, with the so-called "Great Conjunctions," which were supposed to give information about important political events and developments concerning the entire human race.
Claudius Ptolemy as a father of the astrology. The astrology of the present Now we skip over many important stages along the way to see what unites contemporary astrology with its ancient predecessors. And we can do this with a clear conscience because astrology lives on through the centuries almost unchanged in its popular as well as its learned versions.
Into the seventeenth century, the ancient planet gods remain in the beliefs of most people. Here the heavenly bodies are understood as the instruments of god. Without controversy, popes, kings, and rulers consult astrology in religio-political questions. One of the most outstanding astrologers in England is William Lilly .
We will now take a look at how things stand with the astrology of the present. How, despite the revolutionary findings concerning orbital mechanics, despite the immeasurable expanse and diversity of the cosmos, do people still come to believe in astrology today? Into the eighteenth century, it was held for self-evident among scientists that divine powers were at work in nature and in the cosmos. Moreover, Johannes Keplerone of the most important representatives of the Copernican world view, explained why, in his opinion, astrology was still valid, independent of a geocentric or heliocentric perspective .
It is enough to know when two planets are seen next to each other and when they stand in opposition and which angle they form in regard to one another. Why does the astrologer, or much less all of nature on earth, need to ask how this happens? In truth as little as the farmer needs to ask how it becomes summer and winter, though he orients himself in these terms nonetheless. He describes the light, apart from its natural properties color, warmthas a vehicle which transports the nonmaterial properties contained in the heavenly bodies to the earth.
In addition, the angular relationships of the heavenly bodies, whose light rays intersect on earth, form certain mixtures of special characteristics which thus impregnate all organic life at the time of birth. The opinion among scientists, that nature functioned according to mechanical and not according to magical laws, was accepted only gradually.
- Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions
This applied to chemistry and biology, as well as to physics and astronomy, which until that time were almost unimaginable without divine powers. The first scientist who quite consciously wanted to ban all magic, all belief in the hereafter or in gods once and for all from scientific research was Robert Boyle Inthe so-called "Theosophical Society" was founded.
Its founders declared that they had been instructed by beings from beyond, by masters. From them, they had received the assignment of making known the esoteric doctrines contained in all religions. They relied particularly on Buddhist and Hindu doctrines, but also on mystical Christian and Jewish traditions which they interpreted in their own way.
It was above all their concern to speak, against modern natural science, again of the spiritual nature of the world, filled with magical and divine powers.
All of nature, stones, plants, animals, were once again, as in ancient times, filled with mysterious divine powers. According to theosophical teachings, the accepted natural sciences are incomplete, because they only investigate the outer hull of nature. It is true that they are this as well, but in them lie living essences which work through them.
On this basis, astrology was able to develop anew at the end of the nineteenth century. The planets and the signs of the zodiac were now seen again, in addition to their natural properties, as gods from which mysterious rays radiate. These mysterious rays influence or cause all the events on earth. The Englishwoman Alice Ann Bailey wrote one of the books fundamental to the world view of modern astrology under the title Esoteric Astrology .
Here the various planets and signs of the zodiac, with their corresponding powers and functions, are explained. The visible cosmos with all its heavenly bodies reflects, according to Alice Bailey, a certain heavenly hierarchy.
She is also concerned with an astrological-cosmic interpretation of Christ in this heavenly hierarchy. In addition, she advocated the view that a "New Age" would begin with the imminent "Second Coming of Christ. The planets corresponded to certain spiritual beings. And she also explained the imminent "Second Coming" astrologically in terms of the imminent "Age of Aquarius. Astrology once again raised the claim of providing a spiritual interpretation of the world and at the same time using scientific knowledge for this purpose.
The ancient concern of astrology, to be religion and science at the same time, was thereby also taken up once again. However, practical guidance in the production of horoscopes was not provided by Alice Bailey herself. She was much more concerned to present the entire cosmos as a divinely guided order.
As an Englander, he was also a member of the Theosophical Society, and he founded an astrological periodical in London and an astrological publishing house with branches in Paris and New York.
Anyone who wanted could receive a "shilling-horoscope" through his publishing house. For a small fee, each interested party would receive their own sign of the zodiac, ascendant, and the position of the planets at the time of birth on copied sheets.
Each person could thus read what "his" sign and "his" ascendant meant in a short overview . The basis for these interpretations were the ancient descriptions of the heavenly bodies. Those with Venus in this position will attract attention with their physical beauty like the Roman goddess of love. In this esoteric astrology, teachings known from Buddhism and Hinduism, in particular, are also integrated.
Along with Christ, Buddha also plays a central role in theosophy. This refers not only to the person Buddha, but also to his doctrines of karma and rebirth, which flowed not only into the general theosophical teaching but also into esoteric astrology. The horoscope thus informs the astrologer about this karma, i. The transition from esoteric astrology to practical horoscope interpretation is thus indefinite, and it is difficult to determine exactly where esoterically motivated horoscope interpretation crosses over into a popular astrology with its everyday forecasts.
So much can be said, though: Newspapers and magazines now made the swift spread of very brief daily, weekly, and yearly horoscopes possible. The theosophical background often played hardly any role at all anymore, even if references to "rebirth" and "karma" appeared in newspaper horoscopes from time to time. Popular astrology was often only concerned anymore to satisfy a certain curiosity and a need for certainty about character and imminent events.
Especially in the s, this newspaper-astrology experienced an enormous increase in popularity which could be built upon in the second half of the twentieth century .
Today, everyone can look up their horoscope for the day or week in a newspaper and check how accurate the character descriptions and forecasts are.
Now this generalizing popular astrology is extremely questionable in terms of the foundations and calculation methods of astrology itself. The horoscope alone, which is gained through astronomical calculation and which provides the basis for every interpretation, suggests a very differentiated predisposition for each person. This is to be traced back to the fact that the exact positions of the planets and their angular relations to one another, as well as the positions of the zodiac signs and the houses, each have their own special meaning.
Depending on the speed of the various planets and the rotation of the earth, these positions change quite rapidly. Thus, each horoscope is dependent upon the exact time and place of birth and changes with the slightest deviation. The popular astrology assumes that concrete statements and forecasts are possible for everyone who has the same sign. Today, esoteric astrology is especially widespread in some of the new religious movements such as theosophy, anthroposophy, and above all in the organizations of the "Rosicrucians.
These Ephemerides contain all the important data for a time-frame of fifty or a hundred years . But this esoteric astrology is also incorporated into the non-organized and individualized environment of the esoteric scene. In many astrology schools as well, astrology is taught by way of esoteric doctrines, whereby it is often just a matter of very general references or fragmentary allusions to "karma" and "rebirth.
Psychological astrology In addition to theosophy, the developing psychology at the end of the nineteenth century also prepared the way for astrology. This psychological astrology picked up the thread of psychoanalysis, which concerned itself with the "unconscious" regions of the human mind.
The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung attempted to decode the rich symbolic world of our nightly dreams. In the process, he came across images and symbols time and again which also appear in the myths and fairy tales handed down to us. This led him to the idea that the gods of the heavenly bodies in astrology are actually pictures of our mind.
The various gods of the heavenly bodies are accordingly not independent beings, but rather images which lie unconsciously dormant in our mind and now populate the vault of the heavens as a mirror of our mind. Thus, for example, the various tales about the love goddess Venus or the god of war Mars are actually stories which humans repeatedly experienced and then at some time ascribed to gods.
They were then projected onto the heavens as stories of gods. It read now in the course of the stars that which actually went on in the human mind. Some astrologers and also psychologists after him took this up, for example, the well-known psychoanalyst Fritz Riemann .
In this way, astrology has found its way into some forms of practical psychological consultation . Whether and how these abilities are later realized is ascribed by psychological astrology to other factors such as upbringing and other environmental factors. The horoscope is therefore used as a basis for a rather consultation-oriented praxis. Here, however, the following should be remarked from the scientific point of view.
How exactly can a horoscope interpretation which takes the time of birth as its foundation realistically assess a grown person?
Empirical proof is obviously difficult. Most astrologers working in a psycho-diagnostic framework assess the situation likewise so. The horoscope then helps in once again uncovering the buried dispositions. This psychological astrology thus relies upon the personal experience in direct dialogue between client and astrologer. It thus follows that scientific evidence, in a strict sense, for the correspondence of horoscope and psycho-diagnosis is probably not possible.
Among other reasons, astrology is therefore also not a recognized science. In contrast to psychology. It is a scientifically recognized discipline because it works with certain empirical and theoretical methods. It is true that astrology is supported by experience as well, but it has difficulties identifying empirically testable results and consequently enjoys hardly any scientific recognition. But even if it were recognized through empirical results, theoretical conclusions which conflict with currently accepted scientific methods would follow.
Concerning its empirical side, psychological astrology is thus limited to personal experience. In terms of its theoretical conclusions, namely that there is a connection between cosmos and human, it can hardly do without religious explanations.
Are all major religions linked to astrology? - Quora
This discovery of analogies depends, as described above, on personal experience. Now the explanation cannot, however, be left at this: There must be some kind of connection between the heavenly bodies and humans which establishes these analogies. Many psychological astrologers attempt to clear up this problem by setting up hypotheses. It is interesting to see how, in doing so, they fall back once again on the ancient religious ideas.
The astrologer Thomas Ring sees in the ancient planet gods and their descriptions "principles" which describe natural and mental processes.
These principles are "powers of the living," or "powers of totality," which are at work in the entire cosmos and "encompass everything which lives.
The planets are accordingly not just a collection of inanimate material, but are rather equipped with living powers which are also found in the human psyche and in nature. The connection between the heavenly bodies and humans is thus not one which is, according to current standards, scientifically explainable.
But here we have arrived at the ancient astrology once again. In ancient times the belief in a "world soul" went without saying. This world soul, which filled the entire cosmos and enveloped every particular thing, was able to explain the connection of the human being with the most distant cosmic occurrences.
Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton still believed in an "anima mundi," a world soul, which could explain astrological and magical events. We thus see that psychological astrology in fact begins with experiences from the praxis of psychology but, from these, draws religious conclusions. In this respect, it is very close to esoteric astrology. It is therefore also no wonder that the two are often not distinguished at all in modern astrology.
In the framework of the esoteric and many new religious movements, the two schools can often hardly be separated. To many followers, it also seems to be quite unimportant which explanations are behind astrology. For the most part, an interest in psychological insights and self-knowledge stand in the foreground.
The question of the explanation for astrology is answered by many interested parties by, usually only very indefinitely and generally, ascribing it to either a spirituality or to the natural sciences . In the German-speaking world, but also in other countries, there is, in the meantime, a multitude of astrology schools which view their task mainly in the psycho-diagnostic direction. Nevertheless, no unambiguous classification can be made here.
It can, however, be said that the psycho-diagnostic interests in astrology account for the largest portion of modern astrology.
Battle between astrology and religion still waged | Religion | 572233.info
Here it is not enough to refer to personal experience; rather, representatives of this line of thought want to find empirically confirmed data. We recall that the classical philologist Franz Boll was cited at the beginning of this article as saying that astrology wants to be religion and science at the same time. Now, the empirical research is the attempt to provide astrology with a basis measuring up to current scientific requirements.
Empirical astrology is thus the third path which astrology takes in the twentieth century. In the s, some astrologers began to collect statistical data, and thereby to convince skeptics as well. At this time the astrologer Herbert v. He and other astrologers saw therein a tendency toward the confirmation of astrology. Yet he did not consider his results as definitely confirmed, and thus they are, scientifically viewed, of hardly any value .
He wanted to determine whether individuals with the same job would prove to have similar horoscopes. He presented his findings in his book Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior, which also appeared in German in . Thus it turned out that, statistically, there were not, among professional soldiers or athletes, for example, even slightly more people born under "Aries" or "Scorpio" as in other professions. Popular astrology suggests such results, because it sees in the signs "Aries" and "Scorpio" especially battle-ready and aggressive individuals who are ascribed a high level of physical strength.
However, Gauquelin also came to the conclusion that a careful investigation of individual planetary positions indeed shows a tendency towards certain professions. Thus, in an above-average number of cases, soldiers and athletes were said to have the planet Mars in the zenith position.
Similarly, this was true of the planet Jupiter for politicians, the moon for authors, and the planet Saturn for scientists. This would also correspond to the classical gods of the heavenly bodies, according to which Mars is the god of war, Jupiter the god of religious and political power, the moon the god or goddess of wisdom, and Saturn the god of solid matter.
For Gauquelin, however, something still remains of astrology. Many scientists have consequently concerned themselves with this investigation. Some of them have rejected it as insufficient. The discussion concerning this study is still being carried on by scientists today and remains open. The typical opinion among scientists regarding this study is summed up in the statement of the English astronomer G. But if they should turn out to be even partially correct, this would be a huge milestone in the determination of cosmic influences on humans.
Here as well the concern was to find even the smallest clues which could help identify an astrological connection. They did not investigate horoscopes, but rather began far more generally. The wanted to determine if and how various organisms, especially plants and marine organisms, react to the various phases of the moon.