If you’re wondering, “How did astrology come into existence?”, then you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll discover the origins of western astrology, as well as the origins of Hellenistic astrology, Ptolemy’s argument, Plutarch’s cosmology, and Hermes’ invention. Read on to discover the origins of astrology.
Early Hellenistic astrologers developed systematic astrological practices, but there is no evidence of which particular philosophical tradition they followed. Later practitioners didn’t necessarily follow any one philosophical school, although the writings of Vettius Valens suggest a tendency toward Stoicism. Claudius Ptolemy, a prominent astrologer and geographer, greatly influenced later astrological developments. He made extensive use of Aristotelian argumentation and attempted to portray astrology as a natural science.
Theogony of the Stars is the most important source of Hellenistic astrology, and it had a profound influence on Christian, Persian, Arab, and medieval astrologers. But what astrology actually meant was more complicated. While horoscopic astrology used the ascendant (called horoskopos in Greek), it focused on the natal chart, which is the position of planets at the time of birth.
The Discourses from Hermes to Tat discuss the 36 decans, which are remnants of the Egyptian religion and were incorporated into Hellenistic astrology. The decans are guardian gods who sit above the zodiac, and their servants in the aether add the signs. They are said to influence collective events and to sow good and bad daimons on earth.
Ptolemy’s argument for astrology
According to the ancient Greeks, astrology is a science that is based on the movement of the stars and planets. But this knowledge is not always reliable. It is possible that some planets are not directly linked to human life, and vice versa. In this case, the evidence would support the idea of evolution. For this reason, Ptolemy’s argument for astrology is often considered to be weak.
To counter the arguments of these opponents, Ptolemy proposed a geocentric theory. He developed his model using mathematics and observation. Ptolemy also rejected the hypothesis of Aristarchus of Samos, who had come to Alexandria about 350 years before Ptolemy’s time. This ancient astronomer claimed that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but could provide no proof to back up his claims.
In the Hellenistic era, astrology was popular in Greece. It was first used by Greeks, and by the time of Ptolemy, it was considered to be an integral part of the Greek culture. Its development is closely linked with the Greek philosophy of time. According to Platonic thinking, time and space exist simultaneously and are related. As the world becomes older, it evolves and changes, and the more accurate the predictions are, the better.
In late antiquity, astrology received a strong response from philosophers. As a result, different schools of thought adopted the practice. In a way, the ancient Greeks developed an art of predicting the future, and astrologers incorporated various philosophical ideas. Hence, astrology remained an integral part of the Greek civilization. And, in the West, astrology is one of the best known examples of Hellenistic syncretism.
In Plutarch’s De an. procr. 1012B, the Greek philosopher discusses cosmology, music, Euripides, and music in general. The ratios of the visible cosmos are likenesses to the logoi of the cosmic soul, but not in the traditional sense. But even within the cosmology of Plutarch’s time, there is much that makes it interesting.
For example, Plutarch compares the cosmic soul to music, insisting on the human voice as part of the comparison. In other words, the demiurge blended indivisible and divisible being, sameness and difference. And in this way, Plutarch compares the cosmic soul to lyrics. Similarly, Plutarch sees music as the embodiment of divine harmony. If the human voice is a metaphor for the soul, then music is the cosmological equivalent of lyrics.
Hermes is the messenger god of Greek mythology. In addition to wearing a hat with a broad brim, he wore gold sandals called talaria. He was also said to be the god of eloquence, as well as a trickster and thief. He was also considered to be a god of sleep, and his relationship to business survived in the word “mercurial.” Some believe that he was a god of winds.
Greek mythology traces Hermes’ role in astrology to his role as a messenger for Zeus and the planet Mercury. His playful and relentless search for amusement was responsible for many of the stories of his life. He was responsible for freeing two gods, Ares and Zeus, and was also responsible for the creation of the world’s most famous astrological sign, Virgo. In fact, Hermes freed two gods – Apollo and Maia – within a year of their births.
Hermes is also believed to have invented coinage. The staff of Hermes was frequently associated with orators and commerce. The caduceus is also associated with alchemy, magic, and commerce. The snake represents elemental matter and is used as a symbol for medicine. But it’s not known if the snake represents Hermes himself. There are no definitive answers to the question of whether Hermes is a god or not.
Stoic contributions to astrology
The Stoics’ contributions to astrology are distinct from the Babylonian era, and their doctrine of oikeiosis (familiarity with the cosmos) is particularly relevant to astrologers today. The Stoic Sage applied this notion to the planets and zodiac signs. This understanding of oikeiosis led to the development of astrology as a system of knowledge, and this development further separated it from other forms of divination.
Augustine was a Christian philosopher who disdained astrology as a Manichean practice. He borrowed freely from Cicero’s arguments against fate, and developed the New Academy’s argument on twins. He opposed astrology that associates the region with a planet based on its seven climata, and he also attacked astrology that emphasized the significance of choosing appropriate moments for activities.
The Stoics’ concern with justice and fate influenced astrology. The Platonic ensouled planets moved on the circle of the Different, and the Stoics incorporated these ideas in their horoscopes. They analyzed the relationship between the planets and their own planetary motions. In the course of their study, they also developed a system for classifying the signs and planets.
The Stoics’ contributions to astrology also extend beyond astronomy. The Stoics were also influential in first-century Rome’s politics, aligned with the Stoic philosophy of cosmic sympathy and fatalism. The Stoics’ astrologers Balbillus and Seneca, and the Alexandrian Stoic Chaeremon, the tutor of L. Domitius, all made important contributions to the science of astrology.
Alan Leo’s popularization of astrology
One of the most important historical figures in the popularization of astrology was British astrologer WILLAM FREDERICK ALLAN. Allan’s Astrologer’s Magazine and line of astrological publications became popular in the early 20th century. In 1915, he founded the Astrological Lodge of the Theosophical Society. In the ensuing decades, Alan Leo’s work and influence were instrumental in popularizing the science of astrology and helping it gain wider popularity.
Before becoming interested in astrology, Leo was an ordinary man, managing a grocery store. He had no faith in orthodox medicine, so he went to an herbalist recommended by his landlady. The herbalist had studied his astrological chart and pronounced that Leo had kidney trouble. She wrote a prescription for him and said to return in a week. Despite the initial shock, his work was successful and his popularity continued to rise.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the new age exploration boom was fueling the development of psychology. Alan Leo first popularized astrology by making his sun sign a character indicator. Leo, a member of the Theosophical Society, had scoured ancient spiritual traditions to find wisdom, and he used the astrological sign to simplify it. This practice was so popular, in fact, that it prompted legal battles in the late 1910s.