During its early days, popular astrology primarily served to satisfy people’s desire for certainty, curiosity, and a sense of fate. The aim was to predict people’s character and events that were imminent. But did astrology truly have any roots in a religious tradition? Not exactly. In this article, we’ll examine the history of astrology in Greek culture, Christian astrology, and Esoteric astrology.
The Babylonian priests developed a system for interpreting the heavens to determine the will of the powers of the heavenly bodies, which evolved into a system of astrology that originated in the Hellenistic era. The Greeks expanded the scope of astrology by incorporating all the known sciences. They also associated the stars with a religious meaning, such as the sun. Today, Hellenistic astrology has a very strong religious component.
In the early Hellenistic period, astrology was based on the assumption that all things have an animate essence. If you don’t believe in this spirited nature, you will have trouble taking astrology seriously. In contrast, many new religious movements today believe in a spirited nature. Therefore, it’s important to understand the background of this astrology and how it developed throughout history.
As ancient astrologers knew that the earth and heavenly bodies were related, they attempted to make concrete statements about human events and talents. They believed that the heavenly bodies were governed by a divine force. They also believed that everything in the heavens could be calculated and was in close relation to events on earth. Today, astrology has more emphasis on analogous relationships and indirect influences than ever before.
Greek natural science
The foundation of Greek natural science can be traced back to the 6th century BC when physics was seriously pursued by the philosophers. However, the study of physics was largely an intellectual activity and controlled experimentation was hardly possible. Aristotle was one of the first philosophers and scientists to produce scientific works, and his treatises on animals laid the groundwork for modern zoology. Theophrastus, on the other hand, did a great deal of work on plants, laying the groundwork for botany.
The Greeks were also interested in the physical world, and as such had theories on cosmology and astronomy. Many of them emphasized the role of physical mechanisms in nature. Many of these philosopher-scientists used geometry to derive models of the sun, moon, and planets. The ancient Greeks’ view of the universe was geocentric, but heliocentric theories were also common. Their theories on how planets move were a combination of geometrical reasoning and an interest in physical mechanisms.
While most Christians aren’t aware of it, Christian astrology actually has roots in the occult practice of fortune telling. The Bible itself criticizes astrology and asserts that only God can save people. In the book of Isaiah, God declares that Doom will come to Babylon. Thus, it is doubtful that astrologists could save anyone from this doom. As a result, most Christians do not use astrology to predict major events.
While there are a number of theologians who officially support astrology, the most prominent is Benedictine Father Gerhard Voss. While he regrets that the astrological article in the catechism appears there, he defends his position in his book Astrologie christlich. This is not a clear-cut argument, but it is a valid one. It is worth considering whether Christian astrology stems from religion, or from secular science.
While astrology has its roots in religion, many early Christian theologians did practice it. Tertullian, who lived between 160 and 220 AD, advocated astrology and the use of magic before the birth of Jesus. In 1520, the Pope Leo X, who regarded astrology as important, even established a professorship for the practice at the papal university. Meanwhile, Protestant theologians continued to practice astrology, despite Luther’s warnings.
While many devout astrology practitioners would disagree, the fact remains that astrology did come from religion. The idea of the cosmos is seen as the visible world, inhabited by gods, demons and divine powers. These entities have become trapped within a physical body, ignorant of their true nature. In the words of Greek philosopher Plato, “The world was created before the gods of the heavenly bodies.”
Modern astrology, however, is based on a view of the cosmos that is based on ancient beliefs. It incorporates natural-scientific, medicinal, and psychological knowledge, as well as nature-mystical ideas. This synthesis forms a unique world view. Ultimately, astrology is a way to understand our place in the universe. However, it’s important to note that astrology has been around for millennia.
In ancient Greece, astrology was widely used by people who lived in the ancient city of Ephesus. This was the time when the gods of the sky were worshipped, and astrology was often a part of their beliefs. The gods were responsible for our fate, and a multitude of philosophers professed this notion. There were three goddesses, or “destinies,” that guided our lives. These goddesses were known as Moirae in Greek and Parcae in Latin.
In the early Islamic society, astrology was revered by the Shi’ite sect, and it was protected by the Shi’ite cleric Ibn Tawus. However, there was an underlying suspicion that astrology was the work of a foreign science, and it was brought to Islam by the Translation Movement, which translated secular Greek texts into Arabic. In the eyes of many Muslims, astrology was a way to attack the imported philosophies and sciences that Islam did not endorse.
Islam’s founding principles made a close connection to the heavens. Prophet Muhammad Shabistari wrote that the heavens rotated like a potter’s wheel, and every moment the Master’s wisdom created a new vessel. Islam’s fundamental beliefs, like Islam’s belief in one God, necessitated a close connection to the heavens. This close connection is reflected in the way that astrologers used astrological instruments.
Persian astrology is quite different from Greek or Hindu astronomy. It had orbs of aspect and Great Cycles of Jupiter and Saturn. It also had elaborate systems for planetary interaction. Although it owes a great debt to Hellenistic astrology, it is likely that the Persian stream of astrology came from religion. But who can say? Its development may have been influenced by Hindu and Iranian astrology.
Persian astrology is derived from the beliefs and practices of the Zoroastrian religion. They developed methods of predicting future based on the movements of heavenly bodies and changes in the sublunar world of the four Empedoclean elements. These methods spread to India and Iran during the Achaemenid period. In Persia, they developed astronomical knowledge, which led to discoveries of the motion of planets and stars.
Early Persian mythology is rooted in religion. Mithra was a polytheistic god associated with the haoma plant. His main purpose was to protect the faithful and guide them toward asha (truth). The god’s image is depicted as a chariot drawn by white horses. His armor consisted of a gold bow and arrows and daggers.
The birth of astrology is rooted in a Jewish tradition of fatalism. It was probably inherited from the Jews when Hellenism spread to the Holy Land. Babylonian astrologers, who may have included Daniel, tried to separate astrology from sorcery, citing biblical prohibitions against sorcery and claiming that God had encouraged astrology in Genesis, i, 14. The Persico-Chaldean influence helped them regress to Semitic star-worship.
Ancient astrologers used empirical confirmation to make their predictions. Similarly, Mesopotamian omens emphasized empirical confirmation. However, modern astrologers reject this idea and believe that astrology is not a science and is based on religion. While the idea of astrology is not as prevalent as it was in ancient times, the scientific evidence behind it is still a good argument in favor of it.
The Babylonian astrologers’ attempts to establish a system based on empirical data can hardly be tested. They were priests and performed important political functions. The king was often the target of their astrological forecasts. This made astrology a valuable political tool. A prophetic prophet could use astrology to predict future events, which made a prediction based on the astrologer’s interpretation of the stars.
Despite its ban from Islam, Iraqi astrology was still practiced among the desert dwellers. They had a deep need to know the constellations to determine when it was the right time to pray. They also needed to know the direction of the Kaaba and the proper orientation of the mosque. They believed that celestial bodies had a profound effect on terrestrial affairs and the human condition. The Arabs helped develop this practice in Iraq by establishing an observatory in Baghdad in the eighth century.
The astrolabe was used to measure the time and altitude of the sun and other visible stellar objects. The ephemeris, a book of positions of astronomical objects at a specific time, was also used by astrologers. In addition, they used a sand tablet known as a dust board. Historically, most astrologers learned their craft by studying with a master. This way, they gained a basic understanding of astronomy and mathematics.