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Raphael

Robert Cross Smith (1795-1832) was an English astrologer, writing under the pseudonym of “Raphael“.

Smith was born in Bristol on March 19, 1795. He married in 1820 and moved to London, where he became interested in astrology. Together with G. W. Graham, he published a book on geomancy in 1822.

Smith began to edit a periodical entitled The Struggling Astrologer in 1824, but failed to receive enough subscribers and the periodical had to be discontinued after a few issues. He collected the issues of the failed periodical in a volume entitled The Astrologer Of The Nineteenth Century in the same year. The volume claimed to be the “sixth edition”, but it is believed that editions one to five never existed. A substantially enlarged edition appeared in 1825 as the “seventh edition”, with additional material attributed to “Merlinus Anglicus Junior” (Merlinus Anglicus Junior: The English Merlin Revived was the title of a 1644 book by William Lilly). It was printed by Knight & Lacey of London.

From 1827 until his death in 1832, he edited an astrological almanac, entitled The Prophetic Messenger. Also published by Smith was The Familiar Astrologer and A Manual of Astrology, both in 1828.

Smith died on 26 February 1832 in London. His almanac continued to be edited as Raphael’s Ephemeris and would become a standard work in British and US American astrology. Raphael’s Ephemeris popularized the system of Placidian system of astrological houses in the English-speaking world and in modern western astrology in general.

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Alan Leo

Alan Leo

Alan Leo, born William Frederick Allan, (Westminster, 7 August 1860 – Bude, 30 August 1917), was a prominent British astrologer, author, publisher, astrological data collector and theosophist. He is often referred to as “the father of modern astrology”.

His work stimulated a revival of astrology in the Western world after its decline at the end of the 17th century. Leo was a devout theosophist and he worked many of its religious concepts such as karma and reincarnation into his astrology. He used the Theosophical Society’s vast international connections to publish, translate and disseminate his work across Europe and America.

Astrological technique and influence

Leo, who took the name of his sun-sign as a pseudonym, is credited with starting the movement towards a more psychologically-oriented horoscope analysis in astrology, being the first astrologer to argue for a loose interpretation of possible trends of experience rather than the specific prediction of events. His influence has been described as marking a ‘turning point’ in horoscope delineation, because, as astrological historian James Holden explains:

Thereafter, what has been more recently called “event-oriented” astrology gradually receded in favor of character analysis and vague descriptions of possible areas of psychological harmony or stress.

In 1890, Leo, invited George R.S. Mead to found an occult lodge in Brixton, South London. Towards the end of his life, in 1909, and again in 1911, Leo travelled with his wife to India where he studied Indian astrology. As a result of his studies in India, he later attempted to incorporate portions of Indian astrology into the western astrological model.

Leo’s book The Art of Synthesis (1912) was a probable influence on Gustav Holst’s work The Planets. In this book, Leo gave the planets descriptions such as “Mars the Energiser”.

In 1915 Leo founded the Astrological Lodge of London.

Legal controversies and death

In 1914, aged 54, Leo faced prosecution against the charge that he “did unlawfully pretend to tell fortunes” through astrology. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence, but it led to Leo’s belief that astrology needed to be revised to be legitimised. His advice to fellow astrologers was:

Let us part company with the fatalistic astrologer who prides himself on his predictions and who is ever seeking to convince the world that in the predictive side of Astrology alone shall we find its value. We need not argue the point as to its reality, but instead make a much-needed change in the word and call Astrology the science of tendencies.

In 1917 Leo stood trial again on a similar charge. Despite his insistence that he told only “tendencies” and not “fortunes”, he lost his case and was fined £5 plus costs. Leo was convicted of fortune-telling on 16 July 1917. He died a few weeks later from an apoplexy (cerebral haemorrhage), at 10:00 am on 30 August 1917, whilst on a holiday at Bude in Cornwall, which was intended to restore his health after the ordeals of the trial. He had used the ‘holiday’ as a period in which he rewrote hundreds of pages of astrological text to “recast the whole system and make it run more along the lines of character reading and less as the assertion of an inevitable destiny”, despite being warned by his wife that “he needed rest badly after the worry and anxiety of the law case”, and was overworking himself and heading for a breakdown. After his sudden death the rewriting of his work was completed by his friend and colleague H.S. Greene. Greene also remarked on how the 1917 prosecution had caused worry for Leo during the process of the trial.

Works

  • Practical Astrology.
  • The Astrologer’s Magazine, edited by Alan Leo, Vol. IV (1894) Vol. V series 1895
  • What is the Horoscope and How is it Cast. N.p., 1902.
  • How to Judge a Nativity. 2 vols. 1904. Reprint, London: Modern Astrology Office, 1928.
  • Astrology for All series 1903–.
  • The Progressed Horoscope. London: Fowler 1906.
  • Horary Astrology. London: Modern Astrology Office, 1909.
  • The Key to your own Nativity. London: Modern Astrology Office, 1910.
  • The Art of Synthesis. Originally published 1912 as “How to Judge a Nativity” in the Astrology for All series. London: Fowler 1968.
  • Casting the Horoscope. London: Modern Astrology Office, 1912.
  • Esoteric Astrology, first published 1913. Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, 1989.
  • Alan Leo’s Dictionary of Astrology, edited and completed by Vivian E. Robson. London 1929.
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Sepharial

Dr Walter Gorn Old, born 20 March 1864 in Handsworth, England; died 23 December 1929 in Hove, England) was a notable 19th-century astrologer, who used the nom-de-plume “Sepharial”, after an angel in the apocryphal Book of Enoch.

An eminent English Theosophist, Sepharial was a well-known and respected astrologer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and wrote numerous books, some of which are still highly regarded in some circles today. He was editor of “Old Moore’s Almanac”, which is still published in the 21st century.

Overview

As a young man Sepharial initially studied medicine and followed this up with studies in psychology, oriental languages, astrology and numerology. In 1886, he started to write an astrology problem page in the Society Times where he answered public questions, and in 1887 was admitted to the “inner sanctum” of the Theosophical Society. He was one of the founding members of the Theosophical movement in England. Madame Blavatsky (whom he lived with until her death) called him “The Astral Tramp”.

Legacy

Sepharial became an influential author in the fields of the occult, astrology and numerology, and his writings had a considerable impact on Alfred H. Barley and Alan Leo, who he introduced to Theosophy. He can be credited as the first astrologer to use Earth’s hypothetical “dark moon” Lilith in his calculations. Many of his books and other works were put together in a rather slapdash way, which made his reputation less enduring than it might have been. Sepharial also started a number of astrological magazines, all of which failed to establish themselves.

Books

Sepharial wrote many books, most of which are rare and out of print, including the following:

  • Sepharial: “New Dictionary of Astrology”,  New York in 1964.
  • Sepharial: “The New Manual of Astrology” (in four books).
  • Sepharial: “Astrology Explained”.
  • Sepharial: “The Book Of The Simple Way” Pub 1904.
  • Sepharial: “The Kabala of Numbers” Pub 1913.
  • Sepharial: “The Silver Key”.
  • Sepharial: “Cosmic Symbolism”.
  • Sepharial: “Science of Foreknowledge”.
  • Sepharial and Charubel: “Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolised” (on astrology).
  • Sepharial: “A Manual of Occultism”.
  • Sepharial: “Astrology: How To Make Your Own Horoscope”
  • Sepharial: “The Arcana Or Stock And Share Key”
  • Sepharial: “The Law of Values: An Exposition of the Primary Causes of Stock and Share Fluctuations”
  • Sepharial: “The Theory of Geodetic Equivalents”
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H. Emilie Cady

H_Emilie_Cady

Harriet Emilie Cady (July 12, 1848 – January 3, 1941) was an American homeopathic physician and author of New Thought spiritual writings. Her 1896 book Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity is now considered one of the core texts on Unity Church teachings. It is the most widely read book in that movement. It has sold over 1.6 million copies since its first publication, and has been translated into eleven languages and braille.

Biography

She was born on July 12, 1848, in Dryden, New York, to Oliver Barlow Cady and Cornelia A. Philips. Cady’s first job was as a schoolteacher in a one-room schoolhouse in her hometown. In the late 1860s, she decided to pursue the field of medicine, and enrolled in the Homeopathic Medical College of the State of New York. She graduated in 1871 and became one of the first woman physicians in America.

Spiritual development and writing career

Introduced to the teachings of Albert Benjamin Simpson, Cady became deeply involved in spiritual and metaphysical studies. She was inspired and influenced by Biblical teachings and the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was taught by Emma Curtis Hopkins, the New Thought “teacher of teachers” and a student of Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy.

Cady associated with several prominent figures in the New Thought movement of the time, including: Emma Curtis Hopkins, Divine Science minister Emmet Fox, Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, and Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, co-founders of Unity Church. Finding The Christ in Ourselves, a pamphlet she had written and sent unsolicited to Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, was published by them in the October 1891 issue of Thought. Beginning in 1892, a series of articles titled Lessons in Truth by Dr. Cady were published in Unity magazine. This material later was compiled into a book and was the first book Unity published.

Death

Cady died January 3, 1941, in Manhattan, New York City.

Books

  • Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity
  • How I Used Truth
  • God, a present help
  • The Complete Works of H. Emilie Cady
  • Coming into Freedom: Emilie Cady’s Lessons in Truth for the 21st Century Ruth L. Miller Pd.D.
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Numerology

what-is-numerology

Numerology is any belief in the divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names and ideas. It is often associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts.

Despite the long history of numerological ideas, the word “numerology” is not recorded in English before c.1907.

The term numerologist can be used for those who place faith in numerical patterns and draw pseudo-scientific inferences from them, even if those people do not practice traditional numerology. For example, in his 1997 book Numerology: Or What Pythagoras Wrought, mathematician Underwood Dudley uses the term to discuss practitioners of the Elliott wave principle of stock market analysis.

History

Pythagoras and other philosophers of the time believed that because mathematical concepts were more “practical” (easier to regulate and classify) than physical ones, they had greater actuality. St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354–430), wrote “Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.” Similar to Pythagoras, he too believed that everything had numerical relationships and it was up to the mind to seek and investigate the secrets of these relationships or have them revealed by divine grace. See Numerology and the Church Fathers for early Christian beliefs on the subject.

In 325 AD, following the First Council of Nicaea, departures from the beliefs of the state church were classified as civil violations within the Roman Empire. Numerology had not found favor with the Christian authority of the day and was assigned to the field of unapproved beliefs along with astrology and other forms of divination and “magic”. Despite this religious purging, the spiritual significance assigned to the heretofore “sacred” numbers had not disappeared; several numbers, such as the “Jesus number” have been commented and analyzed by Dorotheus of Gaza and numerology still is used at least in conservative Greek Orthodox circles. However, despite the church’s resistance to numerology, there have been arguments made for the presence of numerology in the Bible and religious architecture. For example, the numbers 3 and 7 hold strong spiritual meaning in the Bible. The most obvious example would be the creation of the world in 7 days. Jesus asked God 3 times if he could avoid crucifixion and was crucified at 3 in the afternoon. 7 is the length of famine and other God-imposed events and is sometimes followed by the number 8 as a symbol of change.

Some alchemical theories were closely related to numerology. For example, Persian-Arab alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan framed his experiments in an elaborate numerology based on the names of substances in the Arabic language.

Numerology is prominent in Sir Thomas Browne’s 1658 literary Discourse The Garden of Cyrus. Throughout its pages the author attempts to demonstrate that the number five and the related Quincunx pattern can be found throughout the arts, in design, and in nature – particularly botany.

Modern numerology has various antecedents. Ruth A. Drayer’s book, Numerology, The Power in Numbers (Square One Publishers) says that around the start of the 20th century Mrs. L. Dow Balliett combined Pythagoras’ work with Biblical reference. Balliett’s student, Juno Jordan, helped numerology become the system known today as Pythagorean, although Pythagoras himself had nothing to do with the system, by publishing “The Romance in Your Name” in 1965, provided a system for identifying what he called key numerological influences in names and birth dates that remains used today. Other ‘numerologists’ including Florence Campbell (1931), Lynn Buess (1978), Mark Gruner (1979), Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker (1979), Kathleen Roquemore (1985) expanded on the use of numerology for assessing personality or events. These different schools of numerology give various methods for using numerology.

Lack of evidence

Skeptics argue that numbers have no occult significance and cannot by themselves influence a person’s life. Skeptics therefore regard numerology as a superstition and a pseudoscience that uses numbers to give the subject a veneer of scientific authority.

Two studies have been done investigating numerological claims, both producing negative results, one in the UK in 1993, and one in 2012 in Israel. The experiment in Israel involved a professional numerologist and 200 participants. The experiment was repeated twice and still produced negative results.

Methods

Alphabetic systems

There are various numerology systems which assign numerical value to the letters of an alphabet. Examples include the Abjad numerals in Arabic, the Hebrew numerals, Armenian numerals, and Greek numerals. The practice within Jewish tradition of assigning mystical meaning to words based on their numerical values, and on connections between words of equal value, is known as gematria.

Latin alphabet systems

In one method, numbers can be assigned to letters of the Latin alphabet as follows:

  • 1 = a, j, s,
  • 2 = b, k, t,
  • 3 = c, l, u,
  • 4 = d, m, v,
  • 5 = e, n, w,
  • 6 = f, o, x,
  • 7 = g, p, y,
  • 8 = h, q, z,
  • 9 = i, r,

…..and then summed. Examples:

  • 3,489 → 3 + 4 + 8 + 9 = 24 → 2 + 4 = 6
  • Hello → 8 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 6 = 25 → 2 + 5 = 7

A quicker way to arrive at a single-digit summation (the digital root) is simply to take the value modulo 9, substituting a 0 result with 9 itself.

The single digit then arrived at is assigned a particular significance according to the method used.

Different methods of interpretation exist, including Chaldean, Pythagorean, Hebraic, Helyn Hitchcock’s method, Phonetic, Japanese, Arabic and Indian.

The examples above are calculated using decimal (base 10) arithmetic. Other number systems exist, such as binary, octal, hexadecimal and vigesimal; summing digits in these bases yields different results. The first example, shown above, appears thus when rendered in octal (base 8):

  • 3,48910 = 66418 → 6 + 6 + 4 + 1 = 218 → 2 + 1 = 38 = 310

Abjad system

The Arabic system of numerology is known as Abjad notation or Abjad numerals. In this system each letter of Arabic alphabet has a numerical value. This system is the foundation of ilm-ul-cipher, the Science of Cipher, and ilm-ul-huroof, the Science of Alphabet:

ط=9 ح=8 ز=7 و=6 ه=5 د=4 ج=3 ب=2 أ=1

ص=90 ف=80 ع=70 س=60 ن=50 م=40 ل=30 ك=20 ي=10

ظ=900 ض=800 ذ=700 خ=600 ث=500 ت=400 ش=300 ر=200 ق=100

غ=1000

Chinese numerology

Some Chinese assign a different set of meanings to the numbers and certain number combinations are considered luckier than others. In general, even numbers are considered lucky, since it is believed that good luck comes in pairs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and its associated fields such as acupuncture, base their system on mystical numerical associations, such as the “12 vessels circulating blood and air corresponding to the 12 rivers flowing toward the Central Kingdom; and 365 parts of the body, one for each day of the year” being the basis of locating acupuncture points.

Chinese number definitions

Cantonese frequently associate numbers with the following connotations (based on its sound), which may differ in other varieties of Chinese:

  1. 一 [jɐ́t]  – sure
  2. 二 [ji̭ː]  – easy 易 [ji̭ː]
  3. 三 [sáːm]  – live 生 [sáːŋ] but it can also be seen as a halved eight when using Arabic numerals (3) (8) and so considered unlucky.
  4. 四 [sēi]  – considered unlucky since 4 is a homophone with the word for death or suffering 死 [sěi], yet in the Shanghainese, it is a homophone of water (水) and is considered lucky because water is associated with money.
  5. 五 [ŋ̬]  – the self, me, myself 吾 [ŋ̭], nothing, never 唔 [ŋ, m] in the Shanghainese, it is a homophone of fish (鱼)
  6. 六 [lùːk]  – easy and smooth, all the way
  7. 七 [tsʰɐ́t]  – a slang/vulgar word in Cantonese.
  8. 八 [pāːt]  – sudden fortune, prosperity 發 [fāːt]
  9. 九 [kɐ̌u]  – long in time 久 [kɐ̌u], enough 夠 [kɐ̄u] or a slang/vulgar word derived from dog 狗 [kɐ̌u] in Cantonese

Some “lucky number” combinations include:

  • 99 – doubly long in time, hence eternal; used in the name of a popular Chinese American supermarket chain, 99 Ranch Market.
  • 168 – many premium-pay telephone numbers in China begin with this number, which is considered lucky. It is also the name of a motel chain in China (Motel 168).
  • 888 – Three times the prosperity, means “wealthy wealthy wealthy”.

Indian numerology

In South India, mostly Tamil Nadu, the numbers assigned to English alphabets are different. The list is shown below:

  • 1 = A, I, J, Q, Y
  • 2 = B, K, R
  • 3 = C, G, L, S
  • 4 = D, M, T
  • 5 = E, H, N, X
  • 6 = U, V, W
  • 7 = O, Z
  • 8 = F, P

There is no assignment for the number 9. Numerologists analyze double-digit numbers from 10 to 99.

Other uses of the term

Subcarrier Spacing and Symbol Length in 5G/NR Wireless Communication Systems

Fifth generation (5G), a.k.a. New Radio (NR), uses the term “numerology” to describe the combination of subcarrier spacing and symbol length. For example, in NR(5G) several different numerology (i.e., different subcarrier spacing and symbol length) are supported whearas in LTE there is only one numerology.

To describe questionable concepts based on possibly coincidental numerical patterns

Scientific theories are sometimes labeled “numerology” if their primary inspiration appears to be a set of patterns rather than scientific observations. This colloquial use of the term is quite common within the scientific community and it is mostly used to dismiss a theory as questionable science.

The best known example of “numerology” in science involves the coincidental resemblance of certain large numbers that intrigued such eminent men as mathematical physicist Paul Dirac, mathematician Hermann Weyl and astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington. These numerical coincidences refer to such quantities as the ratio of the age of the universe to the atomic unit of time, the number of electrons in the universe, and the difference in strengths between gravity and the electric force for the electron and proton. (“Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Us?”, Stenger, V.J., page 3).

The discovery of atomic triads, an early attempt to sort the elements into some logical order by their physical properties, was once considered a form of numerology, and yet ultimately led to the construction of the periodic table. Here the atomic weight of the lightest element and the heaviest are summed, and averaged, and the average is found to be very close to that of the intermediate weight element. This didn’t work with every triplet in the same group, but worked often enough to allow later workers to create generalizations.

Large number co-incidences continue to fascinate many mathematical physicists. For instance, James G. Gilson has constructed a “Quantum Theory of Gravity” based loosely on Dirac’s large number hypothesis.

Wolfgang Pauli was also fascinated by the appearance of certain numbers, including 137, in physics.

British mathematician I. J. Good wrote:

There have been a few examples of numerology that have led to theories that transformed society: see the mention of Kirchhoff and Balmer in Good (1962, p. 316) … and one can well include Kepler on account of his third law. It would be fair enough to say that numerology was the origin of the theories of electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, gravitation…. So I intend no disparagement when I describe a formula as numerological.

When a numerological formula is proposed, then we may ask whether it is correct. … I think an appropriate definition of correctness is that the formula has a good explanation, in a Platonic sense, that is, the explanation could be based on a good theory that is not yet known but ‘exists’ in the universe of possible reasonable ideas.

— I. J. Good

Attempts by gamblers to see patterns in random chance

Some players apply methods that are sometimes called numerological in games which involve numbers but no skill, such as bingo, roulette, keno, or lotteries. Although no strategy can be applied to increase odds in such games, players may employ “lucky numbers” to find what they think will help them. There is no evidence that any such “numerological strategy” yields a better outcome than pure chance, but the methods are sometimes encouraged, e.g. by casino owners.

 

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Astrology History

Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and the Indians, Chinese, and Maya developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. In the West, astrology most often consists of a system of horoscopes purporting to explain aspects of a person’s personality and predict future events in their life based on the positions of the sun, moon, and other celestial objects at the time of their birth. The majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems

Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. A form of astrology was practised in the first dynasty of Mesopotamia (1950–1651 BCE). Chinese astrology was elaborated in the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE). Hellenistic astrology after 332 BCE mixed Babylonian astrology with Egyptian Decanic astrology in Alexandria, creating horoscopic astrology. Alexander the Great’sconquest of Asia allowed astrology to spread to Ancient Greece and Rome. In Rome, astrology was associated with ‘Chaldean wisdom’. After the conquest of Alexandria in the 7th century, astrology was taken up by Islamic scholars, and Hellenistic texts were translated into Arabic and Persian. In the 12th century, Arabic texts were imported to Europe and translated into Latin. Major astronomers including Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler and Galileo practised as court astrologers. Astrological references appear in literature in the works of poets such as Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer, and of playwrights such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.

Throughout most of its history, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition. It was accepted in political and academic contexts, and was connected with other studies, such as astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine. At the end of the 17th century, new scientific concepts in astronomy and physics (such as heliocentrism and Newtonian mechanics) called astrology into question. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, and common belief in astrology has largely declined.

Ancient world

Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for meaning in the sky. Early evidence for humans making conscious attempts to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by reference to astronomical cycles, appears as markings on bones and cave walls, which show that lunar cycles were being noted as early as 25,000 years ago. This was a first step towards recording the Moon’s influence upon tides and rivers, and towards organising a communal calendar. Farmers addressed agricultural needs with increasing knowledge of the constellations that appear in the different seasons—and used the rising of particular star-groups to herald annual floods or seasonal activities. By the 3rd millennium BCE, civilisations had sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles, and may have oriented temples in alignment with heliacal risings of the stars.

Scattered evidence suggests that the oldest known astrological references are copies of texts made in the ancient world. The Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa thought to be compiled in Babylon around 1700 BCE. A scroll documenting an early use of electional astrology is doubtfully ascribed to the reign of the Sumerian ruler Gudea of Lagash (c. 2144 – 2124 BCE). This describes how the gods revealed to him in a dream the constellations that would be most favourable for the planned construction of a temple. However, there is controversy about whether these were genuinely recorded at the time or merely ascribed to ancient rulers by posterity. The oldest undisputed evidence of the use of astrology as an integrated system of knowledge is therefore attributed to the records of the first dynasty of Mesopotamia (1950–1651 BCE). This astrology had some parallels with Hellenistic Greek (western) astrology, including the zodiac, a norming point near 9 degrees in Aries, the trine aspect, planetary exaltations, and the dodekatemoria (the twelve divisions of 30 degrees each). The Babylonians viewed celestial events as possible signs rather than as causes of physical events.

The system of Chinese astrology was elaborated during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE) and flourished during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE), during which all the familiar elements of traditional Chinese culture – the Yin-Yang philosophy, theory of the five elements, Heaven and Earth, Confucian morality – were brought together to formalise the philosophical principles of Chinese medicine and divination, astrology and alchemy.

Ancient objections

Cicero stated the twins objection (that with close birth times, personal outcomes can be very different), later developed by Saint Augustine. He argued that since the other planets are much more distant from the earth than the moon, they could have only very tiny influence compared to the moon’s. He also argued that if astrology explains everything about a person’s fate, then it wrongly ignores the visible effect of inherited ability and parenting, changes in health worked by medicine, or the effects of the weather on people.

Plotinus argued that since the fixed stars are much more distant than the planets, it is laughable to imagine the planets’ effect on humankind should depend on their position with respect to the zodiac. He also argues that the interpretation of the moon’s conjunction with a planet as good when the moon is full, but bad when the moon is waning, is clearly wrong, as from the moon’s point of view, half of her surface is always in sunlight; and from the planet’s point of view, waning should be better, as then the planet sees some light from the moon, but when the moon is full to us, it is dark, and therefore bad, on the side facing the planet.

Favorinus argued that it was absurd to imagine that stars and planets would affect human bodies in the same way as they affect the tides, and equally absurd that small motions in the heavens cause large changes in people’s fates. Sextus Empiricus argued that it was absurd to link human attributes with myths about the signs of the zodiac. Carneades argued that belief in fate denies free will and morality; that people born at different times can all die in the same accident or battle; and that contrary to uniform influences from the stars, tribes and cultures are all different.

Hellenistic Egypt

In 525 BCE, Egypt was conquered by the Persians. The 1st century BCE Egyptian Dendera Zodiac shares two signs – the Balance and the Scorpion – with Mesopotamian astrology.

With the occupation by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE, Egypt became Hellenistic. The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander after the conquest, becoming the place where Babylonian astrology was mixed with Egyptian Decanic astrology to create Horoscopic astrology. This contained the Babylonian zodiac with its system of planetary exaltations, the triplicities of the signs and the importance of eclipses. It used the Egyptian concept of dividing the zodiac into thirty-six decans of ten degrees each, with an emphasis on the rising decan, and the Greek system of planetary Gods, sign rulership and four elements. 2nd century BCE texts predict positions of planets in zodiac signs at the time of the rising of certain decans, particularly Sothis. The astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy lived in Alexandria. Ptolemy’s work the Tetrabiblos formed the basis of Western astrology, and, “…enjoyed almost the authority of a Bible among the astrological writers of a thousand years or more.”

Greece and Rome

The conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great exposed the Greeks to ideas from Syria, Babylon, Persia and central Asia. Around 280 BCE, Berossus, a priest of Bel from Babylon, moved to the Greek island of Kos, teaching astrology and Babylonian culture. By the 1st century BCE, there were two varieties of astrology, one using horoscopes to describe the past, present and future; the other, theurgic, emphasising the soul’s ascent to the stars. Greek influence played a crucial role in the transmission of astrological theory to Rome.

The first definite reference to astrology in Rome comes from the orator Cato, who in 160 BCE warned farm overseers against consulting with Chaldeans, who were described as Babylonian ‘star-gazers’. Among both Greeks and Romans, Babylonia (also known as Chaldea) became so identified with astrology that ‘Chaldean wisdom’ became synonymous with divination using planets and stars. The 2nd-century Roman poet and satirist Juvenal complains about the pervasive influence of Chaldeans, saying, “Still more trusted are the Chaldaeans; every word uttered by the astrologer they will believe has come from Hammon’s fountain.”

One of the first astrologers to bring Hermetic astrology to Rome was Thrasyllus, astrologer to the emperor Tiberius, the first emperor to have had a court astrologer, though his predecessor Augustus had used astrology to help legitimise his Imperial rights.

Medieval world

Hindu

The main texts upon which classical Indian astrology is based are early medieval compilations, notably the Bṛhat Parāśara Horāśāstra, and Sārāvalī by Kalyāṇavarma. The Horāshastra is a composite work of 71 chapters, of which the first part (chapters 1–51) dates to the 7th to early 8th centuries and the second part (chapters 52–71) to the later 8th century. The Sārāvalī likewise dates to around 800 CE. English translations of these texts were published by N.N. Krishna Rau and V.B. Choudhari in 1963 and 1961, respectively.

Islamic

Astrology was taken up by Islamic scholars following the collapse of Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th. The second Abbasid caliph, Al Mansur (754–775) founded the city of Baghdad to act as a centre of learning, and included in its design a library-translation centre known as Bayt al-Hikma ‘House of Wisdom’, which continued to receive development from his heirs and was to provide a major impetus for Arabic-Persian translations of Hellenistic astrological texts. The early translators included Mashallah, who helped to elect the time for the foundation of Baghdad, and Sahl ibn Bishr, (a.k.a. Zael), whose texts were directly influential upon later European astrologers such as Guido Bonatti in the 13th century, and William Lilly in the 17th century. Knowledge of Arabic texts started to become imported into Europe during the Latin translations of the 12th century.

Europe

The first astrological book published in Europe was the Liber Planetis et Mundi Climatibus (“Book of the Planets and Regions of the World”), which appeared between 1010 and 1027 AD, and may have been authored by Gerbert of Aurillac. Ptolemy’s second century AD Tetrabiblos was translated into Latin by Plato of Tivoli in 1138. The Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas followed Aristotle in proposing that the stars ruled the imperfect ‘sublunary’ body, while attempting to reconcile astrology with Christianity by stating that God ruled the soul. The thirteenth century mathematician Campanus of Novara is said to have devised a system of astrological houses that divides the prime vertical into ‘houses’ of equal 30° arcs, though the system was used earlier in the East. The thirteenth century astronomer Guido Bonatti wrote a textbook, the Liber Astronomicus, a copy of which King Henry VII of England owned at the end of the fifteenth century.

In Paradiso, the final part of the Divine Comedy, the Italian poet Dante Alighieri referred “in countless details” to the astrological planets, though he adapted traditional astrology to suit his Christian viewpoint, for example using astrological thinking in his prophecies of the reform of Christendom.

Medieval objections

In the seventh century, Isidore of Seville argued in his Etymologiae that astronomy described the movements of the heavens, while astrology had two parts: one was scientific, describing the movements of the sun, the moon and the stars, while the other, making predictions, was theologically erroneous. In contrast, John Gower in the fourteenth century defined astrology as essentially limited to the making of predictions. The influence of the stars was in turn divided into natural astrology, with for example effects on tides and the growth of plants, and judicial astrology, with supposedly predictable effects on people. The fourteenth century sceptic Nicole Oresme however included astronomy as a part of astrology in his Livre de divinacions. Oresme argued that current approaches to prediction of events such as plagues, wars, and weather were inappropriate, but that such prediction was a valid field of inquiry. However, he attacked the use of astrology to choose the timing of actions (so-called interrogation and election) as wholly false, and rejected the determination of human action by the stars on grounds of free will. The friar Laurens Pignon (c. 1368–1449) similarly rejected all forms of divination and determinism, including by the stars, in his 1411 Contre les DevineursThis was in opposition to the tradition carried by the Arab astronomer Albumasar (787-886) whose Introductorium in Astronomiam and De Magnis Coniunctionibus argued the view that both individual actions and larger scale history are determined by the stars.

Renaissance and Early Modern

Renaissance scholars commonly practised astrology. Gerolamo Cardano cast the horoscope of king Edward VI of England, while John Dee was the personal astrologer to queen Elizabeth I of England. Catherine de Medici paid Michael Nostradamus in 1566 to verify the prediction of the death of her husband, king Henry II of France made by her astrologer Lucus Gauricus. Major astronomers who practised as court astrologers included Tycho Brahe in the royal court of Denmark, Johannes Kepler to the Habsburgs, Galileo Galilei to the Medici, and Giordano Bruno who was burnt at the stake for heresy in Rome in 1600. The distinction between astrology and astronomy was not entirely clear. Advances in astronomy were often motivated by the desire to improve the accuracy of astrology.

Ephemerides with complex astrological calculations, and almanacs interpreting celestial events for use in medicine and for choosing times to plant crops, were popular in Elizabethan England. In 1597, the English mathematician and physician Thomas Hood made a set of paper instruments that used revolving overlays to help students work out relationships between fixed stars or constellations, the midheaven, and the twelve astrological houses. Hood’s instruments also illustrated, for pedagogical purposes, the supposed relationships between the signs of the zodiac, the planets, and the parts of the human body adherents believed were governed by the planets and signs. While Hood’s presentation was innovative, his astrological information was largely standard and was taken from Gerard Mercator’s astrological disc made in 1551, or a source used by Mercator.

English astrology had reached its zenith by the 17th century. Astrologers were theorists, researchers, and social engineers, as well as providing individual advice to everyone from monarchs downwards. Among other things, astrologers could advise on the best time to take a journey or harvest a crop, diagnose and prescribe for physical or mental illnesses, and predict natural disasters. This underpinned a system in which everything—people, the world, the universe—was understood to be interconnected, and astrology co-existed happily with religion, magic and science.

Enlightenment period and onwards

During the Enlightenment, intellectual sympathy for astrology fell away, leaving only a popular following supported by cheap almanacs. One English almanac compiler, Richard Saunders, followed the spirit of the age by printing a derisive Discourse on the Invalidity of Astrology, while in France Pierre Bayle’s Dictionnaire of 1697 stated that the subject was puerile. The Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift ridiculed the Whig political astrologer John Partridge.

Astrology saw a popular revival starting in the 19th century, as part of a general revival of spiritualism and—later, New Age philosophy, and through the influence of mass media such as newspaper horoscopes. Early in the 20th century the psychiatrist Carl Jung developed some concepts concerning astrology, which led to the development of psychological astrology.

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What is Astrology

astrology articles

Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial objects as a means for divining information about human affairs and terrestrial events.  Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, and has its roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and some – such as the Indians, Chinese, and Maya – developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from which it spread to Ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person’s personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.

Throughout most of its history astrology was considered a scholarly tradition and was common in academic circles, often in close relation with astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine. It was present in political circles, and is mentioned in various works of literature, from Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer to William Shakespeare, Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca. During the 20th century and following the wide-scale adoption of the scientific method, astrology has been challenged successfully on  both theoretical and experimental grounds, and has been shown to have no scientific validity or explanatory power. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, and common belief in it has largely declined. While polling studies have demonstrated that approximately 25% of Americans, Canadians, and Britons say they continue to believe that star and planet positions affect their lives,astrology is now recognized as pseudoscience.

Etymology

The word astrology comes from the early Latin word astrologiawhich derives from the Greek ἀστρολογία—from ἄστρον astron (“star”) and -λογία -logia, (“study of”—”account of the stars”). Astrologia later passed into meaning ‘star-divination’ with astronomia used for the scientific term.