Astrology: The Thinking Man’s Astronomy by David Thomas

Hey There! Do you have interests in horoscopes and astrology? If you want to know more about it you can read its history and its relation to modern Science, Astronomy. These are distinct studies but they both share similarities. Great thinkers await you! You will learn from their ideas and give you an understanding of the stars and the universe as we know it now!

Interested in knowing more? Read on to find out!

Have you read your horoscope for the day? What about that person you’ve been dating, are your signs compatible?

Horoscopes have been a part of popular culture for a long time. There are daily predictions from newspapers to jumpstart your day. How about the monthly relationship compatibility columns made popular by women’s magazines? They are very much appealing to the public even now. They even made their way to the internet. We see memes to even serious natal chart readings enjoyed and consumed by Millennials and Gen Z’s.

But did you know that despite the fresh appeal of Astrology it is one of the oldest studies in history? Did you also know that Astrology and Astronomy have close ties?

Come, join us in a discussion of Astrology, the thinking man’s Astronomy.

Origins of Astrology

Astrology is an ancient system that began in Babylonia. Babylonians believed that the motions of planets and stars can predict the fortune of their kingdom and rulers. When Greece came to adopt Babylon’s culture they also got hooked on Astrology. Alexandrian Ptolemy even wrote a book called, “Tetrabiblos” on Astrology and Philosophy.

But Astrology is not a science like say Astronomy. It is more like pseudoscience. It makes conclusions on its observations.

Astrology is the analysis of the placement of the sun, the moon, and the planets within 12 sections of the sky. Hence, the 12 signs of the zodiac we know today.

When people ask you what is your sign they are actually asking you what is your sun sign. This means which zodiac sign the Sun was in at the moment you were born. You also need to know the placement of the moon and all the other planets at the time and location of your birth. It is a comprehensive reading called the birth chart or what we
refer to as the “natal chart.”

That is why the word horoscope comes from the Greek words hora (“time”) and skopos (“watcher” or “marker”). We put it together and it translates as “marker of the hour.” They analyse each placement that is relevant to a person’s life.

From these observations, Astronomers can make predictions on your personality and your future. It depends on how the “stars align” on the time and location of your birth.

But, there are some questions:

What about the other forces that could also influence a person at their conception?

What about the genes and DNA our parents passed on to us? Does the time of our birth matter to the shaping of our personality and our possibilities?

These are legitimate questions that a lot of people ask and why there are many skeptics of Astrology.

Still, this does not stop people from reading and consulting Astrology. There are many reasons why and they are all worth pondering over.

First, people find comfort in Astrology in times of stress. We live in a world of uncertainty. Astrology gives at least some sort of explanation to events in our lives. Questions like, why didn’t our past relationships work out? Even, Princess Diana of Wales consulted Astrologers on her concerns over Prince Charles. Everyone is looking for answers.

Another thing is the mysticism and spirituality of Astrology. It doesn’t even matter to some if Astrology is not rational. People look for connection in their lives with the vast universe. For instance, have you heard the term, Mercury Retrograde? Mercury Retrograde is when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards but is not. It is an optical illusion that affects communication and travel. At this period, it is not
advisable to engage in any communication and travel.

One more reason is that Astrology also seems to be tailor-made for each sign. Zodiac signs took their names from constellations. They also have categories based on elements.

The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. They are passionate and high-spirited individuals. You often see them fearlessly leaping towards new paths, as they seek to conquer new things in life.

Next, we have the Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn who are practical and grounded. They are good at balancing things out, and pursuing a more hedonistic approach in life.

Moreover, we have Air signs such as Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. They are intellectual and curious people. They’re rational and transformative, often through their ideas.

Finally, we have the water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces who are intuitive and emotional. They are able to access the spiritual aspects of existence better than other elemental signs.

This personalization factor speaks to the person reading it on an intimate level. People can see the dominant traits that they share with the zodiac signs. It makes it easy for them to suspend disbelief at least for a while.

These are some reasons for the enduring fascination of Astrology.

“What about Astronomy?”

Astronomy is also a science that has thrived for centuries. In fact, it grew alongside Astrology.

Astronomy is the study of the universe and its celestial bodies. Astronomers study the positions, motions, and the properties of celestial objects.

Astrology, as we know, makes interpretations on those facts. Actually, Astronomical observations and theories’ main motivation was the improvement of Astrological predictions.

It is because ancient societies had an unbroken unity when it comes to the state and church. It means that religion, law, and science can mesh and are influential to each other. Back then, the university professors were actually Babylonian priests, magicians, Greek philosophers, Arabian princes, and medieval monks.

These ancient thinkers include their philosophy and religious beliefs in their observations. That is why astronomers back in the day are also applying astrological methods. They are making observations but also making sense of it at the same time.

So, what exactly do they believe about the universe?

In early 16th Century Europe, they believed that Earth is at the center. The Earth is a fixed figure, surrounded by several rotating concentric spheres. It bore the celestial bodies like the sun, the moon and the planets and stars. They look like objects in a circular sphere. This school of thought is what we know now as the geocentric model. Aristotle is even a proponent of this.

But, this confused the astronomers back then. They often recorded planets moving about in an eccentric motion. Sometimes planets even halt in their orbit of Earth and move backward (retrograde). The circular sphere could not explain that.

Do you remember the Alexandrian Ptolemy? Ptolemy is also a figure in the early days of astronomy. He wanted to solve this confusion. He argued that the sun, planets, and the moon move in small circles. They move around much larger circles that revolve around our planet Earth.

He referred to these small circles as “epicycles”. According to him, many epicycles are Astrology, as we know, makes interpretations on those facts. Actually, Astronomical observations and theories’ main motivation was the improvement of Astrological predictions.

It is because ancient societies had an unbroken unity when it comes to the state and church. It means that religion, law, and science can mesh and are influential to each other. Back then, the university professors were actually Babylonian priests, magicians, Greek philosophers, Arabian princes, and medieval monks.

These ancient thinkers include their philosophy and religious beliefs in their observations. That is why astronomers back in the day are also applying astrological methods. They are making observations but also making sense of it at the same time.

So, what exactly do they believe about the universe?

In early 16th Century Europe, they believed that Earth is at the center. The Earth is a fixed figure, surrounded by several rotating concentric spheres. It bore the celestial bodies like the sun, the moon and the planets and stars. They look like objects in a circular sphere. This school of thought is what we know now as the geocentric model. Aristotle is even a proponent of this.

But, this confused the astronomers back then. They often recorded planets moving about in an eccentric motion. Sometimes planets even halt in their orbit of Earth and move backward (retrograde). The circular sphere could not explain that.

Do you remember the Alexandrian Ptolemy? Ptolemy is also a figure in the early days of astronomy. He wanted to solve this confusion. He argued that the sun, planets, and the moon move in small circles. They move around much larger circles that revolve around our planet Earth.

He referred to these small circles as “epicycles”. According to him, many epicycles are rotating at varying speeds. He was able to correspond his celestial system with most recorded astronomical observations. According to him, many epicycles are rotating at varying speeds. He was able to correspond his celestial system with most recorded astronomical observations.

That is why the Ptolemaic system remained the standard for 1,000 years. But new astronomical evidence started to place some doubt on Ptolemy’s theory.

There have been many thinkers who challenged the geocentric model of the universe.

Some philosophers at that time believe that the Sun is the center and not the Earth.

There are many proponents of this. It includes Greek astronomer Aristarchus and several Islam philosophers from the Maragha School.
Nicolaus Copernicus drew on to those influences to introduce the “heliocentric theory”.

He summarized his ideas in an unpublished short treatise, Commentariolus meaning “Little Commentary”.

He theorized the order of the known planets from its distance to the Sun. The list starts with Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. He also stated that the nearer the planet is to the Sun, the greater its orbital speed. With this, he was able to explain the eccentric motions of the planets.

That is not to say his theory was without its challenges. For instance, Copernicus could not prove that Earth revolves around the Sun. He was also wrong that the sun is the center of the whole universe. When in fact, it is the center of one solar system, the Milky Way. He could not apply the elliptical orbits in his model and he had no concept of
gravity.

These concerns delayed the publication of, De revolutionibus orbium coelistium libri vi. It means “Six books Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs.” He completed the book around 1530 but published around 1543- the year he died. It is his major astronomical work to date.

Yet, this book was not accessible to many. If it were, many would have objected because it appears to be a non-biblical concept of the universe. It was not until the 17th century that Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler expanded on this. This, of course, led to the trial and conviction for the heresy of Galileo.

Isaac Newton followed suit anyway. He was also inspired by the Copernican theory. He published his work on celestial mechanics which spread throughout the world. By the late 18th century, it was universally accepted.

This is why Nicolaus Copernicus stands as the Father of Modern Astronomy. He laid the foundation for modern Astronomy.


Conclusion

Astrology is the thinking man’s Astronomy. It is a beautiful relationship between two human endeavours. One making sense of the other. Stars and planets in the sky are not moving all on their own. They might actually affect our lives here on Earth. People have attached meanings to the universe that are still resonant to the modern man.

Centuries have passed and until now we find solace at the thought of what the stars can hold for us. Here’s to another century of Astrology and Astronomy! May the stars align for everyone!

Check out Trusted Astrology – Your trusted source about Zodiac Signs, Astrology, Tarot cards reading, and everything psychics!

Much love,
David Thomas


Sources:

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https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/copernicus-born
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Capricon%2C%20kick%20off%20new%20seasons.
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