Are all major religions associated with astrology

Astrology as religion and empirical science

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1 Astrology as religion and empirical science Contents Preliminary remarks 2 1. What is astrology? 3 2. Origins 4 Mesopotamia 5 Egypt 6 3. The worldview of astrology in Hellenistic times 9 On the empirical justification of astrology in ancient times The practice of astrology in the Roman Empire Contemporary astrology 15 Esoteric astrology 16 Psychological astrology 19 Empirical research on astrology in other cultures Astrology and Christianity 25 History 25 Present Where does astrology stand today? Is Astrology True? 30 Literature 32 1

2 Preliminary remarks There is hardly any other area of ​​religious studies to this day that has so much disagreement as astrology. What does astrology have to do with religion? Doesn't it rather belong in the field of the misunderstood natural sciences, especially astronomy? These questions are often asked when talking about astrology. Then other, more practical questions quickly follow: Is astrology really founded on experience, as its followers claim, or is it not based on a naive and false observation of the starry sky, which has long been overtaken by our modern astronomy? The following article would like to attempt a clear and understandable answer to this. It goes without saying that the author answers the question about the origin and nature of astrology in connection with religious ideas, otherwise the article would not be available at this point. As much as astrology has been anchored in European religious history from the start, it is experiencing a certain renaissance today. In connection with the press and television, a very simple variant presents itself to the public, which promises us professional stress or a romantic evening and thus often refutes itself. But that's not all astrology. In connection with new religious movements and within the framework of Christianity, but also within the framework of spiritual interpretations of the natural sciences, astrology has become topical again in recent years and decades. Opinions such as those of the Benedictine Father Gerhard Voss, who in his book Astrologie christlich 1 advocate astrology in a Christian context, show that this topicality is not limited to daily horoscopes in newspaper sections. So it is definitely worth following the traces of astrology in the past and present to get an impression of where its roots lie and what makes it still attractive today. The thought that astrology would like to combine an essentially mythical worldview with scientific (astronomical) observations can serve as a guide. It is also interesting to see how astrology relates to traditional religions and how they react in reverse to astrology. A larger part of this article will be devoted to the history of astrology, because it is more about giving an overview of this millennia-old phenomenon. As already noted, there are many inconsistencies on this topic, often due to a very specialized and one-sided view of astrology. This is less due to the one-sidedness of these perspectives, but rather to the diversity of astrology itself. It intersects religious and mythological, psychological and scientific statements. If we look up a lexicon of natural sciences, we will find under the heading astrology that this is a failed variant of celestial mechanics, because astrology also participates in celestial mechanics and is therefore seen as a phenomenon of natural science. 2 If, on the other hand, one looks up theological or religious studies lexicons, reference is usually made to their mythological and polytheistic content, whereby the belief in a multitude of star gods is emphasized. 3 lexicons with 1 Voss, Gerhard Lexikon der Astronomie Handbook of basic religious and scientific concepts

3 esoteric claim see astrology above all in its psychological, healing significance, which sees all organic life in a great spiritual context. 4 In order to be able to understand modern astrology, it is therefore necessary to follow a little how an originally mythical picture of the cosmos absorbs scientific, medical and psychological insights as well as natural mystic and spiritual ideas and forms all the individual areas mentioned into its own worldview. But first a preliminary clarification of what astrology actually is. What is astrology If astrology is a tightrope walk between religion and scientific astronomy, this brings us to the first definition. First of all: astrology is religion insofar as it sees the cosmos, man and nature ruled through and directed by otherworldly powers and forces. All events in the cosmos and on earth are linked by an invisible magical bond. It is only because of this mysterious magical connection that astrology can assume that the stars have something to do with our curriculum vitae, with our talents and weaknesses. Astrology is thus related to the natural religions. They also assume that nature is inhabited and administered by magical powers, demons and gods. Together with the natural religions, astrology believes in a multitude of gods, it is polytheistic at its core. All planets and signs of the zodiac are expressions of a specific god or demon. However, astrology is sometimes also accepted by religions that only know one creator god, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Then the many celestial gods become angels and demons who are subordinate to the one God and are thus understood as God's tools. With its scientific side, astrology is also quite sober. It divides the sky geometrically exactly into sectors, it calculates - like every astronomer the orbits of the planets and also makes complicated calculations in order to obtain the horoscope from the various movements of the earth and the celestial bodies. The word horoscope comes from the Greek language and means something like: look into the hour. What is meant is that the astrologer looks at the sky exactly at the time when a person is born and calculates all planets as well as the zodiac sign rising over the horizon in the east, which is then called the ascendant. To do this, he makes a drawing that shows the astronomical positions of the stars from the place of birth. Astrology is also quite simply astronomy, or rather: it bases its religious understanding of the cosmos on exact scientific calculations. This dual track has long been known to religious scholars who deal with the history and meaning of astrology. The classical philologist Franz Boll put it in a nutshell: Astrology wants to be religion and science at the same time, that describes its essence. 5 Until astrology became religion and science at the same time, the oldest personal horoscope known to us dates from the year 410 BC. 6 she had a long 4 Lexicon of Secret Knowledge Franz Boll 1931, Abraham J. Sachs: 1952, Further cuneiform horoscopes from the period between 290 and 50 BC. 3

4 development behind. But before we take a look at the history of astrology, there is one characteristic that needs to be pointed out. Astrology is not only a phenomenon of the European religious history, but it is more or less complicated in all major religions and all cultures. Anyone who visited the EXPO, the World Exhibition of Nations in Hanover in 2000, may have passed the Indian pavilion and noticed an astrologer's stand there. This is certainly not as marginal a phenomenon as it might look from the perspective of a secular society. Astrology is still an integral part of a religious life practice in many countries around the world. Whether in India or South America, some scientists first consult an astrologer before embarking on a longer business trip. The main aim of this article is to introduce the astrology of European religious history, which is ultimately the main source of today's many astrology schools in Europe and America. Origins In the course of its almost 5000-year history within the framework of European cultures, astrology has only gradually developed into a comprehensive worldview with divinatory intentions. It has its roots in the first demonstrable cultic worship of the stars. A preliminary stage of astrology is therefore the astral cult. First of all, this worship applies to the sun, the moon and Venus. Some religious scholars see in this veneration of the stars the beginning of all later religions on earth. 7 That may be a bit of an exaggeration in this generalization. But if we look at the first and oldest evidence of religious veneration of the stars, there seems to be a lot to support this assumption: around 3000 BC. originated in the Mesopotamian region in what is now Iraq - the Sumerian cuneiform script, which was first a picture script. The so-called line shape was later created from the images. In this the symbol for God is a star-shaped arrangement of lines (three crossing lines) 8. One could conclude from this that God and star have the same linguistic meaning in Sumerian cuneiform. Later Babylonian and Assyrian inscriptions also reveal a connection between God and the star or constellation. 9 However, we only know of the oldest reliable records in which stars are provided with names from around 1800 BC. 10 Certainly, in this Sumerian and Old Babylonian equation of God and the star, it is not yet possible to speak of astrology, because this also presupposes a mathematical determination of the stars. This astral mythology only shows that there is a cultic veneration of the stars, the astral religion, which preforms the religious world view of astrology.If one looks for a beginning from which the celestial bodies were also observed and calculated, the oldest evidence we find is a record by the Sumerian city prince Gudea von Lagasch (c. that is: the positions of several planets) have shown which is the most favorable for the planned construction of a temple. 11 This presupposes that these planetary constellations could also be observed. We at O. Neugebauer / H.B. van Hoesen: 1959, e.g. Hugo Winckler: As a result of Winckler's also the Pan-Babylonian School. 8 Franz Boll 1931, ibid. 10 Dossin, Georges: 1933, From the cylinder A of the city prince Gudea von Lagasch Kol I 17 VI 13. Otto Kaiser (ed.): First in: Falkenstein, Adam:

5 know that around 2100 BC the observation of the positions of the planets was taken for granted. Other accounts refer to revelations given to chosen people in ancient Egypt. These refer to a time around 2500 BC when astrology began. The origins of astrology cannot only be found in the Mesopotamian region - the Sumerian-Babylonian culture. Ancient Egypt also claims to be the country of origin of astrology. In the Hellenistic and late antique times the astrologers were often called Chaldeans and Babylonians, which suggests an origin in Mesopotamia. On the other hand, many Hellenistic authors were convinced that astrology was long ago transmitted to the Egyptians through the god Hermes Trismegistus. Which tradition line is the original one or whether both run parallel can hardly be determined today. The historically transmitted material is not sufficient for this. Now to some special features of Mesopotamian and Egyptian astrology. Mesopotamia We know with certainty that by 1800 BC at the latest. Stars have been given names and enjoy cultic veneration. The three brightest planets, sun, moon and Venus (sun and moon are still referred to as planets in astrology), play a prominent role in the later omen interpretation of the Enuma Anu Enlil (7th century BC). 12 There we find that the qualities of certain gods are similar to those of the planets. The properties of the ancient Babylonian god Shamash, who gave life and light, correspond to the properties of the sun, while the generally favorable properties of the god Sin correspond to the moon. The goddess of love and mother, the healer and helper of the vegetation Ishtar then corresponds to Venus. 13 It is noteworthy that in the most ancient times the moon god (Sumerian Nanna) had absolute priority. This changes later and in some hymns the goddess Venus (Sumerian Inanna) is worshiped as the queen of heaven, crowned with heaven and earth under her feet. This queen of heaven also returns in a similar form in the Egyptian goddess Isis and in the Christian worship of Mary. You are seen as a father, mother and divine child. Similar divine parents with divine children are known from the Egyptian cult of Horus and later from the Christian faith. But the four other planets Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are also known in the omen texts of the Enuma Anu Enlil (7th century BC). In the Babylonian creation myths of the Enuma Elisch (around 1500 BC), the Babylonian god Marduk takes the lead in the pantheon. In an even later time, when culture and science blossomed, the god Nabu was given a prominent position. The properties of Marduk are assigned to the planet Jupiter and the properties of Nabus to the planet Mercury. The planet gods each have certain spheres of power, which vary in the course of the Sumerian-Babylonian culture, but are found in the astrological omentary tablets of the Enuma Anu Enlil (70 clay tablets of the comprehensive library of Assurbanipal, before King in 12 In the omentary texts of the Enuma Anu Enlil omen interpretations emerge the position of the sun, moon and Venus most frequently, with solar and lunar eclipses being observed and seen as threatening signs. Rochberg-Halton, Francesca: Reiner, Erica / Pingree, David 1975 and Soldt, Wilfred H. van: Franz Boll 1931, May 11

6 Nineveh) solidify into a unified image. The myths of the star gods describe what functions these gods have and what they do. These properties and areas of power are very differentiated and include the influence on natural phenomena, plants, animals as well as on human activities of a craft, political or religious-cultic nature. If you bring these properties to a short denominator, the result is something like the following: the sun ( Babylonian shamash) embodies life and light even beyond death, but also the death-bringing desiccation. the father. The moon is beneficial to life and growth in general. embodies (Babylonian Sin) the mother and life in nature in general, Ishtar-Venus (Babylonian Ishtar) embodies love as the evening star and battle as the morning star, Nergal-Mars (Nergal in Babylonian) war and death, Nabu-Mercury ( Babylonian Nabu) knowledge and science, Marduk-Jupiter (Babylonian Marduk) the priestly and secular rule and Ninib-Saturn the hard (field) work and everything heavy and ephemeral. 14 In the course of the expansion of the omen interpretation from the planetary positions beyond the Mesopotamian region, the names of the gods were adapted to the respective cultures and languages, but the properties were largely retained. So in Greek times Nergal became Ares and in Roman times Ares became Mars. Yet through these times he remained the planetary god of war and death. Ishtar became Aphrodite, then Venus, even if her warlike side disappeared from Babylonian times, she always remained the goddess of love and horticulture. Marduk became Zeus and then Jupiter. 15 The planet remained the same and its prominent position as a representative of royal-priestly power also remained essentially unchanged. These first Greek, then Roman planetary gods ultimately survived European religious history to the present day. Our seven-day week is particularly clearly understandable in the Romance languages ​​and named after the seven planetary gods. In the astrological Practicae, the annual prognoses of the 16th and 17th centuries, these Roman planetary gods with their symbols can often be seen as table woodcuts. At this time it is still true that the planets are ruled by gods. The astrology of the 19th and 20th centuries continues to follow this tradition. Even if the majority of astrologers no longer speak of celestial gods, but understand them as forces that are present in man, in all of nature and in the cosmos, the properties that the Babylonian celestial religion had already formulated remain in principle unchanged. But more on that in the next section. The Babylonian star cult is the core and the original form of later astrology. This cultic-religious core also means that not only the seven planets, but also fixed stars and groups of fixed stars - combined to form constellations - are worshiped as gods. From the time around 1200 BC. We know of many landmarks that have a different number of carved constellations. The whole vault of heaven is covered with constellations and the number of heavenly gods is correspondingly confusing. 14 Franz Boll 1931, 11f. 15 Pauly's Real Encyclopedia of Classical Antiquity, Article Planets

7 A clear order only emerges when the broad band of the annual course of the sun is divided into twelve even sections of 30 each. These sectors now divide the space of the sun's path into a manageable number of so-called signs of the zodiac. Together they form the so-called zodiacus in Greek times. Translated, Zodia means living being. This shows that every zodiac sign has life, that it was worshiped as a divine (or even demonic) being. These animated signs of the zodiac, like the planets, also have certain properties and areas of domination, some of which correspond to the characteristic features of the seasons. (With this twelve number, the numerically unmanageable large heaven of gods was now set to a small, manageable and practicable order of magnitude.) How the signs of the zodiac came about is not completely clear. The classical philologist Franz Boll is of the opinion that the signs of the zodiac are not simply transfers of some constellations to the ecliptic - the latter consist of several fixed stars and, in contrast to the signs of the zodiac, are also of different sizes - but that they were created by the spatial division of the apparent path of the sun. 16 The signs of the zodiac are - seen from an astronomical point of view - the result of intensive observation of the annual course of the sun. This begins with the equinox in spring, leads over the summer solstice, the equinox in autumn to the winter solstice and completes the course of the year again at the beginning of spring, creating a cross of four cardinal points, each of which marks the beginning of a zodiac sign describe. The twelve number of the zodiac is known to us for the first time by a cuneiform inscription from the year 419 BC. handed down. 17 How it came from the four-part division of the circle of the sun's orbit to this twelve number can hardly be traced today. Together with the planets, however, they still form the basic framework of astrology in the European tradition. In addition to the cultic worship of the stars, which in Sumerian and Babylonian times worshiped planets and signs of the zodiac as gods or as the residence of gods, the scientific branch of astrology gradually emerged, observational and calculating astronomy. It was entirely reserved for the priests. The temple buildings served not only to worship the star gods, but also to observe and calculate the visible celestial bodies. So this calculation was not just science in our sense, but belonged to the field of religion. It served to research the will of the star gods, namely whether they sent wars or times of peace, diseases, famines or rich harvests. The omen texts of the Enuma Anu Enlil also give the calculated positions and movements of the planets and their constellations to other planets. 18 Dated information about the particularly feared eclipses has been available since 747 BC. Chr. Detectable. 19 (around 1500 BC.the exact times of the sun and moon, then also of the other planets were known.) Likewise, the center of the sky, the zenith, and the rising in the east, the ascendant, could be precisely determined. Since then we can also speak of astrology in the sense of a combination of scientific observation and worship of the stars as gods. 16 Franz Boll: Sphära, Hildesheim 1967, Wilhelm Knappich: 1988, Reiner, Erica / Pingree, David: 1975, Tablet 63: the Venus tablet. Soldt, Wilfred H. van: 1995 Tablets 23 (24) 29 (30). 19 Rochberg-Halton, Francesca:

8 Even if some things have to remain unexplained at this point, it is clear how closely the cultic veneration of the stars is connected to the observational science, how astrology wants to be religion and science at the same time. This describes the basic principle that defines astrology. It is the deeply felt belief that the cosmos is divinely ordered and administered, and that all the things that happen in heaven and are predictable are closely related in a mysterious way to what happens on earth. Mesopotamian astrology with its distinctive calculation methods spread quickly over the entire Mediterranean area in the Hellenistic period. Around the year 280 BC the Babylonian Marduk priest Berossos founded an astrological school on the Greek island of Kos. With his prognoses he is said to have impressed the Athenians so much that they dedicated a statue with a golden tongue to him. 20 Around this time, individual birth astrology also became established. While in earlier times the concerns of the state and natural events such as weather and earthquakes - were observed by astrologers, now it was added that horoscopes were also created for individual people. A horoscope was drawn up for the time of birth and taking into account the location, which should provide information about the life course and dispositions. As already mentioned, the oldest individual natal chart that has come down to us comes from the year 410 BC. In summary, it can be said: the peculiarity of Sumerian-Babylonian astrology is its pronounced cultic veneration of the stars as gods and the simultaneous development of precise methods of calculating their orbits. We know from the Egyptian line of tradition of astrology that the precise calculation of the planets was less important to it. Although she also recognizes her main concern in the religious unity of the cosmos and man, she sets different accents in the individual. Egypt Most of the sources that can give us information about Egyptian astrology date from the Hellenistic period. Much of this evidence has been collected today in the twelve-volume Catalogus codicum astrologorum Graecorum. 21 Franz Cumont has summarized Egyptian astrology in particular. 22 Some late ancient astrologers from Egypt such as Claudius Ptolemy (AD) see Egypt as the original home of astrology. 23 Such claims are not historically certain. Unlike Sumerian-Babylonian astrology, Egyptian astrology has a historically somewhat comprehensible donor. If one follows many Hellenistic writers, then Hermes Trismegistus (Hermes three times greatest), venerated as God, imparted magic and science, writing and astrology to chosen disciples and priests. 24 Other writers such as Ps. Manetho 25 - report that Hermes Trismegistus carved the doctrine of the secret effects of the stars into the walls and pillars of the holy of holies of the temple. From the 2nd century AD has been handed down that there should have been extensive literature under the name of the god Hermes-Toth. Clemens Alexandrinus (n.chr.) Mentions 42 important books by Hermes, four of which are on astrology, 20 Wilhelm Knappich, Cumont, Franz (among others): CCAG (Catalogus codicum astrologorum Graecorum). Brussels Cumont, Franz: L Égypte des astrologues, Brussels Ptolemy, Claudius Book I. 3. pg Wilhelm Gundel / Hans Georg Gundel 1966, Ps. Manetho: Apotelesmata V (VI) 1ff. 8th

9 were dedicated. 26 Hermetica. These lost hermetic writings are known as Hermes Trismegistos is also the Greek epithet of the Egyptian god Thoth. This in turn is associated with the moon in earlier times, later with the planet Mercury (Hermes). In later Hellenistic writings he is the last representative of the dynasty of gods and the first man. 27 A direct connection is established here between gods (Toth), who are connected to planets (moon, Mercury) and the teaching of astrology as a teaching. So here, too, the astrological tradition points to astral-religious source. Historically, the doctrine of Hermes Trismegistos can be linked to the doctor and pyramid builder Imhotep, who lived at his court during the reign of King Djoser (reign of BC). The time of origin of Egyptian astrology is also around the middle of the 3rd century BC, as can also be assumed from Sumerian-Babylonian astrology. Hellenistic scriptures tell of other divine revelations to chosen people. (later astrologers report.) Writings that were widespread in the Hellenistic and late antique times under the names Nechepso and Petosiris 28 are said to be traced back to such revelations. The astrologer Vettius Valens (2nd century AD) reports that Nechepso himself was Pharaoh in the 26th Dynasty BC. described his revelation as follows: It seemed to me, as I looked up to heaven in prayer for a whole night, that the heavens were opening, and a voice came out of heaven. Then a sky-blue robe was wrapped around my body, which the night sky offered me. And so I experienced the whole immortal order in the movements of the universe. 29 According to Firmicus Maternus (around 335 AD), Petosiris is also said to have received revelations on the teaching of astrology to Hermes-Toth. Historically, it is likely to be a priest of the 4th century BC. act. 30 Many astrological writings name Petosiris in connection with Nechepso, but they are also known as individual authors in Hellenistic times. Together with the Hermetica they form the Hellenistic Vulgate. The astrology of Nechepso and Petosiris was thus imparted through nature-mystical or divine revelation. Here, too, the knowledge of the orders and movements of the universe is closely linked to a religious relationship between man and the cosmos. The Egyptologist Jan Assmann calls this relationship cosmostheism. 31 As in Sumerian-Babylonian mythology, the planets and stars are worshiped as gods, of which the sun god Re in particular occupies a prominent position. The worship of the sun god was so cultivated that under the reign of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) from AD. was supposed to be the only god in Egypt for a short time. But also the ancient Egyptian moon god Thoth (later Isis became the moon goddess) and Mercury had important functions. There were also many bright fixed stars and constellations that were worshiped as gods. 26 Clemens v. Alexandria: Stromateis, Book VI, 35.2-37.1. 27 As divine (ϑειος) he is e.g. mentioned in the text CCAG IV 81.5. 28 Riess, Ernestus: Vettius Valens: Anthologies II, 3rd translation in: Wilhelm Gundel / Hans Georg Gundel 1966, Spiegelberg, Wilhelm: A new trace of the astrologer Petosiris, Heidelberg: session reports of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, 1922, 3rd Abh. 31 Assmann, Jan: Stone of Time Man and Society in Ancient Egypt, Munich 1995, 59. 9

10 Much more important than the planetary gods are the so-called deans (Latin: decades) in Egyptian astrology. Similar to the way in which Sumerian-Babylonian astrology divided the solar path into twelve zodiac signs of 30 each, the Egyptian astrologers divided the annual solar path into 36 equal sections of 10. The Egyptians knew the 365 days of the year and divided them into 36 weeks of ten days each . A ten-day week was dedicated to a dean and the corresponding god or demon. The oldest surviving deans come from the 5th dynasty of BC. Famous is the depiction of the Egyptian zodiac of Dendera from the first century AD with the gods of Dean, which can be seen today in Paris (Louvre) (see illustration). In later times, Egyptian astrology adopted the Sumerian-Babylonian signs of the zodiac and fitted the deans into this system. So now each of the twelve signs of the zodiac of 30 each was subdivided into three deans of 10 each. This link between signs of the zodiac and deans can still be found today in some magazine horoscopes, when the prognoses for people born under a sign of the zodiac are again divided into three parts. Some weekly or monthly forecasts then read: Aries 1st decade ..., Aries 2nd decade ..., etc. People who were born under a certain dean god or demon were often given his name and thus had time of their life in connection with this. In Egyptian astrology, however, there was another division of heaven. Every single degree of the 360 ​​circle of the sun's orbit was also specially named and assigned to a god or demon. These individual degrees were called monomoiriai and they too were included in the horoscope interpretation. This classification is attributed to Hermes Trismegistus by the Roman astrologer Firmicus Maternus (335 AD), who is said to have revealed this doctrine to Asklepios in 12 books. The zodiac was populated by a multitude of gods and demons who were not, or not only, bound to planets or fixed stars, but instead occupied the systematically divided celestial spaces. These gods and demons then became decisive for people when the sun passed through their respective heavenly space. The horoscope interpretation became a very complicated matter. Because every point that the sun passed through was determined by at least three gods or demons. The deity of a sign of the zodiac reigned for a whole month, namely as long as the sun passed through this sign. At the same time, the sun passed through one of the three deans of a zodiac sign for 10 days. And then there were the individual degrees that the sun passed through in one day. (Incidentally, Egyptian astrology knows other divisions of space with respective gods - the so-called boundaries: different degrees of graduation along the ecliptic - so that actually more than three gods determine the quality of a time of day. We will not go into these here) . This made the horoscope interpretation a very complicated matter.For every moment the Egyptian astrologers had to weigh the various influences against each other in order to make their statements. The special thing about Egyptian astrology, as it was available to us during the Hellenistic period, is that it developed a very differentiated system of medicine: Iatromathematics. Some astrological scriptures had this designation in their title. Every stone, every plant, every animal was assigned to a certain astral god, that is: in this stone or organism the power of this god worked. Likewise, the body was every 10

11 people, each individual organ, each larger part of the body and which in turn is divided into subsections, assigned to a god of the zodiac, a god of dean or a monomoiriai god. If an organ fell ill, the cause was associated with the corresponding deity or demon. Healing was done by administering appropriate parts of plants or animal products that were inhabited by the same god. Or antidotes were sought to fight the causative demon. This astrological medicine was called iatromathematics (iatros is the Greek name for doctor and mathematics was used in antiquity, but also in the Middle Ages and in the early modern era, any kind of star observation and calculation including astrology) (. She) was not only in the Hellenistic and Roman times, but until the early modern times the common medicine and is being rediscovered in the present in various astrological and alternative healing methods. Like Sumerian-Babylonian astrology, which tries to describe the great world events as well as individual people in connection with the divine order of the cosmos, Egyptian astrology tries to see this connection primarily from the medicinal side. In Egyptian astrology, being well does not only mean the recovery from individual ailments. The actual basic idea is (also here) a (natural religious) comprehensive one. Every human being is a microcosm in which all divine forces of the cosmos are present in the respective organs and body parts. If these forces are harmoniously coordinated with one another, the person is healthy and he lives in harmony with the macrocosm in which the same divine order prevails. Both currents of astrology, the Mesopotamian and the Egyptian, flow into each other in the Hellenistic period, are fertilized by other religions and philosophies and also find their way into the great religions in Judaism and Christianity, and later also in Islam. The worldview of astrology in Hellenistic times When Alexander the great in the 4th century BC. Conquered the Orient and large parts of the Mediterranean region and united them into one empire, a lively cultural exchange took place as a result. Astrology now penetrates unhindered from its Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources into Greece and later further west. During this Hellenistic period, astrology had already congealed into a fixed world view. In spite of all the differences between Mesopotamian and Egyptian astrology and also between Hellenistic astrologers, there are basically things in common: 1. Astrology recognizes gods in the planets, fixed stars, signs of the zodiac and deans, who express their will through their respective position and constellation. (interprets the whole visible world order religiously.) The earth forms the center of the world, the sky with its star gods moves as a closed ball around the earth. 2. Astrology assumes that its correctness (of astrology) is proven through experience. This can be proven by a comparative observation of life on earth with the movements of heaven. These two statements need to be briefly explained. Hellenistic astrology seeks to see man, nature and the cosmos in a comprehensive interplay. The question we are asking ourselves today, namely how this 11th

12 The interplay of stars, nature and humans should actually function, answers astrology via the principle of analogy and sympathy: (The cosmos consists of visible individual stars, the movements of which are calculable. The astonishing evenness with which the stars in the sky - and the whole vault of heaven moved with them, only leads to the conclusion that this fascinating starry sky must be guided by divine forces.Not only the priests of the various religions, but also the ancient scientists saw the bodies of the gods in the shining stars. Aristotle, the outstanding authority among the ancient natural philosophers, who was undisputed number one among scientists until the late Middle Ages, said of the stars that they are intelligences and that their bodies consist of the ether that we see as shining stars.) Accordingly the gods are not only bound to the stars, but also present invisibly in the whole cosmos. So the god of the sun, who visibly gives us light and warmth, is also present in us humans. When we meet a person who conveys a special warmth of the heart, the sun works in him. The human heart became the seat of the sun's power. The presence of solar power was also imagined in plants and metals. The gold corresponds to the shine of the sun and therefore the sun's power also works in this metal. The sun also had an effect in plants that were thought to have particularly strong healing vital forces. All other planets and signs of the zodiac were also associated with certain human characteristics and organs, with animals, plants and metals. In this way a whole system of analogous relationships between stars and things on earth was created. This system of analogies, externally bound to objects, internally endowed with divine powers, defines the worldview of astrology up to the present day. (In ancient times this living network, through which everything in the cosmos was connected to one another, was called sympathy. That means something like sounding together.) For the Hellenistic astrologers, everything that we see in terms of individual things stands in a living, divine context. In modern astrology, too, it is repeatedly emphasized that it only describes analogous relationships and does not, as is often assumed, speak of the effects of the stars. Closely related to this sympathy and analogy of all cosmic forces is an astrological direction that could better be called astral magic. We encounter it in a large number of Greek magic papyri that made only minor use of astronomical calculations. More important here are the names of the individual celestial gods, which are also used magically in medicine. 32 (No object on earth or in the cosmos is excluded from this network of mutual analogous relationships. No event occurs on its own. Everything is connected with the respectively similar forces in the cosmos. Therefore astrology does not shift the causes of events into the cosmos but it only seeks to describe the network of analogies in which every event has its place.) Hellenistic astrology therefore starts from the animatedness of all of nature. Without this, the analogy wouldn't work either. Anyone who cannot believe in the ensouled nature of nature today will have difficulties taking astrology seriously. Whoever believes in this soulfulness, as is the case in the natural religions and in many new religious movements, has good prerequisites to at least accept the worldview of astrology. 32 Gundel, Hans Georg:

13 This (natural religious) worldview of astrology just described relates only to the visible cosmos. The gods and demons or the divine powers belong entirely to this world. From a Judeo-Christian or Islamic perspective we would say: the gods of astrology belong to creation. They are not themselves creators of the stars or men, but they are themselves created. The Greek philosopher Plato in his writing Timaeus also speaks of how the Creator God first created the world and then the celestial gods. So astrology is designed in such a way that it can easily fit into Judaism, Christianity and Islam with its view of the world. Because the Creator God of these religions, who created the world, also created the stars and the heavenly gods. On this basis, the major monotheistic religions were also able to adopt polytheistic astrology without affecting their respective central creeds. And so it happened that astrology was adopted in all three religions. That did not happen without conflicts, in some cases it was fought fiercely - but it also found supporters time and again. An important point for the acceptance of Hellenistic astrology among ancient scholars is also its compatibility with the geocentric worldview of Greek natural science and cosmology. Claudius Ptolemy (n.chr.) Tried in his astrological writing Tetrabiblos to adapt divinatory astrology in the Egyptian tradition to the scientific worldview by omitting all allusions to revelations and limiting himself to a sober presentation. 33 But there was no contradiction here, because Aristotle, whose scientific authority was unchallenged even in cosmological questions until the early modern age, also saw gods in the shining stars, whose effects extend through the ether into the sublunar world the astrology seen in the context of the wisdom of the priests. Marcus Manilius reports that it was gods who inspired the priests on the Euphrates and on the Nile to understand the laws of the cosmos. 34 Stoic influence is clearly recognizable in Manilius' astrological worldview. On the empirical foundation of ancient astrology With its mythical and natural philosophical worldview, astrology is not yet complete, because it wants to make concrete statements about upcoming events or about a person's talents. And so it assumes that such forecasts and statements can be made about the current state of the stars.To demonstrate this with a very simple example: when Mars and Venus are in opposition in the sky, that is, when they are at an angle of 180 to one another, then not only the god of war Mars fights against the goddess of love Venus, but there is analogous to it on earth a situation where the battle between war and peace is at stake. Now, from its inception, astrology assumes that it is based on experience. Already the Mesopotamian omen interpretation, as it is handed down to us in the omen tables of the Enuma Anu Enlil, make the importance of the empirical examination clear. This reference to experience is cited as the main argument by all great astrologers of antiquity, but also of later times. For example, the famous 33 Ptolemy, Claudius: Manilius: 1990, 1st book,

14 Scientist Johannes Kepler () in defense of astrology to: The belief in the aspects (meaning the positions of the stars) primarily gives the experience that is so clear that it can only be denied by someone who has not examined with their own eyes can immediately object: if astrology is so clear, why are so few scientists convinced of it today? - But this objection is on another level. The first thing is to see that astrologers in all epochs rely on experience first when giving reasons for astrology. (Even the old Mesopotamian astrology shows us how pronounced the efforts to obtain empirical evidence were from the very beginning. We have quite extensive archaeological material on this.) (In 1847, near the ruins of Nineveh, the completely preserved library of the King Ashurbanipal (King of BC over Assyria and Babylon) found.) The mentioned oment tablets of the Enuma Anu Enlil, part of the library of King Assubanipal (BC King in Nineveh) library of the with over 4000 astrological clay tablets show us one amazing system of astronomical observations (and their astrological interpretations). The astrologers proceeded according to the following scheme: an observation in the sky was recorded with the date and time of day and its characteristics were precisely described. At the same time, all political and natural events were recorded. The same thing was repeated over and over and in this way continuous registers were created over many centuries, which meticulously examined the celestial phenomena with the events on earth, compared them with older models and supplemented them with new observations. The Assyrologist Carl Bezold, who translated a large part of these clay tablets, describes it as follows: Whenever the subject S is assigned the predicate P in the sky, the subject s also assigned the predicate p on earth. 36 Here, too, a simple example: If on the 15th day of the month the full moon is seen together with the sun, the strong enemy will turn his weapons against the land ... On the 15th day he was seen with the sun ... The King may know and consider. 37 In the first part of the text the general observation is described: whenever the sun and moon can be seen at the same time on the 15th of the month when the moon is full, there is hostile action. Then follows the concrete case observed: now it has been seen and then follows the empirically founded prognosis: so there are hostile actions. Many texts then confirm the prognosis with the addition: ... and the expected event really happened. We can no longer check the truth of the matter today. Many (all) researchers who have dealt with these texts so far agree that the Babylonian astrologers made serious efforts to create an astrological system based entirely on empirical data. However, the importance of astrologers must also be taken into account. At the same time, they were priests and exercised an important political function in the state. The example above shows that the astrological forecast was intended for the king. So it can be assumed that astrology was an important tool for making important political decisions. Attempts to establish astrology empirically have been repeated throughout the history of astrology up to the present day. Likewise, there has existed since about 200 BC. 35 Johannes Kepler 1939, Carl Bezold 1911, Morris Jastrow 1912,

15 criticism of astrology by individual philosophers and astronomers. This criticism is sometimes only directed against individual statements of astrology, whereby it is basically already considered to be correct. However, some critics reject it altogether as unusable. The practice of astrology in Roman times The Roman Empire not only made it possible for Judaism and Christianity to spread unhindered throughout the Mediterranean. Many other religions and of course astrology could now get anywhere quickly. Astrology presented a very diverse and confusing picture in the Roman Empire. In Mesopotamia and Egypt it was reserved exclusively for priests who advised the respective rulers. Only gradually did an astrology develop that was also accessible to individual people from among the people. Horoscopes were now created not only for kings and important state events, but also for individual people. Forecasts have now been made about the life course, marriage, wealth or poverty, type of death and all important stages in life. It has already been pointed out that the oldest natal chart that has been handed down to us (comes) from pre-Roman times (and is to us) from the year 410 BC. originates. This individual astrology made it possible for many more or less gifted astrologers to turn their craft into a profitable source of income. From around 200 BC Astrology, along with other magical arts, enjoyed a tremendous upswing, especially in the popular piety of Rome. Many citizens of Rome carried small sheets of papyrus with inscriptions from which they could read which hours of the day were favorable for which occupations and which were not. Questions about health, but also about activities in everyday life, such as going to the hairdresser, were determined astrologically. Everything revolved around whether a day or an hour was favorable or unfavorable for certain actions. Behind this was the notion that every day and hour was ruled by different star gods. And so it was believed that an astrologically correct doctor's appointment was supported by the gods currently ruling. An astrologically incorrectly chosen date, however, had the consequence that the corresponding gods counteracted the intentions. Astrology was hotly debated in the educated classes including the Roman emperors. The reason was above all the Athenian philosopher Karneades, who was 156 BC. when envoy came to Rome and there came out violently against practical astrology. His most important arguments were: 1. The stars are too far away from the earth to be able to exert an influence. 2. Children who are born at the same moment nevertheless have very different life paths (he cites as an example: when Homer was born, other people were certainly born, but they did not become poets or famous). Conversely, people die en masse in disasters and wars at the same time, despite different horoscopes. 4. The fine fluid that emanates from the stars and is inhaled at the time of a person's birth and determines his character is changed by the different weather conditions at the respective places of birth in such a way that the influence of the stars is also completely different. 15th