Recently, I attempted a conversation with an old friend about astrology. From the look she gave me, I could tell she had immediately associated what I was trying to share with her as being the work of the devil! Her response was so surprising that it inspired me to write this blog. I see things quite the opposite: I view the knowledge and understanding of astrology as being a gift from God, one that I am grateful for and eager to learn.
Back in the day, thousands and thousands of years ago, when people were not living in large urban areas flooded with artificial light, one can easily see that they would have been more in tune with what was going on in the heavens. Living and sleeping under the stars, they would have observed patterns in the alignment of heavenly bodies from day to day, month to month, and season to season. Over time, some people became more proficient than others in associating these alignments with events occurring on Earth. They learned to predict the best times to plant and harvest crops, when they were likely to catch more fish, and other practical guidance that can still be found in Farmer’s Almanacs and astrological calendars. Those who excelled at predicting even more complex phenomena, such as the impending birth of the “King of the Jews,” were highly valued for their insight. They were sought after by people in positions of power, like the pharaohs, kings, and queens.
King Herod’s astrologers told him of Jesus’ imminent birth but they weren’t “wise” enough to pinpoint exactly where the infant was to be found. In George Lamsa’s direct translation of the Holy Bible to English from the Aramaic language it was written in, St. Matthew 2:1 reads: “…in the days of Herod the king, there came ‘Magi’ from the East to Jerusalem.” The term ‘maji’ refers to the followers of Zoroaster (Zarathustra), an ancient Persian (Iranian) prophet. He was said to have been born somewhere between 1738 and 500 years BC, during a time when people worshipped many gods and made animal and human sacrifices to them. Zoroaster became the founder of Zoroastrianism, thought to be the world’s first monotheistic religion (belief in one god) and he was also considered by many to be the Father of Astrology. His teachings influenced the three wise men as well as many religions, including Christianity and Islam, and they were based upon the triple principles of Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.
Since anyone who has studied an Eastern language can tell you that a misplaced dot or curve can change a word’s meaning, perhaps that’s how some versions of today’s Bible came to use the word ‘’king’ instead of ‘maji.’ Perhaps that explains other subtle differences in the King James “version” of the Bible, since it was translated first from Aramaic to Hebrew, then to Greek, Latin, and finally to various English dialects before King James commissioned his project, for the purpose of having “as accurate a translation as possible, which could be printed and widely circulated.”
King Herod conspired to have the Maji return to Jerusalem after they had followed the star to Bethlehem and discovered the Infant’s exact whereabouts, but they were shown in a dream that Herod planned to kill Jesus. Because the Maji had good, rather than evil or devilish intent, they returned to the East by a different route instead, after paying homage to the child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Over the years, as various techniques were developed in different parts of the world for measuring the speed and direction of the planets, their inner meaning was also uncovered. For thousands of years, the science of astronomy and astrology were considered to be one in the same; in fact, the term “mathematicus” was once used to describe a person who was well versed in astronomy, astrology and mathematics. Many different traditions developed in the study of astrology, some of which share similar features that were transmitted between cultures as nations interacted with each other. Of these, horoscopic astrology has been the most influential and widespread form and the tradition I have studied and plan to share.
There was little conflict between religion, science, and astrology until after Copernicus published his book, “On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres,” in 1543. Copernicus corrected an assumption that had been made by Ptolemy and widely accepted that the Earth, not the Sun, was the center of our galaxy. The realization that the premise had persisted for so long, though incorrect, led Sir Francis Bacon to develop his “scientific method” to bring order to the discovery process. It ushered in the Scientific Revolution in Europe; since the Church had supported Ptolemy’s premise, other Church doctrines came under question as well. The powerful Church pushed back until a compromise was eventually reached with the scientists, allowing them to retain dominion over the pure scientific exploration of the stars (astronomy). In exchange, the Church reclaimed its sphere of influence over reasoning and the intellect, which had diminished over the years as astrologers expanded their discoveries of the synchronicities between the movement of the planets and the inner workings of man. This compromise became the beginning of the end of astrology’s acceptance by mainstream scientists (astronomers).
I have been a student for a number of years and have benefitted greatly. Though I’m not an expert by any means, I am happy to share what I’ve learned in future blogs.