Astrology

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Such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happen much oftener, neglect and pass them by. ~ Francis Bacon
Astrology is to exact astronomy what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter, and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit. ~ H. P. Blavatsky
An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! ~ Shakespeare
This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars. ~ Shakespeare

Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs in which knowledge of the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer, or, less often, an astrologist.

Quotes[edit]

  • There is an abstruse astrologer that saith, if it were not for two things that are constant (the one is, that the fixed stars ever stand at like distance one from another, and never come nearer together, nor go further asunder; the other, that the diurnal motion perpetually keepeth time), no individual would last one moment; certain it is, that the matter is in a perpetual flux, and never at a stay. The great winding-sheets that bury all things in oblivion, are two,—deluges and earthquakes. As for conflagrations and great droughts, they do not merely dispeople, but destroy.
  • Unlawful arts and indeed frequently arts themselves, are persecuted by Minos, that is, by laws, which prohibit and forbid their use among the people; but notwithstanding this, they are hid, concealed, retained, and everywhere find reception and skulking-places; a thing well observed by Tacitus of the astrologers and fortune-tellers of his time. “These,” says he, “are a kind of men that will always be prohibited, and yet will always be retained in our city.”
  • Such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happen much oftener, neglect and pass them by.
    • Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, § 46
  • That astrology is a science, and a coming science, is true. That astrology in its highest aspect and its true interpretation, will enable man eventually to focus his understanding, and to function rightly, is equally true... But that astrology is not yet to be found. Too much is overlooked and too little known, to make astrology the exact science that many claim it is. The claim will be fulfilled at some future date, but the time is not yet. The claims of the astrologers as to the reality of the energies playing upon the human organism, can be seen to be true; their claims as to their capacity to interpret, are for the most part unfounded. So little is really known... The energy of the particular constellation or sign in which a man is born, is more deeply significant than has ever yet been suggested. It embodies or indicates his present problem, sets the pace or tempo of his life, and is related to the quality of his personality. It governs, if I may so express it, the . . . activity aspect of his life during incarnation.
    • Alice Bailey, A Treatise on White Magic, Lucis Trust publishing (1934) p. 434/5
  • Astrology is a science as infallible as astronomy itself, with the condition, however, that its interpreters must be equally infallible; and it is this condition, sine qua non, so very difficult of realization, that has always proved a stumbling block to both.
    • H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology (1877)
  • Astrology is to exact astronomy what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter, and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit. It is the old struggle between the Platonic and Aristotelean schools, and it is not in our century of Sadducean skepticism that the former will prevail over the latter.
    • H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology (1877)
  • Ancient civilization saw nothing absurd in the claims of astrology, nothing more than some educated and thoroughly scientific people see in them today. Legal astrology, through which the fate and deeds of men and peoples could be foreseen, appeared, and it still appears today, not yet more unphilosophical or unscientific than natural astrology or astronomy, through which the events of so-called raw and inanimate nature (Weather changes etc.) could be predicted. For it was not even a prophetic insight that was claimed by the followers of this absurd and really great science, but simply a great mastery of the procedure that allows the astrologer to determine certain events in a person's life based on the position of the planets at the time To foresee birth. As soon as the probability or even the simple possibility of an occult influence of the stars on the fate of man is known - and why should this fact appear less probable with stars and men than with sunspots and potatoes - astrology becomes no less an exact science as astronomy.
    • H P Blavatsky The Theosophist , Vol. II, No. 9, (June 1881), pp. 199-201
  • The earth, says Prof. Balfour Stewart, FRS, - "is very seriously affected by what happens in the sun". . . a connection is strongly suspected "between epidemics and the appearance of the sun's surface". "One of the most famous plant epidemics is that of potato disease. The years 1846, 1860 and 1872 were bad years because of potato disease. Now these years are not very far from the years of maximum sunspot formation. [There is] a strange connection between these plant diseases and the state of the sun... The disease that appeared about three centuries ago, of a periodic and very violent character, called the "sweat sickness" ... appeared about the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries took place in the following years: 1485, 1506, 1517, 1528 and 1551, about eleven years between eruptions. Well, this is exactly the sunspot period... " The Sun and the Earth. Lecture by Prof. Balfour Stewart).
    • H P Blavatsky The Theosophist , Vol. II, No. 9, (June 1881), pp. 199-201
  • And if, as this man of science tells us, "a connection of some mysterious species between the sun and the earth is more than suspected" ... and the problem is an extremely important one "to be solved" how much more important is then the solution to this other mystery - the undoubted affinity between man and the stars - an affinity that has been believed for innumerable ages and by the most learned of men! Certainly the fate of a person deserves as much attention as that of a turnip or a potato. . . And if disease of the latter can be scientifically predicted, whenever that plant grows during a "sunspot period" , then why should not life in sickness or health, natural or violent death be equally scientifically predicted by the location and appearance of the constellation with which man is so directly connected and which has the same relationship to him as the sun has to earth?
    • H P Blavatsky The Theosophist , Vol. II, No. 9, (June 1881), pp. 199-201
  • Astrology (Gr.) The Science which defines the action of celestial bodies upon mundane affairs, and claims to foretell future events from the position of the stars. Its antiquity is such as to place it among the very earliest records of human learning. It remained for long ages a secret science in the East, and its final expression remains so to this day, its exoteric application having been brought to any degree of perfection in the West only during the period of time since Varaha Muhira wrote his book on Astrology some 1400 years ago. Claudius Ptolemy, the famous geographer and mathematician, wrote his treatise Tetrabiblos about 135 A.D., which is still the basis of modern astrology. The science of Horoscopy is studied now chiefly under four heads: viz., (1) Mundane, in its application to meteorology, seismology, husbandry, etc. (2) State or civic, in regard to the fate of nations, kings and rulers. (3) Horary, in reference to the solving of doubts arising in the mind upon any subject. (4) Genethliacal, in its application to the fate of individuals from the moment of their birth to their death. The Egyptians and the Chaldees were among the most ancient votaries of Astrology, though their modes of reading the stars and the modern practices differ considerably.
  • If later on the name of Astrologer fell into disrepute in Rome and elsewhere, it was owing to the fraud of those who wanted to make money by means of that which was part and parcel of the sacred Science of the Mysteries, and, ignorant of the latter, evolved a system based entirely upon mathematics, instead of on transcendental metaphysics and having the physical celestial bodies as its upadhi or material basis. Yet, all persecutions notwithstanding, the number of the adherents of Astrology among the most intellectual and scientific minds was always very great. If Cardan and Kepler were among its ardent supporters, then its later votaries have nothing to blush for, even in its now imperfect and distorted form.
  • Amusingly, it falls foul of our modern taboo against lazy stereotyping. How would we react if a newspaper published a daily columm that read something like this: "Germans: It is in your nature to be hard-working and methodical, which should serve you well at work today. In your personal relationships, especially this evening, you will need to curb your natural tendency to obey orders. Chinese: Inscrutability has many advantages, but it may be your undoing today. British: Your stiff upper lip may serve you well in business dealings, but try to relax and let yourself go in your social life."
  • And most people say of astrology, "Oh, it's harmless fun, isn't it?" And I should say probably for about 80% of the cases it probably is harmless fun, but there's a strong way in which it isn't harmless: one, because it's so anti-science; you know, you'll hear things like "Science doesn't know everything." Well, of course science doesn't know everything, but because science doesn't know everything that doesn't mean science knows nothing. Science knows enough for us to be watched by a few million people now on television, for these lights to be working, for quite extraordinary miracles to have taken place in terms of the harnessing of the physical world and our dim approaches towards understanding it.
  • He considered horoscopes as silly as spectacles on a cow.
  • Their [the stars] influence on our fate is considerably less than the influence of a banana peel, on which you can slip and break your leg. But there is no interest in banana peels, whereas serious periodicals include horoscopes ... It lifts his spirits. The whole universe revolves around him, and even if things aren't going well, even if the stars are lined up in such a way that the suspenders manufacturer loses his shirt and the individual consequently loses his job, it's still more comforting than to know that the stars don't really give a damn. Knock astrology out of his head, and the belief too that the cactus on his windowsill cares about him, and what is left? Barefoot, naked despair.
    • Stanislaw Lem, Peace on Earth (1987), tr. Elinor Ford (1994) from Pojój na Zemi, Ch. 5.
  • Astrology is a disease, not a science.
  • The oracles are dumb,
    No voice or hideous hum
    Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving
    Apollo from his shrine
    Can no more divine,
    With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
    No nightly trance or breathèd spell,
    Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
  • “Doesn’t she read chicken entrails?”
    “Oh! No, astrology.”
    “Same sort of thing.”
  • Astrology can be tested by the lives of twins. There are many real cases like this: one twin is killed in childhood, in say a riding accident, or is struck by lightning, but the other lives to a prosperous old age. Suppose that happens to me. My twin and I would be born in precisely the same place, and within minutes of each other. Exactly the same planets would be rising at our births. If astrology were valid, how could we have such profoundly different fates?
  • How could the rising of Mars at the moment of my birth affect me, then, or now? I was born in a closed room. Light from Mars couldn't get in. The only influence of Mars which could affect me was its gravity. But the gravitational influence of the obstetrician was much larger than the gravitational influence of Mars. Mars is a lot more massive, but the obstetrician was a lot closer.
    • Carl Sagan, "The Harmony of Worlds", Cosmos (1980-10-12), episode 3
  • This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are
    sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make
    guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if
    we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion;
    knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance;
    drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc’d obedience of
    planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine
    thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay
    his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!
  • “Excuse me,” she said hesitantly, “but what effect do these minor planets have on our behavior and fortunes? I mean, you know, astrological influence?”
    He looked at her. “None.”
    “None at all.”
    “No.”
    “But if the planets affect our fortunes—” She stumbled to a stop at the dispassionately scornful look on the pale man’s face, the slow way he shook his head. “Surely you’ll agree that the planets order and control our destinies?”
    “They do not.”
    “Not at all?”
    “Then what does? Control our destinies, I mean.”
    “The only external forces that have any influence on us are those we can see every day: the smile, the frown, the fist, the brick wall. What you call ‘destiny’ is merely a semantic fallacy, the attribution of purpose to blind causality. Insofar as any of us are compelled to resist the flow of random events, we are driven solely by internal drives and forces.”

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