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Signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars

Reader comment on item: Is Radical Islam in Decline?
in response to reader comment: re Astrology

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Sep 20, 2016 at 12:02

Hello again, Moh.

While I await your reply to my (possibly too) many recent posts to you, let me further address something you said:

"So - there are deeper and deeper levels of 'reality' - and consciousness itself is affected by if not derived from the quantum world. So nothing can be ruled out - but superstitious beliefs are not helpful."

You will have to explain to me, exactly how consciousness is affected by, if not derived from, the quantum world. That, in itself, may take several posts from you. For my part, let me delve into the connection of astrology with superstition.

I am not as well versed in ancient history, as I would like to be. It seems that Western Civilization stands on two pillars: a pillar of revelation from the God of gods, given to us by the Hebrews; and a pillar of reasoning out reality from the example of nature, given to us by the Athenian thinkers. Between the two, the Greeks are, by far, the junior pillar. Thales of Miletus, the first Greek philosoper, fluorished around 600 BC -- when the hundreds of years of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were going into captivity in Assyria and Babylon. Moses gave the Torah, some 800 years before that; and Abraham was hearing and obeying our God, yet 600 years more before that -- during the time that the patriarch Shem was still alive. Like Abraham, Miletus and other Greek thinkers derived their wisdom from the experiences of their cultural ancestors in Mesopotamia, a land which then hosted the Chaldeans and the hotbed of Astrology.

The GODS, which modern astrology uses as adjunct tools, are Greek variants of ancient Mesopotamian gods. As I have already explained, these gods were associated with constellations, which have all shifted 35° since the days of Thales and Ezekiel; and as you have noted, identifying constellations with rams, goats, or putatively emus and wallabies, is a purely subjective exercise: What astrology focusses on is not the constellations, nor the gods, but the human qualities and life experiences that they represent. One would have to be an expert on mythology, to try to make heads or tails of what the gods were all about; but understanding the rudiments of astrology requires no more mythology or superstition than understanding astronomy and physics (from which all modern science is derived).

The ancient Chaldeans and their colleagues were tasked with understanding life and the world around us, without the help of super hadron colliders and Hubble space telescopes. Nature was all around them; but nature seemed chaotic at close quarters. To get at the heart of reality, the ancients needed to find something in nature that was objective, unchanging and regular. Blessed with an arid climate and many clear days and nights, they looked to the heavens -- just as modern scientists do with their radio telescopes and space probes. This was an exercise of the deepest reasoning, not of superstition.

Astrology might be distilled into the study of the apparent movement of the planets through twelfths of the sky, from the point of view of the person or place for which the "star chart" is drawn. Those twelve sections of the sky, above and below (through the globe) of the observer, are called "houses", which usually contain more or less than 30°, depending on longitude, lattitude and time. Those houses have "natural" partnerships with the signs of the zodiac: the first house with Aires, the second with Taurus, etc. Those signs, in turn, are associated with planets. In the ancient times, when only seven planets were known, the sun was paired with Leo and the moon with Cancer. Signs opposite them (Capricorn and Aquarius, respectively) were the outermost known planet, Saturn. When Uranus was discovered, in 1781, it was associated as "co-ruler" of Aquarius. Mercury was associated as the "ruler" of Gemini and Virgo, which flanked the Moon and Sun, respectively. Their opposites, Saggitarius and Pisces, were associated with Jupiter. When Neptune was discovered, in 1846, it was designated as the co-ruler of Pisces. Taurus and Libra, then, were associated with Venus (the next planet out from Mercury); and their opposites, Scorpio and Aires, were associated with the next planet in from Jupiter, namely, Mars. Pluto later became co-ruler of Scorpio.

As for how the planets interact with the horoscope, think of a bar magnet, or armature, spinning inside a circular field: When the pole of the bar is opposite that of the armature, there is an attraction; and when the poles are alike, there is a repulsion. Likewise, placing attractive or repulsive forces at thirds of the field gives a "flywheel" sort of impetus to the armature. Thus we have "aspects" of the planets to one another: conjunction, opposition, trine and square: each having a particular affect, similar to the attraction or repulsion of an armature. In personal star charts, a planet in opposition to a natal or transient planet has something of a "tug of war" effect; conjunction between two planets suggests intense activity; trines are considered favorable to free-flowing motion (usually described as "good" aspects), and squares are related to struggle, effort and construction.

That's the gist of it, the best that I can understand. The bottom of the zodiac, from Aires through Virgo, represents a person's life dealing with immediate surroundings; and the upper half deals with society and the wider world. Aries types, therefore, are the epitome of "Just do it!"; but their opposites, the Libras, try to make peace between others "just doing" their own things. Cancer, likewise, is preoccupied with ordering her home, while her opposite, Capricorn, busies himself ordering the world of politics or business. Leo effusively expresses himself; but Aquarius seeks to express himself through others, by re-ordering society. Taurus finds stability in nature; but Scorpio seeks, it seems, to want to stabilize society: Scorpios tend to become priests or policemen, or, in a frustrated sense, addicts. Gemini is the friend, Saggitarius the sage and world traveller; Virgo is a servant, subordinating her life for another; but Pisces is the altruist, trying to serve all.

That's the drift of it. You can see that the attributes given to the planets, houses and signs do not really derive from mythology and superstition; they come from a reasoned connection between the planets, the seasons and human behavior. The underlying assumption in this all, is that human nature is mathematically connected to the cosmos -- a very "Greek" notion, but not an idea that is alien to revealed religion:

Genesis 1:
[14] And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for SIGNS, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

Matthew 16:
[3] And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

Luke 21:
[11] And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven...
[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring...

Enough. Life beckons. Shalom shalom :-)

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (75) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
2Is radical Islam in decline? [680 words]PrashantOct 22, 2016 16:34233541
5People's call for establishing secular democracies in Islamic nations [133 words]PrashantSep 30, 2016 22:59233094
1Radical Islam (not) in decline [106 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
François GravelSep 20, 2016 04:26232875
Islamic reformation? [68 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Fragonard, PxSep 12, 2016 17:46232635
Allah's "helpers" wouldn't allow it [82 words]Michael SSep 14, 2016 15:32232635
2Treating Muhammad as a mere mortal [682 words]PrashantSep 20, 2016 08:19232635
Muslims will likely convert, after a humiliating defeat in battle. [63 words]Michael SSep 22, 2016 19:23232635
Salman Rushdie, diamond splitter [118 words]Fragonard, PxSep 22, 2016 19:33232635
Muhammad is worshipped more than any idol or Christ [150 words]PrashantSep 24, 2016 20:14232635
We don't need to impress Muslims; just highlight their hypocrisy [147 words]PrashantSep 24, 2016 20:23232635
Isham can only be defeated by force. [636 words]Michael SSep 26, 2016 04:53232635
errata [53 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 30, 2016 05:59232635
Continents; and small note about Dawkins & Evolution [326 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 06:35232635
continental capers [47 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 8, 2016 02:26232635
1Yes, Australia is unique [200 words]Michael SOct 25, 2016 16:16232635
aircraft carrier [297 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 27, 2016 06:17232635
USS Oz [108 words]Michael SNov 1, 2016 19:42232635
Australia's Importance in the South Pacific [306 words]M ToveyNov 8, 2016 15:35232635
2why Pakistan was Missed in your speech. [132 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
imtiaz hussainSep 8, 2016 15:51232432
recognition of problems is a healthy sign. [61 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 10, 2016 06:12232432
Simple everyday things can also be signs of radicalism [118 words]PrashantSep 10, 2016 12:20232432
Americans don't even know what is happening in America. How can we know about Pakistan? [182 words]Michael SSep 11, 2016 03:44232432
Good to see you again, Moh! [222 words]Michael SSep 11, 2016 21:45232432
months gone by [557 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 14, 2016 06:31232432
Should the world vote in the US elections? [482 words]Michael SSep 15, 2016 02:55232432
Trump, Clinton, Astrology and "Spooky at a Distance" [1091 words]Michael SSep 16, 2016 16:29232432
Correction -- I meant 20 Jan. 2021 [23 words]Michael SSep 16, 2016 16:32232432
Can Islam be reformed? [125 words]dhimmi no moreSep 17, 2016 12:04232432
insight into Americans (or lack of) [457 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 18, 2016 01:45232432
re Astrology [380 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 18, 2016 02:22232432
Radical Islam will likely go down with a bang [570 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 00:15232432
Does Pluto control Mickey's life? [893 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 02:31232432
God is on the side of the Muslims (for a time) [224 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 22:59232432
Entanglement in the news [182 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 23:12232432
some , not all, may have that intention. [274 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 20, 2016 05:34232432
2Only Muslims can reform Islam [74 words]dhimmi no moreSep 20, 2016 07:23232432
Signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars [1234 words]Michael SSep 20, 2016 12:02232432
The Eternal Sovereign Does Not Side With Islam/Muslims - They Only Serve Under Duress [449 words]M ToveySep 20, 2016 15:44232432
Queen squared [272 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 21, 2016 06:35232432
Muslims, Arabs, Egyptians and Aramaeans in the Bible [441 words]Michael SSep 22, 2016 00:31232432
1Virtually no Hillary signs [785 words]Michael SSep 22, 2016 09:20232432
on being being [361 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 23, 2016 06:40232432
1Australia and the US attacking Israel [691 words]Michael S.Sep 24, 2016 02:34232432
The Muslims will convert suddenly, at least in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. [554 words]Michael SSep 24, 2016 02:54232432
Do universal laws constitute "Consciousness"? Good question. [947 words]Michael SSep 24, 2016 04:04232432
Astrological aspects, and the 2020 US election [725 words]Michael SSep 24, 2016 16:12232432
self unfullfilling prophecy [440 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 29, 2016 00:02232432
forgiveness etc [279 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 29, 2016 00:25232432
Picking Up the Pieces in a Darkened World as Israel Picks up the Torch [260 words]M ToveySep 30, 2016 18:24232432
Re [99 words]George SOct 1, 2016 21:57232432
The US President has just provided the basis for a US-led UN attack on Israel: [265 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 02:34232432
Forgiveness, eternal life and Richard Dawkins [496 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 04:55232432
The beast will probably be elected in 2020 [110 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 22:08232432
I expect Israel to defeat a massive Turko-Iranian Islamist attack, stopping the mouths of the Islamists. [313 words]Michael SOct 5, 2016 04:29232432
All Things Will Be Revealed in Their Due Time - Democratic Processes Notwithstanding [109 words]M ToveyOct 5, 2016 17:23232432
yes, but...... [201 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 6, 2016 08:13232432
real gold [52 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 6, 2016 08:22232432
1Some objections [432 words]AlexandrosOct 19, 2016 07:26232432
Anything will do, as an excuse to attack Israel [22 words]Michael SOct 26, 2016 15:30232432
AOK on the aneurysm [240 words]Michael SOct 26, 2016 19:26232432
Pakistan in the Middle, But Farther East [164 words]M ToveyOct 27, 2016 18:35232432
lowering BMI [226 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 1, 2016 01:40232432
Beer bellies and smacked fannies [312 words]Michael SNov 5, 2016 07:21232432
Pakistan is complicated. [104 words]Michael SNov 8, 2016 00:31232432
the empty shell [351 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 8, 2016 06:42232432
Probably not enough time for 1000 cuts. [281 words]Michael S.Nov 10, 2016 01:31232432
Pakistan does not have to be complicated [151 words]PrashantNov 10, 2016 07:55232432
Caste and Democracy [433 words]Michael SNov 13, 2016 03:11232432
the aftermath [107 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 13, 2016 20:40232432
inevitability of it all [67 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 13, 2016 20:45232432
Interesting times. [297 words]Michael SNov 15, 2016 05:01232432
EU needs cleansing [177 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 18, 2016 08:22232432
Schulz doesn't seem that bad [510 words]Michael SNov 21, 2016 05:13232432
ergo [7 words]rwSep 7, 2016 21:23232416
The decline of political Islam started on June 30 2013 in Tahrir Square Cairo [48 words]dhimmi no moreSep 7, 2016 17:30232410

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