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Astrological traditions, types, and systems

Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between visible astronomical phenomena and events in the human world. In the West, astrology most often consists of a system of horoscopes that claim to predict aspects of an individual's personality or life history based on the positions of the sun, moon, and planetary objects at the time of their birth. Many other cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and the Indian, Chinese, and Mayan cultures developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations.

Astrology’s origins in Indo-European cultures trace to the third millennium BCE, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications.[1] Through most of its history it was considered a scholarly tradition. It was accepted in political and academic contexts, and its concepts were built into other studies, such as astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine.[2] At the end of the 17th century, new scientific concepts in astronomy (such as heliocentrism) began to damage the credibility of astrology, which subsequently lost its academic and theoretical standing. Astrology saw a popular revival in the 19th and 20th centuries as part of a general revival of spiritualism and later New Age philosophy, and through the influence of mass media such as newspaper horoscopes.[3]

While astrology may bear a superficial resemblance to science, it is a pseudoscience because it makes little attempt to develop solutions to its problems, shows no concern for the evaluation of competing theories, and is selective in considering confirmations and dis-confirmations.[4][5]



Marcantonio Raimondi engraving: 15th cent.

The word astrology comes from the Latin astrologia,[6] deriving from the Greek noun αστρολογία, which combines ἄστρο astro, 'star, celestial body' with λογία logia, 'study of, theory, discourse (about)'.[7]

Historically, the word star has had a loose definition, by which it can refer to planets or any luminous celestial object.[8] The notion of it signifying all heavenly bodies is evident in early Babylonian astrology where cuneiform depictions for the determinative MUL (star) present a symbol of stars alongside planetary and other stellar references to indicate deified objects which reside in the heavens.[a] The word planet (based on the Greek verb πλανάω planaō 'to wander/stray'), was introduced by the Greeks as a reference to how seven notable 'stars' were seen to 'wander' through others which remained static in their relationship to each other, with the distinction noted by the terms ἀστέρες ἀπλανεῖς asteres aplaneis ‘fixed stars’, and ἀστέρες πλανῆται asteres planetai, ‘wandering stars’.[9] Initially, texts such as Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos referred to the planets as 'the star of Saturn', 'the star of Jupiter', etc., rather than simply 'Saturn' or 'Jupiter',[10] but the names became simplified as the word planet assumed astronomical formality over time.[11]

The seven Classical planets therefore comprise the Sun and Moon along with the solar-system planets that are visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This remained the standard definition of the word 'planet' until the discovery of Uranus in 1781 created a need for revision.[12] Although the modern IAU definition of planet does not include the Sun and the Moon, astrology retains historical convention in its description of those astronomical bodies, and also generally maintains reference to Pluto as being an astrological planet.[b]

Core principles

Robert Fludd's 16th century illustration of man the microcosm within the universal macrocosm

A central principle of astrology is integration within the cosmos.[13] The individual, Earth, and its environment are viewed as a single organism, all parts of which are correlated with each other.[14] Cycles of change that are observed in the heavens are therefore said to be reflective (not causative) of similar cycles of change observed on earth and within the individual.[15] This relationship is expressed in the Hermetic maxim "as above, so below; as below, so above", which postulates symmetry between the individual as a microcosm and the celestial environment as a macrocosm.[16] Accordingly, the natal horoscope depicts a stylized map of the universe at the time of birth, specifically focussed on the individual at its centre, with the Sun, Moon, and celestial bodies considered to be that individual’s personal planets or stars, which are uniquely relevant to that individual alone.[17]

At the heart of astrology is the metaphysical principle that mathematical relationships express qualities or ‘tones' of energy which manifest in numbers, visual angles, shapes and sounds – all connected within a pattern of proportion. Pythagoras first identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios.[18] In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution,[19] and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.[20] Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as "twinned" studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.[21]

William Blake's characterisation of Isaac Newton working with the principle of Divine Proportion

Later philosophers retained the close association between astronomy, optics, music and astrology, including Ptolemy, who wrote influential texts on all these topics.[22] Alkindi, in the 9th century, developed Ptolemy's ideas in De Aspectibus which explores many points of relevance to astrology and the use of planetary aspects.[23] In the 17th century, Kepler, also influenced by arguments in Ptolemy’s Optics and Harmonica,[24] compiled his Harmonices Mundi ('Harmony of the World'), which presented his own analysis of optical perceptions, geometrical shapes, musical consonances and planetary harmonies. Kepler regarded this text as the most important work of his career, and the fifth part, concerning the role of planetary harmony in Creation, the crown of it.[25] His premise was that, as an integral part of Universal Law, mathematical harmony is the key that binds all parts together: one theoretical proposition from his work introduced the minor planetary aspects into astrology; another introduced Kepler’s third law of planetary motion into astronomy.[26]

Another core principle is exemplified in an astrological maxim used by Francis Bacon in the 17th century: "The last rule (which has always been held by the wiser astrologers) is that there is no fatal necessity in the stars; but that they rather incline than compel".[27] Bacon advocated an emphasis on what he called "sane astrology" based on the study of subtle influences that "lie concealed in the depths of Physic".[28] His arguments reflect how astrology has always involved consideration of the psyche,[13] a more recent expression of which can be found in the writings of Carl Jung and the development of modern psychological astrology.

World traditions

Although most cultural systems of astrology share common roots in ancient philosophies that influenced each other, many have unique methodologies which differ from those developed in the west. The most significant are Hindu astrology (also known as "Indian astrology" and in modern times referred to as "Vedic astrology") and Chinese astrology. Both have yielded great influence upon the world's cultural history.

Western astrology

Western astrology is largely horoscopic, that is, it is a form of divination based on the construction of a horoscope for an exact moment, such as a person's birth.[29] It is founded on the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies such as the Sun, Moon, planets, which are analyzed by their aspects (angles) relative to one another. These are usually considered by their placement in houses (spatial divisions of the sky), and their movement through signs of the zodiac (spatial divisions of the ecliptic). Astrology's modern representation in western popular media is often reduced to sun sign astrology, which considers only basic relationships of planets to the zodiac sign of the Sun at an individual's date of birth. The full analysis of the birth chart, as performed by an astrological practitioner, involves much more detailed consideration than this.

Page from an Astrological Treatise, ca. 1750

Indian and South/West Asian astrology

Indian (or Hindu) astrology uses a different commencement point to its 12-fold division of the zodiac than Western astrology but retains the same names and meanings for the signs and shares many of the same traditional principles. The two methods differ mainly in their focus on sidereal and tropical astrology, with Hindu astrology relying on the sidereal zodiac (which uses an ayanamsa adjustment to account for the gradual precession of the vernal equinox, and so aims to align the zodiac with the constellations), while Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac, (which aligns the signs to the points where the Sun's position on the ecliptic creates the change of seasons).[30] Hindu astrology also includes several sub-systems of zodiac division, and employs the notion of bandhu: connections that, according to the Vedas link the outer and the inner worlds. This principle is similar to that found in Western and Chinese astrology, in considering the connection between the macrocosm and microcosm.

In India, there is a long-established and widespread belief in astrology. It is commonly used for daily life, particularly in matters concerning marriage and career, and makes extensive use of electional, horary and karmic astrology.[31][32] It remains considered a branch of Vedic science.[33][34] In 2001, Indian scientists and politicians debated and critiqued a proposal to use state money to fund research into astrology[35] resulting in vedic astrology being introduced into the curriculum of Indian universities.[36] In February 2011, the Bombay High Court reaffirmed astrology's standing in India when it dismissed a case which had challenged it status as a science.[37]

The astrology commonly used in Sri Lanka is largely based on Hindu astrology with some modifications to bring it in line with Buddhist teachings. Tibetan astrology also shares many of these components but has also been strongly influenced by Chinese culture and acknowledges a circle of animal signs similar to that of the Chinese zodiac (see below).

Chinese and East-Asian astrology

Chinese astrology has a close relation with Chinese philosophy (theory of the three harmony, heaven, earth and water) and uses the principles of yin and yang and concepts that are not found in Western astrology, such as the wu xing teachings, the 10 Celestial stems, the 12 Earthly Branches, and shichen (時辰 a form of timekeeping used for religious purposes).

The system of Chinese astrology was elaborated during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) and flourished during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD), during which all the familiar elements of traditional Chinese culture - the Yin-Yang philosophy, theory of the 5 elements, Heaven and Earth, Confucian morality - were brought together to formalise the philosophical principles of Chinese medicine and divination, astrology and alchemy.[38]

The early use of Chinese astrology was mainly confined to political astrology, the observation of unusual phenomena, identification of portents and the selection of auspicious days for events and decisions.[39] The constellations of the Zodiac of western Asia and Europe were not used; instead the sky is divided into Three Enclosures (三垣 sān yuán), and Twenty-eight Mansions (二十八宿 èrshíbā xiù) in twelve Ci (十二次).[40] The Three Enclosures occupy the area close to the North Celestial Pole, where the stars are visible to northern hemisphere observers all year around. The Twenty-eight Mansions occupy the zodiacal band and find their equivalent in the 28 Lunar mansions of western astrology and the Nakshatra of Indian astrology. Though marked along the zodiac they are defined by the movement of the Moon in a lunar month rather than the Sun in a solar year. The Zhou Bi Suan Jing is an important astronomical text, dating from the Zhou dynasty but completed in the Han dynasty. It presents a complex lunisolar calendar whose focus reflects a long-standing division between mathematical astronomy "li fa" and portent astrology "tian wen".[41]

The zodiac of twelve animal signs is said to represent twelve different types of personality. This is not derived from divisions of the ecliptic as in Western astrology, but represents annual rather than monthly themes, being based on cycles of years, lunar months, and two-hour periods of the day (the shichen). The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and the cycle proceeds through 11 other animals signs: the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.[42] A complex system of predicting fate and destiny based on one's birthday, birth season, and birth hours, known as Zi Wei Dou Shu (simplified Chinese: 紫微斗数; traditional Chinese: 紫微斗數; pinyin: zǐwēidǒushù) is also still used regularly in modern day Chinese astrology.

The Korean zodiac is identical to the Chinese one. The Vietnamese zodiac is almost identical to Chinese zodiac except that the second animal is the Water Buffalo instead of the Ox, and the fourth animal is the Cat instead of the Rabbit. The Japanese zodiac includes the Wild Boar instead of the Pig. The Thai zodiac includes a Naga in place of the Dragon and begins, not at Chinese New Year, but at either on the first day of fifth month in Thai lunar calendar, or during the Songkran festival (now celebrated every 13–15 April), depending on the purpose of the use.[43]


Ancient world

Astrology, before its differentiation from astronomy, began when humans started to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by reference to astronomical cycles.[44] Early evidence of this appears as markings on bones and cave walls, which show lunar cycles were being noted as early as 25,000 years ago. These were the first steps towards recording the Moon’s influence upon tides and rivers, and towards organizing a communal calendar.[45] Agricultural needs were also met by increasing knowledge of constellations, whose appearances change with the seasons, allowing the rising of particular star-groups to herald annual floods or seasonal activities.[46] By the third millennium BCE, widespread civilizations had developed sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles, and are believed to have consciously oriented their temples to create alignment with the heliacal risings of the stars.[47]

There is scattered evidence to suggest that the oldest known astrological references are copies of texts made during this period. Two, from the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa (compiled in Babylon round 1700 BCE) are reported to have been made during the reign of king Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE).[48] Another, showing an early use of electional astrology, is ascribed to the reign of the Sumerian ruler Gudea of Lagash (ca. 2144-2124 BCE). This describes how the gods revealed to him in a dream the constellations that would be most favorable for the planned construction of a temple.[49] However, there is controversy about whether they were genuinely recorded at the time or merely ascribed to ancient rulers by posterity. The oldest undisputed evidence of the use of astrology as an integrated system of knowledge is therefore attributed to the records of the first dynasty of Mesopotamia (1950-1651 BCE).

Medieval Islamic world

Image of a Latin astrological text
Latin translation of Abū Maʿshar's De Magnis Coniunctionibus (‘Of the great conjunctions’), Venice, 1515.

Astrology was taken up enthusiastically by Islamic scholars following the collapse of Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th. The second Abbasid caliph, Al Mansur (754-775) founded the city of Baghdad to act as a centre of learning, and included in its design a library-translation centre known as Bayt al-Hikma ‘Storehouse of Wisdom’, which continued to receive development from his heirs and was to provide a major impetus for Arabic-Persian translations of Hellenistic astrological texts.[50] The early translators included Mashallah, who helped to elect the time for the foundation of Baghdad,[51] and Sahl ibn Bishr, (a.k.a Zael), whose texts were directly influential upon later European astrologers such as Guido Bonatti in the 13th century, and William Lilly in the 17th century.[52] Knowledge of Arabic texts started to become imported into Europe during the Latin translations of the 12th century, the effect of which was to help initiate the European Renaissance.

Other important Arabic astrologers include Albumasur and Al Khwarizmi, the Persian mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, who is considered the father of algebra and the algorithm. The Arabs greatly increased the knowledge of astronomical cycles, and many of the star names that remain in common use today, such as Aldebaran, Altair, Betelgeuse, Rigel and Vega retain the legacy of their language.

20th and 21st century

Early in the 20th century, Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, developed sophisticated theories concerning astrology.[53] These included concepts such as archetypes, the collective unconscious[54] and with the collaboration of pioneer theoretical physicist (and Nobel laureate), Wolfgang Pauli, synchronicity.[55] Astrologers like Dane Rudhyar[56] pursued a similar path to Jung and others such as Liz Greene[57][58] and Stephen Arroyo[59] were influenced by the Jungian model leading to the development of psychological astrology.[60]

In the middle of the 20th century, Alfred Witte and, following him, Reinhold Ebertin pioneered the use of midpoints, called midpoint astrology in horoscopic analysis.[61] A new kind of locational astrology began in 1957–58, when Donald Bradley published a hand-plotted geographic astrology map. In the 1970s, American astrologer Jim Lewis developed this technique under the name of Astro*Carto*Graphy.[62] The world map displays lines where the Sun, Moon, planets and other celestial points appear to be on any of the Four Angles (Rising, Setting, MC and IC) at a given moment in time. By comparing these lines with the horoscope, an astrologer attempts to identify the potential in any location.[63]

Effect on European culture

Aquarius: one of the twelve zodiac signs on the church of Saint-Austremonius, Auvergne, France.

Belief in astrology holds firm today in many parts of the world: in one poll, 31% of Americans expressed belief in astrology and according to another study 39% considered it scientific.[64] According to Gallup opinion polls, around 25% of adults in the UK and US accept that astrology or the position of the stars and planets affect people’s lives, whilst other sources report the figure to be much higher.[65]

Astrology has had an influence on both language and literature. For example, influenza, from medieval Latin influentia 'influence', was so named because doctors once believed epidemics to be caused by unfavourable celestial influences.[66] The word disaster comes from the Greek δυσαστρία, disastria, derived from the negative prefix δυσ-, dis- and αστήρ, aster 'star', meaning not-starred or badly-starred.[67] The adjectives lunatic (Luna/Moon), mercurial (Mercury), venereal (Venus), martial (Mars), jovial (Jupiter/Jove), and saturnine (Saturn) are all used to describe personal qualities thought to be influenced by the astrological characteristics of predominating personal planets.

In literature many writers, such as Chaucer and Shakespeare, used astrological symbolism to add subtlety and nuance to the description of their characters' motivations.[68] More recently, Michael Ward has proposed that C.S. Lewis imbued his Chronicles of Narnia with the characteristics and symbols of the seven planets that govern the heavens in medieval astrology.[69] In 1978, notes from Margaret Mitchell’s library revealed that she had based each character from her classic prize-winning novel, Gone with the Wind (1936), including the central star-crossed lovers, Scarlett (Aries) and Rhett (Leo), around an archetype of the zodiac.[70] In 2010, a detailed personal horoscope analyzed and illustrated by J.K. Rowling at the time she was writing her first Harry Potter novel, came up for sale. The auctioneer commented that Rowling “displays a detailed knowledge of Western astrology which was later to play an important part in her books".[71]

In music the best known example of astrology's influence is in the orchestral suite The Planets by British composer Gustav Holst, the framework of which is based on the astrological tones and signatures of the planets.[72]

In politics, in 1981, after John Hinckley's attempted assassination of President Reagan, first lady Nancy Reagan commissioned astrologer Joan Quigley to act as the secret White House astrologer. However, Quigley's role ended in 1988 when it became public through the memoirs of former chief of staff, Donald Regan.[73][74][75]

Modern scientific appraisal

Contemporary science considers astrology a pseudoscience.[76] Criticisms include that astrology is conjectural and supplies no hypotheses, proves difficult to falsify, and describes natural events in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.[77][not in citation given] It has also been suggested that much of the continued faith in astrology could be psychologically explained as a matter of cognitive bias.[78] Skeptics[who?] say that the practice of western astrologers allows them to avoid making verifiable predictions, and gives them the ability to attach significance to arbitrary and unrelated events, in a way that suits their purpose,[79] although science also provides methodologies to separate verifiable significance from arbitrary predictions in research experiments, as demonstrated by Gauquelin's research and Carlson's experiment.[citation needed]

Astrology has been criticized for failing to provide a physical mechanism that links the movements of celestial bodies to their purported effects on human behavior. In 1975, amid increasing popular interest in astrology, The Humanist magazine presented a rebuttal of astrology in a statement put together by Bart J. Bok, Lawrence E. Jerome, and Paul Kurtz.[80] The statement, entitled ‘Objections to Astrology’, was signed by 186 astronomers, physicists and leading scientists of the day. They said that there is no scientific foundation for the tenets of astrology and warned the public against accepting astrological advice without question. Their criticism focused on the fact that there was no mechanism whereby astrological effects might occur:

We can see how infinitesimally small are the gravitational and other effects produced by the distant planets and the far more distant stars. It is simply a mistake to imagine that the forces exerted by stars and planets at the moment of birth can in any way shape our futures.[81][82]

Astronomer Carl Sagan declined to sign the statement. For this reason, his words have been quoted by those who argue that astrology retains some sort of scientific validity.[83] Sagan said he took this stance not because he thought astrology had any validity at all, but because he thought that the tone of the statement was authoritarian, and that dismissing astrology because there was no mechanism (while "certainly a relevant point") was not in itself convincing. In a letter published in a follow-up edition of The Humanist, Sagan confirmed that he would have been willing to sign such a statement had it described and refuted the principal tenets of astrological belief. This, he argued, would have been more persuasive and would have produced less controversy.[84]

In a lecture in 2001, Stephen Hawking stated "The reason most scientists don't believe in astrology is because it is not consistent with our theories that have been tested by experiment."[85] Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson asserted that "astrology was discredited 600 years ago with the birth of modern science. 'To teach it as though you are contributing to the fundamental knowledge of an informed electorate is astonishing in this, the 21st century'. Education should be about knowing how to think, 'And part of knowing how to think is knowing how the laws of nature shape the world around us. Without that knowledge, without that capacity to think, you can easily become a victim of people who seek to take advantage of you'". The founder of the Astrological Institute to which Tyson's criticism was directed responded "It's quite obvious that he hasn't studied the subject."[86]

Astrologers for their part prefer not to attempt to explain astrology,[87] and instead give it supernatural explanations such as divination or synchronicity.[88][89][90] Others have proposed conventional causal agents such as electro-magnetism within an intricate web of planetary fields and resonances in the solar system.[91][92] Scientists dismiss magnetism as an implausible explanation, since the magnetic field of a large but distant planet such as Jupiter is far smaller than that produced by ordinary household appliances.[93]

Carlson's experiment

A different approach to testing astrology quantitatively uses blind experiment. The most renowned[94] of these is Shawn Carlson's double-blind chart matching tests in which he challenged 28 astrologers to match over 100 natal charts to psychological profiles generated by the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) test. When Carlson's study was published in Nature in 1985, his conclusion was that predictions based on natal astrology were no better than chance, and that the testing "clearly refutes the astrological hypothesis".[95]

Gauquelin's research

The initial Mars effect finding, showing the relative frequency of the diurnal position of Mars in the birth charts (N = 570) of "eminent athletes" (red solid line) compared to the expected results [after Michel Gauquelin 1955][96]

In 1955, Michel Gauquelin stated that although he had failed to find evidence to support such indicators as the zodiacal signs and planetary aspects in astrology, he had found positive correlations between the diurnal positions of some of the planets and success in professions (such as doctors, scientists, athletes, actors, writers, painters, etc.) which astrology traditionally associates with those planets.[96] The best-known of Gauquelin's findings is based on the positions of Mars in the natal charts of successful athletes and became known as the "Mars effect".[97] A study conducted by seven French scientists attempted to replicate the claim, but found no statistical evidence, and attributed the effect to selective bias on Gauquelin's part, accusing him of attempting to persuade them to add or delete names from their study.[98]

Theological criticism

Some of the practices of astrology were contested on theological grounds by medieval Muslim astronomers such as Al-Farabi (Alpharabius), Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) and Avicenna. They said that the methods of astrologers conflicted with orthodox religious views of Islamic scholars through the suggestion that the Will of God can be known and predicted in advance.[99] Such arguments mainly concerned "judicial branches" (such as Horary astrology), rather than the more "natural branches" such as Medical and Meteorological astrology, these being seen as part of the natural sciences of the time.

For example, Avicenna’s 'Refutation against astrology' Risāla fī ibṭāl aḥkām al-nojūm, argues against the practice of astrology while supporting the principle of planets acting as the agents of divine causation which express God's absolute power over creation. Avicenna considered that the movement of the planets influenced life on earth in a deterministic way, but argued against the capability of determining the exact influence of the stars.[100] In essence, Avicenna did not refute the essential dogma of astrology, but denied our ability to understand it to the extent that precise and fatalistic predictions could be made from it.[101]

Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (1292–1350), in his Miftah Dar al-SaCadah, also used physical arguments in astronomy to question the practice of judicial astrology.[102] He recognized that the stars are much larger than the planets, and argued:[103]

And if you astrologers answer that it is precisely because of this distance and smallness that their influences are negligible, then why is it that you claim a great influence for the smallest heavenly body, Mercury? Why is it that you have given an influence to al-Ra's and al-Dhanab, which are two imaginary points [ascending and descending nodes]?


Education in astrology is offered in a number of countries of the world:

United States

In the United States, astrological education is offered at institutions such as Kepler College, a liberal arts college with an emphasis on astrology in Lynnwood, Washington, near Seattle, which opened in 2001[104] and awarded its first 8 Bachelor of Arts degrees in Astrological Studies in 2004.[105] However, unless they are completing a course of study, students attending Kepler College after March 9, 2010,[106] are not awarded degrees but certificates of completion of a course of study.[107] The degrees granted by Kepler are not recognized by national or regional accrediting agencies.[108] Other astrological organizations offer study programs and correspondence courses to certify astrologers.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, astrological education is offered at a number of institutions, some offering a diploma upon completion of the course and an examination. In addition, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David at Lampeter offers an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology.[109]


In February, 2001, vedic astrology, Jyotish Vigyan, was introduced into the curriculum of Indian universities. Undergraduate (called "graduate" in India) post-graduate and research courses of study were established. "Beneficiaries of these courses would be students, teachers, professionals from modern streams like doctors, architects, marketing, financial, economic and political analysts, etc."[36] In April 2001 the Andhra Pradesh High Court declined to consider a petition to overturn the curriculum guideline on the ground that astrology was a pseudoscience, a decision affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2004 which declined as a matter of law to interfere with educational policy. The court noted that astrology studies were optional and that courses in astrology were offered by institutions of higher education in other countries.[110]


  1. ^ Babylonian planet names took a multitude of deity forms, most drawn from one basic deity association; for example, the basic association of Mars was with the war-god Nergal, for whom it expressed representation as the ‘the star of Nergal’.[111]
  2. ^ Some 'traditional astrologers' prefer to work only with the seven Classical planets, but most modern astrologers include reference to Uranus (discovered in 1781), Neptune (1846) and Pluto (1930).

    It is therefore conventional for astrology texts to refer to ten planets, which does not include the Earth. These, with their astrological symbols, are as follows:
    ☉ Sun | ☽ Moon | ☿ Mercury | ♀ Venus | ♂ Mars | ♃ Jupiter | ♄ Saturn | ♅ Uranus | ♆ Neptune | ♇ Pluto


  1. ^ Koch-Westenholz (1995) Foreword and p.11.
  2. ^ Kassell and Ralley (2010) ‘Stars, spirits, signs: towards a history of astrology 1100–1800'; pp.67-69.
  3. ^ Campion (2009) pp.259-263, for the popularizing influence of newspaper astrology; pp. 239-249: for association with New Age philosophies.
  4. ^ Kelly, I.W., R. Culver and P.J. Loptson, 1989: Astrology and science: an examination of the evidence. In Cosmic perspectives: essays dedicated to the memory of M.K.V. Bappu, S.K. Biswas, D.C.V. Mallik, and C.V. Vishveshwara, eds., Cambridge University Press, 249 pp.
  5. ^ Asquith and Hacking (1978) 'Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience' by Paul R. Thagard. See also National Science Board (2006) Science and Engineering Indicators; ch 7: 'Science and Technology. Public Attitudes and Understanding: Belief in Pseudoscience'. National Science Foundation (2006); retrieved 19 April 2010:"About three-fourths of Americans hold at least one pseudoscientific belief; i.e., they believed in at least 1 of the 10 survey items[29]" ..." Those 10 items were extrasensory perception (ESP), that houses can be haunted, ghosts/that spirits of dead people can come back in certain places/situations, telepathy/communication between minds without using traditional senses, clairvoyance/the power of the mind to know the past and predict the future, astrology/that the position of the stars and planets can affect people's lives, that people can communicate mentally with someone who has died, witches, reincarnation/the rebirth of the soul in a new body after death, and channeling/allowing a "spirit-being" to temporarily assume control of a body."
  6. ^ (2008) Etymology of the Latin word astrologia.
  7. ^ Partridge (1960) p.911.
  8. ^ Soanes (2006) 'Star' sense 1. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  9. ^ Merriam-Webster (1989) p.369. Online at, retrieved 5th August 2011.
  10. ^ Tetrabiblos (Robbins ed. 1940) I.4, p.35, footnote 3.
  11. ^ Pliny (77 AD) illustrated the irony of the use of the term 'planet' since the planetary cycles were known to be regular and predictable: "...the seven stars, which owing to their motion we call planets, though no stars wander less than they do". Pliny the Elder (77) II.iv, p.177.
  12. ^ "Definition of planet". Merriam-Webster OnLine. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  13. ^ a b Lewis (1994) p.58: "The Hermetic doctrine of the macrocosm and the microcosm provides the philosophical foundation of astrology and is a counterpart to the modern philosophy of holism. In this view, the psyche is not merely a whole unto itself but is also a part of the greater whole that reflects it".
  14. ^ Manilius (77) p.87-89 (II.64-67): “the entire universe is alive in mutual concord of its elements and is driven by the pulse of reason, since a single spirit dwells in all its parts and, speeding through all things, nourishes it like a living creature”.
  15. ^ Alkindi (9th cent.) is clarifying this point where he says in his text On the Stellar Rays, ch.4: “... we say that one thing acts with its elemental rays on another, but according to the exquisite truth it does not act but only the celestial harmony acts”.
  16. ^ Culpeper (1653) An Astrologo-Physical Discourse of the Human Virtues in the Body of Man, p.1: “As the heart is in the Microcosm, so is the Sun in the Macrocosm: for as the Sun gives life, light, and motion to the Creation, so doth the heart to the body; therefore it [the heart] is called Sol Corporis ['bodily sun'], as the Sun is called Cor Coeli ['heavenly heart'] because their operations are similar”.
  17. ^ McRitchie (2006) p.7: "Each individual, whether it is a person, thing, or an event, is a microcosm born at the center of its own macrocosmic universe. Each individual has its own planets, is identified with its native circumstances, and has a sensitive dependence on its initial configuration within the world of experience that is known and shared in common among other individuals. The circumstances of birth show what has begun.” This clarifies the philosophical principle found in many traditional works, such as Kepler (1619) Harmony of the World, pp.274-5, which describes the astrological influence at birth as a 'spiritual idea' in which the zodiac exsists 'within' as well as 'without': “the vital faculty, lit in the heart and burning as long as life exists, is in a certain sense a zodiac since its essence consists in activity and in a flow of flame, as it were, the result is that the whole sensible shape of the zodiac flows into it ...When therefore, it begins to be what it is at the time when it constructs the harmonies, then most of all the sensible radiant harmony of the planets flows into it”.
  18. ^ Weiss and Taruskin (2008) p.3.
  19. ^ Pliny the Elder (77) pp.277-8, (II.xviii.xx): "…occasionally Pythagoras draws on the theory of music, and designates the distance between the Earth and the Moon as a whole tone, that between the Moon and Mercury as a semitone, .... the seven tones thus producing the so-called diapason, i.e. a universal harmony".
  20. ^ Houlding (2000) p.28: “The doctrine of the Pythagoreans was a combination of science and mysticism… Like Anaximenes they viewed the Universe as one integrated, living organism, surrounded by Divine Air (or more literally ‘Breath’), which permeates and animates the whole cosmos and filters through to individual creatures… By partaking of the core essence of the Universe, the individual is said to act as a microcosm in which all the laws in the macrocosm of the Universe are at work”.
  21. ^ Davis (1901) p.252. Plato’s Republic VII.XII reads: “As the eyes, said I, seem formed for studying astronomy, so do the ears seem formed for harmonious motions: and these seem to be twin sciences to one another, as also the Pythagoreans say”.
  22. ^ Smith (1996) p.2.
  23. ^ Hackett (1997) p.245 and Smith (1996) p.56.
  24. ^ An English translation of the Harmonica was recently published by Andrew Barker, in his Greek Musical Writings vol. II (Cambridge University Press, 2004). The work was also discussed by James Frederick Mountford in his article ‘The Harmonics of Ptolemy and the Lacuna in II, 14’ (Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 57. 1926; pp.71-95). Mountford refers to Ptolemy’s Harmonica as "the most scientific and best arranged treatise on the theory of musical scales which we possess in Greek".
  25. ^ Kepler (1619) 'Introduction', p.xix. “Kepler did not ascribe any direct physical influence to the celestial bodies but supposed the astrological effects to be the result of instinctive responses of individual souls to the harmonies of certain configurations or aspects. A soul was also ascribed to the Earth itself, whose response to the aspects explained their influence on the weather”. In his Tertius Interveniens, 1610, Kepler defined the horoscope as the celestial imprint imparted at birth: Ch,7: "When a human being's life is first ignited, when he now has his own life, and can no longer remain in the womb - then he receives a character and an imprint of all the celestial configurations (or the images of the rays intersecting on earth), and retains them unto his grave". See translated excerpts by Dr. Kenneth G. Negus on Cura. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  26. ^ Kepler (1619) Kepler's Third Law used to be known as the harmonic law. It captures the relationship between the distance of planets from the Sun, and their orbital periods. "The square of the orbital period is proportional to the cube of the mean distance from the Sun ".[1] See also Gerald James Holton, Stephen G. Brush (2001). Physics, the Human Adventure. Rutgers University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0813529085. 
  27. ^ Bacon (1623) De Augmentis, p.351. The maxim that the stars impel but do not compel was used by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, "following the same line of argument as St Augustine and others before him" (A history of magic by Richard Cavendish; p.66., Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1977).
  28. ^ Bacon (1623) De Augmentis, p.351.
  29. ^ Soanes (2006) 'Astrology' "The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world". Retrieved 16 July 2011. Also Weiner (1973) 'Astrology' by David Pingree. "...the study of the impact of the celestial bodies". Retrieved 2nd December 2009.
  30. ^ James R. Lewis, 2003. The Astrology Book: the Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences. Visible Ink Press. Online at Google Books.
  31. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. (1998-12-23). "BV Raman Dies". New York Times, December 23, 1998. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  32. ^ Dipankar Das, May 1996. "Fame and Fortune". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  33. ^ "In countries such as India, where only a small intellectual elite has been trained in Western physics, astrology manages to retain here and there its position among the sciences." David Pingree and Robert Gilbert, "Astrology; Astrology In India; Astrology in modern times". Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008
  34. ^ Mohan Rao, Female foeticide: where do we go? Indian Journal of Medical Ethics Oct-Dec2001-9(4)[2]
  35. ^ Indian Astrology vs Indian Science
  36. ^ a b "Guidelines for Setting up Departments of Vedic Astrology in Universities Under the Purview of University Grants Commission". Government of India, Department of Education. Retrieved March 26, 2011. "There is an urgent need to rejuvenate the science of Vedic Astrology in India, to allow this scientific knowledge to reach to the society at large and to provide opportunities to get this important science even exported to the world," 
  37. ^ 'Astrology is a science: Bombay HC', The Times of India, 3 February 2011
  38. ^ Sun and Kistemaker (1997) pp.3-4.
  39. ^ Sun and Kistemaker (1997) pp.22, 85, 176.
  40. ^ F. Richard Stephenson, "Chinese Roots of Modern Astronomy", New Scientist, 26 June 1980. See also 二十八宿的形成与演变
  41. ^ Cullen, Christopher. Astronomy and mathematics in ancient China: the Zhou bi suan jing". Cambridge University Press. 1996. pages 2-6.
  42. ^ Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, pp2-8, 30-5, 60-4, 88-94, 118-24, 148-53, 178-84, 208-13, 238-44, 270-78, 306-12, 338-44, Souvenir Press, New York, 2005
  43. ^ "การเปลี่ยนวันใหม่ การนับวัน ทางโหราศาสตร์ไทย การเปลี่ยนปีนักษัตร โหราศาสตร์ ดูดวง ทำนายทายทัก". 
  44. ^ Campion (2008) pp.2-3.
  45. ^ Marshack (1972) p.81ff.
  46. ^ Hesiod (c. 8th cent. BCE). Hesiod’s poem Works and Days shows how the heliacal rising of constellations were used as a calendar for agricultural events, which started to acquire astrological associations, e.g.: “Fifty days after the solstice, when the season of wearisome heat is come to an end, is the right time to go sailing. Then you will not wreck your ship, nor will the sea destroy the sailors, unless Poseidon the Earth-Shaker be set upon it, or Zeus, the king of the deathless gods” (II. 663-677).
  47. ^ Kelley and Milone (2005) p.268.
  48. ^ Two texts which refer to the 'omens of Sargon' are reported in E. F. Weidner, ‘Historiches Material in der Babyonischen Omina-Literatur’ Altorientalische Studien, ed. Bruno Meissner, (Leipzig, 1928-9), v. 231 and 236.
  49. ^ From scroll A of the ruler Gudea of Lagash, I 17 – VI 13. O. Kaiser, Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments, Bd. 2, 1-3. Gütersloh, 1986-1991. Also quoted in A. Falkenstein, ‘Wahrsagung in der sumerischen Überlieferung’, La divination en Mésopotamie ancienne et dans les régions voisines. Paris, 1966.
  50. ^ Houlding (2010) Ch. 8: 'The medieval development of Hellenistic principles concerning aspectual applications and orbs'; pp.12-13.
  51. ^ Albiruni, Chronology (11th c.) Ch.VIII, ‘On the days of the Greek calendar’, re. 23 Tammûz; Sachau.
  52. ^ Houlding (2010) Ch. 6: 'Historical sources and traditional approaches'; pp.2-7.
  53. ^ Jung, Carl G. Letters 1906–1950, ed. Gerhard Adler, et al.(Princeton University Press: Bollingen, 1992), Letter from Jung to Freud, 12 June 1911. ISBN 9780691098951 “I made horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth.”
  54. ^ Campion (2009) p.251–256: “At the same time, in Switzerland, the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) was developing sophisticated theories concerning astrology...”
  55. ^ Gieser, Suzanne. The Innermost Kernel, Depth Psychology and Quantum Physics. Wolfgang Pauli’s Dialogue with C.G.Jung, (Springer, Berlin, 2005) p.21 ISBN 3-540-20856-9
  56. ^ Campion, Nicholas. "Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement. The Extent and Nature of Contemporary Belief in Astrology."( Bath Spa University College, 2003) via Campion, Nicholas, History of Western Astrology, (Continuum Books, London & New York, 2009) p.248 p.256 ISBN 9781847252241
  57. ^ Holden, James, A History of Horoscopic Astrology: From the Babylonian Period to the Modern Age, (AFA 1996) p.202 ISBN 0-86690-463-8
  58. ^ Campion (2009) p.258: "Jungian Analyst, Liz Greene."
  59. ^ Hand, Robert, Horoscope Symbols (Para Research 1981) p.349 ISBN 0-914918-16-8
  60. ^ Hyde, Maggie. Jung and Astrology. (Aquarian/Harper Collins, 1992) p.105 ISBN 185538115X
  61. ^ Harding, M & Harvey, C, Working with Astrology, The Psychology of Midpoints, Harmonics and Astro*Carto*Graphy, (Penguin Arkana 1990) (3rd edition pp.8–13) ISBN 1873948034
  62. ^ Davis, Martin, From Here to There, An Astrologer’s Guide to Astromapping, (Wessex Astrologer, England, 2008) Ch1. History, p.2 ISBN 9781902405278
  63. ^ Lewis, Jim & Irving, Ken, The Psychology of Astro*Carto*Graphy, (Penguin Arkana 1997) ISBN 1357918642
  64. ^ Humphrey Taylor. "The Religious and Other Beliefs of Americans 2003". Retrieved 2007-01-05.  Also see "Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Understanding". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  65. ^ Gallup (2005): Paranormal Beliefs by Linda Lyons, retrieved 20 July 2011. For the view that belief in astrology could be much higher than Gallup reports see Campion (1997), ‘British Public Perceptions of Astrology: An Approach from the Sociology of Knowledge’ by John Bauer and Martin Durant, which reports a figure of 73%.
  66. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  67. ^ Ζωλότας Ξενοφών. "Ελληνικές λέξεις στην αγγλική". Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  68. ^ For discussions of Chaucer's astrological references see A. Kitson (1996). "Astrology and English literature". Contemporary Review, October 1996. Retrieved 2006-07-17.  M. Allen, J.H. Fisher. "Essential Chaucer: Science, including astrology". University of Texas, San Antonio. Retrieved 2006-07-17.  A.B.P. Mattar et al.. "Astronomy and Astrology in the Works of Chaucer". University of Singapore. Retrieved 2006-07-17.  For discussions of Shakespeare's astrological references see P. Brown. "Shakespeare, Astrology, and Alchemy: A Critical and Historical Perspective". The Mountain Astrologer, February/March 2004.  F. Piechoski. "Shakespeare's Astrology". 
  69. ^ Alastair Jamieson (2008-11-30). "Secret theme behind Narnia Chronicles is based upon the stars, says new research". The Telegraph, London. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  70. ^ Spencer, Neil. Stargazers? But of course. The Observer. (12 November 2000)[3] "Gone With the Wind, is a thinly disguised astrological allegory. Margaret Mitchell based the characters of her torrid epic on the zodiac, leaving a blatant trail of clues which were only picked up in 1978 when US astrologer Darrell Martinie was shown photocopies of notes from Mitchell's library."
  71. ^ "Rare JK Rowling work on the market for £25,000". The Scotsman, Edinburgh. 30 July 2010.  Robert Currey. "Astrology and J K Rowling". Retrieved 3 August 2011.  Paul Fraser (26 May 2010). "An incredibly rare unpublished work by J.K.Rowling". Paul Fraser Collectibles. 
  72. ^ Campion (2009) pp.244–245.
  73. ^ Regan, Donald T., (1988) For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York ISBN 0151639663
  74. ^ Quigley, Joan (1990), What does Joan say? My Seven Years as White House Astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Birch Lane Press, New York ISBN 1-55972-032-8
  75. ^ Gorney, Cynthia (May 11, 1988) The Reagan Chart Watch; Astrologer Joan Quigley, Eye on the Cosmos, Washington Post [4]
  76. ^ Richard Dawkins (31 December 1995). "The Real Romance in the Stars". London: The Independent, December 1995. . See also "Astronomical Pseudo-Science: A Skeptic's Resource List". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 
  77. ^ Hartmann, P; Reuter M, Nyborga H (May 2006). "The relationship between date of birth and individual differences in personality and general intelligence: A large-scale study". Personality and Individual Differences 40 (7): 1349–1362. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2005.11.017. 
  78. ^ Eysenck, H.J., and Nias, D.K.B. (1982) pp.42-48.
  79. ^ Is Astrology a Pseudoscience? Examining the Basis and Nature of Astrology
  80. ^ The Humanist, volume 35, no.5 (September/October 1975); pp. 4-6. The statement is reproduced in 'The Strange Case of Astrology' by Paul Feyerabend, published in Grim (1990) pp.19-23.
  81. ^ "Objections to Astrology: A Statement by 186 Leading Scientists". The Humanist, September/October 1975. 
  82. ^ Bok, Bart J.; Lawrence E. Jerome, Paul Kurtz (1982). "Objections to Astrology: A Statement by 186 Leading Scientists". In Patrick Grim. Philosophy of Science and the Occult. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 14–18. ISBN 0873955722. 
  83. ^ See for example Das (2009) Introduction, p.xvii.
  84. ^ The Humanist, volume 36, no.5 (1976).
  85. ^ "British Physicist Debunks Astrology in Indian Lecture". Associated Press. 
  86. ^ "Ariz. Astrology School Accredited". The Washington Post. 2001-08-27. 
  87. ^ M. Harding. "Prejudice in Astrological Research". Correlation, Vol 19(1). 
  88. ^ Jung, C.G., (1952), Synchronicity - An Acausal Connecting Principle (London: RKP English edition, 1972), p.36. "synchronicity ...(is)...a coincidence in time of two or more casually unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning, in contrast to 'synchronism', which simply means the simultaneous occurrence of two events".
  89. ^ Maggie Hyde, Jung and Astrology; p.24–26; 121ff. (London: The Aquarian Press, 1992). "As above, so below. Early in his studies, Jung came across the ancient macrocosm-microcosm belief with its enduring theme of the organic unity of all things"; p.121.
  90. ^ Cornelius (2003). Cornelius’s thesis is - although divination is rarely addressed by astrologers, it is an obvious descriptive tag "despite all appearances of objectivity and natural law. It is divination despite the fact that aspects of symbolism can be approached through scientific method, and despite the possibility that some factors in horoscopy can arguably be validated by the appeal to science." ('Introduction', p.xxii).
  91. ^ Dr. P. Seymour, Astrology: The Evidence of Science. Penguin Group (London, 1988) ISBN 0-14-019226-3
    The Scientific Proof of Astrology. A scientific investigation into how the stars influence human life.[5] Quantum, Foulsham (Slough 1997) ISBN 0-572-02906-3
  92. ^ Frank McGillion. "The Pineal Gland and the Ancient Art of Iatromathematica". 
  93. ^ [6]
  94. ^ Muller, Richard (2010). "Web site of Richard A. Muller, Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley,". Retrieved 2011-08-02. My former student Shawn Carlson published in Nature magazine the definitive scientific test of Astrology.
    Maddox, Sir John (1995). "John Maddox, editor of the science journal Nature, commenting on Carlson's test". Retrieved 2011-08-02.  " ... a perfectly convincing and lasting demonstration."
  95. ^ Carlson, Shawn (1985). "A double-blind test of astrology". Nature 318 (6045): 419–425. Bibcode 1985Natur.318..419C. doi:10.1038/318419a0. 
  96. ^ a b Gauquelin, Michel (1955). L'influence des astres : étude critique et expérimentale. Paris: Éditions du Dauphin. 
  97. ^ Gauquelin, Michel (Fall 1988). "Is There Really a Mars Effect?". Above & Below Journal of Astrological Studies (11): 4–7. 
  98. ^ Benski, Claude, et al., The "Mars Effect" (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1996).
  99. ^ Saliba, George (1994b). A History of Arabic Astronomy: Planetary Theories During the Golden Age of Islam. New York University Press. pp. 60 & 67–69. ISBN 0814780237. 
  100. ^ Catarina Belo, Catarina Carriço Marques de Moura Belo, Chance and determinism in Avicenna and Averroës, p.228. Brill, 2007. ISBN 9004155872.
  101. ^ George Saliba, Avicenna: 'viii. Mathematics and Physical Sciences'. Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 2011, available at
  102. ^ Livingston, John W. (1971). "Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah: A Fourteenth Century Defense against Astrological Divination and Alchemical Transmutation". Journal of the American Oriental Society 91 (1): 96–103. doi:10.2307/600445. JSTOR 600445. 
  103. ^ Livingston, John W. (1971). "Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah: A Fourteenth Century Defense against Astrological Divination and Alchemical Transmutation". Journal of the American Oriental Society 91 (1): 96–103 [99]. doi:10.2307/600445. JSTOR 600445. 
  104. ^ McClure, Robert (July 23, 2001). "Astrology school sets off controversy". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  105. ^ "Kepler College First Graduation, October 10, 2004". StarIQ.Com. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  106. ^ "Degree-Granting Authorization". Kepler College. Retrieved March 26, 2011. "Kepler College Authorization Degree-Granting Authorization Kepler College is authorized by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board and through March 9, 2010, the College met the requirements and minimum standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree Authorization Act. Students attending the college between March 9, 2000 and March 9, 2010 (and extended to March 9, 2012 to include students completing the teach-out of their degrees) earned Washington State authorized degrees in: Associate of Arts Bachelor of Arts Master of Arts in: Eastern and Western Traditions The History, Philosophy and Transmission of Astrology" 
  107. ^ "Certificate Program Information". Kepler College. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  108. ^ "Was your degree program accredited?". Kepler College. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  109. ^ "MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology". Trinity Saint David, The University of Wales. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  110. ^ "Introduction of Vedic astrology courses in varsities upheld." The Hindu, May 06, 2004
  111. ^ Brown (2000) pp.63-72.

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