astrology

Article

Greek: astron, star; logos, knowledge

A pseudo-science dealing with the influence of the stars on human fate, or on the weather. The former is termed mundane or judicial astrology, and its predictions rely upon the planets positions, at the time of a human being’s birth, in the twelve houses into which the heavens are divided. The houses symbolize such factors as riches, success, children, etc. The signs of the zodiac, each of which rules over a certain part of the human body, exercise a particular influence on the bodily health of an individual and the position of the sun in the zodiac at the moment of birth is a vital factor in determining his fate. The calculations essential to the settling of these positions are called casting the horoscope. The second division, termed natural astrology, predicts weather variations as effected by the positions of the planets, especially the moon. The Assyrians and Babylonians were the leading exponents of this science among the ancients, while the Egyptians developed it approximately to its present condition. The Assyro-Babylonian and Egyptian priests expounded these astrological views to the Greek astrologers, whence knowledge of it came to the profane world and to Rome where for about five hundred years it ruled public life. The advent of Christianity and its active antagonism to astrological teachings, as illustrated by Constantine’s edict of death to the Chaldeans, Magi, and other astrologers, dealt a severe blow to it, effective for several centuries. Early Christian legend distinguished between astronomy and astrology and Saint Augustine (De Civitate Dei, VIII, xix) vigorously opposed the amalgamation of the two. During the Middle Ages, owing to Jewish scholars, astrology became important again and numbered emperors and popes among its votaries, including the Emperors Charles IV and V and Popes Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Paul III. Petrarch conintially attacked it, and it met successful antagonists in the Catholic scientists and philosophers, Pico della Mirandola and Paolo Toscanelli, and, in the later Renaissance, the Franciscan, Nas. The victory of the Copernican system, the recognition of the moral and psychical dangers of astrology and the progress of experimental science reduced it to the status of a superstition, a position it still occupies, in spite of the recent revival of occultism.

MLA Citation

  • “astrology”. New Catholic Dictionary. Saints.SQPN.com. 18 December 2010. Web. 16 April 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/astrology/>