Astrology Essay Research Paper The basic astrological

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Astrology Essay, Research Paper The basic astrological assumptions are not hard to grasp. For if astronomy is the study of the movements of the heavenly bodies, then astrology is the study of the effects of those movements. The astronomers of the ancient world assumed a division of the universe whereby the superior, immutable bodies of the celestial worlds ruled over the terrestrial or sublunary sphere, where all was mortality and change. It was assumed that the stars had special qualities and influences which were transmitted downwards upon the passive earth, and which varied in their effect, according to the changing relationship of the heavenly bodies to each other. They were led to postulate a single system in which the seven moving stars or planet shifted their position

in relation to the earth and each other, against a fixed backcloth of the twelve signs of the zodiac. There was nothing obscure about these general assumptions. At the beginning of the sixteenth century astrological doctrines were part of the educated man s picture of the universe and its workings. It was generally accepted that the four elements constituting the sublunary region (earth, air, fire & water) were kept in their state of ceaseless transformation by the movement of the heavenly bodies. The various planets transmitted different quantities of the four physiological qualities of heat and cold, dryness and moisture. Therefore astrology was less a separate discipline than an aspect of a generally accepted world picture. During the Renaissance, even more than in the

Middle Ages, astrology pervaded all aspects of the intellectual framework in which men were educated. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there were four main branches of judicial astrology. First, there were the general predictions based on the future movements of the ravens and taking note of such impending events as eclipses of the sun and moon. These forecasts related to the weather, the state of the crops, mortality and epidemics, politics and war. They indicated the fate of society as a whole but not that of particular individuals. Secondly, there were nativities, maps of the sky at the moment of a person s births either made on the spot at the request of the infants’ parents’ or reconstructed for individuals of stature, those who could supply the details of

their time of births. The horoscope at birth could subsequently be followed by annual revolutions , in which the astrologer calculated the individual’s prospects for the coming year. The details of the client’s nativity were also needed before he could avail himself of the astrologer’s third main service, that of making elections or choosing the right moment for the right action. By comparing the relationship between the tendencies indicated by the client’s horoscope with what was known about the future movement of the heavens, certain times could be identified as more favorable than others for embarking upon any potentially risky undertaking, such as going on a journey or choosing a wife. Finally there were horary questions the most controversial part of the

astrologer’s art, and one that had only been developed after the days of Ptolemy by the Arabs. Its optimistic assumption was that the astrologer could resolve any question put to him by considering the state of the heavens at the exact moment when it was asked. These four spheres of activity – general predictions, nativities, elections and horary questions – formed the sum of the astrologer’s art. An individual might specialize in one rather than another but he was expected to be a master of them all. He might also possess a certain amount of medical learning. Different signs of the zodiac were thought to rule over different parts of the body, and a proper election of times had to be made for administering medicine, letting blood or carrying out surgical operations. The