following provides a brief history of the ancient practice of astrology
and the effect that the planets supposedly hold over our lives and
fortunes, along with a few images from the medieval period when
astrology, despite official Church teaching, was at its height.
ancient Egypt, stargazers have observed that the planets move according
to patterns. Do our lives move according to the same patterns?
comes in like
a Ram...in a medieval
nationale de France
from ancient times have always felt that the patterns of our lives
and the patterns of the stars were bound up in some way. The
reasoning behind the belief is based on a popular analogy - that
God, or the gods, ruled the moon and planets and, by extension,
the seasons... and us.
Romans have handed down many of the familiar astrological signs
and symbols we know today. In the 8th century, monks in their monasteries
preserved the texts of ancient Rome by copying down the old lore.
Astrology was known to have been studied, but most often in secrecy.
from Allegory of
April by Francesco del
Cossa, 15th century.
religions condemned the notion that the planets ruled our fate -
but there were concessions. At least one 13th century Jewish manuscript
equated the twelve astrological signs with the twelve tribes of
Israel, for example. And the Christian Church would sometimes turn
a blind eye to the belief in medieval
astrology, or the 'magic science.'
Weren't even priests and nuns known to consult the stars?
in a medieval calendar.
d'Ailly (1350-1420) was a well-known practictioner when
he wrote Concordance of Astronomy with History to show that
major historical events could be determined by astronomical calculations.
Christian church leaders even encouraged their flocks to believe.
It helped keep them away from more dangerous practices - like black
magic, sorcery and witchcraft.