by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Astronomy vs. Astrology: Two Sides of a Universal Coin

  A sunset photo of the Moon, Venus (at left) and 
ESO's Very Large Telescope platform
(photo credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, April 2010)

The astrology we know today (western/tropical and Vedic) basically began back in ancient Babylon. As yet, there was no science - so astronomy. Not yet.

Astrology was as good as it got - and astrology was a natural way to think in that world where people were still so much a part of the land and at the mercy of its seasons and cycles. You needed to know when to plant and all that. So if Venus rising in a certain place meant the rain was on the way - that was a good thing to know. This shift in thinking had begun when and because people stopped wandering around, choosing instead to choose a place, put down roots and establish  'civilization' (Note please that I said civilization, not civilized). 

It was really one of the BIG steps in human history. Along with figuring out how to roast coffee and make chocolate, in my book. But hey...that may be just me.

As for astrology, its roots go back to about the 4,000 BCE mark, which was when Egyptians began using 'dog star' Sirius as a seasonal marker for tha all-important Nile flood which helped them not starve. And natal astrology? Natal astrology as we know it seems to have come into being somewhere around 700 BCE - in Babylon.

But science didn't start until philosophical early Greeks decided to separate fact from conjecture - a process which started around the year 500 BCE. And which yes, we might say is still being worked on today.

Or not worked on, depending.

Whatever on that score, 500 BCE seems to be about when Greeks like Herodotus started hitching up their togas to sit and have a little serious ponder over a plate of olives and feta cheese. Those Egyptians...they're SO into divination. There must be some facts behind what happens, no? 

And with the discarding of an olive pit and such pithy words, thus was science born.

But that's not to say that astrology was - or is - bunk. Far from it!

A year (maybe two) ago I had a little exchange of emails with one of the fabulous planet hunters at Caltech. If you haven't realized by now (either from what I write here or at Daykeeper Journal) I'm very into science - and more on that in a minute.

The guy I had this exchange with is named Mike Brown - who has a nifty circular (Mike Brown's Planets), and his own well deserved page on Wikipedia. 

(That's it for the links - I promise!)

Anyway, the point I made to the masterful Mike Brown is that back in Babylon, one of his ancestors was probably standing in the public square watching one of my ancestors rhapsodizing enthusiastically (and one hopes, eloquently) about the Moon and the tides. So I was standing I had stood there so many times, and I said to myself....Moon....tides....Moon...tides. 


At this, Mike's ancestor probably heaved a heavy sigh. Oh how looney is SHE? 

Of course by now we know that the Moon does influence Earth's tides. It just took science a couple of thousand years to catch up. So just because we don't know how something works doesn't mean it doesn't work.

But science is catching up. A year or two ago now, someone lovable scientific type (I think they were connected with Hawaii's Keck telescope team, but maybe not...)....he proposed an experiment regarding Relativity.

You know, that Einstein thing.

Now don't go rolling your eyes at me...I'm not going all obscurely scientific and dense here. Basically the idea is that the speed of light has been calculated. That's a 'known.' And Relativity says that large objects (say, a planet...or even better, a star) have such giant mass and gravity (and maybe even gravitas?) that they can literally bend the path of light and thus alter the apparent speed of light. to test this? Well, since we have this handy-dandy star (the Sun) hanging around out there, this science type proposed 'bouncing' a laser beam off Mercury just when the relative positions of Earth, Sun and Mercury would make the straight line between Earth and Mercury zip barely past the very, very, hot edge of said Sun. Theoretically, this should make the light bend, since we KNOW how super gigundo the Sun is (and if you don't know, check yesterday's blog photo).

So okay...there's a pow-wow, the experiment gets approved, the distance from Earth to Mercury (and back) gets calculated and translated into light-time - then at the appropriate moment, the experiment is begun.

And....voila! The Sun's super-deluxe mass did indeed 'bend' the light beam, increasing the amount of time it took that laser to hit Mercury and - 'boing!' - bounce back to Earth.

But what this proves astrologically, and that it proves an astrological premise thousands of years old? That's a whole other thing! And also true!

What do I mean? I mean that the exact moment of that experiment - with it's positioned line-of-site between Earth and Mercury just barely ootching past the Sun...That's what a Mercury station is. And the 'bend' in the light noted by the scientists is exactly what astrologers have been metaphorically saying about Mercury stations since....well, pretty much since ancient Babylon.

By the by here...Mike Brown doesn't dislike astrology. He just sees it as an 'inner' science....(at least so far. Though you never know...he may be reading this blog and be going maybe so...maybe so...) After our correspondence he made yet another comment about astrologers in his circular, saying that if you want information on human effects, that's astrology and not astronomy (in other words, don't ask him).

But that he isn't above your asking an astrologer a question is a substantial and large deal. And one which suggests that the real problem with astrology is that astrologers have themselves not taken the time and such to treat astrology as a science. We're getting there - and  we need to get there, because if E=mc2'd is a true-ism, then the universe seen and unseen is contiguous. You, me, the doorknob, dog star Sirius and planet Neptune, we are all made of the same stuff and at some very intrinsic level, a continuum.

To me, this makes the question of what makes us different not merely about DNA or molecular makeup but far more essential: how is it that we think we are separated and separate? To quote Yul Brynner in The King and I,  'tis a puzzlement.

People ask me about Pluto having been 'demoted' as a planet and I always respond with what one smart-ass astrologer came up with in the moment: who's going to tell Pluto?

Funny? Yes. But beyond that is the fact that astrology shouldn't ignore science. If the universe is contiguous (which it is), then all parts of our life are not only connected within us - hence why our mentality affects our health and vice versa. But it becomes even more than that. If the universe is contiguous, then it's completely logical to see time/space evolution in generational connections and individual lifetimes in positions of what would therefore be the clockwork manifesting of Existence: the planets and every other manner of celestial object.

And if that is true, each and every piece of that Existence - including the spacing of and all such - has meaning in itself, and to us. What it is, how it works, its cycles, its composition, its rotation, and its associations with other objects is not just valid, it's important.

This is why when I write about objects like Typhon, Sisyphus and Damocles (okay, so I wasn't done with the links...) ...when I consider or write about them, I take into account their physical nature and whatever their cycles and orbital paths tell us. If a Kuiper Belt object comes in as far as Uranus but not as far as Saturn, that says something. If Neptune as a planet controls the orbits of certain objects (the Plutinos) but not others (KBOs and SDOs) that means something. 

Astrology should care - because to not care is not just to ignore facts about objects out there in space, but to also not care about our lives and existence as human beings.

That's the other side of nature being totally contiguous: the responsibility which goes with being an astrologer - or human being - rests with us.


  1. VERY interested in the new science that underlays astrology, and the new astrology that takes into consideration the new science-found objects out there. Thanks for this! Happy to see more, any time you feel so inclined.

  2. brilliant....I'm going to ponder this for awhile
    jeopardy theme playing now....