The Balance Of Faith & Astrology
For the first time I am experimenting in posting my blog as bilingual, it will appear in English and Samoan as a trial. I have been reticent to add translations to my posts in the past due to my concern of translations of technical astrology being misleading. However, as this post does not contain technical astrology it’s a good place to have a little faith and experiment. Please give feedback if you find any strange or hard to understand translations. If this is successful I will most likely go back and translate some of my older work also.
Astrology at its core is a practice of faith as is religion, neither can be entirely proven but when many of us dwell our minds on either, with honest thoughts and without the influence of others doctrine, we can come to personal revelations about oneself and our place in the universe. If we put our trust in the fact that there is something greater to oneself and all life has a purpose and meaning, we become one of the faithful and although various doctrines may attempt to separate us by geography, ethnicity or birth our faith is a commonality that bonds us. I bring this up because for thousands of years nearly all religions of the world have either embraced or accepted astrology in society. Although some more than others and there have been highs and lows at times but astrology apart from faith, love and compassion as a primary principal is something most religions have in common they have all learnt to live with astrology in some way. Astrology having no specific doctrine can work with any philosophical view, it only needs to be applied in a way that does not clash with the religions philosophy, and in some cases and in past times, it has done just that.
The art that connects astrology to religion
The below few pieces of artwork shows how various religions enshrined astrology into their buildings that still stand today. This is just a small sample unfortunately due to copyright restrictions, there are many inspiring pieces of art and mechanics throughout the world encompassing various religions that signify the importance astrology played in their past. The connection between art, faith and world view of the time is an interesting one to look at studiously as much can be gleamed from it. Christians in particular decorated there cathedral ceilings and stained glass with images of astrological lineage. Islamic artists often etched astrological figures into bowls plates and ceramics, while Buddhist monks and physicians used silk cloth and created mandalas of astrological calendars. Many astronomical clocks are also featured in places of worship throughout Europe.
Ceiling of 6th century Jewish synagogue in Beit Alpha Israel shows the 12 sign zodiac
Laulau o le senituri lona 6 senituri Iutaia i le Beit Alpha Israel ua faaalia le faailoga faailoilo e 12
Astrological clock in Lund, Lutheran Cathedral, Sweden tracks the movement of the stars
O le tele o taimi i le Lund, le falesa a Lutheran, Suetena, o le alaga lea a fetu
Angers catholic cathedral, rose window of Christ 1401, shows the astrological signs and bottom half the elders
Angers catholic cathedral, o le faamalama o le lagi o Keriso 1401, o loo faaalia ai faailoilo o le lagi ma lalo o afa o toeaina
By Chiswick Chap - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27723605
The astrologers that connect astrology to various religions
Below I have listed in no particular order, eminent astrologers from different faiths or religions that have enriched the noble and natural art over the past few thousand years. These astrologers passed on there knowledge, shared and translated each other’s texts, and in some cases re wrote them to work within their own religions philosophy’s. Some notable cases of this are William Lilly’s renowned Christian Astrology during the time preceding the protectorate. Alan Leo explained in the early 1900’s that character actually builds destiny, so if we know what we start with, we can see where we are going. Varahamihira’s translations from Greek to Sanskrit transformed Greek western astrology into concepts workable within the Hindu philosophy something we now know as Jyotish. Sangye Gyatso took Chinese astrology and Indian astrology concepts and developed Tibetan astrology to work within the Buddhist religion and Tibetan culture the schools and principals he formed are still in place in Tibetan culture today.
Theosophical Astrologer, Alan Leo
Theosophy is a mystical group formed in the late 1800’s that draws upon sacred texts of the Gnostic, Buddhist and Brahmanic religions. Astrology is well entangled in its teachings and Alan was one of the most prominent theosophists during its peak. Alan is sometimes known as the farther of modern astrology. He wrote a regular subscription magazine and was one of the first astrologers to mass mail out to the public. Alan and his business partner Frederick Lacey launched there successful magazine, Modern Astrologer in 1895 in this partnership Alan was to do much of the math and chart calculations and Frederick the horoscopes, although they were each adept at both.
Bessie Leo and others, The Life and Work of Alan Leo, Fowler, 1919.
Alan Leo, Esoteric Astrology, ISBN - 0892811811
Jewish Astrologer Sahl B Bishar
Sahl B Bishar was an influential astrologer in the first few decades of the 800’s who wrote texts in Arabic that where translated into both Hebrew and Latin and influenced medieval Europe as well as the middle east. Some of these texts have recently also been translated into English. He was also known by the name (the rabbi of Tabaristan) and spent much of his time involved in the Baghdad political scene.
Hindu Astrologer Varahamihira
Varahamihira was a 6th century polymath and Hindu astrologer who was born in 505 in Ujjain, Avanti region (modern day Malwa) He wrote the Brihat Samhita a polymathic work which included astrology and astronomy. Varahamihira admitted it was partially others work he was handing down but contained many of his own theories and philosophy’s. The Persian medieval astrologer Al Biruni often quoted the Brihat Samhita in his work, and many accredited Varahamihira a scholar of the Greek language for introducing Greek astrology principals to the Indian subcontinent. He also wrote texts on casting a horoscope such as the Brihaj Jataka (Great Birth) and Laghu Jataka (Short Birth)
Christian Astrologer, William Ramesey
William Ramesey was born on the 13/03/1626 in Westminster England, his book three text in his discourse Astrologia Restaurata provides the most complete set of rules for electional astrology surviving in English. Ramesey’s was also renowned for his text on gentlemen like behaviour and moral and ethical principles. His religious manner shines through during the discourse citing biblical verses and referencing God and the celestial sphere above all and under only him. He was a physician and passionate advocate of astrology that was keen to pass on his knowledge to others during the time of the protectorate in England.
Astrologia Restaurata, William Ramesey, ISBN 9781169334212
Muslim Astrologer, Abu Mashar
Abu Mashar was born 10th August 787 in Afghanistan and was taught astrology at a late age by the philosopher and mathematician Al Kindi. He wrote in Arabic and was later translated into Latin in the 1100,s he was known as a defender of astrology as a science but also as an Islamic scholar of the hadith. His greatest work know in the western world was his, Great introduction to the knowledge of the judgment of the stars, or Great Introduction.
Persian Nativities III, Benjamin N Dykes, ISBN 978-1-934586-13-6
Buddhist Astrologer, Desi Sangye Gyatso
Born in 1653 Desi Sangye Gyatso was a regent of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso who founded the Tibetan school of medicine and astrology. He hid the death of the 5th lama for many years and administered Tibet while the new Dalai Lama was growing up and coming of age. While at Iron hill Gyatso wrote the blue beryl astronomical and divination scripture 4 centuries later it is still used by modern Tibetan astrologers.
Nielson polled 1000 Australians in 2009 her are some of the results I will leave a link to the entire poll below.
Australians belief in astrology 41 per cent
Australians belief in God 68 per cent
Australian Christians belief in astrology 44 per cent
The Nielsen poll included not only Christians but Muslims, Buddhists and Jews (collectively 6 per cent of the population) a tiny amount of obscure faiths (another 6 per cent). 5 per cent declared faith not in a personal God but a Universal Spirit.
The Pew Institute Survey
The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a nationwide sample of 4,013 a link to the entire survey is below.
American adults 25% of the public overall believe in astrology
American Christians 23% of the faith overall believe in astrology
Nick Campion Surveys
From 1998 to 2012 Nick Campion handed out surveys at astrology conferences and to small public groups. You can find his entire survey results in the link below. Gallup polls in the years between 1975 and 1996 had shown approximately 25% of British, Canadians and Americans believed in astrology. The purpose of Nicks surveys was to give further insight into the reality’s of these polls. Most of these type of polls ask 1 simplified question; e.g. do you believe in horoscope’s? and if had been asked in a different way, would have been given a different answer. What Nick found is that approximately double on average used astrology than believed in it, and 98 percent knew their Sun sign. So far more people use it than believe in it, is the issue not so much about belief, but the stigma associated to someone who believes in it. I think we may find that far more people would believe in it if far less people judged them for it.
So, what can I take away from the above information. Astrology shares a long symbiotic history and culture with all the major religions.In the past many established astrologers have found a balance between there faith and and the astrology they practiced. I believe that the core principle of faith is their shared commonality, and that is why inherently many people of various religions often also adopt astrology as we can see from the polling. What I find to be the key of cohesion between astrology and religion is the combination of one’s personal philosophy and the philosophical world view of the time. In short it is the application of astrology with your own personal philosophy on religion and that of the time you live in that creates the ability to balance ones own faith and astrology. There are many forms of astrology that have varying philosophical views of their own, and understanding these various forms of astrology, will aid in finding an astrological practice that works more cohesively within your own faith.
Astrology blog written by William Lamont Bellingen astrologer Australia on the balance of faith and astrology..