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God the Geometer[1]
The more holy thou art, and more neer to God, the purer judgement thou shalt give.
(William Lilly,17th century astrologer)[2]

Belief means the acceptance of the truth or reality of something without certain proof. It can also mean a doctrine or creed, as in a religious belief.

Religion and Astrology (History)

The link between astrology and religious belief was taken for granted in ancient times. The Sumerians thought the stars were gods. The Babylonians thought the planets served as omens through which their gods made their intentions known. The gods of the ancient Egyptians had many manifestations, but stars, planets, the Milky Way, and constellations represented some important deities of their pantheon. The Greeks and Romans named the planets after gods and ascribed to the planets the traits of these deities. Traditional astrologers of the world's great monotheistic religions ascribed the heavens to divine providence.

The modern astrology that emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bifurcated in two directions. Secularists avoided linking astrology to particular religious or philosophical beliefs. Esotericists, in contrast, interpreted astrology through the theosophical movement, which was a mixture of mysticism, metaphysics, and romanticism. The New Age movement in the 1970s assumed the mantle of esotericism in astrology. Both groups saw religion as a private matter. Both groups adopted the teachings of psychologists to a greater or lesser extent: the secularists focused on personality and the esoteric astrologers aligned with the human potential movement.

Because the validity of astrology is so often questioned, belief in astrology is sometimes compared to religion. Some opponents of astrology characterise it as a religious substitute or pseudo-religion.

Modern Times

Psychological Astrology

The proponents of psychological astrology argue that their concept of astrology as an aid to greater self-understanding is fundamentally different from religious beliefs. They focus on the individual's willingness to engage in the process of gaining greater self-awareness. The "belief" in this context is whether a person believes in a process leading to a deeper knowledge of self.

Esoteric Astrology

Esoteric astrology cannot so easily avoid the comparison with religious belief, nor would some of its members wish to do so. The Latin word 'religio' means 'to connect or reconnect with the metaphysical source or origin', and in this sense esoteric astrology claims to provide an answer to the timeless questions: What is our origin? Where are we headed? What is the meaning of life? Therefore esoteric astrology shares some features of religion, or could even be seen as a rival to religions. (For example, passage 2116 of the catechism of the Catholic church forbids astrology as competing for the allegiance which the Catholic owes to God.) In the end, it is up to each individual to decide whether astrology is capable of providing the answers to his or her most basic metaphysical questions. Belief in esoteric astrology depends upon subjective experience that cannot be objectively verified.

See also



  • Nicholas Campion, 2012, Astrology and Cosmology in the World Religions, New York University Press.

Notes and References

  1. Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy/astrology, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of God's act of Creation. God has created the universe after geometric and harmonic principles, to seek these principles was therefore to seek and worship God
  2. Skyscript, interview with Benjamin Dykes