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Skyscript Astrology Forum

Was there a golden age of astrology?
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject: Was there a golden age of astrology? Reply with quote

I am wondering what people's view is on the idea of a 'golden age' in astrology. In other words is there one historical period when astrological technique and practice reached its pinnacle?

If so when was your golden age of astrology?

Mark
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Atlantean



Joined: 14 Aug 2009
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Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello MarkC,

Interesting question!

Of course, I'd like to think that the true Golden Age in Astrology is in the near future. Wink

In actuality, from my thoughts on this, there were some very important things that came together in the latter part of the last century.

Very important ideas on Primary Directions were coupled with the "magic" of topocentric measurements and the most reliable and specific methods of connecting events to astrological measurements were born.

For more, see the work of Alexander Marr. Truly amazing stuff!

Peace

Atlantean
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Atlantean,

Quote:
Of course, I'd like to think that the true Golden Age in Astrology is in the near future.


Ah a true Futurist! Are you a siderealist? If so I am sure you hope the glory of days of western siderealism are yet to come. Very Happy You certainly have a point that there there has never been a period when so much astrological knowledge has been made available.

I suppose on Skyscript people often have a lot of affection for the astrology of a particular historical period. I just think its interesting to find out what what period of astrology really inspires people.

It could be argued the very idea is a myth. Lee Lehman has suggested this. Equally, people could find eclectic nourishment throughout history. In practical terms though I feel we all tend to coalesce and default more in one particular approach.

Mark
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epurdue



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Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the peak was in the medieval Arabic period. I'm particularly fascinated by Dykes' recent translations as much as I dislike hinging astrological practice on one translator's opinions.

It seems like there was a really cool period there, where Hellenistic techniques were still going strong but with the added benefit of a few more centuries of use. After that there was a gradual simplification, though I suppose it could still be argued results were still happening.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the peak was in the medieval Arabic period. I'm particularly fascinated by Dykes' recent translations as much as I dislike hinging astrological practice on one translator's opinions.


Ah Ben Dykes. Whats not to like about about his output. Very impressive.
However, unless we are Latin and Greek scholars we are all prisoners of the available translations at our disposal. For example there is a mass of European Renaissance astrological writings that have not been translated in English. For example Cardano, Campanella, Gauricus etc. I would love to have access to these astrologers works in English.
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Olivia



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Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben Dykes certainly isn't the only person to have translated works from that period, though. We also have Pingree, James Holden, Rob Hand, Robert Zoller, Meira Epstein, and others.

And we have Ibn Ezra to go along with Abu Ma'shar, Masha'allah, Sahl, Bonatti, Abu Ali Kayyat, al Biruni, Haly (I have seen small parts of his work in English, and have his Libros Cumplidos in Spanish), even Schoener and some of the other Germans (though they may not be in English). By Schoener's time you can see that the church's idea of free will uber alles was really taking hold as the field of electional astrology was rapidly being forbidden, at least officially. (I'm surprised that Ramesay came out as late as he did.) But still, even Schoener is firmly in the medievalist tradition.
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dr. farr



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Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the golden age of exact (precise, "true") astrological knowledge was about 6 thousand years ago, centering primarily in Egypt (eg, see researches regarding findings at Nabta Playa). Since the collapse of this knowledge with the "Atonist" revolution (and its aftermath), dribs and drabs of this arcane knowledge filtered down to the Mesopotamians, Persians, Alexandrians (Greeks), "Hindus", then was combined and recombined into a variety of systems by these groups, passing on to the "Arabs" (who further modified what they received), then on to the Europeans, and finally to the "modern" era.

I share Atlantean's belief that the (next) "golden age" of precise astrological knowledge remains in the future.
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epurdue



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Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Olivia wrote:
Ben Dykes certainly isn't the only person to have translated works from that period, though. We also have Pingree, James Holden, Rob Hand, Robert Zoller, Meira Epstein, and others.

And we have Ibn Ezra to go along with Abu Ma'shar, Masha'allah, Sahl, Bonatti, Abu Ali Kayyat, al Biruni, Haly (I have seen small parts of his work in English, and have his Libros Cumplidos in Spanish), even Schoener and some of the other Germans (though they may not be in English). By Schoener's time you can see that the church's idea of free will uber alles was really taking hold as the field of electional astrology was rapidly being forbidden, at least officially. (I'm surprised that Ramesay came out as late as he did.) But still, even Schoener is firmly in the medievalist tradition.


I agree! I have most of those too. I think my head is in Dykes' translations at the moment since the new book is about two feet in front of me.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Ben Dykes certainly isn't the only person to have translated works from that period, though. We also have Pingree, James Holden, Rob Hand, Robert Zoller, Meira Epstein, and others.


Thats true. I have most of these except Pingree. However, there is a real gap in translations available in English from the continental Renaissance astrology period. We have a growing literature of translated texts from the medieval Islamic and early Latin west. We also have all the English language astrologers of the 17th century such as Gadbury, Ramesey, Lilly and Partridge. More recently Morinus has been added to the list. However, in between these periods there is a real vacuum in sources available to those without familiarity with Latin. I can personally only think of Schoener and Agrippa from the Renaissance available in English. All we have of Cardano for example are Lilly's fragmentary aphorisms.

Hopefully, with more interest in traditional natal delineation these works will become available too.

Mark
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Estebon_Duarte



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Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the Arabic Medieval Period the most interesting and accomplished. It is during this time that the most powerful rulers of the various dynasties had tried and tested court astrologers that left us not only their accompanying anecdotes, but their techniques as well.
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Bill



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Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I associate golden ages with activities which are no longer that significant, such as 'the golden age of steam trains'. Astrology hasn't reached the required level of insignificance yet!

Also, I would tend to dwell on peaks and troughs of astrology considered in terms of cultural integration rather than techniques and practices, but I realise that is not what you were asking.

One could argue in addition that despite its relative marginalisation (lack of cultural integration) in modern cultural milieux, astrology has never had it so good. There are probably more astrologers practicing at present than before in history, though that is a guess on my part. It's certainly a lot easier regarding preparation work, whatever about interpretation.

Personally, I reckon our astrologer forebears were no more clued in than we are, though they did benefit from a more supportive cosmological perspective. Among them were some brilliant practitioners and those with inventive minds, just like today.
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Steve



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Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:55 am    Post subject: Golden Ages? Reply with quote

An excellent book, ‘Lost Star of Myth and Time,’ by Walter Cruttenden, addresses the real possibilities of Golden Ages in the distant past. I highly recommend this book—it is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. Walter gives solid astronomical evidence that Plato’s Great Year, the Precession Cycle (26,000 years) is driven by our Sun being in a binary relationship with Sirius. The ancient Egyptians worshiped the Star Sirius which was called the ‘Great Provider,’ and is constantly evoked in the Pyramid Texts—the oldest know religious texts in our history.

Quote:
“Today we know what the Greeks seem to have ignored. The Sirian, or fixed year, was established according to the heliacal rising of Sirius, yet the interval between two heliacal risings of Sirius corresponds neither to the tropical year, which is shorter, nor to the sidereal year which is longer. For it is remarkable that owing to the precession of the equinoxes, on the one hand, and the movement of Sirius on the other, the position of the sun with respect to Sirius is displaced in the same direction, almost exactly to the same extent. Calculations established by astronomers have demonstrated that between 4,231 and 2231 BC, the approximate duration of the reign of the Bull (precessional age of Taurus), the Sirian year (heliacal rising of Sirius) was almost identical to our Julian year of 365.25 days. This period would cover the entire Ancient Empire (of ancient Egypt), and we cannot but admire the greatest of a science (in ancient Egypt) capable of discovering such a remarkable coincidence because Sirius is the only star among the ‘fixed stars’ which allows this cycle (heliacal rising of Sirius). It can therefore be supposed that Sirius plays the role of a center for the circuit (Precessional Cycle) of our entire solar system.” ‘Sacred Science’, pages 26-27.


*Note if this is true then there is the likelihood a system of astrology existed where the ancient Egyptians were probably calculating Sirius Returns (heliacal risings) for the Sun Sirius just as we today calculate Solar Returns for our Sun, except the Sirius Returns would be used for mundane delineations. There is other strong evidence for this. Yet we astrologers today don’t know or bother to calculate the exact time for a heliacal rising of Sirius. This will probably be rediscovered in the near future by astrologers as the earth approaches the 0 point of the Precessional Age of Aquarius in 2376 (calculations by Fagan/Allen).

Quote:
“Thus the double star of Sirius was chosen for these astronomical coincidences because it is the only star that moves the needed distance and in the right direction against the background of the other stars. This astronomical fact, known four thousands years before our time and forgotten until our day, obviously demands an extraordinary and prolonged observation of the sky. In the spirit of the temple, Sirius plays the role of the great central fire for our sun (which is the Eye of Ra not Ra himself.” ‘Sacred Science,’ pages 27-28.


Regards, Steve
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dr. farr



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Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve's posting contains references which (in my mind) support my previous post in which I expressed my opinion regarding the 6000+ years ago "golden age" of exact, advanced astrological knowledge; these ancients had precise astronomical knowledge, and in addition understood the meaningfulness behind it (what we would refer to today as "astrological understanding")

In addition to the excellent Cruttenden book Steve references, may I direct the attention of those interested in this subject, to astrophysicist Thomas Brophy's "The Origin Map", which goes into an analysis of evidences of advanced astronomical knowledge (dating prior to 7500 BC) at the Nabta Playa site, in the Libyan Desert near Egypt. If even only 1/3rd of the observations in the Brophy book are valid this would mean a revolutionary new understanding of the high degree of astronomical knowledge possessed several millenia earlier than the Egyptian Old Kingdom era.
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Eddy



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Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of a golden age is always a subjective one, and according to one's preferences. To many, astrology really started with Dane Rudhyar, to others the Hellenistic period was the golden age.

I think Atlantean's idea of the golden age lying in the future is a positive one encouraging to look forward. Likewise in life there is a danger of idealizing a period in your past as 'the best time of my life'.

I think we can lear a lot of Bruce Lee, yes the martial artist:
Bruce Lee wrote:
Before I learned martial arts, a punch was just a punch and a kick was just a kick. When I studied martial arts, a punch was no longer just a punch and a kick was no longer just a kick. Now I understand martial arts, and a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.

http://lopsa.org/node/1655 The webpage continues: "This quote can be associated with most anything in life, not just systems administration. What Lee is saying is that when we first start something, it often seems very simple and we concentrate on the basics. As we learn more about it, we focus on the details and forget the basics. Once we know something, we ignore the details and go back to the basics again."

The Babylonians first had a crude astrology with only the conjunction and the full moons and planetary oppositions to the Sun. Later the zodiac signs came and the trine with them and oppositions between planets. Then a massive growth came with dodekatemoria, terms, 16 Vargas/divisional charts of the Indian astrologers. To many this may have been confusing. Kepler didn't use these divisions and retained the aspects. Perhaps this introduces the return to the basics astrology.

We could even go further. Before the Babylonians established the technical parts of astrology the planets/planet-gods already had their divine status with their influences on the different fields of life of people. This veneration is perhaps not astrology in the real sense but the connection with people was already there. Lately I've been reading about gnosticism which rather than worshipping them or applying their influence, tried to escape the determinism through becoming conscious. To the gnostics matter was evil and so were the planets. The influence of the planets was rather something to be liberated of and this could only be done by getting knowledge. So rather than the modern rejection of any possible influence of planets a future view of astrology could consist of an acknowledgement of the influence of the planets, like recognizing Saturnine, Mercurial or whatever quality in oneself and trying to cope with this. However this would automatically lead to the insignificance of astrology and the end of its practice.
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The idea of a golden age is always a subjective one, and according to one's preferences. To many, astrology really started with Dane Rudhyar, to others the Hellenistic period was the golden age.


I agree the matter is a subjective one based on ones preferences. Although from an existential perspective that is not a bad description of life itself. Shocked

Lee Lehman has argued the idea of a golden age is myth for this reason. Personally, like human history I tend to see astrology as having various golden moments rather than one single golden age.

Quote:
I think Atlantean's idea of the golden age lying in the future is a positive one encouraging to look forward. Likewise in life there is a danger of idealizing a period in your past as 'the best time of my life'.


While I am sure we would all like the future to take things forward I do think contemporary western culture is rather locked into a linear evolutionary mind set. We act on the basis that progress is almost inevitable when in reality there is no guarantee that our civilisation will not go into a steep decline. Many other cultures, have seen history as cyclical rather than linear. For all we know this could be a fleeting renaissance of astrology before a new dark age.

Various things could happen such as a cataclysm based on a Cometary/Asteroid impact, nuclear war, global warming, the rise of religious fundamentalism etc. The myth of progress is an implicit creed in much of western culture. Ben Dykes brings out this point very well in his free introductory Logos and Light lecture.

Sorry to sound so doom and gloom but I just felt the philosophical counterpoint was required vs optimistic futurism. As I see it the myth of a golden age in the past is the other side of the coin as the myth of progress.

None of this means I discount the view that various periods of history and their astrological traditions are highly worthy of our time and effort to understand and learn from. I find inspiration in Babylonian, Hellenistic Medieval and Renaissance astrology.
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