The lost science of the stars

The History of Astronomy and Astrology as two branches of the same Ancient Science

The lost science of the stars

We all know that the great astronomers of antiquity were also astrologers. The scientifically gifted also recognised the power of the heavens on human affairs. The astrology of today is really just a corruption of what it has been and what it truly is.

Rather than the huge over-simplification of dividing the entire human population into twelve ‘star-signs’ and making outlandish predictions based on this, true astrology is concerned with the evolution of us all as a one humanity. A far cry from the ‘horoscopes’ we read in the newspapers and magazines, the reading of the heavens is a deeply meaningful and purposeful art. Yes, it is personal, but more so it is what brings us all together, as we all live on the same planet within the starry universe. The astrologer was a physician, reading the emanating energy available to us as individuals, and to humanity as a whole. Philosophers and great men and women of religion were more often than not natural followers of the lost science we call astrology.

Today, this science has been tossed to the side, made to seem pure fantasy, the realm of the lost spirit or the mystic. Yet the likes of Galileo, Kepler and Tycho Brahe all included astrology in their science. They had the awareness and inner knowingness to grasp the truth of their particular studies, to expand and evolve these, and also a respect and sensitivity to the heavens of which we are intrinsically part.

It was in recent times that astrology was thrown out of science.

Science was expanding and maturing in so many ways, formalising itself as a pillar of society, no longer subservient to the domineering religions of the world. This began most obviously in the Seventeenth Century as Galileo and others began to challenge the deeply entrenched beliefs of the church that defied the practical observations of the emerging Science. Science was growing up and taking its place in the world as a responsible and reliable institution to which humanity could look for answers and confirmation. Over the course of the following centuries, Science and scientists became separate from religion in a way they had never been before, for in times of antiquity the great scientists were also religious, for they saw God in all that they did.

When science broke free of religion, it also tossed aside the astrology that had been the great science of the stars. Without the mystical and spiritual, the new science of astronomy was given a new status alongside mathematics and physics.

A rather dry and almost pointless study of the stars and the universe, it became simply the ‘measuring of the stars’ as the Latin name translates. The same painful dryness affected mathematics and physics too. Mathematicians and physicists were once known as natural philosophers, their numbers sang to the universal harmonics. The dryness of the separation, the stars being out there and not relevant to our lives signified the loss of our relationship to the ancient living principle “as is above, so is below.”

As we moved into the twentieth-century, humanity started to take note of the potential for space travel, and so astronomy gained a purpose, to bring the space travel industry the information it needed. Astronomy then gained the benefits of being launched into space itself to further its study of the stars and space.

Meanwhile, astrology had become the isolated ‘pseudo-science’ of the twentieth century and slowly lost its connection with the night sky and became a rather theoretical and intellectual pursuit with an air of mysticism. With the ‘dawning of the age of Aquarius’ in the 60s (as the song told us), astrology aligned itself with hippies and alternative culture and then with new-age spiritualism. Astrologers sat with tarot-readers and psychics, positioning themselves as pseudo-therapists and fortune-tellers.

By the 1980s and 90s, with global environmental issues in the forefront, astronomy began searching for 'Earth-like planets’ out there in space, designating itself as the saviour of humanity by finding us a potential new home – ‘Humanity is destroying this planet and will need another’. Astronomers were also bought by the military of various countries to assist in satellite spying and work on weapons circling up beyond the atmosphere. Talk about a sell-out.

This all seems like quite a mess. We have two branches of the same Science, a science that is age-old and incredibly pure in its essence, diverging off in equally crazy directions, hence completely lost without each other, a boat without a rudder, neither serving their true potential. These two sciences were once one, known as the science of the stars – Astrology. The astrologers were the astronomers – they were one in the same.

Okay… firstly, let's get something straight here. Astronomy is not about space travel. The Space-travel-industry has hijacked the science of Astronomy for its own agenda. And astronomy, or rather, astronomers, have been sucked into this trillion-dollar industry that began over a competition between the superpowers in the 1940s, namely USSR vs USA, known as the space race. And this continues today, with other nations joining in on the game. This is not about astronomy, not about gaining understanding or uncovering truth, it is about the status and recognition that is gained from being the first to land a spacecraft on this planet, to have a photo of this comet or that moon. Astronomers go along ‘for the ride’ so to speak, in the hope of discovering interesting information, but this is never the primary reason if truth be told.

So landing a man on the moon was not about exploring the moon, it was about placing a flag on the moon; it was about achieving superiority for one particular nation, and it continues to be so today. The so-called international space station is still very much dominated by certain countries and used as a way to justify the gigantic costs, giving all those who buy into such a huge project a sense of being powerful beyond the earth.

So if astronomy is not actually about space travel, what is it about?

Is it found in those big white domes we call observatories? Just as science has been taken out of the playground and put into the laboratory, so has astronomy been taken from the stargazer and contained in these enormous state-run, university-run, concrete and steel constructions. Observatories are fascinating places, and usually the people working within them have a passion for observing and understanding the universe. However, if truth be known, astronomy is simply the art of connecting with the stars and with the universe, something that belongs with the ordinary man and woman.

Astronomers are forever looking ‘out there’, searching for more – more detail, greater distances, more planets, more galaxies, and always telling us how insignificant we are. Yet the stars beam their light directly into our eyes when we gaze at the night sky. It does not matter how many light-years away they are, how big or stupendous their mass is, or whether they exist ‘now’ or not, their light is real and enters our body the moment we see them (in fact, our entire bodies are bathed in their light, even if we don’t even ‘look’ at the stars).

We feel that light and respond to it. This is the true science of the stars.

We can claim ourselves back as stargazers, as true astronomers, by simply reconnecting ourselves with the heavens above.

If we then take the next step, of connecting what we see above to that which we feel within, then we become astrologers as well. It is really that simple. By doing so we will bring both of these ancient sciences back together and back to the everyday livingness from whence they were born.

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Ageless WisdomAstronomyConstellationsEvolutionGodPlanets

  • By Paul O'Hara, BSc (Zoology , Biology), DipSecTchg(Science)

    I run my own organic store and café in the beautiful town of Wanaka, New Zealand. I have love of all things in the natural world and the heavens above.

  • Photography: Matt Paul