In Italy, astrology had university importance from the fourteenth century (the universities of Bologna, Padua and Pavia are famous in this regard) until about 1600; later on, the coming of the Inquisition and Catholic orthodoxy put a stop to its development.

Robert Fludd (1574-1637) – Utriusque Cosmi Historia.

Italian version


It was believed that the study of natural divination was an obstacle to a vision of the world pervaded by the divine presence and that nature itself no longer played a mediating function in the dialogue between man and God.

Astronomy and astrology continued their common path for quite some time. Scholars approved the idea that astrology was a practical astronomy application (just think that they greeted Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus with enthusiasm for the simplifications he brought to astrology calculations). It was only with the approach of the Age of Enlightenment that encyclopedic works began to record the gap between natural astrology, which deals with natural phenomena subjected to scientific investigation, and judicial astrology, which studies events from a foreseeing point of view. Astrology was therefore counted from here on among superstitions. At this point, astronomy began to eclipse astrological thinking, marking its academic decline.

I have simplified to the farthest a much more complex process from the historical point of view. Still, the result seems to be a linear solution to the uncertainties that previously plagued humanity: the advent of scientific thought. But astrology, leaving out the divinatory aspect, which is only the resultant, has a specific function that if we want is complementary to that of scientific thought: the objective phenomenon – what appears and we investigate – is not separated from the role of the observer as the architect in the formation of the phenomenon itself. That is at the root of so-called magical thinking, as highlighted in this post.

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