The same old question and its meaning

Andreas Cellarius – Planisphaerium Ptolemaicum, 1660

Italian version

Astrology is based on the symbolic unity between observer and phenomenon, in our case, the position of the planets and luminaries seen from the terrestrial observatory. From this point of view, the Ptolemaic or geocentric system has its logic: we use a reference model relating to our apparently fixed position on the earth’s surface, so it seems that the celestial vault rotates around our position. After all, all motion is relative to the observer: the Moon’s orbit is not really an ellipse when viewed from the celestial north pole; the Sun is not static to the background but revolves around the galactic centre.

The misunderstanding about the use of a system considered obsolete arises from comparing astrology and the spirit that animates it to the experimental and theoretical scheme of current science. According to this thought, data is scientifically accepted when it responds to well-defined criteria, such as the statistical agreement between data and theory. This fact is equivalent to saying that astrology should prove its validity by hypothesising a direct action of the planets on human beings deriving from electromagnetic or similar influences, that is, from directly measurable causes.

However, astrology draws its raison d’etre from a very different paradigm, well summarised in the fragment of the text of the Emerald Tablet attributed to Hermes Trismegistus: “As above so below, to perform the miracle of the one thing”. The meaning of the phrase – translated into modern language – states that the objective world, as it presents itself to the perception of the senses, together with the observer’s conscience, constitute a single reality, which in the cognitive moment splits up to appear as separate. For this, we are forced to recover what has been lost – the original unity – through indirect learning based on the analytical decomposition of things to recover their meaning.

Considering that consciousness acts as the ordering principle of an otherwise meaningless cosmic vision, we can use astrology as a tool that unites our inner microcosm with the objective macrocosm. If we are the ones who give meaning to things, then the external reality works as a mirror that reflects our being. Through the laws of analogy and symbol, we can prepare an astrological language – understandable to mankind and therefore based on a geocentric perspective – which allows us to clarify the meaning of our being in the world.

This does not detract from the merits of scientific research when it does not pursue purely utilitarian and destructive ends. After all, the same happens with “newspaper astrology”.