Christian hermetic astrology

I see this manifesting in the context of the crisis, which o I feel in our current state of being this is a very powerful prayer, to counteract some of the divisive forces, Klippothic forces are quite active. Those who have given themselves to God. God is one. Let me add that the name of God here is Jaweh, Yud, Heh , Vau, and second Heh, thus the God manifest in the universe, the universal creative energies manifesting as four forms, the Father, Mother, Son and Daughter.

They are fundamentally a unity all the same, as are the four universes they represent. Hence the prayer is to perform an inner unification yichud as well as a universal unification. The cause of negative karma, gevurah- manifesting as judgment is their disunity within the human being. It is a very purifying prayer, and one should deeply contemplate it's meaning in all it's implications.

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The Longer one stays with it, the deeper one enters into it, and the more deeply we enter the deeper the insight and healing. Happy Solstice! We have the unusual event of a full moon coinciding approximate not exact with the winter Solstice this year. Whenever we see Lunar, Solar , Gaia , alignments, especially in the case of eclipses eclipses not applicable to this event naturally we also have the symbolism of the Zoharic concept of union daath between the Bride and Bridegroom.

Thus the influence of the Shekinah, and the Divine Son becomes more palpable if we are open to it. I could not ask for a better energy to start the new year off with, as the Solstice will set the tone for the entire year. The Sun entering Capricorn and the Moon entering Cancer, indicates a time of things coming to fruition, and new beginnings appearing on the horizon.

These fruits, we see should have much to do with the relationship between our social institutions, and our culture, which are obviously still in a cycle flux, disintegration, yet hopefully reintegration into something more whole when it's all said and done. Saturn entering the sign of the goat-fish recently, and influencing this full moon, brings a potentially positive change over the next 2 years in terms of government.

Albeit the U. S needs watch it's national debt carefully. A fiscally conservative approach is advisable. It is probably apparent to most that the Democrats will dominate this election. The planets only confirm this to me. We still have a couple of years of this paradigm , the nodal positions suggest something of a revisit to the George W era, which perhaps launched the trend towards xenophobia.

The influence of Cancer the crab in the U. S chart can in its shadow expression lead to great fear of outside influence.

The economic growth is still looking good through the influence of Jupiter for a year or 2. But this influence is relatively fleeting in contrast to the ongoing influence of Pluto. Thus what we have is still the same basic deep problems but the symptoms are temporarily suppressed. In any case the Dems augment their power in this election and the influence of Trump wanes.

I see only one term for him. Below are the words of Lao Tzu. The worldly peoples run about excitedly as if they were going to miss the royal sacrificial feast, or as if they were going to be the last one to climb a high tower on a beautiful spring day. I alone remain quiet and indifferent I anchor my being to that which existed before Heavens and Earth were formed.

I alone am innocent and unknowing like a new born babe, unoccupied by worldly cares. Xenocrates and Epicurus both penned lost works of the same title prior to his Diog. Later Stoics such as Boethus, Posidonius and Philopator, dedicated works to fate, a topic that would become a critical issue for all Hellenistic schools of thought. The development of Hellenistic astrology is placed in the context of these theories. Stoic theory of fate involves the law of cause and effect, but unlike Epicurean atomism, it is not a purely mechanistic determinism because at the helm is divine reason.

Logos , for the Stoics, was the causal principle of fate or destiny. This principle is not simply external to human beings, for it is disseminated through the cosmos as logos spermatikos seminal reason which is particularly concentrated in humans who are subordinate partners of the gods. Individual logoi are related to the cosmic logos through living in harmony with nature and the universe. This provided the basis of Stoic ethics , for which there is the goal of eupoia biou or smooth living rather than fighting with the natural and fated order of things.

By its nature, a pot made of clay can be shattered, but the actual events of the shattering of a specific pot are due to the sum total of external causes and inner constraints. Fate, in general, encompasses the internal causes, though to be fated does not exclude the autonomy of individuals because particular actions are based on internal considerations such as will and character. Some events are considered to be co-fated by both external circumstances and conscious acts of choice. Diogenianus gives examples of co-fatedness, e.

Character or disposition also plays a part in determining virtue and vice. Polemical writers such as Alexander of Aphrodisias characterize the Stoic position as maintaining that virtue and vice are innate. Though morally neutral at birth, a human being is not a tabula rasa , but has potentialities which make him more or less receptive to good and bad influences from the environment.

An individual cannot act contrary to his or her character, which is a combination of innate and external factors, but there is the possibility of acquiring a different character, as a sudden conversion. Since character determines action the ethical responsibility rests with the most immediate causes. An often cited example is that of a cylinder placed on a hill — the initial and external cause of being pushed down the hill represents the rational order of fate, while its naturally rollable shape represents will and character of the mind Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae , 7. Cultivation of character through knowledge and training was thought to result in "harmonious acceptance of events" which are governed by the rational plan of the cosmos , whereas lack of culture results in the errors of pitting oneself against fate Gellius, 7.

Berossus, a Babylonian priest who settled on the island of Cos and the author of Babuloniakos , is often credited for bringing Babylonian astrology to the Greek-speaking world. Because he is thought to have flourished around B. Kidinnu and Soudines, two Babylonian astronomers mentioned by second century C.

Vettius Valens, also contributed to Hellenistic astronomy and astrology. Although many of the technical and theoretical details of pre-Hellenistic Babylonian astrology in Greece are lost in all but a few tablets, the doctrine of apokatastasis or eternal recurrence is attributed to Berossus by Seneca Quaest. One scholar of the history of astronomy P. Schnabel, Berossus und die babylonisch-hellenistische Literatur , Leipzig argued that Kidinnu possessed a theory of "precession of the equinox" prior to Hipparchus.

Precession occurs due to a slight rotation of the earth's axis resulting in a cyclical slippage of the vernal point in reference to the stars. See section on Ptolemy for more on precession From this was concluded an eternal recurrence based on the precession of the vernal point through the constellations. Schnabel's theory, however, had been refuted by Neugebauer. Whatever the case may be, it is likely that Babylonian cosmological theories influenced the founding Stoics, particularly Chrysippus. Each age would end in Fire, the purest of elements and the irreducible cosmic substance, and would be followed by a restoration of all things.

This fire, for the Stoics, was a "craftsmanly fire" pur tekhnikon identified with Zeus and of a different nature than the material fire that was one of the four elements. In the reconstitution of the world, the fiery element would interact with air to create moisture, which then condenses into earth. The four elements would then organize in their proper measures to create living beings SVF , 1. By Necessity, the principle cohesive power of the cosmos, the same souls which existed in one cycle would then be reconstituted in the cosmos and would play the same part in the same way, with perhaps an insignificant variation or two.

This concept from the early Stoa is sometimes known as the "eternal recurrence. This is not to be understood as an "afterlife" of human souls, as one would find in Christianity, for example. God, then restored in his own completion, assesses the lives of the previous cycle and fashions the next great age of the world that will contain an identical sequence of events.

Heraclitus , whom the Stoics claimed as a precursor, possessed an earlier doctrine of conflagration, though it is not to be assumed that his generation and decay of the cosmos was measured by the planetary circuits, for its movement, to him, is a pathway up and down rather than circular Diog. As reported by Philo , the only Stoics to have rejected the eternal recurrence include Boethus of Sidon, Panaetius, and a mature Diogenes of Babylon De aeternitate mundi , Astrological configurations were specified as part of the Stoic-Babylonian theory of eternal recurrence.

According to Nemesius,. Once again the world returns anew to the same condition as before; and when the stars are moving again in the same way, each thing that occurred in the previous period will come to pass indiscernibly. SVF, 2. Long and Sedley, Hellenistic Philosophers V. The celestial position of "length and breath" latitude and longitude is more specifically identified by second century C. A variation of this theory of apokatastasis includes an antapokatastatis , which is an additional destruction by water which occurs when the planets align in the opposing sign, Capricorn.

Such destruction by a Great Flood during this alignment was also attributed to Berossus by Seneca. Fourth century astrologer turned Christian, Firmicus Maternus, associated apokatastasis with the Thema Mundi or Genesis Cosmos , which is a "birth chart" for the world consisting of each planet in the 15th degree of its own sign. For the sake of consistency with the Stoic eternal cosmos, Firmicus claimed this chart does not indicate that the world had any original birth in the sense of creation, particularly one that could be conceived of by human reason or empirical observation.

The Great Year contains all possible configurations and events. Because it exceeds the span of human records of observation, there is no way of determining the birth of the world. He claimed that the schema had been invented by the Hermetic astrologers to serve as an instructional tool often employed as allegory Mathesis , 3. A more common Genesis Cosmos mentioned in astrological texts is a configuration of all planets in their own signs and degrees of exaltation hupsoma , special regions that had been established in Babylonian astrology.

The eternal recurrence doctrine in Stoicism entails justification of divination and belief in the predictability of events. While their physical substance is destroyed, they maintain an existence as thoughts in the mind of Zeus. Because the gods are indestructible, they maintain memory of events that take place within a Great Year and know everything that will happen in the following cycles SVF , 2. Divination, for Stoicism, is therefore possible, and even a divine gift. The presupposition that divination is a legitimate science was also used by Chrysippus as an argument in favor of fate.

Cicero , however, argued for the incompatibility of divination and Stoicism De fato , , particularly the incompatibility between Chryssipus' modal logical which allows for non-necessary future truths and the necessary future claimed by divination's power of prediction. The example argument presented by Cicero, "If someone is born at the rising of the Dogstar, he will not die at sea," would not, by his account, fall under the category of non-necessary truths since the antecedent truth is necessary as a past true condition.

Therefore the conclusion would also be necessary according to Chrysippus' logic. Cicero mentions Chrysippus' defense against charges of such contradictions, but regardless of the success or failure of Chysippus' defense against them, the issue for the possibility of divination, for the Stoics, was not considered a logical contradiction between fate and free will. Because human beings are by nature the rational seeds logoi spermatikoi of the Godhead, their choices will correspond to the cosmic fate inherent in the eternal recurrence, and would not alter that which is divined.

For Chrysippus, at least, the laws of divination are accepted as empirically factual or proto-science and not as a matter of logical connectivity between past, present, and future. Since divination occurs as a matter of revelation though signs , the idea that there can be knowledge of a necessary causal antecedent leading to a future effect is not the principle behind it cf.

Bobzein, p. The Stoic argument for divination through signs would be as follows: if there are gods, they must both be aware of future events and must love human beings while holding only good intentions toward them. Because of their care for human beings, signs are then given by the gods for potential knowledge of future events. These events are known by the gods, though not alterable by them. If signs are given, then the proper means to interpret them must also be given.

If they are not interpreted correctly, the fault does not lie with the gods or with divination itself, but with an error of judgment on the part of the interpreter Cicero, De divinatione , 1. Another theory in support of divination and by extension astral divination, is that of cosmic sympathy. Cosmic sympathy was already prevalent in Hipparchean medical theory, though Posidonius is credited for its development in the Stoic school. Posidonius, though, claimed to have drawn this notion from Democritus, Xenophanes, Pythagoras and Socrates. Stoic physical theory holds that all things in the universe are connected and held together in their interactions through tension.

The active and passive principles move pneuma , the substance that penetrates and unifies all things. In fact, this tension holds bodies together, and every coherent thing would collapse without it.

Pneuma as the commanding substance of the soul penetrates the cosmos. This cosmos, for the Stoics, is both a rational and sensate living being Diog. The Stoics thought that the cosmos is ensouled and has impulses or desires hormai. Whereas in Platonism these impulses are conflicting and need the rational part of the soul to govern them, in Stoicism desires of the cosmic soul are harmoniously drawn toward a rational though not entirely accessible to human beings end, which is Logos, or Zeus' return to himself through the cosmic cycle of apokatastasis.

So the idea of cosmic sympathy supports divination, because knowledge of one part of the cosmos such as a sign is, by way of the cohesive substance of pneuma , access to the whole. In contrast to Plato's disparaging view of divination that it is not divinely inspired but based on the artless fumbling of human error, the Stoic view, for the most part, is that rational means of divination can be developed. The push to develop a scientific meaning systematic and empirical knowledge-based divination finds its natural progression in mathematically based astrology.

Stoic-influenced astrologers went a step further than Stoic philosophers to define innate potentials of character by assigning them to the zodiac and planets. Virtuous and corrupt characteristics are identified as determined by the potential of the natal chart, while external circumstances are indicated by the combination of this chart with transits of planets through time and certain periods of life set in motion by the configurations in the natal chart.

For instance, in his list of personality characteristics for individuals born with certain zodiac signs on the horizon, Teukros of Babylon near Cairo includes character traits that are not morally neutral. For example, those born when the first decan of Libra is ascending are "virtuous" enaretous , while those born when the third decan of Scorpio is ascending "do many wrongs" or are "law-breakers" pollous adikountas.

While it is clear that Stoic philosophy influenced the development of astrology, the attitude of the Stoa towards astrology, however, varied on the basis of the individual philosophers. Cicero stated that Diogenes of Babylon believed astrologers are capable of predicting disposition and praxis one's life activity , but not much else.

Diogenes, though, is said to have calculated a "Great Year" in his earlier years Aetius, De placitis reliquiae , His turn to skepticism changed his view on Stoic ekpurosis and likely modified his view on astrology. Middle Stoic Panaetius is said to have rejected astrology altogether. That an astrological example is used by Cicero to illustrate a contradiction in Chrysippus' logic and divination does not necessarily mean that Chrysippus himself had much exposure to or took an interest in astrology. Cicero's example is, "If someone is born at the rising of the Dogstar, he will not die at sea.

De fato , In Chrysippus' time, Hellenistic astrology had not yet been formulated systematically. However, given that the example is based on a consideration of importance to Babylonian astrology, the rising of the fixed star Sirius, the possibility exists that Chrysippus or one of his contemporaries discussed astrology in the context of logic and divination.

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Posidonius was alleged by Augustine to have been "much given to astrology" multum astrologiae deditus and "an assertor fatal influence of the stars" De civitate dei 5. His actual relationship to astrology, however, is more complicated, but there are several reasons to think that he supported astrology. For one, in his belief that the world is a living animal, he followed Chrysippus in identifying the commanding faculty of the world soul as the heavens Diog.

Cleanthes considered it to be the Sun. Secondly, Posidonius had a strong research interest in astronomy and meteorology. He was the first to systematically research the connection between ocean tides and the phases of the Moon. His research in this area possibly led him to his doctrine of cosmic sympathy, as he considered natural affinities among things of the earth. Cosmic sympathy allows for an association between signs within nature that can extend to planets and stars and future events without direct causality. If the higher faculty of the cosmos is located in the heavens, then it is more likely that these signs would carry weight for Posidonius.

Thirdly, Cicero, who can be given more credibility than Augustine by having attended Posidonius' lectures, mentions him in connection with astrology in De divinatione 1. However, given that Posidonius is flourishing at the same time as the earliest textual evidence for Hellenistic astrology first century B. Because he was widely traveled, he may have gained exposure to one or more astrologers or schools of astrologers. This observation would not have necessarily been considered an astrological one, though it is schematized according to characteristics of the zodiac rather than lunations and seasons, and such schematizations were quite common in Hellenistic astrology.

It cannot be said with certainty whether Posidonius' advocacy of cosmic sympathy lent support to the development of astrology or if this development itself reinforced Posidonius' own theories of cosmic sympathy and fate. The importance of astrology in politics of first century Rome was aided by its alignment with Stoic fatalism and cosmic sympathy. Balbillus, son of Thrasyllus and astrologer to Nero, Seneca, and a certain Alexandrian Stoic, Chaeremon, were all appointed tutors to L. Chaeremon who Cramer, p. Seneca, too, wrote a work on comets Book 7 of Quaestiones naturales , in which he portrays some as good omens for the Empire cf.

Cramer, p. So far in this account of the theoretical development of Hellenistic astrology, the pre-Socratic thinkers contributed a deep concern for fate and justice. Plato contributed an orderly and rational cosmos, while those in the early Academy displayed an astral piety that recognized the planets as gods or representations of gods. The Stoics contributed theories of fate and divination, that already had an astrological component with the Babylonian contribution to the Eternal Recurrence. Cosmic sympathy, present in Greek medicine and popularized by the middle Stoic Posidonius, provided astrologers with a theoretical grounding for the associations among planets, zodiac signs, and all other things.

One notable Stoic contribution to Hellenistic astrology which distinguishes it from the Babylonian is the incorporation of Chryssipus' principle of two forces, active and passive, manifest in the activities of the four elements. Fire and air were active, earth and water passive. The astrologers later assigned these elements and dynamic qualities to each sign of the zodiac.

Further philosophical developments by the Middle Platonists and the Neopythagoreans would then lead to astrology as a system of knowledge due to its systematic and mathematical nature. The systematic nature would make it plausible to some and a worthy or dangerous foe to others. These developments set astrology apart, epistemologically speaking, from other manners of divination such as haruspicy study of the liver of animals , or dream interpretation. The union between Pythagorean theory and Platonism should come as no surprise given Plato's late interest in Pythagoreanism.


From the early academy onward, elements of Pythagorean theory became part and parcel of Platonism. Speusippus wrote a work on Pythagorean numbers Fr. He and Xenocrates both offered cosmic hierarchies formed from the One and the Dyad. The One, or Monad, is a principle of order and unity, while the Dyad is the principle of change, motion, and division. The manner in which these principles are related was a critical issue inherited from the early Academy.

Xenocrates Fr. We see in Xenocrates both the identification of Gods with stars as we saw in Phillip of Opus and the notion that Gods are forces of Nature, thereby creating an important theoretical issue for astrology, namely what is the domain of influence of the planetary gods, as the Olympians are identified with the planets. He also believed that the world soul is formed from Monad and Dyad, and that it served as a boundary between the supralunary and sublunary places.

Xenocrates' cosmology would be highly influential on Plutarch, who elaborated on the roles of the world soul, the daimons, the planets and fixed stars. The middle Platonists, many of whom believed themselves to be true expounders of Plato, were influenced by other schools of thought. The physical theories of Antiochus of Ascalon are very Stoic in nature. The unity of things is held together by the world soul much as it is held together in Stoic theory by pneuma.

He also accepted the Stoic Pur Tekhnikon Creative Fire as the substance composing the stars, gods, and everything else. There is little to indicate that Antiochus held in his cosmology the notion common to some other Platonists of transcendent immateriality; his universe, like the Stoics, is material.

On the subject of fate and free will, he argues against Chrysippus if he is in fact the philosopher identified as doing so in Cicero's De fato and Topica by accepting the reality of free will rather than the illusion of free will created simply by the limitations of human knowledge in grasping fated future events. Antiochus' view on other beings in the cosmos, particularly the ontological status of stars and planets, may be found in his Roman student Varro who stated that the heavens, populated by souls the immortal occupying aether and air , are divided by elements in this order from top to bottom: aether, air, water, earth.

From the highest circle of heaven to the circle of the Moon are aetherial souls, the stars and planets, and these are not only known by our intelligence to exist, but are also visible to our eyes as heavenly gods. Dillon, Middle Platonists , p. Daimons and heroes, then, were thought to occupy the aerial sphere.

The importance of Antiochus for the development of Hellenistic astrology may be his break with the skepticism of the New Academy, one which allowed the Middle Platonists to espouse more theological and speculative views about the soul and the cosmos while anticipating Neoplatonic theories. In Alexandria, which, not by coincidence would become a hotbed for astrological theory and practice, Platonism incorporated strong Neopythagorean elements.

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Eudorus of Alexandria, who wrote a commentary on Plato's Timaeus , contributed to the importance of Timaean cosmology in middle and Neoplatonic thought. Achille used Eudorus as a source for this work that also contains references to Pythagorean theories of planetary harmonies. We know from Achilles that Eudorus followed the Platonic and Stoic belief that the stars are ensouled living beings Isagoga , This intellectual climate is likely the immediate context for the development of systematic astrology — with its complex classifications of the signs, planets, and their placements in a horoscope, and the numerological calculations used for predicting all sorts of events in one's life.

The revival of Pythagoreanism by the mid-first century B. The Neopythagorean texts just mentioned are significant for the development of Hellenistic astrology. They represent cosmological theories that likely were used as justification for astrology. By appealing to the empirical rationale that we cannot perceive the universe coming to be and passing away, but only its self-identity, he concludes the eternity of the whole, including its part. This whole though is divided into two worlds, the supralunary and the sublunary.

The heavens down to the Moon comprise a world of unchanging harmony that governs the sublunary realm of all changing and corruptible activity. In Platonic manner, the unchanging the Monad governs and generates the changing the Dyad. In Pythagorean manner, the divine beings in the unchanging realm are in perfect harmony with one another through their regular motions.

Visible signs for the unchanging harmony and self-subsistence of the universe are found in the harmonious movements of things in relation to one another. This list comprises the primary factors by which astrologers would assess the strength and qualities of planets in a given horoscope as the basis for the formulation of predictive techniques and statements. Temporal periods were assigned by astrologers in a variety of ways, though usually based on the "lesser years" of the planets, the time it took for one planet to complete its revolution with respect to a starting point in the zodiac.

The former notion of intervals was used for determining various time periods of one's life assigned to each planet cf. Valens, Anthologiarum , 3. Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos , 1. Ocellus goes on to name these powers as hot, cold, wet, and dry, and he contrasts them with the "substances" ousiai or elements of fire, earth, water and air. The powers and substances, or "qualities" and "elements" as they are more commonly called, were used in horoscopic astrology to describe the natures of the planets and zodiac signs. In Ocellus' explanation of astral causality, the powers are immortal forms that affect changes on the sublunary substances 2.

Whether or not Ocellus and other Neopythagoreans are at the forefront of formulating these particular astrological rules, he provides a metaphysical basis for the notion that the planets and stars effect changes on earth. He is further described as saying that the Moon is the locus where immortality above and mortality below meet. He also says the obliquity of the zodiac, the pathway of the Sun, is the inclining place at which the supralunary generates activity in the sublunary realm.

The Sun's seasonal motion conforms to the powers hot, cold, wet, and dry that bring about changes in the substances elements ; the ecliptic path inclines these powers into the realm of strife and nature.

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In his discussion on the generation of men, Ocellus argues, in more of an Aristotelian than Platonic sense as found in On Generation and Corruption , that the only participation of men in immortality is through the gift by divinities of the power of reproduction. Following rules of morality in connubial relations results in living in harmony with the universe. Immoral transgressions, though, are punished by the production of ignoble offspring. A manner of cosmic sympathy as found in Greek medicine plays a role in determining that the circumstances of conception such as a tranquil state of mind will reflect upon the nature of the offspring.

This notion is in keeping with the fact that astrologers studied charts not only for the moment of birth, but for conception as well. The only major difference is that for the astrologers, the circumstances of the birth appear to be reflected universally at a given time and not the direct result of moral or immoral actions as it is for Ocellus. The moment of birth or conception for the astrologers is reflected in all things of nature and in any activities initiated at that particular moment, as reflected in the positions of the planets and signs.

The technical astrologers typically did not include reflections on moral retributions in their manuals of astral fate. They were primarily concerned with detailing knowledge of fate for its own sake, though speculation about such matters as retribution and rebirth is not excluded by astrological theory. The Hellenistic text attributed to Timaeus Locrus, On the Nature of the World and the Soul, purports to be the original upon which Plato drew for his dialogue of his name. For the most part, it consists of a summary of the material by Plato. The circles of the Same and the Different carry the fixed stars and the planets respectively.

The sphere of the fixed stars containing the cosmos is granted the Pythagorean perfect figure of the dodecahedron. One addition of note for the theory of astrology is the doctrine of the creation of souls. The four elements are made by the demiurge in equal measure and power, and Soul of man is made in the same proportion and power. Individual souls of human beings are fashioned by Nature who has been handed the task by the demiurge of creating mortal beings from the Sun, Moon, and planets, from the circle of Difference with a measure of the circle of the Same that she Nature being hypostasized as the female principle mixes in the rational part of the soul.

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There appears in this to be a difference in individual souls reflecting different fates based on the composition. While this merely reiterates what is found in Plato's Timaeus 42d-e , the supposition that one could read this account straight from Timaeus Locrus gave authority to these notions. Perhaps what they were seeking in the horoscope was one of the "young gods" whose task it was to fashion the mortal body of each soul and to steer their course away from evils.

As mentioned above, some philosophers associated the young gods with the planets. Astrological fragments of a writer "Timaeus Praxidas" date to the same period early to middle first century B. What it at least indicates is that the legend of Timaeus lent authority to the astrological writers. Thrasyllus d. Given that he published an edition of Plato's works and is known for the arrangement of the dialogues into tetralogies , and that he wrote a work on Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy, we can assume that his astrological theory represents Middle Platonism of the early first century C.

However, a summary of his astrological work "Pinax" tables , indicates that he is drawing upon earlier sources, particularly the pseudepigrapha of "Nechepso and Petosiris" and Hermes Trismegistus. A numerological table, perhaps containing zodiac associations to numbers as that found in Teukros of Babylon, is also attributed to Thrasyllus. It appears that his own philosophy contains a mixture of Hermetic and Pythagorean elements.

A search for exact origins of astrology's development into a complex system remains inconclusive, but the following can be surmised. The combination of Pythagorean theory, such as the supralunary realm influencing the sublunar, Platonic ensouled planets moving on the circle of the Different, Stoic determinism and cosmic sympathy, and the emergence of a Hermetic tradition, comprised the intellectual context for the systematic structuring of astrology, its classifications of the signs, planets, and their placements in a horoscope, and the numerological calculations used for predicting all sorts of events in one's life.

Besides being a prolific writer on a variety of subjects, Plutarch was, philosophically speaking, a Platonist, as defined by his era, that is, one influenced by Aristotelian, Stoic, and Neopythagorean notions. In Plutarch's case this includes ideas culled from his study of Persian and Egyptian traditions. By his time late first century C.

Cramer, 99 ff. Plutarch's own form of Platonism did not then directly contribute to the technical development of astrology, but it does add a Middle Platonic contribution to an explanation of how astrology gained some credibility and much popularity in the first three centuries of the common era. He also borrowed some astrological concepts and metaphors for his own philosophy. First of all, as a priest of Apollo, Plutarch saw all other deities as symbolic aspects of One God that is invisible and unintelligible.

He gained impetus for this from an etymology of "Apollo," which is explained as an alpha-privative a-pollos , or "not many" De E apud Delphos , b. He resists a pure identification of the Sun with Apollo De pythiae oraculis c-d , because the One God is Invisible, and the Sun an intelligible copy. He likens the Sun to one aspect, that of the Nous, the heart of the cosmos. The Moon is then associated with the cosmic Soul and spleen , and the earth with the bowels. Taking cue from Plato's suggestion in the Laws The malevolent or irrational soul preexisted the demiurge's creation.

It is not pure evil, but the cause of evil operating in the sublunary realm, mixing with the good to create cosmic tension. Plutarch maintains the distinction of Ocellus between the generating supralunary realm and the generated sublunary realm, but he offers more detail about operations in the sublunary world of change. He posits two opposing principles or powers of good and evil that offer a right-handed straight path and a reversed, backwards path for souls De Isis.

Individual souls are microcosms of a world soul based on Timaeus , 30b , and the parts of the soul reflect this cosmic tension. The "young gods", the planetary gods in the Timaeus 42d-e that steer souls, Plutarch designates as the province of the irrational soul. With the emphasis of the irrational soul and the mixture of forces in the sublunary realm, Plutarch's cosmology allows for the possibility of astrology. Then God orders the elements into the seven heavens often held to be the spheres of Mercury , Venus , Mars , Jupiter , Saturn , the Sun, and the Moon , which travel in circles and govern destiny.

Nous then makes the seven heavens spin, and from them spring forth creatures without speech. Earth is then separated from water, and animals other than man are brought forth. The God then created androgynous man, in God's own image, and handed over his creation. Man carefully observed the creation of nous and received from God man's authority over all creation. Man then rose up above the spheres' paths in order to better view creation.

He then showed the form of the All to Nature. Nature fell in love with the All, and man, seeing his reflection in water, fell in love with Nature and wished to dwell in it. Immediately, man became one with Nature and became a slave to its limitations, such as sex and sleep. In this way, man became speechless having lost "the Word" and he became " double ", being mortal in body yet immortal in spirit , and having authority over all creation yet subject to destiny. An alternative account of the fall of man, preserved in the Discourses of Isis to Horus , is as follows:.

God, having created the universe, then created the divisions, the worlds, and various gods and goddesses, whom he appointed to certain parts of the universe. He then took a mysterious transparent substance, out of which he created human souls. He appointed the souls to the astral region, which is just above the physical region. He then assigned the souls to create life on Earth. He handed over some of his creative substance to the souls and commanded them to contribute to his creation.

The souls then used the substance to create the various animals and forms of physical life. Soon after, however, the souls began to overstep their boundaries; they succumbed to pride and desired to be equal to the highest gods. God was displeased and called upon Hermes to create physical bodies that would imprison the souls as a punishment for them. Hermes created human bodies on earth, and God then told the souls of their punishment. God decreed that suffering would await them in the physical world, but he promised them that, if their actions on Earth were worthy of their divine origin, their condition would improve and they would eventually return to the heavenly world.

If it did not improve, he would condemn them to repeated reincarnation upon Earth. Tobias Churton , Professor of Western Esotericism at the University of Exeter, states, "The Hermetic tradition was both moderate and flexible, offering a tolerant philosophical religion, a religion of the omnipresent mind, a purified perception of God, the cosmos, and the self, and much positive encouragement for the spiritual seeker, all of which the student could take anywhere. Hermeticists generally attribute 42 books to Hermes Trismegistus, [ citation needed ] although many more have been attributed to him.

Most of them, however, are said to have been lost when the Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed. Other important original Hermetic texts include the Discourses of Isis to Horus , [55] which consists of a long dialogue between Isis and Horus on the fall of man and other matters; the Definitions of Hermes to Asclepius ; [56] and many fragments, which are chiefly preserved in the anthology of Stobaeus.

There are additional works that, while not as historically significant as the works listed above, have an important place in neo-Hermeticism:. A Suggestive Inquiry was used for the study of Hermeticism and resulted in several works being published by members of the Golden Dawn: [57].

Magical Astrology

When Hermeticism was no longer endorsed by the Christian church, it was driven underground, and several Hermetic societies were formed. The western esoteric tradition is now steeped in Hermeticism. The work of such writers as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola , who attempted to reconcile Jewish kabbalah and Christian mysticism , brought Hermeticism into a context more easily understood by Europeans during the time of the Renaissance. A few primarily Hermetic occult orders were founded in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

Hermetic magic underwent a 19th-century revival in Western Europe , [60] where it was practiced by groups such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aurum Solis , and Ragon. Many Hermetic, or Hermetically influenced, groups exist today. Most of them are derived from Rosicrucianism , Freemasonry , or the Golden Dawn.

Rosicrucianism is a movement which incorporates the Hermetic philosophy. It dates back to the 17th century. The sources dating the existence of the Rosicrucians to the 17th century are three German pamphlets: the Fama , the Confessio Fraternitatis , and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz.

The Rosicrucian Order consists of a secret inner body and a public outer body that is under the direction of the inner body. It has a graded system in which members move up in rank and gain access to more knowledge. There is no fee for advancement. Once a member has been deemed able to understand the teaching, he moves on to the next higher grade.

The Fama Fraternitatis states that the Brothers of the Fraternity are to profess no other thing than "to cure the sick, and that gratis". The Rosicrucian spiritual path incorporates philosophy , kabbalah, and divine magic. The Order is symbolized by the rose the soul and the cross the body. The unfolding rose represents the human soul acquiring greater consciousness while living in a body on the material plane.

The Order was a specifically Hermetic society that taught alchemy, kabbalah, and the magic of Hermes, along with the principles of occult science. The Golden Dawn maintained the tightest of secrecy, which was enforced by severe penalties for those who disclosed its secrets. Overall, the general public was left oblivious of the actions, and even of the existence, of the Order, so few if any secrets were disclosed. Its secrecy was broken first by Aleister Crowley in and later by Israel Regardie in Regardie gave a detailed account of the Order's teachings to the general public.

Regardie had once claimed that there were many occult orders which had learned whatever they knew of magic from what had been leaked from the Golden Dawn by those whom Regardie deemed "renegade members". The Stella Matutina was a successor society of the Golden Dawn. Hermeticism remains influential within esoteric Christianity , especially in Martinism.

Hermeticism remains influential within Neopaganism , especially in Hellenism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about teachings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. For related terms, see Hermetic disambiguation. Hermes Trismegistus Thoth Poimandres. Corpus Hermeticum The Kybalion. Alchemy Astrology Theurgy.