Saturday, August 14, 2010

Modern Astrology and Hellenistic Astrology

For the past year, I've been studying Hellenistic astrology intensively with a long-term goal of determining how much of it is applicable to modern-day people and concerns. Hellenistic astrology is astrology as practiced by Greek-speaking people around the Mediterranean Sea between 1400 and 2000 years ago. Fate is much more emphasized than in modern astrology, but that is most likely a reflection of the philosophy (Stoicism) current at the time. Modern astrology, on the other hand, is very much about psychological issues and avenues for personal development. This suggests a synergy which I'll discuss shortly.

The cornerstone of stoicism, as I understand it, is the concept of the universe and the events that take place within it as being an orderly, interconnected system. In fact, some of the Stoic writings go so far as to say that the universe is the body of God. Events in this paradigm are not seen as random, but instead as planned by something much bigger than all of us. This brings to mind a modern saying: "Everything happens for a reason." The fact that we still say this even though we officially have free will and independent lives indicates to me that we're still (in America, at least) Stoics at heart. Because Hellenistic astrology is based on that philosophy, I think it essential that it be integrated into common practice.

That brings me to the synergy that I alluded to earlier. Hellenistic astrology is descriptive; it describes the native and a roadmap of the native's life. Modern astrology is prescriptive; it offers suggestions about issues that need to be addressed, and needs of the native that may need more attention. My contention is that the two styles of astrology are complementary. More on this later as I work out more of the details.