by     JOHN KAPP           29.12.07

22, Saxon Rd, Hove BN3 4LE, East Sussex   Tel: 01273 417997

1. Abstract
Astrology is not superstition but the source of the seeking that created both religion and science. This article seeks to wake scientists up to the foolishness of habitually rejecting astrology. Scientists who do so (1) are acting like adolescent, left brained half-wits, throwing the baby (astrology, science’s father) out with the bathwater. Only when science can accept its source (astrology) can it balance its left brained head with a right-brained heart, and so become mature. The paradigm shift that created science 5 centuries ago needs to complete its cycle with a new paradigm shift to holism, to save civilisation from its present course of scientific self-destruction

2 Astronomy, astrology and religion
The word ‘astrology’ comes from 2 greek words: ‘astro’ meaning stars, and ‘logia’ meaning the ‘word’. Astrology literally means ‘the word of the stars’ implying that they have something of meaning to tell us if we are willing to listen. A dictionary definition of it is ‘A study that assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies on human affairs’.

The second part of the word ‘astronomy’ comes from the Greek word ‘nomos’ to ‘arrange’. The word ‘astronomy’ literally means ‘arranging the stars into a regulated order or map’. A dictionary definition is ‘A science which deals with the material universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere’.

Astronomy now has a publicly funded annual budget for telescopes, spacecraft etc of billions of dollars, pounds, euros. The average man in the street, who pays for all this astronomy in his taxes is entitled to ask the questions: ‘Why are my governments spending all this investment in it? What personal benefit do I get from it? How can astronomy’s discoveries change my life, and that of my children?’

By contrast, astrology has got no public money for many centuries. It was forbidden 4 centuries ago by papal bulls, Astrology bashing in scientific circles has been habitual for centuries, which can be guaranteed to be well received (like mother-in-law bashing in music halls). In August 2007 it was derided on TV by eminent scientist Prof Richard Dawkins as ‘primitive superstition’ and an ‘enemy of reason’. (1)

Despite this continual bad press, practically every daily newspaper (except The Guardian) contains an astrology column, and has done for at least half a century. Would the newspaper publishers have printed astrology so consistently if Dawkins is right?’

This article addresses these questions, and the general one of why, despite persecution, astrology survives underground. It concludes that the reason is that deep down, (mostly unconsciously) everyone feels themselves in receipt of a life force which can only come from a source in the universe (cosmos). People also feel that their life must have a meaning, and look for that to the heavens. These unconscious feelings are the basis of belief in astrology. The same feelings have similarly affected this and all previous civilisations throughout recorded history, and are the same source that motivates religious seeking.

Astrology could thus be said to be the father of religion. whose dictionary definition is ‘belief in, and reverence for a supernatural power regarded as creator and governor of human destiny’ However, the word religion derived from latin ‘religare’ meaning to ‘bind fast’ to a set of beliefs.

The word ‘planet’ is derived from the greek for ‘wanderer’. The planets are the wandering stars, and their meaning cannot be interpreted unless astrologers know where they are at any time, relative to the ‘fixed’ stars, (zodiac). The planetary positions are listed in an almanac table called an ‘ephemeris’, which is the creation of astronomers.

Astrologers and astronomers need each other in a symbiotic relationship, but not one of equals. The art of astrology needs the science of astronomy as a wise old father with failing eyesight needs a son to look through his astrolabe and record the positions of the planets for his father to interpret. Astrology is thus like the father of astronomy. There is no point in ‘arranging the stars’ into ‘ephemeredes’ (the plural of ‘ephemeris’) unless the meaning of their positions is interpreted by an astrologer.

3. Why do astronomers reject astrology?
This has become an attitude which has become an ingrained habit, like the music hall joke about the mother-in-law. This is a big question on which much has been written, summarised in the following quotes: ‘The Renaissance was a period when science established itself as a separate discipline, and astrology was demoted by Church and humanist to little more than superstition’ (2) ‘The first Protestant leaders, Luther and Calvin, in the years 1510-1550, did not approve of astrology’ …..We must look for the reasons for the decline of astrology in a total picture, that of the emergence of the new world of technology, world trade and capitalism, a world that found itself reacting against its own past, against its own shadow. (3)

Whatever reasons astronomers may have had in the past for rejecting astrology, they are no longer valid. Those who reject astrology today are rejecting the reason for their existence (their raison d’etre) and denying the source of the questions that their ‘arrangement’ of the stars might answer. They are like sons who reject their father who begat them. This article tries to bridge this gulf of scepticism and rejection, to help astronomers accept it and reconnect with their source.

The science of astronomy could then re-integrate with astrology in harmony and balance, like a marriage between yang and yin, as they were in the past, before their divorce in the Renaissance. Astronomers could then move from their present position of left-brained half-wits accumulating knowledge for its own sake, to again becoming whole, holy, holistic. Everyone in society would benefit from this integration.

The problem that scientists have with astrology is summed up in the question ‘how can the position of the planets possibly affect human behaviour?’ This article shows:

a) Whether we like it or not, can explain it or not, or deny it or not, it is an undeniable fact that the position of the sun, moon and planets do affect human behaviour,

b) That the method of the measurement of time, angle, calendars, latitude and longitude was initiated thousands of years ago by astrologers.

c) That the history of human affairs, including the onset of illness, is not an accident, but can be explained by astrology. This can be done by looking at transits of planets in hard aspect to their natal positions in the horoscope.

d) As an explanation of how astrology might work, I postulate the theory that the sun, moon and planets act like mobile phone masts, varying the reception of the cosmological life force on earth, thereby giving human beings subtle life energy of variable quantity and quality depending on where and when they were born, and where the planets are positioned at any particular time of their lives.

4. Human behaviour is affected by the position of the sun, moon and planets
The following are undeniable facts, observable everywhere throughout the world, and confirmed by history as having always been true:

Sun and moon
a) Civilisation depends on people being able to predict the following, which depend on our knowledge of the relative position of the sun, earth and moon:

  • Date, in the form of accurate calendars. The days of the week are named after the sun, moon and planets. The months follow the signs of the zodiac, and the first 4 months are named after the planetary rulers of the signs they rule.
  • Time, in the form of accurate clocks, with time signals to synchronise them. Early public clocks showed the sign of the zodiac that the sun is in, to indicate the month.
  • Latitude and longitude, to define the position on land and sea in co-ordinates, relative to the poles and equator, measured by the altitude of the sun. The tropics are named after the zodiac signs which the sun enters at the solstices, Cancer in summer and Capricorn in winter.
  • Tides, so that shipping can use harbours
  • Eclipses, because they can affect human affairs (eg the battle of Issus)

b) All life on earth is dependent on the energy of the sun, which varies in quantity and quality depending on its apparent position in the sky (eg equator, poles, day, night).

c) In spring the cycle of most plant life starts, and in autumn it ends.

d) When the sun rises above the horizon, human beings gain subtle energy, wake up and go about their daily lives. When the sun goes down below the horizon we lose energy, feel sleepy and go to bed and sleep.

e) The menstrual cycle of the period of all women of childbearing age follows the monthly cycle of the moon. (the word ‘menstrual’ is derived from the latin word ‘mens’ meaning month)

f) When the sun and moon are in conjunction and opposition, (known as new and full moon) their energies add together, and tides are highest, (known as spring tides). This is observable in human behaviour in accident and emergency departments, which are busiest when the moon is full.

g) The word ‘lunatic’ is derived from the latin word for moon, which associates peculiar human behaviour with the position of the moon.

The positions of the planets also affect human behaviour, but in less obvious ways than the sun and moon, because they have a longer cycle time to orbit the sun. These cycles are given in years, (in brackets) as follows: Mercury (1), Venus (1) Mars (2) Jupiter (12) Saturn (29) Uranus (84) Neptune (180) Pluto (248) Examples of well known common phenomena associated with Saturn and Uranus are given below:

h) The ‘seven year itch’. Every 7 years people go into a new ‘age’, known as follows: 0-7 infant, 7-14 child, 14-21 adolescent, 21-28 come-of-age youth, 28-35 adult, 35-42 middle aged, 42-49 young old age. This is explained by the 29 year cycle of Saturn (the Controller) coming into hard aspect (separating square, opposition, applying square and conjunction in return) with its natal position.

i) The ‘mid-life crisis’ at around 42. This is the age when people tend to be precipitated into dramatic changes in their life. This is explained by the 84 year cycle of Uranus (the Rebel) which at around 42 years of age is in opposition to its natal position. This also explains the normal maximum life expectancy of 84 years, often bringing life to an end when Uranus comes round full circle, back to its natal position.

j) We all have different personalities, which can be predicted and explained by our horoscope showing the position of 10 planets in various signs and houses, together with our ascendant, meridian coeli, (MC), moon’s nodes etc.

The above paragraphs a)-j) are just 10 examples of well known phenomena, to which everyone can relate. They are indicative of the fact that the timing of every significant event in every human life can be explained by astrological transits in hard aspect with the natal positions in the horoscope. This is the reason why astrology can predict tendencies and meaning. The interpretive aspects of astrology are beyond the scope of this article, but can be found in textbooks on it. (4)

5 Historical acceptance of astrology
A study of the history of astrology shows that it has had periods of public acceptance and other periods of rejection. The Church during the Reformation felt threatened by astrology, so banned it with papal bulls in 1585 and 1631 (3) forbidding judicial astrology. There has not been a chair of astrology in Europe since 1770, in Salamanca, Spain. Persecution did not eradicate it, but drove it underground.

It has still not recovered from this stigmatisation., many people still feeling uncomfortable about admitting that they have consulted an astrologer or studied it. It is time that astrology was brought out into the open, and studied objectively and scientifically, which this paper seeks to do.

The most eminent current scientist who has researched and published books about astrology is Richard Tarnas, professor of philosophy and psychology at the Californian Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. He has recently published a book ‘Cosmos and Psyche’ (2007) which is 500 pages of results of a 30 year scientific study showing the astrological correlation of planetary transits with well known historical facts over the last few hundred years. (5)

His earlier book. ‘The Passion of the Western Mind’ (1991) (6) describes how astrology shaped the world view in ancient Greece. This was rediscovered in Europe in 1150. The following is quoted from it, with page numbers in brackets:

‘From the twelfth and thirteenth centuries even the classical astrology codified by Ptolomy was being taught in the universities, (often linked to medical studies) and was integrated by Albertus (1200-1280) and Aquinas (1225-1274) into a Christian context. Astrology in fact had never entirely disappeared during the medieval era, periodically enjoying royal and papal patronage and scholarly repute, and constituting the cosmic framework for an ongoing and growing vital esoteric tradition. But with paganism no longer an immediate threat to Christianity, theologians of the high middle ages more freely and explicitly accepted the relevance of astrology in the scheme of things, especially given its classical pedigree and Aristotelian-Ptolomaic systemisation.

The traditional Christian objection to astrology – its implicit negation of free will and grace – was met by Aquinas in his ‘Summa Theologica’. There he affirmed that the planets influenced man, specifically his corporeal nature, but that through the use of his God-given reason and free will man could control his passions and achieve freedom from astrological determinism. Because most individuals did not exercise this faculty and were therefore subject to planetary forces, astrologers were able to make accurate general predictions. In principle, however, the soul was free to choose, just as, according to astrologers, the wise man ruled his stars. Aquinas thus maintained the Christian belief in free will and divine grace, while acknowledging the Greek concept of celestial powers.

Astrology, conjoined with astronomy, rose again to high status as a comprehensive science, capable of disclosing the universal laws of nature. The planetary spheres – Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn – formed successive heavens surrounding the Earth and affecting human existence. For underlying the restored classical cosmology was Aristotle’s fundamental axiom, ‘the end of every movement must be one of the divine bodies moving in the sky’.(p193,194)

6 The birth of science
However, a few centuries later, religious dogmatism was forcing the separation of astrology and astronomy, and giving birth to science as we know it. Quoting Tarnas (6) again (with page numbers):

‘Luther (1483-1546) called Copernicus (1473-1545) an ‘upstart astrologer’ who foolishly wished to reverse the entire science of astronomy while flagrantly contradicting the Holy Bible. (p252)…..Despite the radical quality of the Copernican hypothesis, a planetary Earth was the only innovation in ‘De Revolutionibus’ a work that was otherwise solidly within the ancient and medieval astronomical tradition. Copernicus had caused the first break from the old cosmology and thereby created all the problems that had to be solved by Kepler, (1571-1630) Gallileo, (1564-1642) Decartes (1596-1650) and Newton (1642-1727) before they could offer a comprehensive scientific theory capable of integrating planet Earth (p255)…..

Kepler was also the inheritor of a vast body of unprecedentedly astronomical observations collected by Tycho de Brahe, (1546-1601) his predessesor as imperial mathematician and astrologer to the holy Roman Emperor. Armed with both these data and his unwavering faith in the Copernican theory, he set out to discover the simple mathematical laws that would solve the problem of the planets….

…This (previous) interpretation had ultimately failed, despite the ingenuity of astronomers for two thousand years. Kepler, however, discovered a new and subtler form of uniformity which did fit the data: If a line were drawn from the Sun to the planet on its elliptical orbit, that line would sweep out equal areas of the ellipse in equal intervals of time. Subsequently he conceived and corroborated a third law, which demonstrated that the different planetary orbits were exactly related to each other by mathematical proportions – the ratio of the squares of the orbital periods being equal to the cube of their average distances from the Sun. (p256)

Thus Kepler at last solved the ancient problem of the planets and fulfilled Plato’s extraordinary prediction of single, uniform, mathematically ordered orbits, and in so doing vindicated the Copernican hypothesis…..Empirical data and abstract mathematical reasoning at last meshed perfectly…..(p257)

…the new cosmology, by making the Earth a planet to explain the Sun’s apparent motion, he implied that the heavens and the Earth should not and could not be considered absolutely distinct. (p262)

Gallileo developed a new procedure for analysing phenomena and a new basis for testing theories. He argued that to make accurate judgements concerning nature, scientists should consider only precisely measureable ‘objective’ qualities (size, shape, number, weight, motion), while merely perceptible qualities (colour, sound, taste, touch, smell) should be ignored as subjective and ephemeral. Only by means of an exclusively quantitative analysis could science attain certain knowledge of the world.’ (p263)

7. The founding fathers of science
Before the invention of the telescope in 1608, and Gallileo’s (1564-1642) use of it to confirm Copernicus heliocentric system, those who mapped the heavens were looking for meaning, so were astrologers at heart, and quite different to the astronomers of today. This is best illustrated by quoting Tarnas again, (6)

‘Yet despite the unambiguously secular character of the modern science that eventually crystallised out of the Scientific Revolution, the original scientific revolutionaries themselves continued to act, think and speak of their work in terms conspicuously redolent of religious illumination. They perceived their intellectual breakthroughs as foundational contributions to a sacred mission. Their scientific discoveries were triumphant spiritual awakenings to the divine architecture of the world, revelations of the true cosmic order. Newton’s joyful exclamation ‘Oh God, I think Thy thoughts after Thee’ was only the culmination of a long series of such epiphanies marking the milestones of modern science’s birth.

In the De Revolutionibus Copernicus celebrated astronomy as a science ‘more divine than human’, closest to God in the nobility of its character, and upheld the heliocentric theory as revealing the true structural grandeur of God’s cosmos. Kepler’s writing were ablaze with his sense of being divinely illuminated as the inner mysteries of the cosmos unfolded before his eyes. He declared astronomers to be ‘priests of the most high God with respect to the book of nature’ and saw his own role as ‘the honour of guarding, with my discovery, the door of God’s temple in which Copernicus serves before the high altar.’ In Siidereus Nuncius, Gallileo spoke of his telescopic discoveries as made possible by God’s grace enlightening his mind.

Even the worldly Bacon (1561-1626) envisaged humanities progress through science in explicitly religious pietistic terms, with the material improvement of mankind corresponding to its spiritual approach to the Christian millennium. Decartes interpreted his vision of the new universal science, and a subsequent dream in which science was symbolically presented to him as a divine mandate for his life’s work: God had shown him the way to a certain knowledge, and assured him of his scientific quest’s ultimate success.

And with Newton’s achievement the divine birth was considered complete. As Alexander Pope declared for the Enlightenment:
‘Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night
God said ‘Let Newton be, and all was light’ (pp299,300)

The founding fathers of science were thus able to respond to the political need of their societies for reliable calendars to predict date and time, and mathematical basis for accurately projecting the surface of land and sea onto maps and charts for safe navigation.

8 Calendars and maps
The earliest historical references to astrology date from around 700BC in Babylon where astrologers observed that the moon completed 12 cycles within each sun cycle. They therefore divided the year into 12 months (the word ‘month’ is derived from ‘moon’)

8a) Lunar calendars
The simplest calendar is a lunar one comprising a year of exactly 12 lunar months, 354 days. This is still in current use in Saudi Arabia, known as the Hajjari calendar. The new month commences with the first sighting of the new crescent moon, in the western sky after sunset, when it looks like a letter ‘D’.

The Italians say ‘the moon lies. When it says ‘Decrescendo’ it is getting bigger. When it says ‘Crescendo’, it is waning.’ That sighting was announced in a loud voice for all to hear. (The word ‘calendar’ derives from the latin ‘calara’ to shout out the ‘calends’, announcing the new month).

The lunar year calendar needs no instruments, nor special observatory, so is suited to tribes of nomads in the desert. The months are called in arabic: Muharram, Safar, Rabi I, Rabi II, Jumada I Jumada II, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu al Qa’dah, Dhu al Hiijah, This results in each month slowly moving through the seasons (eg Ramadan, in which it is required to fast from sunrise to sunset). The Hajjari calendar starts from the date of the flight of Mohammed (the ‘Hajj’ around 580AD) so 2007 corresponds to about 1427 Hajjari.

8b) Solar calendars
The solar year is 11 days longer than the lunar year of 12 lunar months. It totals 365 and a quarter days, so is 12.3 lunar months. Calendars throughout the world (eg Julian, Hindu, Chinese) have met the problems of dealing with these extra days in different ways.

Early (perhaps Babylonian or Greek) astrologers created the ‘degree’ of arc, as being the approximate angular distance that the sun travelled each day, making the circle of 360 degrees. They divided the day (from sunrise to sunset) into 12 hours (derived from Greek ‘hora’ meaning ‘time’ or ‘season’) so that the daily day/night cycle totalled 24 hours. High noon was when the sun reached its highest altitude, and this was called 12 o/clock. Later, each hour was divided into 60 minutes (from latin ‘small’) and each minute into seconds (from latin ‘secunda pars’ secondary part).

They divided the 360 degree circle into 24 equal ‘hours’ of arc, each of 15 degrees. These became the international time zones. A grid of imaginary lines running round the earth, called latitude and longitude, was created for surveying and mapping, whereby every place could be identified with respect to the poles, equator, tropics and arctic circles.

Each degree was divided into 60 minutes of arc, and the nautical mile was defined as the distance on the sea’s surface subtended by a minute of arc at the earth’s centre. This makes it easy to measure distance on the latitude scale of a chart. The hour of time was similarly divided into 60 minutes, and each minute divided into 60 seconds.

9 The Julian calendar
Our present (Gregorian) calendar is based on measurements made 2 millenia ago by Julius Caesar’s (102-44BC) astrologers, from observations made from their observatories, with minor corrections made 5 centuries ago in Florence (the Gregorian calendar, described below in paragraph 11). The Julian calendar counted a solar year as 365 and a quarter days (which was right within 0.002%).

The Julian year started at the spring equinox on 21st March. Why this was called the 21st of the month, and not the 1st is not known but probably relates to an earlier calendar that the Julian one replaced. It must have had 21 spare days, but these were not eliminated because of the political difficulties mentioned below in paragraph 11. The anomaly is minor, and society lived with it for millennia.

The year was divided into 12 solar months of different numbers of days, averaging 30.4, about one day longer than a lunar month, which is 29.5 days. The number of days per month alternated between 31 and 30. However, the pattern was broken at the 6th month for political reasons. The emperor Augustus did not want to have less days than his predecessor, Julius Caesar. His month of August, and Janus’ month of January got an extra day at the expense of the last month of the Roman year, February (see table 1 below) To allow for the quarter of a day left over, they made every 4th year a ‘leap’ year by adding an extra day on to the end of their year, called 29th February.

The path of the Sun (the ecliptic) was divided into 12 equal parts of 30 degrees, known as the zodiac (from ancient Greek meaning ‘circle of animals) This is because the constellations of stars that the sun passes through were mostly named after animals.

9a) The Julian months
The zodiac month starts when the sun moved into a new sign of the zodiac, 30 degrees from the start of the last sign. As the year starts on 21st March, all the zodiac months also start around the 21st day of the month. However, they do not correspond exactly with the Julian month, but may be up to 2 days before or after the 21st. This anomaly is due to the unequal length of the months, the earth’s elliptical orbit, and whether it is a leap year. To know exactly when the sun moves into a new sign, an ephemeris must be consulted.

To the Romans, the planets symbolised Gods who ruled over the signs of the zodiac. When the sun was in that sign (during each zodiac month) it was that God’s turn to rule everything on earth. They accordingly named the months after the ruling God (planet) of his zodiac month. The first 4 months were named after the planetary rulers of that sign of the zodiac, as shown in the table 1 below. For the 5th and 6th month it became political, and thereafter, practical:


Month Number

Sun enters Zodiac sign around 21st

Month and number of days

Month named after



March 31

Mars, the ruler of Aries



April 30

From the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, who became Roman Venus, the ruler of Taurus



May 31

Root unknown, but perhaps Mercury, the ruler of Gemini



June 30

Juno, goddess of the moon, ruler of Cancer



July 31

Emperor Julius Caesar, whowas born in July, after whom the calendar is named



August 31

Emperor Augustus, (63BC-14AD) who succeeded Julius Caesar



September 30

latin for 7



October 31

latin for 8



November 30

latin for 9



December 31

latin for 10



January 31

Janus (the two faced Roman God)



February 28

Februe, purification, expiatory offerings

9b) The names of the days of the week
The days of the week are named after the visible planets, as shown in the table below




Planetary ruler of sign of zodiac












Aries, Scorpio*




Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius*








Taurus, Libra, Pisces*





*These are the old rulers, before the three extra planets were discovered using telescopes. The new ruler of Aquarius is Uranus, discovered by Herschel in 1794. The new ruler of Scorpio is Pluto. The new ruler of Pisces is Neptune.

10 The Renaissance
Florence was a Roman town, named after Flora, the Roman goddess of spring. The Roman year started with spring, which starts at the spring equinox when the sun goes into Aries on 21st March. When the Roman empire adopted Christianity around 325AD, the Christian church took as the start day of their year 25th March.

The reason for starting the year 4 days later is that 25th March is the day of the Annunciation, also known as ‘Lady day’. This was the day that the Archangel Gabrielle told Mary that she was pregnant with Jesus. Being exactly nine months before Jesus was born on 25th December, this is considered the day that Jesus became incarnate in Mary’s womb.

Under the theory that we create our own reality by what we believe, the energy was present for Florence to become the birth place of the Renaissance, for two reasons. First, Florence stands for spring, which is the season of birth. Second, those who ruled Florence for over 3 centuries from around 1400 were the Medici family. The word ‘medici’ is latin for the verb ‘to heal’.

The Renaissance healed western civilisation of its childish self-centred (ie earth-centred, unmoving, geocentric) world view. It enabled a rebirth through a paradigm shift to the mature sun-centred (heliocentric and moving earth) world view, from which modern science could emerge.

In 1513, Copernicus (1473-1545) republished the heliocentric theory that the planets go round the sun, and not round the earth. This theory originated from Aristarcus, who was born c310BC. (3) However, the greek astrologer Ptolomy (b70AD) favoured the geocentric theory.

The Church, fearful of the Protestants and the Reformation, thought that the heliocentric theory contradicted the Bible. In 1600 Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake by the inquisition for the heresy of insisting that the earth travelled round the sun instead of remaining motionless at the centre of the universe. (the word ‘heresy’ is from greek, meaning ‘he who chooses what to believe’).

Galileo (1564-1642) was court astrologer to the Medicis. He confirmed Copernicus’ heliocentric theory with the newly invented telescope. Despite the risks, in 1632, at the age of 68, he published his book ‘Dialogue’ (7) which promoted the Copernican (heliocentric) system.

His book was banned by the pope for nearly 200 years. Gallileo was tried and convicted of ‘vehemently suspected of heresy’ for ‘having held and believed that the sun is the centre of the world and is immovable and that the earth is not the centre and moves’.

A written confession was forced out of Gallileo, pledging to ‘never again say nor assert in speaking or writing such things’. After signing this on his knees he is reputed to have muttered under his breath ‘but still it moves’ implying that nothing the pope could do to him would stop the earth moving. He was put under house arrest for the rest of his life. He was given an official pardon, but not until 1994, 350 years after his death.

Gallileo was said by Einstein to be the father of modern science. He put observation of the movement of the earth and planets above any religious dogma. This is the essence of astrology, which is the motivation for the creation and refinement of calendars, the paradigm shift enabling modern science, navigation, mapping the world and all subsequent technological development.

11 Refinement of the Gregorian calendar in 1582
According to the Julian calendar, the summer and winter solstices were supposed to occur on the 21st of June and 21st of Dec respectively. This was enshrined in the first authoritative documents of Christianity, by being ordained by the Patriach fathers at the Treaty of Nicea in 325AD. (9)

This Council was ordered by the Roman emperor Constantine, which established the Bible as the authoritative scripture for Christianity, to which he converted the Roman empire. He made his Christian capital Constantinople, which was later renamed Istanbul by the Muslim Ottoman Turks, after they captured it in 1542.

By the mid 1500s, astrologers in Florence had noted from their observations that the solstices were occurring on the 11th June and 11th Dec, about 10 days earlier than they should. After decades of scientific measurement and political wrangling, in 1582 Pope Gregory 8th changed the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one by:

  • eliminating 10 days.
  • changing the formula for calculating the leap years, by making the century years non-leap years, excepting those divisible by 400 (eg 1600 and 2000) There was no leap year in 1700, 1800, and 1900 so the error did not continue.
  • changing the first day of the year from 25th March to 1st January

Changing the calendar by was unpopular, because people thought that they were being robbed of 10 days of their life. The new calendar was not implemented by the state authorities even in Florence. In 1600, France and Scotland adopted the 1st Jan as the first day of the year, but not England. This lead to confusion of the year. For example, according to the Scottish calendar, the date of the battle of Falkirk, Scotland was 17.1.1746, whereas it was 17.1.1745 (one year earlier) according to the English calendar, because 1746 had not yet begun.

It was not until 168 years after the papal bull that the authorities in Florence adopted the Gregorian calendar, in 1750. The British parliament followed suit by passing an Act of Parliament in 1751. This decreed that 11 days would be eliminated by making the day after the 2nd Sept 1752 the 14th Sept. This made allowance for the leap year in 1600 which had wrongly added the 11th day. America was still a British colony, so was also subject to the change of calendar.

April Fool’s day on 1st April is thought to originate from these changes. The tax collectors were mercenary, and were not going to lose 11 days of taxes, so they changed their tax year (from which ‘quarter’ days for rent and interest were calculated) from 25th March to 5th April.

12 How the observations of the date of the solstices were made
The measurement of the solar year is more complicated than the lunar year of 12 lunar months, and requires observatories to be built. The simplest observatory is the ring of standing stones, like Stonehenge in Southern England, Carnac in France, and Callenish in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The solstices could be observed at sun rise and sunset as the most northerly azimuth (horizontal angle) in summer, and the most southerly azimuth in winter. However, these observatories are crude and inaccurate because their sighting lines cannot be precisely recorded unambiguously.

The original Middle Eastern (Babylonian, Greek, Roman) astrologers were priests. Accurate observatories require high buildings, and the higher they are, the more accurate. They therefore constructed their observatories in temples, such as the pyramids and pylons in Egypt, and Newgrange in Ireland, where the sun would only illuminate the inner sanctum on one day per year at the solstice..

After Christianity was adopted by the Roman empire in the 4th century, many Roman temples were converted into churches. One of these was the Baptistry, which stands in front of the cathedral in Florence. In Roman times it had been dedicated to Mars, the God of war, and ruler of Aries. It had been built and was used as an astrological observatory, and continued to be after it became a church. There is still a zodiac inlaid on its marble floor which was illuminated only on the day of the summer solstice though a hole in the centre of the roof, (see side elevation and plan pictures).

There are 8 such observatories, most of them churches, still standing in Florence. There is also a museum with excellent presentations on this subject there (8) together with a book on its sundials (9) on which paragraphs 11 12, and 13 of this article is based.


A sundial observatory to create a solar calendar was constructed as follows. A special south facing window of small diameter (a few cm) was constructed. Due north of this window, a line would be inlayed on the floor. A scale would be marked on the line where the shaft of sunlight through the window illuminated it at noon, as it crossed the line.

Every day it would cross the line at a different point, except at the solstices, when it would stay still for a few days, before reversing. The word ‘solstice’ means ‘sun stands still’. The solstices were marked at the ends of the line, and the day that the sun entered a new sign of the zodiac would also be marked with a cross line and the glyph (zodiac symbol) for that sign. How this was done is shown in figures 1 and 2 below.



This is a calendar sundial. Where the sun’s rays cross the line enables the observer to see in which sign of the zodiac the sun is. The calendar line is a gnomic projection of the zodiac circle, as shown below in Fig 3. Gnomic projection is that projected onto a flat surface or map, as created by sunbeams or the shadow of a ‘gnomon’ which is Greek for ‘indicator’ (the post that casts the sun’s shadow in a sundial) of time.


13 The observations to change the calendar
The scientist who made the definitive experiments to correct the Julian calendar was Egnazio Dante (1536-86) Under the patronage of Cosimo I Medici, he got permission to create 3 new sundials in the church of Santa Maria Novello, Florence (opposite the main railway station) in 1572. One of these was to make a new window and to inlay a line on the floor, as in figures 1 and 2 above.

Despite political setbacks, by Dec 1576 Dante had 3 years of observations which he published in a paper showing that the Julian calendar was 10 days early which he published in a paper. Representation was made to the pope (Gregory 8th) who created the Gregorian calendar by papal bull in 1582, as mentioned above. The sundials which he created were under restoration in 2007, but are described in the book. (9) together with their history, and a leaflet, from which the picture above is copied..

13a) Astrology in map making.
Astrology is enshrined in maps of the globe in the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, at 23 degrees 27 minutes of latitude north and south of the equator respectively. These ‘tropics’ are the gnomonic projections of the sun’s geographical position (when it is overhead) on to the surface of the earth at the summer and winter solstices respectively. It is like the north-south line in figure 2 being drawn on the surface of the earth (say in Africa) but it is 2,814 nautical miles long.

When the sun enters Cancer on 21st June it is exactly overhead on the tropic of Cancer. When the sun enters Capricorn on 21st December, it is exactly overhead the tropic of Capricorn. The band between the two tropics is known as the ‘tropics’.

The ‘tropical zodiac’ is the astrological division of each sign into 12 equal segments, each of 30 degrees, as measured from the solstice positions, or their squares, at the equinoxes. These positions are known as the first point of Aries, and the first point of Libra, which is where the plane of the ecliptic crosses the plane of the celestial equator.

14 How do the positions of the planets affect human behaviour?
We all tend to take life for granted as a fixed ‘given’, but this is simplistic. The words of a hymn are nearer the truth: ‘Life, as an ever flowing stream, Bears all its sons away. They fly forgotten as a dream, Dies at the opening day’. The ‘stream’ of the life force is not a constant but is very variable, both diurnally (as mentioned in paragraph 4) and with our age (babyhood, old age). The life force seems to be a broadcast wave of intelligent information, a mixture of many different frequencies and amplitudes. It is like a TV broadcast of a soap opera, but personalised into a podcast for each individual.

Plants, insects and animals each have their own podcasts. These ‘lower’ life forms seem to behave instinctively and similarly irrespective of when in the year they were born. However, human beings have evolved to a higher level of consciousness, and have different personalities which vary greatly with when they were born

What astrologers have found empirically over thousands of years of observations is: a) Everyone’s personality type, and hence their behaviour, correlates with their horoscope, so can be predicted from it. It shows the position of the sun, moon and planets at the moment of his first breath, when he is said to acquire his soul. The horoscope seems to act like the SIM card in a mobile phone, making it unique with a personalised number, like a radio frequency which only it can receive.

b) The ‘stream’ of his life force varies in intensity and quality throughout his life depending on the subsequent positions of the planets. For example, when the sun and moon are in conjunction and opposition (as they are at new and full moon) their effects are amplified, producing spring tides. Conjunction (0 degrees) opposition (180 degrees) and square (90 degrees) are alignments known as ‘hard aspect transit’ when their effects are magnified.

c) When the planet ‘returns’ to the same natal position (as the sun does on your birthday) people say ‘many happy returns’. That planet’s life force then seems to be amplified in you. The effects of the Saturn and Uranus returns were mentioned above, but all planets have returns in the same way.

The life force must come from the cosmos, well beyond our solar system. It is like radio waves of intelligence, consciousness, called ‘podcasts’ above. The planets seem to act like mobile phone masts whose relative positions affect our reception of our podcast, both in quantity and quality. At some times we get energy boosts when we get hyperactive, and at other times we get energy troughs when we can do little, and perhaps feel ill.

When two planets are in hard transit with our natal planetary positions at the same time, we get a ‘double whammy’ This may seriously affect our energy, and may give us a hard time, making us feel ill or crippled. A dramatic example of this was when the wife of my best friend rang to say that he had just been diagnosed with secondary liver cancer. My wife (who is an astrologer) looked up his transits, and warned me that he had a quadruple whammy. Thus warned, I lost not time and saw him the next day. He died the day after.

15 How astrology can be used in medicine
Modern astrology has been made easy by computer programmes (such as Solar Fire, Kepler) which incorporate the astronomical ephemeris. (the position of all planets for every day, passed and future) All you have to do is to type in the time, date and place of birth, and a horoscope appears on the screen, together with an interpretation if you want one.

To check on your transits on any day, you just type in the day, and the transits appear in correlation with your natal horoscope. Interpretations of your transits can also be given, so that an astrologer is not necessary. There are websites giving a free service (10) However, a reading with an astrologer (costing perhaps £50 for an hour and a half’s consultation) can personalise it. They can answer your questions and give weight to each tendency, so can add value that the computer cannot.

As an example of how astrology can be used in medicine, I have suffered from repeated flare ups of arthritis, which have all correlated precisely with double whammy transits of Saturn and Uranus. My wife (Phoebe Wyss, who has been a professional astrologer for 25 years) has helped me to cope with these breakdowns by using astrology to predict when the transits causing it will pass. This has helped me to be patient, and wait, in the knowledge that it will pass.

At different times I have had both my knees swollen and painful, diagnosed by a doctor as osteo-arthritis. Each time I was told me that it was degenerative and would never get better unless I had a knee replacement. Each time I declined, and my knee recovered when the transits had passed, saving me the operations. I have written this up in a paper ‘Discovery of the cause and cure for my arthritis’ (11)

From this experience, I believe that many health conditions (such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, depression) are initially caused by astrological transits. These are by their nature cyclical, hence temporary, and will pass when the planet move on, out of transit. Doctors are conditioned to believe that many conditions are permanent (which is good for business) They tell the patient that, and usually the patient believes them, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. They therefore consent to having an intervention, such as surgery, or take drugs for the rest of their life.

Drugs cause the body to become dependent, so the patient becomes an unwitting drug-addict. The dependency makes withdrawal painful, so difficult or impossible. The intervention might have been avoided if an astrologer had been consulted at the outset, and the patient had waited until after the astrological transit had passed to see whether or not the condition went away by itself.

16 Conclusion
Astrology has an evidence base going back 3,000 years, and has been publicly practiced in Babylonian, Greek, Roman, and in Europe during the Middle Ages. Despite the difficult circumstances of religious persecution, inaccurate ephemeres, and tedious mathematical calculations its practice never died out, but survived underground. This fact is perhaps the strongest evidence that astrology can say something meaningful to people.

Today there is nothing stopping you getting a free horoscope on the internet. (10) For a few £hundred, you can buy a computer programme incorporating accurate ephemerides into your home computer (12) so that you can produce any horoscope instantly. You can also correlate it with the transits of the day, (known as transit charts) and with the chart of a partner (known as synestry) to study the relationship.

Increasing numbers of astrologers are available to give readings to clients, one session of which can transform their attitude to their life’s problems and relationships. There are astrology classes in every town, and even degree courses in it’s history (formerly at Bath University, now at Lampeter).

The evidence that astrology works in giving meaning to people’s lives is obvious in the growing market for it. Science in general, and medical science in particular, has much to gain from taking astrology seriously, scientifically researching its benefits, and incorporating its diagnostic ability into the NHS.

When science accepts astrology as its father, it will come of age as mature, harmonious, balanced whole, holy, and holistic. That will complete the cycle started 5 centuries ago at its birth. (say with the publication in 1513 of Copernicus heliocentric system) Only such a paradigm shift to holism will save our civilisation from its present course of scientific self-destruction. (13)

17 References
1. Prof Richard Dawkins Oxford University, TV programme 13.8.07 ‘The Enemies of Reason’ attacking astrology as ‘primitive superstition’.
2. Book Astrology in the Renaissance – The Zodiac of Life by Prof Eugenio Garin, 1976
3. Book An Introduction to the History of Astrology by Nicholas Campion, 1982 pp 57,69 4. Book Cosmos and Psyche by Prof Richard Tarnas 2007
5. Book The Passion of the Western Mind by Prof Richard Tarnas 1991
6. Book Star Wise by Phoebe Wyss (see website
7. Book Gallileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel 1999
8. Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Piazza dei Guidici, Florence, Italy, (next door east of Uffizi gallery) website
9. Book The Line of the Sun – Great Sundials in Florence edited by Fillipo Camerota
10. Website
11. See section 9.11 of website (the website of the author)
12 ‘Solar Fire’, ‘Kepler’
13 See section 9.19 of website (the website of the author)

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