On the main page Basic concepts of astrology

  Astrology and Christianity

   Relationship of Christian church and astrology from the very beginning were difficult and ambiguous. The pagan cults having elements of astrological symbolics and also astrology as a type of guessing were condemned already in the text of the Bible and condemned by clergy up to our time. At the same time, the relation to a prophecy in Christianity much more valid (and a question of that, astrology and a prophecy in Christian sense are how compatible, different theologians solved differently). Besides, the Bible is imbued with astrological symbolics, and without it it is impossible to get into deep sense of many bible legends. It is especially sated with astrological elements the Old Testament and the New Testament opens the description of a typical astrological situation when three magicians astrologers look for the baby who was born in a certain place under a certain combination of stars in a firmament.

  Arguments of Christians against astrology

   Since the first centuries of existence of Christianity theologians estimated astrology ambiguously, and on a possibility of combination of occupations astrology with Christian belief expressed opposite opinions.
   Objections of Christians against astrology come down, generally to three points. They reject astrology, first, as a part of pagan religion in which stars are identified with deities (and these deities in the opinion of Christians - demons); secondly, because of rejection of fatalism and dictatorship of Destiny as from the Christian point of view God is higher than all stars, and it is living God to whom it is possible to handle a prayer, He hears words of a prayer and executes them; thirdly, because of close contact of astrology with magic, - attempts of the appeal to forces of the world invisible (which Christians identify with devilish forces) to avoid consequences of adverse predictions. Rejection of the general spiritual installation of the person addressing soothsayers is added to it to facilitate the life all the same in what way; Christian consciousness accepts everything that has to happen as sent from God as believes that God is good. Therefore at such understanding of astrology for it in the Christian's life just there is no place left irrespective of, it can really predict events or not.
   From the point of view of representatives of the opposite concept, the believing Christian quite can consciously accept the principles of astrology, but taking into account that represent for the person these general concepts - Christianity and astrology. Lawrence Cassidy (the Catholic priest who is engaged in astrology) writes: "Any person for himself has to understand their distinctions and through them - the uniform truth which is contained both in Christianity, and in astrology... There are distinctions in understanding of Christianity, and some of them are incompatible with a certain understanding of astrology. I consider that this incompatibility is connected only with the wrong interpretation of both Christianity, and astrology as in both of them - the truth, and the truth can't contradict itself...". Stated above against astrology her adherents resolve three objections as follows. First, if we don't perceive planets as objects of a cult and we understand that "stars, than they were, can't replace the transcendental Father who has created them and all other existing in the world" and that "they are God's creations", then occupations astrology aren't a kind of pagan religion. Secondly, if we distinguish a body and spirit (soul), then we can recognize that "the human body - a part of the material nature and per se is subject to influence of the same circle of causal forces, including star, as other bodies on our Earth", and it doesn't conflict to a postulate on absolute freedom of human spirit in the choice of an independent way. Therefore if the person is at rather high level of spiritual development, then influence of stars isn't for him rigidly determined ("wise itself governs the stars"). Thirdly, defenders of astrology interpret a possibility of constructive use of adverse konstellyation (by the principle "who is warned, that is armed") not as the aspiration to avoid sent from God, and on the contrary as a way of determination of true "God's will".
   Besides, modern supporters of astrology consider that neither in the Scripture, nor in Christian tradition there are no obstacles to quietly to apprehend both Christianity, and astrology at the same time: such authorities of the Middle Ages as Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Johannes Duns Scotus, etc. were very well familiar with the Bible and didn't see difficulties in reconciliation of her provisions with belief in astrology.

  Relations of astrology and Christianity at different times

  Origin of Christianity

   Since the first centuries of the existence the Christianity fought against pagan cults, especially cults of the Sun and the Moon, however subsequently these cults in the transformed look have found reflection in system of Christianity. Already presently assumptions of "astral mythology" as the primary source of Christianity and, quite disputable from the astrological point of view, the thesis that Christ wasn't a real person but only "the astral myth" have been made.
   On the other hand, already at early stages of development of Christianity there was a tradition to attribute the invention of astrology to bible characters. So, Josephus (the Judaic historian of the 1st century) holding big authority with Fathers of Church and church historians claimed that astrology was studied to a flood by children of Seth. Other legends attributed the invention of astrology to the antiquated patriarch Enoch (who has lived 365 years, and subsequently taken on the sky) and Nimrod, to the antiquated lord of the big state in the East (Assyrian-Babylonian kingdom), to "the strong hunter before the God" who was identified sometimes with the character of the Greek mythology Orion.
   The Christianity arose in the world in which astral fatalism and the doctrine of stoicism about absolute natural predefiniteness of the events dominated.
Therefore the problem of an opportunity to combine a Christian postulate on free will with the astrology understood as the doctrine about determinancy of all phenomena became the main point around which disputes in the first centuries of Christianity were conducted. Already Greek Christian writer Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235 AD) opposed followers of Valentinus using Christ's authority for distribution of astrology, completely denied astrology as science and saw in it a source of all contentions. Tertullian was a furious opponent of astrology.
   The strongest blow to astrology has been struck by the militant theosophist of Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430). He preached the doctrine of general predefiniteness - religious fatalism. God, according Augustine of Hippo, "from a century" has intended people, irrespective of their acts, - one to "rescue", others - to fire and brimstone. Human will - only the blind tool of God's will. The ideas of astrology didn't match religious fatalism in any way. Augustine of Hippo, having failed in an astrology field, began to consider it generation of the Satan and a kind of black magic; he has developed "Seven arguments against astrology" which are still used by critics of astrology of both the church, and natural-science direction.
   Among the church authorities rejecting astrology there were also Eusebius of Caesarea (c.263 - 340), Gregory of Nyssa (c.335 - 394) and many others.
  On the other hand, the philosophical school of neoplatonik was inclined to recognize the right for existence behind astrology. Plotinus (204 - 269) opposed fatalistic interpretation of astrology, together with a number of pupils systematized and has enriched astrological knowledge. Plotinus's follower of Porphyry (232/233 - 304/306) developed esoteric astrology, has developed the system of division of a horoscope into twelve "houses". The philosopher Neoplatonist Synésios de Cyrene (370/375 - 413/414) was also interested in astrology, considering that it trains people for perception of the highest mysteries of theology. The founder of the Athenian school of Neoplatonism Proclus (412 - 485) the art of systematization of astrological knowledge promoted their development in medieval society. His pupil Marinus of Samaria considering astrology as the art similar to medicine has made the biography of the teacher and his horoscope which have reached our time.
   Some Christian thinkers tried to find for astrology the place within christian teaching. With respect thereto it is possible to mention the texts attributed to Pope Clement I (so-called "Pseudo-Clementine Writings"), about Julius Firmicus Maternus, etc. Without calling in question a possibility of a prediction of future events, they aimed to change a world outlook basis of astrology, to christianize it. They put stars in the position subordinated to a divine will and contrasted with fatalism free will of the person. Especially many such attempts were made in Gnosticism and other heterodox Christian currents (various dualistic sects, the pristsilliyena, etc.). Gnostics considered that deep penetration into laws of space life can promote "disposal of soul of matter captivity".
   Origenes Adamantius (c.185 - c.254) adhered to the special concept. It with big eagerness pursued astrology, considering that to the mere mortal it isn't this to read the future on stars, but the highest beings of the other world can make it. He also raised a question of whether there was Christ during the acts and sufferings under the influence of stars. The similar conclusion which is logically following from the thesis about "omnipotence of stars" was condemned by the bishop Diodore of Tarsus (has died in 390). The Constantinople patriarch Photios I (c.810 - c.893) mentions attempts to use an evangelical plot about the Star of Bethlehem for the proof of statements about influence of stars.
   Thanks to developments of Gnostics, Neoplatoniks and others Christian and antiquated elements got into astrology, and astrological symbolism (zodiac signs, planets and angels of planets, harmony of spheres, Melothesie, etc.) occupied defined (though not really considerable) place in medieval Christian outlook.
   However in the whole ambassador of fall of the Roman Empire astrology appeared in Europe forgotten together with ancient art. Perhaps, a role was played here by criticism of Augustine of Hippo opposing astrology, as well as any knowledge substituting with itself direct contact with Good and that taking away from the Truth. Besides, subsequently the concept about astrology began to contact "incorrect" Muslims as in the Arab world this science continued to develop.
   The Byzantine empire was a direct successor of Hellenism in the Middle East. A considerable part of the population spoke in Greek. Despite condemnation of astrology by church, among residents of Byzantium astrological representations were widespread. In the 4-6th centuries AD we meet the whole group of the remarkable astrologers well familiar with the Hellenistic tradition here. Among them: Hephaestio Thebanus (end of the 4th century AD), Iulianus Laodicensis (end of the 5th century), Iliodoros O Alexandreios (the 5-6th centuries), John Lydus (6th century), Stephanos of Alexandria (beginning of the 7th century), Rhetorius Aegyptius (beginning of the 7th century) etc. All of them were authors of compilative compositions which were satisfying inquiries of their contemporaries, but not containing nothing new in comparison with the previous tradition. In the 7-8th centuries the decline of astrology caused by toughening of a position of church and the general impoverishment of intellectual life of Byzantium is observed. Astrology revives only at the end of the 8th century thanks to the translations from the Syrian and Arab languages. The period from 800 to 1200 years for the Byzantine astrology was optimum though nothing new as sciences was brought in its development. Astrology was popular in the most different sectors of society. Many emperors patronized astrology. The figure of the court astrologer plays a noticeable role in the history of the Byzantine empire. The most difficult, the relation to astrology in educated circles was ambiguous. Among supporters of astrology there were such outstanding figures of the Byzantine culture as the metropolitan from Thessaloniki of Leo the Mathematician (9th century) and the patriarch of John X Kamateros (the 12th centuries), the author of two astrological poems. On the other hand, there was a powerful opposition of astrology from church and a part of scientists - such as Michael Psellus (11th century), Attaliates (11th century), Anna Komnene (the 11-12th centuries), etc.

  Middle Ages

   Throughout two-thousand-year history of Christianity of the relation between it and astrology were the most various. Times of full non-recognition were replaced by the periods when astrology was assessed more or less positively, and during certain periods astrology gained a plenary confession. It is very indicative that the period of the greatest blossoming of ideology and outlook of Christianity (Middle Ages) coincided with the period of the greatest popularity of astrological doctrines.
   In early medieval Europe opportunities for distribution of astrology were limited due to the lack of planetary tables in Latin. When in the X-XI centuries the translations from Arab got to Christian Europe through Spain and other centers of the Arab culture, even the highest church hierarches of that time did not avoid occupations by astrology at all. Pope Sylvester II (999 - 1003) left works on astrology and astronomy. Popes John XVIII (1024 - 1032) and John XXI (1276 - 1277) were jealous astrologers also. It is possible to call still the archbishop Hildebert (1057 - 1136) who wrote the apologetic book about astrology called "Mathematics". The archduke of Leopold of Austria wrote "Tractatus decem de astrorum scientia" in 1200. On the other hand, cases when astrologers were exposed to repressions on suspicion in connection with evil spirit are known.
   Without objecting to astrology in essence, but wishing to destroy in it lines of paganism, from 8th century (Bede the Venerable, etc.) some theologians and astronomers suggested to change names and drawings of constellations. There are medieval calendars where Saint Peter takes the place of the Aries, Saint Andrew - the place of the Taurus and so forth. In other calendars published later we on the place of names mythological meet: David, Solomon, Tsars magicians, - in a word, the names borrowed from the Old and New Testament. C.N.Flammarion brings the card entitled by "Coeli stellari christiani hoemisphaerium prius" into "Histoire du ciel". Big Dipper is replaced in her with Saint Peter's Boat, Small Medveditsa - Saint Michael, Dragon - Saints Innocents, Bootes - Saint Sylvester, Veronika's Hair - Lash. Zodiac signs in this card the following: Saint Peter, Saint Andrew, Saint Jacob Sr., Saint John, Saint Thomas, Saint Jacob Jr., Saint Philip, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Matthew, Saint Simon, Saint Judas and Saint Matthew. Mary Magdalene took the place of Cassiopeia, Andromeda turned into the Lord's Coffin, Perseus gave way to Saint Paul, Cepheus - to Saint Stefan, Auriga - to Saint Jerome, Orion - to Saint Joseph, etc., etc. But these changes in names of constellations were not accepted.
   In the Middle Ages zodiac signs were rather often represented in architectural ornaments. So, on a portico of church of the city Cognac is presented all Zodiac, and each sign holds the image of one of Hercules's feats; the similar ornament is available on the main northern entrance of Notre-Dame, on a basilica of Saint-Denis, on the Strasbourg cathedral.
   In the Middle Ages astrology acted as a source of accuracy, beauty and stability which was so a little in life, - it is known, are how disproportionate and medieval measures of both time, and length, and weight and also how impossible beauty of the sublunary world was represented were inexact: "The world Christian - any more not "beauty" because it is sinful and subject to God's court".
   The medieval understanding of astrology in general was magic; it enters us into the world of archaic beliefs. It is interesting that perception by a popular masses and church formulas (anathema, exorcism, blessings, etc.) in many respects was similar. The most visible researcher of culture of the Middle Ages A. Gurevich notices that "magic was consciousness of the masses and clergy how many this magic was "cleared" of a brand of "paganism". Therefore both astrology and religion in representation of the medieval person entered, naturally supplementing each other, in comprehensive system of magic actions, rituals, prayers, spells giving some kind of "safety measures" for life in the world full of mysterious dangers and the unpredictable phenomena.
   Astrology and Christianity are made related also by idea of hierarchical orderliness of the world (it is emphasized in particular in the doctrine Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite). The heavenly hierarchy in Christian representation has something in common with an astrological picture of heavenly spheres. Emergence in the early Middle Ages of correlation of twelve zodiac signs with twelve apostles is characteristic, and analogy from twelve Tribes of Israel arose, probably, even earlier.
   The medieval Christianity saw in the nature creation of the same God who revealed himself to people in the Bible; from here the known overlapping of the nature (in particular, the stellar sky) and Bibles as two "books" of the same author follows.
   Fundamental principle of astrology: "As above, so below", the principle of similarity of a macrocosm and microcosm, lies also in "the base of medieval symbolics because the nature was understood as a mirror in which the person can behold the God's image". It is natural that the poet of the 12th century Alain de Lille imagines the nature in the form of the woman in a diadem with stars of the Zodiac and in clothes with images of birds, plants, animals and other creatures located in the order corresponding to the sequence of their creation by the Lord.
   According to the idea expressing both theologians, and poets, the microcosm is so entire and complete in itself, as well as the big world. The microcosm was thought in the form of the person who can be understood only within overlapping of the "small" and "big" Universe. This subject used in medieval Europe (in particular from 12th century) huge popularity. At the same time "if the world in antique perception is complete and harmonious, then in perception of people of the Middle Ages it is dualistic", the concepts civitas Dei and civitas terrena are thought as opposite. Here again accurate communication with astrology is visible. The principle of dualism, fight of two world beginnings is, on an equal basis with the principle of similarity, in astrology fundamental. Still astrology of an archaic era "trusted in two various worlds: 1) the "forming" world of heavenly Hierarchies; 2) world of terrestrial creations. Jesus learned: The Kingdom of Heaven in us... It means great spiritual revolution. Duality heaven - earth, divine - human, order - chaos turned into unity. The order was everywhere. God was everywhere". That is, in principle, with the advent of Christianity astrology as the doctrine giving a way of ordering of the world had to become useless. "So considered most of fathers of Christianity and Church in general. But astrology escaped. Why? Because new approach to it gained development... As astrology developed in Christian Europe, it connected in quite ambiguous way the new principles "heaven in us" and occult compliance to an old dualistic picture according to which heavenly gods-creators operate from above human nature".
   It is quite clear that the belief in destiny characteristic of the medieval person did not promote development of that direction of astrology which is directed on disclosure of knacks of the person, to the aid in the maximum realization of the potentialities put in it; this belief in destiny promoted blossoming event-oriented astrology representing the person a weak-willed toy in hands of the highest forces and capable only of definition of "favorable" and "adverse" days for this or that kind of activity. This direction of astrology served as the reason of condemnation of astrology in general, both from church, and from many soberminded laymen.
   Ancient perception of time as cyclic process remained defining in rural life. The subject of twelve months in the Middle Ages repeats in reliefs of church timpans, on frescos and miniatures, and in literature, especially in poetry. Represented months in the form of scenes of rural everyday life, in the form of a cycle of rural works. This almost completely country cycle joined also scenes of seigniorial, courtois life (horse walk of the Lord or feudal hunting). "The fact that is important... together with country time also other forms of social time acted: time seigniorial and time church. Big holidays were milestones of year time". First of all, year appeared as a year liturgical. "And especially important line of medieval mentality was the fact that this liturgical year was perceived as the sequence of events from the drama of the embodiment, from Christ's history developed from the Nativity Fast till the Trinity but also, it was filled with events and holidays from other historical cycle - life of Saints".
   But also time agrarian, both time seigniorial, and time church closely depended on natural, astronomical and astrological time. The majority of large religious holidays were successors old pagan, dated for the important astrological phenomena. So, it is well-known that Christmas, for example, replaced an ancient holiday of a winter solstice, inclusion of the Sun in a sign of the Capricorn. D.Rudhyar notes that "the church served as a shelter, the instruction on a possibility of the highest world to which only it could specify a way. Therefore, it took the place of astrology. It worked well thanks to many church festivals and ceremonies which in a strict order happened over a year. As a matter of fact they repeated the old biological festivals which were based on antiquity astrology. The church arranged for "children" and the daily liturgies, prayers, services made day and night. All these ceremonies made the Christian year, the Christian zodiac (inhabited now by Saints and archangels), a Christian space order... And still it was astrology, though in other clothes, astrology without the name. The zodiac circle was replaced with system of interconversions of four elements... To these transformations there corresponds the set of year holidays; suitable liturgies contact them, they are symbolically illustrated by episodes from the Gospel".
   But, perhaps, the feeling of "the end of times", close approach of the Apocalypse was the most characteristic in perception of time a people at large of medieval Western Europe. And strengthening of mass hysteria was promoted much the eschatological prophecies by certain astrologers (Juan de Toledo, Johannes Stöffler, Johannes Virdung, Lyubchanin). The great value was at that time attached also to the comets viewed as signs of manifestation of God's Anger. Similar astrological "predictions" played not the last role in maintenance of feeling of uncertainty in tomorrow among the population of Europe in the late Middle Ages.
   From social prerequisites of popularity of astrological doctrines we will distinguish existence in medieval Europe of feudal hierarchy, the relation of domination and submission, and also a priority of the right of whole (society) over interests of the individual. At the same time God was considered as a source of law. Such system of the right was easily combined in consciousness of people with hierarchy at which top - God, then - planets and constellations, and below - the person. We find similar hierarchy at Origen, but with that feature that constellations at will of God symbolically indicate only a possibility of this or that course of destiny, and only the body, but not free will of the person is subject to their influence.
   After all aforesaid becomes obvious that absolutely irreconcilable contradictions between the doctrine of Catholic church and concepts of astrology in the Middle Ages did not exist. Moreover, in perception of the medieval person they intertwined in fancy symbiosis.
   The increasing influence on the Christian people of the Jews considering astrological practice an integral part of talmudistical and cabalistic ceremonies led to the simultaneous growth of prestige of astrology and falling of prestige of the papal and imperial power. In many respects because of it, despite great popularity of astrology during an era of the late Middle Ages, there were always her rather active opponents. John of Salisbur (12th century) was the first authoritative spiritual writer who rose on astrology with some heat. He says that influence of star combinations on destiny of the person roughly exaggeratedly that astrology has to be forbidden by church, and engaged in it - carets are subjected; that astrology is impious in essence because it deprives of the person of reasonable and free will, inspires in him belief in predetermination; that it tends to paganism because transfers omnipotence of the Creator from Him to His creations. He adds that knew personally many astrologers, but did not know from them any upon whom eventually, anyway, the anger heavenly would not fall.
   It is a lot of forces accurately to define the Christianity relation to astrology, the famous theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274), enjoying great popularity as the astrologer has applied. Here he followed in the footsteps of the teacher Albertus Magnus (apprx. 1193 - 1280) trying to coordinate astrology with religion and proving that astrology (among other sciences) as a natural divine revelation can't stand in a contradiction with a revelation supernatural and is the lowest step of religion. Many church figures of the late Middle Ages agreed with the authority of Thomas Aquinas speaking: "The prophecy and a prediction of future events under the provision of stars is admissible because ability to predict events belongs to that field of knowledge which lies within opportunities of human spirit and is the known step of development of human wisdom".
   It is very indicative that well-known scholastic Johannes Duns Scotus living at a boundary of the 13-14th centuries most consistently defending free will and lack of a determinism considered astrology the science which is credible without finding any fatalism in her principles.
   In the 14-16th centuries the highest rise in interest in astrology in Europe is observed. During this period astrologers work at the courts of most of the European governors. In a number of universities astrology is taught as scientific discipline. The relations of astrology and church in medieval Europe became complicated for the same reasons, as during a Hellenism era: astrology contained elements of paganism and approved fatalistic outlook. However among church figures there were many supporters of astrology. They believed that the current of stars is subordinated to God, and drew (after Thomas Aquinas) a distinction between scientific astrology and its popular forms (in which it was possible to meet the magic, prayers turned to deities planets). It is known that many popes were quite good astrologers. In 1305 cardinals called Pope Clement V to Rome and, wishing to convince him to hurry, wrote it that stars and planets came to the combinations indicating the most propitious moment for his return. The famous theologist and the church figure Pierre d'Ailly (1350 - 1425) was a passionate astrologer. Respectfully applied to astrology and used it in the life Pope Sixtus IV (1414 - 1484). He has invited to Rome for preparation of reform of a calendar the largest German astrologer and the mathematician Regiomontanus (1436 - 1476).
   Girolamo Savonarola mentions that in his time (the XV century) all who only had means kept at themselves the astrologer at home and he had to instruct them even in the smallest cases of life. The severe preacher claimed, as the Roman church "copes astrology" because each prelate has the astrologer whom he in everything obeys.
   In inquisitorial instructions for conducting investigation and interrogation among possible charges nothing is mentioned astrology, at least, in the manuals published in XIII and XIV centuries. In 1290 Parisian university, together with the local great inquisitor, has published the list of the forbidden books treating about a necromancy, magic and other secret sciences; in it isn't mentioned at all astrological compositions which addressed in public in a set in those days. To forbid them it was represented impossible also for the reason that authorship of many astrological books was attributed to church hierarches or even to bible characters: for example, was considered that Hermes magician's book has been received by someone from ancient wise men directly from Angel Gabriel. According to Angelo Catho de Supino, by the end of the Middle Ages there was no king or the sovereign señor whose court would differ in absence of astrologers.
   Julius II (1503 - 1513) determined by stars the day favorable for ascent on the Holy See, and Paul III (1534 - 1549) - hours of carrying out consistories. Leo X (1513 - 1521) has even founded astrological department in Sapienza - Catholic university in Rome. Similar departments existed in Bologna, Padua, Paris. To the astrologer Pope Pius IV (1559 - 1565) had a kind feeling. Later, at a boundary of the XVI-XVII centuries, the patron of astrology also Pope Urban VIII (1623 - 1644) using T.Campanella's knowledge in this area for fight against Borgia clan has proved.
   The Italian humanists competed with each other in comprehension of mysteries of astrology. So, Сampanella in the book "The City of the Sun" which name goes back to astrological symbolics uses it at the description of the city and life of its inhabitants.
   Whole astrological "fights" happened in connection with the leader of the Reformation of M.Luther. In particular, conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in a zodiac sign of the Scorpion has been interpreted 1484 as the instruction on the false prophet's birth (conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn reckoned as a source of chaldaic religion, conjunction of Jupiter with Venus - Mohammedan, and Jupiter with Mercury - Christian religion) that was the cause for opponents of the Reformation to correct date of birth of M.Luther since October 10, 1483 for October 22, 1484 for the purpose of assignment to him the false prophet's title. On the other hand, and supporters of the Reformation didn't avoid use of astrology. So, the associate of M.Luther P.Melanchthon, gave the lectures on Ptolemaeus' astrology enjoying wide popularity at university of Wittenberg.
   But by this time astrology in the majority of the countries of Europe has undergone prosecution - thanks to popularity of "science about stars" too many the studied less laymans and just charlatans have bred. Fighting against it, Pope Sixtus V has published in 1586 the bull against astrologers, chiromantists and magicians. The Italian casuist and inquisitor A.Cangino, says that though this science is included into a circle of seven free arts and the law it isn't prohibited, nevertheless, has obvious tendency to idolatry, undermines a doctrine of free will and is condemned by experts on ecclesiastical law.
   Thus, position of astrologers was quite ticklish. The spiritual administration, and especially inquisition when it was established, could disturb them every minute, demand from them explanations concerning their occupations. It was necessary to distinguish of what astrology of people is fond: legal or unlawful, and moreover - whether still something joins astrology. At enormous art of inquisitors to move apart guilt limits very innocent actually amateur astrologer could be both the sorcerer, and the necromancer and in addition also the heretic. If such incidents happened infrequently, then it depended only on extraordinary respect what astrology used at the powers that be. For example, Nostradamus (1503-1566) has also not avoided cellars of inquisition and only Marie de' Medici's protection has saved him.
   Many at that time shared an opinion of Petrarch who said that astrologers - the people the very useful while they are engaged in prediction of eclipses, thunderstorms, storms, rains, but when they begin to tell the fortunes of people, then become liars. The inquisitor of Eimeric said that if the person is suspected of a necromancy and at the same time it will be the astrologer, then it is possible to be sure that he is a necromancer because these two sciences tightly adjoin and are almost always studied together. Geert Groote, the mystic of the 14th century, accused astrology of an ungodliness, heresy, violation of acceptable laws. Pedro I de Castilla and Pietro IV d'Aragón Zeremonioso kept in Spain in case of the yards crowds of astrologers (about the middle of the 14th century), and at the end of the century Juan I de Castilla ranked astrology as forbidden types of fortunetelling. The well-known demonologist Sprenger expressed an opinion that the occupation astrology assumes the silent contract with a devil. Besides many other secret sciences were already recognized as business devilish, and the same fate inevitably waited for astrology. The first decisive blow was struck to it in France in the case of the astrologer Simon de Phares at the end of the 15th century. Trial of this case led to the fact that the faculty of theology of the Parisian university published the inference what astrology - science false, superstitious and therefore harmful, "the art invented by a Satan" and therefore is subject to strict prosecution of clerical and temporal powers. The parliament declared in universal convergence that the occupation is forbidden by astrology from now on as it is similarly forbidden also to the audience to resort to services of astrologers. Printers were forbidden to print astrological books, and booksellers undertook to provide in this respect all books which are available for them to local bishops. However, this prohibition considerably came true the fact that about that time to astrology other branches of magic arts were gradually attached and added absolutely. So, many astrologers produced rings, amulets, potions, telling them force and influence of the known planets and zodiac signs; these things were, in effect, sorcery objects; the special instrument, allegedly astrological, so-called "astrolabe", served for fortunetelling about losses, for prediction of the future. And all this explicitly was described in astrological compositions, sometimes taking in them not the minor place.
   At the same time, and in the 17th century in many countries astrology stood high in esteem. The famous astrologer of Morin de Villefranche, the author of the fundamental work "Astrologia gallica" published in 1661, which has still not lost the value in youth was an astrologer of the bishop Boulogne, and subsequently - a personal astrologer of the cardinal of Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu and was famous for exact astrological calculations. Jacques Gaffarel also gave to Richelieu astrological consultations.
   The deep belief of Johann Kepler (1571 - 1630) in existence of the internal harmony which is the cornerstone of the universe has inspired him on opening of three laws of the circulation of planets around the Sun and also on updating of the astrological theory.

  Modern times

   The changes in outlook which have affected the population literate in Renaissance have caused also changes in understanding of astrology. Anthropocentric views of humanists haven't met a contradiction with an astrological picture of the world. The astrological tradition of the Renaissance has disproved the theological vision of the world opposing a body - soul, reason - passions, spirit - the nature, knowledge - to action, and has proclaimed unity of all real, harmony of a stream of general life. But despite it, astrology didn't meet any global condemnation from church, wasn't considered as occupation, inadmissible for the Christian, and wasn't in the sphere of affairs which were known by inquisition (of course if it wasn't combined with heretical views) up to Modern times.
   In spite of the fact that the Modern times have brought persecutions of astrology, both from church, and from materialistic science (after N. Copernicus's discovery), both in it, and in later time many serious philosophers, mathematicians, scientists of other directions, religious figures not only paid a tribute of respect to ancient "science about stars", but also actively were engaged in astrology, including its capable to slightly open him the mysteries of the universe.
   The era of Modern times which was marked by social stratification and persecutions on national culture from church and the state was also time of persecutions for such important element of national culture as astrological ideas of the world. The church has found support in prosecutions of astrology and from the new science which is based on the heliocentric principles and considering therefore geocentric representations of astrology false. Such combination of efforts of science and church in attempts to strangle astrology was especially effective in the 19th century when rapid development of natural sciences has allowed many scientists and theologians to consider to revive astrology the superstition which has completely been a thing of the past and not able.And only 20th century with its ecumenical and interreligious tendencies (together with understanding of methodological crisis of modern science) have made possible reconsideration of the place of astrology in world culture and recognition behind it of the right for existence from many religious figures.
   Recently activity of conservative-minded circles was stirred up. It is explained by several factors: irresponsible "prophecies" of certain people are projected on idea of astrology in general; on the other hand, many people have the outdated idea of astrology which is based generally on legends of medieval astrologers and sorcerers; besides, the church sees in occupations occult sciences withdrawal from knowledge and understanding of the truth of Christ. Similar views on astrology and occultism in general have said in acceptance by Hierarchal cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church in November, 1994 of definition "About pseudo-Christian sects, Neopaganism and occultism" in which it is stated, that the people dividing doctrines, incompatible with Christianity, among which astrology, the teosofsky society founded by E. Blavatskaya, "Living Ethics", various doctrines of "Era of Aquarius", etc. have been specified have separated from orthodox church themselves.

  Astrology and Russian Christianity

   In Russia cases of sorcery in general and astrologies in particular have been provided to maintaining clergy from the very beginning, i.e. from the moment of the address of Russia to Christianity. In the church charter, written at Vladimir, it is told that the spiritual court conducts "sorcery, phytotherapy, transformations, magic"; and for all these crimes, as well as in Western Europe, burning on a fire was necessary. In Russia there was never it dreadfully a solemn auto-da-fe as in Spain, but separate cases of punishment on a fire in chronicles it is mentioned. So, in 1227 in Novgorod "four have burned magicians". In the Nikonovsky chronicle where this case is described, it is mentioned, by the way, that boyars interceded for magicians, but, unfortunately, the reasons of this protection aren't explained.
   In the decree issued in 1552 it is ruled "to shout on markets that to soothsayers, magicians, astrologers didn't go", and disobedient persons were threatened with disgrace and spiritual prohibition. "And if, - it is said in one patriarchal diploma of the 16th century, - in which place or a mudflow there will be a magician or the fortuneteller, vessels devil, let will be excommunicated, and those which a devil seduced to magicians and fortunetellers go will excommunicated". In transfer of different sins we find in one of hand-written collections of the 16th century: "The sin is to magicians to go, question or into the house to bring, or the charms making - penance 40 days". It should be noted that in Russia punishments for occupations astrology were far softer, than in Western Europe.
   At that time in the people many lists so-called "renounced" books have extended. The most favorite of these books were those in which the science of the stars was interpreted. The clergy considered use of such books of madness: "Mad people believing in them conjure, look for yours birthdays, receiving of dignities and a lesson to life". In "Stoglav" it is mentioned that the people starting lawsuits often addressed witch doctors and "magicians from devilish sciences assisst, do magic and in "Aristotelian Gate" and "Rafli" look and on planets guess, and the slanderer and the informer hope for that sorcery, aren't reconciled and kiss a cross and on a floor to writhe in hysterics".
   As we have already noticed, the clergy announced all these books "the heretical writing" and cursed using them. These books sometimes were called "Bulgarian fables" from what it is necessary to conclude that they have got to Russia through Bulgaria. M.Orlov notes that the Russian people have strong fallen in love with these books probably because what contained in them, coincided with his old beliefs or because them was used about such things which the people since ancient times considered important and necessary.
   The passionate commitment of the people to old belief in all these its manifestations, like sorcery and magic books, irritated clergy. At first it threw only verbal thunders and lightnings in heretics, and then gradually began to demand also severe measures.
   At Ivan the Terrible (1533 - 1584) legalization about burning of magicians has been confirmed; the tsar, as we know, awfully was afraid of them. On cases of the 17th century it is visible, however, that burning was applied at that time already seldom: sorcerers and sorceresses were banished to the remote places, to the monastery, but not burned down though burning was recognized after all as a lawful penalty of magicians. The most devout of the Russian tsars of the 17th century Alexis I (1645 - 1676) patronized development of astrology, and nothing ungodly was seen in it. In the same time the great popularity in Russia was gained by almanacs where astrological sections entered. "Bryusov calendar" (1st prod. 1709) for the 18th and 19th centuries was one of the books, most popular in the people, and the church could do nothing with it.
   Today among representatives of Christian church, both Catholic, and orthodox, the disagreements concerning the relation to astrology which are coming down generally all to the same questions continue to exist: whether astrology is a kind of religion whether it restrains free will of the person, whether it contradicts God's will?
   The confessor Alexander Men noted: "Astrology is admissible if it doesn't lay claim to be an ersatz religion as it is frequent at us happens... Astrology as pseudo-religion, of course, is just harmful... Astrology is possible as science. Then it says that we are influenced by space, is material and, perhaps, spiritually. But it can become also superstition... When the person considers that astrology has bound hand and foot of him that it is already determined that you won't get to anywhere that there is no choice, the superstition begins here - it begins slavery. It is possible that except influence of heredity, except influences various physical the person is influenced also by Space. But it doesn't mean at all that the person the slave... we already aren't responsible for anything... we are just puppets in hands of various forces including constellations".
   However, the relation to astrology of ROC gradually changes. So, on May 25, 2002 in the Word of the Pastor broadcast (ORT) then still the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, the Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, and nowadays the patriarch of ROC Kirill for the first time in the latest (since 1917) stories of ROC has declared the positive relation of orthodox church to astrology, having explained that he means astrology as science, and excluding from its predictions of human destiny and so-called "newspaper horoscopes". However, the relation to astrology of ROC gradually changes. So, on May 25, 2002 in the Word of the Pastor broadcast (ORT) then still the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, the Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, and nowadays the patriarch of ROC Kirill for the first time in the latest (since 1917) stories of ROC has declared the positive relation of orthodox church to astrology, having explained that he means astrology as science, and excluding from its predictions of human destiny and so-called "newspaper horoscopes". He has reminded of bible magicians (The Gospel of Matthew, ch. 2), having directly called them astrologers, and at the same time haven't mentioned (for the first time in such exiles of ROC) polemic and very controversial statement of the violent apologist and fighter against paganism Tertullian (2nd century AD) that supposedly as in the Gospel it is told that after performance of the mission magicians "have departed in other way to the country" then astrology time on it has ended. Metropolitan Kirill stated that, undoubtedly, the luminaries and planets influence earthly affairs, and that it considers possible the prediction on this basis of weather, harvest, other phenomena, except for the destinies of people.


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