Blog Archives

Cool and Creepy Museum Site

I’m working on how to cast your own horoscope, so I found this incredible online exhibit post from the Mutter Museum in Philly. They specialize in all kinds of weird medical stories and abnormal skeletons and things like that. Fortunately, they also specialize in Astrology! Check out this post: http://www.cppdigitallibrary.org/exhibits/show/astrology 

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Announcing Hawaii Week

Hi everyone!

Well, I’ve been away from my blog and from Primland for a while, but I had a good reason- I got Married! The wedding was beautiful and my new wife and I are very happy. For our honeymoon, we went to Hawaii, which in addition to being gorgeous and a tropical paradise, also has a lot to offer me as a historian and stargazer. I kept hearing stories and facts about Hawaii’s connection to the stars, so to demonstrate what I’ve learned, I’ve decided to devote this week to Hawaiin astronomy and astrology, which includes my trip to the Mauna Kea Observatory, the tallest observatory on Earth!

Stay tuned for new entries each day starting with a new Picture Of the Week!

Happy Stargazing and Aloha!

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This is the Dawning of the (Sign) of Aquarius

Hi there!

Today is the beginning of the astrological star sign Aquarius, the sign made popular in the Broadway show “Hair.” Incidentally, the Age of Aquarius might not happen for hundreds of years (but more on that another time). In the meantime, I thought with a new star sign, I’d like to write a little bit about Astrology, and explain generally what it is, and what it means to you.

What is Astrology?

Astrology is the non-scientific study of stars and planets that promises to determine the future, specifically the influence of the planets and stars upon a person’s personality, and the forces that effect their lives.

The central idea rests around the motion of the planets.

  • Why is astrology based around the motions of the planets?
    • Artist's conception of the Crystal Spheres.

      Artist’s conception of the Crystal Spheres.

      Ancient peoples studied the motions of the planets and noticed that, although the stars appear to follow a fixed path, the planets have a very unique path. First, the planets seem to move in two different directions: direct motion where they follow the rotation of the Earth, and retrograde motion, where the

    •  In fact, the ancient view of the universe was to believe that the whole sky was attached to the earth in a massive Chrystal sphere, and the planets rotated around the Earth in separate spheres above the Earth (see above right).
    • Since the planets have a motion all their own, civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans believed that they had special powers, which is why our planets are named after Roman gods.
    • Wheel of the zodiac on a 6th century mosaic pavement in a synagogue in Beit Alpha, Israel.

      Wheel of the zodiac on a 6th century mosaic pavement in a synagogue in Beit Alpha, Israel.

      Ancient astronomers discovered that the planets and the sun all move along the same 30 degree line across the sky. The sun’s path is called the Ecliptic, but the planet’s path is called the Zodiac.

    • Along the zodiac are 13 constellations that the planets pass through, and twelve of these constellations are the ones that we assign to be a person’s sign at the time they were born.  On the left is an ancient image of the 12 astrology signs.

 

 

 

“Stars that smiled at my nativity”

L'Homme anatomique ou L'Homme zodiacal, illustration from 1411. Museum Cond`ee.

L’Homme anatomique ou L’Homme zodiacal, illustration from 1411. Museum Cond`ee.

Each star sign has a dominant planet, the planet that passed through the star sign. If you were born under a particular sign, you took on the qualities of the dominant planet. For example, Mars the god of War would give you an aggressive temperament, while Venus, goddess of love would give you a loving mood. Star signs were also thought to predict people’s romantic compatibility, and even what diseases they might have. In fact, the word “influenza” or the flu, comes from the same word “influence,” meaning controlling power. Diseases and planetary influence were linked in the mind of ancient peoples. If you follow the “This Month In Astrology” page, I’ll tell you plenty about the qualities that people born under Aquarius were supposed to have.

So you can see that astrology is more than just a pseudo-science you read about in the newspaper, it’s also a window into understanding the ancient world.

So there’s a short background on the purposes of Astrology. I’ll be bringing you more in-depth info later this week. Hope you enjoyed this post, and look forward to many more!