Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_50

Along with alchemy, astrology is one of the cornerstones of the traditional cosmological sciences. In a popular sense the word astrology refers to the study of the influence of stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies upon terrestrial events. The belief that celestial bodies influence or control events upon earth, including the inner life of human beings, is exceedingly ancient and is found in virtually all civilizations and cultures. It is more accurate, though, to understand astrology as an extensive symbolic language that permeates traditional cosmological thought far beyond the question of stellar “influences” upon earthly life. Traditional cosmology tends to understand the earth and sky as a single integrated system or even as a single living organism, in which case the planets are the “organs” of the cosmos. There are Western (Hermetic), Indian (Vedic), and Chinese systems of astrology, among others.

While astrology was often regarded as a priestly and divine science in ancient...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy and Religious StudiesLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia