Can Astronomy and Astrology meet?

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I’m faced with an interesting reaction from people when they ask about my involvement in astrology. This can range from a genuine desire to know why to a more judgemental, ‘You can’t possibly believe in that stuff, can you?’ That ‘stuff’ presumably referring to the type of Sun sign astrology seen in newspapers.

So first let me set out a few things that may shed some light on the situation. I  LOVE Astronomy and regularly take a look at the NASA website to see what new scientific developments are going on. Take, for example, the new images of the planet Uranus taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Previous images taken of Uranus by Voyager 2 showed the planet to be almost featureless. Now a Near Infrared camera reveals a much more dynamic appearance.     Visit: NASA’s Webb Rings in Holidays With Ringed Planet Uranus – NASA 

I like nothing more on a clear summer night at the cottage to lay out on the dock trying to pick out constellations. I resonate with how the ancient Greeks coined the word planet to depict ‘wandering stars’ as they moved through the sky and I refer to an Ephemeris almost daily to track the positions of the planets, Sun and Moon at any point in time. This appeals to the part of my brain that I used when I was studying mathematics at university. 

But, and maybe it is also because of, this interest in making patterns and connections out of things, I am equally interested in examining the question ‘Why?’. Why were ancient civilizations such as those as far back as Babylon  interested in attributing meaning to events that were going on in the sky and what was going on, on earth? And why does it appear to have survived right up until the current day that most civilizations have given special reverence and meaning to things going on up in the sky.  

So the question, ‘you don’t believe in sun sign astrology, do you? is not quite the correct question to ask. If it was rephrased, ‘Do you feel there are connections between what goes on in the sky and what happens on earth?’ then I would have to answer yes!

Next up: Attributing meaning – our Astrological mythology