Astrology is a complicated subject that has underlying relationships with other bodies of knowledge, including philosophy.
In astrology, you are deriving meaning as to how the movement of planets, stars, and other celestial objects influences your moods, behavior, or destiny.
As a discipline, astrology is deemed philosophical and theoretical in nature, and even though there is no unified paradigm of astrology, many people continue to turn to it as a way to study and discover the universe and its significance in our everyday life. (1)
Early philosophers used astrology to help them lay the foundation of ancient branches of knowledge. Galileo Galilei, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, and other scientists and mathematicians embraced astrology as something that held an important place in pre-modern civilization. (2)
The Western philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome is also deeply rooted in astrology. (3) Plato and his student Aristotle, for example, believed that the creation and the structure of the universe had divine origins. Plato compared the perfect cycle of the sun and the moon to the idea that we have a perfect, unchanging God who created the entire universe.
How Philosophy and Astrology Relate to One Another
Along with the analogy of perfection between God and the universe, Plato asserted that souls descended through the stars. Moreover, the Greek philosopher said that each soul could choose its own life, which relates to free will, a concept that is well associated with philosophy.
Free will is the idea that you are able to make choices based on your desires, beliefs, or values—thanks to your rational nature as a human being.
Using your free will means you are not allowing any external forces or factors in nature or your environment to control or affect your thoughts or decisions.
Meanwhile, the predictive nature of astrology points to the idea that there’s a mysterious, special relationship between you and the universe.
Specifically, it suggests that astrological events and conditions during the day or time of your birth can help determine the kind of person you will be or the kind of life you will have. In other words, your fate or destiny is pre-determined.
Astrologers are quick to point out that fatalism, the philosophical view that you are powerless to change the inevitable, has no place in astrology.
They also say that the role that astrology plays in your life is to point you to a pre-determined destination. (4) How soon or how close you get to that destination will depend on which direction you take—reflecting the importance of free will in the practice of astrology.
Last, but not least, astrology’s ties with philosophy lie in the aim of both disciplines to shed light on the meaning of life. Just as philosophy means “love of wisdom,” astrology likewise focuses on the wisdom that you gain when you have full knowledge or understanding of how your existence is significant in the society, the world, and the universe. (5)
Unfortunately, there are a number of contentions against astrology and philosophy, including the view that the ideas they promote about life, the world, or the universe may be reasonable but have no scientific basis.
It may be true that neither astrology nor philosophy is considered a science, but at the end of the day, people develop an appreciation toward these fields for providing them with a sense of purpose or direction in life.
(1) As an example of a paradigm of modern astrology, here is a paper, A Philosophy of Astrology, written by Anil Chawla. He writes:
“In my humble attempt of penning A Philosophy of Astrology, I have attempted to lay the first stone for building a paradigm of modern astrology. I shall consider my efforts successful if it inspires some other thinkers, astrologers, philosophers and psychologists to move further in this direction.”
A Philosophy of Astrology (pdf)
(3) See, for example: History of Astrology: Greek Philosophy and Astrology
(4) Encyclopedia: Philosophy and Religion
“The role of astrology, so say the astrologers, is comparable to a ship’s compass. The compass points the way to a predetermined destination, but it does not establish that destination. “
(5) “Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of existence, being and the world. Arguably, metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy: Aristotle calls it ‘first philosophy (or sometimes just ‘wisdom’), and says it is the subject that deals with ‘first causes and the principles of things.'”
Philosophy Basics: Metaphysics
Bio: Oscar West is an astrology geek and (self-proclaimed) cool dad who likes sharing his passion in philosophy and astrology. Aside from writing blog posts about everything under the sun, he also does social media consulting for small businesses and tries to learn how to code in his free time. When he’s not contemplating about the meaning of life, you can usually find him roughhousing with his kids or indulging on his favorite ube-flavored ice cream.
Contact him at OscarWest.firstname.lastname@example.org and his website Astrology.com.au