Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Religion and Astrology

The illustration below comes from "The Best of the Illustrated National Astrological Journal, 1933 - 1935" (compilation pubd.1978). It's an old volume I bought sometime ago while on our travels.

There's a network of copyrights surrounding the contents of the volume, articles from magazines. The book itself is copyrighted, and the illustration below is marked "copyrighted to Manly P. Hall", yet is also marked "redrawn from
Lenoir's La Franche-Maconnerie".

Before proceeding:
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).
The Lenoir mentioned above is French art historian and archaeologist Alexandre Lenoir (1761-1839) who attempted in his 1814 publication La Franche-Maconnerie to establish the doctrine of the direct descent of Freemasonry from the ancient Mysteries, and especially from the Egyptian. The illustration must be part of Lenoir's attempt to make his point, I guess. The artist who re-drew the illustration from Lenoir's publication isn't named, perhaps Manly P. Hall copied it himself? (The link is to an earlier post about him).

The illustration accompanied an article by Manly P. Hall: Astrology as a Religion. I don't see that as being at all a desirable proposition, though interesting enough to ponder upon. M.P. Hall finishes his piece with the following paragraph:
Ancient astrologers were wiser than their modern imitators, for they were in possession of a secret doctrine relating to the mysteries of the constellations. If this doctrine could be re-established it would go far to clarify the all-too- complicated issues of modern life, as well as re-elevate astrology to its true position of dignity as the cornerstone of the house of human learning. Pagan and Christian alike are united by astrology, for all faiths - with the possible exception of a few primitive forms - are astrological in origin. This fact alone should develop tolerance in matters of religion and incline us to study the sacred science of the stars and learn the inner import of their revelations.
For easier reading I've copy-typed, and re-spaced, the explanation included with the illustration.

"Zodiacal Symbols in World Religions"
"At the left of the plate stands Mohammed, holding aloft pages from the Koran, his left foot upon an image which he has over thrown.

Behind Mohammed the Celestial Bull - signifying the constellation of Taurus - opens the "Egg of the Year" with his horns.

At the lower right is a bas-relief of the Persion Sun God, Mithras, in an attitude signifying the conquest of the sun over the Celestial Bull at the ancient vernal equinox.

In the center stands the High Priest of Israel, his right arm encircling the base of the seven-branched candlestick - the Mosaic symbol of the Planetary Governors of the world.

To his right is the statue of the golden calf and to his left the robed figures of the Greek mystics bearing a tripod in which burns the sacrificial fire.

Behind the bull Apis, crowned with the lunar globe, and Father Nile, bearing the horn of plenty and pouring the waters of life from his urn, loom the Pyramids - the great Egyptian temples of initiation.

In the clouds at the left is the seated figure of Jupiter Ammon, brandishing a flaming thunderbolt and horned to signify that he partakes of the attributes of the zodiacal ram.

In the heavens appears the mystery of the Apocalypse. The four creatures of Ezekiel's Vision surround an altar upon which is the Book of Seven Seals and the Lamb of God. At the upper left is the band of the zodiac. The constellations of Taurus, Aries and Pisces represent the stellar influences which - according to the ancients - descending upon the earth, are responsible for the establishment of the religious and philosophical institutions herein set forth."
(Note: Unless I'm missing something he didn't mention the topmost figures, which I take to be the Virgin Mary and the angel Gabriel.)

Manly P. Hall wrote: "....all faiths - with the possible exception of a few primitive forms - are astrological in origin". That's a thought upon which to chew for a while!


Anonymous said...

GP: If the purpose of a religion (religare, re-join, yoga) is to bring human consciousness into closer contact with the Creator, or at least with his Creation (the universe), astrology indeed is very `religious`.

Too much even for those who do not accept the extent by which our lives are `predestined` or connected to constellations and movements in the skye.

Contrary to most (other) religions, astrology is quite scientific, even mathematical in it`s approach. Not much dogma needed to be convincing.

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~

The word religion itself has become skewed, or tainted, I think, GP. In the way you've put it, I do agree with you.

What I don't much like is the thought of astrology AS a religion in the way the word religion has come to be known, and the pain and sorrow inflicted on the world because of what it has spawned due to manipulation and need for control, as well as the horror inflicted on others because their beliefs/religions happened to be different.

Coincidentally, and this definitely wasn't planned when I first prepared today's post, we went to see the new movie Prometheus yesterday.
It's amazing how your comment related to the subject matter of that movie.

I've just finished a draft of a post on it - will put it up tomorrow, probably.


James Higham said...

Ancient astrologers were wiser than their modern imitators, for they were in possession of a secret doctrine relating to the mysteries of the constellations.

What of the alchemists then?

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~
I'm not sure whether astrology and alchemy are related disciplines or whether it's just that the same people who practiced one also practiced the other, and borrowed appropriate symbols. Some chemical symbols look oddly like astrological glyphs.

Wikipedia states (tentatively) that alchemy's roots go back to Egypt - 5,000 BCE. There's a wide flung net of mystery that'll never really be solved. A lot of valuable information was lost when the Library of Alexandria was destroyed.

Principle of Correspondences is thought to relate to astrology as well as to that thing called magic, also alchemy.