Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Astrologers' Words of Wisdom (NOT)

A reversal, today, of the usual Words of Wisdom series. This was inspired by a second-hand book I found on our recent trip: The Book of Predictions by David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace & Irving Wallace (1981). It's a book of over 500 pages with lots of fun and interesting stuff, though material on astrologers' predictions is sparse. I shall no doubt return to it in future to find more grist for the bloggy mill.

Here's something astro-related to be going on with:

In June of 1523 a group of London astrologers concurred that the end of the world would begin with the destruction of London by a deluge on February 1524. Because so many astrologers agreed with this prediction people accepted it as fact. By the middle of January at least 20,000 had left their London homes for the higher ground of Kent and Essex. The prior of St. Bartholomew's even went so far as to build a fortress at Harrow-on-the-Hill and stock it with a two-month supply of food. February 1 arrived and nothing happened. The next day astrologers re-examined their figures and discovered a tiny error in their calculations. It was 1624 - not 1524 - that the world was to end.

What a difference a year didn't make!

Out of curiosity I looked up 1 February 1624 in the on-line ephemeris at Khaldea but didn't see anything world-shatteringly significant. Astrologers were not aware of the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) in those days, so it couldn't be related to the fact that Saturn and Uranus were conjoined in Leo, trining Mars in Aries and square to Pluto in Taurus. Hmmmm - perhaps they found something nasty using an ancient system such as Arabic Parts - Sun/Moon/Ascendant positions and mathematics are involved; or perhaps more likely, some close alignment of a malignant Fixed Star with certain planets.


Wisewebwoman said...

Tee hee, T, I had this book at one point also and would leave it in the bathroom so people could have a good laugh...

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