Tarot, astrology

35% of Australians believe in astrology . . . . Galilleo made a living casting horoscopes for students and patrons and must have believed in it. He cast them for himself and his daughters. In 1915, Fernando Pessoa created the heteronym Raphael Baldaya, who was an astrologist and planned to write booksk on Astrology and Occultism. Liek Galileo he made money from casting horoscopes. Predictive astrology originated in the Middle- East / West Asia. Predictive and interpretative astrology assumes the complex web of links on earth connect to the heavens. Western antiquity through the eleventh century agreed, went underground and then was revived during the Renaissance. Robert Grosseteste, educated at Oxford University, became Chancellor of England and then Bishop of Lincoln in 1235. He translated Greek and Arab scientific texts into Latin and worked on geometry, optics and astronomy. From his geometry studies Grosseteste argued natural phenomenon can be described mathematically. He believed that experimentation must be used to test a theory. Roger Bacon was his student, a devout Franciscan friar who attempted to combine semantic and optical explanations with accounts of concept formation, truth and the acquisition of certain knowledge. In 1277 Bacon was condemned for ‘some suspected novelties’ in his work and imprisoned by the Franciscans for more than a decade. He influenced work in mathematics, optics, astrology, astronomy, calendar reform and medicine through the University of Paris; yet he became associated with occult magic, alchemy, astrology and demonology, a large number of manuscripts by other authors were circulating under Bacon’s name. “There are millions of truths that a man is not concerned to know; as, whether Roger Bacon was a mathematician, or a magician.” John Locke His works had been neglected and left unpublished until the eighteenth century, and that it was not until the 19th C that his texts were studied. The credit for recommending the experimental method in science was given to his namesake, Francis Bacon. Elizabethan England was fascinated with the ‘new’ sciences of cosmology and astrology. The Queen’s Conjuror, ‘scientist’ John Dee, court astrologer to Elizabeth I, founder of the Rosicrucian order was alchemist and clairvoyant, but also connected with the ‘forward-looking’ movements of the age – trade, Puritanism, the city of London. He studied mathematics and mysticism, mapmaking and navigation, alchemy, angels and astrology. He travelled to the European universities and courts, met cartographer Gerard Mercator and gave geographical and nautical information to Martin Frobisher and Walter Raleigh, among other explorers. Anticipating Newton by a century, he proposed that every entity in the universe emanated “rays” of a force that influenced other objects it struck. In the 1590s allegations accused Sir Walter Raleigh (or Ralegh), poet, courtier and explorer of atheism and accusations were made against “the conjurer that is master thereof”. Thomas Hariot, the navigator employed by Raleigh thought he might be the reference and he discussed the allegations with John Dee who felt that he himself was the target. Dee’s personal library was one of the most important in Europe and contained 15 sets of books showing planetary positions. He owned a magical mirror (a highly polished disk of black obsidian from Mexico, an Aztec mirror shaped with tone tools and highly polished using bat excreta. Frances Yates views Dee as a Renaissance man; Thomas Smith his first biographer (1701) thought he was insane. Dee came under the influence of the medium, Edward Kelley, through whom angels would make revelations. He trusted his life and family with Kelley moving to Bohemia for several years; on his return his reputation had vanished accused of necromancy (performing magical rites to summon the spirits of the dead, considered by the church to be rather dangerous) and his library destroyed. He died in poverty and obscurity, reviled as mad. Dee’s successor, Simon Forman, cast horoscopes as a prognosis, prescribed drugs and alchemical distillations based on Paracelsian practices, summoned spirits (rarely successfully) and employed astral magic. The College of Physicians interviewed him, and found him totally ignorant about both medicine and astrology (which was accepted by the College), and ordered him jailed several times for practicing without a license. The quest for mastery over physical phenomena and nature derived from the hermetic tradition of magic and alchemy. The Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Dr. John Faust (1587) a crudely written collection of legends was published exactly one century before the Royal Society’s first great achievement, Newton’s Principia. It is often forgotten that Kepler had trained as a priest and was a devout Lutheran. His mother was imprisoned for witchcraft and he was the court astrologer yet thought empirical data important. Newton entered Cambridge 1660 to study theology and was a fervent alchemist. We have only recently become aware of the extent of (secretive) interest and studies in alchemy by Boyle, Newton and other scientists. The desire for knowledge and power is central to spirit of magic and science.

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