The German verb fremdgehen means to be unfaithful or to have a bit on the side in English. Regular visitors to this blog will know that the Renaissance Mathematicus is from time to time unfaithful and posts his scribblings in other places on the Internet. This has happened once again and I am actually pleased to announce that I have a post up on Andreas Sommer’s excellent blog Forbidden Histories. Andreas specialises in exposing the non-scientific underbelly of the history of science. Andreas asked me if I could write something on the history of astrology and I put together an overview of the common histories of astronomy and astrology: Astronomy and Astrology: The Siamese Twins of the Evolution of Science, which you can go over and read as of now. There is probably nothing new for those, who have read all of my previous astrology posts but I hope that what I have written is a short and informative introduction to the topic.


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4 responses to “Fremdgehen

  1. Hello Thony,
    I would like to gift you another brainy German word (I am sure you know):
    Umdenken. This means “to rethink about a subject but different”, and it implies some intellectual work to be done in this action.
    This is for everybody difficult: And in the case of astrology, it was the transition from a “spiritual science” of mysteriously moving light points in the sky to rocky or gaseous physical bodies, so to speak down-to-earth.

    But the transition from geo- to heliocentric world view must have impacted astrology, and in particular when Kepler positioned the center (the sun on its throne, as Copernicus said) in the focal point of an ellipse:
    This should now be the power center also of astrology, isn’t it? Shouldn’t there be some distortion in the old astrology?

  2. Walter, Western horoscope astrology is based on the ecliptic the apparent yearly path of the Sun around the Earth, which is divided into twelve, thirty degree segments, the astrological sun or star signs. Horoscopes are a snapshot of the positions of the Sun and the planets, whose orbits all lie more or less in the plane of the ecliptic, on the ecliptic at a given point in time. Whether one believes in a heliocentric, geo-heliocentric or geocentric astronomical system has no effect on this system of casting horoscopes. What should have, and eventually did have, an effect on the belief in astrology was the discovery of new celestial bodies, at first the moons of Jupiter then Saturn and finally the discovery by Herschel of the planet Uranus, in the eighteenth century.

    • Thony,
      because astrology is not a rigid and coherent system, nor Western or Eastern, there are branches of heliocentric astrology, see e.g. here from ASTROWIKI:

      The Heliocentric Horoscope

      The heliocentric chart differs from the geocentric chart in that it does not
      show the sun, since the sun is the vantage point for the entire chart. The
      Earth is shown as a planet, in a position always 180 degrees opposite the
      sun in the geocentric natal chart. The planets may appear in different
      signs, because the backdrop of a planet varies when viewed from a solar
      perspective. There are no chart Angles and no houses in a heliocentric
      chart, since the earth is the basis for house division.

      I know that Galilei had thought about the astrological meaning of the moons of Jupiter (and expected better horoscopes with their inclusion) but I did not see any Galilean reflections on heliocentric astrology. I would assume heliocentrism was mainly a disturbing idea as it is probably also today for astrologers.

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