Week 11a- Posts for Monday’s Class

Please post some comments on the readings and everybody should post at least 5 questions for Mary Adams, our guest speaker on Monday.  Please get these up by Sunday night.

Suggestions: Note the medium that extends from the outer cosmos to the terrestrial domain that is described in Walker’s chapters on Ficino.  Recall our readings on perception and Aristotelian sensory theory and Galen and all that?  Can you come up with any analogies for astrology in modern scientific or even non-scientific thought?  How is astrology in line with Judeo/Christian/Islamic monotheism and how is it not?  Imagine arguments from both sides of this divide.  What is the role of metaphor and/or sympathy?  Name a few of the simplest, most basic examples of astrological effects here on earth?  Can you imagine a way to reformulate astrology into a modern physical framework?  Geocentricism and Heliocentricism: does it really matter?  Why or why not?

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6 thoughts on “Week 11a- Posts for Monday’s Class

  1. I was most intrigued by the reading on medical astrology, the section by Giovanni Indagine in particular. I found it interesting that he referred to doctors who denounce astrology’s place in medicine as “stupid” and “ignorant.” I was unaware that such dissenters existed at the time. It would be interesting to hear their points of view and what they believed to be at the center of physical health.

    Questions for Mary Adams:
    1. How did the idea that astronomical positioning affects people on earth come to be?
    2. What do you believe to be the mechanism for celestial bodies influencing human life?
    3. If the position of celestial bodies determines how certain life events will play out for us, then what does that say about free will? Can it really exist if astronomical criteria influence how we will make decisions?
    4. What would you say to those who don’t believe that the position of celestial bodies has any effect on them?
    5. What bestows a planet with certain psychological characteristics?

  2. There seems to have been a clear divide between those who believed in astrology and those who did not, with some grey areas in the middle. I was most interested in the Maxwell-Stuart reading and the multiple perspectives taken on the issue. The line between astrology and what they refer to as “judicial astrology” was somewhat unclear. Judicial astrology is described negatively as the ability to foretell the future using the astrological signs and celestial bodies. This, however, does not seem to be much different than the other type of astrology described by Claude Pithoys describes as being essential to things like agriculture and navigation. Christian thinkers would have been reluctant to have given credence to astrology, especially the former, because of its removal of God’s will from the process.
    1. How does personal free will fit into astrology? Do our choices work in conjunction with our sign?
    2. How does the rotation of the earth over time change signs? Is our sign really what we think it is?
    3. Is there still a religious presence against astrology?
    4. How is a birth chart constructed?
    5. Does astrological sign impact personality? What impact does the sign have on the person, if any?

  3. From the Walker reading, I really enjoyed the part on page 4 where Ficino describes the soul of the studious, and how they are likely to be more ‘melancholy,’ and if treated correctly, the spirits could ‘glow, not burn.’ It’s nice to imagine my spirit glowing when I’m working, but perhaps that’s just a self-indulgent thought.
    I’m also interested in what Ficino might have thought about the medium of film, as he dismisses sight as less intellectual than music because there is no text, but this was obviously before the time of the motion picture, which can involve sight, sound, and text.

    1. Which religions have been most greatly influenced by astronomy, and why were they more so than others?
    2. As our star signs are technically now out of date, should there be a worldwide updating of the astrological calendar?
    3. Why is Scorpio always seen as such a dark / disturbed zodiac sign? Is there some founding myth about it?
    4. What is the best music to listen to when star gazing?
    5. Do you believe there is a link between music and the planets?

  4. The Cardano readings were most fascinating to me to the extent that Cardano described how the celestial bodies–their movements and positions–affected him. It reminded me of how a religious person would attribute his particular disposition to a deity. I was surprised reading the second Cardano piece, about the horoscope of Christ. As we have previously encountered Christianity attempting to fit science into its control, I found it really intriguing how the chart for Christ could have been convincing–as astrology did play a part in Scripture, if not under the name of “astrology.” Astrology is a part of both the birth story of Christ and of his death, on the cross.

    Questions for Mary Adams:
    1. To what extent (how far into his life) does someone’s astrological chart affect him?
    2. What kinds of phenomena would drastically alter someone’s disposition according to astrology, or is this even possible?
    3. Can planets and their psychological associations change?
    4. Do you think astrology can work with a religious belief, as it does point to a higher, celestial order?
    5. Can you tell us how you became an astropher? Astrologer?

  5. I personally really enjoyed the Ficino piece on Music and Spirit Theory and thought it was very beautifully said. Music has always been a big part of my life whether its listening or playing but there is some type of harmonic connection with music and the body that is so significant. I wrote a paper last semester on the benefits of music in cancer patients and medicine in general and its amazing to see how much good music can do to the body and mind. I thought the Ficino piece did a good job of explaining this intangible connection how he says that music actually ‘does work on the soul’ unlike vision. I also really liked how he said that ‘song is the greatest imitator of all’ that it can be a representation of so many different senses and thoughts connecting both spirit and body.

    1. How does free will play into astrology?
    2. In your opinion how exactly, or what exactly is the medium or connection between the cosmos and the earth?
    3. Are there different factors on earth that can have an influence on or change what was originally foreseen by astrological readings?
    4. How much does religion play a role in astrology? What is the biggest distinction between religion vs spirituality?
    5. How do time and location on earth affect ones astrological reading?

  6. Ficino talks about spirit, or spiritus, as being something you can physically experience, a “corporeal vapor” in the brain. I had come to an understanding about the spirit being much more similar to that of the Oneness – flowing, with no end or start, down into matter to animate it in some way, to grow. Though Ficino’s spirits are of another definition. For purifying the spirit, apparently music is appropriate nourishment. I find this fascinating. He understands that sound has influence on our physical body. If nothing else, music influences our soul – apparently, through the same medium of air.
    I love this. I find myself drawn to this notion. I think it’s wonderful that music is personified the same way that, apparently, a mind exists: thoughts, somewhere in this air. Music is an animal, a figure in air influencing our thoughts.
    I connect less with his allegory of music in relation to the cosmos. It is undoubtedly a beautiful idea, but not very inspiring due to its abstract nature in comparison to living music at our ears and for our spiritus!

    Apparently, listening to music is one of the most complicated things for our brains, which makes it all the more influential.
    This interview is interesting and broad in terms of music’s effect on our mind and brain:

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