Astrology and Culture

Astrology and Culture

Under the cover of a standard medieval romance, Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale is a grim and astrologically-rich contemplation of human passion, fortune, and destiny. This article ponders the purposes of the Knight’s Tale’s uses of astrology and astrological symbolism in the context of these larger issues. Why do gods and humans take on qualities of astrology’s planets? Why is so much timing for the action according to planetary hours and days? Of particular note is the poet’s presentation of “Duc” Theseus and his planetary symbolism. These issues also allow us to understand better the tie between the Tale and its narrator.

Over the past few decades, “chaos theory” and “complexity theory” have emerged as new scientific models for understanding chaotic and/or complex systems. Chaos theory has grown out of physics and mathematics. Complexity theory has developed mainly from studying biological and human systems. These theories share a natural alignment with the spirit and practice of astrology, more so than other attempts to use astrology with the concepts of modern science. The current configuration of Uranus and Pluto makes this an auspicious time to discuss chaos and complexity theory with astrologers.

By outward appearances, Neo lived an unremarkable life. He slept, ate, went to work. Yet a nagging feeling something was not as it appeared persisted. His search led him to take the red pill, and wake up to a more-real reality he never before imagined.

Nice plot for the sci-fi hit movie The Matrix. But screenwriting siblings the Wachowskis consciously tipped their hats to the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. The admonition to "Wake Up!" has a long history in Western culture.

Science Fiction explores possibilities of the past, present and future. So does astrology! Astrologers are often ardent science fiction fans and what better piece of science fiction to consider than Star Trek?

Of course, trying to work with the astrology of science fiction characters poses some interesting challenges to astrology, for example:

• First you have to deal with a larger question: What happens to astrology if humans colonize space?
• And, of course, does astrology even make sense for fictional characters and stories?
• Another consideration is whether or not our science fiction tales reflect an astrological zeitgeist?

By Carol Tebbs, MA

Over 4000 years ago, nomads sprung from the soil of northeastern Europe and entered the Indus Valley of ancient India. They called themselves Aryans, or noble ones, and the religion they brought with them comprised the first practice of Hinduism. The centerpiece of Aryan religion was a fire sacrifice to the gods performed by priests specially trained to chant sacred hymns. The hymns themselves were known as Vedas or sacred knowledge. The Vedas are the scriptural bedrock of the Hindu tradition.

As her senior project and final paper for her East/West major, BA graduate Inga Thornell wrote a research paper on the role of women and myth in society.

The study of mythology and literature can be a useful means of determining the paradigms of a culture. This paper will examine examples of Goddesses and women from Greco-Roman and Indian mythology and epic poetry to determine what these stories show us about women's roles in these cultures and how these characters compare to what is known of real women in each society. The historical period under examination is each culture's "Epic period." The Epic period encompasses different years for each civilization in the same way that the term "iron age" does.

by Carol Tebbs (faculty), Rhonda Busby (graduate), Kathy Kipp (senior)


Sometimes it is easy to forget that the great books of literature are riddled with astrological references. Contrasting views about astrological fate are important in understanding the interactions of characters in Shakespeare's play, King Lear. The older characters place great stock in the influence of the stars on human affairs, while the younger characters mock these superstitious beliefs. The viewpoints in the play mirror the attitudes and arguments about astrology that were taking place in the 1600's.