Astrology was considered a scientific discipline before the 1600’s. Since then astronomy has taken over in explaining the mechanics of the Solar System and beyond, but there remain intimate connections between the two. Since astronomy seemed to follow on from astrology, in that studies the movements and relative positions of celestial objects, they will always be related fields.
One obvious link between astrology and astronomy is that both are based on close analysis of the sky above. In fact, astrology used to be the same field of study as astronomy. The key disparity is the introduction of cause-and-effect science from 15th century scientists. Yet astrology is far more historic than modern physics as a means of examining Earth bound phenomena, as it dates back much further. Astronomy (as we know it today) is only about 400 years old, whereas the earliest readings of the sky date back to Ancient Greece, around 4th century BC.
Astrology involves everyday observations and experiences in general life, which is how basic ideas in astronomy formed. Both rely on human application of general knowledge. For example, Isaac Newton famously (if somewhat parochially) first collated his theories on gravity after an apple fell onto his head. That personal experience led to one of the fundamental laws of modern physics and astronomy.
In a similar way, the Babylonians invented star signs when they took phrases and animals they encountered on a daily basis and applied them to their complex predictions of the seasons and other natural events.
Astrology vs Astronomy?
An important point is that, despite scepticism from a modern audience, ideas found in astrological science are still recognised as fact today. Early astrologists were the first to divide time into astrological years, months and days. In this way, we can see the principles of early astrologers would become part of the basic framework of science that our modern civilisation is built on.
We must not forget that astrological concepts are founded on measurements used in later science. The zodiacal constellations along the circular ‘ecliptic’ always return at the same position each year and divide into 12 30◦ triangles, a correct mathematical equation. Astronomers use maths equations in physics, which includes the study of space. However, modern physicists use complex maths and advanced concepts, which the Ancient Greeks would not have used, to unfairly dispel astrology as false.
Astrology still serves a purpose to millions around the world, giving horoscope and taro readers a sense of hope and fulfilment. Astrology is viewed by many as a religion in its own right rather than a science in competition with astronomy. They may originate from similar celestial ideas, yet the two have evolved into two totally different fields of study.
Despite all the conflict between supernatural scientists and experimental scientists, astrology and astronomy can certainly be viewed as having equal significance on the way we see the world. They are merely from different periods in history.