Smallpox and Astrology
I am really hoping this is the last blog, I will write with my cast-it’s getting old! Susan asked how my studio’s doing, and even though I haven’t put a lock on the door handle, I cleaned it and found my lost long glasses, and as well, our teenager now has a better game room and a laptop which will probably keep him away from my studio!
This week, I want to use a part of my precession map to show how far humans have come getting rid of the awful disease of smallpox, and how NOT FAR they have come with Astrology. So here are the dates I’m focusing on: 165, the 1500’s and 1700’s and 1930.
165: Roman soldiers brought back smallpox, from western Asia, it killed one third of their army and 6.5 million people. At the same time, Ptolemy, a pagan astrologer wrote Tetrabilios, the bible of Astrology, which was then used for universities and astrological readers. At this time, civilization believed the sun was going around the Earth, which is called geocentric.
1500’s: The crusades started a another incidence of smallpox which killed 30% of the European population, meanwhile Gutenberg developed the modern printing press. This invention printed Astrological Almanacs, which used Ptolemy’s Zodiac dates written 1300 years earlier, and their sales were right up there, with that of the Holy Bible.
1700’s: Another smallpox pandemic occurred, killing over 400,000 Europeans including kings and queens from Spain, Russia, England and France. Thank goodness that in 1798, Edward Jenner developed an effective smallpox vaccine. Also, civilization accepted Nicolaus Copernicus 16th century book “The Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres” which correctly formulated that the earth goes around the sun (called heliocentric). This event caused the split between Astronomy, the study of planets and the universe and Astrology, the use of Zodiac signs to divine human events.
1930’s: smallpox was still a problem in Africa, Asia and South America but the vaccine had it under control in Europe and North America. On a lighter note, British Princess Margaret’s birth, made the editor of London’s Sunday Times, ask fortune teller, Cheiro, to do her horoscope. Cheiro decided not to do it, but his assistant R.H. Naylor, did and he wrote down the very “sun” signs that everyone follows today. Naylor also followed Ptolemy’s dates, that were now 1800 years old and not changed due to the precession, however, his column was so popular, that he did it for the rest of his life, as did his son, who took over for him.