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Elizabethan Era Astrology
Transcript of Elizabethan Era Astrology
Popularity of Astrology in Literature:
Although astrology was referenced to in multiple author's writings, the author who used astrology in his writings the most was William Shakespeare. Shakespeare's characters often reflect the influence of astrology. His two plays All's Well That Ends Well and King Lear had extensive references to astrology. In all of Shakespeare's plays, there were multiple allusions to astrology. Terms such as "star-crossed lovers" were based off of astrology.
Elizabethan Era Astrology
Astrology is the study of the celestial bodies and the belief that they impact people's lives. In the Elizabethan Era, astrology played a huge part in people's daily lives. The Queen had her own astrologer- John Dee, who predicted her horoscope,and people like farmers owned Astrology Almanacs they consulted. Science was not yet very advanced, so people used the stars and planets, along with the ideas of the four humours to help with medical diagnoses. Life predictions were based on the celestial bodies as well. Natal, Electional, and Medical astrology all had major influences on the people of the Elizabethan Era.
How Astrology Affected People:
Astrology was a very important influence on people in the Elizabethan Era. Natal astrology, which was based on where the stars were at their time of birth, told people things such as what kind of person they would be, and what kind of life and death they would have. People consulted astrologers for many things, such as when to plant their crops, and the Queen even consulted her astrologer on the best day for her coronation. Medical astrology told about parts of the body and illnesses. Electional astrology told people when the best time to do something was.
In the Elizabethan Era, there were also many superstitions. Things that we hear today such as "black cats are bad luck" or "it's bad luck to walk under a ladder" or "thirteen is an unlucky number" were established during the Elizabethan Era. People would do things to ward off evil spirits or to protect themselves from bad luck by leaving cream out overnight for fairies or leaving a horseshoe on their front doors. Witches were also believed in by most people. It was also believed that when you sneezed, evil spirits could enter your body, creating the common term "God Bless You". Anytime there was something that could not be unexplained, it was blamed on witches and evil forces. There was really no reason for these things other than the fact that they were believed in.
The Planets and Their Position
Ptolemaic, or Geocentric Theory:
The Geocentric theory was widely accepted during the Elizabethan Era. The theory said that Earth was in the center of the universe, with the other planets and the sun revolving around Earth. This was what made astrology so believable.
The Copernican theory wasn't fully believed in until late in the Elizabethan Era. The Copernican theory says that the sun, not the earth is in the center of the universe, and that the planets revolve around the sun.
Astrologers of the Time
Dr. John Dee:
Dr. John Dee was the most well known and popular astrologer of the time. He was very close friends with the Queen, and often gave her horoscope readings and advice. He also told her the best day for her coronation. Dee was also an alchemist,along with other things. Shakespeare based his characters Prospero and King Lear on Dee.
Simon Forman was another one of the most popular astrologers of the time. About 80,000 recorded people consulted him about horoscope readings. Simon Forman was even able to predict his own death, when challenged by his wife. His wife had asked which of them would die first in a joking manner. He told his wife he would die within a week, and a week later he died on a boat.
William Lilly was the most famous astrologer in England during his time. Lilly made many accurate predictions and even wrote a book called "Christian Astrology"
Opinions on Astrology:
The Church did not fully disapprove of astrology. Priests often had their horoscopes read and asked astrologers questions. The Church didn't however, approve of the superstitions of the era. The Church disapproved of the belief in black magic or witches or anything of that nature.
The Medical Field
Astrology in Medicine:
In the Elizabethan Era, science was not advanced yet, so medicine was based on astrology. In the Elizabethan Era, it was believed that the liver was the most important organ and it produced the four humours. The four humours were blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. It was believed that diseases and mental problems were caused by an imbalance of your humours. The humours were effected by things such as astrology or what you ate. Certain parts of the body were represented by zodiac signs. Astrologers could often tell people what was wrong with them, so astrologers were often closely associated with doctors.
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