Today I have part nine in a series in which I'm looking at the beliefs on ancient astrologers. In this talk, I'm taking a look at the topics of pacifism, evangelism and secrecy.
Hi everyone, this is Acyuta-bhava from Nightlight Astrology. And today I'm doing part nine of my series on the beliefs of ancient astrologers. So if you are new to this series, I recommend starting from the beginning and watching sequentially if you can, a lot of the concepts build on one another. The purpose of this series is to give students of astrology of astrology some idea of what the most likely beliefs of the earliest astrologers were about the universe, about God about the soul about why we're doing astrology, about where astrology comes from. I didn't really have category for this talk, because this almost like this is like the miscellaneous drawer of of features of other features of ancient thought that likely had some kind of influence though, there's so many different pieces, that I felt like there was just kind of like one drawer to put a bunch of miscellaneous stuff into, but this might be the most interesting of all of the talks I've done in this series, because of all the different grounded covers.
In our 10th part of the series we will be talking about where ancient astrologers believe that astrology itself came from. And we will be concluding on the 10th part of this series with some final thoughts about the nature of astrology from actual source text, actual quotes that astrologers have given about why they were practising astrology or what they thought the purpose was, or what kind of attitude they took toward it. So we'll go over that in the 10th video who sort of be like the grand finale.
Today, we're going to talk about just a bunch of really interesting features of ancient thought that most likely had some kind of influence on the earliest astrologers. And this is, of course, looking at both the east and the west, as I've been doing throughout the series, meaning Indian astrology, which is one seed bed, and Hellenistic astrology, which comes from the Greek speaking world, but broadly speaking, comes from Egypt, has some background in Mesopotamia and Babylon. So it's the Hellenistic region of the world and the kind of astrology that was always also practised in widely in the Roman Empire. So at any rate, they both share a lot in common. You're going to see crossover between the East and the West on all these points in throughout the entire series. Now, here's some of the things that I found really interesting is that we see evidence in both the east and the west of vegetarianism and non violence being practices in a number of different groups, religious and spiritual sects, or groups or communities. Pacifism, meaning non violence was considered to be beneficial, in terms of the trajectory of the soul going into future lifetimes. And also in terms of what kind of karma you might generate in this lifetime. Karma meaning reactions from the gods and from nature and from circumstances around us which respond and react to our choices, our intentions, our desires. And so if you do bad things, you get bad results, if you do good things, you get good results, there was clearly a belief that just the law of cause and effect carried over into the moral sphere of life. And that doesn't mean that we can always understand exactly why everything happens, because there was also this category of things that happen, that we can't seem to connect the dots on causally.
And yet, there was a great faith in the ancient world that these were meant that there was no event that was not meaningfully orchestrated by the laws of the universe, and by the will of the gods or God. So at any rate, that's interesting, though, is that you see non violence towards animals as minimal harm being done. I mean, even in India, you'll see that they're, they're not. It's not lost on Indian people that plants are alive. People will be like, Well, what about plants are killing plants? Well, yeah, plants are alive too. But plants will drop fruits and grow again, you can take parts of plants and they'll continue to grow. There's there's almost like a spectrum of harm that you could possibly do. And both in the east and the west, you see a number of groups emphasising vegetarianism, peaceful living in pacifism. So that's, that's worth noting, because I certainly don't want to preach to people about what you should or shouldn't eat because I know that that can be a really touchy subject. Owning a yoga studio for 10 years. You know, we had to make a lot of choices as yoga studio owners as to whether or not to broadcast or vegetarianism or or elements of veganism or whatever, and it was a tough choice because there's a lot of people who, that's just gonna be a step too far for them or they're, they may have really strong reactions that people start preaching at them about, you know, peaceful eating or you know, non-harmful eating or whatever. But I have noticed in my life that my astrology practice for several years toward the beginning, I was a vegan, I came out of veganism, and went back to meat eating. And of course, I was eating as clean as I could but made this transition back to vegetarianism not strict veganism. In bhakti, we use certain products like ghee, or what have you that are ethically sourced.
But at any rate, I just noticed that, you know, when you start pulling out certain elements from your diet, whether it's caffeine or sugar, or alcohol, or you know, just those, those elements of the diet that can be really harmful. And for me, meat was one of them. And I noticed that my astrology practice got significantly clearer. And, you know, my mind as a reader was was a lot more lucid because of these changes that I made in my diet. So I think it's worth mentioning, even if it's not that even if a vegetarian isn't your thing, that there seems to have been an emphasis on clean diet or an ethical relationship to the way that you eat. And I think that's really important because it speaks to the fact that ancient astrologers most likely were looking at astrology within the context of a holistic lifestyle. And that's, that's the main thing that I wanted to emphasise, also non violence. There you go. So of course, astrologers have been paired in courts of kings and have aided in predictions about war, when to go to war when not to go to war. But when you look at the roots of Hellenistic astrology, Indian astrology and its ties with Vedic religion, you're looking by and large at cultures that emphasise pacifism. And not not to say that there wasn't a season for all things either. But pacifism seems to have been a way of life for many of these ancient mystical schools.
We also see the importance of evangelising certain techniques, doctrines and teachings, and the importance of trying to enlighten the public, as well as the fear of the what the public may do, if you share or preach or teach others about enlightening topics. So you'll see, for example, Plato, mentioning this about the prisoners in in the allegory of the cave, which is an allegory about people stuck in delusion and ignorance and the spiritual path of coming into an understanding of truth and Divinity.
And when the the prisoner exits the cave and sees things as they are, and is has an enlightening experience, and goes back in, you know, there's a warning that Plato gives, essentially, this person could be killed by trying to wake other people up by trying to stir them from their sleep, they may get mad, and they may actually kill him. So, of course, we have to imagine that just like today, there were also probably fanatics and zealots and people who, whose egos were invested in converting everyone else in a way that you know, is violent and so forth. That's always been the shadow of religious experience, the desire to share something that is true and good becomes distorted and the ego capitalises on it for its own selfish motivations or kind of conquest. But you will see in both the east and the west, the importance of trying to teach and share with the public, the nature of truth of divinity of the soul of the afterlife, of the good life, or of the ethical and holistic life. So you do see that there's an emphasis placed on that.
And what does that what does that told me today as an astrologer that if astrology isn't teaching us how to be better people, if there isn't, I know it's like a dirty word, but there if there isn't an evangelical component to astrology, in other words, if astrologers aren't out there trying to enlighten the public, not just tell them about the future or help us to get more fixated on ourselves and our own behaviour or psychology, almost in a narcissistic way, but if we're not teaching people about truth and helping people to become free from delusions, and if we're not helping people to use astrology as a tool for for spiritual happiness, health harmony, then it doesn't seem to fall in line with what the most likely beliefs of the ancient astrologers were. So I think that's worth mentioning that I think astrology is missing something without that and that's why I personally feel compelled. Because when I look at what astrology is done for me, and I look at how it was shared to me, I realised that this is how astrology has been passed on, it's been shared with a certain degree of charisma, knowing that this is a healing and almost like medicinal science. Astrologers are like doctors of the stars, and we administer the medicine of these heavenly bodies, by grace. So that's part of what we have to think that's part of what we have to do. Anyway, just my two cents, but it's interesting to find that that was shared in the ancient world, we see something similar to what we might call a missionary here in the West, in both the east and the west, for example. You have the Jains, Buddhists, Yogi's all sending out missionaries to the west, to different places in the world to talk to people about the nature of the Atman, and Brahman, and you have the Buddhists going and teaching about, you know, the Buddha nature, and you have even Plato describes the duty of the enlightened philosopher as a kind of missionary work as the the need is there to educate and enlighten the general public. But he also said it could be dangerous. And we know that many of these, you know, in any tradition, again, the missionary impulse can become perverted or corrupt. And also, the it's possible that people will harass or even harm, those who are trying to share something that would take a person out of their delusion, like people don't want to give up their delusion, so they can they can become, you know, violent.
Now, on the other hand, and this part, I find really interesting. There was also an emphasis in both the east and the west, on the importance of ritual, secret teachings, or that there are there is an esoteric dimension to these traditions that is not widely shared, or broadcasted that one can only penetrate by means of gradually immersing oneself in something. I'll give an example with my YouTube channel, there's a sort of superficial reality to the astrology on my everyday you YouTube channel compared to the deeper spaces that we go into in my classrooms. So as a soul meets with a teacher or a path of some kind out in the world, and says, that's really interesting and a light bulb turns on that one is not expected to be receiving the deepest teachings in that space, people are going out, basically, to share or bring people in, but that the deepest teachings can't be accessed until you actually go very deeply into it. And on that level, those teachings are considered to be secret, esoteric, and hidden, there's an occult nature to them. And the protection of that occult nature is written right into the source texts themselves, where you'll see astrologers talking about, you know, people being cursed if they misuse this information, or if they are approaching it for selfish gain or something like that. So there's both a level at which people are going out and trying to share and teach people but then there's also you know, this this sense in which you can't get the deepest levels of information until you go into them yourself, because those levels are not shared with the public and they have to be kept in a kind of a limbic, an alchemical cooking pot that you know, you can't get the benefit of unless you put yourself in and seal the lid basically, it's like, if you want to go really deeply into astrology, and really get into the the deepest alchemical power of astrology, you have to deeply immerse yourself in the study of it. But there's also a level at which you can check in and listen to daily videos or you can you can get a kind of topical level of astrology and so there's Always these two levels working out once in the ancient world, where there's both the need to bring people in, and then also a need to hide or protect that the deepest teachings or essence of things.
And you see that in hermeticism, you see elements of that, you know, hinted out by Plato. Certainly the Orphics, some of the, the Mystery Schools. And you think also of course of like the Egyptian mysteries and so it's not always like just there's just this, some sects are like closed door, nobody can get in and other sects are just wide open to people, mostly, it seems to be the case that a lot of things were broadly circulating, teachers would go out and tell people about things, but then if you wanted the deepest stuff, you wouldn't get that on the street, so to speak. So that's really interesting. And it reminds me of how we should be carrying astrology today, which I think without even knowing any of this I was embodying, which is that you know, I do a certain level of superficial work. But same thing is true with my clients, I can't get into the deepest parts of a birth chart with someone in one reading, it usually takes several readings over a couple of years to get, you know, really deeply into something, you can't get into astrology at the deepest level, if you only take it in and little sound bites, you know, here or there, you got to find teachers that you like, and really go deeply. So there's always those two levels, the kind of external street level, and we'll call it the internal occult level working in astrology. And that's, that seems to have been around for 1000s of years anyway. Um, this is funny, but a lot of people when they start studying ancient astrology seem to think that astrologers in both the east and the west were predominantly deterministic, which means that they believe that everything is faded. This does not seem to have been the case. While ancient philosophers and mystics in both the east and the west, clearly believed in fate, or karma, and the transmigration of the soul, they also quite clearly believed that it was our choices that inform our fate. The depth of this, the new in the nuance of how ancient philosophers looked at the relationship between choice and fate is is like lost on us. As soon as we start talking about fate versus free will, it's a false dichotomy in the ancient world. And just a simple example, if you imagine that the the world, the material energy is like a billiard ball, it's like a pool table, and there's billiard balls always in motion going around it. And there's never been a beginning to the motion and hitting and striking and movements of the billiard balls, and there'll never be an end to it. So they're just, they're always moving around hitting one another, bouncing off one another, that sort of the material energy. And the planets and all of their constant motions and interactions and aspects are like the reflection of those, those fluctuations of material energy. And what you have to imagine is that you're you're taking a soul, and you're putting it into one of the balls on the table, when there's just innumerable balls moving on this giant table, and the soul comes into a form. And the form has been many other forms, it's like constantly changing and moving around this board. And when the soul comes into this form on the table, it has a certain amount of agency, which means not that it controls every movement, and not that it can control every reaction around it, but that everything on the board is moving according to laws, cause and effect laws. And those laws are ultimately governed by the gods or Godhead. And they keep harmony and order and justice and beauty and truth at all times. But that the soul also has a certain amount of agency to like, move. And so your agency is participating on, you know, on this table, where there's also rules and parameters to what can happen and based on the choices that you make, you do have a certain amount of control over your outcomes, but it's still taking place within the board that you know, the on the board and within the rules of the game. And so your fate it's it's like the old saying, you know, man proposes God disposes. So we will something or we you know, even like moving my hand and doing this on a my soul has sort of Proposed through my mind, my intelligence, my ego, and ultimately through the gross form of the body to move my hand. And my hand is, you know, responding and the God that that operates This hand is not actually me, there's like a God have your hand, this is why we have, you know, Mercury or Gemini associated with the hands. So everything that you're proposing is constantly being approved of or sanctioned and allowed to happen by the gods who orchestrate all of the laws of material nature. And so your choices are, your choices are constantly playing out, in and out through the available rules of the game. And then the reactions that you get based on your choices are, you know, they don't always, you don't always get what you want, you know, it's like the Rolling Stones song, but sometimes you get what you need.
So that's the view that ancient astrologers in the east and the west seem to have had, which was that you make choices, and you get reactions based on the will and judgments of the gods of your heart and your intentions and, and they can see at a deeper level than weeks, and sometimes even see and understand our own motivations. And we have agency and our fate is brought to us by virtue of what we're intending, desiring, fearing, etc. And again, we do have freedom, but it's it's taking place within the parameters of you know, the physics of the pool table, so to speak. So, and the gods watch over all of that. So, to say that they were deterministic, versus, that they were into fate and not free will is is not really accurate. So, and they also believe that you know, that your choices and even different forms of magic and ritual could appease the gods and change their wills or change their mind or manipulate the material energies. So they certainly were not deterministic in that regard. And they often debated the interaction between fate freewill and this kind of propitiating the gods or, or using different talismanic magic and so there's, it was quite rich, in fact, the way that they understood the interaction between these energies in our in our will and the will of the gods. I think that's important because as soon as you start studying and go, Oh, they were so deterministic and fatalistic? No, no, they really weren't. They just had a really sophisticated view of fate and free wills interaction together, they saw them as you can't separate them. So at any rate, some groups and philosophers were far more deterministic than others. That is true. But there's no clear evidence that early astrologers were 100% deterministic in their outlook. That's just not the case. There's also clear evidence in both the east and the west. Like I was saying that that magical ceremonies, talismans magical devices, were sometimes recommended or used by astrologers in order to counteract or remediate the effects of bad karma and ill fated natal chart signature. to please or or manipulate the please the gods or manipulate energies. This was, however controversial back then, for examples voice most wrote, Hermes, legendary founder of astrology, condemns even the magician science saying that the spiritual man, one who has come to know himself, need not rectify anything through the use of magic, not even if it is considered a good thing, nor must be forced upon necessity, but rather allowing necessity to work in accordance with their own nature and decree. So, here you have, you'll see this as a competing, you know, it's a dialogue, it's debate in the ancient world, to what extent is trying to artificially manipulate the energies or appease the gods or ask them for something, you know, to what extent is that actually a good thing? And to what extent could that be a very dangerous thing for the soul? To what extent is that a devil's bargain? To what extent is it intelligent interaction with nature? I'm not going to land on one side of the debate or the other, but I will say that one thing that this brings to my mind in the modern day is that we essentially see the same thing we see a lot of people selling programmes and different kinds of spiritual teachings that have to do with trying to manipulate energies or manipulate circumstances to get what you want? And in the ancient world, by and large, the philosophy again to name the big groups that the Pythagoreans, the Platonists, the Stoics, the Hermeticists, the Orphics, the Yogi's of Vedanta lists, these groups, the most likely progenitors of horoscopic astrology are saying, your happiness is found in the very nature of being itself and the very nature of who and what you are now, not in the twists and turns of fortune, which, if you try to manipulate will only entangle you further.
My wife is an herbalist, I spent 10 years drinking ayahuasca, which is a very potent and one could argue magical medicine that helps the person to purge cleanse heal. So, I find that there's sometimes a very fine line with this conversation. But what I would say generally is that I'm not sure that we're doing astrology in the modern world in line with the way that our our ancient ancestors did. If we are using it purely to try to enhance our egos attachments to outcomes, rather than learning to surrender at a deeper level, I think that it could go too far. You know, there's some religions For example, I know that, like won't take medicines or something like that, or you know, that it's almost like that there'll be such a deep level of surrender, that we forget that we're also in a participatory reality where we, you know, the billiard balls on the pool table don't want to you don't just need to be passive victim to circumstance or experience, we need to make choices and build relationships with reality. And so I think, you know, along the way, there's a certain level at which I'm learning to flow with the nature of the cosmos and the changes and fluctuations of these energies requires skillful interaction with them. But is that skillful interaction for the sake of getting my next Ferrari, you know? Or is it because you know, I'm trying to be healthy or I'm trying to I'm trying to take care of myself or others. So I think intentionality behind a lot of this matters a great deal. It's very clear that many ancient astrologers were herbalists, for example, herbalism and astrology have a very old relationship with one another. Ayurveda and astrology have a very old relationship with one another. So there's medicinal herbs knowing how and when to pick them under what astrological influences to get what kind of effect can being completely hands off seems to me like as big of a mistake as someone who was constantly trying to manipulate every energy where every amulet possible to just to just to get stuff. So somewhere in the middle is where I find myself landing. But I do think that, you know, when, when modern astrology over emphasises obsessing about the perfect time to do something in order to get some result. That's that, you know, and there's a lot of like, egotistical energy invested in me and what I want. And then I think we're, we're starting to border on what it does appear that a lot of ancient astrologers condemned, like early astrologers seem to have specifically said, No, that's not what we're here to do. We're here to learn how to see divinity in the ups and downs of fortune and define joy in the soul itself. And I think if that's the spirit behind how we're interacting with these energies, then I think it's, it's good. And that's kind of at least that's the philosophy that I work with. Anyway, so I hope you guys have found this interesting today, just like I said, a grab bag of different features of ancient thinking that I thought were interesting didn't really have enough to do on any one of them.
So I just threw them all together and like the miscellaneous drawer so in our final talk in this series we'll talk about where ancient astrologers believed astrology itself came from, and some of the quotes and passages from ancient astrologers about astrology itself to conclude the series so I hope you guys have been enjoying this. Don't forget my new class ancient astrology for the modern mystic starts in June early bird is available right now. So you can sign up and save a bunch of you sign up now before the class starts and painful. There's payment plans there's need based tuition if you need it. Then you can go to the website nightlightastrology.com if you got questions about the course email info at nightlight astrology calm and Hope you guys have a beautiful day today. Take it easy, everyone. Bye.