I am a bit of a grinch about St. Patrick’s day because of the symbolism of the chasing of the snakes and serpents (natural wisdom) out of Ireland. But I do love Ireland and today I will be at a pub playing Irish music, wearing green. So I thought I would share something about ancient Irish astrology as it might have been practiced by the Druids. Unfortunately very little of their wisdom and practice comes down to us in any kind of authenticated form, but sheds a light on ancient Irish astronomy and astrology:
Greek and Latin writers show clearly that the Celts were not only advanced in astronomy but that they were respected, especially by the Greeks, for their ‘speculations from the stars’. Even the Romans, from Caesar to Pliny, paid tribute to their astronomy. One of the first to note that the ancient Celts believed the world to be round (not flat) was Martial (c. AD 40-103/4) who, himself, claimed Celtic ancestry. The famous 1st Century BC Coligny Calendar, once thought to be the most extensive document in a Celtic language but now surpassed by other fascinating discoveries, has been dated to its original computation, by its astronomical observations and calculations. This highly sophisticated lunar and solar predictor was, according to the leading Celtic scholar, Dr Garrett Olmsted, first constructed in 1100 BC. It is important to note that the concepts of the calendar find parallels in Vedic cosmology. We will return to this later. It was the Greek Hippolytus (AD 170-236), using an earlier source, who stated that the ancient Celts foretold the future from the stars by ciphers and numbers after the manner of the Pythagoreans. Space precludes a discussion on the argument which took place among the Alexandrian School of Greek writers as to whether the Celts borrowed their ideas from Pythagoras or whether Pythagoras borrowed his ideas from the Celts. This fascinating argument among Greek scholars began in the 2nd Century BC and continued for some centuries. The concept that the Greeks borrowed from the Celts, found a leading advocate in the Athenian-born scholar Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 150 – AD 211/216).
Wouldn’t it be a fascinating story if our Greek astrology actually originated in ancient Ireland!
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