I have studied astrology all of my life, and I have always had an interest in astronomy. As such, I have also studied the Traditional Model of the Cosmos. Despite all of these studies, I have not fully understood the connection until reading these paragraphs from The Feminine Universe:
The traditional model of the cosmos was not based on “exploded astronomy”, because it was not based on astronomy at all. It has nothing in common with astronomy in the modern sense of the word – which is to say, with attempts to understand the physical universe on a purely physical level.
This is in fact perfectly clear from the traditional writings on the cosmos. The sublunary realm – that is, the world below the Sphere of the Moon: our Earth – is the realm of material things; the world of change and decay; in other words, the physical universe.
Everything in physical manifestation, that is everything, comprehended by modern astronomy and by modern science as a whole – from the smallest subatomic particle to the furthest galaxy countless light years away – is part of the first circle of the traditional cosmos.
The Feminine Universe, by Alice Lucy Trent, Sun Daughter Press 2008.
When I read that, everything I had studied and learned made perfect sense. Now, this does not mean that modern astronomy is not relevant to the study of cosmology and astrology. What it does mean is that the modern (and even Western traditional) view of the relationship between astronomy, cosmology, and astrology is backwards. Looking at these disciplines from an essentialist perspective, the metaphysical understanding of cosmology is the core. The physical universe that we can see and measure is a reflection of the higher planes above that we cannot see or measure. The movements of the heavenly bodies have meaning not because they actually affect our daily lives in a material sense, but because they are signs to provide clues regarding the higher realms. The higher planes are written into the fabric of the lower physical plane. “As above, so below. “
So from this understanding, I propose the following definitions:
Cosmology: A metaphysical study of cosmos, or all the spheres of manifestation, from the Highest Heaven through the spheres of the Fixed Stars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, and Luna all the way down to the sublunary sphere.
Astronomy: A natural science exploring and understanding the physical universe in all of its complexity.
Astrology: A study using the physical movements of the heavenly bodies to divine meaning coming from the higher realms of existence and the application of this meaning to our everyday lives in the world of flux and change.