The Basilisk, Newton, and Astronomer Royal ?
Copyright ? 2004?
Published in the AMH Journal, March 2005 (8th ed., No. 2)

Great scientists like Tycho Brahe and Isaac Newton were also seriously occupied with astrology and alchemy. Tycho Brahe has written that he has spend as much time for the stars as he have for the alchemy which he called ?the earthly astronomy? - an art of science which later also Newton attended to intensively.


William Lilly. Only known oil painting showing his portrait.

Nostrademus Was an Inspiration to William Lilly

In 1651 in his book, ?Monarchy or No Monarchy?, William Lilly, the British Astrologer, predicted and described that London would be raged by ?the great plague? to such a degree that burial personnel would be in demand, and that all this would be followed by a destroying, huge fire all over the city. Later, in 1665-1666, when these events actually took place Lilly had to undergo long-time legal investigations by the City Magistrate, until he had been cleared of all suspicions of? knowing in any way more than he ought to about the fire of London. 

In his prophecy Lilly had also incorporated fixed star astrology. He knew the works of Ptolemy from approx 130 AD, saying, ????? ?? In addition to the already stated rules about due regard to ?familiarity? (cosmic connection) between earthly and celestial regions with signs and planets, it must be observed that every fixed star - situated on any line which can be drawn from one zodiac pole to the other, and which passes the zodiac areas connected to a definite country - also possesses a familiarity with that ?? 

The ascendant, the ascending line of the city horoscope, was traditionally 17 degrees 54 minutes of arc in the sign of Gemini. The significant star, The North Horn of Taurus (eta Tauri), traditionally described as ?? by nature with an effect like that of Mars ??, reached this longitude 17 degrees 54 minutes in 1665-1666, when the plague and the fire raged London. However, more than 100 years prior to this, Nostrademus, the French Astrologer and Clairvoyant, had predicted both the plague and that London ?? would be raged by fire - three times twenty plus six ??, i.e. the year 1666. This might have inspired Lilly?s idea and made him use the traditional rules for his statement 15 years before the event took place - e.g. by pre-calculating the time of the transit of the above mentioned ?martial? star.

Such a fixed star when in transit - which is always only being moved with an annual slow ?speed? of precision of approx. 50.4 minutes of arc - will need approx. 143 years to pass - computed on the basis of the traditional orbit of contact reach - tolerance - of 1 degree to each side of a point of culmination according this type of astrology. Consequently there will be a wide margin of events unless somebody will demand only exact conjunction in the very point of culmination of the ascendant in the 17 degrees 54 minutes of the Gemini of the London Horoscope. However, the inexact measuring and computing methods of the past may very well allow for errors of one year or more in astrological predictions.

Therefore, Lilly has only used as starting points the data found and the related them to whatever the actual transit constellations of the planets may have suggested. However, what concerns the very time of the fixed star?s approach to the exact point in question, the old rules allowed for more events of crucial occurrences than is the case when the star afterwards is departing from the said location.

William Lilly published astrological calendars and text books.

William Lilly: ?London is in the Sign of Gemini?

In 1625 Lilly had observed similar relations, where the previous plague had killed more than 35,000 persons, when the mentioned star, i.e. the North Horn of the Taurus, had reached 17 degrees 20 minutes Gemini. And in 1649 during the British civil war, the start was situated in 17 degrees 40 minutes. In 1651, when this war was still unsettled, predictions of the result were hiding in the title of his above mentioned book.

On prognostication for the fixed stars the Ancient star expert, Ptolemy, says, ?... the gradual approach of fixed stars through the signs of the Zodiac must especially be observed as regards development, customs, traditions, rules, governments as well as the future of a country ...?. 

Around the time of the disasters in London, in his ?Almanac for 1666? - which as a ?calendar?, naturally, was written and printed previous for this devastating year - Lilly wrote:
?... the 18th degree of Gemini is the London?s horoscope (ascendant), and when the city was founded, the sun was in 25th degree of the same sign. Really, whenever anything of interest happens to this city the planets will be situated in these degrees; - or this sign or these degrees will be affected ...?.

For instance on 24th January, 1885, at 2 pm. during Fenian?s attempt with dynamite to blow up the Parliament, Westminster Hall, and the Tower of London, Saturn, the planet, was in a retrograde movement (a backwards course when seen from Earth) in 17 degrees 47 minutes in the sign of Gemini. In ?Almagest?, Ptolemy?s work, northern countries (e.g. the present England, Germany, and Denmark) are considered as being subjects to the sign of Aries. 

Lilly described that the pest was raging London. Contemporary xylography. 

Foundation of the Greenwich Observatory Was Horoscope Based

On 14th March, 1675 (according to the later, new calendar style) the King of England, Charles 2, appointed a royal astronomer/astrologer, since then a special office designated ?Astronomer Royal?, as the word ?astronomer? at that time normally also meant ?astrologer? and? visa versa ? and even mathematician. The office was still in existence at the beginning of this new century and is still going strong functioning as head or a kind of ?principal? of British astronomy, however, today without astrology included.

In fact the official attitude to and interest for astrology had been maintained in England for a longer time than for instance in France, and the initial action of office for the Astronomer Royal was then to cast a horoscope for the establishment of the Greenwich Observatory. 

John Flamsteed was the first appointed Astronomer Royal. And while one of his most early official actions was to cast a horoscope for the most favourable time of founding of the Greenwich Observatory to come - situated in the London area - the result was that the foundation took place on 10th August? (old style, i.e. Julian calendar) 1675 at 3.14 p.m. 

Horoskopet for Greenwich blev beregnet, opstillet og h?dtegnet af John Flamsteed, som netop var en betydelig videnskabmand, der udarbejdede fremragende stjernekataloger, mens han var Englands f?ste Astronomer Royal, s?el som han alts?opstillede Greenwich-horoskopet som en af sine f?ste embedshandlinger (Arkiv: RGO MSS 18/2r).

If William Lilly?s statement is correct, i.e. that the basic London Horoscope has the horizontal line with the ascending sign of the zodiac, i.e. the ascendant, between 17 and 18 degrees in Gemini, it is remarkable or probably intentional that - based on the system of this tradition - it is being matched by the ascendant/descendent of the Greenwich Horoscope situated in 17 degrees 10 minutes Sagittarius/Gemini. The London Horoscope might date from the day in 1141, when City became partly independent - this happened shortly after sunrise at midsummer (solstice).

Often scientists and historians of later times have found it embarrassing that pioneers of science and thus great names like Brahe, Kepler, Galilei, Leibniz, Newton, and others have also worked with astrology. 

The Greenwich Horoscope was computed, cast, and drawn by hand by John Flamsteed, who indeed was a distinguished scientist, and who as England?s first Astronomer Royal made out eminent star catalogues; as well as he, as mentioned, had to cast the Greenwich Horoscope as a regular action of office. (Archives, File: RGO MSS 18/2r).

The Basilisk - And the Transition from Tradition to Science

The meeting between old and new - and having to start a modern scientific observatory by means of ideas from an ancient concept - may today seem to be on the verge of an exotic limit. However, that was not the case for people of those times living in the transition period leading to modern science.

The absolutely best suitable time for the commencement of the coming observatory was to be found - i.e. the mentioned date, 10th August, 1675, 03.14 p.m. (old calendar style) ? thus the horizon, i.e. the horoscope ascendant, was situated in 17 degrees 10 minutes of the sign of Sagittarius and - in the astrology terminology - matching complementary with the ascendant of the London Horoscope. (And for specialists? info: the zenith point of the Greenwich Horoscope - MC (medium coeli) - is situated in 19 degrees 42 minutes in the sign of Libra. The Regiomontanus House System has been used for the division of the horoscope).

Many leading intellectuals of that time worked seriously with astrology. Later this has been disregarded with explaining away that they were forced to do so in order to earn money or to please their prince or their boss, and that they themselves did not believe in it. This despite their posthumous works clearly show a personal interest or engagement, where they have frequently cast horoscopes for themselves and their families - in obvious contradiction to the above claims.

However, in spite of Flamsteed being a very clever astrologer who, as mentioned, did an outstanding, scientific work, he was - likewise Tyche Brahe - deprived of his astrological work and insight. Later statements have been used as ?proof?, e.g. arguing that Flamsteed across the Greenwich Observatory Horoscope had dissociated himself from this by writing, ?Risum teneatis amici??, i.e. ?Will this make you laugh, my friends?? - ignoring the fact that this note has been done in a later writing style and in another person?s hand writing. 

The allegation is also refuted by the fact that Flamsteed had made an effort to find the most suitable time and thus the right horoscope for the foundation of this observatory - all with the greatest accuracy. This, because a close examination will prove that it is in the best possible coherence with Tycho Brahe?s horoscope of Uraniborg, the most famous observatory of that world. Thus, carefully the time was chosen to be exactly when the sun passed the Basiliscus (Regulus), the Royal Star. 

In a letter (dated 24th June, 1701) to a Dr. Wallis, Flamsteed defends astrology, ?... If you will advise? in particular your colleague, Dr. X, to be a bit more careful, when he disputes on matters of which he is not very well acquainted and about which he only possesses false, incomplete, and biased information, you would do me a major favour ...?.

Flamsteed?s hand-drawn horoscope for the foundation of the Greenwich Observatory. The hand-writing
at the bottom of the interior square - done by a stranger - is clearly the hand-writing of another person.

John Flamsteed, the First Astronomer Royal

Flamsteed seems to have - as the word goes - known a thing or two. In his left diaries he describes for instance how his nightly dreams sometimes would provide information useful for him during daytime. His astrological knowledge must have been famous, because he was frequently addressed.

For instance - an old woman wanted help to find some precious clothing, which had vanished without leaving a trace, when it was being washed. Although he did not make a living out of being an astrologer, but still wanted to help, he made her describe the ground-plan of the house as well as the area. Then Flamsteed drew up ?? a circle and placed a square within it ...?, made a couple of calculations and notes and eventually - based on the rules used - he pointed to the direction which, being related to the area around the house in question, was corresponding to a certain location. On that spot there was a ditch, and here she entirely true found what she had been searching for.

Later, among those wanting to deprive this scientifically famous astronomer of his astrological skills, it was maintained that in the case of the vanished laundry he chose at random to give the woman a lesson to the effect that such things cannot be done - when nevertheless he ?incidentally? was correct, this was seriously attributed to ?the work of evil?.

However, in his works, the above mentioned Lilly had some years before presented an astrological method for finding of vanished or stolen things for instance in a house. The method had not been invented by Lilly, it was traditional. In the example of the book the entire situation is in many ways so similar to the Flamsteed episode that Flamsteed only had to follow the directions of the book in many respects. 

Actually, Flamsteed was drawing up a Mundane (Judicial) horoscope, i.e. an immediate horoscope for the exact time when her consultation with him began. According to the guide lines of the tradition for interpreting within this branch of the Judicial astrology - called ?horary astrology? - the word is that the sign of Scorpio in cases of vanished or stolen goods may often indicate ?a place with unclear water, a gully, a ditch, a drain?. 

Page 6: John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal.

Alchemy - Practised by the Rosicrucians and Astrologers

In approx. 1100-1300, i.e. the zenith of the knights templar, they are said to have adopted a special knowledge carried on from biblical and old Oriental traditions including Egypt. When all of a sudden they were persecuted and disappeared from history, many parts of the ancient knowledge and treasures could be found in preservation with other fraternities (e.g. the Scottish Order - or the Portuguese Order of Christ, where Prince Henrique O Navigador was Grand Master) and other societies to which the escaped knights templar were admitted.

Supporters of the old Egyptian-Oriental knowledge of the ?Corpus Hermeticum?, the ancient work of Hermes Trismegistus, are called Hermetics. When the Hermetical orientated Tycho Brahe took auguries from astrology about Europe and wrote about these in his ?De nova stella? (1573), he brought the Bible into a non-clerical, broader cohesion like the Hermetists did.

Many others were inspired by the ideas in ?Corpus Hermeticum?, as the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons included in their systems this work?s special impression together with the interest of the still so mysterious Egyptian wisdom.

In the Renaissance, ?Fama?, a famous book on the philosophical knowledge of the Rosicrucians, also informs about Christian Rosenkreuz or Rosenkreutz (1378-1484), the founder of the society, that he was studying in the Orient: alchemy and the ?secrets of the universe?, as well as the metaphysical text(s) of Hermes Trismegistus, i.e. ?Corpus Hermeticum?. And he studied in Morocco with Oriental Jews, who had maintained secret traditions, e.g. the Cabbala in a pure form. 

?Fama? was printed in 1614 in the German city of Kassel, residence of Prince Mouritz of Hesse, who knew Tycho Brahe, who had visited his father, the previous prince. They cooperated extensively and corresponded about astronomy and alchemy. Also Michael Maier, a known German Doctor, published several texts about alchemy knowledge while he was employed by the princely court of Hesse.

Many quacks tried to practise the knowledge, especially alchemy, but also some mysterious cases are known and which are not seen being explained as illusion and fraud: the ?forever young? Count of Saint Germain. Voltaire himself wrote about this man that he was ?... a person who does not die and who knows everything ...?. When finally he died after all - in 1784 during an unfortunate poison research - this took place still at this royal house, now with Carl of Hesse as the Head.

In England, Francis Bacon was inspired by the Rosicrucian knowledge. And Robert Fludd, an Oxford educated Doctor, who became the philosophical heir to John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I?s Court Astrologer, published in 1616 a defence for the Rosicrucians (whom he - as being a Hermetist - could support). In this he pointed out: that they were the true Christians and the spiritual descendants of Hermes Trismegistus.


?   ?
John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I?s Court Astrologer and Alchemist. ?Right: The Count of Saint Germain.


Was Isaac Newton also Occupied With Astrology

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) - who, based on Kepler?s laws on planetary movements, eventually found the principles of the law of gravitation (published in 1687) - but also like Kepler and as his brilliant colleague in Germany, Leibnitz, dealt with astrology. This was done, not the least, in connection with weather forecasts, with which Tycho Brahe had already himself experimented

Through times the attitude to the ideas of these pioneers has created some conflicts between followers of astrology and the researchers who reject it. Both parties want to keep their heroes ?clean?. This has caused exaggerations to the effect that it has now and then been impossible to trust any of the parties: unfortunately, at least for one party, i.e. the scientific researchers, although they have been trained in not exposing scientific results to very subjective interpretations. 

Nevertheless, it has been tried later to reject that the impressive capacity of Newton with his reputation for having ?the highest IQ in history? - only comparable to few persons, e.g. Goethe and Leibnitz - should have accepted ?superstition? of this kind or the similar.

Newton experts have pointed out that it is correct that in the beginning - in the summer of 1663 - Newton wanted to find out if astrology was something or not - which later he told John Conduitt, his nephew, who took notes (now kept as a valuable source of quotation). However, the of course for a beginner incomprehensible diagrams in an astrology book, inspired Newton to seriously take up mathematical studies, i.e. ?higher? (i.e. celestial) mathematics, which was the name of this line at that time. And in relation to this line he also studied for instance Euclid and Descartes.

Experts claim that Newton ?discovered the emptiness in it as soon as he had cast a horoscope?. In reality they re-interpret his report about how he was studying a horoscope diagram, he felt unable to use. However, at that time Newton was not 24 years and had absolutely no experience in interpretation and casting of horoscopes - a medical student would likewise in the beginning have felt that his studies were empty, if without basic knowledge he was only given was a sketch of a skeleton to examine. It is known from inventory lists that among the 1,752 books Newton owned for most of his life, there were 4 books about astrology - e.g. one book (1596) by Johann Essler from Mainz, the German Astrologer. Newton has even written about his historical interest for the Egyptian astrologers like Chiron, Petosiris, and Nechepsos, all famous in the texts of Antiquity (cf. Newton's Chronology, pp. 251-252

From 1719 - following Flamsteed - Edmond Halley (1656-1902) was the next Astronomer Royal. He was a good friend of Newton, and based on Newton?s laws of gravitation he was able to compute the orbit of the later so well known ?Halley Comet? discovered in 1682. In this way Halley also discovered that comets often have cycles. Based on such a ?technical astronomy? he once criticized astrology to Newton, and Newton replied with a still famous remark, ?? Sir, I have studied this subject, you have not ?!?

Frequently, when mentioning that Newton owned four books on astrology (but one of them was against astrology, however, bearing no sign of ever having been studied or even opened for reading), Newton researchers frequently use the word ?only? in front of the amount of 4, but they do not deepen the fact he did have books on astrology. With a frequent use of the word ?only?, this information remains more as a subjective statement from one party.

Another example, likewise speaking, is from the opposite side: astrology supporters do frequently want to find their backing in the fact that another scientist of a similar format, i.e. Einstein, has spoken in favour of astrology. He is often quoted for this - even with word-by-word quotations - but without any kind of documentation or where or when it is supposed to have taken place. There can be no objection to that this non-dogmatic thinker - and with his thorough understanding of cosmos ? could have had that consideration for which is quoted, but there is not seen produced any documentation. Likewise the quotation cannot be found in any of the different collections on ?Einstein Quotations? published through times. 

As far as Newton is concerned it may also be tested if he really has made the above remark concerning the astrology. It has been documented that for instance that Nevil Maskelyne - who was Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory during 1765-1811 - has conveyed that in discussions Newton (who died shortly prior to the birth of Maskelyne, but yet ?belonged to his parents? generation) very often, also with other persons than Halley, used exactly the quoted phrase, i.e. ?I have studied these matters, you have not?.

Again, one of the most distinguished Newton Researchers, D.T. Whiteside, Historian of Science, has said (quoted by T.G. Cowling, 1977) that he had never found any reference to astrology among the many millions of words preserved from the hand of Newton. However, something is peculiar also here: all his life Newton was extremely interested in alchemy, and this implies unavoidably that he must even very detailed have dealt with astrological conditions. All modern, serious science historians with this period as their subject have to know this, so why repress this matching relation? 

When searching in thousands of notes in Newton?s posthumous papers it is claimed - on one hand that none of these notes refers to astrology. On the other hand - with his controversial research interest Newton could anyway very well have said as quoted concerning astrology (see the following). Now, did he really? Here, many will maintain that the quotation claimed to be Newton?s is considered absolutely trustworthy by some of the really authoritative biographies (by David Brewster, 1965, and more recently by R.S. Westfall, 1980).

Edmond Halley (1656-1902), Astronomer Royal.

Isaac Newton?s Near One Million Words On Alchemy

What several Newton researchers could not explain away was the fact that in addition to his own collection of 169 books on alchemy, Newton left many manuscripts of his own with near a million words about alchemy.

A similar amount of written material on mysticism were also found including codes (!) contained in The Revelation of St. John the Divine - all his life he was occupied with this biblical text. He was also occupied in details with the numbers of the dimensions of the Solomon Temple as well as with other biblical prophecies and chronology. (Others claim that he was secretly attached to an order of the Knights Templar, the main residence of which, i.e. Rosslyn Chapel, has the same exact measures as the Solomon temple).

All his life Isaac Newton, who in addition learnt Hebrew, worked most of his life also with the codes of the Bible, inspired from his reading of ?the last days? in ?the Book of Daniel? and ?the Revelation? he believed he was on the track. Based on this, Newton computed the end or radical change of the world to be in the year 2060. 

When John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), the Political or National Economist, found Newton?s notebooks, originally stowed away at the Cambridge University in 1696, he was very surprised to here to find - and this let alone what concerns esoteric theology - also almost one million words especially about a hidden code in the Bible.

In 1936 Keynes bought the Newton papers at an auction and translated their code language. The Jerusalem University bought 4,000 other papers. According to the Keynes work, ?Essays and Sketches in Biography? (1956, pp. 280-290), Newton believed that the Bible and the universe were ?a cryptogram created by God Almighty?, and that:
???????? ??... the essence of the Bible is a prophecy about the history of man ...?.

Concerning the alchemy, it can as example be pointed out that Tycho Brahe openly confirms the connection between alchemy and astrology. In 1588 in one of his letters he wrote:
?...? it is important to demonstrate that the celestial planets are corresponding to the seven kinds of metal on Earth and in human beings to the seven most important organs. All this is even so beautifully and harmoniously arranged that it seems close to be one and the same function, kind, and nature. In this way the sun and the moon are corresponding the most outstanding metals to gold and silver, and, by man, to two of the most important organs, the heart and the brain ...?.

The correspondence between alchemy and astrology was understood to be extremely close. Tycho Brahe named his astronomical research: ?the celestial alchemy?. And correspondingly, he wrote in ?Mechanica?, his autobiography, about his designation for alchemy:

????????? ?... I have spent far from a small amount of care concerning alchemy investigations and chemical experiments. The material they deal with, includes a good share of analogy with the celestial bodies and their effects, which is why I usually call this science ?the earthly astrology? ...?. 

Brahe and other alchemists seems to have been working from basis of a special correspondence between the substance of sulphur and the brightest shining star in the sky, Sirius, which was being activated when passed (i.e. passed the Sirius meridian) by the sun, which was connected to gold in an alchemy way. The very Moses? narrative on the first biblical event, the Genesis, was considered an alchemy process!

And when Brahe was producing medicine it was developed on the basis of a general point of view that the planets could be related to human organs. This meant for instance that because the sun was related to the heart, a heart disease cure might be drinking of water containing pulverized gold.

At later times it has been criticized why a man of Newton?s intelligence was established ?only? as the country?s Coin Master by the British state. However, not only was this providing a good, regular income for him, but the office may also have been given to him because of his alchemy knowledge about metals. Some kinds of practice of alchemy was not prohibited. Also King Christian IV of Denmark was occupying an alchemist as his Coin Master - who had his work shop in the Gardens of Rosenborg Castle. A similar kind of work - as well as one as adviser - was apparently promised to Tycho Brahe by Bohemian Emperor Rudolph II.


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Left: Sir Isaac Newton (painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1689).?
Right: Creation of Regulus(-Martial) showing clearly the starry pattern in the substance of antimone metal.

Newton?s Experiments With Regulus, the ?Basilisk?

Special expressions are found in the Newton papers on his alchemy experiments, e.g. ?the Starry Regulus of antimony and Mars? or ?Martial Regulus?, as well as ?Lunar Regulus? and ?Venusian Regulus?. Thus Mars, Luna (the moon), and Venus are references to iron, silver, and cobber, the parent metals. And antimon - from Greek anti plus mono means that ?this does not come alone? - was often used as the name of antimony, the very metal, which later was also called stibium. It is being extracted from stibnite, a mineral appearing in the form of prismatic crystals.

And finally the designation Regulus, which is the name of one of the five brightest stars in the sky, the constellation of Leo?s main star, also mentioned by its original Greek name, i.e. Basilikos. Copernicus, the Astronomer, successfully re-named it by translating it into Latin as Regulus, and the name is apparently mutually inspired by alchemy terminology. In Greek basilisk means ?a savage monster, the basilisk?, as well as ?little king?; the latter is also the meaning of Regulus, the Latin form of the name. 

The ?empirical philosophers?, i.e. the alchemists, had great expectations to the aid of antimony (insensitive to air) mixed with gold - a homunculus feature (cf. little king) - and that this silver-white coloured metal, i.e. antimony, would lead them to the development of ?the philosophers? stone?, the miraculous material. 

An alchemy process involving antimony may develop into a special raw metal result called Regulus, a name just introduced here by the alchemists. Among them it was first and foremost related with antimony. The classical parent metals could be used for extraction of antimony (stibnite) in order to ?trim? (reduce/cleanse) the metallic substance - which then became for instance Regulus of Venus (with cobber) or Regulus of Jupiter (with pewter) etc. 

When metallic antimony is being purified in coal fire, it must sink to the bottom in a container or a melting pot, and the appearing small, regularly shaped lump must be subject to several purifications in order to ?develop? Regulus the Star. On the bottom of the container is placed what will appear to be the little king. 

Metaphorically, there are many references to constellations for instance the Raven (Corvus) or the black crow, which is a constellation in the celestial section of Virgo. Or the Eagle - the celestial constellation (Jupiter?s) the Eagle, which in alchemy was an amalgam containing Mercurium, i.e. mercury. Newton is referring directly to that ?the black crow? (black scoria) and 2 purgations (purifications) with potassium nitrate (may take 3-4 purgations) will develop a silver-shining largely serrated star. 

Unless this stage with the star is passed, ?the right regulus? or (continuation of) his work is not present. Newton writes for instance about such a process that ?... the Regulus - after a purgation or two - starred very well ...?. The nuclear structure seems to be changing during purification - improvement. 

Newton used the expression ?starred? in the most literate perception: when cooling of crystal forms on the fluid metallic surface created triangular branches around a centre point and produced the image of a real geometrically structured, considerably large ?silver? star!

Title page of the Tycho Brahe autobiography also showing
his Hermetic motto - ?What I se upwards, I see below?

Astrologers Should ?Be Sent On Laborious Work in the House of Correction?

After the establishment of Flamsteed?s office the result was that eventually Scotland wanted to make their mark and so they got their Astronomer Royal. Also Ireland got one. In the 19th century, especially Piazzi Smythe was conspicuous as Scotland?s Astronomer Royal, with his unprecedented exact and constructive measurements of the Great Pyramid in Giza. As the first he disclosed the many advanced astronomically related measurements and its starry orientated building and site

As for Sir William H.M. Christie, another British Astronomer Royal, he experienced as late as in 1910 that heaps of letters were sent to him with astrological inquiries. In England the word is that two of the most frequent inquiries or subjects that an astrologer happens to experience are, ?When will my wife/husband pass away?? - and ?When shall I inherit/win some money??

???The amount of questions to this Astronomer Royal were so overwhelming that he had to have some official standard replies printed and dealt with by his secretary:

?... Sir or Madam, - the Astronomer Royal has asked me to inform you that he is not able to conduct your planets. People who are practising such profession are rouges and vagabonds. Remaining yours faithfully (the name of the secretary) ...?. ?????????

The peculiar expressions of the last part of the letter refer to traveling fair-keepers, performers at fairs, and gypsies, etc., who had their professions mentioned in an English law (5 Geo., IV c. 83 (p. iv)) from the 19th century and in force as late as around 1930 - and maybe still? In any case the legislation in question states:
?... Any person pretending or practicing to prophet fate, or use that kind of measures or equipment, by reading in hands, or in any other way to influence any of his Majesty?s subjects? shall be convicted as rouges and vagabonds ? and sent to the House of Correction and be doing hard work for some time, however, not exceeding three calendar months ...?.


Greenwich Royal Observatory.

The Unsuccessful Prophecies of the Astronomer Royal

When the Astronomer Royal does no longer cast horoscopes, he is to some extent prevented from ?knowing the future?. In 1956 Sir Richard R. Wooley, the Astronomer Royal of that time, said that with his knowledge to modern, advanced mathematics the idea about launching an artificial satellite orbiting Earth was pure rubbish (?utter bilge? ) - and that it was downright impossible!

At that time only two persons in history had so far dealt seriously with this question and its mathematical-technical conditions. The first was Newton with his ?dummy computing? for a ?drabant? (?bodyguard? , ?secondary follower?, i.e. satellite) orbiting Earth, when in the 17th century he achieved to draw up conclusions about the law of gravitation. Later it was Arthur C. Clarke, the Science Fiction Writer, who in his famous magazine article in 1945 predicted communication satellites to be synchronous orbiting the Earth: ?Extra-Terrestrial Relays. - Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage? ? (in ?Wireless World?, October 1945). This took place three years before Clarke handed over - to the BBC - his short-story, ?The Sentinel? (first published in 1951) which included the satellite idea, and later (1964) the book was extended to being filmed (about year) ?2001: A Space Odysse?. 

Wooley had given his definitely final ?prophecy? scientifically based on the fact that this was impossible. But the Russians - by some considered not so advanced at that time and therefore ?could not know any better? - happened already the next year to thoroughly overrule his decision, when on 4th October, 1957, at 19:26 UT they launched the ?Sputnik? as the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth.

Aa peculiar case existed before this, i.e. Simon Newcomb, an American and one of the greatest astronomical computers at all - for instance he was the first to find a very precise velocity for the precession movement. In 1902 he computed in details that it was physically impossible for an object heavier than air to be able to fly by means of an engine. Clever researchers within biology and mathematics had already called it a true paradox that bumble bees are flying, although they are very big and heavy in relation to their span of wings and their force. However, apparently it has been neglected that a certain knowledge of details of another factor was necessary, i.e. the laws of aerodynamics. 

However, next year, in the year 1903, the Wright Brothers and Inventors, did fly - and they did not know that it had been ?proved? that what they did was impossible - flying in the first aeroplane! The Newcomb computing was nevertheless exact; as appears he just lacked enough knowledge of all necessary factors. This often seems to be the main problem also in other connections, e.g. also when official science gives an opinion about astrology.

Ove von Spaeth
Writer, Researcher: copyright ? 2004 (& ? 1984, updat., expand.)
Parts of text are from ?The Secret Religion? from the author's book-series ?"Assassinating Moses".
Further information:


Tycho Brahe?s renowned sky globe.
A picture based his model from approx. 1600.
In all reproductions the globe is turned that intentionally the exterior ring,
containg measuring marks, constitutes an intersection point on the ecliptic exactly
where the Basiliscus star (Regulus, ?Lions Heart?) has its celestial position.




Copyright ? 2007 (& ? 1978) by: Ove von Spaeth   -   -   All rights reserved.