Many know what’s it like to be lightly ribbed or outright ridiculed for their beliefs in astrology — but what if I told you some of the brightest minds in history were staunch defenders of astrology science?
Some of the most famous and lauded scientists, astronomers, and medical pioneers believed in the power of the celestial spheres and their influence on our minds, bodies, and fates.
1. Hippocrates Believed Astrology Was Invaluable to Medicine
Hippocrates was born in 460 BC in ancient Greece, and is often called the “Father of Medicine.”
He founded the entire field of medicine, establishing it as an area of study separate from philosophy and ritual magic. The Hippocratic Oath (“First, do no harm”) is synonymous with medical practice even in modern times. He developed one of the first schools of medicine, and he and his followers wrote libraries of medical treatises that are still being studied today.
He helped predict and fight the famous Plague of Athens, disconnected disease causes from superstition, and formalized both medicine and medical study. A true scientist, pioneer, and forward thinker. He also said this:
“A physician without a knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician.”
Some versions of the quote are even harsher:
“He who does not understand astrology is not a doctor but a fool.” - Hippocrates
That’s right, Hippocrates was a huge believer in astrology science and its powerful effects on the human mind and body. He and his protege Galen often based medical theories on astrological movements and would even take the patient’s zodiac sign before they would begin any medical treatment. Hippocrates even taught astrology to his medical students.
Hippocrates believed that the patient’s astrological sign was useful as a kind of early “medical history” and genetic screening, giving clues as to what the patient was most at risk for. He and his school believed that the signs corresponded to different areas of the body that would be in greater danger of disease and trauma in the patient. From head to toe:
Aries - Head
Taurus - Throat
Gemini - Lungs, shoulders, arms, and hands
Cancer - Chest and stomach
Leo - Upper back and spine
Virgo - Intestines and nerves
Libra - Lower back, buttocks, skin
Scorpio - Sexual reproduction and waste systems
Sagittarius - Lever, hips, upper legs
Capricorn - Skeleton and joints
Aquarius - Blood and lower legs
Pisces - Fat, lymph, and feet
Consider that there is scientific evidence that the season of your birth appears to measurably affect susceptibility to mental and physical illness. Those born in winter appear to have a lower rate of lung cancer, while that same study indicates that summer births show an increase in asthma but a lower risk of diabetes.
Your month of birth even predicts your life span with a high degree of accuracy. Both of these fall in line with Hippocrates’ original assertions about the importance of astrology science.
2. Galileo Galilei, Renowned Astronomer and Astrologer
Galileo is perhaps most famous for having been a vehement supporter of the heliocentric model of the solar system — the then-disputed fact that the Earth (and other planets) revolve around the Sun. His views were so strong and so well supported that he was ultimately tried for heresy and sentenced to house arrest.
In Curiosities of Literature, by Isaac Disraeli, Galileo was called the “Father of Modern Science.” Galileo made important discoveries in physics, math, astronomy, and he discovered the moons of Jupiter, the idea of the Milky Way galaxy as a mass of stars, and confirmed the Kepler Supernova. He greatly advanced telescope technology, creating telescopes with an unheard of 30x magnification. Needless to say, listing his contributions to science could fill a small library.
He was also a professional astrologer.
Galileo made a career out of drafting horoscopes for nobility and students and by interpreting astrological signs for patrons. His belief in astrology science didn’t start and end at his wallet — he was known to make astrological charts and horoscopes for himself and his daughters without prompting or payment.
A scientist who practiced astrology wouldn’t have been odd at the time: Galileo and his peers were referred to by the title mathematicus, meaning a combination of mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer.
3. Johannes Kepler, Mathematician and Astronomer
Johannes Kepler is famous for a number of scientific breakthroughs, including discovering the elliptical orbits of planets and the other laws of planetary motion. These laws of planetary motion would go on to be used by Isaac Newton to develop his own theory of gravity.
Kepler studied under Tycho Brahe, who is also considered one of the most prominent astronomers in history. Expanding on Brahe’s models, Kepler would finish equation tables (the Rudolphine Tables) that would allow anyone to calculate the position of the planets, no matter how far into the future, based on extremely accurate models of the solar system and a precursor to calculus. Kepler also proved that tides were caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon.
In addition to his great feats of scientific discovery, Kepler also served as the official astrological adviser to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. Kepler created complex horoscopes and astrological charts for the emperor, which may have guided the fate of an entire empire.
Astrology and Science Have a Long Intertwined History
Whatever your astrological beliefs, know that you’re not alone — anywhere from 25% to 50% of people believe in astrology to some extent. Some believe astrology has an effect on their relationships, others believe their zodiac signs describe them accurately, and still others believe a horoscope can effectively predict their fate.
Some of the most intelligent, analytical minds in history believed the stars cast their influence on Earth and its people, and that influence could be both interpreted and divined to help themselves and the people around them.