Astrology / Astronomy / C.G.Jung / History / Medival / Science

Kepler’s harmonic archetypes and C.G. Jung’s spiritual wholeness

 In the sixteenth century, the time of Johannes Kepler, fields such as alchemy, astrology, and harmonics were considered important subjects eyed suspiciously by theology which overtook metaphysics. Narrowed down to chemistry, astronomy and (some) art and a materialistic positivism, C.G. Jung gave us back an holistic and spiritual view very compatible with Kepler’s religious motivated cosmology. How did that happen, what are the relations?

 Relationship between Astrology and Metaphysics

Both Islam and Christianity have had a conflicting relationship to astrology, because the predestination of fate is contrary to free will as an unconditional prerequisite (sine qua non) of the Christian faith or the opposite in the Islam. Predicting the future implicit in astrology was broadly incompatible with orthodox teachings of Islam, which means ‘submission’ to the Will of Allah. Tertullian warns of astrology but Constantine the great was committed to it.

 In Greek philosophy correspondences between celestial configurations and events on Earth demonstrated the wholeness of Creation,  with theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy provided a respectable scientific framework. Arabic astrology by al-Kindi used those classical ideas, of ‘cosmic sympathy’ linking the macrocosm and microcosm. Astrological symbolism became an important element of Sufi mystics. Orthodox Islamic theologians argued that since Allah was all-powerful, astrology was irrelevant at best; at worst it was a dangerous delusion bordering on the magical and demonic. Similar objections were raised by Christian theologians when astrology and mysticism began to filter back into medieval Europe.

Renaissance and humanism brought Astrology and Alchemy back referring back to Hellenistic and Arabic sources. Until the Renaissance, astronomers were frequently at the same time astrologers (Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler). Despite the historical enmity between Islam and Christianity ‘Arabian parts’ were well-known in classical European astrology. Accessible to most astrologers today is al-Biruni’s Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology written at Afghanistan in 1029, while not a direct influence upon European astrology, and gives a concise account of contemporary Arabic astrology.

The time around 1600 was also characterized by larger and smaller scientific break troughs and innovations Those include the increasing detachment and independence of Greek and Arab authorities, especially Aristotle, the establishment of the empirical methods, the incipient delimitation the scientific nature of Alchemy and Astrology, new technical inventions such as the telescope, but also the attempt to separate the scientific view from the theological view. Of course the persistence of tradition and the traditionalists had to be overcome first.

 Kepler and Astronomy

Everybody knows the three laws of planetary motion in the history of science, which more than Copernicus himself or Galileo Galilei use of the telescope proved the heliocentric model mathematically. Few are equally aware that he has been an avid proponent of astrology and inspired in his scientific pursuit also intellectual ideas of astrology and anticipated going to the moon. More than four hundred years ago, Johannes Kepler thought on the Moon: its text, which is now for the first time completely in German, is a scientific-literary game.

For as long as Kepler was fixated on scientifically traditional views, he could not prove the heliocentric model he aspired to achieve. He did so when he began thinking freely with a very accurate set of observations he became from Tycho Brahe, to verify assumptions, theories, mathematical models and derive predictions.

In 1596, Kepler authored a book titled “Mysterium Cosmographicum” (“The Cosmographic Mystery”).A firm believer in absolute divine harmony, he believed that this was due to the fact that there are only five regular polyhedrons. In other words, Kepler formulated a theory based on the medieval perception of the ordering of the world into “impure” and “pure” territories. In the pure territory,everything should be as perfect and harmonious as the perfect circles.Kepler was greatly disappointed, as these did not prove that the orbits of the planets form perfect circles, and dedicated much time to ineffective efforts being trapped by the metaphysical credence.

Although Kepler accepted the heliocentric rather than the geocentric system, only after abjure his metaphysical faith he was able to prove it. Kepler had predicted a conjunction of planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in the constellation of Sagittarius, in November 1603 and those interested in astronomy awaited the event to take place so as to check Kepler’s predictions.. According to Arabic astrology, when a planetary triangle is formed, a comet appears but no comet appeared. However, on 8 December 1604, a more remarkable and rare astronomical event took place. Not too far from the planetary conjunction, a stellar explosion (supernova named SN 1604) occurred. Following the discovery of the laws of planetary motion, Kepler calculated that a similar the three aforementioned planets had entered a conjunction in the constellation of Pisces in 7 BC and claimed that this phenomenon was the Star referred to by Matthew the Evangelist

The Kepler position in regards to astronomy and astrology is also particularly interesting, because Kepler on the one hand takes many Astrology critical points, but on the other hand tells that the basic assumption of astrology are interferences between the celestial and the earthly world and also defends that it is worth to investigate this relationship and the terms and conditions of the influence. This mediation position is already evident in the title Tertius interveniens. The controversy with and around Kepler show him as a first rated researcher, a devoted Christian but also an intuitive mystic.

The questions the relationship between astronomy and astrology and the possibility for an exact, physical Astrology are the central objects of the controversy. The views and positions are represented with following short

  • Theses:
    • comets and new stars have signed character;
    • specific prophecies are possible and methodical backed up;
  •  Anti-thesis:
    •  comets and new star have no sign character;
    • Astrology and the technique of their prophecy are methodically unsecured;
  •  Kepler’s negotiating position  
    • celestial bodies influence the “lower world”, i.e. the operations on earth;
    • Usually no specific prophecies should be inferred;
    • Astrology research as question of cosmological contexts deserves to be continued even if there are no safe results are available and despite prevailing abuses

 Kepler and Astrology

According to astrologists, the positions of the planets at various points of the zodiac cycle, their conjunctions and retrograde motions predict future events on Earth. Using Kepler’s laws, astronomers could much better determine the position of planets in the sky both in the future and in the past; until then, they had only been able to make short-term calculations of planetary positions.

Using Kepler’s laws, we can go back in time, so to speak, and examine if these views coincide with the same or, at the very least, similar events as those predicted by astrology. Kepler, however, believed that the discovery of his laws would add accuracy and scientific merit to astrology. In the context of his astrological studies Kepler did not hesitate to discard traditional ideas, which seemed questionable to him. He condemned the doctrine of the twelve domiciles in the strongest terms in his Astrology: “But there is nothing outrageous as the almost exclusive concern of some astrologers who distribute twelve homes in a childish credulity without any reasoned consideration or scientific method on the seven planets and devise dominions and momentary change of sphere, as it is located in the human political life; all magic and astrological superstition comes from there.” Similarly, he dismissed so-called Ingreß horoscopes, where you pointed from the horoscope of the entry of the Sun in the zodiac signs of Aries, “Pinnacle of stupidity” far from the course of the entire year: “It is a viewpoint disputed completely out of the void”. Also, he warns strongly against the abuse of astrology.

 Kepler and Metaphysics

Kepler believed that the world was created by God to express divine aesthetics, what Kepler called “Archetypes.” Johannes Kepler’s system of mathematical archetypes played a primary role in his physical cosmology which were Identified as the geometrical models making up the metaphysical blueprint of the material world.

In Kepler’s eyes, the theory of harmony was essential to astronomy. As an astronomer, he felt himself responsible for supporting one of three competing theories dealing with the motions of the planets. There was the Hellenistic Ptolemaic system, in which all bodies moved around a stationary earth, the Copernican system, which was (almost) heliocentric and involved all of the six planets moving around the sun and that of Tycho Brahe with the sun moving around a stationary earth but the other planets moving around the sun. One of the most important factors in each decision, for Kepler, was harmony. Harmony was a concept of beauty and grace combined with simplicity. Kepler believed that these were attributes of God – a God whose mind was essentially disposed to geometrical archetypes. So he chose the system which he found most aesthetic pleasure, and justified his choice with complex theories of harmony. This is how and why he chose to support the Copernican system. Kepler’s idea of astrology and his concept of archetypes seems very modern and can be easily related to psychoanalytic theory (e.g. Synchronity of C.G. Jung) and holistic approaches of cosmology. For Kepler, the Earth had a soul, an own life force, which is sensitive for the geometric pattern of the sky and responds accordingly. Again and again, he stressed that the earthly events represent only resonances from the stars and are not caused but on the movements of the stars – so how will become audible sound waves over the human ear as a sounding board and can be perceived as music.

Thus he turned first and foremost against the idea, one could derive concrete statements (“Particularia”), for example in the forecast, from the stands of star in the. He adjusts his testimonies very much by the people and the circumstances in which he lives, to find out whether and how a constellation or not applies: “You can learn nothing from the Astrology as a specific deviation from the mental and spiritual inclination of the normal; as the man in a certain way in the future will be of the people, which is an image of God and not only a creature of nature lies in terms of political life completely and utterly free decision, as is the case with the other beings.” So he criticized Wallenstein, for home he twice did a horoscope: “There is an obsession with the birth, as if to predict to be quite the Particularia out of the sky.” To him, each constellation – thus his statement – is dependent on their concrete manifestation of the object which enters the sphere of their competence.


The tragedy of Kepler’s is – as so often – just that his clear and fathom approach has been met by contemporaries with disgrace or simply ignored. His rejection of everything superfluous and his desire to concentrate to produce understandable and coherent thoughts could have been a compelling reason even after the fall of the geocentric universe by Copernicus to continue Astrology as a serious art regardless of physical effects.  

His contemporaries have, however, not recognized the significance of Kepler’s effort to detach the Astrology of their alleged laws of cause and effect and of it outdated view of the world and to limit them only on symbolic (allegoric) interpretation, which led to the downfall of astrology. It took another intuitive thinker, C.G. Jung, who understood the importance of mystic, archetypical patterns and wholeness and religiosity for today’s globalized culture. 

 Johannes Kepler, Von den gesicherten Grundlagen der Astrologie, Chiron Verlag, Mössingen 1999

 Ulrike Voltmer,   Rhythmische Astrologie, Johannes Keplers Prognose-Methode aus neuer Sicht  Urania Verlag Neuhausen 1998

 HEINDEL, Max – The Message of the Stars. The Rosicrucian  Fellowship, Oceanside, CA, 1973.

 Al-Biruni, The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, translated by R. Ramsey Wright (Luzac 1934). Available as a reprint from Ascella in London or Ballantrae Reprints in Canada.

C.G. Jung, Archtypes

C.G. Jung, Synchronity