By Nicholas Campion
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Extra resources for Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions
9 Aside from its status as one of the largest of the constellations, the Great Bear’s principal astronomical feature points to its potential religious significance; from the point of view of any observer in the northern hemisphere, it never dips below the horizon. Instead—and this is a simple experiment that anyone with the energy to spend a sleepless night outdoors can conduct—it rotates around a central point in the night sky (now occupied by the pole star). This point therefore tends to become representative of stillness and symbolic of an absence of movement through either time or space.
In this sense, if the complex interpretative astrologies of Babylon, India, China, the Islamic world, Europe, and Mesoamerica have anything in common, it is that the focus of all creation, the sum total of space and time, is placed on the individual as the act of astrological interpretation proceeds. The center is not where God is, or the Goddess, or the gods: If astrology has a religion, perhaps it is humanism. An entirely separate question is whether astrology has religious uses. The answer to this, obviously, is yes, for there is no area of human activity to which it cannot be applied.
On the other hand, just as there are local variations in aboriginal cosmology, so we should be alive to the possibility of evolution and adaptation through time. Australian cosmology, like that of many ancient peoples, is “chaotic” in the sense that it postulates that the world emerged through a sequence of steps, not as an orderly creation but as a gradual emergence of living things. Its overwhelming characteristic is relational: People are related to stars, stars 24 | are related to animals, animals are related to the land, and all are related to the invisible beings who are everywhere and who “sang” creation into existence.
Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions by Nicholas Campion