Human beings in all cultures have long used the sky to tell stories and weave myths that impart meaning to life on earth. The key to all such systems is symbolism, in which one thing is used to signify, imply, represent, or embody another. The papers included in this volume are all concerned, in one way or another, with various perceptions of the world of celestial phenomena as symbols. These explorations range from art history and analytical psychology to critiques and accounts of astrology, and roam from western to non-western cultures, as well as from the ancient world to the modern.
The papers, most of which were given at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Sophia Centre Conference in Bath, UK, in 2011, provide a valuable addition to the scholarly literature on our understanding of the origins, function, and nature of symbols, especially their use in relation to cultural applications of astronomy, astrology, and the sky.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: The Nature of Symbols
Is Astrology a Symbolic Language?
Art, Astronomy and Symbolism in the Age of Science
PART TWO: Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Expressions
The Burning Sun and the Killing Resheph: Proto-Astrological Symbolism and Ugaritic Epic
From Babylon to Jerusalem: The Roots of Jewish Astrological Symbolism
Andrea D. Lobel
The Perugia Fountain: An Encyclopaedia of Sky, Culture and Society
Theosis, Vision, and the Astral Body in Medieval German Pietism and the Spanish Kabbalah
‘Chemistry, That Starry Science’: Early Modern Conjunctions of Astrology and Alchemy
PART THREE: Celestial Symbolism in the Contemporary World
Katherine Maltwood, H. P. Blavatsky, and the Origins of the Glastonbury Landscape Zodiac
Reading the Future in the Landscape: Astrology in Zanadroandrena land, Central East Madagascar
The Celestial Imaginary in Weimar Cinema
Receiving the ‘Messengers’: The Astrology of Jung’s Liber Novus