Tycho Brahe was Astrologer. Oh Really

It has often been alleged that astrology and astrologers were put out of business by the discoveries of the Copernican revolution. Actually the fact is otherwise,  astrologers were enthusiastic promoters and educators, putting the powerful public forum of their annual almanacs into the full service of science.

The three most important astronomers of the yesteryears were all practicing astrologers. The historians of science, in celebrating the glories of science past, have been totaly dumb on this point which in itsel is a question mark.

Tycho Brahe, whose discovery of the “New Star” in 1572 caused a sensation because it shattered the Aristotelian theory of the immutability of the celestial spheres, was at the time of the discovery, working as astrologer to the Danish court.

While Tycho is lauded in science history for his painstakingly accurate observations, the fact that Tycho originally undertook these observations both to improve the accuracy of his horoscopy and to demonstrate the celestial harmonies underlying astrology, alchemy, and medicine, is conveniently overlooked.1 Some might say deliberately suppressed.

Tycho was not only a competent astrologer who made some very accurate forecasts for the Danish monarchy, he was equally interested in alchemy, particularly the medical alchemy of Paracelsus. While two of his early tracts, Against Astrologers, For Astrology, and another on new methods of house division, have since disappeared, other works have survived. For instance, in 1574, lecturing in Copenhagen, Tycho elaborated on his theories about the astrological correspondences between the heavenly bodies, terrestrial substances (metals and stones) and the organs of the body.2 Tycho not only wrote astrological interpretations of both his ‘New Star,’ (the supernova of 1572) and the comet of 1577, he did extensive work in astrological weather prediction. Some of his basic principles of astro-meteorology were published in 1573 in De Nova Stella, but his work in this direction continued throughout his life and he left behind copious notebooks and accounts thereof.

In 1599, Tycho resettled in Prague, taking the post as Imperial Mathematician, (which meant ‘astrologer’) to the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, whom he provided with horoscopes and predictions. When he died two years later, the successor to his position as Emperor Rudolph’s astrologer was his assistant, Johannes Kepler.

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