Astrology In Elizabethan England

Posted By admin On 11.08.21
A 17th-century fresco from the OrthodoxCathedral of Living Pillar in Georgia depicting Jesus within the Zodiac circle

Astrology had small amounts of support in early Christianity, but support waned during the Middle Ages. Support for it grew again in the West during the Renaissance.


An astrological wheel located in the main stained glass window of a Presbyterian church found in Cambridge, Ontario. The church was finished in 1889. The wheel is not complete, it only contains eight of the twelve signs.

Folklore and astrology were discussed commonly and earnestly. Elizabethan England underwent significant religious change between 1509 and 1558 (Henry VIII’s reign –- Elizabeth’s reign). To briefly summarize, Henry VIII’s move away from the Catholic Church paved the way for Protestantism and Edward VI (reign: 1547-1553) worked hard to.

Astrology John Dee

St. Augustine (354-430) believed that the determinism of astrology conflicted with the Christian doctrines of man's free will and responsibility, and God not being the cause of evil,[1][2] but he also grounded his opposition philosophically, citing the failure of astrology to explain twins who behave differently although conceived at the same moment and born at approximately the same time.[3]

  1. Generally, astrology was accepted as the primary science of the Elizabethan era. It was not simply for discovery, but rather was used for calendars, medical purposes, horticulture, agricultural practices, navigation and a lot of other things. It was considered equally as.
  2. Elizabethan Medicine: A discussion of the notes of Simon Forman, an Elizabethan doctor, explores his practice, which was based on astrology and alchemy. The World of Shakespeare’s Humors: At the time, many illnesses were blamed on an imbalance of four humors, fluids said to be present in the body.
  3. Medical Astrology Bibliography Astrology Superstitions Delahaye, Natalie. 'William Shakespeare and Astrology.' William Shakespeare and Astrology.
  4. Welcome to the Elizabethan Astronomy Web Page!! Here you will find out information on astronomy and those who made astronomy to what it is today during the time of the great poet and author William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare - Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564.


Dante Alighieri meets the Emperor Justinian in the Sphere of Mercury, in Canto 5 of the Paradiso.

The first astrological book published in Europe was the Liber Planetis et Mundi Climatibus ('Book of the Planets and Regions of the World'), which appeared between 1010 and 1027 AD, and may have been authored by Gerbert of Aurillac.[4]Ptolemy's second century AD Tetrabiblos was translated into Latin by Plato of Tivoli in 1138.[4] The Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas followed Aristotle in proposing that the stars ruled the imperfect 'sublunary' body, while attempting to reconcile astrology with Christianity by stating that God ruled the soul.[5] The thirteenth century mathematician Campanus of Novara is said to have devised a system of astrological houses that divides the prime vertical into 'houses' of equal 30° arcs,[6] though the system was used earlier in the East.[7] The thirteenth century astronomerGuido Bonatti wrote a textbook, the Liber Astronomicus, a copy of which King Henry VII of England owned at the end of the fifteenth century.[6]

In Paradiso, the final part of the Divine Comedy, the Italian poet Dante Alighieri referred 'in countless details'[8] to the astrological planets, though he adapted traditional astrology to suit his Christian viewpoint,[8] for example using astrological thinking in his prophecies of the reform of Christendom.[9]


The medieval theologian Isidore of Seville criticized the predictive part of astrology.

In the seventh century, Isidore of Seville argued in his Etymologiae that astronomy described the movements of the heavens, while astrology had two parts: one was scientific, describing the movements of the sun, the moon and the stars, while the other, making predictions, was theologically erroneous.[10][11] In contrast, John Gower in the fourteenth century defined astrology as essentially limited to the making of predictions.[10][12] The influence of the stars was in turn divided into natural astrology, with for example effects on tides and the growth of plants, and judicial astrology, with supposedly predictable effects on people.[13][14] The fourteenth century skeptic Nicole Oresme however included astronomy as a part of astrology in his Livre de divinacions.[15] Oresme argued that current approaches to prediction of events such as plagues, wars, and weather were inappropriate, but that such prediction was a valid field of inquiry. However, he attacked the use of astrology to choose the timing of actions (so-called interrogation and election) as wholly false, and rejected the determination of human action by the stars on grounds of free will.[15][16] The friar Laurens Pignon (c. 1368–1449)[17] similarly rejected all forms of divination and determinism, including by the stars, in his 1411 Contre les Devineurs.[18] This was in opposition to the tradition carried by the Arab astronomer Albumasar (787-886) whose Introductorium in Astronomiam and De Magnis Coniunctionibus argued the view that both individual actions and larger scale history are determined by the stars.[19]


'An Astrologer Casting a Horoscope' from Robert Fludd's Utriusque Cosmi Historia, 1617

Astrology In Elizabethan England Fashion

Astrology In Elizabethan England

Renaissance scholars often practised astrology to pay for their research into other subjects.[20]Gerolamo Cardano cast the horoscope of king Edward VI of England, while John Dee was the personal astrologer to queen Elizabeth I of England.[20]Catherine de Medici paid Michael Nostradamus in 1566 to verify the prediction of the death of her husband, king Henry II of France made by her astrologer Lucus Gauricus.[20] Major astronomers who practised as court astrologers included Tycho Brahe in the royal court of Denmark, Johannes Kepler to the Habsburgs and Galileo Galilei to the Medici.[20] The astronomer and spiritual astrologer Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for heresy in Rome in 1600.[20]

Ephemerides with complex astrological calculations, and almanacs interpreting celestial events for use in medicine and for choosing times to plant crops, were popular in Elizabethan England.[21] In 1597, the English mathematician and physicianThomas Hood made a set of paper instruments that used revolving overlays to help students work out relationships between fixed stars or constellations, the midheaven, and the twelve astrological houses.[22] Hood's instruments also illustrated, for pedagogical purposes, the supposed relationships between the signs of the zodiac, the planets, and the parts of the human body adherents believed were governed by the planets and signs.[22][23] While Hood's presentation was innovative, his astrological information was largely standard and was taken from Gerard Mercator's astrological disc made in 1551, or a source used by Mercator.[24][25]

English astrology had reached its zenith by the 17th century.[26] Astrologers were theorists, researchers, and social engineers, as well as providing individual advice to everyone from monarchs downwards. Among other things, astrologers could advise on the best time to take a journey or harvest a crop, diagnose and prescribe for physical or mental illnesses, and predict natural disasters. This underpinned a system in which everything—people, the world, the universe—was understood to be interconnected, and astrology co-existed happily with religion, magic and science.[27]

Enlightenment period[edit]

During the Enlightenment, belief in astrology amongst intellectuals fell away, though it had a popular following supported by almanacs.[28] One English almanac compiler, Richard Saunders, followed the spirit of the age by printing a derisive Discourse on the Invalidity of Astrology, while in France Pierre Bayle's Dictionnaire of 1697 stated that the subject was puerile.[28] The Anglo-IrishsatiristJonathan Swift ridiculed the Whig political astrologer John Partridge.[28]



Astrology saw a popular revival starting in the 19th century, as part of a general revival of spiritualism and, later, New Age philosophy,[29]:239–249 and through the influence of mass media such as newspaper horoscopes.[29]:259–263 Early in the 20th century the psychiatrist Carl Jung developed some concepts concerning astrology,[30] which led to the development of psychological astrology.[29]:251–256[31][32]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church maintains that divination, including predictive astrology, is incompatible with modern Catholic beliefs[33] such as free will:[3]

Elizabethan England History

All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.[34]

— Catechism of the Catholic Church

See also[edit]


  • Astrologer William Lilly's book Christian Astrology (1647) is a noted work.


  1. ^Veenstra, J.R. (1997). Magic and Divination at the Courts of Burgundy and France: Text and Context of Laurens Pignon's 'Contre les Devineurs' (1411). Brill. pp. 184–185. ISBN978-90-04-10925-4.
  2. ^ July 20116
  3. ^ abHess, Peter M.J.; Allen, Paul L. (2007). Catholicism and science (1st ed.). Westport: Greenwood. p. 11. ISBN978-0-313-33190-9.
  4. ^ abCampion, 1982. p. 44.
  5. ^Campion, 1982. p. 45.
  6. ^ abCampion, 1982. p. 46.
  7. ^North, John David (1986). 'The eastern origins of the Campanus (Prime Vertical) method. Evidence from al-Bīrūnī'. Horoscopes and history. Warburg Institute. pp. 175–176.
  8. ^ abDurling, Robert M. (January 1997). 'Dante's Christian Astrology. by Richard Kay. Review'. Speculum. 72 (1): 185–187. doi:10.2307/2865916. JSTOR2865916. Dante's interest in astrology has only slowly been gaining the attention it deserves. In 1940 Rudolf Palgen published his pioneering eighty-page Dantes Sternglaube: Beiträge zur Erklärung des Paradiso, which concisely surveyed Dante's treatment of the planets and of the sphere of fixed stars; he demonstrated that it is governed by the astrological concept of the 'children of the planets' (in each sphere the pilgrim meets souls whose lives reflected the dominant influence of that planet) and that in countless details the imagery of the Paradiso is derived from the astrological tradition. .. Like Palgen, he [Kay] argues (again, in more detail) that Dante adapted traditional astrological views to his own Christian ones; he finds this process intensified in the upper heavens.
  9. ^Woody, Kennerly M. (1977). 'Dante and the Doctrine of the Great Conjunctions'. Dante Studies, with the Annual Report of the Dante Society. 95 (95): 119–134. JSTOR40166243. It can hardly be doubted, I think, that Dante was thinking in astrological terms when he made his prophecies. [The attached footnote cites Inferno. I, lOOff.; Purgatorio. xx, 13-15 and xxxiii, 41; Paradiso. xxii, 13-15 and xxvii, 142-148.]
  10. ^ abWood, 1970. p. 5
  11. ^Isidore of Seville (c. 600). Etymologiae. pp. L, 82, col. 170.
  12. ^Gower, John (1390). Confessio Amantis. pp. VII, 670–84. Assembled with Astronomie / Is ek that ilke Astrologie / The which in juggementz acompteth / Theffect, what every sterre amonteth, / And hou thei causen many a wonder / To tho climatz that stonde hem under.
  13. ^Wood, 1970. p. 6
  14. ^Allen, Don Cameron (1941). Star-crossed Renaissance. Duke University Press. p. 148.
  15. ^ abWood, 1970. pp. 8–11
  16. ^Coopland, G. W. (1952). Nicole Oresme and the Astrologers: A Study of his Livre de Divinacions. Harvard University Press; Liverpool University Press.
  17. ^Vanderjagt, A.J. (1985). Laurens Pignon, O.P.: Confessor of Philip the Good. Venlo, The Netherlands: Jean Miélot.
  18. ^Veenstra, 1997. pp. 5, 32, passim
  19. ^Veenstra, 1997. p. 184
  20. ^ abcdeCampion, 1982. p. 47.
  21. ^Harkness, Deborah E. (2007). The Jewel House. Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. Yale University Press. p. 105. ISBN978-0-300-14316-4.
  22. ^ abHarkness, Deborah E. (2007). The Jewel House. Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. Yale University Press. p. 133. ISBN978-0-300-14316-4.
  23. ^Astronomical diagrams by Thomas Hood, Mathematician (Vellum, in oaken cases). British Library (Add. MSS. 71494, 71495): British Library. c. 1597.CS1 maint: location (link)
  24. ^Johnston, Stephen (July 1998). 'The astrological instruments of Thomas Hood'. XVII International Scientific Instrument Symposium. Soro. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  25. ^Vanden Broeke, Steven (2001). 'Dee, Mercator, and Louvain Instrument Making: An Undescribed Astrological Disc by Gerard Mercator (1551)'. Annals of Science. 58 (3): 219–240. doi:10.1080/00033790016703.
  26. ^Cummins A (2012) The Starry Rubric: Seventeenth-Century English Astrology and Magic, p. 3. France:Hadean Press
  27. ^Cummins A (2012) The Starry Rubric: Seventeenth-Century English Astrology and Magic, p. 43–45. France:Hadean Press
  28. ^ abcPorter, Roy (2001). Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World. Penguin. pp. 151–152. ISBN0-14-025028-X. he did not even trouble readers with formal disproofs!
  29. ^ abcCampion, Nicholas (2009). History of western astrology. Volume II, The medieval and modern worlds (first ed.). London: Continuum. ISBN978-1-4411-8129-9. At the same time, in Switzerland, the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) was developing sophisticated theories concerning astrology ..
  30. ^Jung, C.G. (1973). Gerhard Adler (ed.). C.G. Jung Letters: 1906–1950 (in German). Translated by R.F.C. Hull, in collaboration with Aniela Jaffé. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN978-0-691-09895-1. Letter from Jung to Freud, 12 June 1911 'I made horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth.'
  31. ^Gieser, Suzanne. The Innermost Kernel, Depth Psychology and Quantum Physics. Wolfgang Pauli's Dialogue with C.G.Jung, (Springer, Berlin, 2005) p. 21 ISBN3-540-20856-9
  32. ^Campion, Nicholas. 'Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement. The Extent and Nature of Contemporary Belief in Astrology.'(Bath Spa University College, 2003) via Campion, Nicholas, History of Western Astrology, (Continuum Books, London & New York, 2009) pp. 248, 256, ISBN978-1-84725-224-1
  33. ^editor, Peter M.J. Stravinskas (1998). Our Sunday visitor's Catholic encyclopedia (Rev. ed.). Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor Pub. p. 111. ISBN0-87973-669-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  34. ^'Catechism of the Catholic Church - Part 3'. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
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Queen Elizabeth I was such an influential person in the world during her lifetime that the period of her reign is called the Elizabethan Era. Some of our most famous art and literature come from this era of history, and English explorers traveled the globe, spreading their influence and bringing back new discoveries. With all of these innovations, life in England during Queen Elizabeth’s time was a golden era that would impact our world to this day.


People in Elizabethan times ate similar meals to what we enjoy today. Chinese astrology monkey and dragon compatibility. Many people had to be awake before dawn, so breakfast was a quick bite for servants and farmers. The midday meal was called “dinner” and might be eaten on the go, though those who could afford to stop working to eat at home would do so. The evening meal was called “supper” and was eaten at home. For all but the very poor, supper had many dishes. The wealthy partook of savory meats that were smoked, boiled, or even fried. Less fortunate people still ate very well but ate more vegetables and got their protein in the forms of milk and cheese. Spices were very important because they kept the food from being bland. New fruits and vegetables from the New World also found their way onto Elizabethan plates.

  • Food in Elizabethan England: What Elizabethan people ate depended on factors including the religious calendar, their income, and their access to different foods.
  • Elizabethan Dining: This article uses excerpts from journals and literature to describe Elizabethan meals.
  • Food and Your Lifestyle: The day-to-day eating habits of Elizabethan people usually included two meals, one in the afternoon and another in the evening.
  • Elizabethan Food: The food served to nobility was expected to be not only delicious but impressive; banquets might feature lavishly decorated and presented dishes as well as rare delicacies.


It was a bit colder in Elizabethan England, as the climate shifted slightly during this time, leaving Europe in what was called the “Little Ice Age.” People compensated for this with a lot of padding in their clothing, giving it a stiff, formal look. They also wore many layers. Wool, leather, and linen were used to make most clothes, with expensive new textiles such as cotton and silk available to those who were allowed to wear them. Sumptuary laws dictated which clothes could be worn by which social class, so only the wealthiest and the nobility could wear the most expensive and latest fashions.

  • The Well-Dressed Elizabethan: Renaissance Fashions as Social Markers: Read an essay about the sumptuary laws in Elizabethan England on this page from the Folger Shakespeare Library.
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Influence on Elizabethan Fashion: The biggest fashion icon of the Elizabethan era was Elizabeth herself.
  • Elizabethan Fashion: Explore major fashion trends of the Elizabethan era on this page.
  • Queen Elizabeth I’s Wardrobe: Take a peek into Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe, including her famous locket ring accessory and her elegant dresses.

The Arts

The arts during Elizabethan times were dominated by work on clothing, such as cloth production and embroidery. Clothing was so important to the social order that there were laws made limiting the finest clothing to the nobles and royalty. Like people today, when the Elizabethans dressed well, they wanted to be seen in pictures, so another major form of art was portraiture. These were done in both full size and miniature, and some of the world’s most famous artists painted during this era. But arguably the most famous person working in the arts during the time was William Shakespeare, whose plays are still performed and made into movies today.

  • Elizabethan England: An essay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art examines art during Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
  • Elizabethan Art: The queen herself was greatly interested in art, and many portraits were painted of her.
  • The Elizabethan Era: The Renaissance was a golden age in England’s history.
  • William Shakespeare: Learn more about the famous Elizabethan playwright here.


When we think of this era, we often think of swords and plate armor. These items were certainly used in Elizabethan times, but they also had some of the earliest firearms and artillery. The arquebus was a type of rifle invented in Spain, and the musket was gaining prominence as well. Cannons had already been used in warfare by this point, but by the Elizabethan era, they were more common, especially in naval battles. Queen Elizabeth assembled the most powerful navy in the world, which was proven when they defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. The English navy also explored all over the world, expanding England’s colonial power for centuries after Elizabeth’s reign.

  • The Weapons of War: Elizabethan weapons influenced warfare into the 20th century.
  • Swords in Early Modern English Plays: As Shakespeare was writing, the types of swords used in society were changing due to the influence of Italian fencing.
  • Arms and Armor of the Roanoke Colonists: When the English established themselves in the New World, they brought their weaponry with them.


What the Elizabethans called medicine would look very strange to us today, as a lot of superstitions found their way into the medicine of the era. Bloodletting was a common cure for Elizabethan ailments because it was believed that illnesses occurred in the blood and could be released from the body by causing bleeding, usually using leeches to suck the blood. Herbs and vegetables such as garlic and onion were used to treat a variety of ailments, from head injuries to colds and the plague. People lived in very unsanitary conditions, with rats and fleas biting people and passing on diseases like the Bubonic Plague. Despite all of this, there were also some advances in medicine during this era, such as the first autopsies and the first studies of blood circulation.

  • Elizabethan Medicine: A discussion of the notes of Simon Forman, an Elizabethan doctor, explores his practice, which was based on astrology and alchemy.
  • The World of Shakespeare’s Humors: At the time, many illnesses were blamed on an imbalance of four humors, fluids said to be present in the body.
  • Do No Harm: Medicine in Shakespeare’s Writings: The works of Shakespeare can offer some insight into what medical practices were like at the time.
  • Elizabethan Medicine: A short lesson on Elizabethan medicine looks at the types of people who practiced medicine and the treatments they used.


Until her father, Henry VIII, took the throne of England, the country was mostly Catholic. The early 1500s introduced Protestantism to Europe, and in 1538, Henry VIII founded the Anglican Church, causing tension between England and the Catholic church that would last throughout Elizabeth’s reign. Always threatened by Catholic enemies, Elizabeth handled this by being more lenient with Catholic worshipers than her predecessor, causing a tense peace between the two sides. Also during this time, there was a surge in the population of England, causing greater unemployment and a huge rift between the rich and the poor. Elizabeth made some of the first national laws to aid the poor, especially those who could not work.

Women were expected to be subservient to husbands, and girls from wealthy families were traded like property in marriages that were more like business contracts. People in the Elizabethan era believed marrying for love was silly and fanciful. However, Elizabethan England had its fun times, too. Games like chess and backgammon were popular, as were sports such as archery, horse-racing, and fencing. Feast days were frequent, both as religious practices and by royal decree. Animals were often used in entertainment, such as bear-baiting, a favorite sport of the queen’s in which a chained bear was pitted against a pack of dogs. Elizabethan England also saw the voyages of many famous explorers, including Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh.

  • What Types of Entertainment Did They Have in Elizabethan England? A short essay looks at games and amusements that were common in Elizabethan England.
  • Life in Elizabethan England: The BBC details what life was like for people living under Elizabeth’s rule.
  • Life in Renaissance England: The everyday life of a typical citizen of Elizabethan England is detailed in this essay.
  • Religion in Elizabethan England: Find a brief history of the Church of England on this page.