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Jean Limburg: The Anatomical Man, from the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry, 15th century, shows the connection of the human form with the signs of the zodiac.

Astrology (Greekαστρολογία - literally the study of the stars, today strictly distinguished from the purely scientifically oriented astronomy - Greekαστρονομία - literally the lawfulness of the stars) is based on the systematic interpretation of the relationship of certain cosmic constellations, especially the position of the planets in the zodiac, to the earthly life of man. The stars, however, only have an influence on the bodily and, to some extent, also on the soul members of man, especially on the astral body, which is burdened with karma, but not on the I, the spiritual core, in which the freedom of the human being is founded. About the meaning and limits of astrology, therefore, Thomas Aquinas already said:

„Most men follow sensuality, on which the heavenly bodies have an influence. Few are wise, so that they resist the passions. That is why astrologers can predict the truth in many cases, especially when the prediction concerns the general. They cannot, however, predict individual actions, because every man can resist passion in individual cases. That is why the astronomers themselves say that "the wise man rules the stars," in so far as he resists his passions.“

Thomas Aquinas: Sum of Theology I, 115, 4

The origin of astrology

The origin of astrology lies in the Egyptian-Chaldean period.

„Then we come to the third post-Atlantean period, which we characterised yesterday as the one in which the souls were stimulated to their knowledge by the beings of power that shone forth from the stars, where the mystery of the world was no longer merely seen in the supersensible relationships of the being of time, but where one already entered into the senses and saw in the senses, in the course of the stars and in the writing which they inscribe in the space of the world, the harmonising, the melodising of world events. I would like to call this world view astrology. Chronology was followed by astrology. And all that the real, true chronology of Zarathustrism reveals, all that the real, true astrology of the Egyptian and Chaldean mysteries reveals, all that was stimulated by the mysteries that were active in the world through the threefold Christ-deed before the great Atlantean catastrophe.“ (Lit.:GA 149, p. 64)

Tropical and sidereal astrology

The signs of the zodiac divide the zodiac into 12 sections of exactly the same size, each 30°. At the time of their naming about 2500 years ago, the signs of the zodiac were largely congruent with the corresponding constellations, if one disregards the different sizes of the individual constellations, which are not always exactly 30°. Due to the precession of the Earth's axis, the signs of the zodiac shift in relation to the constellations by one whole sign each in about 2160 years. Only after a Platonic world year of about 25920 years (= 12 x 2160) is the original state restored.

Occidental astrology, which is also called tropical astrology, traditionally continues to reckon with the original system of the signs of the zodiac, as it actually existed astronomically at the time around the birth of Christ, despite the shift in relation to the corresponding constellations. The tropical zodiac begins with the vernal equinox, which is invariably equated with the beginning of the zodiac sign Aries. In fact, however, the vernal equinox today is astronomically already far in the constellation of Pisces, (cf. Age of Pisces). The future entry of the vernal equinox into the constellation of Aquarius stands for the 6th cultural epoch that will soon begin (cf. Age of Aquarius). Tropical astrology has thus abandoned the spatial relationship to the actually visible constellations and instead orients itself to the course of the year, i.e. to a purely temporal rhythm. A spatial relationship does exist, however, in that the signs of the zodiac are determined by the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun. The transition of the Sun to the North across the equator has Aries character and so do the following 30 days. The summer solstice of the Sun has the character of Cancer, and so on. It is assumed that the sky in the direction of the Sun has the quality of the signs of the zodiac in each case, but this is only a fictitious projection, since only the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun is relevant. For example, if Venus is in conjunction with the Sun, and the Sun has just moved northwards across the equator, then Venus is in Aries.

In Indian astrology, on the other hand, the signs of the zodiac are firmly linked to the constellations, which is why this is called sidereal astrology. In this system, the original direct spatial relationship of the zodiac signs to the constellations is preserved and they move together gradually through all seasons in the course of precession.

A mixed form was used by the now deceased Maria Thun to create her sowing calendar.

The meaning of the horoscope

In the horoscope (Greek ωροσκόπιο, via Latinhoroscopiumfrom Ancient Greek horoskopeion "the seer of the hours"), the position of the most important stars of our planetary system at a certain point in time is shown in their relationship to the zodiac from a topocentric point of view, i.e. related to a very specific earthly observation point. The angular relationships between the planets in the zodiac, the so-called aspects (from Latin aspectus = sight, view), are evaluated positively or negatively. Square (90°) and opposition (180°) are generally regarded as tense and problematic, trine (120°) and sextile (60°) as particularly harmonious, and conjunction (0°), where the forces of the planets come together, is also regarded positively, with a few exceptions.

„The compilation of the horoscope is based on the truth that the connoisseur of these things can read the forces according to which man finds his way into physical existence. A certain horoscope is assigned to a human being because the forces that have led him into existence are expressed in it. If, for example, Mars is above Aries in the horoscope, this means that certain Aries forces are not allowed to pass through Mars, that they are weakened. Man is therefore placed in physical existence, and the horoscope is what he follows before he enters into earthly existence. This matter, which seems so daring in our present time, should not be touched upon without drawing attention to the fact that almost everything that is now being done in this direction is the purest dilettantism - a true superstition - and that for the outer world the true science of these things has to a great extent been completely lost. One should not, therefore, judge the fundamental things which are said here according to what at present often leads a questionable existence as astrology.

What drives man into physical embodiment are the effective forces of the starry world. When the clairvoyant consciousness observes a human being, it can perceive from his organisation how this is actually a result of the interaction of cosmic forces. This shall now be illustrated in a hypothetical form, but one which corresponds entirely to clairvoyant perceptions.

If one were to take out the physical brain of a human being and examine it clairvoyantly as to how it is constructed, so that one would see how certain parts sit in certain places and send forth projections, one would find that the brain is different in every human being. No two people have the same brain. But imagine that you could photograph this brain with its whole structure, so that you would have a kind of hemisphere and all the details would be visible, and this would give a different picture for each person. And if you photographed the brain of a human being at the moment he was born, and then also photographed the celestial space which lies exactly above the place of birth of this human being, this picture would show quite the same as the human brain. Just as certain parts are arranged in the brain, so the stars are arranged in the celestial image. Man has in himself an image of the celestial space, and each has a different image, depending on where he was born, at this time or that. This is an indication that man is born out of the whole world.“ (Lit.:GA 15, p. 72f)

Birth and death horoscope

The birth to a new earthly life is connected with the task of balancing as far as possible the karma that one has brought with one from the previous earthly existence. In order to connect the past earthly life with the new one in this sense and thereby also to bring the cosmic forces into effect which one has absorbed in the life between death and new birth, the constellation of stars at death, the death horoscope, in the last earthly life is largely similar to the constellation of birth, the birth horoscope, of the next incarnation.

„When a human being dies, i.e. passes through the gate of death, he dies under a certain constellation of stars. And this constellation of stars is indeed essential for the further life of the soul, insofar as it is imprinted in a certain way into the soul and really remains as an imprint. And it remains the endeavour in this soul to come in again with this constellation of stars at the new birth, to again do justice to the forces that one absorbed at the moment of death, to come in again in this constellation of stars. And here it is interesting: If one tries to find out the constellation of the stars for a human death, the constellation of the later birth corresponds to a great extent with the constellation of the earlier death. Only one must take into account that it is another spot of the Earth on which the human being is born that corresponds to this constellation. Thus the human being is indeed adapted to the cosmos, fits into it, and there is thus in the soul a kind of balance between the individual and the cosmic life.“ (Lit.:GA 140, p. 99)

„The dead person goes out, I might express it, in a certain way into the spiritual world; but he goes out of the physical world into the spiritual world, he leaves the physical world and is, after all, still connected with the physical world, especially in the first days. And it is very significant that the dead man goes out of the physical world very much adapted to the constellation which results for his life from the position of the planets. As long as the dead person is still connected with his etheric body, the planetary forces, the constellation of planetary forces, resonate and resonate wonderfully through this etheric body. Just as the earth-territorial forces resonate extraordinarily strongly in the embryo water when the physical human being comes into being, so in the case of the dead person who is still in his etheric body, the forces which are connected with the star constellations resonate in a quite striking way at the moment when - the whole thing is of course karmically conditioned - the dead person has left the physical world. And one could, if one would only proceed with the necessary reverence and dignity, make interesting discoveries, if one would take just such care as one unfortunately often does, even for selfish reasons, to make an investigation for the star constellation of birth. Much more unselfish, much more beautiful results would be obtained if one were to set the horoscope, as it were, namely the planetary horoscope, the position of the planets for the moment of death. This is extraordinarily revealing of the whole nature of the spiritual man, and extraordinarily revealing of the connection of Karma with the occurrence of death at a certain moment. Whoever investigates in this way - the rules are the same as for the birth horoscope - will arrive at all kinds of interesting results, especially if he has known the people for whom he is investigating more or less well in life. For the dead person, with his etheric body not yet separated, carries something in himself through the days which is resonance, especially from the planetary constellation of the stars.“ (Lit.:GA 174, p. 208f)

Karma and planetary effects

The geocentric world view according to the Schedelsche Weltchronik of 1493.

„What we have in the way of perfections and imperfections is faithfully inscribed in the Akashic tablet between death and a new birth. This is recorded everywhere. One of our peculiarities is recorded in the lunar sphere, other peculiarities are inscribed in the Venus sphere, others in the Mars sphere, others in the Mercury sphere, others in the Jupiter sphere and so on. And then again, when we return, slowly contracting, we meet all that we inscribed when we went out, and so our karma is technically prepared. When we find on the way back: This or that imperfection we have had- , then we can dig into our own being - not erase it, but dig into our own being first - a transcript of that which we have first dug into the Akashic Chronicle. It is not yet erased there. Now we arrive down on Earth. Because we have in us everything that we inscribe in ourselves on the way back - and in a certain way we are compelled to inscribe, if not everything, at least a great deal - our karma develops; but above everything is still inscribed. And now, strangely enough, these writings work together. These writings are engraved in spheres, in the spheres of the Moon, Venus, Mercury and so on. These spheres make certain movements, so that the following can occur: Man has buried in the lunar sphere a certain imperfection. While he has passed through the Mars sphere, he has engraved a peculiarity of character in that he has appropriated there a certain aggressive element which he did not have; he has engraved that there. Now he goes on through, comes back again to the Earth. By living here on Earth, he has absorbed into his karma what he has buried; but at the same time it is written above him. Up there is Mars, which stands in a certain constellation to the Moon; the outer planets indicate the mutual position of the spheres. As Mars stands in a certain constellation to the Moon, his aggressive burial and his imperfection stand, so to speak, in the same constellation. The consequence of this is that when they stand behind each other, they work together, and that this is the moment which can indicate where in the next life, through the aggressive power of Mars, he undertakes what has remained imperfect. Thus the position of the planets actually shows what man himself has inscribed in these spheres. And when we read astrologically the positions of the planets and also the position of the planets in relation to the position of the fixed stars, this is like a kind of indication of what we ourselves have inscribed. It is not so much the outer planets that matter - what affects us is what we have inscribed in the individual spheres. Here you have the actual reason why the constellations of the planets have an effect after all, why they indicate effects for human nature: because man passes through them. And when the Moon stands in a certain position to Mars and to a fixed star, this constellation works together; that is, Mars' virtue works together with the Moon and the fixed star on the human being, and through this that happens which can happen through the working together.

Thus it is actually our moral legacy, so to speak, deposited between death and a new birth, which karmically reappears in a new life as a constellation of stars in our destiny. This is the deeper reason for the star constellation and its connection with human karma. Thus, when one thus goes into the life between death and a new birth, one notices how this man is actually connected with the whole universe, how significantly he is connected.“ (Lit.:GA 140, p. 279ff)

Planetary effects and the members of man

Rudolf Steiner gave the following information about which planets have the strongest effect on which members of man, whereby he also included the distant planets Uranus and Neptune in his considerations:

Spirit man Neptune Neptune
Life spirit Uranus Uranus
Spirit self Saturn Saturn
Consciousness soul Jupiter Jupiter
Intellectual soul Mars Mars
Sentient soul Venus Venus
Sentient body Mercury Mercury
Etheric body Moon Moon
Physical body Sun Sun

„Take the human being for instance. We divide him into the physical body, the etheric body, the sentient body, which we bring into connection with the sentient soul, the intellectual soul, what the Greeks call the power soul, the consciousness soul, and here we come to the spirit self, the life spirit and the spirit man. Now, you see, if you look at these members of human nature, at first they turn out to be something that must be regarded in relative independence and that composes the human being. But actually the composition is different in every human being: One has a little more strength in the etheric body, but less in the physical body, another a little more strength in the consciousness soul, and so on. In all this there is the human being with his actual individuality, which passes through the repeated earth-lives, who must first bring this whole connection into an individual regulation from the principle of freedom. But that which comes from the cosmic depends on the human being in such a way that to the physical corresponds the strongest solar effect, which has a strong influence on human beings in general. To the etheric body correspond the strongest lunar effects, to the sentient body the strongest Mercury effects, to the sentient soul the strongest Venus effects. To the intellectual soul correspond the strongest Mars effects, to the consciousness soul the Jupiter effects, to the spirit self Saturn. And that which is not yet developed in man today comes to the fore in Uranus and Neptune, these are, after all, the vagabonds who joined our planetary system later, so with them we have to look for the planetary influences which do not actually have a very strong influence on the birth constellation under normal circumstances.“ (Lit.:GA 317, p. 171f)

Astrology and Intuition

Rudolf Steiner emphatically pointed out that true astrological insights are only accessible to the highest degrees of intuition, "compared with which even the knowledge of re-embodiment and karma are still very elementary." (Lit.:GA 34, p. 396ff)

„It must first be said that at present very little is known of what astrology really is. For what now often appears as such in manuals is a purely external compilation of rules, the deeper reasons for which are scarcely given in any way. Methods of calculation are given by which certain constellations may be determined at the moment of a man's birth, or for the time of some other important fact. Then it is said that these constellations mean this or that, without one being able to deduce from the hints why all this is so, or even how it can be so. It is therefore no wonder that people of our age regard all this as nonsense, hoax and superstition. For it all seems to be a completely arbitrary assertion, made purely out of thin air. At the most, it is generally said that everything in the world must be related to each other, that it can therefore very well have an effect on the life of man how the Sun, Venus and Moon and so on are related to each other at birth, and what other things like that are. - Real astrology, however, is an entirely intuitive science and requires the development of higher supersensible powers of cognition in those who wish to practise it, which can be found in very few people today. And even if one wants to explain its basic character, it is necessary to deal with the highest cosmological problems in the spiritual-scientific sense. Therefore, only a few very general points of view can be given here.

The star system to which we humans belong is a whole. And man is connected with all the forces of this star system. Only gross materialism can believe that man alone is connected with the Earth. One has only to look at the relationship between man, the Sun and the Moon as established in the results of the "Akashic Chronicle". From this it will be seen that there was a primeval development of man in which his dwelling-place was a world-body which still consisted of Sun, Moon and Earth together. Therefore, even today man has forces in his being which are related to those of the world bodies mentioned. According to these relationships, there is also a connection, which still exists today, between the effects of the world bodies mentioned and what happens in the human being. However, these effects are very different from those of a purely material nature, of which only present-day science speaks. The Sun, for example, has an effect on human beings through something quite different from what science calls attraction, light and warmth. Likewise, there are relations of a supersensible nature between Mars, Mercury and other planets and man. From there, whoever has the disposition to do so, can form an idea of a web of supersensible relations between the world bodies and the beings who inhabit them. But to raise these relations to clear, scientific knowledge, the development of the powers of a quite high supersensible vision is necessary. Only the highest degrees of intuition still attainable to man can reach it. And not that hazy foreboding and half-visionary dreaming which is now so often called intuition, but the most pronounced inner ability of the senses, comparable only with mathematical thinking.

There have been and still are people in the secret schools who can practise astrology in this sense. And everything that is written about it in the accessible books has in some way come from such secret teachers. But everything that deals with these things is inaccessible to the common mind, even if it is written in books. For in order to understand them, a deep intuition is needed. And what has been written about the real constellations of the teachers by those who have not understood them themselves is of course not exactly suitable for giving a favourable opinion of astrology to people who are caught up in the present way of thinking. But it must be said that even such books on astrology are not entirely worthless. For people copy all the better, the less they understand what they copy. They do not then spoil it by their own wisdom. Thus it happens that in astrological writings, however dark their origin, pearls of truth are always to be found for one who is capable of intuition - but only for such a one. In general, then, astrological writings are in their way even better today than those of many other branches of knowledge.“ (Lit.:GA 34, p. 396ff)


  • Lars Steen Larsen/Erik Michael/Per Kjærgaard Rasmussen: Astrologie – Von Babylon zur Urknall-Theorie, Böhlau Verlag Wien/Köln/Weimar 2000, ISBN 3205991869
  • Gisela Gorrissen: Astrologie aus anthroposophischer Sicht. Eine Einführung, Urachhaus Vlg. Stuttgart 2000
  • Gisela Gorrissen: Astrosophie des Tierkreises und der Planeten. Der Mensch im Spannungsfeld zwischen Kosmos und Erde, Urachhaus Vlg. 2001
  • Heinz Herbert Schöffler: Rudolf Steiner und die Astrologie, Vlg. am Goetheanum, Dornach 1996
  • Heinz Herbert Schöffler: Gibt es eine anthroposophische Astrologie? Über die zwölf Häuser, Vlg. am Goetheanum, Dornach 1994
  • Bernd A. Mertz: Grundlagen der klassischen Astrologie, mvg-Verlag, München 1996
  • Dorothée Koechlin de Bizemont: Karma-Astrologie. Das Horoskop als Spiegel vergangener Leben, Knaur TB-Vlg., München 1985
  • Werner Bohm: Sternenwirken im Menschenschicksal, Goldmann Vlg., München 1991
  • Suzanne White: Neue Astrologie. Die 144 west-östlichen Tierkreiszeichen, Wilhelm Heyne TB-Vlg., München 1996
  • Dane Rudhyar: Die Astrologie der Persönlichkeit: Ein neues Verständnis astrologischer Konzepte in Bezug auf zeitgenössische Philosophie und Psychologie. Chiron-Verlag 2001, ISBN 3925100636
  • Dane Rudhyar: Das astrologische Häusersystem. Heinrich Hugendubel Verlag; Auflage: 4. Aufl. (1993) ISBN 3880340994
  • Dane Rudhyar: Die astrologischen Zeichen. Der Rhythmus des Zodiak. Hugendubel Heinrich GmbH; Auflage: N.-A. (Januar 1996), ISBN 3880342075
  • Liz Greene: Saturn. Hugendubel; Auflage: 8. Aufl. (1991) ISBN 3880340986
  • Stephen Arroyo: Astrologie, Karma und Transformation. Die Chancen schwieriger Aspekte. Hugendubel,; Auflage: 12. Aufl. (1996), ISBN 3880347077
  • Howard Sasportas: Astrologische Häuser und Aszendenten. Knaur (Januar 1987), ISBN 3426041650
  • Thomas Ring: Astrologische Menschenkunde. Chiron; Auflage: 1. (2002), ISBN 3925100717
  • Wolfgang Reinicke: Praktische Astrologie. So erstellen Sie ihr Horoskop selbst, Ariston Vlg., Genf/München 1991, ISBN 3720511510
  • Software: AstroStar Profi 5.1, United Soft Media Vlg.(Lizenzausgabe der AstroGlobe GmbH, Freiburg), München 2013 (für WinXP/WinVista/Win7/Win8), - mit Begleitbuch des Astrologen Christopher A. Weidner
  • [1] Mündliche Aussage von Rudolf Steiner 1910 gemäß "Der Europäer": Was sagt die Geisteswissenschaft zur Astrologie?
  • Gunter Sachs: Die Akte Astrologie - Wissenschaftlicher Nachweis eines Zusammenhangs zwischen den Sternzeichen und dem menschlichen Verhalten, Goldmann Vlg., München 1997
  • Rudolf Steiner: Die geistige Führung des Menschen und der Menschheit, GA 15 (1987)
  • Rudolf Steiner: Lucifer – Gnosis. Grundlegende Aufsätze zur Anthroposophie und Berichte aus den Zeitschriften «Luzifer» und «Lucifer – Gnosis» 1903 – 1908, GA 34 (1987)
  • Rudolf Steiner: Okkulte Untersuchungen über das Leben zwischen Tod und neuer Geburt, GA 140 (2003), ISBN 3-7274-1400-6 English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub
  • Rudolf Steiner: Christus und die geistige Welt. Von der Suche nach dem heiligen Gral, GA 149 (2004), ISBN 3-7274-1490-1 English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub
  • Rudolf Steiner: Zeitgeschichtliche Betrachtungen. Das Karma der Unwahrhaftigkeit – Zweiter Teil, GA 174 (1983), ISBN 3-7274-1740-4 English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub
  • Rudolf Steiner: Heilpädagogischer Kurs, GA 317 (1995)
  • Rudolf Steiner: Mensch und Sterne. Planeten- und Tierkreisentsprechungen in Mensch und Erde, Sieben Vorträge, ausgewählt und herausgegeben von Heinz Herbert Schöffler, Vlg. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 2006
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References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - books, lectures and articles by Rudolf Steiner online (Jim Stewart). - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.