The practice of using planetary cycles to measure or predict political events originates with Plato’s Timaeus, dating from the early fourth century BC:
“Wherefore, as a consequence of this reasoning and design on the part of God, with a view to the generation of Time, the sun and moon and five other stars, which bear the appellation of “planets” [i.e., ‘wanderers’], came into existence for the determining and preserving of the numbers of Time.” (Timaeus 38C).
After setting aside Plato’s reference to “God,” (his creator was understood as a remote, original Mind, or Consciousness, not as the personal Christian, Jewish or Islamic God), we are left with the following hypothesis:
- All political events originate as intention.
- All phenomena in the universe, including intentions and political events, change and move forward in time in a mathematically measured sequence.
- As all things in the universe are part of a mathematically measurable order, planets and politics are part and parcel of it as well.
- The mathematical sequence of change, including politics, can be measured by the movements of the planets.
- As the planets return periodically to the same position, so political change is characterized by periodic repetition. Note, however, that Plato does not suggest that the repetition is of exact detail but only of general theme.
Broadly, Plato’s system assumes a form of determinism in which events can be predicted by projecting planetary positions into the future. It therefore follows that the general nature of future political events already exists, even if only in a potential state.
However, Platonic determinism is moderated by the possibility of human intervention:
“They [the astrologers] would never have devised certain means of averting of warding off…the universal and particular conditions that come or are present by reason of the ambient, if they had any idea that the future cannot be moved and changed.” (Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos 1.3)
In Ptolemaic cosmology, the whole point of prediction is to encourage human intervention so that undesirable predictions are not fulfilled.
Change of this sort is becoming increasingly rare as it requires cooperation across a broad spectrum of the global community and assumes that the members comprising such spectrum are willing and able find common ground. Consider the difficulties experienced earlier this century, for example, by the group of world leaders regarding climate change.
According to traditional social psychology, group dynamics starts with the sum of the individual parts. The more individual parts, the more varied the group dynamics.
Hence the importance of natal – or psychological – astrology.