The Irish and Indo-European Astrology that never existed

As much as I like to bitch about a bit too much of the Neopagan Blogsphere, Peter Berresford Ellis has a LOT to answer for than they do because he enabled him.

It’s not like it was a big secret that the roots of Western Astrology was mostly in Babylonia (Hindu/”Vedic” Astrology was STRONGLY influenced as well), but this nationalist decided to pull bullshit hypothesises out of his ass as though he never heard of the impact of Alexander of Macedon’s invasions and the following Hellenistic Age.

Sure, the Gauls had a calendar, but having calendars is not the same as having centuries of written records, the math to predict future planetary and rising sign placements, and wasn’t it funny the Coligny Calendar was written in Latin?

But he does try making the case that because of linguistic similarities and that the Irish had their own words for Astrological and Astronomical terms thus means that they had an indigenous Astrology, which is ludicrous. All cultures and languages have words for Planets and Stars, even constellations, it doesn’t mean they have a type of Astrology specific to their culture.

We do however know that the literate peoples of Mesopotamia, China, and MesoAmerica have created roots of their traditions due to textual evidence. Celtic much less Irish, no, no way in hell was that possible especially due to the fact there was very little if any record keeping at the time Ellis alleges happened.

This isn’t to say Ireland was free of Astrology anymore than Britain, at least by a certain time period when writing was much more part of the culture, but I have a problem with this idea of any Astrologer among the Irish using methods and techniques were that different from William Lily.

Early Irish Astrology: An Historical Argument by Peter Berresford Ellis.








On Ivo Dominguez’s book Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans: Using the Planets and the Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals, and Magickal Work

Published by Weiser Press, presumably to cash in on the Astrological Magic trend.

Pre-ETA: Just to make it clear, I am angry at the Publisher, not the author of the book himself, I’m sure he’s a very nice gentleman. Weiser/Red Wheel however should have NEVER published this thing and I am very disappointed in the fact they did so, I have seen better and well researched self published works in comparison.

A critical comment of mine was deleted from a Patheos Pagan review that was favorable to it-and it isn’t like that review is the only one there, it got a positive review from Eric Dupree on that channel too, a self proclaimed male feminist who lectured people that he is the matriarchy in defense of transphobic Pagan elders.

I will not cry censorship over deleted comments, but I’ll say here the book is crap and that I regret not working on a negative review early because I was working on a crtique of Cath Thompson’s book on more or less the same subject, which was in many ways worse than his.

This is not a review of that piece of crud but for now this post is a response Coby Michael Ward’s review Integrating Astrology Into Classical Witchcraft, amongst other things-

The book sucks but damn I forgot the Indo-European angle on that, I need to reread that thing again for the first time in awhile because damn not only is it incorrect it is stupid to imply that Western Astrology’s roots were PIE. At the risk of over simplifying-Western Astrology’s roots are well documented and they came from THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST, NOT Proto Indo European Culture. First starting with what we know as Celestial Omens by the Sumerians with later important additions from the Babylonians, then the natal chart and a few other types of Astrology as we know it today thanks to a synthesis of Babylonian, Egyptian, etc. Similarly the same can be said about Astrological Magic and Electional Astrology, the roots being Near Eastern.

The mythology of the planets are more akin to Babylonian than I’d say Greek or Roman but it’s clear Dominguez and this reviewer never even bothered to do a simple Google search, instead they wish to perpetuate misinformation.

Comparing Astrology to language is to me at least also ridiculous, Astrology is a discipline with a vocabulary. In losing themselves to the language metaphor these Neopagans are disregarding the Grimoire and Traditional Astrology revivals completely in detriment to discovering of powerful magic because eww Christian cooties. I strongly suspect this is partly why the Neopagan community is still full of fluffy ideas about the practice of a few Metaphysical Arts, but Astrology and Magic especially.

The Signs and Houses-No, they are not the same,  and the 12/twelve have NOTHING to do with Indo-European tripart and Three Worlds and whatever they’re trying to pigeonhole into this practice, stop doing it. The Babylonians were a Semitic culture, a branch of the Afroasiatic language family, and THEY came up with the Signs that they derived from the Constellations.

Planetary and Zodiacal glyphs and sigils-The ones mentioned Dominguez as discussed in that book are new, derived from older ones sure, but new nevertheless. They will probably not be that relevant

There’s also little or no mention or understanding of what is known as Electional Astrology, which is about the timing of events, usually in accordance with one’s own birth chart. After a few decades of Grimoire and Astrology revival I guess its ignored because people like this are too invested in Neo or Genero Paganism in order to do research themselves because how else could have they not know of Three Books of Occult Philosophy or the Picatrix?

Some other stuff about the book I do recall-

-Since it’s been awhile since I’ve read I am not writing this as a review. I was however VERY bothered by how the author used Modern Planets in the Tree of Life, that makes absolutely no sense. Funny how Eric Dupree, who speaks out against Cultural Appropriation, didn’t notice or care about THAT.

-Contrary to Dominguez’s claims, Astrology has changed a LOT over the centuries, and that Modern Astrology has little in common with say, the average Hellenistic Age or Medieval Arabic guide to that subject matter. Today’s Modern post-60’s Astrology is much more personality based (poorly, in my opinion) and has little or nothing to do with fate, worse the rise Evolutionary Astrology has much to do with Self Help Cult Bait.

-The Modern Rulership schema sucks and makes no sense, the Essential Dignity System is the bedrock of Western Astrology, and its abandonment is tied to the New Age, Self Help, and other travesties latched on to it the past few decades.

If you actually want to learn about Astrology and Astrological Magick that works you will have to avoid these books whose target market are Neopagans and hopefully I will have a nice references and citations Page within the next few months.

To be further edited, because I’m not done with this yet, but I will reread this damn thing for a future review. In the meantime I’ll say I’m pretty sure there’s an agreement between metaphysical publishers and certain metaphysical writers and publishers to not write anything less than positive.