Ficino and Astrology by Angela Voss
Astrology: The Astrologers’ Quarterly, vol. 60 no. 3, 126-38; no. 4, 191-199.
“ What human music is, anyone may understand by examining his own nature. For what is that which unites the incorporeal activity of the reason with the body, unless it be a certain mutual adaptation and as it were a tempering of low and high sounds into a single consonance?”
Thus writes Boethius: I propose to approach the astrological viewpoint of Marsilio Ficino in the light on this “human music”. Certainly, by a close examination of his own astrological make-up and an understanding of how the planetary energies worked in his own personal experience, Ficino was able to arrive at an understanding of astrology which can only be termed “psychological”. Ficino’s unique form of astrological music therapy was described in his “Liber de Vita” (The Book of Life); here we shall look at his understanding of astrology as revealed in his personal correspondence and various small tracts, with some reference to his Platonic commentaries.
I shall deal with three main themes: the doctrine of nativity (Ficino’s descriptions of both his own and others’ horoscopes and the effects on their characters); his treatment of electional astrology, dealing with signs, portents and prediction; and the subject of fate and freewill, the role of Divine Providence in his astrological theory.
Ficino’s role as a philosopher and his lifelong dedication to the reconciliation of Platonism with Christianity has received much consideration. But the practical application of his particular synthesis of Platonism, hermeticism, magic and mysticism, involving an approach towards astrology far removed from the fatalistic determinism of his contemporaries has received little attention.It is in Ficino’s numerous letter to friends, patrons statesmen and churchmen that we begin to see how vital and relevant his approach to the heavenly bodies and their influences on both the everyday lives and inner natures of himself and his correspondents.