The Dawn of Astrology by Nicholas Campion (Hambledon, Continuum, 2008)

Review by Angela Voss (Feb 2009)

In many ways The Dawn of Astrology is a tour de force, a vast historical overview of the cosmological, philosophical and metaphysical threads which have woven into the colourful tapestry of astrology in all its forms from the first evidence we have of human beings’ relationship with the stars to the theological debates of the early Christian period. Nicholas Campion has researched extensively and attempted a synthesis of perspectives and practices which undoubtedly benefits from his own dual status as academic and practitioner. He surveys varying attitudes, objectives and critiques of astrology whilst remaining sympathetic to the underlying premise that astrology ‘works’ – that is, that all peoples at all times have found meaningful correspondences between life on earth and planetary configurations, from the divinatory omen-reading of the ancient Mesopotamians, to the mechanistic predictions of the classical astrologers. As a historical synthesis, this book is impressive and full of detailed information on key figures and texts. However, I would like to devote the main part of this review to considering possible limitations in this approach to a subject such as astrology.

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