2); an astral signification has also been found.
The mean place of the moon in them, published in all Hindu almanacs, is found to serve unexceptionally the ends of astral vaticination.6 The system upon which it is founded is of great antiquity.
All the gods, great and small, had their places assigned to them in the heavens, and facts, including such as fell within the domain of political history, were interpreted in terms of astral theology.
The persistent prominence which astrology continued to enjoy down to the border-line of the scientific movement of our own days, and which is directly traceable to the divination methods perfected in the Euphrates valley, is a tribute to the scope and influence attained by the astral theology of the Babylonian and Assyrian priests.
It is significant that in the royal collection of cuneiform literature made by King Assur-bani-pal of Assyria (668-626 B.C.) and deposited in his palace at Nineveh, the omen collections connected with the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria form the largest class.
In the astral-theological system, Marduk is identified with the planet Jupiter.
In the astral-theological system he is represented by the number 30, and the planet Venus as his daughter by the number 15.
In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Bel and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively.
This interpretation of the popular tales, according to which the career of the hero can be followed in its entirety and in detail in the movements in the heavens, in time, with the growing predominance of the astral-mythological system, overshadowed the other factors involved, and it is in this form, as an astral myth, that it passes through the ancient world and leaves its traces in the folk-tales and myths of Hebrews, Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks and Romans throughout Asia Minor and even in India.
In the astral-theological system he is the planet Mars, while in ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to be a symbol of Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi are probably intended to typify Ninib.
Totemism, astral religion, jurisprudence).
$ For examples of the persistence of the interrelated ideas - whether of astral significance or not is another question - see A.
An important factor which thus served to maintain the rites in a more or less stable condition was the predominance of what may be called the astral theology as the theoretical substratum of the Babylonian religion, and which is equally pronounced in the religious system of Assyria.
As an illustration of the manner in which the doctrines of the religion were made to conform to the all-pervading astral theory, it will be sufficient to refer to the modification undergone in this process of the view developed in a very early period which apportioned the control of the universe among the three gods Anu, Bel and Ea.
The astral theology of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion, while thus bearing the ear-marks of a system devised by the priests, succeeded in assimilating the beliefs which represented the earlier attempts to systematize the more popular aspects of the religion, and in this way a unification of diverse elements was secured that led to interpreting the contents and the form of the religion in terms of the astral-theological system.
Less influenced by the astral-theological system are the old incantation texts which were gathered together into series.
The idea which has long prevailed that Baal was properly a sky-god affords no explanation of the local character of the many baals; on the other hand, on the theory of a higher development where the gods become heavenly or astral beings, the fact that ruder conceptions of nature were still retained (often in the unofficial but more popular forms of cult) is more intelligible.
Some curious memorials of the superstition have survived in rings and amulets, engraven with the various signs, and worn as a kind of astral defensive armour.
The mahatmas exhibited their " astral bodies " to her, " precipitated " messages which reached her from the confines of Tibet in an instant of time, supplied her with sound doctrine, and incited her to perform tricks for the conversion of sceptics.
The essential feature of this astral theology is the assumption of a close link between the movements going on in the heavens and occurrences on earth, which led to identifying the gods and goddesses with heavenly bodies - planets and stars, besides sun and moon - and to assigning the seats of all the deities in the heavens.
So completely did this system in the course of time sway men's minds that the cult, from being an expression of animistic beliefs, took on the colour derived from the "astral" interpretation of occurrences and doctrines.
At the same time, since the invoking of the divine powers was the essential element in the incantations, in order to make the magic formulae as effective as possible, a large number of the old local deities are introduced to add their power to the chief ones; and it is here that the astral system comes into play through the introduction of names of stars, as well as through assigning attributes to the gods which clearly reflect the conception that they have their seats in the heavens.
The ritual alone which accompanied divination practices and incantation formulae and was a chief factor in the celebration of festival days and of days set aside for one reason or the other to the worship of some god or goddess or group of deities, is free from traces of the astral theology.
The influence exerted by the Babylonian-Assyrian religion was particularly profound on the Semites, while the astral theology affected the ancient world in genera], including the Greeks and Romans.
In such a movement as early Christian gnosticism, Babylonian elements - modified, to be sure, and transformed - are largely present, while the growth of an apocalyptic literature is ascribed with apparent justice by many scholars to the recrudescence of views the ultimate source of which is to be found in the astral-theology of the Babylonian and Assyrian priests.