Astrology is a method for forecasting mundane events, based on the idea that celestial bodies, particularly the planets as well as the stars viewed in their various arrangements or combinations (called constellations)--in some way provide information or suggest changes that occur in the sublunar realm. The theoretical basis of this belief is found in Hellenistic philosophy. It is the only way to distinguish the concept of astrology from the celestial "omina" ("omens") which were first classified and catalogued in the early days of Mesopotamia. In the beginning, astrologers believed in that a geocentric universe existed that is where there are "planets" (including the Sun and Moon) rotate in orbits with their centers located near or in the middle of Earth and where the stars are fixed on the sphere of a finite radius whose centre is the center of the Earth. Later , the concepts of Aristotelian Physics were adopted in which there is an absolute distinction between the continuous circle-like motions that are characteristic of the celestial element as well as the limited linear movement of sublunar elements namely fire, water, air and earth.

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There were special relationships believed to exist between specific celestial bodies, their diverse movements, their configurations with one with each other, as well as the process of decay and generation that were evident in the universe of air, fire earth, and water. The relationships were often thought of as so complicated that the human mind was unable to comprehend them completely; therefore the astrologer could be excused from any mistakes. Similar set of relationships was also believed for those who's physics were more like that from that of the Greek philosopher Plato. For Platonic Astrologers it was thought that the fire element would stretch over the celestial spheres as well as they more inclined than Aristotelians to be convinced of the existence of God's intervention in the natural world by influencing celestial forces on the Earth because they believed in God's creation of celestial bodies.

 

The role played by the gods in the theory of astrology varies greatly. In its most rigor it is a mechanistic world, which denies God any possibility for intervention, and human beings the freedom of will. As this, it was vehemently opposed by the religious orthodox Christianity as well as Islam. Some, however, believe that it is not a exact science, like astronomy, but it provides a direction and trends that are able to be changed by God or through human decision. 

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According to Bardesanes the Syrian Christian scholar (154-c. 222)--who has been characterized as an Gnostic (a person who believes in the esoteric knowledge of salvation and the belief of matter as evil, and spirit is good)--the movements of the stars only govern the physical world which leaves the soul to choose between good and the bad. The ultimate goal of man is to be free from an astrologically-dominated physical world. Astrologers such as those of the Harranians (from an early Mesopotamian city Harran) along with the Hindus believe that the planets as powerful gods whose decisions can be changed by prayers and liturgy, or through theurgy, which is the art of convincing Gods and other powers of the supernatural. In still other interpretations--e.g., that of the Christian Priscillianists (followers of Priscillian, a Spanish ascetic of the 4th century who apparently held dualistic views)--the stars merely make manifest the will of God to those trained in astrological symbolism.