Ramblings on The Musical Cosmos
Babylon and Astrology
The priests of ancient Babylon were the first to observe and make recordings of the motion of the planets against the background of the fixed stars.
The wandering planets were thought to move because they were alive and became gods traveling through the skies.
The greatest of these were the sun and moon, eventually becoming representatives of male or masculine energies and female or feminine energies respectively. In classical Greece, the sun god was Apollo (originally Helios), associated with light, the day and in psychology the rational mind. The moon was Selene, of the night and the unconscious mind.
Gods and Goddesses
The astrological planets of the Babylonians developed into the classical gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome.
The planetary gods were Hermes (Mercury), Aphrodite (Venus), Ares (Mars), Zeus (Jupiter) and Cronos (Saturn).
From the ancient world until the Renaissance, these planetary, astrological forces inhabited a system of interrelated crystalline spheres and each emitted its own sound caused by its movement through the heavens.
A system of "correspondences" taught that everything that occurred in the macrocosm of outer space had an equivalent in the microcosm here on earth. Much effort was put into harnessing this relationship to increase health, wealth and power.
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe.
In the Renaissance cracks began to show in the classical notions of the universe as great scientific minds applied a rational exploration of it while the Enlightenment then hove into view.
The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason) was a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in late 17th- and 18th-century Europe emphasising reason and individualism rather than tradition. The enlightenment coincides with the Baroque and classical periods in western music history.
Laws of Planetary Motion
Copernicus (1473-1543) demonstrated that the earth revolved around the earth; Galileo (1564-1642) saw this to be true through his telescope; Kepler (1571-1630) and Newton (1642-1727) formulated the laws of physics which described what Galileo saw. Newton had a passionate interest in hermetic philosophy (alchemy).
Kepler, who found that the planetary orbits were ellipses rather than perfect circles formulated three laws of planetary motion. They knock on the head the classical notion of the planetary spheres, however, they are inspired by, greatly indebted to, dependent on, theories of musical harmony.