The classic Greek philosopher, Plato, laid the foundation for the majority of Western philosophy. He was a gifted mathematician, a brilliant writer and the founder of the Academy in Athens which was the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Plato’s works are the first complete works preserved and available for study today, making him a key philosopher in Western civilization and thinking. But Plato was also an astrologer who studied the heavens extensively and wrote lengthily on his discoveries and philosophical findings related to astrology.
Plato believes that the stars and the planets “set limit to and stand guard over the numbers of time” because they are a part of the cosmos which were modeled on an eternal being. He argues that “the sun and moon and five other stars, which are called the planets, were created by him in order to distinguish and preserve the numbers of time,” and goes on to say of time that “people are all but ignorant of the fact that time really is the wanderings of these bodies.” Plato clearly says that time is the wanderings of these bodies – their movement – and not a kind of number that measures such movement. Therefore it stands that time only exists because they (the stars and planets, also exist and time was only created when the universe was created. Plato then defines time saying that time is a “moving image of eternity,” or a kind of celestial clockwork, a type of motion as opposed to a measure of motion which is what time represents. The stars and planets can not be older or younger than time because they were created together and can not exist without the other: cosmos need time to exist and time needs the cosmos to be.
Plato then elaborates his dialogue to say that the stars and planets must have souls. He says this because all living beings have a soul and the cosmos are all living entities and therefore should all have souls. Plato also believed that each human soul is assigned to a star and that in death “a just soul returns to its companion star, an unjust soul is reincarnated for a second try.”But in order to have motion, they must have some sort of intelligence and Plato says that “intelligence could not be present in anything which was devoid of soul,” therefore the stars and planets must have souls in order to have intelligence in order that they might have motion.
Motion is important because motion is one of the elements that makes something a living creature. “All living things are in constant motion” and so if something does not have a motion then it can not be living, and it follows that it can not have a soul and be intelligent. It is a dead matter. This constant motion and this movement through time is what keeps the cosmic world, or the physical world, here. Remember that Plato thought that time was a kind of motion, rather than a measure of motion. This means that the importance of motion lays in the idea that motion is also a kind of time. When the stars and planets were created simultaneously with time, motion was thus created as well.
Plato’s philosophies laid the foundation for the philosophies of today. Although many of them have been proven wrong in the centuries since his time, some of them still stand and are important in their impact on the school of philosophy. Without Plato, concepts such as the soul, time, and creation might have taken longer to determine. Together with his teacher Socrates and his student, Aristotle, Plato paved the way for academic thought and philosophical circles. His dialogue on time and the planets reveals the faults of his century as well as the daring and pioneer thinkings he founded.
Hall, Judy. The Astrology Bible: The Definitive Guide to the Zodiac. New York: Sterling, 2005.
Plato. Great Dialogues of Plato. New York: Signet Classics, 2008.
Plato. Plato Complete Works. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2004.
Plato. Republic. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2004.
Tierney, Bill. All Around The Zodiac: Exploring Astrology’s Twelve Signs. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.