Early Irish astrology

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It is unclear whether a form of Early Irish astrology existed prior to contact with Western astrology, as the earliest Irish language sources are simply translations from standard Western sources.

While the pre-Celtic megaliths in Ireland are often aligned with solar and lunar phenomena, no evidence has been found for the type of planetary symbol system as seen in other cultures' systems of astrology.


The Celtic culture was claimed to be highly advanced in astronomy; Even famous Romans such as Caesar and Pliny paid tribute to this. Celtics made many discoveries very advanced for their time period. Martial (c. AD 40-103) was a Celtic man who was one of the first to claim that the Earth was round and not flat. The Celts also were aware of many constellations and planets and had their own jargon for them; for example, the constellation Leo was known as An Corran and the planet Mars was called An Cosnaighe. These terms were backed by the necessary mathematical and technical jargon, and still survive in Irish linguistics today while the English equivalents are loan-words from Greek, Latin, and Arabic. But, during the 12th to 17th century many works on Arabic astronomy and astrology were being translated to Irish, which influenced Irish astrological practices. Eventually these translations turned into simple Irish-ising of the Arabic words, which created the more modern forms of the Irish astronomical terms.

In the Brehon Laws it is stated that astronomers and astrologists had to be qualified. The degree was called foirceadlaidhe, which was a degree of the fifth order of wisdom and proved ones knowledge of the topic. The famous first Century BC Coligny Calendar, a highly sophisticated lunar and solar calculator first constructed in 1100 BC, was created by Celtic astronomers and was once thought to be the most extensive document in Celtic language. There are various astronomical cycles which were well understood and often applied to calculations in connection with chronology and the calendar. Concepts of this calendar, and many other aspects of Celtic astronomy, have parallels to Vedic cosmology. Through this it was discovered that ancient Celtic astrologers used similar systems as those of Vedic astrologers. It has been hypothesized that the astronomical knowledge of the Celts was somewhat inherited from more ancient cultures which built various megalithic monuments.

Early Irish Astrology History[edit]

Early Irish astrology began around the BC time period. There are many things that contributed to it. One being the celtic world. Ireland was and still is a part of the celtic world. By the 3rd Century BC the Celts had expanded greatly in Europe. They had taken over a territory in Europe from Ireland. We know some about the Celts in Ireland but we do not start to get to really know true facts and dates until around the 6th Century AD.

It was around 170 to 236 AD that the Geek Hippolytus stated and found out that the Celts could tell the future by using the stars and cipher the numbers after the manner of the pythagoreans. Soon after arguments occurred whether it was the Celts or the Pythagoreans who used each other's ideas. They were so similar that no one really knew.

The Celtic World[edit]

The Celts were known for advanced-astronomy, and were recognized by the Greeks and Latin for their knowledge of the stars. The Celts were some of the first people to claim the world as round and not flat.[1]

The Celts helped create the Julian calendar, which was first introduced in Ireland by the end of the 5th century A.D. The Julian calendar consisted of 365 ¼ days divided into 12 months each month having 30 or 31 days in it except February having 28 and in every 4th year 29 days[2] and these days were decided according to the cycles of the moon.[3] The Celts determined that the astronomical knowledge and calendric process was not only made from the sun and moon, but also from the stars. Hypothesis’ were tested in order to conclude the findings of the sky visible by Celtic places.[4]

The Druids[edit]

The Druids believed in Celtic Zodiacs in which each lunar month was assigned to a type of tree (sacred to the Druids) that had their own qualities that came from the Ogram, and this is how they visioned the universe.[5] Their religion was based on 3 basic strands of belief: to remember their ancestors and the past; to understand nature so that they could work with it, not against it; and to explore the connection of everyday reality with that of the spiritual realm.[6]

The Druids realized they were able to predict eclipses at certain times that included if the moon is new a solar eclipse will occur, and if the moon is full, a lunar eclipse will occur. This would successfully be done if 173.31 days is recorded long enough and the correlation with the eclipses is noted.[3] The Druids went to school for nature and philosophy meaning they had much knowledge of the stars and their motion, of natural philosophy.[7]

Julius Caesar claimed Druidism came originally from Britain, however Druidism is often associated with the Celts.[8] They practiced “Human Sacrifice” who Diodorus Siculus [9] said that the Druids were always present during one, and the “vates” carried out this sacrifice when in A.D. 60 the Druids joined a rebellion against the Romans [10] and they found evidence of human sacrifice.[11] However it might have been exaggerated to make the Druids look bad, and eventually christianity replaced Druidism.


  1. ^ "Celts". Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  2. ^ Ellis, Peter Berresford. "Celtic Astrology -- Early Irish Astrology: An Historical Argument by Peter Berresford Ellis". cura.free.fr. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b Gaspani, A. "Astronomy in the Celtic Culture". 
  4. ^ "History of the Roman (Julian) Calendar". 
  5. ^ "Irish Astrology". Apanache. 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  6. ^ cre8veonline.com. "Celtic Tree Astrology". www.whats-your-sign.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  7. ^ "Celtic Astrology". www.mythicalireland.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  8. ^ "Who Were the Druids?". Live Science. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  9. ^ "Diodorus Siculus". Wikipedia. 2017-01-08. 
  10. ^ "Vates". Wikipedia. 2016-07-04. 
  11. ^ "Human sacrifice". Wikipedia. 2017-02-25. 

Additional References[edit]

  1. Cartwright, Mark. "Celts." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 22 July 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.
  2. "Celtic Calendar." New World Celts History Archives - Celtic Calendar. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
  3. Cre8veonline.com. "Celtic Tree Astrology." Www.whats-your-sign.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.
  4. "Diodorus Siculus." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Feb. 2017. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
  5. Ellis, Peter Berresford. "Celtic Astrology -- Early Irish Astrology: An Historical Argument by Peter Berresford Ellis." Celtic Astrology—Early Irish Astrology: An Historical Argument by Peter Berresford Ellis. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.
  6. Gaspani, A. "Astronomy In The Celtic Culture." N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.
  7. "Irish Knowledge of Science." Ancient Irish Knowledge of Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
  8. Jarus, Owen. "Who Were the Druids?" LiveScience. Purch, 20 May 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.
  9. Laistner, M. (1941). The Western Church and Astrology during the Early Middle Ages. The Harvard Theological Review, 34(4), 251-275.
  10. O'Dubhain, Searles. "Celtic Astrology." Celtic Astrology. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.
  11. Rusche, H. (1965). Merlini Anglici: Astrology and Propaganda from 1644 to 1651. The English Historical Review, 80(315), 322-333. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/560136
  12. Sandbox Network Inc. Infoplease. Infoplease, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
  13. Sasha. "Irish Astrology." Apanache. N.p., 08 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

"What are Irish Birth Signs?" Astrology of the Ancients. N.p., 08 Oct. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

See also[edit]