Thomas Aquinas was a famous thirteenth-century Italian scholar-philosopher and the official theologian of the Catholic Church. Although not an astrologer, he made some very influential assertions about the science of the stars. While he acknowledged planetary influence, Aquinas was also concerned to reconcile the apparent determinism of astrology with free will.
For example, Aquinas asserted that one could utilize powers of rationality to overcome such forces of determinism. The basis for this assertion was the distinction Christian philosophy drew between the immortal soul (governed by reason) and the physical body (governed by sensual desire). As an artifact of this physical world, astrological forces could, according to Aquinas, affect the physical body. The soul, however, was beyond such forces. Individuals could thus exercise their reason and overcome planetary influences.
People in groups, however, were ruled more by their passions than by reason. Thus, the actions of nations, cities, and other organizations—the sphere of mundane astrology—were more "fated" than the actions of individuals. Because of the clear distinction that Aquinas drew between groups and individuals, it has been said that he was the first person to distinguish natal astrology from mundane astrology.
Baigent, Michael, Nicholas Campion, and Charles Harvey. Mundane Astrology. 2d ed. London: Aquarian Press, 1992.
Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: North American Library, 1980.
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