Note: please do not confuse “astrolatry” — star worship
with “astrology”––divination by the stars.
Worshipping the stars has been a staple of human religious beliefs and practices since prehistory when the earliest humans first began to use the stars both for navigation and for showing them when to sow their seeds and harvest their crops.
Since then, astronomical religion has taken on many forms, manifesting into Astrological traditions, and in contemporary times, taking the form of Astronism (whose own attitudes towards astrolatry remain precarious to say the least).
However, as religion became more organised and the first major civilisations developed, the star cults of prehistory began to fade into obscurity. But their popularities were even further thrashed by the incoming Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) who holy books condemn their astrolater ancestors as engaging in idolatry.
Since then, humanity seems to have forgotten about its first religion; astrolatry in favour of complex belief systems structured through elaborate theologies and conveyed through immense works of art. Although the religious leaders of today tend to condemn materialism, was it not their religions which have placed so much emphasis on humankind that have made the world so self-concerned and aspiring for endless wealth?
Indeed, the somewhat savage simplicity of star worship was forgotten in place of artificial buildings, man-made aesthetics, and abstract concepts only truly understandable to the most wondrous of minds. Humanity chose itself and made itself God for its own selfish purpose as a result of its refusal to accept the superiority of nature.
Instead, humanity created the supernatural and permeated it throughout the culture and in the minds of their children. I’m not say that this way wrong, but I am saying that the original religion (that of the stars) did not require a role for humanity in its theology; perhaps, if the astrolaters had persisted in their beliefs, the world might be a more humbler place today.
Yet, I digress. Returning to the Abrahamic religions, each has condemned astrolatry and continues to do so to this day, but writing this in 2020, now knowing all we do about our place in The Cosmos, how The Earth came to be, and how the universe began and continues to function, I propose that astrolatry is actually very logical and in fact, is also morally commendable.
We’ve all heard Carl Sagan’s famous quote, “We are made of star stuff,” and since, we have all heard astronomers tell us that we are made up stardust. And it’s true.
The gases produced in supernovas (inexplicably large explosions that occur during the death of stars), like hydrogen are directly involved in our biological makeup. For more on this, take a look at this article here.
So, with the aid of modern science, we can deduce that the earliest of mankind had it right although of course they didn’t know it then. The astrolaters of prehistory and ancient times were indeed worship that from which they had come.
So let’s do an overview of what we have covered so far.
Is it technically logical to adore and revere the stars as what we are made of and from where we have come? Yes, absolutely.
Is it logical to worship the stars as God? Not exactly.
The attachment of deities to stars is a practice of ancient lineage. The Sabians of pre-Islamic Arabia were known to have been star-worshippers. Worshipping the stars as God is fine, but you have to remember that the stars are just what we are made of and not actually what made us.
One could argue that the astronomical world’s processes are God-like in their functions. They create and they destroy and they are responsible for governing the laws of the natural world, but saying that the stars are themselves equivalent to God isn’t quite the same as worshipping God in the Abrahamic sense. The Abrahamic conception of God is that God is transcendent of physical reality, omnibenevolent and omniscient.
The stars aren’t really any of those things so we can’t equate the stars with the concept of God.
However, we can still worship them. Why?
Because if it weren’t for the stars then we as humans would not exist and in this sense, if one wishes only to acknowledge the natural world, the stars are certainly integral to our existence. But there are still so many questions to consider regarding this topic that still require thorough contemplation.
Does this make the stars worthy of worship? Can you worship both the stars and God separately? Will understanding more about the universe only inevitably return us back to the worship of stars as our creators?
I’m going to think further on these questions and more and write Part 2 soon!
As you know, at Astronism.org, we pride ourselves on providing honest, fact-checked content especially on academic subjects so please take a look at some resources we used to create this article: – Resource One: “Star-worshop”. Jewish Encyclopedia. (Link) – Resource Two: “Some Aspects of Primitive Astronomy”. Irish Astronomical Journal. – Resource Three: “Astronomy and religion”. Popular Astronomy. – Resource Four: “Sky”. Inters.org. (Link)
To learn more about the Astronic tradition and its history, click here.
To learn more about Astronism itself, click here.
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