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Tycho Brahe och Astrology


Tycho Brahe was doubtful about astrological predictions. "Astrologers do not bind man’s will to the stars, but confess that there is something within man that is raised above the level of the stars, the power of which man can use to defeat the stars’ ominous inclinations, if man chooses to live according to the true and overworldly Man. But when man chooses to live like an animal, blindly following base instincts and entering into alliances with the purely animal, one cannot reckon that God is the cause of this straying. God has created man so that he might, if he wills it so, defeat the stars’ ominous inclinations," he said, on one occasion in a lecture at the University of Copenhagen in 1574.

But King Fredrik expected Tycho Brahe to make annual predictions. Tycho was also commissioned to cast birthday horoscopes for the Danish princes. The horoscopes are now kept at The Royal Library in Copenhagen.


In the horoscope for Duke Hans - son of Fredrik II - cast in 1583, the predictions include that "around his eighteenth year an overwhelming deadly peril awaits him". The principle danger came from Saturn in the form of an illness, spiritual suffering, confusion and low spirits. Only by a miracle, if God chose to intervene, could the Duke avoid these dangers. After a gruelling journey to Moscow, where he was to marry the Tsar’s daughter, he fell ill. On the 28th of October, 1602, he breathed his last, having never even set eyes on his bride, far away from his home and his friends. Saturn was victorious. No sensible person could doubt that Tycho Brahe had interpreted the stars correctly.

According to the birthday horoscope of 1577 for Prince Christian, the heir to the throne, the prince was well-formed, had a happy disposition, was just and brave, and interested in hunting and warfare. He would also be interested in culture, especially music and art, all interests that are eminently suitable for a king. On the other hand, he could expect problems in the exercise of his policies and in religious issues, something every monarch ought to expect. He was warned against sexual excesses, which corresponds well to the fact that Christian IV appears to have been the father of 18 illegitimate children. On the other hand, the horoscope predicted that Christian would only have a few children. The horoscope was completely wrong, when it predicted that the prince could hardly expect to survive his 57th year. Christian IV was over 70 when he died.

Image: Horoscope for Prince Christian