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Friday, April 13, 2018

Turin-Paris: Destiny's child

Adonis' death, collage with elements from
Antonio Ligabue, Edmund Dulac

In the field of astrology, G. B. Marino exhibits the typical 17th century hypocrisy. Astrology was never officially accepted within the Christian theology, but during the Counter-Reformation process the attack against it was clear and 'definitive.' So, while Dante could peacefully deal with the influences of the constellations, even upon himself (Paradiso 22.112-4), the Catholic authors of the late Renaissance must declare that the stars had no power whatever. At the same time, they usually did believe in astrology -- Roman Popes included -- that led them to use twisted phrasings: under certain conditions, in some circumstances, to a limited extent, and without forcing human freedom, etc. Here Marino rejects any belief in astrology as if it were a venomous snake. But some years later he would write his masterpiece, the long poem Adone, whose main character is the Adonis of Greek mythology. The teenage lover of Venus will be made not one horoscope, but two, warning him that he will die, killed by a wild boar during a hunting party, "if," "if," RPT: "if" he does not follow good advice. He will die precisely like that, due to the negligence of the same goddess who had warned him so carefully. Marino anyway was not in trouble with the Church because of astrology; they would find heavier reasons to condemn him!

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 75, 77
But what about the most fruitful power of the sky, the father of influences, that, through those golden canals we call stars, rains and springs in all lower bodies some dunno-what by which every begotten thing is first generated? That the stars have such power in us, it has been the opinion of not only mathematicians and Platonists—who boldly affirm that the human bodies receive shape and qualities from the stars, and their souls from their souls, so the human beings are like the stars by which they have been formed—but the great Master of physicists himself openly teaches that the lower world is ruled by the upper world; and that after God, on whom both the world and Nature depend, the sky is the universal cause of all that is moved and created among us.
. . .
Far, far be it from me to share the wicked impiety of those who grant them [the stars] an absolute power and authority over our lives, as if they [the astrologists] were the arbiters of fate and judges of destiny! . . .

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