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The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper 
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
This thread appears to have derailed, hit a few trees and exploded.



Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:43 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Robert, I'm wondering why your images do not appear in your early posts in this thread. I'll have to ask David to look into this.



Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:47 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
While it has derailed some, I still find value in the recent posts.


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Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:51 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
David (our web designer) says the early attached images were somehow corrupted when he upgraded the forum software and there is nothing we can do to bring them back from the dead. Sorry about that Robert.

Robert, I haven't followed this thread but I do have a question for you. I read the first page of posts in this thread from 2011 and I hear you saying that Leonardo based the painting on the Zodiac. If so that may mean he felt the Zodiac was of some importance. My question is do you? Or is your primary interest in the stars and constellations from an academic perspective where you're simply intrigued by the belief in astrology?



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Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:57 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
A lot of old stuff at Booktalk has been lost, but I still have all the images, and in fact they are available at my website. I will get back to you Chris on your question about the meaning of the zodiac. Essentially, my approach is to systematically exclude all magical claims while exploring why people have found such beliefs to be meaningful.


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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Robert Tulip wrote:
A lot of old stuff at Booktalk has been lost, but I still have all the images, and in fact they are available at my website. I will get back to you Chris on your question about the meaning of the zodiac. Essentially, my approach is to systematically exclude all magical claims while exploring why people have found such beliefs to be meaningful.


Perhaps they hold these beliefs and symbols meaningful simply because we find beautiful, strange things to be meaningful on a subconscious level. Through the ages people have attached sacred importance on things for which we wondered and had not yet discovered the scientific reasons behind them. Curiosity and wonder propels us to attach meaning to things, and even when scientific research catches up to give the thing naturalistic value and meaning, it can be hard to lose the original mystical meaning.


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Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:59 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Robert, so you don't actually believe the planets and stars have any real impact on our lives? It is all placebo effect?



Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:07 am
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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Chris OConnor wrote:
Robert, so you don't actually believe the planets and stars have any real impact on our lives? It is all placebo effect?


Chris, I really think this is a complex topic which in my experience people treat in quite an emotional and polarising way. I have long been fascinated by astrology, and have read extensively about it. However, I am also committed to a scientific materialist world view, so part of my focus has been to explore what in astrology is compatible with and explainable against scientific knowledge.

Considering the best statistical research on astrology, by the French scientist Michel Gauquelin, the bottom line is that all the effects he discovered from a lifetime’s detailed and diligent research were so weak that he could not convince hostile critics they were significant.

For example, he claimed champion athletes tend to be born when Mars is in the east or north. He found similar alleged effects from Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon, but no evidence for sun signs.

The implied mechanism is that a foetus is genetically programmed to be born at the time of day most aligned to its genes. A subtle daily rhythm caused by the four billion years of stable ordered interaction between Earth and Mars, within which all terrestrial life has evolved, is supposedly optimised for the genetic makeup of that champion individual when Mars is rising or culminating.

This is a farfetched and implausible hypothesis, but Gauquelin maintained that it was the best explanation of his statistical analysis of elite sportsmen, whose birth times are diligently recorded in France and Belgium. Unfortunately, critics were not convinced, suggesting Gauquelin may have chosen data that fit his claim (consciously or not), and that in any case the effect was so extremely weak as to be insignificant. Gauquelin ended up killing himself and burning all his papers. So the status is unproven.

I personally like the astrological theory of planetary transits explained by Robert Hand in his book Planets in Transit. I would love to design and conduct epidemiological studies of its assertions. To my knowledge this has never been done with sound method, so the scientific status of transit theory in astrology is sub-statistical. That does not mean astrology has been disproved, but it does mean its alleged effects are unexplained and have hitherto proved too weak to measure.

Regarding claimed effects of stars, it is obvious that there are none. But, that is not the end of the story. The zodiac stars are like the numbers on a clock face, signifying the month when the sun is at each of twelve unique bands of arc with respect to the solstices and equinoxes. A clock ticking 5pm does not make us go home, but it does correlate with other regular patterns. Similarly, the pattern of the seasons may have a deeper cycle, even one divided in twelve, correlating to zodiac positions. But again, the evidence for such a physical pattern is so weak that no statistical proof for it exists.

Leonardo was hostile to astrology, as I mentioned earlier in this thread. But the point of his use of the zodiac stars was that they symbolise the natural structure of the year, as the annual cosmic path of the sun. So the meaning of The Last Supper is that the natural reality of our cosmos is reflected in the central story of our mythology. As in The Lord's Prayer, 'thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'. It is a piece of sublime natural trickery, a complex atheist undermining of simple faith by a scientific genius who saw the real meaning of the Jesus stories far more profoundly than the orthodox faithful did.


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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Robert Tulip wrote:
Chris OConnor wrote:
Robert, so you don't actually believe the planets and stars have any real impact on our lives? It is all placebo effect?


Chris, I really think this is a complex topic which in my experience people treat in quite an emotional and polarising way. I have long been fascinated by astrology, and have read extensively about it. However, I am also committed to a scientific materialist world view, so part of my focus has been to explore what in astrology is compatible with and explainable against scientific knowledge.

Considering the best statistical research on astrology, by the French scientist Michel Gauquelin, the bottom line is that all the effects he discovered from a lifetime’s detailed and diligent research were so weak that he could not convince hostile critics they were significant.

For example, he claimed champion athletes tend to be born when Mars is in the east or north. He found similar alleged effects from Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon, but no evidence for sun signs.

The implied mechanism is that a foetus is genetically programmed to be born at the time of day most aligned to its genes. A subtle daily rhythm caused by the four billion years of stable ordered interaction between Earth and Mars, within which all terrestrial life has evolved, is supposedly optimised for the genetic makeup of that champion individual when Mars is rising or culminating.

This is a farfetched and implausible hypothesis, but Gauquelin maintained that it was the best explanation of his statistical analysis of elite sportsmen, whose birth times are diligently recorded in France and Belgium. Unfortunately, critics were not convinced, suggesting Gauquelin may have chosen data that fit his claim (consciously or not), and that in any case the effect was so extremely weak as to be insignificant. Gauquelin ended up killing himself and burning all his papers. So the status is unproven.

I personally like the astrological theory of planetary transits explained by Robert Hand in his book Planets in Transit. I would love to design and conduct epidemiological studies of its assertions. To my knowledge this has never been done with sound method, so the scientific status of transit theory in astrology is sub-statistical. That does not mean astrology has been disproved, but it does mean its alleged effects are unexplained and have hitherto proved too weak to measure.

Regarding claimed effects of stars, it is obvious that there are none. But, that is not the end of the story. The zodiac stars are like the numbers on a clock face, signifying the month when the sun is at each of twelve unique bands of arc with respect to the solstices and equinoxes. A clock ticking 5pm does not make us go home, but it does correlate with other regular patterns. Similarly, the pattern of the seasons may have a deeper cycle, even one divided in twelve, correlating to zodiac positions. But again, the evidence for such a physical pattern is so weak that no statistical proof for it exists.

Leonardo was hostile to astrology, as I mentioned earlier in this thread. But the point of his use of the zodiac stars was that they symbolise the natural structure of the year, as the annual cosmic path of the sun. So the meaning of The Last Supper is that the natural reality of our cosmos is reflected in the central story of our mythology. As in The Lord's Prayer, 'thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'. It is a piece of sublime natural trickery, a complex atheist undermining of simple faith by a scientific genius who saw the real meaning of the Jesus stories far more profoundly than the orthodox faithful did.


So I might be going out on a limb here, but if astrological symbols, such as planets' movements in space, have a specific order in a natural year, and they are seen as causing certain births, etc., is there a mathematical formula that atrologers use in their work?


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Last edited by Movie Nerd on Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
I've discussed these ideas with Robert in the past, talking of zeitgebers and selective pressures. It's all fascinating stuff, but I'm convinced there's nothing to it but pattern matching. That's not to say DaVinci didn't paint the zodiac into the Last Supper. Just that the effects of any celestial body aside from the moon and the sun are signals indistinguishable from noise. At least where our genes are concerned.


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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Movie Nerd wrote:
is there a mathematical formula that astrologers use in their work?


The first point to make here is that astrology is not directly relevant to this thread. The matching that Leonardo applies between the stars and the saints to construct his painting was purely and solely empirical, based on looking at the sky, understanding the cycle of the year, and embedding that natural pattern secretly in the picture.

Astrology is the claim that the patterns of the cosmos affect life on earth. The way Leonardo has used the cosmos in The Last Supper only requires cosmic effects to the level of the four seasons, since the apostles are grouped in four groups of three from right to left to match the positions of the sun in spring, summer, fall and winter.

The mathematical formula or axiom that unites astrology with science and religion, but is generally very poorly understood, is an extremely old Egyptian Hermetic idea, "as above so below". In its simplest form, this axiom means that everything shares the character of the whole of which it is part.

The earth is part of the cosmos, so our planetary biological identity shares the character of the whole of which we are part. The most basic facts of terrestrial cosmology are the regular pattern's of earth's orbit. Copernicus accurately saw that there are three main patterns, the day, the year, and the wobble of earth's axis.

Leonardo picks out the year as the main pattern. He says the biological identity of life on earth, symbolised by Christ and the twelve, is a part of the whole cosmos, and so is like the shape of the year. So he embeds the year in his painting in order to explain the meaning of the Christ story - as above so below, or thy will be done on earth as in heaven.

This cosmic mirroring principle appears in the Bible in this line from The Lord's Prayer, and in science in the recognition that laws of physics apply equally on earth as in the heavens. The scientific meaning is very basic, but is often not seen due to the magical way this principle has been distorted by both astrology and religion.

A big assumption in The Lord's Prayer is that God's will is not done on earth. Traditionally, this is understood against the theology of the fall from grace into corruption, and the hope that the Second Coming will restore a true relation between earth and heaven. So Leonardo’s depiction of a relation between earth and heaven in The Last Supper keys into this theological idea of a return to a state of grace, a true relation between time and eternity.

These concepts have been severely confused by the magical traditions in astrology, which starts from the same ‘as above so below’ principle which Sir Isaac Newton used to discover the law of gravity but extends it into highly speculative claims about individual personality. Astrology has a mathematical structure, but has not found any evidence that this structure has any causal mechanism and power.


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Post Re: The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
Robert Tulip wrote:
Movie Nerd wrote:
is there a mathematical formula that astrologers use in their work?


The first point to make here is that astrology is not directly relevant to this thread. The matching that Leonardo applies between the stars and the saints to construct his painting was purely and solely empirical, based on looking at the sky, understanding the cycle of the year, and embedding that natural pattern secretly in the picture.

Astrology is the claim that the patterns of the cosmos affect life on earth. The way Leonardo has used the cosmos in The Last Supper only requires cosmic effects to the level of the four seasons, since the apostles are grouped in four groups of three from right to left to match the positions of the sun in spring, summer, fall and winter.

The mathematical formula or axiom that unites astrology with science and religion, but is generally very poorly understood, is an extremely old Egyptian Hermetic idea, "as above so below". In its simplest form, this axiom means that everything shares the character of the whole of which it is part.

The earth is part of the cosmos, so our planetary biological identity shares the character of the whole of which we are part. The most basic facts of terrestrial cosmology are the regular pattern's of earth's orbit. Copernicus accurately saw that there are three main patterns, the day, the year, and the wobble of earth's axis.

Leonardo picks out the year as the main pattern. He says the biological identity of life on earth, symbolised by Christ and the twelve, is a part of the whole cosmos, and so is like the shape of the year. So he embeds the year in his painting in order to explain the meaning of the Christ story - as above so below, or thy will be done on earth as in heaven.

This cosmic mirroring principle appears in the Bible in this line from The Lord's Prayer, and in science in the recognition that laws of physics apply equally on earth as in the heavens. The scientific meaning is very basic, but is often not seen due to the magical way this principle has been distorted by both astrology and religion.

A big assumption in The Lord's Prayer is that God's will is not done on earth. Traditionally, this is understood against the theology of the fall from grace into corruption, and the hope that the Second Coming will restore a true relation between earth and heaven. So Leonardo’s depiction of a relation between earth and heaven in The Last Supper keys into this theological idea of a return to a state of grace, a true relation between time and eternity.

These concepts have been severely confused by the magical traditions in astrology, which starts from the same ‘as above so below’ principle which Sir Isaac Newton used to discover the law of gravity but extends it into highly speculative claims about individual personality. Astrology has a mathematical structure, but has not found any evidence that this structure has any causal mechanism and power.


Yeah, sorry if I made it seem that it was relevant. We just got to talking about astrological stuff, and I was curious as to that side point. But thank you for taking the time for providing the info; I found it enlightening.


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Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:01 pm
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