Oh! Hello there! I’m just reading my horoscope. Did you know that the word Horoscope comes from the Greek words hōra, meaning ‘time’ and skopos meaning ‘observer’ and is something that tells you about your personality and future according to the movements and locations of the stars? Another word people use to describe this is astrology, which comes from the Latin words astrum meaning ‘star’ and logos meaning ‘knowledge.’
Let’s see… I was born in August and I’m a Leo so… it says:
You will have a great day. Indeed, you are in the best of moods today. You are on a roll and you have a lot of energy. But, you have the tendency to look towards the future and you should rather focus on the present.
Well, that horoscope sounds wonderful, but I don’t really believe in horoscopes or astrology. However, for thousands of years people from around the world have really believed that the stars affect their futures and this has influenced the English language.
For example, the word disaster comes from the Latin words dis meaning ‘against’, and once again astrum, meaning ‘star.’ In other words, an evil, unusual or unexpected star. These days, we know a disaster to be when something goes wrong, or if something terrible happens naturally like an earthquake or a flood. However, people once thought that certain movements or occurrences of stars, or things that they thought were stars like Halley’s comet, were reliable signs that a disaster was about to happen.
Have you ever considered that even the word consider is related to stars? Consider is from the Latin words cum, meaning ‘with’ and sidus, meaning ‘star.’ These days, we know the word consider to mean thinking carefully before making a decision. However, It was common practice for ancient kings and rulers to have their astrologers talk with, or consider the stars before making important decisions.
Astrology is said to have been around for about four thousand years and is still practised today as you heard from my reading of today’s paper. Also, you can see astrology being mentioned in modern media like in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.” However, be careful not to confuse it with the word Astronomy which comes from the Greek words astro, meaning star, and nomo, meaning to arrange or manage. Astronomy is the scientific study of stars, while astrology is the belief that the stars affect your personality and future.
Why then, do some people believe that astrology is not just a belief, but actual truth based on scientifically proven facts like astronomy? In the 18th century, a famous writer named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said this:
“The superstition of astrology has its origin in our dim sense of some vast cosmic unity. Experience tells us that the heavenly bodies which are nearest us have a decisive influence on weather, on plant life, and so forth. We need only move higher, stage by stage, and who can say where this influence ceases?”
In other words, there are things in our universe that we can explain through science, however, for those things that we can not explain there must be some mystical, magical, or godlike force causing them. We call this way of thinking “god of the gaps,” and this is often criticized by scientists and astrophysicists like the popular Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Hopefully this helped you understand words that have ‘astro’ or ‘sidus’ root words in them and the concepts associated with them! Please don’t forget to like, subscribe and comment down below. Once again, this is Language Arts with Adam and as one of my favourite science educators Neil DeGrasse Tyson always says, keep looking up!