Full Text

Star-Worship (Astrolatry, Sabaism)

Subject Religion

Key-Topics astrology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ x ] The sun, moon, planets and stars have been worshipped as gods in a number of cultures. Star-worship evolves from the awe felt at the beauty, regularity, mystery and power of the heavenly bodies (especially of the sun) and in response to their effect, real or imagined, on terrestrial and human life. The sun and moon, in particular, are perceived as the givers of time (time being measures by their motions) and the sun as the regulator of the cycle of the seasons. Star-worship usually accompanies, indeed triggers, the early development of astronomy and calendrics and sanctions the parallel growth of A strology. This was certainly so in Mesopotamia in the last two millennia bce [10: i–iii ] and in Central America among the Maya [9: v ]. Star-worship probably underlies the prehistoric megalithic astronomical sites of northern Europe [9: ii–iii ; e.g. Stonehenge] and similar sites in North America [9: iv ; e.g. the Big Horn medicine wheel]. From Mesopotamia star-worship passed into Graeco-Roman culture [6]. Sun-worship became, in the 3rd century ce , something of an official religion in the Roman empire, contemporary ideology seeing in the divine emperor (E mperor-worship ) a terrestrial counterpart of the sun as sovereign of the universe. At the same time Mithras was worshipped as a solar god ( see M ithraism ) and his mysteries incorporated much arcane astral lore. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top