[author unknown]
Introducing the Astronic Religious Tradition (2020)

Cometan (Brandon Reece Taylorian)
University of Central Lancashire
Since the formal academic study of religion commenced in the 19th century with scholars like Friedrich Max Müller (Abraham & Hancock, 2020), religions have been neatly categorised into three traditions; Abrahamic, Dharmic and Taoic (NowThis World, 2015). However, ignited by my personal interest in both astronomy and religion, I have realised that a fourth tradition exists that has not yet been formally accepted into academic nomenclature. This unestablished tradition of religion is characterised by the observation and worship of, devotion to, and divination by, the stars (Irvin & Rutajit, 2006). To acknowledge the existence of an entire religious tradition will clarify and affirm the central role of astronomy in the development of world religion, a role that has been undermined by established religions throughout the centuries (Martínez, 2019, p372-375; Valentinuzzi, 2019, p23-27). As such, these religious institutions have acted as knowledge gatekeepers. However, following on from the legacy of the Enlightenment, the freedoms it brought to scholarship and the development of the academic study of religion in the 19th and 20th centuries, now is perhaps the best time to propose the validity of a religious tradition based on astronomy. In turn, I propose that the historical background of astronomy and religion, particularly focusing on their prehistoric origins, need to be explored. Firstly, I feel that it is important to demonstrate creativity and my passion for this research area by introducing this collection of religions as the Astronic tradition. Proving the validity of this tradition will act as the nucleus of my dissertation, but explaining the reasons for studying this area will further illuminate the subject. My focus on this area was initially sparked by my interest in astronomy and religion, particularly due to my own personal beliefs. After investigating the current body of literature, there is a lack of specificity to the history of astronomy and religion, particularly from religious scholars. At present, the scholarship in this area of research is certainly dispersed across disciplines, hence the importance of my holistic approach to bring these dispersed works together when and where they become relevant. I also have ambitions that my work will ignite scholars of religion to research this area in the future to provide further testament to the Astronic tradition’s historicity. Furthermore, another macro-level reason for my choosing of this topic involves the ever-growing role of space exploration in society lead by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, thus highlighting the need for greater comprehension of humanity’s religious connections to the stars. This involves establishing a coherent history for humanity’s religio-philosophical interactions with outer space and how the future of humanity in space will alter the religious landscape. Having now understood my rationale, it is essential that I explain how I intend to achieve my aims.
Keywords Astronic tradition  Astronomy and religion  Astronomical religion  Astronicism  Astronic religious tradition  Origins of religion
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