History of astrology signs

The division of the 12 houses is based on Earth's daily rotation and relates to such circumstances as relationships, finances, travel, etc. The division of the 12 signs of the zodiac, on the other hand, is based on the earth's year-long rotation around the Sun and relates to character traits and areas of life e. Each planet is associated with two signs, and the Sun and Moon with one each.

Approximately B. Mars, for example, appeared to be red and was associated with aggression and war. A horoscope is a map of the zodiacal circle with Earth at the center. The top of the circle represents the Sun at its highest point during the day and left and right of that are the eastern and western horizons. Your horoscope charts the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars at a specific time and place of your choosing e. Astrologers don't use "clock time. Once the date and time are selected and calculated as sidereal time and the location known and plotted, the astrologer consults an astronomical ephemeris a table listing the locations of the Sun, Moon, planets, and constellations at any given time to construct the chart.

While all this used to be tedious and exacting, computer software programs have made it extremely easy. The science of constructing a chart, however, is only the first step. Proper interpretation of the chart is both an art and a science. Properly done, it reveals personality insights and current trends, and should only be entrusted to a highly trained and accredited astrologer. Interest in astrology has persisted throughout the centuries, occasionally falling out of favor but always rebounding. Today, with practitioners in nearly every country, astrology's popularity is stronger than ever.

Some may regard astrology as superstitious nonsense and without scientific basis.

History of Astrology

Others acknowledge the gravitational forces exerted on our planet by the Sun and Moon and deduce that the planets have similar powers that can be charted through astrology. Still others maintain that the symbolism of astrology can provide a deeper understanding of ourselves and of events.

The ancient civilizations are gone, but their gift of astrology survives. If it didn't work, it would long ago have taken its place alongside them in the footnotes of history. We welcome you on your exciting and rewarding journey as you continue to explore astrology, the oldest of the sciences! For centuries it has been respected, yet ridiculed in almost the same breath.

We have only to turn to the authority of the Encyclopedia Brittanica , which defines astrology as a science: "The ancient art or science of divining the fate and future of human beings from indications given by the position of stars and other heavenly bodies.

First Things First: Astrology is not Astronomy!

Its influence reaches back to the time when gods are said to have walked and talked with men. It was studied and practiced by all the great nations of antiquity and predates the sacred writings of nearly all religions and philosophies. Astrology's supporters extend from Plato to Copernicus to Sir Isaac Newton to Flamstead the great Astronomer Royal who helped to build the Greenwich Observatory to former First Lady Nancy Reagan, as well as countless business and financial people and others. Despite the fact that scientists today are dealing with cosmic rays and their influence upon people and Earth, they hold widely divergent views of the validity of astrology.

Opinions range from the abrupt dismissal to those who have no knowledge but upon confrontation become instant "experts" as to its merits and advantages. As with much else, Greek influence played a crucial role in the transmission of astrological theory to Rome. The first definite reference to astrology comes from the work of the orator Cato , who in BC composed a treatise warning farm overseers against consulting with Chaldeans. One of the first astrologers to bring Hermetic astrology to Rome was Thrasyllus , who, in the first century CE, acted as the astrologer for the emperor Tiberius.

While doing so, he coined the term "geography".

Beginning astrology: before you even learn the zodiac.

Even though some use of astrology by the emperors appears to have happened, there was also a prohibition on astrology to a certain extent as well. In the 1st century CE, Publius Rufus Anteius was accused of the crime of funding the banished astrologer Pammenes, and requesting his own horoscope and that of then emperor Nero.


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For this crime, Nero forced Anteius to commit suicide. At this time, astrology was likely to result in charges of magic and treason. Astrology was taken up enthusiastically by Islamic scholars following the collapse of Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th century. Zael , whose texts were directly influential upon later European astrologers such as Guido Bonatti in the 13th century, and William Lilly in the 17th century. Amongst the important names of Arabic astrologers, one of the most influential was Albumasur , whose work Introductorium in Astronomiam later became a popular treatise in medieval Europe.

The Arabs greatly increased the knowledge of astronomy, and many of the star names that are commonly known today, such as Aldebaran , Altair , Betelgeuse , Rigel and Vega retain the legacy of their language. They also developed the list of Hellenistic lots to the extent that they became historically known as Arabic parts , for which reason it is often wrongly claimed that the Arabic astrologers invented their use, whereas they are clearly known to have been an important feature of Hellenistic astrology. During the advance of Islamic science some of the practices of astrology were refuted on theological grounds by astronomers such as Al-Farabi Alpharabius , Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen and Avicenna.

The Origin of the Zodiac.

Their criticisms argued that the methods of astrologers were conjectural rather than empirical , and conflicted with orthodox religious views of Islamic scholars through the suggestion that the Will of God can be precisely known and predicted in advance. Avicenna considered that the movement of the planets influenced life on earth in a deterministic way, but argued against the capability of determining the exact influence of the stars.

By the 13th century astrology had become a part of everyday medical practice in Europe. Doctors combined Galenic medicine inherited from the Greek physiologist Galen - AD with studies of the stars. By the end of the s, physicians across Europe were required by law to calculate the position of the Moon before carrying out complicated medical procedures, such as surgery or bleeding. Influential works of the 13th century include those of the British monk Johannes de Sacrobosco c.

His astrological text-book Liber Astronomiae 'Book of Astronomy' , written around , was reputed to be "the most important astrological work produced in Latin in the 13th century". In medieval Europe , a university education was divided into seven distinct areas, each represented by a particular planet and known as the seven liberal arts. Dante attributed these arts to the planets.

Medieval writers used astrological symbolism in their literary themes. For example, Dante's Divine Comedy builds varied references to planetary associations within his described architecture of Hell , Purgatory and Paradise , such as the seven layers of Purgatory's mountain purging the seven cardinal sins that correspond to astrology's seven classical planets. Chaucer's astrological passages are particularly frequent and knowledge of astrological basics is often assumed through his work.

He knew enough of his period's astrology and astronomy to write a Treatise on the Astrolabe for his son. He pinpoints the early spring season of the Canterbury Tales in the opening verses of the prologue by noting that the Sun "hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne". One of the earliest English astrologers to leave details of his practice was Richard Trewythian b. His notebook demonstrates that he had a wide range of clients, from all walks of life, and indicates that engagement with astrology in 15th-century England was not confined to those within learned, theological or political circles.

During the Renaissance, court astrologers would complement their use of horoscopes with astronomical observations and discoveries. Many individuals now credited with having overturned the old astrological order, such as Tycho Brahe , Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler , were themselves practicing astrologers. At the end of the Renaissance the confidence placed in astrology diminished, with the breakdown of Aristotelian Physics and rejection of the distinction between the celestial and sublunar realms , which had historically acted as the foundation of astrological theory.

Keith Thomas writes that although heliocentrism is consistent with astrology theory, 16th and 17th century astronomical advances meant that "the world could no longer be envisaged as a compact inter-locking organism; it was now a mechanism of infinite dimensions, from which the hierarchical subordination of earth to heaven had irrefutably disappeared".

By the 18th century the intellectual investment which had previously maintained astrology's standing was largely abandoned. Astrology in seventeenth century England was not a science. It was not a Religion. It was not magic. Nor was it astronomy, mathematics, puritanism, neo Platism, psychology, meteorology, alchemy or witchcraft. It used some of these as tools; it held tenets in common with others; and some people were adept at several of these skills. But in the final analysis it was only itself: a unique divinatory and prognostic art embodying centuries of accreted methodology and tradition.

The only work of this class to have survived is the Vedanga Jyotisha , which contains rules for tracking the motions of the sun and the moon in the context of a five-year intercalation cycle. The date of this work is uncertain, as its late style of language and composition, consistent with the last centuries BC, albeit pre- Mauryan , conflicts with some internal evidence of a much earlier date in the 2nd millennium BC. The documented history of Jyotish in the subsequent newer sense of modern horoscopic astrology is associated with the interaction of Indian and Hellenistic cultures in the Indo-Greek period.

Babylonian Beginnings

The oldest surviving treatises, such as the Yavanajataka or the Brihat-Samhita , date to the early centuries AD. Indian astronomy and astrology developed together. The earliest treatise on jyotish, the Bhrigu Samhita , dates from the Vedic era. The sage Bhrigu is one of the Saptarshi, the seven sages who assisted in the creation of the universe.

Written on pages of tree bark, the Samhita Compilation is said to contain five million horoscopes comprising all who have lived in the past or will live in the future. The first named authors writing treatises on astronomy are from the 5th century AD, the date when the classical period of Indian astronomy can be said to begin. Chinese system is based on astronomy and calendars and its significant development is tied to that of astronomy , which came to flourish during the Han Dynasty 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD.

Astrology was traditionally regarded highly in China, and Confucius is said to have treated astrology with respect saying: "Heaven sends down its good or evil symbols and wise men act accordingly". Oracles bones have been found dating from that period with the date according to the year cycle inscribed on them, along with the name of the diviner and the topic being divined about. One of the most famous astrologers in China was Tsou Yen who lived in around BC, and who wrote: "When some new dynasty is going to arise, heaven exhibits auspicious signs for the people".

The calendars of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica are based upon a system which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at least the 6th century BC. The earliest calendars were employed by peoples such as the Zapotecs and Olmecs , and later by such peoples as the Maya , Mixtec and Aztecs.

Although the Mesoamerican calendar did not originate with the Maya, their subsequent extensions and refinements to it were the most sophisticated. Along with those of the Aztecs, the Maya calendars are the best-documented and most completely understood. The distinctive Mayan calendar used two main systems, one plotting the solar year of days, which governed the planting of crops and other domestic matters; the other called the Tzolkin of days, which governed ritual use.

Each was linked to an elaborate astrological system to cover every facet of life.


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On the fifth day after the birth of a boy, the Mayan astrologer-priests would cast his horoscope to see what his profession was to be: soldier, priest, civil servant or sacrificial victim. Venus was seen as a generally inauspicious and baleful influence, and Mayan rulers often planned the beginning of warfare to coincide with when Venus rose.

There is evidence that the Maya also tracked the movements of Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, and possessed a zodiac of some kind. The Mayan name for the constellation Scorpio was also 'scorpion', while the name of the constellation Gemini was 'peccary'. There is some evidence for other constellations being named after various beasts.

The Aztec calendar shares the same basic structure as the Mayan calendar, with two main cycles of days and days. The day calendar was called Tonalpohualli and was used primarily for divinatory purposes. Like the Mayan calendar, these two cycles formed a year 'century', sometimes called the Calendar Round. Cambridge University Press. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Hellenistic astrology.

Balkh , Khurasan. Further information: Astrology in medieval Islam. Further information: Renaissance magic. Main articles: Indian astronomy and Hindu astrology. Main article: Chinese astrology. Main articles: Maya calendar and Aztec calendar. The cosmic perspective 4th ed. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union. Bruno Meissner, Leipzig, , v. Also quoted in A.

Paris, Journal of the American Oriental Society. See also, Neugebauer pp. Tablet source given as: State Archives of Assyria 8 Mundane astrology. The limits of influence: Pico, Louvain, and the crisis of Renaissance astrology.

The Greeks are Introduced to Astrology

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