The History Of Astrology
Learn the history and origins of astrology. Astrology actually has many diverse roots in astronomy.
Since the beginning of time, man has associated the cycles in his life with the patterns of heavenly bodies, as well as interactions between human beings. Humanity's fascination with the zodiac and the fates may appear on the surface to be based purely on superstition and religion. However, the roots of astrology are in reality, far more scientific than one might expect. Many people consider astrology to be a legitimate science based on its structural makeup, its long and complex history and its correlations to other acknowledged sciences. In fact, a great deal of what comprises the discipline of astrology is grounded in other well-established and professionally recognized sciences such as astronomy and sociology.
Directly tying science to astrology are particulars such as the origin of the word planet, which comes from the astrological phrase "wanderers of the heavens". More indirect correlations include its association with sociology, which can be seen in the way in which lack of scientific understanding inspired ancient peoples to construct fantastic stories as a way elucidating the unexplainable phenomena of their surroundings. These stories were then passed on from continent to continent and generation to generation. This of course, is a phenomenon that would fascinate most sociologists if their interests were not tainted by the negative aspects associated with the science of astrology.
Historians estimate that astrology dates back more than five thousand years, to the time when the Sumerians used temples as observatories to decipher their celestial observations' heavenly meanings. For centuries they empirically tried to correlate these phenomena with human experiences. Their astrological lore was passed directly to the Babylonians, a culture which explicitly addressed astrology in their early writings by referring to the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Modern Western astrology and even Hindu astrology is based on the old Babylonian system which was taken over by the Greeks and Romans and eventually made its way to Europe and then the Americas. The Chinese used symbols from their own culture to develop their own unique system of astrology, as did the Mayans. The Mayans were especially well versed in advanced mathematics and astronomy, which contributed to the depth of their speculations.
Astrology has been described as “the science of astronomy applied to human affairs.” Some historians say that astrology was the first science due to its detailed observations and mathematical foundation. Today, astrology is considered by many to be merely an occult science, or illogical as it sounds, a science without any real scientific basis. Though rooted in the physical positions of the celestial bodies, astrology is today based more upon spiritual and sociological connections than on the physical mechanics. This is primarily due to the fact that in the wake of the renaissance and from then on, the “real” sciences turned away from the sociological and spiritual aspects of the world, and chose to analyze life and nature solely in terms of their physical and mechanical principles. Einstein sufficiently challenged the mechanical paradigm with his quantum physics and theory of relativity. But despite Einstein’s revelation that time and space are intrinsically entwined, he also acknowledged that time is, in a sense, like a fourth dimension of space. Astronomy also demonstrates this in, for example the measurement of the distances of the stars. The majority of stars are so far from us that their distances must be quantified in light years (386,000 miles per second). When astronomers view light coming from distant stars, they are viewing light that is a billion years old. They are not only seeing something from a far away place, but from a far away time. There was a point in time when information like this seemed as fantastical to scientists as the idea that the stars can help us to interpret our fate. So who is to say that in the future, astrology won’t turn out to be as factually based as astronomy or sociology?
A great many scientists, from astronomers to chemists to sociologists, are troubled by the widespread growth of astrology. They automatically associate it with alternative medicine, palmistry, numerology, and other “mystic pseudo-sciences.” They fear its correlation to pre-destiny and they automatically deem its popularity dangerous. While traditions such as fortune telling and palm reading may or may not contain their own valid qualities, neither is as deeply rooted in the history of mankind as the science of astrology. The fact is, astrology is laden with elements that can be linked to mathematics, astronomy, sociology and who knows- perhaps a whole new set of scientific disciplines which have not yet been discovered.