Short History of Astrology
In The Western World Today, the average person in Western society knows their Zodiac Sun Sign placement (i.e. Hey baby! What’s your sign?) and many read their daily horoscope as a source of momentary entertainment and amusement. And heck! Who knows? Maybe today will be your lucky day, and you'll finally meet that tall, dark stranger your horoscope is bragging about.
From the very dawn of humanity (until today), people have looked to the heavens and the planets for guidance. Thousands of years ago astrology was, generally speaking, reserved only for members of royalty. There were good points to astrology being embraced by royalty, and there were several bad points. One of the best advantages was that an astrologer could look forward to a nice, comfortable, civil service job in the palace. One of the worst "difficulties" was when the astrologer inevitably made the royal benefactor angry. That was when the court astrologer generally lost his/her head over the matter. And I am speaking literally regarding the losing of heads.
The Roots/Greek Thought
The roots of Western Tropical astrology (the type of astrology most Westerners are familiar with today) date all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia (2300 BC). From there, perhaps as early as 600 BC, astrology began making its way into ancient Greece. Astrology's entrance into Greece coincided with the beginning of the first great Greek philosophers and with the rise of the Greek state and culture. Socrates - 469 to 399 BC Plato - 427 to 347 BC Aristotle - 384 to 322 BC Then Alexander the Great burst into the picture by beginning his famous conquests over much of the entire (then known) world. Alexander's conquests began and then lasted between the years of 336-323 BC. Due to Alexander's powerful influence and control - and his having been tutored by the master philosopher Aristotle - Greek culture and thought was then spread throughout Alexander's vast conquered domain. In this process of "hellenizing" the world - Alexandria, Egypt became the established cultural center of ancient Hellenistic Greek thought and philosophy between the years of 323 - 31 BC. It was during this 300 year period of time that the study, development, and acceptance of astrology flourished among the prominent thinkers of the day... and it was during this period of time, when horoscopic, zodiacal, individualized astrology - much as we recognize it today - first came into existence. In the Hellenistic Greek atmosphere, astrology was no longer reserved for royalty. Later ancient Hellenistic sky watchers such as the famous Ptolemy (85-165 AD) served in dual roles as both the scientifically minded mathematical astronomer searching out the skies and as the metaphysically minded astrologer divining the purposes of the heavens.
The Quiet Period In The West
After a several hundred year “heyday” in ancient Greek and then Roman culture - astrology in the Western world, while never totally dying out, became rather quiet during the period of time now called the Middle Ages. During this time, astrology continued to flourish and evolve in other parts of the world. However, in fourth century AD, the Christian Church was busily at work establishing itself as the predominant Western world political power and belief system during the next several hundred years. Suffice to say that during the Church's rule in the medieval period, the Church in Rome vacillated back and forth over its official viewpoint and level of tolerance regarding astrology. At times Christian church leaders condemned astrology and astrologers as being heretical, while at other times church leaders sought out the guidance of astrologers. According to historian Valerie Flint ("The Rise of Magic In Early Medieval Europe"), in the early Middle Ages, some Christian church leaders actually encouraged a belief in astrology in order to keep believers away from what seemed to be more dangerous magical practices. Some church officials during this very large span of time, such as French Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly (1350-1420), were practicing astrologers.
Renaissance/Age of Enlightenment
For the most part, in the Western world, astrology kept its low profile until a reemergence during the European Renaissance (ranging in date anywhere from 1453 - 1598 to as late as the 1670s). Spurred on in Italy by the Medicis, philosopher/astrologer/Catholic priest Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), and the revival of Greek neo-Platonic philosophies - astrology once again began gaining prominence among many of the scholastics of the day. During the European Renaissance (ranging from 1453 - 1670) the vast majority of Western astrologers were practicing Christians. One of the more notable astrologers during the latter Renaissance period, William Lilly (1602-1681), remonikered astrology as being "Christian Astrology," although it's generally thought that this was much in order to keep the still rather powerful (and vacillating) Christian church leadership at bay. The, all too brief, European Renaissance was then followed by the bright rationalistic light of the Age of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution of the 17th century AD, with the scholastic world finally determining, once and for all, that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
What we today take for granted, knowing the Earth to be a small cog in the greater wheel of the universe, was - for the peoples of that time and age - a huge shift in consciousness. It’s literally impossible for us to imagine how chaotic and devastating this paradigm shift and “ideological earthquake” was to become or how effective it would be in rocking the religious world of the day. Astrology was only one among a much larger group of metaphysical aftershock casualties of this mind bending paradigm shift. As a result of this “ideological earthquake,” the physical science of astronomy and the metaphysical art of astrology began the slow process of being split off from one another - and, for the first time, they became separate, often contrary disciplines. While astronomy blossomed under the watchful eye and blessing of the new Age of Enlightenment - mystically minded astrology was cursed and cast aside under its disdainful, disapproving glare... Once again, Western astrology began disappearing into the mist, shadows, and darkness. At the same time, it would be a mistake to say that the practice of astrology totally died out as a result of the Age of Enlightenment.
Then, around 150-180 years ago, astrology in Western society slowly began rising up once more into public favor, imagination, and consciousness. At the beginning of the 20th century, a final grand revival of astrology came about owing much to the efforts of the charismatic, enigmatic, and controversial astrologers, Sepharial (1864 - 1929) and Alan Leo (1860-1917), who became the founding fathers of the Astrological Lodge of the Theosophical Society in Great Britain. Since Sepharial and Leo’s time, Western culture’s fascination with astrology has continued on with us and grown and evolved through the years. It was during this final 20th century pop revival of Western astrology that Sun Sign Astrology (Hey baby! What’s your sign?), ideas on karma and reincarnation, and the reading of daily horoscopes first began coming into vogue. According to esteemed astrologer, Dane Rudhyar, at the beginning of the 1930's, astrologer Paul Clancy decided that popularizing astrology was to be his life mission. When Clancy's magazine "American Astrology" became a huge success in 1934, it started a new "epoch" in astrology. It was primarily Clancy's venture in "American Astrology" that brought about the popularity of daily and/or weekly astrological horoscope columns, with readings of the twelve signs, to appear in the newspapers and periodicals throughout the United States and Europe. (from the preface of "Astrology, The Divine Science" by written by Marcia Moore and Mark Douglas) What the esteemed and quite respected astrologer, Dane Rudhyar, failed to mention in his preface is that it was none other than he, Dane Rudhyar, who was the original writer of these popular "American Astrology" horoscopes.
For further information go to the website: www.astrology/about.com
by Michael McClain
You may be at the stage of asking, "What is a horoscope?" If so, you're going to find the answers here. To begin, the horoscope is a map that appears as a two dimensional chart. It shows the position of the Sun, the Moon, and planets at the precise moment of your birth. The planets are frozen in their position at that initial moment of birth. That is why this type of horoscope is known as the birth chart or the natal chart. A correct interpretation of these birth positions exposes much about you. It can be thought of as the "hand" that has been "dealt" in life. This doesn't suggest that your life has already been decided. A horoscope can never show how you are going to "play" this hand. It's largely up to you to decide that.
While you usually have freedom of choice or free will, the horoscope does reflect the natural inclinations you have, the lessons you have to learn, the issues to be faced, and the problems to be solved. It may be thought of as merely an abstract formula showing the energies you've been given, or perhaps tasked. The use that you make of these energies, or opportunities, if you will, depends upon you, the individual. Astrology can provide incredible keys to understanding, but it doesn't necessarily provide clear and simplistic answers to any problems with which you may be dealing. Obtaining information about your horoscope may give you some insights and understanding of the reasons why you behave as you do.
To have the horoscope of another revealed allows the reader to understand that person better. You can see and understand him or her more accurately, objectively, and with a much greater tolerance. Understanding your horoscope may allow you to more clearly understand and accept yourself, and therefore do what you can with your natural attributes.
Important: If you want to learn about your own birth signs (your horoscope), you must obtain a copy of the horoscope chart. This site doesn't provide charts, but we know where to go to get one. My favorite site offering FREE horoscope charts is the Astrodienst Atlas. http://www.astro.com/ When you arrive at the Astrodienst website, Atlas Help may help in getting the charts you will need to begin your studies. . After you obtain a copy of your horoscope, you will be ready to dive into the many mini readings that will begin to draw a special word picture unique to you or the individual whose chart you are focusing on today.
First, you should become familiar with the twelve signs and the planets. Then an elementary understanding of the sign/planet influences.. After you have obtained your horoscope charts and begun to gain an understanding of the placements, you will want to move on to read about the Sun, the Moon and the planets in signs and also the readings blending your Sun and Moon signs.
Next the focus will shift to the houses, the planets in houses, and how your Ascendant (rising sign) sets a personality in motion. Learn about the sign on the cusp of each of the 12 houses in your horoscope. The planets in aspect define how the interaction between planets influence behavior.
Learn a little about Chiron, the Moon's nodes, modes of activity, the four elements, retrograde planets etc.
For further information and to flesh out some of the detail mentioned above go to the Website: