It can be said that in a broad sense astrology (gr. star science) lays on the origins of civilization and began with the observation of the celestial bodies and the search for links between the macro and microsystems – between the movements of the celestial bodies and the human’s life; astronomy, which examines the physical, material, manifestation of the celestial bodies, for many millennia has been only a part of astrology. In many ancient civilizations, the texts of astrology are part of the sacred scriptures (as Babylonians, Indians, Persians, Chinese, Tibetans, and Maya).
The origins of astrology
However, the present astrology is a legacy of Babylonian civilization and appeared about 4-5 millennia ago in Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations. Currently used names of the zodiac signs – the system of constellation names we use now, were created by the Babylonian priests about 700 BC (although the Greeks introduced some adjustments).
The Babylonians also formed the 7 Classic Planet System, consisting of 2 luminaries and 5 planets visible to the naked eye. This system was later used in Greece, India, the Arab world, as well as in medieval Europe.
The first horoscopes (in the modern sense) also appeared in Babylon in the late 700 BC. So the Babylon civilization has given us the signs of the Zodiac, the system of the seven planets and the first horoscope.
Since 600 BC Babylon astrology has spread to Egypt, Greece and other Middle Eastern countries.
The Egyptian astronomers were most concerned about counting time: they made a calendar linked to the Nile floods, with 360 days and 12 months, each with 30 days, and 5 additional days. They were the first to create daily horoscopes.
Astrology in Egypt, unlike the Chaldeans, was a secret science, unavailable to the uninitiated, so perhaps, for this reason, the Egyptian tradition of astrology is almost lost for us.
But from Egypt, we have the oldest known horoscope, found in Dendera, which contains the same Zodiac constellations we use now. There are theories that the Egyptians had learned about space not only from Babylon but also from their neighboring African Dogon tribe, who had played the role of mediators between the modern world and Atlantis or even the extraterrestrial mind.
In 500 BC Democrit made astrology popular throughout Greece. The Zodiac signs, as well as the planets, were given Greek, later Roman names, which are in use to this day. The Greeks have created coherent cosmology, a mathematical cosmic system, expressing heavenly harmony. Well-known mathematician Pythagoras contributed to this creation.
In about 150 BC Ptolemy created a geocentric system, and all that was known about the stars and planets in the Antiquity was summarised in his famous astrological study Tetrabiblos. His solar system model, with the Earth in the middle and 7 planets spinning around it was considered astronomical base until the 16th century AD.
Arabs, famous mathematicians, gave astrology a lot of computational methods to get information from the stars as well as a calculation of derivative points between planets; and therefore, these points are now still referred to as “Arabic Points”.
Well, Chinese civilization paid more attention to the big cycles: they discovered a 12-year cycle of Solar activity, a 12-year Jupiter’s period and a 29.58-year Saturn’s period. Jupiter’s and Saturn’s cycles together create a 60-year cycle that has become a basis for Chinese horoscope (12 signs and 5 elements).
Vedic astrology, with its Babylonian origins, created a system of about 100,000 cards, featuring typical descriptions of human destiny according to the date and place of birth, with various options.
Maya and Aztecs
A separate branch of astrology is astrology of Indians, especially Mayans and Aztecs.