It’s very difficult to fix an exact date on the birth of astrology, mainly because man’s interest in the heavens began long before he was capable of recording it. However, archaeological research has unearthed evidence showing that the ancient Chaldean priests used watchtowers from which they could make maps of the skies. The clay tablets on which these maps were made show the movements of the Sun and the Moon with astonishing accuracy.
To begin with, astronomy and astrology were one and the same but, as astronomy decided to try and quantify the chemical make-up of the heavenly bodies, the two separated. Astrology was never interested in what a planet was made of. Instead it focused on how the energies generated by a planet’s alignment could affect us on a mental level, thereby influencing the directions our lives take.
The Origins of the Zodiac
The Zodiac was created when mankind spotted the difference between certain objects in the sky. It was noted that the majority of stars were stationary. However, astrologers spotted five stars that appeared to revolve around the Earth, confined within a narrow line, known as ‘the ecliptic line’. The ecliptic is the line followed by the Sun, the Moon and those five stars. Over time, astrologers divided that line into five sections and grouped the stationary stars in each of those sections into constellations. Most of the constellations were named after animals, reflecting the energies that were perceived to emanate from them.
As a result of this ‘gridding’ of the heavens, astrologers were able to study the planets more accurately and interpret the effects that their movements had on the lives of the people on Earth. Those born in conjunction with particular planetary alignments seemed to share similar traits. Although the planets travel along the elliptic and take up places in different constellations, it was seen that they eventually returned to their original positions.
As a result, it was seen that children born in a different year, but under the same constellations, exhibited the same traits as their earlier-born star-siblings. It was also seen that the positions of the stars had influence over political, romantic and financial events of people on Earth.
The ecliptic line helps to demystify some of the jargon used by astrologers. For example, when an astrologer says that “Venus is in Scorpio”, the presence of the planet in that constellation, the planet of love and harmony, will have a profound effect on someone born under that sign. They will find that their associated sexual urges, passion and jealousy are intensified. Conversely, when Venus moves into the constellation of Pisces, a Piscean will find that their natural predilection towards emotion will be enhanced and their romantic feelings will become deeper and more profound, for as long as that planet is present. Each planet brings with it its own energy fingerprint, which has an effect on the energies emanated by the constellation. It’s a bit like looking at a constellation through a different-coloured telescope lens each month of the year. In this way, our thoughts, feelings and actions are influenced by the movement of the planets at different stages in the calendar.
The Influence of the Planets
However, a popular misconception is that the stars and planets have an almost-hypnotic effect on us, somehow ‘forcing’ us to behave in a certain way. The best way to look at this is to liken the influence of the stars to the current in a stream. If a man decides to swim with the current, he will be completely under the auspices of his constellation and his actions, thoughts and feelings will be easy to predict. However, should that man decide to swim upstream, he is master of his own destiny and, as a result, his actions will be that much harder to foretell.
A common saying amongst astrologers is that “the stars do not compel, but they impel.” In other words, it is entirely possible for person to change their character traits, if they wish to. Ultimately, we do have free will, regardless of the stars’ emanations and we can always swim against the current if we so wish.
Looking at it this way, we can see that a birth chart is not a direct map that shows you how to get to a particular destination. Instead, it shows you where you are now, picks out where you might like to end up and shows you the various routes that you can take to get there. How and when you do it is entirely up to you.
In addition, this map will show you where you are likely to end up, if you choose to do nothing; as most of us are aware, our star signs contain something akin to a psychic profile, relating our positive and negative traits in equal measure.
Astrology Past and Present
The ancient astrologers took the relation between the stars and Earthly events as scientific fact. Today, it is seen by many as slightly whimsical, and often the pursuit of the vulnerable and confused. However, this does not take into account that civilisations were once ruled by the stars and important decisions made according to the interpretations of astrologers. Today, modern astrologers are able to make more accurate predictions, thanks to the technology available. Computers can pinpoint the movements of the planets with incredible precision, allowing astrologers to make more informed interpretations as to how the interacting energies will affect those born under particular signs.
All the heavenly bodies in the universe emit different energies – some positive and some negative. These bring geographical and climatic changes to the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in psychological and physical changes on the living things below. The changes in the intensity of these energies can vary the effects that we feel and, consequently, leave a psychic imprint on those born under particular energy-patterns. This happens in the same way that we experience changes in our mood when we visit a person or place and, often, our characters change, accordingly. The influence of the planets in our lives is one of the greatest mysteries of the universe and yet it has been present since time immemorial.