Greek astrology is often, and more properly, referred to as Hellenistic astrology. It actually originated in Egypt at some point after the conquest by Alexander the Great and the beginning of the Christian era. Hellenistic astrology also comprises Byzantine and Roman astrology. Its therefore more a reference to the general geographic area and an era in history, rather than to one particular society or culture.
While Hellenistic astrology cant be linked to any one individual or culture, it is the root of all modern, or Western astrology. There are numerous documents written in Greek, although some are written in Latin, that are devoted to natal astrology. This is the branch of astrology that concerns the individual. Part of the reason that its difficult to source these documents to any one individual or culture is that they span a period of time of about 800 years.
But that doesnt mean that important Greek philosophers and scientists havent been part of the development of astrology. Hippocrates used astrological interpretations as part of his medical diagnostic system. Pythagoras studied in Egypt, and while nothing in writing exists of Pythagoras theories, he is attributed with stating that the Earth, Planets and fixed stars revolved around the sun, thousands of years before Galileo! Later though, his theory was refuted by Aristotle who declared that the Earth was the centre of the world.
Following Alexanders conquest of Mesopotamia, Greek astrology began to take on a more personal approach. The Zodiac and planets being made to correspond to figures from their mythology; the Stoic philosophers are especially receptive to astrology. Greek astrology influences the metaphysical astrology of India. In approximately 70 BCE, the Greeks devised the first personal horoscope based on time of birth and in 30 BCE, the Emperor Augustus had his horoscope charted and interpreted by Thrasyllus.
If you were born in the year 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 or 2003 then you are a Goat. Youre elegant and creative, somewhat timid and prefer anonymity. You are most compatible with Pigs and Rabbits, but dont mix it up with the Ox.
Goats tend to have a hard time with romance; anyone who couples up with a Goat must know, this Sign has a sensitive streak a mile wide and can be subject to bouts of anxiety over seemingly inconsequential things. Goats need plenty of love, support and open reassurance from their lovers. If a relationship is marked by conflict, the Goat will often pull away — either physically or simply by retreating into the safe haven of its imagination.
If the romance is going well, however, Goats won’t hesitate to tell their partner what they need — and they can be quite insistent about it. This Sign will definitely return the favor, however; the Goat has a luxurious side that delights in indulging a lover’s every wish. Appearances are also important to the Goat, which may explain why these folks can spend hours primping and posing.
Goats are generally most comfortable in their own minds (which other, more linear-thinking Signs may have trouble deciphering). This Sign makes a great craftsperson or artisan, or perhaps a teacher of New Age studies — any occupation that allows its mind the full range of freedom. Goats tend not to be very well-organized, precluding many more dry business endeavors. In fact, Goats tend not to be very materialistic in general, finding plenty of riches in their own imagination. However, especially when in love, the Goat can be quite a lavish gift-giver.
Know any Twins. Then imagine theyre one person and youll have an idea of what makes up the personality of a person born under the sign of Gemini (May 22 June 21). Geminis can be contradictory, people with dualities to their nature that can perplex their friends, families and lovers. They love versatility and change, but can be flighty and mutable to create interest in their lives. They dont like routine. Decisionmaking can be difficult for them and they can often change their minds.
In the Zodiac Great Year, the Age of Gemini occurred from about 6450-4300 BCE. It was a time when writing and accounting systems were developed and humans were beginning to trade with one another.
Geminis are kind, affectionate and generous, so long as this doesnt impact their own lives and comfort systems too much. They have a strong intellect and love mental challenges. They catch on to new ideas quickly. They have an analytical side and can see both sides to an issue.
If youre a Gemini, you have some interesting company in your birth sign. Some of the famous Geminis include President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, Henry Kissinger, Joe Namath and Paul McCartney. Many members of royal families were born under the sign of Gemini, too. Queen Victoria, King George V and Prince William, all of England, were or are Geminis.
Boredom is a big issue for Geminis and they can get into trouble looking for some excitement. But theyre very creative and active and should have outlets for all this energy like artistic projects or exercise or vigorous sports like racquetball. Because theyre always looking for new and interesting experiences, they can tend to overindulge in food or drink or night life and club-hopping. Geminis need to remember to pace themselves or they could risk burning themselves out too early in life.
Groups of signs in astrology share certain characteristics that are classified according to four earthly elements fire, air, water and earth. It helps explain why some signs are more compatible than others.
The Fire signs are Aries (March 21 to April 19), Leo (July 23 to August 22) and Sagittarius (November 22 December 21). Fire people are leaders, dynamic. They light up everything around them. Because Fire needs Air to exist, Fire signs are most compatible with the Air signs. Water is anathema to Fire and a Water person could try to dampen the dynamism and enthusiasm that defines Fire.
The Air signs are Aquarius (January 20 to February 18), Gemini (May 21 to June 21) and Libra (September 23 October 22). These are the idea signs, the air that breathes a spark into a flame. They cant be tied down. They require freedom of movement and thought.
The water signs of Cancer (June 22 to July22), Scorpio (October 23 to November 21) and Pisces (February 19 to March 20) are characterized by the phrase still waters run deep. Theyre emotional and sensitive, given to deep thoughts and conversations. Just as water can blur an image or hide secrets within its depths, so do Water signs have secretive emotions and abilities. The Water signs are most compatible with Earth signs.
The Earth signs are Taurus (April 20 May 20), Virgo (August 23 to September 22) and Capricorn (December 22 to January 19). They are stable and consistent. While not as compassionate as the water signs, they are nonetheless nurturing. They can be rigid (stick in the mud) and easily stuck in routines. They are most compatible with Water signs, as Water is necessary for the Earth to properly nurture growing things. Earth helps Water contain itself, which is often necessary for survival on the planet.
The Dragon is one of the most powerful and lucky Signs of the Chinese Zodiac. Its warm heart tempers its fiery and rambunctious nature. This is a giving, intelligent and tenacious Sign that knows exactly what it wants and is determined to get it. Dragons possess a certain natural, charm that ensures they can always influence their peers and often find themselves the center of attention in social situations. This Sign is truly blessed, too. Dragons are considered to be very lucky in love. The Dragon’s friends are always keen to hear what this firebrand has to say and when it comes to dispensing advice, the Dragon has the floor.
Its ego can get in the way, but even so, this larger-than-life creature has a knack for creativity and leadership. According to Dragons, it’s their natural born right to lead the way — because who else could do it so surely and so well. As lucky as they are, Dragons have a good chance of achieving considerable material wealth during their lifetimes, although it isn’t mere money that’s this Sign’s main motivation. Power is what the Dragon wants and truly believes it deserves. Dragons are quite the opportunists, forever searching for ways in which to consolidate their considerable power. Contrary to all this strength and fire, a weakened Dragon is a sad sack, a creature that refuses to take defeat with even a modicum of grace.
The leadership role is the only one for the Dragon, the better from which to give orders and be king of the hill. They make solid leaders, too, knowing instinctively what needs to be done to stay on top. Crossing the Dragon is never a good idea — this beast can singe. A valuable life lesson for this clever creature would be to absorb the principles of flexibility, compassion and tolerance. Being high and mighty can serve to inspire others, but it also keeps Dragons from living their lives to the fullest. If Dragons can learn to balance their quest for success with an appreciation for the little things, their life will be more than worthwhile.
The most compatible match for a Dragon is the Monkey or the Rat.
Dogs in both the East and West are loyal, faithful and honest and always stick to their firm codes of ethics. It’s generally quite trustworthy itself — except for the occasional little white lies the Dog tells in order to make things go more smoothly. The Dog makes a wonderful, discreet and loyal friend and is an excellent listener. This Sign tends to root for the underdog and its keen sense of right and wrong makes it duty-bound to the core. The Dog’s motto seems to be, Live right, look out for the little people and fight injustice whenever possible.
Dogs can also be rather dogmatic, too. They don’t go in for light social banter; instead, they go straight for home, discoursing on the topics that are most important to them. At these times the Dog’s narrow-minded or stubborn side can become apparent; this Sign has trouble staying light and calm when an important issue is at stake. This Sign can also be very temperamental; mood swings characterize its emotional life and often the Dog needs to run off to be alone in order to recuperate. Part of the problem is the result of this Sign’s load of irrational fears that turn into niggling anxieties that turn into hurt feelings and occasional grouchiness. This sensitive Sign needs to warm up to others over time and gradually learn to trust them. Without that trust as a foundation, Dogs can be judgmental and coarse.
The Dog’s discerning nature does make it an excellent business person, one who can turn that picky, guarded nature into a keen sense of the truth of another’s motives. Where love is concerned, Dogs often have a tough time finding the right match. Dogs need to work on controlling their irrational worries and would also be well-served to relax their mile-high standards, which can sometimes wind up alienating the ones they love.
The most compatible match for a Dog is the Tiger or the Horse.
Where did the practice of astrology originate. Did it evolve in one part of the world and then become adopted by other civilizations.
When you study the ancient civilizations in the Middle East, Central America and in Asia, there are remarkable similarities in how they adapted their lives to be in harmony with the rhythms of earth and the cosmos. Consider that there are pyramids in Mayan and Aztec cultures, as well as Egyptian ones. And that many pyramids are constructed around and point to key events in the solar system, such as equinoxes and solstices.
Similarly, astrology is thought to have developed independently in Babylon and Central America. The astrology systems in India and China most likely were derived from those in Babylon.
Its curious that many fundamentalist religions reject the principles of astrology, because it was, in fact, an integral component of the religions of Babylon. It was part of the calling of priests in Babylon to predict the future and part of their methodology for doing so was to interpret events in the sky. Nothing was considered pure chance and any natural occurrence, no matter how mundane or mysterious, could be an omen of either good fortune or bad.
The part of Mesopotamia that is now Iraq once comprised Babylonia in the South and Assyria in the North. Before Alexander the Great conquered the area in 330 BC, the Assyrians were a military and administrative power, and Babylon was the center of culture. The underlying belief system in both cultures was that there was a spiritual force behind every act of nature. Heaven and Earth were complementary systems, with neither one having dominion over the other. But by the 4th century BCE, this belief system was influenced by the Greek view that the heavens, and its resident gods, determined events on earth.
According to Richard Tarnas, who also wrote of The Passion of the Western Mind, history is on the verge of a major shift, comparable to the one wrought by Copernicus and Galileo, but a seemingly antiscientific one: an astrological turn that can only be understood thorough chronicling planetary alignments as they correlate to the rise of the modern mind over the last 500 years. Understanding planetary alignments, for Tarnas, is crucial to the world’s future and requires a genuine dialogue with the cosmos, by opening ourselves more fully to the other, to ancient and indigenous epistemologies, even to other forms of life, other modes of the universe’s self-disclosure.
The book is filled with philosophical, religious, literary and scientific thinking ranging from Luther and Kepler through Hemingway and even Hitchcock and Dylan. Reading it will require a strong background in the history of modern thought, an advanced knowledge of astrology, a willingness to withhold skepticism about the role of planetary alignments of the past in understanding life today and the avoidance of imminent world catastrophe. Tarnas’s call to redefine what we consider as legitimate knowledge will resonate in some sectors, but it will be a tough sell with the more scientifically hardheaded.
In terms of planetary cycles, our present condition in history is most comparable to the period five hundred years agothat era of extraordinary turbulence and creativity, the High Renaissance. Not since Copernicus conceived the heliocentric theory has the human community faced such a profound realignment of the way we think.
Perhaps its time for us to move back to the philosophy that man is part of the universe, not placed here to conquer it. Just as were finding some older medical procedures, such as the use of leeches, to have value today, perhaps we should open our minds to the distinct possibility that astrological forces can be a powerful influence on our lives.
The astronomer Claudius Ptolemy lived from approximately 100-170 CE. Very little is known of him, including where he was born. Claudius means citizen of Rome, while Ptolemy means resident of Egypt. Some sources indicate that he was a citizen of Rome, others that he lived in Alexandria, Egypt.
He was also a mathematician, geographer and astrologer. In a way, he was to his era what Leonardo da Vinci was to the Renaissance. While many of Claudius Ptolemys work has been refuted, his treatises on astronomy, astrology, geography and music were the foundations from which subsequent scientists built their theories.
The Ptolemaic system of the universe became the dominant cosmological model for centuries thereafter, and was not displaced until the seventeenth century by Kepler and Copernicus.
Modern astrologers consider Ptolemy as the author of one of the oldest complete manuals of astrology, – the Tetrabiblos (Greek) meaning Four Books. Although we know Ptolemy did not invent his methods of astrology we recognize his contribution as being one of orchestrating the mass of Eastern star lore into an organized and reasoned exposition. The Tetrabiblos offered a detailed explanation of the philosophical framework of astrology, enabling its practitioners to answer critics on scientific as well as religious grounds.
As a leading intellectual of his day, Ptolemy’s patronage and approval of astrology added to its academic respectability. By preserving its credibility as a science as well as an art, he safeguarded its practice during the medieval period when many other occult studies were persecuted on religious grounds. He spoke of astrology with authority and lucidity, establishing the Tetrabiblos as the definitive reference for astrological students. It was used extensively by Arabic scholars, who regarded Ptolemy as the final word on the subject, and later by European ones when it was translated back into Latin in the 12th century.
Prior to adoption of the Western solar calendar system, China exclusively followed a lunar calendar in determining the times of planting, harvesting, and festival occasions. Though today people in China use the western calendar for most practical matters of daily life, the old system still serves as the basis for determining numerous seasonal holidays. This coexistence of two calendar systems has long been accepted by the people of China.
A lunar month is determined by the period required for the moon to complete its full cycle of 29 and a half days, a standard that makes the lunar year a full 11 days shorter than its solar counterpart. This difference is made up every 19 years by the addition of seven lunar months. The 12 lunar months are further divided into 24 solar divisions distinguished by the four seasons and times of heat and cold, all bearing close relationship to the yearly cycle of agricultural work.
The Chinese calendar – like the Hebrew – is a combined solar/lunar calendar in that it strives to have its years coincide with the tropical year and its months coincide with the synodic months. It is not surprising that a few similarities exist between the Chinese and the Hebrew calendar: An ordinary year has 12 months, a leap year has 13 months. An ordinary year has 353, 354, or 355 days, a leap year has 383, 384, or 385 days. When determining what a Chinese year looks like, one must make a number of astronomical calculations:
First, determine the dates for the new moons. Here, a new moon is the completely black moon (that is, when the moon is in conjunction with the sun), not the first visible crescent used in the Islamic and Hebrew calendars. The date of a new moon is the first day of a new month.