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Edmonton Astrological Society   Since 1977

History of Astrology

Astrology: described as the science of astronomy applied to human affairs and called the "mother of the sciences". It is as old as civilization itself and since mankind first inhabited the earth human beings looked up to the sky and through observation noted the correlation between the changes of the sun, moon, stars and the events on earth. Predictable events in the night sky revealed a sense of order out of apparent chaos. Early in man's history astrology was used to predict and explain events such as natural disasters, war, weather patterns and other large-scale events. As societies became more complex it was employed as leadership guidance for kings and queens, used by popes, emperors, doctors and scholars, while nomads and seamen used it for navigation. It was interwoven with religion and power and was included in the study of history, science and art in universities.

Astrology developed independently among different civilizations without any cultural, geographical or temporal connections between them. The zodiac (circle of beings and symbols) as we know it was somewhat different in early astrological recordings. The Chaldeans of Babylonia are credited with its birth as they created one of the original forms of astrology where the earliest written astrological records dates back to 3000 B.C. This is where we begin to recognize the basic forms of astrology as we know it today. Reaching a peak in Hellenistic Greece, decreasing in importance at the fall of the Roman Empire, it was later re-introduced in the West via Islamic scholars. Simultaneously it spread from Mesopotamia to Egypt and India, and eventually to China.

The Chinese developed their own system of astrology based on their observations and their cultural symbols, as did the people in the Americas, particularly the Mayans who were advanced in astronomy and mathematics. The Greek tradition is credited with developing a system of diagnosis and a method of calculating individual destinies based upon the moment of birth.

Ptolemy, a Greek mathematician and astronomer wrote the first textbook on astrology called the "Tetrabiblos" in 150 A.D. and his model dominated Western thought for over 1400 years. Copernicus placed the Sun at the centre of the universe in 1543 but his theory was not accepted for another 100 years. In 1687 Newton wrote the 'Principia Mathematica' which paved the way to the modern era of studying the heavens, called astronomy. Prior to this time no division between astronomy and astrology existed, as they were considered the same.

The 17th century saw the separation of astronomy and astrology as materialism and objective science drove astrology out of the European universities and a more rational reality no longer saw man and nature as containing the same substance or spirit. This was the beginning of the decline that astrology would suffer to modern times. To this day astronomy is the science of observation while astrology relates to events and human experience.

Astrology Today

Today astrology is used and respected by people at all levels of society. It continues to be studied and practiced by those who see the need to keep the connection between heaven and earth. If it did not work, it would have long ago taken its place in historical footnotes. Ancient civilizations are gone, but their gift of astrology survives and is stronger than ever as its increased popularity since the '60's continues to this day with numerous astrological associations, publications, businesses, societies, counsellors and consultants in nearly every country.

Astrology remains one of the most misunderstood fields of study as it combines certain elements of science, art and intuition. It is a language that utilizes symbols that assist us in expanding our knowledge of the universe and our capacity to understand ourselves in relationship to it. It is a study of cycles which are clocked by the motion of the earth in regards to the other planets in the solar system. The basic principle conceives the heavens and Earth as united, interpenetrating, and sharing a common space and time where the rhythms of life mirror or reflect the rhythms of the solar system.

Astrology describes the symbolic patterns that are dominant at any point in time and space in any individual, event or issue that comes into being at that point in time and space. The chart or horoscope drawn up is a blueprint and can be likened to a photograph of the solar system frozen for a particular moment of time and represents the exact placement of the planets at the location, date, and time of birth. The mathematical relationship of the planets to the earth and to each other at the time of birth reflects the particular individuality and identity. The birth chart configuration of whatever is "born" at a particular moment in time and space is the foundation from which life begins and from where further growth will occur.

Astrology offers an excellent form of character analysis while reflecting the capacities of an individual. While it is up to each of us to choose how we use these capacities its ability to provide meaningful information about our potentials can be used to make productive choices. It determines the relative strength and weakness of the various energies operating in each individual life cycle that will allow one to discover and recognize what they are capable of and best suited for. Each factor in an astrological chart will have a full spectrum of possible manifestation and will show where attention is likely to be emphasized and directed in life.

It is an excellent form of self-knowledge that allows an individual to understand the different energy patterns between themselves and others while providing strategies and understanding for relating to others more effectively by showing how we share some patterns with other people and how we are different.

Astrology does not stop at birth as the heavens are in a constant precise motion. This continuing movement of the planets outlines the path throughout life and provides guidance and offers solutions as new experiences are gained. It is not just for timing events, but a way of finding the true meaning behind them. It is effective in hindsight, giving insight into past events while deepening wisdom in a most profound way.

For most astrologers trying to predict the future is not important, as "events do not happen to people - people happen to events" which restates the famous saying: "The stars impel, they do not compel". One can determine what kinds of influences will be present in one's life from day to day but perhaps not what will happen in precise detail. As a clock, astrology is used to forecast trends and potentials so that these can be handled more smoothly or avoided altogether. Therefore, astrology cannot foretell the future but can only foretell the potential of the future. No astrological forecast may be always absolutely precise, nor are the future events it may describe be always absolutely inevitable; and we realize the same is true in conventional medicine, weather forecasting or any area concerned with relatively intangible topics. Knowledge of forthcoming astrological patterns does not protect us from experience but when combined with some understanding of ourselves, this knowledge can expand our range of response-ability. The purpose is not to blame the planets for what happens to us but to learn about ourselves by planetary indication.

The Law of Correspondence is the basic principle of astrology expressed in the phrase "as above - so below". Celestial events occurring around and beyond Earth are not seen as causing events to occur on Earth, but rather as symbolic of events also happening here on Earth. All cosmic events are interactive and represent an activity taking place within us and our consciousness. In other words, there is no 'cause' in the heavens followed by an 'effect' here on Earth. Both happen simultaneously and are mutually reflective with neither being the cause of the other; both are a product of the moment, one acted out in the heavens above, the other here on the Earth below.

While there is no area in human experience to which astrology cannot be applied, it cannot replace critical thinking, strategic planning, required efforts, or the development of necessary skills to succeed in this world. It will not give magic powers, special abilities, luck or any other quality that is the product of effort, self-application or required learning. It will enhance understanding in what we may need or prefer to create in our lives that brings meaning and purpose to our existence. From that view, it is priceless and using it as an instrument you find yourself asking not how does astrology work but how could it not work.

Future of Astrology

Astrology has survived to this day by adapting its form, practice and language to the prevailing world view of the times. It is not something new which needs to be developed as at one time it was very advanced. Presently much astrological work has a psychological orientation but over the last several decades it has exploded into a wide spectrum of diverse approaches.

As we close the 20th century and enter into a new millennium, astrology will be re-integrated into mainstream thinking. The majority of the people will embrace astrology as a part of their reality. Presently a transition is happening and we are close to this occurring.

As we move into the Age of Aquarius, future generations will accept that astrology is the sacred vessel that holds the potential of reuniting us with our surrounding Universe. By observing the interplay between the planetary cycles and our experiences we are able to rebuild the long-lost common knowledge that we are living participants in the intelligent, mysterious process of the Universe.

Astrology: a gift from our early ancestors whose TIME has come.

written by:  Shirley Eftoda ©