The (Real) History of Astrology
Today, astrology is revered for its revelatory insights into our personal destiny and our individual soul’s growth, but this wasn’t always the case! This is a relatively new evolution of astrological knowledge and principles.
For thousands of years, astrology was used by those in power to guide their actions. Astrologers were always consulted by kings, emperors, and the elite. Historical astrologers knew the movement of the planets and they predicted the outcomes of certain events based on those movements. Astrology was used to predict the outcomes of major elections, to help strategize and win battles, and to keep society in harmony through the planting of crops and pin down the timing of religious and spiritual rituals and events.
Some form of astrology is infused into every culture in history.
Babylonians, Egyptians, Mayans, Chinese and Greeks all used astrology in their culture. The ancient greek scientist, Ptolemy formalized the study of astrology in the Tetrabiblios (1st century CE), a text that was revered for over a thousand years by fellow astrologers. When the Western world went into the dark ages, astrology had a major renaissance in the Middle East. When the West exited the dark ages, astrology came back to the fore.
However, during the Enlightenment period of the 17th & 18th centuries, the schism between astrology and astronomy arose. Prior to this time, there was no separation of the two, and the movement of the heavens was the movement of the divine. Astrology was a system for man to understand and speak with divinity, to commune with it, and even to more thoroughly align with it. The Enlightenment period, however, stripped spirit from matter in all forms. Alchemy became chemistry, for example. And, astronomy became favored over astrology for its more advanced more “scientific” viewpoint.
Though the two were separated, astrology never lost its intriguing power. Religious and political figures still consulted astrologers for advice, though now privately rather than out in the open. Even through today this is the case. It is well known that Nancy Regan consulted an astrologer to help plan her husband’s political career, and at least half of all traders on Wall Street consult psychics or astrologers to predict their earnings and the stock market! In modern times, we see a major shift in astrology, however.
Astrology is now focused on the individual.
Historically, astrology was only used for major cultural events. Around 100 or so years ago (around the same time as the industrial revolution), our culture shifts into a focus on the individual. We became more concerned about our own welfare and well-being than the culture’s. This sparks a shift in the application of astrology, too!
In fact, around 100 years ago, a newspaper columnist named Alan Leo invented the daily horoscope…in order to sell more papers! It’s really not that accurate, as it’s folly to think that 1/12 of society is having the same kind of day! In truth, we are all twelve zodiac signs uniquely mixed.
The personal application of astrology gives us insight into our deepest drives and destiny.
As the practice of astrology evolved to speak to the individual, astrologers have become more adept at decoding the astrological blueprints of each person. Through careful observation, we learn how the zodiac signs, planets and houses all interact to create a universe of potential within each person. Instead of predicting cultural events or harvest times, we are now able to see how you come into accord with astral energy in order to live your best life.
Astrology holds the key to accessing our deepest drives and our destiny. By looking at the energy encoded within our chart, we do the work of looking inside ourselves–normally a pastime reserved for psychotherapy–in order to discover the root of old patterns or wounds, and find ways of bringing forth the highest potential of our life’s energy.
This isn’t just a practice of magic, it is a practice of mysticism; one that leads us on a journey toward living the fullest, most authentic expression of our best selves!