Astrology is the study of how the motions of celestial bodies influence the day-to-day affairs of earthly observers. If you hold that the Universe is interconnected—everything influences everything else—i.e. A butterfly flaps its wings in China and Taylor Swift falls in love with a football player—then astrology makes perfect sense.
In the deep quiet of winter, Fate seems very real and very close. Maybe it’s an ancient recollection of deadly cold and dwindling supplies—a collective memory of times when life was uncertain at best and downright questionable in the depths of winter. Some patterns and cycles were easy to see, but others—not so much. Our ancestors prodded entrails, watched the clouds, rolled the bones—and they looked up at the night sky.
I live in a rural area where the nuisance of light pollution is at a minimum. Darkness is warm, black velvet in the summer, frigid and sharp as crystal in the winter. The sky beckons with the music of the orbs, the sparkle of serene and unassailable planets and stars, and, of course, the aliens—but that’s a blog post for another time.
Whatever you think of astrology, it’s firmly rooted in our 21st-century lives. I bet you know your sign and the general attributes it entails. You may take a peek at your horoscope from time to time. Maybe you don’t live your life according to the stars, but you are aware of astrology.
The Earthly Roots of Astrology
The first written evidence of an organized practice of astrology dates back to the 3rd millennium BCE in Mesopotamia, but the custom spread to China, Greece, Europe, and then, I guess, California.
Though no longer considered a science, astrology had a profound impact on astronomy as astrologers observed the Universe and noted its motions and patterns. At first, those patterns presupposed a geocentric universe with the Earth at the center. Though we all know a few people who cling to the belief that the universe revolves around them, the real nature of the cosmos is much more complex.
And then there was the question of whether the influence of the stars and planets is mechanistic making manifest the will of God—meaning no way out– you’re stuck with Mercury Retrograde forever—or if Fate written in the stars can be changed by Divine or human intervention.
These days, we’ve adopted a Free Will sort of view—The stars show tendencies and patterns but forewarned is forearmed. You can take that info and use it to avoid mistakes, even disasters. Acting per the stars might improve fortunes, relationships, and the outcome of the next football game. (Go Chiefs!)
Some events may be destined, but nobody labeled anything so you may as well take your best shot.
Astrology: The Fixin’s
Let’s look at the ingredients in our astrology pie.
Twelve constellations circle the globe in the ecliptic, a celestial belt about 20° wide in latitude through which the Sun, Moon, and planets always appear to move. These constellations serve as the foundational framework of astrology. Of course, the stars in the constellations are in no way connected. They simply appear to us in a certain pattern. And that pattern does change as our solar system moves, as our galaxy rotates, and as those stars also move in space.
It’s an impossibly intricate dance but the universe is so big that the changes seem to occur slowly from our perspective as mere earthly mortals. Still, those twelve constellations are clear and bright against the backdrop of deep space.
Because they are closer to us, the movements of the planets are easily charted. They wander the sky, forward and then backward. Their influence interacts with the signs of the zodiac and the houses through which the planet moves. The Sun and Moon, known as luminaries, are crucial celestial entities. The position of the planets and the luminaries at the time of your birth shapes your astrological profile, providing insights into your personality, relationships, and life path.
Imagine the sky divided into twelve slices. The first slice begins at the dawn horizon and the others spread out around Earth’s 24-hour daily rotation. Each house represents a different area of life. Though the attributes of each house are governed by a planet and a sign, these Houses stay put. The signs and planets move through them. In which House the planets, luminaries, and signs of the Zodiac appear when you were born indicates aspects of your personality and life.
From Then to Now
Astrology’s historical significance is baked into the diverse melting pot of humanity. In Mesopotamia, astrological insights guided kings and leaders in decision-making. In ancient China, the lunar calendar, deeply rooted in astrology, was pivotal for agricultural planning. The Egyptians aligned their pyramids with celestial patterns, intertwining their architecture with cosmic rhythms. Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle acknowledged astrology’s potential impact on human life.
During the Renaissance, rediscovered ancient astrological texts influenced art, medicine, and philosophy. Even Carl Jung recognized the psychological dimensions of astrology, seeing it as a symbolic language of archetypes.
Today, people seek cosmic guidance not only for self-discovery but also to navigate relationships, career decisions, and personal growth.
As with most things, I am a rank amateur when it comes to astrology—but I’m also a devoted and lifelong learner. And there’s no better way to learn something than by writing about it. So that’s what I’m going to do for a bit of 2024.
Is there wisdom in the stars as our ancestors believed? Does the mystical art of astrology reveal our intimate connection to the Universe? Or is it all woo-woo? Let’s take a closer look during the next month.
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Are you a True Believer, an amiable doubter, or a fire-brand skeptic? Tell Auntie Sorchia all about it.
So, What’s Your Sign? Do you read your horoscope? If you’d like to see what’s in the stars for you, take a look at the new horoscope widget. I’d love to hear from you if it is accurate—or not.
Is there a topic related to astrology you would like me to feature in future posts? Sing out in the comments.