In the beginningIt's hard to ignore the precise movements of our solar system and not believe that the universe is a work of art rather than just a cosmic accident that has set an orderly pattern in motion. The predictable motion of planets makes it a logical assumption that there is order, not chaos, in the universe.
The cause for the universe to be put into order is, of course, unknown other than stories passed down over the ages that were eventually put to writing. At any rate, it takes time to observe the repeated celestial cycles before coming to any conclusions about their meaning. After a few thousand years something can be said about the observed correlation between people and planetary movements.
Gods were needed Over time Gods were assigned to the planets and this gave meaning to human experience in psychological terms, although it appears as superstition to many people today. The Gods were a way of assigning human characteristics to each of the visible planets as the planets moved and formed mathematical relationships with each other. A 90° relationship was observed as being difficult. A 120° relationship was graceful and gifted. A zero degree relationship forms when planets are seen in the same degree of longitude and this blending of characteristics can complicate things.
We should always keep in mind that these Gods are archetypes with human traits and behaviour. The planets themselves do not make decisions for us, but they do represent changing trends. We find ourselves in the solar system and we cannot remove ourselves and experience a different environment. Therefore, how can we be sure that the cosmic order does not have an effect on us? We have no other experience in which to contrast or compare. But even so, whatever cosmic effect we may be present it is our choices that we can control, and our choices determine our future - not the planets.
We made it all up Everything about predicting with astrology was made up from observing the movement of planets and signs and how they correlate to human experience. It is a system of understanding, nothing more and nothing less. We simply cannot take ourselves out of the system and pretend the greater cosmos has no relationship with us. To deny meaning to the cosmos only removes the use of astrology, it doesn't remove the relationship. We are in the system.
When the astrologers of Mesopotamia (currently Iraq) gave the planets their meaning it was from what they observed of the planets in correlation to human traits and events. Does this mean that the planets produced an influence on human events? What is the means for which we are influenced by the planets? This has not been found nor proven. But this shouldn't stop us from using astrology when there are other phenomenon that we use but do not know the cause of. Think of electricity, magnetism or gravity for which we do not know the cause, but we use them all just the same. And from math, which is logical, comes the illogical constant we call pi, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to the radius of the circle. The illogical part of pi is that no one has been able to find the exact ratio it represents. We have a working number that is 3.14 but the precise math runs in length to a decimal point that even computers cannot calculate. It's another mystery of life, and yet the ratio of pi is everywhere in the universe.
Along with awareness comes new beliefs We no longer see planets as Gods because our awareness goes out into the cosmos well past the edge of our solar system, but not yet as far as the path of the ecliptic that lies some galaxies away. There is still mysteries to be discovered and to be explained about life, and there is still greater distances to travel in mind and through time. Nothing is for certain, especially here on earth, as we see our civilization pushing the very limits of sustainable life here on earth.
Ancient Sumeria The City states of Sumer in the Fertile Crescent of ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq) made up the first civilization to invent a few things that are with us today. Writing being the biggest invention, and then the wheel along with metallurgy and astrology/astronomy.
Our current global civilization has a greater awareness than that of ancient Sumeria and it is always the level of awareness that distinguishes the important differences between civilizations. So, as we look back at an earlier civilization we find a different kind of astrology which grew in awareness when Chaldean people rules over Sumeria beginning in the late 5th century BC. Here was a time when only kings and emperors would consult with an astrologer. Right up through the centuries the only access to astrology for common people was hearsay of the lowest common denominator. The lowest level of knowledge was mostly misleading and it remains so today, but this is hardly different from a layperson's understanding of string theory or quantum physics.
The best minds were at work developing a written language about 5,000 years ago because commerce required a record of transactions between the city states that lined the fertile crescent. That language we now call cuneiform, and it was a pictorial writing suitable for mathematics and accounting, more so than it was for storytelling & writing history. However, this was the earliest period when a manmade system of accounting for the heavens began.
The beliefs about astrology were being developed and to put a cause to what was being learned naturally fell into religious interpretations. The common people didn't know about astrology as even the philosophers of the day knew very little. Astrology was in its infancy.
The story that astrology tells changed as Sumer, or Sumeria emerged around 4000 years BC. And then later Babylon emerged around 2000 years BC, and then again as Chaldeans ruled the city of Ur from about 625-538 B.C. There were a number of cultures that emerged and disappeared in the "Fertile Crescent", which is the same region that we now refer to as Iraq.
The Chaldeans were a tribal people that probably came from Arabia and settled in Sumer. They brought stronger mathematical skills and produced the first horoscope around 400 BC. This horoscope did not look like the horoscopes being drawn up today. A system of astrology was being developed from observation and knowledge was passed along in the oral traditions. However, around 3500 BC cuneiform writing came into being but it was a pictorial form of record keeping before the Greeks invented an alphabet.
These civilizations of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) also added greatly to astronomy and the accuracy of mapping the sky, even as they were scripting their own Gods into the cosmic theatre. Much later the Greeks gave colour and drama to the cosmos by assigning their own God like properties to the planets. This changed astrology considerably through a new interpretation of planetary archetypes and thus assigning human psychological traits to the planets. We gained a growth in awareness through the cast of characters which are really about human characteristics.
And then the Romans changed the names of the planets (using Roman Gods), and we use the Roman names even still. The Romans also spread the knowledge and use of astrology throughout the Mediterranean and Europe just as the Roman empire spread Christianity throughout the known world. However, the Irish were generally left alone and this served as a safe haven for the knowledge of our own civilization. Thomas Cahill explains in his book "How the Irish Saved Civilization."
However, it was the renaissance period that gave astrology an overhaul in philosophy and astronomy. Much of what modern astrologers understand comes from this period through the work produced by Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brae and Galileo Galilei, to name a few.
As human awareness changes then so does astrology, religion and science
Our beliefs are formed within the boundaries set by our awareness. There have always been brilliant men and women throughout history, but as a civilization the historical record shows something less than brilliant when it comes to human behaviour. And what, you might ask, is so different today? Isn't our civilization on the brink somehow? And isn't less than brilliant behaviour still alive and well today?
The Greek Classical era (400 B.C.) has been dressed up by mythological Gods that have been expressed through human drama. Astrology became more colourful, and more entertaining in the hands of the Greeks.
Mars was the God of war, but in yet an earlier period, Venus was the God of love and war. Over millennia the story has been built up and changed through observing the dependable motion of planets and signs in the ecliptic as they appear to correlate with human events. It is all seen through the ecliptic (the Sun's path) because that is where all the action takes place.
You can think of the zodiac signs and the reoccurring planetary cycles as a rhythm in synchronicity that repeats predictable placement in the zodiac, and at every turn we make choices. Having made a choice it then becomes the foundation for how we see our reality. We can choose to see human life as evolving out of the oceans or we can see all life as created by God. Either belief will be the foundation for how we see our reality.