Astrology has captivated people since ancient times when it was first conceived as a way of explaining the movement of celestial bodies. Over the centuries the practice and the theory behind it has changed and it was cultivated until it found its current form.
There are also a lot of different approaches to astrology mostly colored by local cultures and religions. These days, astrology is often seen as a hobby and a way to pass the time with readings and short-term predictions.
What Are the Main Tenets of Astrology?
The core belief of astrology is that the position of celestial bodies affects our daily lives. It’s believed that the position of planets at the moment you’re born will determine some of your personal traits and your overall life path. There are a lot of details within this and astrologers can map them out as they learn more about you.
Horoscopes that you can find in newspapers aren’t personalized in this manner and you should be able to get much more out of an actual visit to an astronomer. These detailed readings will be more carefully suited to you personally.
Where Did It Come from?
The astrology sites and personal readings you can find these days actually have a deep and complex history going back to the earliest civilization and their attempts to understand astronomy and the world around them.
There is evidence that the astrological readings were common in ancient Babylon. The Zodiac system that western astrology is most familiar with is the product of the Hellenic world both in Greece and in Egypt. Egyptian astrology was especially influenced by the mixture of local and Hellenic practices that eventually evolved in what we now know as Zodiac signs.
Is There a Scientific Proof to Any of This?
There’s no scientific basis for the claim that the position of heavenly bodies affects your traits in any way. There are ways in which these bodies can affect the Earth through gravity, which is most noticeable with the Moon and its effect on the tides.
Blind tests were done to figure out the causation between the date of birth and it was proven that there’s no correlation and no way to predict the future based on it. However, the belief is still prevalent since it’s deeply culturally rooted in many different cultures across the world.
Western Astrology and Its Principle
In western astrology, divination is done based on the position of the planets and the Sun in correlation to the signs of the Zodiac. The visible sky is divided into twelve areas that are known as Zodiac signs. These are constellations and as the planets pass through them they affect people with certain signs.
There are also the effects that the planets and other bodies have on each other while they are in the same signs. Within this, a system is formed and each of these aspects affects the individual in different ways and times.
Hindu astrology also has a long history. It existed before Hellenistic influences and then it was based on principles that had nothing to do with Zodiac signs. Hellenistic influences have, however, created a mixture of Hindu and Greek astrology that’s somewhat similar to what we know in the West as the horoscope.
Early Hindu astrology was connected with local theology and it is based on a lunar rather than the solar year. Greek Zodiacs were introduced somewhere in the first century and translated from Greek to Hindu. Both versions are still in use in India up to this day, with a lot of overlapping.
Chinese and East Asian Astrology
Chinese astrology was also tied to theology and was mostly related to divination in the context of political and military events. It also has a system similar to that of the Zodiac signs, but it also has earth signs and many other features that can’t be found in western astrology.
Due to the cultural influence that China has in the region, Vietnam and Korea have also been greatly influenced by Chinese astrology and their approach to the practice is very much similar to that of the Chinese if not identical at this point.
Criticism and Reactions
Criticism of astrology has been vocal about its opposition to the practice. This criticism came from a variety of different sources. In the ancient world, it was criticized by rationalists and skeptics of all kinds. During the middle ages, the practice was criticized by the Church.
In the age of reason and the enlightenment due to its unscientific nature. A part of that sort of criticism is still prevalent and it became more so when astronomy became more advanced and we learned more about the planets as they actually are.
The Feminist Approach
In recent years a different outlook on European astrology has emerged. It was always a set of practices that were mostly performed by women. Therefore, it gave women agency and a sense of control over a portion of society within a cultural context that was oppressive towards women.
This provided a more positive outlook towards the practice even though it didn’t try to deny that it doesn’t have a scientific basis. Numerous research projects were done in this regard and it uncovered a complicated web of social relations that gave women a more prominent role than was expected within a patriarchal context.
Should You Trust Astrology Today?
Astrology is mostly discredited as a pseudo-science these days and you shouldn’t look towards it as a source of divination. However, it can be a fun hobby if it’s not taken too seriously and if you are aware of its cultural context.
There are ways to enjoy astrology without having to know too much about it and numerous online resources are there to help beginners. It’s also possible to learn about different approaches to astrology and to go beyond its western iterations. Look for sites online and pay attention to reviews before you use any of their services, and especially before you pay for them.