Most people might be shocked to hear this, but astrology, and horoscopes in general, have been around for much longer than you’d think. Astrological systems have existed for thousands of years (with some estimates placing the first system being created over 4,000 years BC by Mesopotamia).
While astrology may have gotten its start in the lush landscape of the fertile crescent, nearly every single culture across the world has had some form of zodiac/astrological system. Spanning the globe from China to India, and Africa to Mexico, nearly all cultures have employed astrology to try and understand their place in the universe.
Whether you’re a budding astrologist, or you’re just looking for more information about astrology, we’ve written this blog to provide a complete overview of the history of astrology. Starting all the way back thousands of years BC and progressing all the way to its modern form, we cover all major periods in the evolution of astrology.
The Early Years: Astrology BC
Most scholars agree that the first organized culture to create its own astrological system was Mesopotamia. This culture, which was located in modern-day Iraq (as well as parts of Syria, Turkey, etc.), is widely considered to be one of the very first to create its own zodiac system (i.e. organized astrological interpretations).
After Mesopotamia developed its system, astrology quickly spread to other cultures that the Mesopotamians encountered, with the primary one being the Egyptians (which in turn spread astrology to the Greeks – but more on this later). The Egyptians essentially took the Mesopotamian system and refined it, and also added their own culture and interpretations into it.
Even though the Egyptians refined the Mesopotamian system, it was the Greeks that brought it into its current form. In fact, the word “astrology” even has Greek origins. Alexander the Great’s attempted conquest of the known ancient world can be credited with introducing the Greeks to astrology.
The emperor tried taking over numerous foreign countries, all of which had unique astrological systems (that inspired the Greeks to create what we now understand as the 12 sign zodiac system). Eventually, the Greeks developed two different types of astrological systems; one being a planetary-based system that relied on interpretations of astrological movements, and the other being one that was more focused on divine communication.
Laying the Foundations of Modern Astrology: Ptolemy
Ptolemy was a very important Greek mathematician, who published one of the most essential pieces of astrological literature in existence (known as Tetrabiblos). Ptolemy was the person who wrote the ground rules for how each planetary house and zodiac sign related to one another. If you look at the same types of interpretations created by today’s astrologers, you won’t see much difference between the two.
The Spread of Astrology and Zodiac Systems
Starting with the Mesopotamians, going to the Egyptians, spreading to other Asian countries, and then finally landing with the Greeks (who subsequently spread it to other countries), it’s safe to say that astrology has been popular for quite a long time.
One might be wondering why that is, and the answer is a simple one: because astrology works. Astrology explains things to humans that no logic ever could. Astrology interprets the stars and serves as a direct connection between human wonder and the divine.
Further Developments and Leading Into Modern Astrology
After the developments initiated by Ptolemy, several other astrologers made additional enhancements to the Greek system. Eventually, this system was passed along to the cultures that came to replace the Greek kingdom, and each of them added their own spin to the original Greek system (which itself was based on other cultures’ systems).
Astrology wasn’t limited to Europe. In fact, many Asian cultures had their own systems in development at the same time as the Greeks (or even earlier -e.g. China). However, when referring to the astrological system that we all know today (in the US and Europe, anyways), it has its origins in the Greek system.
Astrology and the Internet
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