Most people are aware of their sun sign (Leo, Virgo etc) but there are actually still questions regarding the origin and history of astrology. These are just some of the prevailing hypotheses about the subject.
It’s very difficult to give exact dates as to when the practice began. It’s a fact that early civilizations paid very close attention to the stars and their movements.
Primitive man was heavily dependent on agriculture for his food. Given this fact, he learned the value of observing the occurrences of the seasons, rain, sunshine and other heavenly influences. As time went by, man became convinced that the stars and planets played a role not just in his livelihood but in his character and personality too.
The Earliest Practitioners
The history of astrology probably started as far back as 3,000 BC in Mesopotamia. However the available records so far point to the Chaldeans and Babylonians as the earliest in the West (1,000 BC). In India and China, different systems emerged.
It’s not known exactly when the Zodiac signs emerged. One theory is that they were developed over time in Babylon. As the practice became more popular, the Zodiac symbols came into use to help in the interpretation of the facts. It’s been suggested that the other basic elements were also formed there. Whatever the case may be, it became very popular even in Egypt.
During the Medieval Age
The practice would survive the demise of the Greek and Roman Empires. Even when Christianity arose, it was able to survive and thrive. Part of the reason was that the history of astrology became intertwined with the Kabbala and Christian mysticism. As such, the Church authorities came to recognize its divine origin and meaning.
It wasn’t just the Church that relied on astrologers. Virtually all the royal courts employed one. These individuals became highly sought after. They were consulted for the proper times to go to war, making important decisions and taking note of heavenly portents. They were also in the business of fortune telling. Even during the Age of Enlightenment, its popularity never wavered.
The 20th Century
The belief was taken by the Europeans to America. From the 1900s up to the 1950s the demand for its services soared. Professional astrologers became numerous.
The history of astrology changed in the 1940s. That was when the first wave of magazines, newspapers and books started coming out. While the newspaper horoscopes added to its popularity, the knowledge of some people became limited to it.
Astrologers were also relied upon by celebrities and movie stars. This helped boost its popularity even more. The rise of the Internet in the 1990s also helped. People could have their charts read online. Software allows laymen to make calculations on their own with ease.
The growth of the Internet has also sparked interest in the Chinese and Vedic (Hindu) variants. All of these contribute to its ongoing popularity.
The history of astrology has shown its ability to withstand criticism. Even though there are questions about its legitimacy, it’s still being believed and relied upon by millions around the world.