What's the idea behind astrology – where did it come from and why?

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What characteristics do Libras have? Geminis?

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eye_in_skyguy

because some druged out Greek had noting to do one day

worldwidejf

I think over 1000’s of years we’ve observed the movement of the planets and peoples behaviours in relationship to those movements, patterns emerged and after enuf case studies the patterns become reliable enough to predict behaviour. Daily, general horoscopes excluded, if you really want to see astrology in action have a reading done specifically for you by a vedic astrologer.

khnum9

People are lazy and want all the answers to life handed to them on a platter. Astrology does that for you, it tells you what you want to hear.

Danielle S

Astrology and astronomy were the same science for hundreds of years; ancient astronomers were also believers in astrology, believing that the position of the heavens had an effect on people as well as on seasons and tides. In the “holy land” it was very important to know when seasonal floods and drought would come, which could be predicted by the stars.
Early man discovered that there are patterns in the apparent movement of constellations, and that these patterns bring about changes, such as the changing of seasons. For many centuries mankind all over the world has believed that deities live way above the rest of us, so the connection between divine providence and sky maps was a simple one.
Sunsign astrology is very generalized and of very little value. Natal astrology is much more precise and involves the exact time and place a person is born.
According to sunsign astrology, Libra and Gemini are air signs. Libra is described as the peacemaker, an idealist who is diplomatic and romantic. Libra is also indecisive and can be argumentative, as Libra tends to explore all points of view before making up his mind. Libra is generally described as attractive but can be egotistical too.
Gemini is thought to be curious and spontaneous, and an avid communicator who loves to talk and/or to write. Gemini can be superficial but is adaptable and clever.
In astrology, as in life, all personality traits are basically neutral, and it is how these traits are used that determines if they’re “positive” or “negative” characteristics. For example, Libra’s need to be fair and see all sides of a situation also tends to make Libra slow to make decisions and/or argumentative. And Gemini’s lively curiosity sometimes could be expressed as fickleness. Every bad trait is simply a good trait that’s misdirected.
Hope this helps.

Spider

The idea behind astrology is to gauge into future of our lives. Though most of the people pretend they do not believe in it , in fact they visit astrologers and see their daily forecasts.

Mye

Astrology refers to any of several systems, traditions or beliefs in which knowledge of the apparent positions of celestial bodies is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing knowledge about human affairs and events on Earth. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer or, less often, an astrologist. Historically the term mathematicus was used to denote a person proficient in astrology, astronomy, and mathematics.
The word “astrology” is derived from the Greek αστρολογία, from άστρον, astron, (“star”) and λόγος (logos), which has a variety of meanings generally related to “systematic thought or speech.” Logos is written in English as the suffix -ology, “study or discipline.”
Although the two fields share a common origin, modern astronomy as practiced today is not to be confused with astrology. While astronomy is the study and observation of celestial objects and their movements through space, astrology is the study of the supposed correlation of those objects with earthly affairs. Astrology is considered as a form of divination by popular definition, and as a pseudoscience by a number of critics.
The origins of much of astrology that would later develop in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are found among the ancient Babylonians and their system of celestial omens that began to be compiled around the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE. This system of celestial omens later spread either directly or indirectly through the Babylonians to other areas such as India, China and Greece where it merged with pre-existing indigenous forms of astrology. This Babylonian astrology came to Greece initially as early as the middle of the 4th century BCE, and then around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE after the Alexandrian conquests, this Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create Horoscopic astrology. This new form of astrology, which appears to have originated in Alexandrian Egypt, quickly spread across the ancient world into Europe, the Middle East and India.
Many prominent scientists, such as Nicholas Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Carl Gustav Jung and others, significantly contributed to astrology.
BABYLONIAN ASTROLOGY
In Babylonia as well as in Assyria as a direct offshoot of Babylonian culture (or as we might also term it “Euphratean” culture), astrology takes its place in the official cult as one of the two chief means at the disposal of the priests (who were called bare or “inspectors”) for ascertaining the will and intention of the gods, the other being through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal (see omen).
Just as this latter method of divination rested on a well-defined theory – to wit, that the liver was the seat of the soul of the animal and that the deity in accepting the sacrifice identified himself with the animal, whose “soul” was thus placed in complete accord with that of the god and therefore reflected the mind and will of the god – so astrology is sometimes purported to be based on a theory of divine government of the world.
Starting with the indisputable fact that man’s life and happiness are largely dependent upon phenomena in the heavens, that the fertility of the soil is dependent upon the sun shining in the heavens as well as upon the rains that come from heaven; and that, on the other hand, the mischief and damage done by storms and floods (both of which the Euphratean Valley was almost regularly subject to), were to be traced likewise to the heavens – the conclusion was drawn that all the great gods had their seats in the heavens.
In that early age of culture known as the “nomadic” stage, which under normal conditions precedes the “agricultural” stage, the moon cult is even more prominent than sun worship, and with the moon and sun cults thus furnished by the “popular” faith, it was a natural step for the priests, who correspond to the “scientists” of a later day, to perfect a theory of a complete accord between phenomena observed in the heavens and occurrences on earth.
Of the planets five were recognized – Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Mars – to name them in the order in which they appear in the older cuneiform literature; in later texts Mercury and Saturn change places.
These five planets were identified with the gods of the Babylonian pantheon as follows:
1. Jupiter with Marduk;
2. Venus with the goddess Ishtar,
3. Saturn with Ninurta (Ninib),
4. Mercury with Nabu (Nebo),
5. Mars with Nergal.
The movements of the sun, moon and five planets were regarded as representing the activity of the five gods in question, together with the moon-god Sin and the sun-god Shamash, in preparing the occurrences on earth. If, therefore, one could correctly read and interpret the activity of these powers, one knew what the gods were aiming to bring about.
The Babylonian priests accordingly applied themselves to the task of perfecting a system of interpretation of the phenomena to be observed in the heavens, and it was natural that the system was extended from the moon, sun and five planets to the more prominent and recognizable fixed stars.
The interpretations themselves were based (as in the case of divination through the liver) chiefly on two factors:
On the recollection or on written records of what in the past had taken place when the phenomenon or phenomena in question had been observed, and
Association of ideas – involving sometimes merely a play upon words – in connection with the phenomenon or phenomena observed.
Thus, if on a certain occasion, the rise of the new moon in a cloudy sky was followed by victory over an enemy or by abundant rain, the sign in question was thus proved to be a favourable one and its recurrence would thenceforth be regarded as a good omen, though the prognostication would not necessarily be limited to the one or the other of those occurrences, but might be extended to apply to other circumstances.
On the other hand, the appearance of the new moon earlier than was expected was regarded as unfavourable – prognosticating in one case defeat, in another death among cattle, in a third bad crops – not necessarily because these events actually took place after such a phenomenon, but by an application of the general principle resting upon association of ideas whereby anything premature would suggest an unfavourable occurrence.
In this way a mass of traditional interpretation of all kinds of observed phenomena was gathered, and once gathered became a guide to the priests for all times. However, not all of these ideas are still used in astrology as it is usually practiced today.
Astrology in its earliest stage was marked by three characteristic limitations:
In the first place, the movements and position of the heavenly bodies point to such occurrences as are of public import and affect the general welfare.
The individual’s interests are not in any way involved, and we must descend many centuries and pass beyond the confines of Babylonia and Assyria before we reach that phase which in medieval and modern astrology is almost exclusively dwelt upon – the individual horoscope.
In Babylonia and Assyria the cult centred largely and indeed almost exclusively in the public welfare and the person of the king, because upon his well-being and favour with the gods the fortunes of the country were dependant, in accordance with the ancient conception of kingship (see J. G. Frazer, The Early History of Kingship).
In the second place, the astronomical knowledge presupposed and accompanying early Babylonian astrology was, though essentially of an empirical character, limited and flawed.
The theory of the ecliptic as representing the course of the sun through the year, divided among twelve constellations with a measurement of 30° to each division, is of Babylonian origin, as has now been definitely proved; but it does not appear to have been perfected until after the fall of the Babylonian empire in 539 B.C.
Similarly, the other accomplishments of Babylonian astronomers, such as their system or rather systems of moon calculations and the drawing up of planetary tablets, belong to this late period, so that the golden age of Babylonian astronomy belongs not to the remote past, as was until recently supposed, but to the Seleucid period, i.e. after the advent of the Greeks in the Euphrates Valley.
From certain expressions used in astrological texts that are earlier than the 7th century B.C. it would appear, indeed, that the beginnings at least of the calculation of sun and moon eclipses belong to the earlier period, but here, too, the chief work accomplished was after 400 B.C., and the defectiveness of early Babylonian astronomy may be gathered from the fact that as late as the 6th century B.C. an error of almost an entire month was made by the Babylonian astronomers in the attempt to determine through calculation the beginning of a certain year.
In a general way, the reign of law and order in the movements of the heavenly bodies was recognized, and indeed must have exercised an influence at an early period in leading to the rise of a methodical divination that was certainly of a much higher order than the examination of an animal’s liver.
However, the importance that was laid upon the endless variations in the form of the phenomena and the equally numerous apparent deviations from what were regarded as normal conditions, prevented for a long time the rise of any serious study of astronomy beyond what was needed for the purely practical purposes that the priests as “inspectors” of the heavens (as they were also the “inspectors” of the sacrificial livers) had in mind.
Thirdly, we have, probably as early as the days of Khammurabi, i.e. c. 2000 B.C., the combinations of prominent groups of stars with outlines of pictures fantastically put together, but there is no evidence that prior to 700 B.C. more than a number of the constellations of our zodiac had become part of the current astronomy.
HOROSCOPIC ASTROLOGY
Horoscopic astrology is a form of astrology which uses a horoscope or chart to supposedly gain information from the position of cosmic bodies.
Horoscopic astrology developed in the Mediterranean region and specifically Hellenistic Egypt sometime around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE1. It dealt largely with astrological horoscopes cast for specific moments in time in order to interpret the inherent meaning underlying the alignment of the planets at that moment. One of the defining characteristics of this form of astrology that makes it distinct from other traditions is the computation of the degree of the Eastern horizon rising against the backdrop of the ecliptic at the specific moment under examination, known as the ascendant.
In ancient Hellenistic astrology the ascendant demarcated the first celestial house of a chart, and the word for the ascendant in Greek was horoskopos. This is the word that the term “horoscope” derives from, which in modern times has come to denote the diagram of the heavens as a whole.
Horoscopic astrology can essentially be summed up as the practice of casting astrological charts that reflect the apparent positions of a variety of celestial bodies and points from the perspective of the individual at any given moment in time. The idea is that the placement of the planets at any given moment in time reflects the nature of that moment and especially anything which is born then, and this can be analyzed using the chart and a variety of rules for interpreting the ‘language’ or symbols therein. The most prevalent application of horoscopic astrology is to use it to analyze the birth charts of individuals in order to read character, psychological traits, and to some extent destiny.
As a general rule, any system of astrology that does not utilize the ascendant does not fall under the category of horoscopic astrology, although there are some exceptions.
WESTERN ASTROLOGY
Western astrology is the system of astrology most popular in Western countries. In Western horoscopic astrology, it is based on an exact moment in time, such as a person’s birth, in which various cosmic bodies are said to have an influence. In sun sign astrology, only the location of the Sun is considered. Most western astrologers use the tropical zodiac beginning with the sign of Aries at the Northern hemisphere Vernal Equinox always on or around March 21 of each year. Some Western astrologers use the Sidereal zodiac which uses actual star positions.
Origins
Western astrology originated in Mesopotamia during the 2nd millennium BC, from whence it spread to much of the world. Other systems of astrology were developed independently in China, in the Americas, and elsewhere. Premodern observers noticed that the annual patterns of the movement of the stars coincided with such events as the advent of springtime, changes in weather, and the migration of birds every year. Without knowing why these phenomena occurred together, other events were said to be affected by the cosmos as well. In medieval Europe, important political and military decisions were often made in consultation with astrologers. Believers in astrology use it primarily for making personal decisions or attaining information about an individual through natal astrology. Today, astrology has become distinct from astronomy and mainstream scientists in general dismiss astrology as a form of pseudoscience.
ASTROLOGICAL SIGNS
Both Western and Vedic astrology employ a zodiac which divides the ecliptic into twelve astrological signs of equal length.
The Western tropical astrology starts with the first point of Aries, which is defined as the point at which the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun through the heavens) crosses the celestial equator at the spring equinox. It is important to note that the tropical signs are completely independent of the astronomical constellations after which they were originally named and no longer bear any relationship to them.
Western sidereal astrology and Indian Vedic astrology use signs which more or less coincide with the stellar constellations of the same name.
Because the calendar is defined by the movement of the Earth around the Sun, and its orbit is very nearly circular, the sign in which the Sun falls on any day of the year is fairly predictable, though it will vary a little due to the effect of the extra day in leap years. These dates are given in the article that deals with each sign individually. Sidereal astrology also has to adjust for the precession of the equinoxes which produces a slow change of the time of year when constellations are visible in the night sky over a 25,000 year cycle.
To determine the sign in which the moon and other planets fall on any given day, it is necessary to consult an ephemeris or use an astrological computer program which will have a built-in ephemeris; these computer programs make it quick and easy to calculate the natal chart (also called horoscope) so that the astrologer can spend more time interpreting the chart rather than actually calculating it.
Western astrology signification
The energies associated with each planet are affected by the sign in which they fall in the following way. (Though due consideration will also be given to other conditions within the astrological chart such as the effect of aspects to other planets, the house in which each planet falls, and the classical element in which the particular sign belongs to)
– Aries (cardinal, fire, personal): assertively, impulsively, defensively, energetic, head down; symbol-ram.
– Taurus (fixed, earth, personal): resourcefully, thoroughly, devotedly, patiently, indulgently; symbol-bull.
– Gemini (mutable, air, personal): logically, inquisitively, fast; symbol-twins.
– Cancer (cardinal, water, personal): protectively, sensitively, clingingly; symbol-crab.
– Leo (fixed, fire, social): generously, proudly, theatrically; symbol-lion.
– Virgo (mutable, earth, social): practically, efficiently, critically; symbol-virgin.
– Libra (cardinal, air, social): co-operatively, fairly, lazily; symbol-scale.
– Scorpio (fixed, water, social): passionately, sensitively, anxiously; symbol-scorpion.
– Sagittarius (mutable, fire, universal): freely, straightforwardly, carelessly; symbol-archer.
– Capricorn (cardinal, earth, universal): prudently, cautiously, suspiciously; symbol-seagoat.
– Aquarius (fixed, air, universal): democratically, unconventionally, detachedly; symbol-water bearer.
– Pisces (mutable, water, universal): imaginatively, sensitively, distractedly; symbol-fish.
Western astrology classification
The four elements
Each sign is associated with one of the classical elements (fire, earth, air, or water) and one of the three modalities (cardinal, fixed, or mutable). It is also associated with an area of concern: personal, social, or universal.
Fire signs are associated with action, passion, and energy. In combination with the other elements, fire feels that earth will smother it, water will drown it, but air will fan and enliven it.
Earth signs are associated with sensation, stability and practicality. In combination with the other elements, earth feels that air will dry it, fire will parch it, but water will refresh and nourish it.
Air signs are associated with thought, perspective and communication. In combination with the other elements, air feels that water will obscure it, earth will suffocate it, but fire will inspire and uplift it.
Water signs are associated with growth processes, identification and emotion. In combination with the other elements, water feels that fire will make it boil, air will evaporate it, but earth will shape and channel it.
The Qualities
The Qualities assign the Signs into Quadruplicities, groups of four.
Cardinal signs are associated with initiation and creativity. They are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
Fixed signs are associated with focus, individuality and determination. They are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.
Mutable signs are associated with resourcefulness, holism and adaptability. They are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.
Phrases, keywords and concepts associated with each Western astrological sign
Aries — “I am,” assertive, individualistic, enthusiasm, pioneering, leader, competitive, action-oriented, defensive, passionate, head/skull
Taurus — “I have,” sensual, affectionate, possessive, cautious, acquisitive, musical, artistic, stubborn, patient, throat/neck
Gemini — “I think,” curious, multi-tasking, talkative, sociable, duality, mercurial, whimsical, intelligent, informed, hands/lungs
Cancer — “I feel,” sensitive, tenacious, family and home oriented, helpful, nurturing, moody, stomach/breasts
Leo — “I rule,” passionate, bossy, loves attention, dramatic, independent, noble, creative, leader, egotistic, heart/back
Virgo — “I serve,” practical, work and service oriented, critical, common sense, intelligent, health conscious, fussy, intestines/digestion
Libra — “We are,” partnerships, balance, grace, charm, debative, open-minded, cooperative, social, ideas, lazy, kidneys/lumbar
Scorpio — “I grow,” intense, controlling, sexual, confrontative, deep, skeptical, mysterious, obsessive, death, transformation, genitals, reproductive organs
Sagittarius — “I seek,” philosophic, fun-loving, arrogant, adventurous, expansive, optimistic, blundering, believer, scattered, hips/thighs
Capricorn — “I build,” ambitious, cautious, rigid, authoritative, cunning, competent, saturnine, inclined to politics/business, knees/skeleton
Aquarius — “I know,” friendships, humanitarian, cause-oriented, the group, society, progressive, eccentric, elitist, sophisticated, objective, nervous system/ankles
Pisces — “I surrender,” feeling, duality, idealistic, spirituality, acceptance, undiscriminating, soul growth, martyrdom, artistic, neglectful, compassionate, feet/immune system

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