From the dawn of civilization, humans have looked with
wonder and awe at the heavens, seeking to understand the
nature of the sun, moon and planets. Astrology and
astronomy are sometimes confused, but they are both very
different from each other. Astrology and astronomy started
off as being the same as they had both developed a set of
principals that originated more than 2000 years ago. During
the 1500's and 1600's several astronomers made discoveries
about the heavenly bodies that conflicted with the
principles of astrology. As a result astronomy and
astrology became extremely different in their methods and
purposes. Astrology is the study of the positions and
movements of astronomical bodies and how that can be used
to predict the future. Astronomers deny this. Astrology was
studied in great detail by the ancient Egyptians,
Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Etruscans, and Chaledeans.
Astrology is considered a pseudo-science.
The Chaledeans are credited with the origin of astrology in
a primitive form. They observed the influence of the
heavenly bodies, and the significance of the sun in
determining the seasons. They also believed that the power
that ruled a human life resided in the heavens. Later on
the spread of Christianity altered the character of
During most of the Middle Ages, astrology flourished
throughout civilized Europe. Astrology rested on the belief
that the earth was the center of the universe around which
all the other heavenly bodies were revolving. In the
sixteenth century astronomers like Nicholas Copernicus and
Galileo weakened the foundations of astrology and proved
that the idea of an earth centered universe was no longer
valid. As astronomy became closer to being an exact
science, astrology became less acceptable.
Many people throughout the world believe in astrology and
base very important decisions on the advice of astrologers.
Astrological advice and forecasts can be found in many
daily newspapers, and several magazines and books are
published on the subject every year. Most of this advice
appears in a form known as a horoscope which is a chart
drawn up to indicate what influences the heavenly bodies
have on the life of an individual born at a particular
time. Horoscopes are drawn according to twelve birth signs.
An individual's astrological horoscope is determined by the
position of all the planets at the exact moment of birth.
Astrologers divide a year into twelve equal sections called
the zodiac. This originally corresponded to twelve
constellations which lay around the great belt of the
heavens. Each constellation was regarded as a house of a
particular planet. Each planet was believed to have either
a strong or weak influence on a person's life, depending on
its positions in the heavens.
The divisions of the zodiac are called signs. Ancient
astrologers assigned descriptive names, mostly of animals,
to various constellations and devised abstract symbols to
fit these names. The position of the sun in one of these
twelve constellations at the moment of birth determines an
individual's sign. A person who is born at the time of
change from one sign to another, is called a cusp meaning a
sharer of the qualities of both signs.
No one has ever been able to prove the scientific accuracy
of astrological predictions, and attempts to measure and
define this skill have remained inconclusive. Nevertheless,
even today, many persons have faith in astrology and check
with it on the future.