Astrology – A History of the Art and Science of Observation

Often I get asked ‘How did astrology come about?’ or ‘How do people associate a particular event with a planet being in a certain sign?’. The answer to both questions is this – astrology came about through observation.

From the dawn of humanity, people have looked up at the skies. They noted the phases of the moon and mapped the constellations. They also noted that some ‘stars’ appeared to move – these were of course the planets visible to the naked eye. Later with the invention of the telescope, we could probe further into our solar system and the outer planets were discovered. But before that, the solar system ‘ended’ at Saturn which is the furthest planet which can be seen.

Astrology itself dates back about three thousand years. With the advent of agriculture people needed to know what dates to plant and harvest their crops, when to move their herds to winter pasture, when the rains were due or even move themselves if they were nomadic. In the days before literacy or calendars, all they had available to them were the stars in the night sky. So, when a certain constellation or star was above the horizon they knew it was time to undertake a certain task. And so, astrology was born.

Soon however, people started to notice other things. Perhaps they noticed that whenever the planet Mars was in a certain sign they always went to war with another tribe, or when Jupiter was above the horizon things tended to go very well. Soon they brought this down to a more personal level when they noticed that people born when the Sun or Moon was in a sign had certain personality traits which led to the 12 signs of the zodiac we know today.

It’s worth remembering that back then astrology and astronomy were one and the same! If you were an astrologer you were also an astronomer. It was only at the end of the 17th century that the split between the two occurred when people began to question the validity of astrology with the emergence of modern day science.

Another criticism measured against astrology is that how can it be still relevant when we have continued to discover new planets? As those planets have always existed and therefore have always influenced us, surely this makes a mockery of previous astrological systems?

The discovery of a new planet in our solar system has always coincided in a big leap forward in the collective consciousness. As we’ve seen, astrology is all about observation and it takes a while for us to observe what a new planet’s influences are. Before the discover of the outer planets – Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and now the trans-Neptunian objects such as Eris and Orcus, some signs shared the same ruling planet. Before the discovery of Pluto for example, Mars ruled both Aries and Scorpio and before Neptune was discovered, Jupiter ruled both Sagittarius and Pisces. So, once a new planets influences were understood, it was designated to rule a sign which fitted them – Uranus for example is a far better ruler of free-thinking Aquarius than Saturn!


For those critics who would still say that this is just proof astrology is just so much puffery, the great thing about it is you can get rid of the outer planets and revert back to just using the original model with just seven planets and it will still work perfectly. The outer planets merely add a new depth and understanding that fits with our own expanded consciousness.


I’ve no doubt astrology will continue to evolve and that more planets will be discovered as our understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe expands.

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