Tomorrow's Horoscope: The History of Western Astrology
We all love to look at tomorrows horoscope, without really thinking how the system that's behind these predictions first came into existence. The quest to satisfy this curiosity takes us far away, since the origin of astrology can be traced thousands of years into the past.
We can say that astrology was born when human desire to find the meaning in the sky had made first successful efforts to measure and calculate the relations between celestial cycles and seasonal changes. A brief walk through cultures and periods of the past will shed more light on the history of Western astrology.
In the ancient world, development of astrology was marked by mutual influences of Europe and Middle East stemming back thousands of years. The earliest written records of astrology originated in Babylonia around two thousand years BC. At this time, astrology was still a set of limited knowledge, mainly used by the priests as a tool to explain the will of the gods.
In 4th century BC, Hellenistic Egypt brought about the next big step forward, as Greeks had then invented horoscopic astrology. This is when the positions of stars and planets at a person's birth were first used to create an individual horoscope. Specific predictions such as that in modern day tomorrow's horoscopes you find above weren't available back then, but this was how it all began! One of the most prominent astronomers and astrologers of that era was Ptolemy.
After the collapse of the Alexandrian Egypt, 8th century saw Baghdad as the new center of learning. The Islamic scholars translated Hellenistic astrological texts, as well as described new knowledge. Most significant Arabic contributions were new discoveries in astronomy. Centuries later, these texts from Baghdad were imported into Europe, most notably at the dawn of Renaissance.
The Medieval Europe saw astrology used by Church prelates and Protestant princes, who believed that the celestial bodies influence humankind's state of the affairs. In Renaissance, individuals such as Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler used horoscopes in combination with new discoveries about the scientific nature of the universe. Unlike them, many other astrologers didn't observe the stars, but instead focused on reading the human faces and palms in their fortune telling. A rather entertaining fact from these times tells us how men often used to conceal their birth dates until they would find an astrologer who would give them a complimentary horoscope!
As centuries passed, astrology was further developed and refined. The early twentieth century saw growing interest in astrology, especially in the United States. Many astrological textbooks and journals were widely popular and read by the public. During the First World War this trend was further intensified by the media who began to publish horoscopes based upon astrological forecasts – this can be considered as a beginning of the modern daily horoscope, tomorrow's horoscopes, weekly horoscopes, love horoscopes, and monthly horoscopes as well as many others people love to follow on a regular basis.
Whereas this brief look at the history of Western astrology in no way encompasses all the essential details, it does tell us how yesterday's astrology paved the way for the tomorrows horoscope.
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