Astrology can be understood as a philosophy that helps to explain life, rather than a type of mysticism that can be used as a predictive tool. Instead of discussing what the Planets do to us, we can explain ourselves based on Planetary indications. The Signs work the same way: Each of the twelve Signs is a unique combination of one of the four Elements and one of the three Qualities. The Elements and Qualities demonstrate that we are all part of the environment. There is a connection between all living things and all matter on this Planet. Astrology ties humans together: We are all faced with the same Planetary interactions, and we are all part of the same cycles.
There are two major types of Astrology practiced today in the Western World: Tropical and Siderial. Tropical Astrology assigns the Signs based on their position in relation to the Spring Equinox, which marks the Astrological New Year and usually falls on March 21. The Equinox represents 0 degrees Aries. Siderial Astrology assigns positions based on constellations, rather than in relation to the Equinox. At present, Siderial Astrology is 24 degrees behind Tropical Astrology, so a person born under 23 degrees Libra in Tropical Astrology is born at 29 degrees Virgo in Siderial Astrology.
History of Astrology
How, where, when, did astrology originate? How, where, when, why did man first begin to believe that the Sun, Moon and visible planets influence his character and life, the health of his beasts, the quality of his crops, the weather — indeed, every aspect of life on earth?
The answer must be, almost as soon as he was capable of intelligent thought, for he then realized that the Sun as a source of warmth and light ruled all living things; that with the Moon the tides swelled and sank, that it affected other natural cycles, that it had an effect upon emotional stability. Here was the basis of an astrological theory. Interestingly, some of the earliest astrological artefacts to have survived come from the Middle East where, in about 15,000 BC, the earliest agricultural systems evolved — gardeners have always recognized that there is a difference between the quality of morning and afternoon light, and that the times at which plants are planted, herbs picked, seem to affect their growth and virtue.
On the whole, it must have been man’s natural reverence for the magical, strange moving lights in the sky, regarded as gods, that led to the development of astrology. Out of the thick mists that conceal the earliest history of the subject have come down to us a number of cuneiform tablets — brick and stone slabs inscribed with triangular or wedge-shaped characters — recording the very simplest astronomical phenomena: eclipses of the Moon, certain planetary movements, interpreted as predicting famine or war or peace or plenty.
Babylonia during the 18th-17th centuries BC was riddled with superstition, and many omens were used and recorded — the bites of certain animals, dreams, patterns of bird flight, the appearance of new-born babies (’When a woman bears a child with small ears, the house will fall into ruin’), and such eccentricities as the appearance in one’s house of a pig with palm fibres in its mouth. Astronomical phenomena were only one aspect of man’s attempts to predict the future, but a very widespread one: an interest in the earliest form of astrology was common to several early civilizations, not only in the Middle East, from Anatolia to Persia, but in the Far East and in the Incan, Mayan and Mexican civilizations, where those planets that could be seen by the naked eye — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — were identified as gods with various names and personalities, and where their movements against the background pattern of the stars were regarded as obviously significant.
Astronomer-astrologers slowly acquired more and more knowledge about the planets, and began not only to observe eclipses but the way in which the planets moved — sometimes hesitating, sometimes appearing to move backwards, sometimes seeming to meet each other, then part; as they did so, they elaborated the predictions they based on the movements. Only the roughest forecasts were being made in the time of Ammisaduqa, tenth king of the First Dynasty, in the 17th century BC, but royal libraries of the Assyrian kings at Nineveh, Calah (Nimrud) and Ashur in the 8th-7th centuries BC, and the temple libraries of the chief cities of Babylon, had on their shelves a collection of over 7000 astrological omens recorded on 70 tablets (now known, after the opening words of the first omen, as Enuma Anu Enlil).
The reason why this elaboration of the astrological theory took place in the Middle East rather than, say, among the American Indians of Wisconsin or among the Aztecs, who certainly had an equally keen early interest in the subject, was that the Babylonians were better astronomers and mathematicians; they evolved a calendar, and by 500 BC were already moving towards the invention of the zodiac, that essential element in the personalization of astrology.
The Babylonians puzzled for centuries over the patterns in the night sky before producing a calendar reliable enough to enable them to predict eclipses and to work ‘backwards’ in order to figure out the celestial events of the past. They seem to have started by simply working out the duration of day and night, then of the rising and setting of the Moon and the appearance and disappearance of Venus. The very earliest calendars date a new month from the first appearance of a new Moon. But the fact that the interval between new Moons is irregular — on average, 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds — meant that it was extremely difficult to devise a calendar in which each month began with the new Moon, but each year began at the spring equinox. (To do so, you have to declare an extra month every two or three years — and even then you will be one and a half days out every eight years.)
The details of early calendars and their evolution are complex; suffice to say that the problem was solved with reasonable accuracy (and, let us remember, without the aid of mechanical clocks) by the Babylonians. Since then, there have been additional complications and evolutions. Julius Caesar had to summon an astronomer from Alexandria to sort out the muddle into which the Roman calendar degenerated, and his Julian calendar eventually fell out of phase by no less than eleven days, so that in 1752 Britain was forced to adopt the Gregorian calendar (established in the rest of Europe by Pope Gregory in 1582), cutting eleven days from the year. At midnight on 2 September came 14 September, and people rioted in the streets because they thought the civil servants were doing them out of eleven days of life.
Once a calendar had been devised, observation and the application of mathematics meant that planetary movements could be predicted. The next step was the invention of the zodiac.
In the first place this was devised as a means of measuring time. It is a circle around which twelve constellations are set, each marking a segment of thirty degrees of the ecliptic, the imaginary path the Sun seems to follow on its journey round the earth. Because that journey takes more or less 365 days, astronomers in Babylon, Egypt and China independently arrived at the idea of dividing the ecliptic into 360 degrees, easily divisible into twelve sections.
The circle, for practical purposes, had to start somewhere. In ancient times it started variously from certain fixed stars — from Aldebaran or the Bull’s Eye, for instance, or from Regulus, the brightest star in Leo. In modern astrology it starts from the vernal equinox — the point at which the Sun seems to cross the equator from south to north at the spring equinox of the northern hemisphere on 20, 21 or 22 March each year.
But the equinox not only never occurs in the same spot for two years running, but its place slowly seems to rotate around the sky, taking about 28,800 years to complete the circuit (a phenomenon known as Precession of the Equinox). This is because the Earth, as it rotates, wobbles like a top slowing down; the Pole thus describes a circle, moving backwards through the zodiac. Similarly, if the zodiac is measured from a fixed point (say the first degree of Aries), it moves slowly backwards. However, this is the system used by most modern astrologers; it is known as the tropical zodiac. Some astrologers, like the ancients, use the fixed or sidereal zodiac, measured from the stars (not as fixed as all that, however, for it too moves — by one day in every 72 years!).
Are biorhythms based on scientific research?
Biorhythms were discovered by two scientists working independently of one another. Dr. Hermann Swoboda, a professor of Psychology at the University of Vienna, and Dr. Wilhelm Fliess, a nose and throat specialist, recognized the existence of biorhythms in the early 1900s. Through extensive scientific research, the doctors reached nearly identical conclusions. Each doctor published his discoveries, establishing biorhythms as an area of scientific study. Today, researchers continue to evaluate biorhythms in hopes of determining how they affect the human condition.
What are the three biorhythmic cycles?
Humans have three repeating biorhythmic cycles:
- Physical, which lasts for 23 days
- Emotional, which lasts for 28 days
- Intellectual, which lasts for 33 days
The length of each cycle is the same for everyone. The cycles are based on your birth date, and are tracked in tandem throughout your life. So, you can find out what kind of day you are going to have tomorrow, next week, or in three years!
How does the physical cycle affect me?
The physical cycle occurs over 23 days. Throughout those 23 days, the quality of your physical performance will vary, depending on where you are within the cycle.
During the positive phase of the cycle you experience better physical endurance and strength. During the negative phase of this cycle you are more susceptible to fatigue, disease, and coordination problems.
How does the emotional cycle affect me?
The emotional cycle governs how you feel about and react to certain situations.
The cycle lasts 28 days. Some researchers also believe that the emotional cycle is responsible for “bio-luck,” the concept that you are lucky on some days and unlucky on others.
Generally, any endeavors you undertake will have a better outcome during the positive phase of the emotional cycle. The higher the sine wave, the better the outcome!
How does the intellectual cycle affect me?
The intellectual cycle governs judgment, decision-making, and memory. Your intellectual abilities cycle over a 33-day period.
During the positive phase of the cycle, your mind is quite sharp — almost as if the synapses in your brain are firing faster. During the negative phase of the intellectual cycle, you may find it difficult to recall information, such as phone numbers and names.