If this book is your first encounter with astrology, you may be surprised to know that the science of astrology is not a recent phenomenon. On the contrary, the origins of astrology date back to around 2000 B.C. and can be traced to ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and ancient China. From Greece, astrology came to Rome, where Augustus, the first emperor, used astrology as a science. He was an avid believer.
Modern astrology originated around a.d. 200 when Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy), the most important astronomer of the time, wrote Tetrabiblos, his four-volume book on the subject. Many of the astrological practices found today are based on Ptolemy's theories. Like many people today, Ptolemy regarded astrology and astronomy as adjuncts. The origins of astrology are so intimately entwined with those of astronomy that it is nearly impossible to separate the two. Throughout its evolution, astrology has been ridiculed and condemned by many religions. Christianity has always been the religion that has most strongly opposed the principles and practices of astrology. For example, Saint Augustine, a fourth-century bishop, asserted that belief in astrology meant denial of the power of God. This attitude prevailed with such force that the practice of astrology nearly vanished from the Christian world until the twelfth century, when scholars began translating Arabic texts on the subject. It was during this time that the Arabic intricacies of astrology started to surface. These discoveries included thirty-two points in a chart that were believed to be the most significant parts of horoscope interpretation.
By 1610, Galileo was speaking of new stars and four new planets he had discovered, which ancient astrologers, apparently, had not accounted for. (The planets were later found to be four of Jupiter's moons.) In 1660, Copernicus claimed that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe and that, instead, the Earth revolved around the Sun.
With each successive scientific pronouncement — such as those of famous scientists like Newton and Darwin — astrology was driven further underground into a state of public disrepute. This state could not be blamed on the masses. Scientific “fact” was always changing — no one knew just what to believe.
Today, some people have faith in astrology, and some don't. Fundamentalists and pious, puritanical religious societies have called astrology the work of the devil, while modern scientists — who believe less in spirituality and energy and more in simple, cold facts — generally consider astrology to be irrelevant.
However, astrology has survived through thousands of years of adversity. Those who are familiar with astrology believe that there are just too many “coincidences” for it to be fiction. A recent poll revealed that more than half of Americans believe in astrology. Whether you're already one of them or are looking to learn more before confirming your beliefs, this book will guide you. It will steer you through the awesome intricacies of astrology and teach you how influential this exciting phenomenon can be in your life.