What Is The Study Of Astrology
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Babylonian astrology was introduced to the Greeks early in the 4th century B.C. And, through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, astrology came to be highly regarded as a science. It was soon embraced by the Romans (the Roman names for the zodiacal signs are still used today) and the Arabs and later spread throughout the entire world. “Astrology is the study of cycles. By observing the cyclical movements of the planets, we are able to gain a greater understanding of the cycles and patterns in our own lives. Astrology can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation, and it can be a key that can unlock a greater spiritual connection to the universe.

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Human beings have been measuring the stars and planets since the dawn of civilization. But astrology has evolved over eons. Here’s a breakdown of astrology through the ages.

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In past eras, astrology was more deterministic. People hunted, planted and migrated with the stars. Living in rhythm with nature’s cycles helped civilizations survive .

For many centuries, astrology and astronomy were one and the same. Because human beings were at the mercy of nature, they viewed the heavens with fear, awe and even superstition. Weather was the work of nature’s gods. After all, a flood could wipe out the food supply just as easily as the right amount of rainfall could guarantee a bountiful harvest. By tracking the stars, they were able to plan and predict certain patterns.

Modern astrology, like humanity, has evolved. Over the centuries, we’ve developed expanded consciousness. Mathematical, scientific and technological advances have given us more control over our lives in the physical universe. As a result, astrology has become more of a tool for living. We no longer take a fear-based approach to it (well, we shouldn’t, anyway!). Astrology’s best use is as a method for planning, gaining more self-awareness and understanding relationships.

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We love what astrologer Kevin Burk says in Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart:

“Astrology is the study of cycles. By observing the cyclical movements of the planets, we are able to gain a greater understanding of the cycles and patterns in our own lives. Astrology can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation, and it can be a key that can unlock a greater spiritual connection to the universe. Although astrology is not fortune-telling, when skillfully applied, astrology can be an extremely effective predictive tool. On a personal level, astrology…can give us insight into our personal issues, our patterns, our fears, and our dreams…Astrology is a tool that can help us understand and unlock our highest potentials, and that can teach us how to live in harmony with the universe.”

Here’s a rough timeline of this ancient practice, which has existed for nearly as long as humanity.

30,000-10,000 B.C.

The roots of astrology begin with earliest civilization. Maps of the stars existed long before maps of the earth. Archaeologists have found cave paintings, mammoth tusks, and bones marked with lunar phases. Man has long coped with uncertainty and the change brought on by nature’s cycles by tracking the stars—the seven visible planets were our first GPS.

6,000 B.C.

The Sumerians in Mesopotamia note the movements of the planets and stars.

2,400-331 B.C.

The Babylonians (also known as the Chaldeans) continue what the Sumerians started, inventing the first astrological system over thousands of years. They created the zodiac wheel that we use today (with planets and houses) around 700 B.C. The oldest known horoscope chart is believed to date to 409 B.C.

331 B.C.-5th Century A.D.

Alexander the Great conquers Babylon/Chaldea and the Greeks eventually start making advances in astrology, along with developments in medicine, geometry, mathematics, and philosophy. The modern names for planets and zodiac signs come from Greek literature. In 140 A.D., Ptolemy publishes Tetrabiblos, one of the most revered astrology works ever written. Tetrabiblos contains core techniques of astrology used to this day, including planets, zodiac signs, houses, and aspects (or angles).

5th Century A.D.

The Roman Empire falls. Western astrology disappears for 500 years and the Arabs continue studying and developing Greek astrology.

Middle Ages

Astrology flourishes and is an intrinsic part of culture, practiced by doctors, astronomers, and mathematicians. Advances in mathematics help astrologers develop more accurate and sophisticated charts than ever. Many esteemed European universities at this time, including Cambridge (1225-50), had astrology chairs, and royals had court astrologers. Many popes were pro-astrology. The monk and mathematics professor Placidus (1603-68) created the house division system used by astrologers today. When Copernicus advanced the theory that the Earth travels around the Sun, he dedicated his main work to the astrologer Pope Paul III. Belief in astrology began to decline as the church gained power, and it was seen as heresy and superstition during the Inquisition. Galileo himself was found guilty of heresy and had to renounce his astrological beliefs to save his life!

17th-18th Century: “The Age of Reason”

The Protestant reform movement, started in the mid-1500s, abetted astrology’s decline. Later, rationalism become the popular consensus during the Age of Enlightenment (1650-1780) in Western European cafes and salons, emphasizing reason, analysis, and individualism—a reaction to excessive superstition, authority, and control from institutions such as the Catholic church. Skepticism and science were seen as a way to reform society, and to bring back temperance and balance. Astrology was viewed as mere entertainment and not a valid science, and most astrologers worked under pseudonyms.

19th Century

Renewed interest in spirituality and mysticism in England invigorate astrology again in Europe. Psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) pioneers the use of astrology in analysis, and other developments in the field are made.

20th-21st Century

In 1920s, newspapers and magazines begin publishing the Sun-sign-based horoscopes that we still read today. Since they give only 12 predictions for the entire world’s population, they are seen more as entertainment. Later in the century, computers make it fast and easy to cast charts, replacing the need to do laborious charts by hand (though some stricter astrologers still prefer to do them that way).

The Bible has much to say about the stars. Most basic to our understanding of the stars is that God created them. They show His power and majesty. The heavens are God’s “handiwork” (Psalm 8:3; 19:1). He has all the stars numbered and named (Psalm 147:4).

The Bible also teaches that God arranged the stars into recognizable groups that we call constellations. The Bible mentions three of these: Orion, the Bear (Ursa Major), and “the crooked serpent” (most likely Draco) in Job 9:9; 26:13; 38:31-32; and Amos 5:8. The same passages also reference the star group Pleiades (the Seven Stars). God is the One Who “fastens the bands” of these constellations; He is the One who brings them forth, “each in its season.” In Job 38:32, God also points to the “Mazzaroth,” usually translated “constellations.” This is thought by many to be a reference to the twelve constellations of the zodiac.
The constellations have been tracked and studied for millennia. The Egyptians and Greeks knew of the zodiac and used it to measure the beginning of spring centuries before Christ. Much has been written of the meaning of the zodiacal constellations, including theories that they comprise an ancient display of God’s redemptive plan. For example, the constellation Leo can be seen as a celestial depiction of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), and Virgo could be a reminder of the virgin who bore Christ. However, the Bible does not indicate any “hidden meaning” for these or other constellations.Technically
The Bible says that stars, along with the sun and moon, were given for “signs” and “seasons” (Genesis 1:14); that is, they were meant to mark time for us. They are also “signs” in the sense of navigational “indicators,” and all through history men have used the stars to chart their courses around the globe.
God used the stars as an illustration of His promise to give Abraham an innumerable seed (Genesis 15:5). Thus, every time Abraham looked up at the night sky, he had a reminder of God’s faithfulness and goodness. The final judgment of the earth will be accompanied by astronomical events relating to the stars (Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29).
Astrology is the “interpretation” of an assumed influence the stars (and planets) exert on human destiny. According to astrology, the sign you were born under, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, or Capricorn, impacts your destiny. This is a false belief. The royal astrologers of the Babylonian court were put to shame by God’s prophet Daniel (Daniel 1:20) and were powerless to interpret the king’s dream (Daniel 2:27). God specifies astrologers as among those who will be burned as stubble in God’s judgment (Isaiah 47:13-14). Astrology as a form of divination is expressly forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). God forbade the children of Israel to worship or serve the “host of heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:19). Several times in their history, however, Israel fell into that very sin (2 Kings 17:16 is one example). Their worship of the stars brought God’s judgment each time.
What

Astrology

The stars should awaken wonder at God’s power, wisdom, and infinitude. We should use the stars to keep track of time and place and to remind us of God’s faithful, covenant-keeping nature. All the while, we acknowledge the Creator of the heavens. Our wisdom comes from God, not the stars (James 1:5). The Word of God, the Bible, is our guide through life (Psalm 119:105).

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