Astrology – What is it, concept, origin, zodiac signs

We explain what astrology is, its origin, the zodiac signs and why it is not a science. Also, differences with astronomy.

Astrology considers that there is a relationship between the stars and terrestrial events.

What is astrology?

Astrology is the art of interpreting the configuration and relative location of the stars and their constellations, for divinatory, psychological purposes or simply as a way to find useful patterns within reality. The term comes from the Greek astron, “Star”, and logos, “speech”.

It is an ancient practice shared by many different civilizations, such as the Chinese, the Hindu or the Western. It should not be confused with astronomy, the scientific discipline that studies the celestial bodies.

Astrology starts from the assumption that there is a correlation between the configuration of the stars in the sky, and the events that take place on Earth.

Consequently, by studying this configuration, future events can be determined or a classification of human personalities can be established, thus establishing what we know as the horoscope: predictions and advice offered to people according to their astrological sign.

To establish its principles and conclusions, astrology draws on different symbolic and anthropological traditions, such as numerology, alchemical language, tarot and different mythologies, especially those that are linked to the zodiac, that is, with the signs that tradition associates with each constellation recognized in the sky.

This is how each zodiac sign corresponds to a series of data and senses: a ruling planet, an associated element, a preferred number, a personality trend, and so on.

Is astrology a science?

Astrology it is not a science. At best, it can be considered a pseudoscience: a discipline that establishes its own rules of the game and yields unverifiable conclusions, irreproducible and infallible, so that it escapes the minimum conditions imposed by the scientific method. In fact, he does not use the scientific method at all, but instead uses different cultural traditions to assemble his own coherent discourse.

In fact, astrology has been strongly questioned by science on numerous occasions, and is the object of scientific study by the history of culture and the sciences of religion, that is, it is studied academically as a cultural product of the humanity. That is, astrology can serve as an object of study for science, but it is not a science in itself.

Origin of astrology

Astrology has various origins, since the interest in finding meanings among the stars of the night sky has accompanied humanity since its oldest civilizations, such as China, India, Mayan or Mesopotamia. There is evidence of astrological attempts dating back 25,000 years.

Nevertheless, Western astrological tradition began in Babylon and Ancient Egypt, about 2,000 years BC. C., linked to religion and the decision-making of kings. For example, in a series of scrolls called the Old Testament Texts of the Times, it is said that Gudea, ruler of the city of Lagash, received an explanation from the gods as to which constellation was best to build his new temple.

Nevertheless, the most important astrological tradition for the West was the Greek, fruit of the conquest of Egypt and Asia minor by Alexander the Great in 322 BC. It was precisely in the city of Alexandria, founded at that time, where the Babylonian and Egyptian astrological traditions converged, giving rise to the horoscopic tradition.

At that time, two forms of astrology were known: that which used the horoscope for divinatory purposes, and theurgic, which focused on the supposed ascent of the soul to the stars.

Astrology was transmitted to Ancient Rome after the conquest of Greece by the Romans. In fact, Emperor Tiberius (42 BC-AD 37) was the first to have an astrologer at his court, as an adviser. Already at that time the first questions to astrology also took place, by philosophers and jurists who saw the connection between politics and the stars as absurd.

The zodiac signs

astrology zodiac signs
The sign of a person is the constellation in which the Sun was at the time of his birth.

The signs of the zodiac are the celestial constellations that divide the ecliptic line into twelve sectors of thirty degrees, that is, the line that describes the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth.

These twelve sectors form the so-called “twelve houses”, each of which houses a constellation and is associated with certain characteristics and certain elements. Thus, depending on where the Sun and the Moon are in said trajectory, we will be in the span of one sign or another.

The twelve signs are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces, and They are usually associated with certain references from Greek mythology, since it was the ancient Hellenes who named the constellations.

The word “zodiac”, in fact, comes from the Greek word zodion (translatable as “small animal image“, zoon) and the relation suffix –kos, by what means “related to the figures of animals” in reference to the constellations.

Instead, the term “horoscope” also comes from the Greek now (“hour and skopein (“Observe”), so that it could be understood as “keeping the time” or “looking at the time”, which is logical considering that the first methods of measuring time were sundials. However, this Greek heritage is preserved in the West through ancient Roman culture, for that reason, the names of the constellations come from Latin.

Today, the zodiac is used to determine the sun sign of each person, that is, the constellation in which the sun was at the time of its birth. According to astrology, the sign will determine many things about the personality of the individual and it will be able to be consulted in the horoscopes to obtain spiritual guide.

Astrology and astronomy

Although they have similar names, we should not confuse astronomy with astrology. Astronomy is a science, which applies the scientific method to the observation and understanding of the universe outside our planet, that is, the celestial vault, its stars, planets and sidereal objects.

This science uses telescopes and other instruments to draw verifiable conclusions from starlight and other forms of energy from outer space.

Instead, astronomy links cultural and symbolic traditions to venture to conclusions, from a holistic look at the celestial vault, that is, without applying measurements of any kind, except geometric calculations and other ways of relating the stars whose interpretation will later depend on a mystical, spiritual or even religious look.

In conclusion: if we want to consult our horoscope, we are interested in astrology; But if we want to find out if there is ice on Neptune, or when there will be a shower of shooting stars, we are really interested in astronomy.