Astrology and horoscopes originated in ancient Greece, who believed that a person’s life was pre-determined and predicted through the positioning of heavenly bodies, namely the sun and moon, and the constellations which were present at their birth.
Particularly important in the development of horoscopic astrology was the astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, whose work the Tetrabiblos laid the basis of the Western astrological tradition. Under the Greeks and Ptolemy in particular, the planets, Houses, and Signs of the zodiac were rationalized and their function set down in a way that remains largely unchanged in the present day.
Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos was the basis of Western teachings on the subject for the next 1,300 years. It is also interesting to note that in the account of the birth of Christ, the three wise men were described as magi, magi is the plural of Latin magus, borrowed from Greek μάγος magos, as used in the original Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew.
Greek magos itself is derived from Old Persian maguŝ from the Avestan magâunô, i.e. the religious caste into which Zoroaster was born. As part of their religion, Zoroastrians paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science.
Astrology became widely used in the Middle Ages, with even Church prelates and Protestant princes consulting their horoscopes before making important decisions. This interest in horoscopes and astrology continued through the 14th and 15th centuries, with the Medici in Italy in particular supporting astrologers. Catherine de Medici, daughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent, turned to the ingenious Ruggieri brothers—Cosimo and Lorenzo for help. The Ruggieri family members had been physician, astrologer and mathematician to the Medici, with Cosimo casting the horoscope of Catherine’s nativity with great accuracy (including her peril during the siege of Florence and her marriage to a Prince of France).
Queen Elizabeth I also relied heavily on her astrologer of choice, John Dee, also known as the Queen’s Conjurer. Dee was also a Christian Cabalist, one who was acutely aware of the supercelestial world of the angels and divine powers. Dee started work on his text Propaedeumata Aphoristica (Preliminary Aphoristic Teachings), a series of maxims explaining astrological powers by rational processes. He wanted to understand how celestial events influenced sub-lunar ones.
Dee believed that when God created the universe, he let loose a divine force, which caused the planets to turn, the Sun to rise and the Moon to wax and wane. Once Elizabeth was crowned Queen, she increasingly relied upon Dee as her astrologer. John Dee is a very interesting character and hopefully this has whetted your appetite for finding out more about the man.
A basic horoscope relates to a person’s birth time, date and year, in addition to where in the 12 Zodiac segments the birth occurs. The year is divided into 12 parts, each named after a different constellation. Horoscopes are customized according to where within the Zodiac segment the birth date and time occur, or what sign you fall under.
Horoscopes can be found everywhere, from a preponderance of free sites on the internet, to astrologers in newspapers, Facebook, Twitter and other social media applications, and even delivered straight to your smart phone. It is certain that people’s desire to know what life has in store for them will not be sated any time soon, and so horoscopes will continue to flourish and gain devotees.