Explore Zodiacs Explained & Astrology Origins
In the early aughts, people's weekly love and career predictions were printed out in the horoscope section of fashion magazines and newspapers. Today, it comes in the form of Youtube video astrological forecasts and hashtag relatable Instagram media that make us realize how much of a Virgo we truly are. Or are we?
At the beginning of May, Mercury went into retrograde for the second time this year. According to Astrologers, this retrograde in Gemini is all about our personal lives, making us rethink our career paths and life goals.
According to some retail companies, this is the perfect time to release products like... Mercury retrograde bath bombs...?! What's all this about?
Did you know that, according to astrology, it's not only one sign that defines our character? You've also got your Moon sign, Venus sign, north, and south node signs... We'll explain all these later.
However, although astrology now is seen by some as too "woo woo" to be trusted, there was a time when it was actually a trusted science. So when did astrology become a thing?
When did we start associating it with personality traits? Who invented it? and once and for all, what is a Mercury retrograde?! You're watching Explore mode and today we're diving into the origins of astrology.
Around the second millennium Bc, ancient Babylonian astrology emerged. It all began with stargazing. They started noticing the movement of celestial bodies and how these affected life on Earth. There were certain stars in the skies that moved(we now know these are planets), some of them noticed some stars created patterns(today we call these constellations) and that at times, the moon appeared larger than usual, affecting the tides(a phenomenon we now know today as apogee and perigee).
They realized that by tracking the movement of these objects, they could also predict changes in seasons and eclipses.
The Babylonians didn't know it, but these celestial observations and predictions would become the early foundations of astronomy.
They saw the planets as representations of their gods: Jupiter was Marduk, the patron god of the city of Babylon; Venus was Ishtar, the goddess of beauty, fertility, and war; Saturn was Ninurta, the god of farming, hunting, and healing; Mercury was Nabu, the god of wisdom; and Mars was Nurgle, the god of the sun and the underworld.
Speaking about planets... let's get this mercury retrograde thing cleared up! It's commonly known in astrology that when Mercury goes into retrograde, there will be some hiccups and communication, travel, and a lot of revisiting the past which seems to translate into exes coming back to haunt you.
But what is it really? Well, Mercury retrograde is a phenomenon in which the planet Mercury appears to be moving backward in the sky. Hence all the fear of things going haywire and issues from the past resurfacing. This is of course, not really the case. The phenomenon is called apparent retrograde motion.
What happens here is that Earth and Mercury are orbiting in the same direction, but at different speeds, making it seem that Mercury is going backward. The same thing is going on in these photos with Mars retrograde. See it this way, say you and a friend are running laps in the track field and then you overtake them.
From your perspective, they are moving backward outside of your field of view. Does that mean your friend is running backward? No, it's just a matter of speed. The same thing applies to planetary retrogrades. When Earth lapses another planet at certain points in its orbit, it will appear to be falling behind.
Babylonians carefully observe the movement of the Sun, Moon, planets, and constellations in the night sky and interpreted whether or not the stars carried a message. They noticed that as seasons change, certain constellations would take over the night sky. Twelve of these constellations would become what we know today as the zodiac.
Astrology and horoscopes as we know them now come from the Greeks. Astrology was used in two ways: as a form of divination to inquire about the present, past, and future; and also as a form of exploration of human nature and their connection to the stars - This is the one we are most familiar with.
But how did they come up with the zodiac signs? Time for an Express Explore Explanation, start the clock! To understand how the zodiac signs came to be we need to understand the ecliptic plane. Said simply, the ecliptic plane is how the movement of the Sun and the stars look from Earth at different times throughout the year.
As we said before certain constellations show up at different times of the year, the Babylonians separated this visible plane in chunks of 30 equal degrees, each of which started the main consolation that was up in the sky at any given time. This year starts with Sagittarius, then Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio.
The Greeks adopted this science but added another layer to it. for them, the signs were not just about the changing of seasons or the moods of the gods, Greek people thought that the ruling constellation in the sky brought with it a certain character and so it affected the general mood of the months it rained and also the personalities of those born under them.
Greeks then further added mythological tales behind each planet and constellation, This is Horoscope Astrology. Each of the zodiac signs falls under a ruling element: Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo are Earth signs.
They're thought to be well-grounded and trustworthy. Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra are Air signs. They are thought to be all about communication and empathy. The water signs are Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio. They're known to be highly emotional and sensitive. And finally, fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are known for, Well their fiery personalities!
There's much more to each sign and some of them even match better with some than others, If you want to learn more about that, check out HoroscopesNews' explainer on the mythology and personality traits behind each sign. click over here.
But can the complexity of human nature really be summed up by when a person was born? Of course not, and astrology isn't pretending that it's that simple either. Remember we said you also had a moon sign? Well, you also have a sign for all the other planets too!
Most people are familiar with their Sun sign which is determined by the position the sun was in when you were born. So if you were born roughly between June 22 to July 22 your sun sign is Cancer. But what about the position of other celestial bodies at the time of your birth? Do those count too? The answer is yes.
In order to find out where the rest of the planets fell on the day you came to Earth, you need to get your astrology chart done. Here's what you need to have in order to get a chart reading: first your exact time of birth, second your place of birth, and third your date of birth type. Click over here to view your birth chart.
Your sun sign represents personality and character, this is why it is oftentimes taken as the most defining zodiac sign in your chart. The second most influential celestial body in your chart is the moon sign. This tells us about how we process emotions and could even give us hints about how our childhood affected us.
For example, someone with the moon in Aries might feel a strong need for independence. Your Mercury sign represents wisdom and communication. Your venus sign will define how you view love and pleasure in life. Your mars sign symbolizes the driving forces behind your desires. Your sign-in Jupiter will determine your ethical guidance.
Neptune and Pluto both usually have signs that defined an entire generation. Other important factors that influence your birth chart are how balanced your elements are within the chart, your north and south nodes, the patterns created by the planets on the chart, and even the angles formed between two planets at the time of your birth.
All these give more clues about your past, present, and potential future. Astrology has long been debunked and replaced by astronomy. Ever since humans realized that it's not the Sun rotating around us but Earth going around the sun, Astrology was recategorized as a pseudoscience.
However, that hasn't stopped the influx of horoscope beams on social media and astrological predictions on Youtube. Perhaps it's just human nature to look up to the sky and wonder... what do the stars have in store for us?