How did astrology get started? Mankind has always been in awe of the heavens and always will be. There is something inspirational, even wondrous about staring at the heavens on a clear night and the psyche senses the mystery. What is out there? How did it get there? What would it be like to be there on a star or on another planet. These kinds of questions have piqued the mind of humankind for millennia.
Centuries ago, humans were first awed by the Sun as it rose from darkness in the east and set to darkness in the west. You can well imagine that the first inhabitants of the planet had to be very afraid of the darkness that occurred when the Sun disappeared. When would it return? What if it disappears and never comes back again? The miracle of resurrection, the base of world religions in one way or another, is linked to this natural drama. As darkness set in, humankind observed millions of tiny, fixed, flickering lights that, like the Sun, were also given to a schedule of rising and setting. Amid all this, humans noticed that five of them seemed to wander in and out among the more stable stars. These “moving” stars were the planets, the “wanderers”: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
As the heavens were studied more and more, awe-inspiring correlations between the motions of the planets and events on Earth were found: floods, good and bad harvests, wars, and more.. Wars and discord seemed to occur more frequently when Mars and Jupiter were linked together in certain ways in certain sectors of the heavens, just to give one example. Correspondences like these were recorded and preserved on tablets in Egypt. Students of life and nature from the land of Sumer (Mesopotamia) and, much later, Greece, all studied for decades with the wise priests, the scholar/magicians of ancient Egypt.
Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Master) is the Roman name for the Egyptian God, Thoth. Hermes is famous for the dictum, “As Above so Below.” What this means is that what is below on Earth is reflected above and what is above is reflected below. This is the core of the so-called Hermetic doctrine. In the late fifteenth century, the Swiss seer, Paracelsus, (doctor, astrologer, alchemist), personalized the doctrine even further by making the eloquently simple statement, “The Planets are Within.” This was an eloquent statement of the relationship between the microcosm here below and the macrocosm of the heavens that are all around us, the integration of the all pervasive creative principle.
How is this all brought together in the horoscope? Astrology rests on the major, spiritual premise that the soul picks its time and place to be born in order to best learn the lessons it needs to learn in order to evolve. The planets upon which astrology is based become archetypes of needs in human behavior. They are the symbols of behavioral faculties that guide the astrologer to anticipate, appreciate, guide and counsel behavior in many, many, significant ways. We have this guiding imprint encapsulated within in the birth moment within time and in a particular place on Earth; this is when these planets become individualistically ours. That is what the horoscope is – a planetary drawing of the “hour” and moment of becoming. It is a map of our individual microcosm within the macrocosm of Natural Order.