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noby
29-12-2004, 03:27
Lately, I've been curious about astrology. I just bought a datebook that lists the sign the moon is in for each day, and I've been interested in working with this information to see how it may or may not appear to affect my life.

The idea that the location of the sun, the moon, and the planets has an affect on us makes sense to me. We are all part of larger systems, and it seems to me that it is simply common sense that the movements of these systems of which we are a part affect us.

However, I keep getting stuck on the specific signs of "Western" astrology - how is it we can frame these effects in terms of qualities of a sign based on an arbitrary pattern given to the stars, such as that of a "water bearer," for example? How do we know that when the sun or moon or something else is in the Aquarius position, for example, that the effects on us can be described in terms of a symbolic image arbitrarily pasted upon the stars long ago? What if the founders of Western astrology had looked in the "Aquarius region" and seen a dragon instead, for example?

My skepticism is greeted by the fact that so many of the people I have encountered indeed display the qualities associated with their sign. So I wonder, when we see the effects of a certain sign, are we merely looking for confirmation and projecting, or is there really something to the signs? If so, what went into choosing the signs, naming them, and attributing qualities to them? Is there an astrological history site that puts this in a good perspective?

dadsnook2000
29-12-2004, 03:37
The Origin of the Zodiac by Rupert Gleadow, first published in 1969, is a scholarly work that addresses ancient zodiacs used by various civilizations as well as the threads that are woven into our current zodiac as used in the west. Included are many ancient, BC, horoscopes to illustrate his work. There are probably others that have been published more recently, I've reviewed these in bookstores, but this is one of the best.

Another reference that is more technical is Astrological Origins by Cyril Faga, printed in 1971. This is my favorite but the first book is better suited to those who know less about astrology and wish to learn. Dave.

noby
29-12-2004, 04:00
Thank you for the book recommendations, they seem like exactly what I'm looking for... I'll keep an eye out for them.

isthmus nekoi
29-12-2004, 08:59
noby,

The signs are based on the progression of the seasons and the symbols are tied to that progression and its relationship to agriculture. e.g. a Scorpionic culling of the flock. So the symbols are not arbitrary. Also, it's good to know that astrology back in the day had a lot to do w/agriculture and not much w/individual's personalities and sun signs. So astrology used to have a much more practical use you could say rather than this new age strain it's come into.

Also, as it stands today, someone w/a sun in Aquarius simply means they were born during the apex of winter - their sun isn't even physically located in Aquarius. How birthtime affects the individual is of course a very complicated question.... I think Moongold said it best in that the planets do not cause anything. Astrology is an analogous system. Astrology works b/c Nature works. Study one aspect of Nature and it shall naturally bring insight to all its other parts (including us).

dadsnook2000
29-12-2004, 13:03
Two weeks ago we finished a thread on Astrology and Signs in the southern hemisphere. It addressed the meaning of signs south of the equator and how they were 180 degrees out of sync with the seasons. By the time we ended the thread there seemed to be a consensus that perhaps "signs" were useless carry-overs from the past. You might want to review that thread. By now, it is well known that I don't generally use signs, often ignore houses, and don't always use aspects -- some times I never use aspects. Yet, my astrology, while very simple, seems to work very well. So, isthmus nekoi may also be suspicious of "signs" to some degree as well. Dave.

Fulgour
29-12-2004, 14:19
...what went into choosing the signs, naming them, and attributing qualities to them?Allowing that all factors, such as our microscopic DNA and millions
of years of evolution, along with the seasons of nature and winds
of chance and change all play a significant part in why people are
the way they are, you could imagine that there is an active cycle
at work which manifests in the traits and qualities of humankind.

Picture the year like a coloured wheel, and mix in all the elements
that have forever played a part in what each time of year signifies.
There, into that exact context, we are born, springing forth from
countless impulses, as unique and universal as the air we breathe.

The old saying, you are what you eat, is only half right. We are also
what eats us: the growling rage of cosmic forces streaming ever on.

~Fulgour
of the autumn

noby
30-12-2004, 02:27
Thank you all for your responses. This is all very helpful and interesting to me, as I'm such a greenhorn when it comes to astrology.

The point that the signs are supposed to represent attributes of the seasons that originally were viewed within the context of agriculture is very helpful, and now seems so obvious. However, some make more sense to me than others - a ram and bull in the spring make sense, but I'm having more trouble with signs like Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces... Though already, just to type them out, I see in the latter two the inward movement affected by the winter... This gives me a very good jumping-off place to start sniffing around and doing some research.

How birthtime affects the individual is of course a very complicated question.... I think Moongold said it best in that the planets do not cause anything. Astrology is an analogous system. Astrology works b/c Nature works. Study one aspect of Nature and it shall naturally bring insight to all its other parts (including us).

Good point, and lucidly put. That makes a lot of sense.

dadsnook: Thanks for the thread recommendation, I'm sure I'll find it very interesting and helpful to read through it. I'm also very interested in your "simple," sign-free form of astrology.

Allowing that all factors, such as our microscopic DNA and millions
of years of evolution, along with the seasons of nature and winds
of chance and change all play a significant part in why people are
the way they are, you could imagine that there is an active cycle
at work which manifests in the traits and qualities of humankind.

Picture the year like a coloured wheel, and mix in all the elements
that have forever played a part in what each time of year signifies.
There, into that exact context, we are born, springing forth from
countless impulses, as unique and universal as the air we breathe.

The old saying, you are what you eat, is only half right. We are also
what eats us: the growling rage of cosmic forces streaming ever on.

~Fulgour
of the autumn

Your beautiful, lucid, and poetic post left me breathless, Fulgour! Thank you.

Fulgour
30-12-2004, 02:38
I have been thinking that the glyph for Pisces may be
two half-circles joined by a line ~ to indicate that there
isn't really a constellation there to identify that region,
but a "fishbowl" of stars, between Aquarius and Aries.

Capricorn, I can't say ~ I have a notebook page covered
with various symbols for this sign, plus one of my own! :)