A Brief History of Astrology

The history of astrology is rich and complex.   I feel that it’s important to communicate to you the understanding that this subject is so much more compelling and deep-rooted historically than many of you may initially realise.

Astrology has been studied and practised in various forms since around 5000bc, longer than any known religion.  The ancient Babylonians evolved a simple method of calculating the planets’ positions; they did not use telescopes, they erected high towers to search the skies.  One of the first known records of astrological markings was found on a deer antler in the region of Isturitz, France. This object is estimated to be about 25,000 years old.

In the beginning, Astrology and Astronomy were one and the same; they were not considered separate subjects until the 17th and 18th centuries.  Until then they were practised by the one individual.  What is surprising is that back then astronomy was considered the less important part of the subject.

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, who is responsible for the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors today, developed theories on the four elements that we still use today in astrology – Fire Earth, Air and Water. You possibly already know which element your Sun sign belongs to, which is of course dependent upon which zodiac sign it is found within. 

During the middle Ages, most royalty and nobility employed astrologers as their advisors and counsellors.  Catherine de Medici, (Queen of France) employed Nostradamus, one of the greatest astrologers of all time.  Astrology then was very much about predicting the future and using the planets’ influences to determine decisions to be made by the monarchy. If the astrologer got it wrong, then they were in an awful lot of trouble!! Queen Elizabeth I herself took the advice of astrologer John Dee on many occasions.

This is to name but a few prominent royals who took astrological guidance. However, John Dee was purported to have been involved in some very dubious practices and although he was very talented astrologically, his ideas could be considered a little radical and there is some evidence that he may have even been involved in the black arts.

Even though astrology was outlawed by the Witchcraft act of 1735, it somehow managed to hold on by the skin of its teeth until the 19th century when a revival began, with astrologers such as Alan Leo who, despite being repeatedly prosecuted, produced textbooks to help people develop their astrological skills. We still refer to the works of Alan Leo today.

Since the beginning of the last century, interest in astrology has slowly grown and it has in recent years become much more socially acceptable. In fact it has not been so popular since medieval times, especially recently when many people have become dissatisfied with modern attitudes and materialism and so have moved toward the spiritual aspects of existence.

To finish off this very brief historical outline, you may be also be surprised to learn that astrology was used during the Second World War, by both sides, for propaganda purposes.

The great psychologist Carl Jung, who was at one time a pupil of Sigmund Freud, firmly believed that astrology was a useful tool in revealing insights into the human nature.  So, we can see that many famous people throughout history have been associated with astrology, either directly or indirectly.

Anyway, this is a subject that covers many, many areas of history; we would need an entire book to even begin to understand the history of astrology, never mind a few paragraphs!  But, you can begin to understand that astrology has had a greater part to play in the history of mankind than may originally have thought, and that there is great deal more to it than many people realise, other than for example what is found in magazines and newspapers.


Your Astrologer

Sharon Ward is a qualified astrologer and writer with over twenty years' experience. She holds a Diploma in Astrology and is a member of the Association of Professional Astrologers International.

Please note: Due to a high workload, Sharon is unfortunately unable to take on any new clients for the present time.

Sharon Ward

Above are a selection of articles, all of which have been written by Sharon. These will help you understand what astrology is and how it can help you in your quest for personal progress. Some of the articles are written with other astrologers in mind and some have been written to help those of you who wish to discover more about this fascinating subject.