OthersAstrology as a Historical and Cultural Phenomenon: What Is It?

7th April 2020by Shubham Agarwal0

Astrology started as observation of the universe, measurement of time and interconnection of events. These are simultaneous and not consecutive observations. When the ancient man observed the surrounding, he began to see the periodicity of events around him.

First was the periodicity of day and night, then the seasons, cycle of seasons that is the year. Slowly he began to understand this periodicity and began to follow it to his advantage. Like storing water in the rainy season, or storing food for the winter season. Slowly the observation expanded to space and the man began to correlate the earthly events to celestial happenings.

When the sky looks a certain way, in the same days time raining starts, when the sky looks at a specific color, a storm is on the way and so on. When these observations were recorded, and fine-tuned over thousands of years and expanded inwards and outwards, astrology was born. Astrology is a bit like this. Its originators, across many cultures, noticed correlations between what’s happening in the sky, and what’s happening on earth, and in people’s lives.

There are so many perceptions and theories about the origins of astrology. As advancements can always happen in science, going back in time is possible when it comes to history. We never know when a particular historical record will get disproved.

Everything started with man’s ability to observe the celestial bodies, their movements and their impact on earthly bodies. Observations were evident in ancient Indian and Babylonian traditions. There are astronomical symbols from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilization.
Astrology in the Vedic lands (today’s India) originates from the Vedas.

Indian Astrological tradition took good shape in antiquity as the world moved into the common era. Major astrological texts such as Yavanajataka, Brihat Jataka, Brihat Samhita, Brihat Parashara Hora Sastra, and Saravali were written by Sphujidvaja, Varahamihira, Parashara and Kalyana Varma from the period ranging from 2nd century CE to 12th century CE.

India enjoyed a continuous astrological tradition without having many interruptions despite multiple invasions. With a little bit of knowledge transfer from Greek and Persian traditions, Indian Astrology still remains the same as it was 2000 years before.

An interesting fact that is not known by many is that astrology first came into the picture when things were so disorganized that it had become necessary to invent something that could bring sense and order in the system. This was the reason for the origin of astrology but later the planetary movements were studied to predict the climatic changes and the effect that it would have on farming activities.

When the weather predictions turned accurate, people started using it for prognosticating the upcoming disasters and natural phenomena that proved to be extremely helpful to the masses. And from there it entered the royal court where it was used for the counsel of kings and the nobility. Through the ages, astrology has been passed on from generation to generation and now it has reached the common man.

In the 21st century, astrology has become an approachable practice not just limited to the royalty but rather a domain that can help guide an individual onto the path of success and fame.

Interestingly the development of astrology in various areas was dependent on the available circumstances. For example, in India and Africa, the clean, open and readable sky was available almost all around the year, Astrology developed, in Russia and Europe palmistry developed, and so on.

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