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Your Horoscope Says To Give These 8 Black Astrologers A Follow

In case you’ve been living under a rock or conveniently happened to be cryogenically frozen like Austin Powers, last year sucked out loud. Truly a garbage year in nearly every way, 2020 was a time to learn, grow, suffer, cry, drink a lot and maybe get in touch with your spiritual side. When the world seems to be out of your control and you just want to feel like there’s someone out there listening to you and hearing you, leaning into astrology, tarot, spirituality and so much more become rather commonplace options for comfort.

As a Black woman, I’ve always felt in tune with my spiritual side, if a little skeptical—mostly because I’d kind of written off stories about my grandparents’ relationship with their spiritual side as woo-woo. But last year changed me and my DNA to the very core, and I decided to learn more about astrology and tarot. And what I learned was that modern astrology is very white, and if I wanted to get spiritual guidance from someone who looked like me, I was going to have to seek it out.

Black astrologers aren’t hard to come by, but they certainly aren’t the modern faces of the movement like Chani Nicholas or the Astro Twins. But, as a Black woman, it’s increasingly important to me to follow people whose goals and needs align with my own, and who can empathize with my experiences and what’s going in the world. So while my entrance into astrological education was through white creators on YouTube and TikTok, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to hear about the stars from a Black perspective as a Black person.

So, I spoke to the eight Black astrologers and tarot readers below to find out more about them and their spiritual practices—and to make sure you have a one-stop shop to learn everything you can about astrology. 

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Adama Sesay of Lilith Astrology

Name  + Pronouns:She/Her

Social Media:@lilithastrology/TikTok,  @lilithastrology/Instagram, LilithAstrology/YouTube, LilithAstrology.com

How long have you been practicing astrology? Six years.

What sparked your interest in astrology? I’ve always been extremely intuitive, clairsentient, audient, voyant, but when I found astrology, it gave me an outlet. I started working for an astrology website and I was shown that this is my life’s purpose. After working there for some time, I took classes and went for certification.

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? My platform and company is named Lilith Astrology, after the dark feminine divine goddess Lilith. Lilith was the first womxn, and essentially is the archetype of the black femme experience on Earth. Her story is the dark feminine that is suppressed by others, but still takes back and reclaims her power. I also have this in my 1st House, conjunct my ruling planet, the moon. This energy is my life experience, and I help my clients through my own knowledge as a black womxn in America.

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? Dabble and see which healers, teachers, witches, shamans, etc work for you. Listen to your resonance and intuition to ensure that they align with your unique path. There is no one right way to do “spirituality”. 

Any words for those who are skeptical? I have nothing really to say besides get a reading. Life is too short to convince people otherwise.

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? My website Lilith Astrology is a fantastic way to get weekly, monthly, yearly horoscopes plus access to me on a regular basis. I have a fantastic and educational monthly membership program that dives deeper than your “well-known” app. Plus, you are supporting an independent black creator

What do you love about the social media astrology community? I have made some fantastic and beautiful friendships, for that I am beyond grateful. I also have the best astrology and spiritual mentors I could ever ask for!

Ashanti Ransom of The Heaux Healer

Pronouns: She/Her

Social Media:  @TheHeauxHealer/Twitter; @TheHeauxHealer/Instagram, TheHeauxHealer/YouTube

How long have you been practicing astrology?  Six years.

What sparked your interest in astrology? I grew up in a family where astrology was a very big part of our lives. I knew my birthday and my zodiac sign before most things.

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? I would say that my Black culture and interest in astrology intersect because the two are always evolving. Just like being Black stays on trend because we are always innovating something new, it’s the same for astrology because it’s always something new and innovative to find out about the planets and the stars. Black people are created from magic and the sun, moon and stars are our ancestors.

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? My tips for anyone starting their spiritual practice is to practice with and on your friends and family. Anytime I learn something new, I call up a friend and practice on them.

I would also say believe in your power and don’t second guess yourself. You never fall upon this way of living by chance. Don’t dim your light to fit in and as you ascend, you will lose some people along the way, it’s just a part of the process.

 Another gem: Know ya worth!

Any words for those who are skeptical? I always say meet people where they are in this process. It takes time to unlearn a lot of things we were taught during our childhood. Spirituality is all about positivity and self love. Everything else is just speculation.

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? My favorite tarot decks at the moment are Modern Witch Tarot Deck and The Golden Girls Tarot Deck and my favorite place to shop for all things magical is Namaste Bookshop in New York. 

What do you love about the social media astrology community? I love the social media astrology communities because you never know what each day will be like. Something new is always happening and there are always new things to discover. I also love how receptive social media has become to mysticism. A couple years ago, everyone wasn’t so receptive to the idea and we would have to hide our gifts. I am happy that this is now a thing of the past.

Dayna Lynn Nuckolls of The People’s Oracle

Pronouns: She/Her

Social Media: @PeoplesOracle/Twitter, @PeoplesOracle/Instagram

How long have you been practicing astrology? About 14 years.

What sparked your interest in astrology? I don’t remember ever not being interested in astrology. My introduction to astrology was through newspaper and magazine horoscopes like everyone else. All I knew was zodiac signs. I’d look up zodiac signs on the Internet once the Internet became a thing, but I honestly didn’t even know how complex astrology was. It was in 2007 that I got my hands on my first astrology books at the public library. I’ve been obsessed ever since!

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? What a loaded question! My Blackness led me to reject mainstream astrology as both a pop culture trope and a modern school of thought and community. Whether on the blogs or social media of respected astrologers or in books of translated astrology texts from the 1st century, my Blackness was not there. I did not exist to these astrologers. And not only did I, as a Black woman, not exist, I did not see the experiences of the queer, disabled, indigenous, those forced into poverty by the wealthy, etc.

Instead, what I did see in those astrologies was an implicit and explicit embodiment of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, queer-phobia, ableism and on and on and on. Essentially, my Blackness is my astrology. It’s not something that needs to be added to it or laid on top as an “identity-politic”. Astrology narrates the experiences of all people. And my fundamental belief in that is why I am The People’s Oracle, THEE sidereal astrologer. I’ve developed a new astrology—using the centuries old sidereal zodiac—for all people.

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? Don’t be so quick to throw away the religious and spiritual practices you were raised with. Especially as Black folks, our ancestors have hidden in plain sight pieces in part and in whole of the rituals, language, and ways of engaging with spirit we brought with us over the the Atlantic. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Lastly, discernment is so important. Never stop asking why. Question the spiritual authority of those who claim to hold it. Don’t abandon one dogma for another one. Tread carefully.

Any words for those who are skeptical? Nah. I don’t care if people believe me or not. Those who want to truly be free often find their way to my work, or someone else’s whose spiritual praxis is rooted in liberation.

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? The 2021 Sidereal Astrology Guide is the 4th edition of my annual astrology calendar, workbook and journal. In it, I guide you through the personal application of one year of astrology. There is no astrology knowledge required. It’s better than any horoscope you will ever read because it takes into consideration your unique astrology and your imitate knowledge of your own life and experiences. 

What do you love about the social media astrology community? I’m actually not really a part of the larger social media astrology community because my work diverges both in astrological practice, political ideology and spiritual foundation. Most astrologers, if not all others besides me, desire an “objective” astrology that is allegedly completely separate from any spiritual doctrine or practice. I grew up in the Pentecostal church! That’s in my astrology, too! So, I’ve carved out my own lane in astrology that intersects  with a small community of Black women and queer and non-binary spiritual practitioners and initiates. It’s the authenticity, accountability, integrity and commitment to liberation for me!

Chelsea of Zodiac Healer

Pronouns: She/Her

Social Media: @zodiachealer/Twitter, @zodiachealer/Instagram

How long have you been practicing astrology? I have been practicing astrology for about four years, but was first introduced to the complexities of the study six years ago.

What sparked your interest in astrology? My interest in astrology first began as a kid, flipping through the horoscope section of my favorite teen magazines. The Aries horoscope always resonated with me, but I always felt like something was missing. When I took a look at my whole birth chart for the first time at 18 and realized I was a Cancer moon AND Cancer rising, it clicked why I had always been more of a sensitive Aries than most. It really validated the complexities of my existence.

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? As a Black woman, it’s extremely rare that I ever feel properly represented, but when I took a deep dive into the history behind astrology and realized that people of color were some of the first astrologers to exist, it filled me with so much pride. Considering how often Black astrologers are left out of conversations surrounding astrology, it made my desire to practice this work that much stronger. As Black astrologers, we belong here. Our ancestors practiced this work. So it feels very much like coming home. 

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? If you’re starting a spiritual practice for the wrong reasons, it won’t feel right in your soul. It’s not about followers or clout, it’s about helping people heal and feel seen. Going into your practice with genuine intentions will always leave you feeling full.

Any words for those who are skeptical? There’s a lot of common misconceptions out there about astrology, so I understand the apprehensiveness, but it’s important to remember that astrology is essentially the study of the planets. The planets are definitely up there—and our Earth is entirely affected by what the Sun and Moon do, so why wouldn’t we be?

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? Honeycomb Collective creates phenomenal almanacs to keep up with what the planets are doing and I use it every single day for my client sessions—it’s such a gem!

What do you love about the social media astrology community? No online community is perfect, but the astrology community is truly something special. Every single Black astrologer I’ve been blessed to meet was through Instagram or Twitter—I can’t tell you how lonely I felt when I first started out and didn’t see any faces like mine. We still have a long way to go, but there are so many astrologers out there that are so welcoming. It makes all the difference.

Gieselle Andrea of Saucy Scorpio

Pronouns: She/Her

Social Media: @SaucyScorpio/TikTok, @SaucyScorpio/Instagram, @SaucyScorpio/Twitter, SaucyScorpio/Etsy

How long have you been practicing astrology? I became a student of astrology as a child, but I began to implement astrology in my life in 2017. 

What sparked your interest in astrology? Back in 2016 I was a flight attendant with Skywest Airlines. I was traveling back to Colorado  after vacationing in New York visiting some friends from college when I met a passenger on my flight name Troy. Of course, my outgoing Leo sun sign couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk to a handsome man on my three hour flight to Colorado, and so it began.

The conversation started by Troy sharing with me that his  mom was a flight attendant, which led to him telling me about his dad, who was actually an astrologer! Wild, right? During our flight, Troy introduced me to the concept of the “natal chart”. Troy explained  to me that the natal chart is a cosmic roadmap to your life during this lifetime and that it can highlight karmic debt from the past and even show you what you need to work towards in this lifetime in order to fulfill your soul‘s purpose and your heart’s desires.

After the flight ended I was super interested in learning about my own natal chart and learning how I could use astrology to help me navigate through my life, because I was the epitome of a “hot mess express” in 2016. When I looked at my own natal chart, it was like looking at a foreign language. It was dense and I had no clue what it was talking about so I just left it there.

Fast-forward to 2017, I found out I was pregnant with my son and I decided to dive back into astrology. As a soon-to-be-mom, I wanted to make sure I had all the tools to give my baby the best life possible. The most important thing I could be for my son was a mother that “understood” and “guided” him through life, rather than trying to live through him or by projecting my unfulfilled desires onto him. I was determined to help my son navigate through any karmic debt. I was still a bit confused about astrology when I looked at my son’s natal chart so I decided to go back and start with my own, so it would be easier for me to understand and then correlate anything I learned with his chart.

While journeying through my own chart, I gained a huge understanding of my mental health as well as the difficulties that I experienced throughout my teenage years and adulthood. It was as if I looked in a cosmic mirror and saw myself for the first time. My natal chart helped me identify under-developed aspects within my own personality and avoid potential character flaws and/or toxic tendencies. Once I understood this, my journey to self awareness and self mastery began. 

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? As a Black astrologer, I am fortunate to be a gatekeeper of knowledge and information for the Black community. Within astrology, there’s so much information that helps you understand how you move within the world and how the world simultaneously moves around you. Once we are able to understand the astrological formulas, aspects and transits that affect us, we can then figure out how to move accordingly to manifest our hearts desires. 

My area of interest is “medical” astrology, specifically helping others understand how their mind works. In example: how individuals process and project their emotions by first understanding their thought process and then by looking into the areas of their charts that helps them understand how they need to be nurtured and cared for. My favorite part of the process is the shadow side, or some call it the “underdeveloped” areas within their personality. Astrology is a tool that can and should be used within the Black community to teach self awareness, then self mastery.

As a community, we have had everything taken from us. Our fathers, our brothers, our mothers, our sisters, our original last names, and most importantly our history. Marcus Garvey wrote, “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Black Americans have no true connection to our history, culture, and ancestors because it was taken from us and hidden.

This is where I come in. I have cracked the code to medical astrology and found a way to implement it within the Black community, and I intend to share these lessons with anyone that is ready to learn about astrology, then transform their lives by rewriting their own story… because, “Until the lion learns to write, the hunter will always be the victor in every story.” (African Proverb)

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? First, be your biggest supporter. Others may not understand your business plan or even your brand, but that’s okay because God gave you this vision because only you can see it through.

Second, implement the “7 Laws of Spiritual Success” in your business structure every day.

Third, make a choice every day to allow your faith to outweigh your current circumstances, no matter how big or bad that mountain may seem at the time. God is faithful and always provides. Operating as “faith based” requires an immense amount of faith within yourself and the vision God gave to you.

Any words for those who are skeptical? Riddle me this: The moon can affect the tidal waves of the ocean depending on how close or far away it is, right? Right! Sooo, if the moon can affect the ocean (a massive body of water) then why do you think that planetary energies (astrology) can’t affect humans when our bodies are made up of 70% water? 

What do you love about the social media astrology community? Oh my god, I just love the internet. I love making new friends online and I find it’s easiest in the astro community.  In my experience, the Twitter astro community has been a delight for me. I learn so much and others are so willing to help you learn by dropping so much free, advanced knowledge. TikTok is a great place for beginner astrology and those wanting to learn the basics.

shereen campbell Your Horoscope Says To Give These 8 Black Astrologers A Follow

Courtesy of Shereen Campbell; Adobe.

Shereen Campbell of My Little Magic Shop

Pronouns: She/Her

Social Media Handles:@shereendanielle/Instagram, @mylittlemagicshop/Instagram, MyLittleMagicShop.com

How long have you been practicing astrology? I started practicing astrology seriously around 2007.  However, I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in astrology. My mom tells me she has a letter I wrote to her as a little kid explaining why we viewed the world differently. I’m a Libra and she’s a Capricorn. I don’t remember this letter, but the logic is still very relevant.

What sparked your interest in astrology? My very first heartbreak, of course! Right after graduating college, I dated this guy and things didn’t work out. He ghosted me after seeing each other for about a year. At the time, it felt like I literally had a hole in my heart and this was deeply disturbing to me. Given that the way I managed my emotions was—okay, sometimes still is—through my intellect, I decided I would read all the things I could about why people suffer or experience pain, specifically why the world was the way it was.

This led me down a self help rabbit hole featuring Eckhart Tolle, Brian Weiss and Jan Spiller. Eventually, after a short stint exploring Kabbalah, I landed on astrology as the most useful way for me to understand the world, myself and other people. I loved how astrology was studied by some of the most influential scientists (Galileo, Newton, Brahe) ever and that it was based in mathematics. Also, to this day I greatly appreciate that astrology has some rules and guardrails in terms of interpretation and timing. Back then, tapping directly into my intuition without aid was incredibly hard for me as I’m super analytical. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self discovery and opening up the floodgates of intuition.

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? When I first started learning astrology, there was literally no one that looked like me publishing books, writing popular articles or teaching classes. I would go to workshops or events and was usually the only person of color.  I discovered later in life that I internalized this experience with the negative belief that a Black girl astrologer will always be poor and maybe ostracized. I would think, “Who is going to take me seriously as an astrologer?” so I should just stick with a regular corporate job where I can at the very least make some money, maybe I’ll get married and then pursue it then.

Then, my Saturn Return arrived and checked me. I was encouraged to really start digging into those beliefs about myself that were causing me to shrink away from my passion. I ended up starting a company focused entirely on magical things and grounded in astrology. I wanted to create a safe place where anyone, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or hair color, could feel safe to be vulnerable enough to step into their magic and hear that little voice inside of them. My team is super diverse and we are working to make sure people feel seen.

I think a lot of folks are out there really supporting this, because I am seeing and making friends with so many more astrologers of color now. Another thing I will say about astrology is that it doesn’t care so much about your race, it’s very neutral in that way. The focus is more on the magic of your soul and what you came to this planet to share and receive. I feel like astrology reminds me so often that people are people at the end of the day. Yes, there are so many things that are different about us, but in the end, we are all going through something and just trying to navigating life the best we can.

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? Be curious! If you’re already curious, good; remember to stay that way. Beliefs are a funny thing.  We learn something magical and lean into it, then we learn something else and if it aligns with our previous beliefs, we embrace it with joy and acceptance. When it contradicts our current beliefs, it gets harder to lean in, even if it’s a better belief than the one we held before. This is a very normal human process.

Think about when someone broke the news that Santa wasn’t real. You might have been bummed, rejected it, denied it or even accepted it easily because you never believed it anyway. Whichever it was is very valuable to the way that you take on new beliefs. This is why I say, be curious. As you start any spiritual practice, beliefs you had about yourself, the world we live and those around you will start to shatter, splinter and disintegrate before your eyes. As you continue your spiritual journey, this should continue happening.

Curiosity saves you a lot of pain and promotes detachment to any particular belief, which just deepens your spiritual practice. Ask lots of questions, on things that you want to accept easily and especially on things that you find yourself rejecting too quickly. Be curious about yourself and your reactions to whatever new lessons you are learning. Be curious about a variety of thought leaders. Be curious about skeptics. Just be curious.

Any words for those who are skeptical? “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper,” WB Yeats. Don’t worry, maybe one day you’ll get a glimpse of what some of the greatest thinkers ever pondered in secret. Tesla, Newton and Galileo spent much of their life thinking about magical things. I’m sure they could have spent their time on other things, but you have to wonder why they spent their brain power on mystical studies. When you do, start with the science. The science always leads you to the metaphysical, and then into the mystical and magical. It never fails.

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? Yes!  I am obsessed with mylittlemagicshop.com. It’s my shop and I put so much love into every single bit of it.

What do you love about the social media  astrology community? The memes! They are literally the best!  The Mercury retrograde ones are amazing. I also love when an Astrologer adds witty commentary on Twitter.  I love the lightness and humor that astrology can have on social media.

Kirah Tabourn of The Strology

Pronouns: She/They

Social Media: @thestrology_/Twitter, @thestrology/Instagram,TheStrology.com

How long have you been practicing astrology? Eight years.

What sparked your interest in astrology? I’ve always been into astrology for as long as I can remember, but in 2012 a friend told me that there were moon signs and rising signs. I saw my birth chart for the first time a few months later and I literally didn’t sleep that night, I couldn’t stop researching and learning more about it. I’ve been obsessed ever since!

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? When I started getting into astrology, it was hard to find people who looked like me. There were very few Black speakers at conferences and podcasts, authors of books, teachers, etc., so I’ve made it a big part of my mission to take up space in this field and to create space for more Black astrologers to be seen and to thrive. 

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? Be discerning about the information you take in, and always check in with yourself when it comes to learning new practices. Learning to trust your intuition is a big part of exploring your spirituality, and that should be taken very seriously. Also, spirituality is both light and dark and everything in between. Give yourself time and space for all of it. 

Any words for those who are skeptical? The magic inherent in the universe isn’t going to show itself to those who are closed off to experiencing it. I’d invite skeptics to investigate why they are skeptical in the first place. Where do those beliefs come from? Who told you that was truth? 

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? I buy a ton of talismanic magical material at Spheres and Sundry, and if you’re looking to learn more astrology, check out my podcast The Strology Show!

What do you love about the social media astrology community? There’s been so many beautiful connections made and support shared through our community, and it’s been incredible to witness. I think most of us are excited that there are people out there like us; BIPOC, queer, weird, sexy astro nerds!

Mecca Woods of The Meccanism

Pronouns: She/Her

Social Media: @TheMeccanism/Twitter,@1meccanism/Instagram

How long have you been practicing astrology? Over a decade.

What sparked your interest in astrology? It all started with a quarter-life crisis. I was unhappy with my career and my love life. I knew that I should be living a life where I was putting my talents to work, but I felt stuck. Astrology was something that I turned to in search of answers. I came across this book on relationships called the Celestial Sexpot’s Handbook by Kiki T. I enjoyed reading the book so much that I was inspired to get a few readings by Kiki. Those readings basically jumpstarted my hunger to learn everything I could about my birth chart and astrology in general. 

How do your Blackness and your interest in astrology intersect? I use astrology as a tool for self-empowerment for myself and for my clients—many of whom are also Black. 

Any tips for someone who might be starting their spiritual practice? Go slow. Be curious. Get into the habit of asking questions and doing your research. Find what resonates with you most. Know that there’s no one right way to be spiritual and that, oftentimes, the best spiritual guide that you have is your own intuition. True spirituality will strengthen you and the connection that you have to yourself and your intuition, not pull you away from it. 

My advice to astrology newbies: Be patient with yourself and the craft. Astrology takes time to learn. Don’t rush it.

Any words for those who are skeptical? You can’t knock something until you’ve tried it. 

Do you have a favorite spiritual source? I always try to support other Black creators when I can. I love using the Dust 2 Onyx Tarot deck as well as the True Heart Intuitive guidebook and deck. The book Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens: The Divine Feminine in the African Religious Traditionsby Lilith Dorsey is also a go-to resource for me.

What do you love about the social media astrology community? Connecting with people all over the world that speak my “astro” language.  

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History of astrology

Overview of astrology

Astrological beliefs in correspondences between celestial observations and terrestrial events have influenced various aspects of human history, including world-views, language and many elements of social culture.

Among West Eurasian peoples, the earliest evidence for astrology dates from the 3rd millennium BC, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications.[1] Until the 17th century, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition, and it helped drive the development of astronomy. It was commonly accepted in political and cultural circles, and some of its concepts were used in other traditional studies, such as alchemy, meteorology and medicine.[2] By the end of the 17th century, emerging scientific concepts in astronomy, such as heliocentrism, undermined the theoretical basis of astrology, which subsequently lost its academic standing and became regarded as a pseudoscience. Empirical scientific investigation has shown that predictions based on these systems are not accurate.[3]: 85,  [4]: 424 

In the 20th century, astrology gained broader consumer popularity through the influence of regular mass media products, such as newspaper horoscopes.[5]

Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for human meaning in the sky; it seeks to understand general and specific human behavior through the influence of planets and other celestial objects. It has been argued that astrology began as a study as soon as human beings made conscious attempts to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by reference to astronomical cycles.[6]

Early evidence of such practices appears as markings on bones and cave walls, which show that lunar cycles were being noted as early as 25,000 years ago; the first step towards recording the Moon's influence upon tides and rivers, and towards organizing a communal calendar.[7] With the Neolithic agricultural revolution new needs were also met by increasing knowledge of constellations, whose appearances in the night-time sky change with the seasons, allowing the rising of particular star-groups to herald annual floods or seasonal activities.[8] By the 3rd millennium BC, widespread civilisations had developed sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles, and are believed to have consciously oriented their temples to create alignment with the heliacal risings of the stars.[9]

There is scattered evidence to suggest that the oldest known astrological references are copies of texts made during this period, particularly in Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia). Two, from the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa (compiled in Babylon round 1700 BC) are reported to have been made during the reign of king Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BC).[10] Another, showing an early use of electional astrology, is ascribed to the reign of the Sumerian ruler Gudea of Lagash (c. 2144 - 2124 BC). This describes how the gods revealed to him in a dream the constellations that would be most favourable for the planned construction of a temple.[11] However, controversy attends the question of whether they were genuinely recorded at the time or merely ascribed to ancient rulers by posterity. The oldest undisputed evidence of the use of astrology as an integrated system of knowledge is therefore attributed to the records that emerge from the first dynasty of Mesopotamia (1950-1651 BC).[12]

Babylonian astrology[edit]

Detail of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon

Babylonian astrology is the earliest recorded organized system of astrology, arising in the 2nd millennium BC.[13] There is speculation that astrology of some form appeared in the Sumerian period in the 3rd millennium BC, but the isolated references to ancient celestial omens dated to this period are not considered sufficient evidence to demonstrate an integrated theory of astrology.[14] The history of scholarly celestial divination is therefore generally reported to begin with late Old Babylonian texts (c. 1800 BC), continuing through the Middle Babylonian and Middle Assyrian periods (c. 1200 BC).[15]

By the 16th century BC the extensive employment of omen-based astrology can be evidenced in the compilation of a comprehensive reference work known as Enuma Anu Enlil. Its contents consisted of 70 cuneiform tablets comprising 7,000 celestial omens. Texts from this time also refer to an oral tradition - the origin and content of which can only be speculated upon.[16] At this time Babylonian astrology was solely mundane, concerned with the prediction of weather and political matters, and prior to the 7th century BC the practitioners' understanding of astronomy was fairly rudimentary. Astrological symbols likely represented seasonal tasks, and were used as a yearly almanac of listed activities to remind a community to do things appropriate to the season or weather (such as symbols representing times for harvesting, gathering shell-fish, fishing by net or line, sowing crops, collecting or managing water reserves, hunting, and seasonal tasks critical in ensuring the survival of children and young animals for the larger group). By the 4th century, their mathematical methods had progressed enough to calculate future planetary positions with reasonable accuracy, at which point extensive ephemerides began to appear.[17]

Babylonian astrology developed within the context of divination. A collection of 32 tablets with inscribed liver models, dating from about 1875 BC, are the oldest known detailed texts of Babylonian divination, and these demonstrate the same interpretational format as that employed in celestial omen analysis.[18] Blemishes and marks found on the liver of the sacrificial animal were interpreted as symbolic signs which presented messages from the gods to the king.

The gods were also believed to present themselves in the celestial images of the planets or stars with whom they were associated. Evil celestial omens attached to any particular planet were therefore seen as indications of dissatisfaction or disturbance of the god that planet represented.[19] Such indications were met with attempts to appease the god and find manageable ways by which the god's expression could be realised without significant harm to the king and his nation. An astronomical report to the king Esarhaddon concerning a lunar eclipse of January 673 BC shows how the ritualistic use of substitute kings, or substitute events, combined an unquestioning belief in magic and omens with a purely mechanical view that the astrological event must have some kind of correlate within the natural world:

... In the beginning of the year a flood will come and break the dikes. When the Moon has made the eclipse, the king, my lord, should write to me. As a substitute for the king, I will cut through a dike, here in Babylonia, in the middle of the night. No one will know about it.[20]

Ulla Koch-Westenholz, in her 1995 book Mesopotamian Astrology, argues that this ambivalence between a theistic and mechanic worldview defines the Babylonian concept of celestial divination as one which, despite its heavy reliance on magic, remains free of implications of targeted punishment with the purpose of revenge, and so “shares some of the defining traits of modern science: it is objective and value-free, it operates according to known rules, and its data are considered universally valid and can be looked up in written tabulations”.[21] Koch-Westenholz also establishes the most important distinction between ancient Babylonian astrology and other divinatory disciplines as being that the former was originally exclusively concerned with mundane astrology, being geographically oriented and specifically applied to countries cities and nations, and almost wholly concerned with the welfare of the state and the king as the governing head of the nation.[22] Mundane astrology is therefore known to be one of the oldest branches of astrology.[23] It was only with the gradual emergence of horoscopic astrology, from the 6th century BC, that astrology developed the techniques and practice of natal astrology.[24][25]

Hellenistic Egypt[edit]

Main article: Hellenistic astrology

In 525 BC Egypt was conquered by the Persians so there is likely to have been some Mesopotamian influence on Egyptian astrology. Arguing in favour of this, historian Tamsyn Barton gives an example of what appears to be Mesopotamian influence on the Egyptian zodiac, which shared two signs – the Balance and the Scorpion, as evidenced in the Dendera Zodiac (in the Greek version the Balance was known as the Scorpion's Claws).[26]

After the occupation by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, Egypt came under Hellenistic rule and influence. The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander after the conquest and during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the Ptolemaic scholars of Alexandria were prolific writers. It was in Ptolemaic Alexandria that Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create Horoscopic astrology. This contained the Babylonian zodiac with its system of planetary exaltations, the triplicities of the signs and the importance of eclipses. Along with this it incorporated the Egyptian concept of dividing the zodiac into thirty-six decans of ten degrees each, with an emphasis on the rising decan, the Greek system of planetary Gods, sign rulership and four elements.[27]

The decans were a system of time measurement according to the constellations. They were led by the constellation Sothis or Sirius. The risings of the decans in the night were used to divide the night into ‘hours’. The rising of a constellation just before sunrise (its heliacal rising) was considered the last hour of the night. Over the course of the year, each constellation rose just before sunrise for ten days. When they became part of the astrology of the Hellenistic Age, each decan was associated with ten degrees of the zodiac. Texts from the 2nd century BC list predictions relating to the positions of planets in zodiac signs at the time of the rising of certain decans, particularly Sothis.[28] The earliest Zodiac found in Egypt dates to the 1st century BC, the Dendera Zodiac.

Particularly important in the development of horoscopic astrology was the Greco-Romanastrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, who lived in Alexandria during Roman Egypt. Ptolemy's work the Tetrabiblos laid the basis of the Western astrological tradition, and as a source of later reference is said to have "enjoyed almost the authority of a Bible among the astrological writers of a thousand years or more".[29] It was one of the first astrological texts to be circulated in Medieval [30] Europe after being translated from Arabic into Latin by Plato of Tivoli (Tiburtinus) in Spain, 1138.[31]

According to Firmicus Maternus (4th century), the system of horoscopic astrology was given early on to an Egyptian pharaoh named Nechepso and his priest Petosiris.[32] The Hermetic texts were also put together during this period and Clement of Alexandria, writing in the Roman era, demonstrates the degree to which astrologers were expected to have knowledge of the texts in his description of Egyptian sacred rites:

This is principally shown by their sacred ceremonial. For first advances the Singer, bearing some one of the symbols of music. For they say that he must learn two of the books of Hermes, the one of which contains the hymns of the gods, the second the regulations for the king's life. And after the Singer advances the Astrologer, with a horologe in his hand, and a palm, the symbols of astrology. He must have the astrological books of Hermes, which are four in number, always in his mouth.[33]

Greece and Rome[edit]

The conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great exposed the Greeks to the cultures and cosmological ideas of Syria, Babylon, Persia and central Asia. Greek overtook cuneiform script as the international language of intellectual communication and part of this process was the transmission of astrology from cuneiform to Greek.[34] Sometime around 280 BC, Berossus, a priest of Bel from Babylon, moved to the Greek island of Kos in order to teach astrology and Babylonian culture to the Greeks. With this, what historian Nicholas Campion calls, "the innovative energy" in astrology moved west to the Hellenistic world of Greece and Egypt.[35] According to Campion, the astrology that arrived from the Eastern World was marked by its complexity, with different forms of astrology emerging. By the 1st century BC two varieties of astrology were in existence, one that required the reading of horoscopes in order to establish precise details about the past, present and future; the other being theurgic (literally meaning 'god-work'), which emphasised the soul's ascent to the stars. While they were not mutually exclusive, the former sought information about the life, while the latter was concerned with personal transformation, where astrology served as a form of dialogue with the Divine.[36]

As with much else, Greek influence played a crucial role in the transmission of astrological theory to Rome.[37] However, our earliest references to demonstrate its arrival in Rome reveal its initial influence upon the lower orders of society,[37] and display concern about uncritical recourse to the ideas of Babylonian 'star-gazers'.[38] Among the Greeks and Romans, Babylonia (also known as Chaldea) became so identified with astrology that 'Chaldean wisdom' came to be a common synonym for divination using planets and stars.[39]

The first definite reference to astrology comes from the work of the orator Cato, who in 160 BC composed a treatise warning farm overseers against consulting with Chaldeans.[40] The 2nd-century Roman poet Juvenal, in his satirical attack on the habits of Roman women, also complains about the pervasive influence of Chaldeans, despite their lowly social status, saying "Still more trusted are the Chaldaeans; every word uttered by the astrologer they will believe has come from Hammon's fountain, ... nowadays no astrologer has credit unless he has been imprisoned in some distant camp, with chains clanking on either arm".[41]

One of the first astrologers to bring Hermetic astrology to Rome was Thrasyllus, who, in the first century CE, acted as the astrologer for the emperorTiberius.[37] Tiberius was the first emperor reported to have had a court astrologer,[42] although his predecessor Augustus had also used astrology to help legitimise his Imperial rights.[43] In the second century CE, the astrologer Claudius Ptolemy was so obsessed with getting horoscopes accurate that he began the first attempt to make an accurate world map (maps before this were more relativistic or allegorical) so that he could chart the relationship between the person's birthplace and the heavenly bodies. While doing so, he coined the term "geography".[44]

Even though some use of astrology by the emperors appears to have happened, there was also a prohibition on astrology to a certain extent as well. In the 1st century CE, Publius Rufus Anteius was accused of the crime of funding the banished astrologer Pammenes, and requesting his own horoscope and that of then emperor Nero. For this crime, Nero forced Anteius to commit suicide. At this time, astrology was likely to result in charges of magic and treason.[45]

Cicero's De divinatione (44 BCE), which rejects astrology and other allegedly divinatory techniques, is a fruitful historical source for the conception of scientificity in Roman classical Antiquity.[46] The Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus compiled the ancient arguments against astrology in his book Against the Astrologers.[47]

Islamic world[edit]

Abū Maʿshar

Translation of Albumasar Venice 1515 De Magnis Coniunctionibus.jpg

A Latin translation of Abū Maʿshar's De Magnis Coniunctionibus ("Of the great conjunctions"), Venice, 1515.

Bornc. 787

Balkh, Khurasan

Diedc. 886

Wāsiṭ, Iraq

InfluencesAristotle, al-Kindi
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interestsAstrology, Astronomy
InfluencedAl-Sijzi, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Pierre d'Ailly, Pico della Mirandola.

Further information: Astrology in medieval Islam

Astrology was taken up enthusiastically by Islamic scholars following the collapse of Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th century. The second Abbasid caliph, Al Mansur (754-775) founded the city of Baghdad to act as a centre of learning, and included in its design a library-translation centre known as Bayt al-Hikma ‘Storehouse of Wisdom’, which continued to receive development from his heirs and was to provide a major impetus for Arabic translations of Hellenistic astrological texts.[49] The early translators included Mashallah, who helped to elect the time for the foundation of Baghdad,[50] and Sahl ibn Bishr (a.k.a. Zael), whose texts were directly influential upon later European astrologers such as Guido Bonatti in the 13th century, and William Lilly in the 17th century.[51] Knowledge of Arabic texts started to become imported into Europe during the Latin translations of the 12th century.

Amongst the important names of Arabic astrologers, one of the most influential was Albumasur, whose work Introductorium in Astronomiam later became a popular treatise in medieval Europe.[52] Another was the Persian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and geographer Al Khwarizmi. The Arabs greatly increased the knowledge of astronomy, and many of the star names that are commonly known today, such as Aldebaran, Altair, Betelgeuse, Rigel and Vega retain the legacy of their language. They also developed the list of Hellenistic lots to the extent that they became historically known as Arabic parts, for which reason it is often wrongly claimed that the Arabic astrologers invented their use, whereas they are clearly known to have been an important feature of Hellenistic astrology.

During the advance of Islamic science some of the practices of astrology were refuted on theological grounds by astronomers such as Al-Farabi (Alpharabius), Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) and Avicenna. Their criticisms argued that the methods of astrologers were conjectural rather than empirical, and conflicted with orthodox religious views of Islamic scholars through the suggestion that the Will of God can be precisely known and predicted in advance.[53] Such refutations mainly concerned 'judicial branches' (such as horary astrology), rather than the more 'natural branches' such as medical and meteorological astrology, these being seen as part of the natural sciences of the time.

For example, Avicenna's 'Refutation against astrology' Resāla fī ebṭāl aḥkām al-nojūm, argues against the practice of astrology while supporting the principle of planets acting as the agents of divine causation which express God's absolute power over creation. Avicenna considered that the movement of the planets influenced life on earth in a deterministic way, but argued against the capability of determining the exact influence of the stars.[54] In essence, Avicenna did not refute the essential dogma of astrology, but denied our ability to understand it to the extent that precise and fatalistic predictions could be made from it.[55]

Medieval and Renaissance Europe[edit]

Further information: Renaissance magic

Whilst astrology in the East flourished following the break up of the Roman world, with Indian, Persian and Islamic influences coming together and undergoing intellectual review through an active investment in translation projects, Western astrology in the same period had become “fragmented and unsophisticated ... partly due to the loss of Greek scientific astronomy and partly due to condemnations by the Church.”[56] Translations of Arabic works into Latin started to make their way to Spain by the late 10th century, and in the 12th century the transmission of astrological works from Arabia to Europe “acquired great impetus”.[56]

By the 13th century astrology had become a part of everyday medical practice in Europe. Doctors combined Galenic medicine (inherited from the Greek physiologist Galen - AD 129-216) with studies of the stars. By the end of the 1500s, physicians across Europe were required by law to calculate the position of the Moon before carrying out complicated medical procedures, such as surgery or bleeding.[57]

Influential works of the 13th century include those of the British monk Johannes de Sacrobosco (c. 1195–1256) and the Italian astrologer Guido Bonatti from Forlì (Italy). Bonatti served the communal governments of Florence, Siena and Forlì and acted as advisor to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. His astrological text-book Liber Astronomiae ('Book of Astronomy'), written around 1277, was reputed to be "the most important astrological work produced in Latin in the 13th century".[58]Dante Alighieri immortalised Bonatti in his Divine Comedy (early 14th century) by placing him in the eighth Circle of Hell, a place where those who would divine the future are forced to have their heads turned around (to look backwards instead of forwards).[59]

In medieval Europe, a university education was divided into seven distinct areas, each represented by a particular planet and known as the seven liberal arts. Dante attributed these arts to the planets. As the arts were seen as operating in ascending order, so were the planets in decreasing order of planetary speed: grammar was assigned to the Moon, the quickest moving celestial body, dialectic was assigned to Mercury, rhetoric to Venus, music to the Sun, arithmetic to Mars, geometry to Jupiter and astrology/astronomy to the slowest moving body, Saturn.[60]

Medieval writers used astrological symbolism in their literary themes. For example, Dante's Divine Comedy builds varied references to planetary associations within his described architecture of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, (such as the seven layers of Purgatory's mountain purging the seven cardinal sins that correspond to astrology's seven classical planets).[61] Similar astrological allegories and planetary themes are pursued through the works of Geoffrey Chaucer.[62]

Chaucer's astrological passages are particularly frequent and knowledge of astrological basics is often assumed through his work. He knew enough of his period's astrology and astronomy to write a Treatise on the Astrolabe for his son. He pinpoints the early spring season of the Canterbury Tales in the opening verses of the prologue by noting that the Sun "hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne".[63] He makes the Wife of Bath refer to "sturdy hardiness" as an attribute of Mars, and associates Mercury with "clerkes".[64] In the early modern period, astrological references are also to be found in the works of William Shakespeare[65] and John Milton.

One of the earliest English astrologers to leave details of his practice was Richard Trewythian (b. 1393). His notebook demonstrates that he had a wide range of clients, from all walks of life, and indicates that engagement with astrology in 15th-century England was not confined to those within learned, theological or political circles.[66]

During the Renaissance, court astrologers would complement their use of horoscopes with astronomical observations and discoveries. Many individuals now credited with having overturned the old astrological order, such as Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, were themselves practicing astrologers.[67]

At the end of the Renaissance the confidence placed in astrology diminished, with the breakdown of Aristotelian Physics and rejection of the distinction between the celestial and sublunar realms, which had historically acted as the foundation of astrological theory. Keith Thomas writes that although heliocentrism is consistent with astrology theory, 16th and 17th century astronomical advances meant that "the world could no longer be envisaged as a compact inter-locking organism; it was now a mechanism of infinite dimensions, from which the hierarchical subordination of earth to heaven had irrefutably disappeared".[68] Initially, amongst the astronomers of the time, "scarcely anyone attempted a serious refutation in the light of the new principles" and in fact astronomers "were reluctant to give up the emotional satisfaction provided by a coherent and interrelated universe". By the 18th century the intellectual investment which had previously maintained astrology's standing was largely abandoned.[68] Historian of science Ann Geneva writes:

Astrology in seventeenth century England was not a science. It was not a Religion. It was not magic. Nor was it astronomy, mathematics, puritanism, neo Platism, psychology, meteorology, alchemy or witchcraft. It used some of these as tools; it held tenets in common with others; and some people were adept at several of these skills. But in the final analysis it was only itself: a unique divinatory and prognostic art embodying centuries of accreted methodology and tradition.[69]

India[edit]

Main articles: Indian astronomy and Hindu astrology

The earliest recorded use of astrology in India is recorded during the Vedic period. Astrology, or jyotiṣa is listed as a Vedanga, or branch of the Vedas of the Vedic religion. The only work of this class to have survived is the Vedanga Jyotisha, which contains rules for tracking the motions of the sun and the moon in the context of a five-year intercalation cycle. The date of this work is uncertain, as its late style of language and composition, consistent with the last centuries BC, albeit pre-Mauryan, conflicts with some internal evidence of a much earlier date in the 2nd millennium BC.[70][71] Indian astronomy and astrology developed together. The earliest treatise on Jyotisha, the Bhrigu Samhita, was compiled by the sage Bhrigu during the Vedic era. The sage Bhirgu is also called the 'Father of Hindu Astrology', and is one of the venerated Saptarishi or seven Vedic sages. The Saptarishis are also symbolized by the seven main stars in the Ursa Major constellation.

The documented history of Jyotisha in the subsequent newer sense of modern horoscopic astrology is associated with the interaction of Indian and Hellenistic cultures through the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Kingdoms.[72] The oldest surviving treatises, such as the Yavanajataka or the Brihat-Samhita, date to the early centuries AD. The oldest astrological treatise in Sanskrit is the Yavanajataka ("Sayings of the Greeks"), a versification by Sphujidhvaja in 269/270 AD of a now lost translation of a Greek treatise by Yavanesvara during the 2nd century AD under the patronage of the Indo-Scythian king Rudradaman I of the Western Satraps.[73]

Written on pages of tree bark, the Samhita (Compilation) is said to contain five million horoscopes comprising all who have lived in the past or will live in the future. The first named authors writing treatises on astronomy are from the 5th century AD, the date when the classical period of Indian astronomy can be said to begin. Besides the theories of Aryabhata in the Aryabhatiya and the lost Arya-siddhānta, there is the Pancha-Siddhāntika of Varahamihira.

China[edit]

Main article: Chinese astrology

An oracle bone – turtle shell

The Chinese astrological system is based on native astronomy and calendars, and its significant development is tied to that of native astronomy, which came to flourish during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD).[74]

Chinese astrology has a close relation with Chinese philosophy (theory of three harmonies: heaven, earth and water) and uses the principles of yin and yang, and concepts that are not found in Western astrology, such as the wu xing teachings, the 10 Celestial stems, the 12 Earthly Branches, the lunisolar calendar (moon calendar and sun calendar), and the time calculation after year, month, day and shichen (時辰).

Astrology was traditionally regarded highly in China, and Confucius is said to have treated astrology with respect saying: "Heaven sends down its good or evil symbols and wise men act accordingly".[75] The 60-year cycle combining the five elements with the twelve animal signs of the zodiac has been documented in China since at least the time of the Shang (Shing or Yin) dynasty (ca 1766 BC – ca 1050 BC). Oracle bones have been found dating from that period with the date according to the 60-year cycle inscribed on them, along with the name of the diviner and the topic being divined. Astrologer Tsou Yen lived around 300 BC, and wrote: "When some new dynasty is going to arise, heaven exhibits auspicious signs for the people".

Mesoamerica[edit]

Main articles: Maya calendar and Aztec calendar

The calendars of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica are based upon a system which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at least the 6th century BC. The earliest calendars were employed by peoples such as the Zapotecs and Olmecs, and later by such peoples as the Maya, Mixtec and Aztecs. Although the Mesoamerican calendar did not originate with the Maya, their subsequent extensions and refinements to it were the most sophisticated. Along with those of the Aztecs, the Maya calendars are the best-documented and most completely understood.

The distinctive Mayan calendar used two main systems, one plotting the solar year of 360 days, which governed the planting of crops and other domestic matters; the other called the Tzolkin of 260 days, which governed ritual use. Each was linked to an elaborate astrological system to cover every facet of life. On the fifth day after the birth of a boy, the Mayan astrologer-priests would cast his horoscope to see what his profession was to be: soldier, priest, civil servant or sacrificial victim.[75] A 584-day Venus cycle was also maintained, which tracked the appearance and conjunctions of Venus. Venus was seen as a generally inauspicious and baleful influence, and Mayan rulers often planned the beginning of warfare to coincide with when Venus rose. There is evidence that the Maya also tracked the movements of Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, and possessed a zodiac of some kind. The Mayan name for the constellation Scorpio was also 'scorpion', while the name of the constellation Gemini was 'peccary'. There is some evidence for other constellations being named after various beasts.[76] The most famous Mayan astrological observatory still intact is the Caracol observatory in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in modern-day Mexico.

The Aztec calendar shares the same basic structure as the Mayan calendar, with two main cycles of 360 days and 260 days. The 260-day calendar was called Tonalpohualli and was used primarily for divinatory purposes. Like the Mayan calendar, these two cycles formed a 52-year 'century', sometimes called the Calendar Round.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^Koch-Westenholz (1995) Foreword and p.11.
  2. ^Kassell and Ralley (2010) ‘Stars, spirits, signs: towards a history of astrology 1100–1800'; pp.67–69.
  3. ^Jeffrey Bennett; Megan Donohue; Nicholas Schneider; Mark Voit (2007). The cosmic perspective (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson/Addison-Wesley. pp. 82–84. ISBN .
  4. ^Zarka, Philippe (2011). "Astronomy and astrology". Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union. 5 (S260): 420–425. Bibcode:2011IAUS..260..420Z. doi:10.1017/S1743921311002602.
  5. ^Campion (2009) pp.259–263, for the popularizing influence of newspaper astrology; pp. 239–249: for association with New Age philosophies.
  6. ^Campion (2008) pp.1-3.
  7. ^Marshack (1972) p.81ff.
  8. ^Hesiod (c. 8th century BC). Hesiod’s poem Works and Days demonstrates how the heliacal rising and setting of constellations were used as a calendrical guide to agricultural events, from which were drawn mundane astrological predictions, e.g.: “Fifty days after the solstice, when the season of wearisome heat is come to an end, is the right time to go sailing. Then you will not wreck your ship, nor will the sea destroy the sailors, unless Poseidon the Earth-Shaker be set upon it, or Zeus, the king of the deathless gods” (II. 663-677).
  9. ^Kelley and Milone (2005) p.268.
  10. ^Two texts which refer to the 'omens of Sargon' are reported in E. F. Weidner, ‘Historiches Material in der Babyonischen Omina-Literatur’ Altorientalische Studien, ed. Bruno Meissner, (Leipzig, 1928-9), v. 231 and 236.
  11. ^From scroll A of the ruler Gudea of Lagash, I 17 – VI 13. O. Kaiser, Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments, Bd. 2, 1-3. Gütersloh, 1986-1991. Also quoted in A. Falkenstein, ‘Wahrsagung in der sumerischen Überlieferung’, La divination en Mésopotamie ancienne et dans les régions voisines. Paris, 1966.
  12. ^Rochberg-Halton, F. (1988). "Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 108 (1): 51–62. doi:10.2307/603245. JSTOR 603245. S2CID 163678063.
  13. ^Holden (1996) p.1.
  14. ^Rochberg (1998) p.ix. See also, Neugebauer (1969)pp.29-30.
  15. ^Rochberg (1998) p.x.
  16. ^Baigent (1994) p.71.
  17. ^Holden (1996) p.9.
  18. ^Koch-Westenholz (1995) p.16.
  19. ^Koch-Westenholz (1995) p.11.
  20. ^Koch-Westenholz (1995) p.12. Tablet source given as: State Archives of Assyria 8 250.
  21. ^Koch-Westenholz (1995) p.13.
  22. ^Koch-Westenholz (1995) p.19.
  23. ^Michael Baigent (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Arkana.
  24. ^Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey (1984). Mundane astrology. Thorsons.
  25. ^Steven Vanden Broecke (2003). The limits of influence: Pico, Louvain, and the crisis of Renaissance astrology. BRILL. pp. 185–. ISBN . Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  26. ^Barton (1994) p. 24.
  27. ^Holden (1996) pp. 11-13.
  28. ^Barton (1994) p. 20.
  29. ^Robbins, Ptolemy Tetrabiblos, 'Introduction' p. xii.
  30. ^"The History of Astrology". 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  31. ^FA Robbins, 1940; Thorndike 1923)
  32. ^Firmicus (4th century) (III.4) 'Proemium'.
  33. ^Roberts (1906)p.488.
  34. ^Campion (2008) p. 173.
  35. ^Campion (2008) p. 84.
  36. ^Campion (2008) pp.173-174.
  37. ^ abcBarton (1994) p.32.
  38. ^Campion (2008) pp.227-228.
  39. ^Parkers (1983) p.16.
  40. ^Barton (1994) p.32-33. See also Campion (2008) pp.228.
  41. ^Juvenal, Satire 6: 'The Ways of Women' (translated by G. G. Ramsay, 1918, retrieved 5 July 2012).
  42. ^Barton (1994) p.43.
  43. ^Barton (1994) p.63.
  44. ^Thompson, Clive. "The Whole World in your Hands". Smithsonian, July 2017. p. 19.
  45. ^Rudich, Vasily (2005). Political Dissidence Under Nero: The Price of Dissimulation. Routledge. pp. 145–146. ISBN . Retrieved 2015-01-03.
  46. ^Fernandez-Beanato, Damian (2020). "Cicero's Demarcation of Science: A Report of Shared Criteria". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A. 83: 97–102. doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2020.04.002. PMID 32958286.
  47. ^Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy "Hellenistic Astrology" https://www.iep.utm.edu/astr-hel/#SH5b
  48. ^Houlding (2010) Ch. 8: 'The medieval development of Hellenistic principles concerning aspectual applications and orbs'; pp.12-13.
  49. ^Albiruni, Chronology (11th century) Ch.VIII, ‘On the days of the Greek calendar’, re. 23 Tammûz; Sachau.
  50. ^Houlding (2010) Ch. 6: 'Historical sources and traditional approaches'; pp.2-7.
  51. ^"Introduction to Astronomy, Containing the Eight Divided Books of Abu Ma'shar Abalachus". World Digital Library. 1506. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  52. ^Saliba (1994) p.60, pp.67-69.
  53. ^Belo (2007) p.228.
  54. ^George Saliba, Avicenna: 'viii. Mathematics and Physical Sciences'. Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 2011, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/avicenna-viii
  55. ^ abNick Kanas, Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography, p.79 (Springer, 2007).
  56. ^British Library: Learning Bodies of Knowledge ‘Medieval Astrology’ https://web.archive.org/web/20130305064820/http://www.bl.uk/learning/artimages/bodies/astrology/astrologyhome.html (25 Octobre 2016)
  57. ^Lewis, James R. (2003). The Astrology Book. Body, Mind & Spirit. ISBN .
  58. ^Alighieri, Dante (1867). Divine Comedy. Ticknor and Fields.
  59. ^Burckhardt (1969)
  60. ^Crane (2012) pp.81-85.
  61. ^A. Kitson (1996). "Astrology and English literature". Contemporary Review, Oct 1996. Retrieved 2006-07-17.M. Allen, J.H. Fisher. "Essential Chaucer: Science, including astrology". University of Texas, San Antonio. Retrieved 2006-07-17.A.B.P. Mattar; et al. "Astronomy and Astrology in the Works of Chaucer"(PDF). University of Singapore. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2006-07-17.
  62. ^Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Prologue
  63. ^C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Cambridge University Press, 1964; ISBN 978-0-521-47735-2) pp. 106-107.
  64. ^P. Brown (2016-10-25). "Shakespeare, Astrology, and Alchemy: A Critical and Historical Perspective". The Mountain Astrologer, Feb/Mar 2004.F. Piechoski. "Shakespeare's Astrology".
  65. ^Sophie Page, 'Richard Trewythian and the Uses of Astrology in Late Medieval England', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol. 64, (2001), pp. 193-228. Published by The Warburg Institute. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/751562.
  66. ^Wade Rowland, Galileo's Mistake: A New Look At the Epic Confrontation Between Galileo and the Church, p.39. (Arcade Publishing, 2003. ISBN 9781559706841. Brahe is described as "an acknowledged master of astrology", Galileo as "a dabbler, though by no means an adept" and it is said of Kepler that "astrology informed his entire career".
  67. ^ abKeith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (Oxford University Press, 1971) p. 414-415, ISBN 9780195213607
  68. ^Ann Geneva, Astrology and the Seventeenth Century Mind: William Lilly and the Language of the Stars, p.9. (Manchester University Press ND, 1995)
  69. ^Sastry, T.S.K. K.V. Sarma (ed.). "Vedanga jyotisa of Lagadha"(PDF). National Commission for the Compilation of History of Sciences in India by Indian National Science Academy, 1985. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-05-01. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  70. ^Pingree, David (1981), Jyotiḥśāstra, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz p.9
  71. ^Pingree (1981), p.81
  72. ^Mc Evilley "The shape of ancient thought", p385 ("The Yavanajataka is the earliest surviving Sanskrit text in horoscopy, and constitute the basis of all later Indian developments in horoscopy", himself quoting David Pingree "The Yavanajataka of Sphujidhvaja" p5)
  73. ^Pankenier, David W. (2013). Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to Heaven. Cambridge University Press. ISBN .
  74. ^ abParkers (1983)
  75. ^Michael D. Coe, 'The Maya', pp. 227–29, Thames and Hudson, London, 2005

Sources[edit]

  • Al Biruni (11th century), The Chronology of Ancient Nations; tr. C. E. Sachau. London: W.H Allen & Co, 1879. Online edition available on the Internet Archive, retrieved 6 August 2011.
  • Barton, Tamsyn, 1994. Ancient Astrology. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-11029-7.
  • Belo, Catarina, 2007. Chance and determinism in Avicenna and Averroës. London: Brill. ISBN 90-04-15587-2.
  • Burckhardt, Titus, 1969. 'The Seven Liberal Arts and the West Door of Chartres Cathedral' Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Summer, 1969). (Online reproduction), retrieved 4 July 2012.
  • Campion, Nicholas, 2008. A History of Western Astrology, Vol. 1, The Ancient World (first published as The Dawn of Astrology: a Cultural History of Western Astrology. London: Continuum. ISBN 9781441181299.
  • Crane, Joseph, 2012. Between Fortune and Providence: Astrology and the Universe in Dante's Divine Comedy. Wessex. ISBN 9781902405759.
  • Maternus, Julius Firmicus, 4th century. Matheseos libri VIII . Translated by Jean Rhys Bram in Ancient astrology theory and practice, Noyes Press, 1975. Reprinted by Astrology Center of America, 2005. ISBN 978-1-933303-10-9.
  • Hesiod (c. 8th century BC) . Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, Hugh G., 1914. Loeb classical library; revised edition. Cambridge: Harvard Press, 1964. ISBN 978-0-674-99063-0.
  • Kelley, David, H. and Milone, E.F., 2005. Exploring ancient skies: an encyclopedic survey of archaeoastronomy. Heidelberg / New York: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-95310-6.
  • Holden, James Herschel, 1996. A History of Horoscopic Astrology. AFA. ISBN 978-0-86690-463-6.
  • Houlding, Deborah, 2010. Essays on the history of western astrology. Nottingham: STA.
  • Koch-Westenholz, Ulla, 1995. Mesopotamian astrology. Volume 19 of CNI publications. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 978-87-7289-287-0.
  • Marshack, Alexander, 1972. The roots of civilisation: the cognitive beginnings of man's first art, symbol and notation. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-1-55921-041-6.
  • Neugebauer, Otto, 1969 The Exact Sciences in Antiquity. New York: Dover. ISBN 978-0-48622-332-2.
  • Parker, Derek and Julia, 1983. A history of astrology. Deutsch. ISBN 978-0-233-97576-4.
  • Pingree, David Edwin, 1997. From astral omens to astrology: from Babylon to Bīnāker. Istituto italiano per l'Africa et l'Oriente (Serie orientale Roma).
  • Robbins, Frank E. (ed.) 1940. Ptolemy Tetrabiblos. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library). ISBN 0-674-99479-5.
  • Roberts, Reverend Alexander (translator) 1906. The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325, Volume II - Fathers of the Second Century - Hermas, Tatian, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria. W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. Republished: Cosimo, Inc., 2007. ISBN 978-1-60206-471-3).
  • Rochberg, Francesca, 1998. Babylonian Horoscopes. American Philosophical Society. ISBN 0-87169-881-1.
  • Saliba, George, 1994. A History of Arabic astronomy: planetary theories during the Golden Age of Islam. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-7962-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Nicholas Campion, A History of Western Astrology Vol. 2, The Medieval and Modern Worlds, Continuum 2009. ISBN 978-1-84725-224-1.
  • Nicholas Campion, The Great Year: Astrology, Millenarianism, and History in the Western Tradition. Penguin, 1995. ISBN 0-14-019296-4.
  • A. Geneva, Astrology and The Seventeenth Century Mind: William Lilly and the Language of the Stars. Manchester Univ. Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7190-4154-6.
  • James Herschel Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology. (Tempe, Az.: A.F.A., Inc., 2006. 2nd ed.) ISBN 0-86690-463-8.
  • M. Hoskin, The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-57600-8.
  • L. MacNeice, Astrology. Doubleday, 1964. ISBN 0-385-05245-6
  • W. R. Newman, et al., Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe. MIT Press, 2006. ISBN 0-262-64062-7.
  • G. Oestmann, et al., Horoscopes and Public Spheres: Essays on the History of Astrology. Walter de Gruyter Pub., 2005. ISBN 3-11-018545-8.
  • F. Rochberg, The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004. ISBN 0-521-83010-9.
  • J. Tester, A History of Western Astrology. Ballantine Books, 1989. ISBN 0-345-35870-8.
  • T. O. Wedel, Astrology in the Middle Ages. Dover Pub., 2005. ISBN 0-486-43642-X.
  • P. Whitfield, Astrology: A History. British Library, 2004. ISBN 0-7123-4839-5.
  • P.G. Maxwell-Stuart, Astrology: From Ancient Babylon to the present. Amberley Pub., 2012. ISBN 978-1-4456-0703-0.
  • Hermann Hunger & David Pingree, Astral Sciences in Mesopotamia. Koninklijke Brill, 1999. ISBN 90-04-10127-6

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Astrology". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 795–800.

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_astrology
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By Michelle Darrisaw·

If you’re anything like us, you can’t get enough of astrology and cosmic content. But what’s a girl to do when the YouTube videos aren’t cutting it and you’ve read all your horoscope predictions for the week or month? Well, it’s time to turn to your timelines. Did you know that there are astrologers delivering daily wisdom, complex readings and fascinating predictions on each of the zodiac signs on social media?From Twitter and Instagram to Snapchat and YouTube, there are countless truthsayers offering up daily and weekly doses of karmic forecasts. But it can be difficult to cut through all the horoscope noise on the Interwebs to find Black women and people of color who know everything there is to know in the astrological department. Luckily, we’ve found the who’s-who of astrologers to fill your social feed. Here are six you should start following for your astrological fix.1. Janelle Belgrave L.AcFor the stargazer who is seeking readings, predictions, plus a list of famous celebrities and their signs, Janelle’s rising sun and moon commentary is spot-on, funny and relatable.  2. Danielle AyokaCommonly referred to as Mystic Lipstick, Danielle keeps it all the way real about the signs in accurate and informative threads. Also, the Healing Series and zodiac cleanses are a hit among her followers. 3. Aquarius MaximusAquarius Maximus made this list because of her unique background in cardology, the study of the ancient mystical science of playing cards. Whether you refer to it as 52 keys, the Cards of Life or Astro-Cards, her account is a must-follow if you’re looking for something a little different beyond predictions and readings. 4. Mecca WoodsNot only can you get your daily horoscope fix from Mecca Woods on Twitter, but the famed astrologer and writer just published her first book, Astrology for Happiness and Success, which is available for pre-order right now. 5. Sam ReynoldsSam Reynolds aka Ebony SkyTalker will fill your timeline with full moon horoscopes, which he also posts on Unlock Astrology. If you’re looking for another reliable and consistent source to help you relate to your sign, hit the follow button.   6. Ashleigh D. JohnsonFor Ashleigh Johnson, astrology is her business—literally. She helps entrepreneurs achieve success with their businesses by reading their chart. But what keeps her followers coming back are her detailed sticky notes on the moon phases in the night sky. 

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Whether coveted as a roadmap to the mysteries of the soul or used as a fun-filled guide for achieving love, success, and fortune, the ancient art of astrology has intrigued and entertained millions of African Americans. The very first astrology book written by African Americans for Affrican Americans, Soul Vibrations will bring you Closer to yourself and to African-American history and culture. Inside you will find the keys to:

� Searching for a soul mate

� Identifying with the astrological qualities that made Oprah Winfrey,

Rosa Parks, Bill Cosby, and hundreds of other African Americans so successful

� Finding the most compatible partner

� Understanding why your relationships with certain people work-and don't work

� and more...

Soul Vibrations is a fun-filled guide to the zodiac that explains, in detail, the legacy and characteristics of each sign. Providing essential wisdom about love and compatibility, Soul Vibrations is spiced with AfricanAmerican folk and street lore and a cavalcade of eminent personalities. From Nat Turner to Tina Turner and Michael Jordan to Janet Jackson, here are the fascinating stories of African Americans, their achievements, and the sun sign traits that give terrific insights into their lives -- and yours. Witty and Wise, Soul Vibrations reveals the age-old relationship among the stars, the African-American experience, and you.

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Astrology books african

I’ve always been a fan of astrology. I don’t exactly remember when I learned that I was a Sagittarius, but I have flashes of memories of me as a kid in the public library and the excitement I felt anytime I came across anything that could tell me more about my zodiac sign. Although I wouldn’t begin studying astrology seriously until I was well into my 30s, I was always fascinated by how astrology gave us a language based on the stars to help us define life down here on earth.

When I first began exploring the field, I never thought that I would be able to turn my interest in astrology into a full-on career, and a lot of this had to do with the stigma around astrology. It’s long been considered a pseudoscience by skeptics, and within certain religious spheres within the Black community, it’s seen as a tool for dark forces rather than the art form and tool for self-development it is. Another reason: There weren’t many BIPOC (that I knew of) in the field. This was a glaring issue when I began training as a professional astrologer. Many of the books, research, lectures, history, etc. that became the foundation for my studies were written by white astrologers.

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Two of the few exceptions are Black Sun Signs and Black Love Signs, by Thelma Balfour, published in 1996 and 1999. These books marked the first time I had ever come across anything astrology-related that was written by someone like me, with someone like me in mind.

I remember being introduced to Ms. Balfour’s books by a friend of mine who lived around the corner from me. We were around 19 or 20 and spent hours poring over the pages, talking about the boys we had crushes on and whether their zodiac signs were compatible with ours. We read the sections on our signs aloud to each other, cackling in agreement at the parts that had her, a Taurus, and me, a Sagittarius, down to a T. Although I had gotten to a point where I was reading my horoscopes religiously in every newspaper and magazine that carried them, it wasn’t until I came across her books that astrology became relatable for me.

Fast-forward 18 years or so and I’m a professional astrologer working on my first book, Astrology for Happiness and Success. I knew there had been a dearth of mainstream astrology books published by Black people, let alone Black astrologers. However, what I didn’t know was that my book would be the first mainstream astrology book to be published by a Black woman astrologer in more than a decade.

Astrology for Happiness and Success: From Aries to Pisces, Create the Life You Want--Based on Your Astrological Sign!

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Some history: Through astrologer and researcher (and my friend!) Demetrius Bagley’s work in supporting, researching, and documenting the contributions of BIPOC astrologers to the field, I’ve learned that mainstream astrology books by Black authors have been few and far between. In 1996, Soul Vibrations: Astrology for African Americans, by George Davis and Gilda Matthews, was quite possibly the first astrology book written by Black authors for Black readers, backed by a large publishing company. Prior to that, in 1995, Signs of Mental Illness: An Astrological and Psychiatric Breakthrough, by Dr. Mitchell E. Gibson, was released by Llewellyn Worldwide, one of the largest and oldest New Age publishers in North America. In April 1996, Balfour’s Black Sun Signs became the first book written by a Black woman astrologer to be released by one of the five biggest publishing houses, followed by Black Love Signs in 1999. That same year, Llewellyn released Basil Fearrington’s The New Way to Learn Astrology.

Then it was a five-year wait until Astrology Uncut: A Street-Smart Guide to the Stars,written by journalists Rob Marriott and Sonya Magett, was published in 2004. And then…mainstream publishers basically stopped releasing astrology books by Black authors. (Note, although the writers of both Soul Vibrations and Astrology Uncut are Black, it’s unclear—and quite possibly unlikely—if any of them were professional astrologers. It’s also hard to tell how many Black astrologers have released self-published or small-press titles over the past 20 years or so, because there isn’t much documentation that’s publicly available.)

When Astrology for Happiness and Success was published in 2018, I not only found myself breaking barriers as the first Black woman astrologer to be published by a mainstream publisher after a nearly 15-year gap, but I was also the first Black woman astrologer to write an astrology book for a more general audience. I know that I could not be where I am without my predecessors, and I attribute the work of the Black astrologers who came before me to making astrology relatable and my career possible. I also realize the significance of publishing books tailored specifically to the Black community.

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Had Black astrologers like Thelma Balfour not made space for themselves in a predominately white field, I probably would not have found the courage (let alone the interest) to make a space for myself too. I was drawn to astrology out of a burning curiosity to learn about myself and how I could create the life I wanted. I became an astrologer because I wanted to help others tap into their own power and use it to create the lives they wanted. Although I didn’t take a direct or linear path to where I am today, knowing that there were Black people before me laying the groundwork has been validating.

“I wanted to help others tap into their own power and use it to create the lives they wanted.”

I’d like to think that I’m doing my part to make astrology relatable and accessible for people like me, although at the same time, I also want people outside of the Black community to be able to see themselves represented in my work. I think about this often as someone who grew up Black in America, as someone who knew at an incredibly young age that she always wanted to be a writer. While Blackness in America is an experience unto itself, it’s still an American experience. While being Black—period—is an experience unto itself, it’s still a human experience.

As an astrologer, my work is all about translating the human experience through the lens of the cosmos. And to me, this is why a nearly 15-year gap in mainstream books being published by Black astrologers is unacceptable. While I’m happy to report that, besides my own Cosmic Coloring Books series, there have been a handful of books by Black astrologers published since my book was released (like Aquarius, by Taylor Moon, and Pisces, by Shakirah Tabourn, part of a 12-book series dedicated to each sign of the zodiac), it’s not enough.

The publishing industry can—and must—do better. My hope is that as more Black and marginalized people continue to enter the field of astrology, it will continue to increase the demand for more books by us, for us, and for everyone else too.

Books by Black Astrologers

Astrology for Happiness and Success: From Aries to Pisces, Create the Life You Want--Based on Your Astrological Sign!

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Sagittarius: Your Cosmic Coloring Book: 24 Astrological Designs for Your Zodiac Sign!

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The Astrology Journal: A Celestial Guide to Recording Your Cosmic Journey

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Black Sun Signs: An African-American Guide to the Zodiac

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Black Love Signs: An Astrological Guide to Passion, Romance and Relationships for African Americans

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The New Way to Learn Astrology

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Zodiac Signs: Aquarius

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Zodiac Signs: Pisces

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Mecca WoodsMecca Woods is a New York City-based astrologer and author who works to help others across the globe to create a life they truly want using their natural-born gifts.

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Top 5 Basic Vedic Astrology books For beginners /Best Astrology books / English translated /

Aquarius Maximus is a fact-lover, and it's this trait that, at first, made her feel critical and disbelieving of astrology and tarot. However, as she delved deeper into the world, she realized tarot card reading is the embodiment of the law of attraction. On her Instagram, you’ll discover card readings related to day-to-day news, celebrity gossip, eclipses, and more, explaining how the current placements in the sky coordinate with these events.

Maximus practices cardology, which, as she explains, combines basic astrology with the classic deck of playing cards we're all familiar with. "I am one of the Founding Members of the International Association of Cardology, a global community that studies the ancient mystical science of playing cards. It’s extremely accurate for predicting events right down to the day and it’s based on an Egyptian/Atlantean calendar."

No matter your personal views on astrology, it’s difficult not to see a post about your star sign and think, “Wow, that is true!” While these suggestions are a great start, there's an entire universe out there brimming with helpful astrologers, tarot readers, and energy healers to discover. All you have to do is start scrolling and your worldview will expand.


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