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A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASTROLOGY


The science of astrology originated in Bharat, also known as "India," and has been practiced continuously for more than 8,000 years. Records of astrological knowledge are to be found in the history of all nations and among the relics of all civilizations, past and present.

CHINA: Aside from the Vedic records, perhaps the oldest records of astrological practice are to be found in China. The Chinese have been as scrupulous in preserving their records as the Hindus of Bharat.

CHALDEA: Although mention is made by later writers of famous astrologers in Chaldea, particularly Berosus, who lived about 3,000 BCE, no actual manuscripts of Berosus are available if indeed such writings were ever made. But, undoubtedly the science of astrology was practiced at a very remote period in the history of the Chaldeans and the astrology of the Greeks and Romans was directly derived from this source.

BABYLON: The first mention of astrology as it was practiced by the Babylonians appears to place the period at about 2,500 BCE, but no actual records of literature concerning the Babylonian contribution to the science have been discovered to date.

EGYPT: It is evident that the Egyptian knew and used astrology many thousands of years before the time of Christ, and the earliest Egyptian astrologer mentioned is Petosiris, a priest who lived during the reign of Nicepsos about 800 BCE. If Petosiris wrote any books on astrology, however, they have not been found. The earliest Egyptian authority on astrology whose works are available today and actually form the basis on which modern astrology is practiced in the Western world was Claudius Ptolemy. Ptolemy was born at Pelusium in Egypt, about 70 CE, and attended the school of Alexandria. His Tetrabilos is the source of many of the errors which have been perpetuated in the modern systems.

PERSIA: The earliest Persian astrologer of whom any record exists was Al Hakim. This famous astrologer lived and practiced his science during the reign of Darius. Al Hakim is reputed to have written many books, th most widely mentioned by later historians being the Judicia Gimaspia. If this work or any other writings of Al Hakim exist today, they have not been made available for general inspection. However, Al Hakim achieved fame because of some amazing predictions, not the least popular of them being the birth of Jesus.

ARABIA: Astrology is and always was held in great veneration by the Arabs. This region is the birthplace of many learned astrologers and wise men. They traveled extensively and brought their knowledge with them into Greece and Rome. Some of their writings have come down to the West through the Greeks and Romans, but in such fragmentary form that they are of little practical use today. Such fragments as have been preserved, however, furnish indubitable proof that the technique of the Arabian astrologers was of a very high order, indeed. Records of a nomadic people, though, are difficult to obtain.

BHARAT: In Bharat records exist today which point clearly to a highly developed knowledge of astrology as far back as about 6,500 BCE and actual manuscripts are still extant which were written about 3,700 BCE. SOme of the originals have been destroyed or lost but actual copies of these originals were made by alter astrologers. these are to be found in the libraries of Maharajas and in the libraries of certain states in Bharat. Actual, detailed records of astrological science are continuous from about 6,500 BCE. One of the earliest authors of Vedic astrology, copies of whose work are still to be found, is Pita Maha who wrote a treatise on astrology called Pita Maha Siddhant(a). He lived and wrote this book about 3,000 BCE. Five hundred years later, another author-astrologer named Vashishtth(a) wrote several books on astrology, astronomy and philosophy. His most important work, and one which was used as an authority by all subsequent writers on the subject, is Vashishtth(a) Siddhant(a), but he wrote may other equally erudite and authoritative texts such as the Panch Siddhant(a) Kosh(a), Soory(a) Siddhant(a), Nityanand(a), Brhat Jatak(a), Aryabhat, Mansagari, Ranveer, and the Laghu Parashar. E. M. Plunkett writes in his book Ancient Calendars and Constellations: "The opinion of the Greek writers at the beginning of the Christian era may be quoted as showing the high estimation in which Indian astronomy was held. In the Life of Appollonius of Tyana, the Greek philosopher and astrologer, written by Philostratus about 210 CE, the wisdom and learning of Appollonius are set high above his contemporaries because he had studied astronomy and astrology with the sages of India." In a book called You and Your Hand by the late Count Louis Hamon, known better as Cheiro, this statement is found: "people who in their ignorance disdain the wisdom of ancient races forget that the great past of India contained secrets of life and philosophy that following civilizations could not controvert, but were forced to accept. For instance, it has been demonstrated that the ancient Hindus understood the precession of the equinoxes and made the calculation that it [a complete cycle] took place once in every 25,870 years. the observation and mathematical precision necessary to establish such a theory has been the wonder and admiration of modern astronomers. they, with their modern knowledge and up-to-date instruments, are still quarrelling among themselves as to whether the precession, the most important feature in astronomy, takes place every 25,870 years or every 24,500 years. The majority believe that the Hindus made no mistakes, but how they arrived at such a calculation is as great a mystery as the origin of life itself."



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