Originally, all over the entire world in every form of human culture, astrology formed the very foundation of our religion, science and philosophy. Through astrology, human beings learned to read the heavens as nature’s great clock and calendar. Thus astrology built our year, with it’s 12 months and 7 day weeks; our seconds, minutes and hours. It marked our seasons and established holidays. It coordinated these earthly events to recurring movements in the clock of the sky and thus provided a drum beat for humanity to make her melody within.
From astrology we as a species learned the connection between ourselves and nature; between our own earth and higher “powers” like the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars. Thus astrology facilitated the birth of philosophy and religion. Because of astrology human beings developed science itself! It was the need to correctly map and predict the movement of the heavenly bodies which caused human beings to discover and invent mathematics and scientific observation, especially astronomy. Thus astrology facilitated the birth of math and science.
As you can imagine, only the greatest minds of society were able to get recognized as authoritative “astrologers.” It was an elaborate discipline involving math and astronomy, philosophy and religion, and a rigorous scientific process. Therefore the greatest minds in Western history were recognized astrologers: Pythagoras, Copernicus, Newton, Benjamin Franklin to name just a few.
Then something bad happened: mass media.
I’m not saying mass media is entirely bad, but the effect it had on astrology definitely was. In the mid 1400’s humans invented a machine to mass produce books. 200 years later, in the mid 1600’s we were printing weekly and daily newspapers. Mass media had begun.
At this point in history, 1450-1650 BCE, astrology had already suffered some significant problems in the Western world (which I’ll describe later on). But it was still an immensely popular, important and respected subject in our culture. Up till around this point in time the practice of interpreting personality traits and details of a person’s individual life was not really a main concern of astrology, and this use of astrology was relegated to royalty. But the theme of mass media itself was to bring information to the masses, not just to the privileged. Being that astrological information was highly valued and sought after by the culture of the day – of course the new media, newspapers, wanted to bring astrology for the common person to the common person.
Astrology was an elaborate science with hundreds of delicate features. To do an astrological reading for an individual required calculating a map of the heavens when that person was born – the date, time and even the place of birth was essential to get an accurate map. How could this be delivered by a newspaper to the masses?
Simple: Dumb it down.
And that’s what mass media is really good at anyway, right? Dumbing down and simplifying information so that more and more people can “benefit” from it. So it was the invention of mass media that caused the dumbing down of astrology in the Western world.
Here’s how they dumbed it down:
First of all, not many people know what time they were born, but just about everyone knew what day they were born (although in those days and culture, even that may have been asking a lot from some!). So newspaper astrology had to ignore the time of birth, and the place of birth too. Now this means you have to cut out and ignore the most important and essential part of the horoscope (the ascendant, but you’ll learn about that later). But anyway, the “show must go on,” right?
The second most essential part of a horoscope (the Moon) could have been delivered via mass media. And maybe some astrologers actually tried. But the western calendar is primarily solar, not lunar. So it proves much to difficult to expect the common newspaper reader to keep track of their lunar birth day. So, newspaper astrology had to do away with the Moon as well.
Having 86’d the two most important parts of astrology, these entrepreneurs of mass media turned to the third most important factor in astrology – the Sun. The great thing about the Sun is that the popular calendar of the western world is built around it. Therefore everyone knows their birthday in relation to the Sun. Bingo! They found an astrological reference point that most every common newspaper reader would know: the position of their Sun relative to the 12 zodiac constellations – something that anyone in this culture could easily know just by knowing their birthday, or even an approximate birthday!
It wasn’t great because what happened next is that the common person became aware of astrology through mass media. And all they were told is that there are 12 “signs” and that based on what day you were born (or month, even) you fall into one of these 12 categories. And based on that alone you were supposed to be able to read relevant astrological guidance in a newspaper.
No more ascendants. No more moon. No more 12 houses. No more Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn. No aspects. No cycles or transits. No nothing, just… the Sun. Personal astrology was reduced from billions of combinations to just 12. And those 12 were delivered to Western readers as the sum and substance of “astrology.”
And that, dear reader, is the most significant reason why your cocktail party friends are laughing at you right now for saying, “Astrology is real!”
The idea that 12 signs alone can provide any consistently accurate and reliable information or guidance to anyone is an idea worthy of being laughed at and made fun of. But what you need to tell your laughing friends right now is, “You think you know what I mean by ‘astrology’ – but you have no idea. I’m not talking about the “12 signs of the zodiac”! That’s not astrology, that’s pop culture.”
– Vic DiCara