• Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 0. Why Learn Ancient Astrology and Its History?
  • Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 1. The Meanings of the Planets
  • Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 2. Charting, Angles, Advancement
  • Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 3. General Prominence
  • Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 4. Signs and Stakes
  • Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 5. Regards (Whole Sign Aspects) and Planetary Combination
  • Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 6. The Places (Houses)

About the Site: Astrology’s First Thousand Years

Welcome to Seven Stars Astrology!  On this site, you will find a variety of articles and resources that explore western astrology as it was practiced during its first thousand years. There is a strong emphasis on Hellenistic astrology.

Medieval, Personal seal matrix

What is Horoscopic Astrology?

The techniques that we teach, explain, test, and critique are those that are found in ancient astrological texts written from approximately 0 CE to 1,000 CE. It was during this period that all our surviving initial full texts on the type of astrology that uses charts (horoskopos/horoscope) came into being. These charts or horoscopes are maps of the sky oriented to the sign rising at birth, and this type of astrology is called horoscopic astrology.

Horoscopic astrology started around the 1st or 2nd century BCE and continues to this day. Modern astrology is a descendant, using the main ingredients of planets, signs, houses, and aspects which originated over 2,000 years ago. As horoscopic astrology began in the ancient Greek-speaking world (though not necessarily Greece) most early texts were written in ancient Greek. It is for this reason that the earliest phase of this astrology is known as Hellenistic astrology. Hellenistic astrology passed to the Indians, Persians, and Arabs, and eventually back to Europe in the High Middle Ages.

Astrology was Serious Science in the Ancient World

Astrology was very important in the ancient world. For example, the first mechanical computer, the Antikythera mechanism, was used to calculate astrological positions. Most of the key early advances in mathematics, astronomy, and optics were motivated by astrological research projects of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Indians, Chinese, and other cultures. It is common today to encounter revisionist narratives of history in which the role of astrology is downplayed or written out entirely. For instance, the Babylonians become astronomers as opposed to astrologers. Additionally, the fact that famous “astronomers” all the way up to Kepler, were actually astrologers, hardly merits a mention in textbooks these days.

Urania Statue
Urania was one of the 9 muses of ancient Greece. She was the muse of astrology who was said to foretell the future, pointing to a globe with a small staff. Today she is regarded as the muse of astronomy!?

Many of the leading intellectuals of the ancient world wrote on astrology.  They produced detailed voluminous textbooks and were serious about advancing the art. Scientists in those days were known as natural philosophers, and astrology was a serious and important part of natural philosophy.

Why the First 1,000 Years?

This site focuses on the period prior to 1,000 CE, with an emphasis on Hellenistic material. All the major features of traditional western astrology had already been laid out and explored by 1,000 CE. The texts with the most foundational and diverse material were written during the Hellenistic period. As astrological doctrine was passed from one language to another, translation errors and additions led to significant changes in the way many techniques were practiced in later periods. Additionally, many important early ideas and features of the system became lost over time. Therefore, this site prioritizes early Hellenistic techniques and interpretations in order to stay true to astrology’s roots.

A Plethora of Options

Early astrologers had diverse opinions about the best techniques to use. For this reason, we will be doing quite a bit of testing out techniques. We will apply them to numerous charts to hone our art. We look at the numerous options presented by ancient astrologers rather than simply adopting innovations of later astrologers. This is our “Occam’s razor” of sorts. The texts of Hellenistic and Persian astrology are rich enough to find what we need. We will get by with the groundwork laid by Hellenistic astrologers, the insights of early medieval astrologers, and a whole lot of analysis. Once you see what ancient western astrology can do, we think you’ll be impressed.

Where to Begin

I recommend that you start by going through the lessons on this site. The lessons will be helpful whether you are new to astrology or are relatively versed in it. Many of the concepts discussed in other articles will presuppose familiarity with the basic techniques covered in the lessons.

 

 

Image attributions:

Medieval seal image attribution by Medieval,_Personal_seal_matrix_(FindID_542153-413957) The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British Museum [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Statue of Urania is a restored Roman copy after a Greek original of the 4th century BC, Hadrian’s Villa. The image is in the public domain.