Sumer, the first country to be born after the last ice age, 13,000 years ago, was the first official place to have astrology, with their zodiac translated by archeologists. Amongst them Zecharia Sitchin and some details about it are found in the tablet translations within his books.
But as Sumer’s artifacts are still being translated, some being stolen from the Middle East and not returned and their deciphered codes not released to the public. Which of course, is alarming [World Socialist Web Site, 2003 and Oriental Review, 2010] but thankfully sometimes the people who decipher the tablets release the information. Recently a world-mix of experts released a bunch of information, possibly against the welfare of their lives, knowing the American government’s state of being in terms of hiding their activities (*cough Bradley Manning cough*).
But regardless, so the information from Sumerian archeology on astrology, as you might guess, is a little harder to come by, as the information is fresh… okay so… Sumeria, was the original Babylon. Babylon was built “on top of” Sumer. This is why it took so long to find. Because when archaeologists found Babylon, it was exciting I suppose :P, and took them a while to release their was an even more ancient civilization underneath.
Sumer was taken over by the Akkadians, who fused their civilisations together, to form Babylon. This is able to be seen by language. This was how they knew Sumer was around because they went backwards. Babylonian language was a mixture of Akkadian and something else, so they dug deeper and found Sumer. Cool right! :D
Okay but so traditional astrological sources will tell you that Babylonians were the original astrological inventors, which is semi-true, because its their ancestors that originated it. If you feel, because Babylonians are descendants of Sumerians and Akkadians combined. But… it is more precise to say Sumerians were the first astrologers. But Babylon was what was found first, and the most widely known Mesopotamian society for astrology, so we continue on… starting from Babylon:
Origins of Astrology
The Babylonians divided the year, by the spring (vernal) equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox, and winter solstice – the four cardinal points.
Babylon was conquered by the Greeks in 331 B.C., this was where the Greeks obtained their amass of astrological knowledge.
When the Romans pillaged Babylon in the first century (1-100) A.D. most of the ancient astrological cuneiform tablets were either destroyed or buried (in which have started to be found, with over 30,000 found already, amusing indeed, thinking about how many these people must have had before the Romans started going at it!).
Christianity then took over the world (first politically designed for the advance of jewish politics, specifically for the cult of Yahweh which was the original name of the Christian god from their pantheon (Evid3nc3, 2009). But fundamentally early Christianity did not reject occultism. Until the Council of Nicea re-wrote the bible in around 300 B.C., many things that went against their political agenda were wrote into it and outlawed, this included astrology. And so astrology was put on the back burner and didn’t resurface until the Renaissance.
During the 19th century, ancient tablets were found in Iraq from Babylon about astrology. Hence America drone bombing the shit out of the place is really fucking bad for the cradle of history, which is there -.-. Sigh.
Details of Astrology in India
The Vedas, which are an accumulation of Indian knowledge from early 2000 B.C., is where the most ancient astrological knowledge originates (after Sumer/Babylon).
“Although a fatalistic approach to astrology is anathema to our concept of free will, the horoscope’s validation of present deeds is based on past actions is certainly one reason why astrology has remained a vital part of Indian life. Even those Indians who do not consult astrologers respect its legitimacy as an art and a science and recognize the astrology as an influential figure within the Hindu community [Dreyer, R. G., 1997].”
Within the text which influence astrology:
Accumulated actions, positive and negative, of former lifetimes that help to create a person’s present dharma.
Karma’s three aspects:
- “Sanchita, the sum or result of acts committed in the previous incarnation.
- “Prarabda, acts of the present incarnation which are subject both to the influence of the previous life and the exercise of free will in the present one.
- “Agami, future, unrealized acts. Thus the progress of the soul from one incarnation to another is conditioned by a mixture of free will, karma and fate [Dreyer, R. G., 1997].”
The Vedic book that specifically details astrology is called the Atharvaveda.
Details the uniquely Indian Nakshatras (lunar mansions), there is no mention of nakshatras from Babylonian tablets nor from Greek writers, so the consensus is that the lunar mansions are uniquely Indian.
Divides time into a wheel of 12.
Earliest Indian astrologers:
Aryabhata (A.D. 476-523)
Parasara (fifth century A.D.), Hora Sastra was the first major astrological treatise to appear and the volume upon which all future writings were based.
“Most revered astrologer was Varahamihira (A.D. 505-587), a student of Parasara and transmitter of the knowledge that Parasara was unable to convey to the public.
Varahamihira summarized all the astronomical and astrological knowledge available in India in a series of definitive books, including Daivajna, Brihat Samhita and Brihat Jataka.
Varahamihira’s methodical approach gave Jyotish its scientific status and influenced generations of practitioners in this field. Varahamihira also influenced Kalyana Varma’s treatise, Saravali and Mantereswara’s Phaldeepika.
Included in Phaladeepika were new Arabic-influenced astrological techniques which were brought over during Muslim rule. [Dreyer, R. G., 1997].”
“India’s Golden Age, approx 320 – 700 A.D., was marked by the use of the Siddhantic calendar, which was based on the Siddhantas, five scientific astronomical treatises written around A.D. 400.
The Siddhantic calendar was a soli-lunar calendar.
The Indian lunar day, called a tithi, is measured by the length of time it takes for the Moon to travel 12°, one-thirteenth of a lunar month, or 360°.
Beginning with the New Moon – the conjunction of the Moon and the Sun – one tithi is completed when the waxing moon moves ahead of the Sun by 12°. The tithis are numbered 1 to 15, with the end of the fifteenth tithi or 180°, being the Full Moon. Moving from Full Moon and back again to New Moon, the tithis of the waning Moon are also numbered from 1 to 15 with the fifteenth tithi, or 360°, equaling the New Moon. This gives 30 tithis in a lunar month (Panchang almanac is used to record tithis and celebrate the dates).
The average lunar day, or the time it takes the tithis to travel 12°, is 23.62 hours, a little less than the solar day of 23 hours and 56 minutes, measured from sunrise to sunrise. Because of the irregularity in the Moon’s motion, the length of the individual tithi can vary from 20 to 26 hours [Dreyer, R. G., 1997].”
History of Astrology in India
After overpowering Babylon and Egypt, Alexander the Great overcame India between 327-325 B.C.
A.D. 1200, India became under Islamic rule, from 1200 to 1757, this caused a lack of uniformity amongst astrologers to the exact mathematical insistence as to where Aries began. As observatories were destroyed and the people mistrusted the Muslim calendar.
The British took over India in 1757, and brought the Gregorian calendar which uses the Egyptian solar year of 365-1/4 days.
Throughout each government regime however, the communities have retained their own regional calendars.
India gained its dependence in 1947.
“The Calendar Reform Committee recommended setting up a yearly “official Indian ephemeris and nautical almanac” published by the Government of India, which would list the positions of the Sun, the Moon, the planets, and other heavenly bodies. The alamanac would include listings of the tithi and the nakshatra and most important, one unified civil and religious calendar, called the National Calendar, to be used throughout India.
The Ayanamsa would be Lahiri’s Ayanamsa of 23°15′ and there would be six seasons divided by climatic changes: summer (grisma), rains (varsa), autumn (sarat), later autumn (hemanta), winter (susna), and spring (vasanta).
The city of Ujjain, noted for its astronomical observatories, became a center where astrological ideas were disseminated and practitioners of astrology could combine Western ideas with Eastern methodology. The city of Ujjain provides the central time zone from which the listings in the ephemeris emanate, equivalent to the way Greenwich, English is used to convey 0° longitude.
The day is not divided into hours and minutes but into ghatis and vighatis. There are 2-1/2 ghatis in an hour and 60 ghatis in a day. Each ghati is further dividued into 60 vighatis [Dreyer, R. G., 1997].”
The bulk of the teachings can still be traced back to the earliest astronomers and astrologers indicating how steadfast Jyotish has actually remained.
Greek Western Astrology
“Between the appearance of the writings of the Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, in 100 B.C. and the publications of Ptolemy’s astronomical treatise, Tetrabiblos, in A.D. 150, there was an enormous rise in horoscopic astrology throughout the West [Dreyer, R. G., 1997].”
Dreyer, R. G., 1997. Vedic astrology : a guide to the fundamentals of jyotish. 2nd ed. Boston, MA, USA: Red Wheel/Weiser.
Evid3nc3, 2009. Why I am no longer a Christian. [Online Video]. 03/05/2009. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A. [Accessed: 18 November 2014].
World Socialist Web Site, 2003. The sacking of Iraq’s museums: US wages war against culture and history. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/04/muse-a16.html. [Accessed 18 November 2014].
Oriental Review, 2010. The Plundering of Iraq’s National Museum: What Really Happened?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://orientalreview.org/2010/07/18/the-plundering-of-iraqs-national-museum-what-really-happened/. [Accessed 18 November 2014].