Astrology as we know it today, with twelve zodiac signs, began around 3000 BC in Mesopotamia and Egypt. At that time, there was no reading and writing, so the psychology of people must have been very different from that of today. Until that time, they only recognized the different monthly Moon phases. Mesopotamia was the first-ever city where thousands of people collected together in one place. It enabled release from the necessity for everyone to tie to an agricultural lifestyle, and grow their food. It enabled specialization of labor and therefore greater efficiency. Some people were free to become planners and managers of others.
The Beginning Of Astrology: Twelve Zodiac Signs
The main reason it began was that people needed an annual calendar so they could plan when to sow seeds and harvest crops. It must have been quite “magical” at that time for individuals to be able to “predict” the changes in seasons months in advance.
It gives us a clue as to why there are thousands of stone circles scattered around the world that date from this time. For example, one of the most notable is Stonehenge in the UK which was rebuilt several times from 3000 BC to 2000 BC – and then abandoned, unfinished, for no apparent reason. People know that the circles were geographically aligned so that the rays of the rising sun lit up certain areas of the rings at different times of the year. Examples of such times are the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes (equal day and night of 12 hours), the Summer Solstice (The Longest Day, when day length begins to decrease) and the Winter Solstice (the Shortest Day, when day length begins to increase).
The Winter Solstice is most important because, with most people engaged in an agricultural lifestyle, the colder weather in Winter was a fearful time of Nature’s “death” in the year, and the gradually lengthening days were a sign that there was a new Spring to come. So we have the symbolism of Christmas with the Rebirth of “THE SON”. It coincides with the Rebirth of “THE SUN”.
Some More Information
We can also begin to see why the stone circles were for abandoning around 2000 BC. However, other pieces were in demand in the pattern. 2000 BC was around the time that Writing with characters began in Egypt. Until that time, they used clay tablets with symbols. It seems that, once this came into existence, there was no need for blocks of stone. Another significant advance was when a sexagesimal number system (based on number 6) began at around 2100 BC, also in Mesopotamia.
Having discovered the annual Sun Cycle, they needed a way of dividing it into months. So they divided the annual Sun Cycle into 12 equal “Moons” of 30 degrees each to make the 360-degree circle and related this to the monthly Moon Cycle. The sexagesimal number system was ideal for dividing 360 degrees in various ways. Later on, they found that the monthly Moon Cycle did not precisely match the annual cycle of the Sun – but that is a later story.
When it came to naming the months, they looked at what was happening on the earth at the time. Psychologists today know that the human mind will tend to make patterns out of things like random dots and cloud formations. So when they saw rams rutting at the beginning of Spring, they looked up at the sky to see a “picture” of a bow – and called it “Aries”.
A new rider to this is that Aries was rising at the Spring Equinox around 3000 BC. We also know that this was The Age of Aries.