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The Astrology Portal


Introduction

Detail from the astronomical clock of the Piazza San Marco, Venice.

Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial objects as a means for divining information about human affairs and terrestrial events. Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, and has its roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and some – such as the Indians, Chinese, and Maya – developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th-17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from which it spread to Ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.

Throughout most of its history astrology was considered a scholarly tradition and was common in academic circles, often in close relation with astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine. It was present in political circles, and is mentioned in various works of literature, from Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer to William Shakespeare, Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca.

With the onset of the scientific revolution astrology was called into question; it has been challenged successfully both on theoretical and experimental grounds, and has been shown to have no scientific validity or explanatory power. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, and common belief in it has largely declined. Astrology is now recognized to be pseudoscience.

Selected article

Giotto - Scrovegni - -18- - Adoration of the Magi.jpg
The Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star or the Jesus Star, was an object in the sky which revealed the birth of Jesus to the magi and later led them to a house where they found the child Jesus and his mother, according to the nativity narratives in the New Testament. The magi were men "from the east" who were inspired by the appearance of the star to travel to Jerusalem in search of a "king of the Jews". There they met King Herod of Judea, who advised them that the child they sought was in Bethlehem, a nearby village. The magi then went to Bethlehem, found Jesus, paid him homage, gave gifts, and returned to their "own country."

Selected picture

Hebrew calendar
Credit: NASA
Mosaic pavement of a 6th century synagogue at Beit Alpha, Israel. Signs of the zodiac surround the central chariot of the Sun (a Greek motif), while the corners depict the 4 "turning points" of the year, solstices and equinoxes, each named for the month in which it occurs.

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