Origin of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac
Zodiac signs evolved many centuries ago and has roots in Astronomy, Astronomy is the study of stars and planets, their positions and their movement in the sky.
The oldest records of Astronomy were found in Sumeria, Mesopotamia - which is the site of the earliest known civilization in the World.
This ancient civilization was the first to create and document the myths and legends about the skies over 10000 years ago, inherited by Babylonians and Assyrians, which were later adopted by the Greeks who used as base to build their rich culture and brought into our modern Era.
The cyclical aspect of the movement and relative position of constellations allowed us to measure time. Babylonians used Astrology to mark the seasons, predict a person's future - Horoscope, predict weather, when to sow crops and when to harvest, and kept written records of calendars for agriculture. So for example, when the rainy season was up, the Babylonians knew that the Sun was in a particular constellation, which was named Aquarius or "Water Bearer" - And that's how the 12 Zodiac Signs came to be.
The Zodiac Lore
Today's system of 12 months with 30 days each is derived from this ancient knowledge, astrologers knew that the Sun would return to it's original position after 12 lunar cycles, and then identified the 12 constellations that were linked to the progression of the seasons and assigned animal names and other figures that represent the characteristics of the time of the year.
We need to keep in mind that the crushing majority of people couldn't read or write, only very powerful individuals and some members of the clergy had access to it, so this association with animals and other elements was not only very important to spread Astrological knowledge through storytelling but was also critical to the great richness of human knowledge around the understanding of our Universe.
THE FOUR CLASSICAL ELEMENTS
The concept of four classical elements - Earth, Water, Fire and Air - is shared among many ancient civilizations - the Greek, Babylonians, Egyptians, Tibetan, Indian and even Japanese have their own version, and were created with the purpose to understand and explain Nature in all it's complexity in terms of simpler substances (remember that literacy rates were ridiculously low).
There are widely different explanations as to the attributes and properties (and even names) of the elements across all cultures, for example Aristotle introduced the fifth element - Ether or void or quintessence; the Chinese have a Metal element, but they all agreed in the four classical: Air, Fire, Earth and Water.
|Fire||Aries, Leo and Sagittarius|
|Earth||Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn|
|Air||Gemini, Libra and Aquarius|
|Water||Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces|
SEASONS OF THE YEAR
In ancient Astrology the Zodiac Signs were more of a seasonal nature, and the typical characteristics of a season (Wet, Dry, Cold or Hot) would then give the qualities of an Element:
|Spring||Wet + Hot||Air||Aries, Taurus and Gemini|
|Summer||Hot + Dry||Fire||Cancer, Leo and Virgo|
|Autumn||Dry + Cold||Earth||Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius|
|Winter||Cold + Wet||Water||Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces|
So now we know that the horoscope is based on the movement and relative position of celestial bodies (Stars and Planets), more specifically on the cyclical nature of their movement and position at a given time, and can be taken as a map of our Universe and our Existence on our Human Experience.
However just because we have an accurate map (some methodology is even patent protected: https://www.google.com/patents/US6776618), it doesn't mean that we can read it or interpret it in a way that serves us, to take us on our personal path on our spiritual quest. There are many many interpretations and concepts out there and it's up to you and I to find that what makes sense and resonates with us - No one has the answer. It's up to each one of us to pursue and find our own inner truth.
There is a plethora of concepts that harmonizes with the Zodiac signs and immensely enrich the Lore: We have Planetary Rulers, Angles, Horoscope, Houses, Ascendants, Mode, Zodiac signs and so on that are not covered in this article. Would you like to learn more about them? Send us a message (Email, Facebook, Instagram, Smoke Signal or Homing Pigeon) and ask!