In yesterday’s post, I began the chapter on the Zodiac as part of my symbol series. On a theme, today I’ll touch upon the horoscope — a diagram of the heavens used in calculating births and foretelling events in a person’s life, all by the relative position and configuration of the planets, sun, and the moon, at a particular moment in time.
My first encounter with the Zodiac came when I was eleven. We had just moved to a new neighborhood so rather than playing outside with friends I had yet to make, I tagged along with my dad. At the checkout I saw a publication called the Old Farmer’s Almanac. We bought it and I read that thing from cover to cover. In fact, I read it until it fell apart and had to be held together with tape! Even at that young age, a few things struck me as outrageous. For one, I couldn’t figure out how anyone would know the weather for an entire year.
As a curious kid, I found it fascinating that The Old Farmer’s Almanac was filled with things like moon phases, rebuses, riddles, animal care, planting tips for gardeners, old time medicines, and the zodiac. Though I hadn’t yet discovered the Greek myths, the zodiac images captured my imagination. How about that Capricorn? Half goat/half fish. And Sagittarius –half man/half horse! I was an Aries. I loved that this book told my fortune and more…
Some of the zodiacal information in the Old Farmers Almanac had roots in ancient practice. The signs symbolized the Labors of the Months a.k.a. the time to do specific work in the year.
Aquarius = felling of trees.
Pisces = grafting of fruit trees
Taurus = planting
Gemini = scything grass
Cancer = haymaking
Virgo = harvesting
Libra = stomping grapes
Scorpio = casking wine
Sagittarius = gathering wood and picking olives
Capricorn = baking in the ovens and butchering
Cool trivia. 😀
The Great Heavenly Wheel and Celestial Mirror
“Though my soul may set in darkness, It will rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly To be fearful of the night”
Sometime in the 2nd century, at a time in which the science of astronomy worked part and parcel with astrology, the Greek mathematician/astronomer/astrologer Ptolemy wrote his Tetrabyblosa ~ a four-book treatise on these constellations circling the earth. He described all twelve zodiac signs — the same meanings we all attribute to the constellations today.
The stars in the sky and the belt of twelve constellations circling the earth have inspired many interpretations though time. I remember reading once that the Big Dipper was the symbolic representation of all of these and more I can’t recall just now: a bear, a coffin and procession of mourners, a wagon, a cleaver, and a plough. People see what their culture expects them to see. Essentially, turning stars into constellations was a flight of fancy just like dragons and teddy bears are when you see them in cloud formations.
To the Ancient Egyptians, this belt of circling stars was the Nile of the sky. To the Hindus, it was the Eternal Wheel. For Zoroastrians it represented the twelve chiefs of the sun god. To the Akkadians, this was the great furrow left by the bull god El as he ploughed his way across the heavens over the course of the year.
While some felt the sun residing in the configuration of stars was proof of the divine, the Ancient Chaldeans (moon/goddess worshipers) thought it more auspicious that the moon parked itself in the constellations. They were the first to use the term Houses of the Moon. The Ancient Chinese did this a little differently back when their calendars were entirely moon-related. They felt the Moon Goddess rested with a different lover each night, occupying all twenty-eight of her celestial palaces. Speaking of moon goddess, the practice of reading the moon and stars was a traditional occupation of women. As a new, more vocal religion took hold, the goddess moon was eclipsed by a god sun/son. Under this new doctrine, even the zodiac, whose stars had been charting destiny for thousands of years, was seen as the devil’s work. But all wheels turn. We can open a newspaper today and read our horoscope.
The zodiac still uses twelve houses. Example: a baby born in May when the moon is in the house of Taurus would take on the characteristics of the bull and be stubborn, lusty, strong etc.
I found this video that sounds like it’s narrated by Christopher Lee. It’s an interesting and informative take on astrology.
Just for fun
See what your stars say today. 🙂
Tomorrow ~ moving on
Here’s one for today:
Caprizant (adjective 1730-1736)
of the pulse, uneven or irregular
Oh writer’s block, thou art a wretched thing. Where is spring when you need it? In an attempt to keep writing beyond the blogging, I’ve been dabbling in flash fiction with word limits. It doesn’t come easy to the Wordie I am, but it’s very good practice for my future plan of writing a book of short stories.
A week or so ago, I stumbled across a great group of writers on Facebook and they have weekly memes to write for. Today is Thursday Taster.
Today we have guest Author Ann Lawrence.
The February contest on Romance Books ‘4’ Us is ending. Just two days left to find the little cherubs hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests. http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/
Free to join in each week
Wash Line Monday ~ share your descriptions of clothing in your novel.
Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
Book a spot
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel.
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking late spring now.
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!