A Brief History There are several ancient and well-developed systems of Astrology; however, it is Western Tropical Astrology that is the most fully integrated into the magickal systems that Witches and Pagans work with, so we will be focusing on it in this book.
Western Astrology has roots as deep as those of any other system in use today.
Sometime around 500 BCE we saw the development of the twelvefold zodiac with 30° Signs among the Chaldeans.
The Four Elements system that is so broadly used in both Magick and Astrology was categorized and refined by Empedocles sometime around 450 BCE.
The great foundational blocks for what we call Western Astrology were actually set in the Hellenistic period in Greece.
I will point out that though the writings are in Greek, many of the astrologers were Egyptians, Babylonians, and Semites.
It is interesting to note that around 200 BCE there was an explosion of creativity in important esoteric disciplines.
The invention of what we call Astrology occurred at roughly the same time as the core of Hermetic ideas were being written down, and shortly thereafter Astrology was transmitted to India via the Middle East. In India, Astrology evolved in a different direction, but its origin is still clear.
Depending upon which scholars you trust, this is also the same time period that gave birth to the earliest forms of what we would recognize as the Qabala.
You may ask yourself why is this history lesson important? I am including it because history shows us how deeply intertwined Astrology is with the systems of thought and theory that undergird almost all magickal practices in the West.
Moreover, Astrology is one of the few sacred sciences that has been in continuous and unbroken development since ancient times.
Astrology and Astronomy share similar terms and language, which can lead to some confusion.
The same can be said for Alchemy and Chemistry.
The modern mundane sciences arose from the older sacred sciences, but the differences between them are caused by more than centuries of development in different directions.
Although both sorts of science study the natural world, the sacred sciences focus upon the subtle and the unseen whereas the mundane sciences focus upon the dense and the tangible.
The rift between the two has been growing for centuries, but perhaps some of the mundane sciences will grow closer to the sacred sciences as they approach deeper mystery