Over the centuries, the attitude towards astrology has been swaying between many extreme views - from complete denial, neglect and proclaimed deception to deep respect. There is too much of controversy whether astrology is science or not. Astrology is knowledge. This is the “language of the universe”. Modern science does not have the necessary tools to explain how this knowledge “works”. For the same reasons that there is no science that can explain how the Japanese or Chinese languages function, and to what extent they are scientifically correct.
Astrology puts in the limelight the understanding that each system - a living organism, society, or even the Solar System - has its own internal order and at the same time it is part of another one. Or more simply, every organism has its own truth about existence, because only in this way it can be part of the greater. In astrology there is no “this is bad, it's good”. People put these labels.
When and how did astrology originate? There are many and various historical researches on exactly how long astrology has been part of the human life. I do not want to bother you with boring historical facts and figures. They are not so important - they are dull statistics. Nobody can prove whether the first steps of astrology were made around 1600 B.C. since when the first written astrological records are dating or this is just what reaches us. On one hand there is the western world where astrology has been passing through many hands and has largely been adjusted to religious and social patterns that existed through the centuries.
It is so far considered that its origin is ancient Babylon. Astrology uses planetary positions and it is logical that it can not have occurred before the development of mathematical astronomy. A serious development of astronomy was reached in ancient Greece. That's why many astrologers today say that astrology is a creation of the Greeks. Which is a bit strange because strong rationalism and skepticism prevailed in ancient Greece, there was no cult of stars, nor honour of gods, they were entirely indifferent to heavenly bodies. The Greeks got familiar with astrology which reached them from Babylon after Alexander the Great entered Egypt.
Very important is the point that mainly educated Greeks, the intellectual elite of ancient Greece, were attracted to astrology. Seemingly it’s lacking any sense a rational intellect to be attracted by such knowledge. Today many believe that astrology is attracts people who lack common sense and mildly fond of all mysteries and mystifications. Just because astrology has almost merged into psychology and sometimes there is no difference between the two. And last but not least, the practitioners themselves continuously strive to give it a mysterious look and content.
But is this so? It is not by accident that two of the most brilliant astronomers of ancient Greece - Hipparchus and Ptolemy - were also astrologers. And that Ptolemy - who lived in Alexandria during the 2nd century A.C. – left behind the most influential astrological text Tetrabiblos, which today is considered the basis of basic classical western astrology. The reason to be involved lies precisely in their rationality, in their intellectual ability to perceive that astrology is mainly rational knowledge, subject to strict objective laws. They approached it with the intention to map the celestial sphere and to analyze it in the context of “cosmic harmony”, which makes the man a part of the universe.
If a person does not have a rational, critical mind, ability to concentrate, fine keenness of observation and mathematical thinking, he could not follow the regularities in nature, the universe and astrology. This is exactly what happened when the Greeks touched to astrology. They understood that they were facing a unique system which describes the regularities in nature, the natural geometry. It is worth mentioning here that stoicism as philosophy played a key role. This was the most successful philosophy in ancient Greece at the time of Ptolemy. Stoicism teaches that if a person has clean and unbiased thinking and is not influenced by his/her emotions he/she is able to understand the universal order, which all living beings are subject to – the “cosmic harmony” that I mentioned above. It is believed in stoicism that everything is governed by the laws of fate (universal cause and effect). Where's the mystery, mystification, emotional and irrational thinking?! Stoics believed that human will must be in connection with Nature, that man must live in harmony with Nature, that man must live in a state in which nothing can disturb the fundamental peace of the mind. Which means that one must know the Nature and how it exists and works. What reminds us of Buddhism, the Indian philosophy of Dharma (Sanskrit term which means "that for which you were born; obligation).
Astronomy and astrology developed together to about the seventh century and were called the same word – Astrology. The two terms split apart only after the seventh century – astronomy and astrology. And this is probably the main reason to allege that chronologically astrology preceded astronomy. What the ancient Greek scientists took for “stars” were the planets – they called them “the wandering stars”. Admittedly, however, astrology in ancient Greece was heavily influenced by the Greek Church and the dominant influence of Alexander the Great.