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A Global History of Astrology: Changes in Astrological Trends Through the Centuries

The sky above has been the subject of deep intrigue since the beginning of humanity. Curiosity in celestial objects was just the start of the never-ending search for understanding life. People tracked the rising and setting of the sun, they studied the paths of the planets, they created mathematical calculations to predict an eclipse, and developed countless theories about the shape of the earth and universe. It seems to be a part of human nature to assign meaning to things, so trying to find meaning in the movements of celestial objects should be expected. Astrology is often seen as taboo, many people arguing that the location of the sun at your birth has no effect on your personality or future and that astronomy is the only true study of the sky. But until the Early Modern Era, Astrology and Astronomy were viewed as one, a complete science. Although the practices differed between cultures and with time, the study of the stars was both mathematical and based in belief. I was inspired to write this paper as a recap of a course I took in Tübingen titled “A Global History of Astrology”; taught by Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. This paper is based on the sources used in that class and follows the same general structure and order of the course, as that seems to be the most cohesive way to approach the subject. By the end of this paper, we should have an idea of the trends in astrological practices over the last few millennia and between different cultures and societies.