The subject of planetary symbolisms is covered in most astrology books and is even touched on in the horoscope columns of many magazines. For this reason, anyone who is at least a little familiar with traditional astrology will know the basics of planetary symbolisms. However, we have written this book so it will be understood by someone who knows absolutely nothing about astrology. For this reason, we will begin our explanation of planetary symbolisms at the beginning, about 4,000 years ago.
As we've said, the Babylonians had been fanatically watching the skies for thousands of years. Somewhere along the way, they came upon an incorrect, but understandable notion. Since the planets moved, but the stars did not, they thought that each planet was so different from the stars that every planet must have been ruled by one of the many gods of their several religions. Since Mars was the only planet that was red, and blood is red, they believed that Mars was connected to war and warriors, since both cause the shedding of blood. Venus, the morning star, is so exquisitely radiant that the Babylonians believed Venus was their god of beauty and love. Mercury was the fastest-moving planet, so the Babylonians made Mercury their god of speed and messengers. Jupiter is the brightest planet; this gave the Babylonians the idea that Jupiter was associated with their religion's most powerful god. Saturn was the only planet that had a slightly oval shape. It looked like a shield, and the Babylonians thought Saturn had something to do with shields and was ruled by the god in their religion that was responsible for armor.
Because of these associations of the planets to the gods of their religions, the Babylonians began to ascribe certain powers to each planet, and they called such "powers" RULERSHIPS and SYMBOLISMS. For example, Venus had rulers hip over matters of love and beauty, and Mars had rulership over war and the soldier. It was then that the Babylonians conceived of the idea that when any two planets formed a planetary aspect by matching degrees, the gods of those two planets were getting ready to do something that would have an impact on life on Earth. In other words, the Babylonians thought that when two planets formed a planetary aspect, the gods of those two planets were giving us a celestial sign that they were about to act and that something uncommon was about to happen.
All of this led to the idea that it was possible to predict the future by looking for planetary aspects and taking into consideration which planets, or gods, were forming the planetary aspect. For example, when Venus and Mars formed a planetary aspect, it meant that the god of love and beauty and the god of war and warriors were going to do something that would impact this world. To the Babylonians, one possibility was that a beautiful (Venus) warrior (Mars) would be born. Another possibility was the birth of someone who loved (Venus) war (Mars). Basically, the Babylonians devised a rule of interpreting aspects: Combine and integrate the symbolisms of the planets. This rule is called the Rule of Combining Symbolisms. By employing this rule, in addition to the two possibilities above, a Venus-Mars aspect could also mean that it was a time when people on Earth would love (Venus) war (Mars) and therefore act with unusual belligerency, causing a war to break out. Or, it could be a time when people would love (Venus) soldiers (Mars).
That is how the Babylonians made their predictions using astrology. Since they thought that the planets had divine connections, the term divination was used to refer to this method of attempting to predict the future.
That was 4,000 years ago. Humankind has now known for a long time that the planets have no connection whatsoever to any gods, and the planets have no special powers of any kind. But the most fascinating and amazing feature of astrology is that this method of prediction actually worked more often than not. In this age of modern science, it is unfathomable that the Rule of Combining Symbolisms could possibly be fruitful, but this method of prediction had enough accuracy to withstand the test of time—about 4,000 years' worth of time. Is it all just coincidence and superstition? How did astrology survive all these years if it was all based on a superstitious belief that the planets were associated with gods?
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