Do Zodiac Signs Really Determine Personality?
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Signs of the Zodiac
There are different kinds of zodiac signs. This article is directed to the Babylonian signs. The origin of zodiac signs roots approximately 2500 years ago in Babylonia (today’s Iraq).
Figure 1 Location of Babylonia
The astronomers and astrologers of that time described the stars in the sky in their constellation with 88 pictures. Twelve of them had a special importance because the sun and the moon where moving through these pictures in one year. These became the twelve zodiac signs.
Figure 2 All 88 star constellations
Actually, they are fourteen, because the constellation of the Ophiuchus (the serpent-bearer) and the constellation of Cetus (the whale) are also bounded by the zodiac-circle. But astrologers say, that these two signs are not significant for defining a horoscope. (Parker et al., 2020, p.18)
Figure 3 Ophiuchus and Cetus
An issue with the remaining twelve signs was that each constellation had a different size of range. So, the sun took different amount of times to travel through each of them. With that the zodiacal signs did not fit to the lunisolar calendar of Babylonia. As a solution, astrologers decided to split the range of the zodiac signs in twelve same sized 30-degree areas. Each area named after the nearest constellation.
Figure 4 Splitting of the zodiac signs in 12 same sized 30-degree areas
In the 4th century BC the zodiac signs got fixed by the equinox, the moment day and night are existing almost the same time. In that year the equinox was dated on March 21st in the constellation of Aries. With that Aries became the first zodiac sign.
After time astrologers and astronomers stated that the universe and the objects in it are affecting the life on earth. Today it is commonly known. With Newtons gravitational theory, it has been proven that the moon together with the sun are causing the tides of the oceans, a massive change in the environment near coasts and other bodies of water. (Faulkner, 2014, p.17) Also, in different ancient cultures the menstruation cycle of women is associated with the different phases of the moon. The length of a whole moon cycle and the approximate length of a menstruation cycle is almost the same. These cultures did describe that the menstruation falls on the same date as the new moon. With the previous fact, some cultures even stated that women got most reproductive with full moon. According to Walker, that connection can’t be observed anymore. Today artificial light is disturbing the connection between the moon cycle and the menstruation cycle. (Walker, 1997, p.14)
The sun is called the source of life, naming the direct influence the sun has on nature. Without the sun there would be no photosynthesis and no production of oxygen. Missing sunlight would lead to a deficiency of vitamin D production, which would have a negative impact on human health. (Murray, 2008) The list of benefits can go on, but summarized: humans would not exist without sun.
With that it is proven that the moon and the sun have significant roles in the behavior of earth and life on it.
Why then should other planets and stars have no impact?
Astrologers saw a connection between personalities of people and the time and location they are born. The time and location of birth will have certain star constellations ruling above the sky. Depending on the sign shown in the sky in a certain position, astrologers claimed to know something about a person’s character. Horoscopes originated. Even Ronald Raegan, the former US president, believed that political advantages could be built out of this information. (Quigley, 1990)
It is imaginable, even if the position of stars at the location and time of birth has no influence on a person’s character, that humans born in summertime get a different early shape of character than humans born in winter times. With longer daylight times humans get higher amounts of vitamin D, causing a higher level of dopamine. Maybe these people would treat a newborn differently than they would treat it with a lower dopamine level. The constellation in the sky would just be a reference to the climate changes occurring because the earth is traveling around the sun, starting the four different seasons every year again.
On the other hand, human life is very complex. Nurture, society, experience, physical circumstances and so on, are building a complex character. Maybe it is too easy to say that the star constellation on a given time would determine personalities.
Faulkner, Danny R.: The New Astronomy Book (Wonders of Creation), Green Forest (Master Books), 2014
Fisher, Gordon: Marriage and Divorce of Astronomy and Astrology: A History of Astral Prediction from Antiquity to Newton, (Lulu.com), 2006
Grimm, A.M.: Astrologie, Munich (A.M. Grimm), 1920
Murray, Frank: Sunshine and Vitamin D: A Comprehensive Guide to the Benefits of the "sunshine Vitamin", (Basic Health Publications Inc.), 2008
Parker, Julia; Parker, Derek: Parkers' Astrology: The Definitive Guide to Using Astrology in Every Aspect of Your Life, London (Dorling Kindersley), 2020
Quigley, Joan: What Does Joan Say?: My Seven Years as White House Astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan, New Jersey (Birch Lane Press), 1990
Walker, Anne: The Menstrual Cycle, London and New York (Routledge), 1997