The study of astrology dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, who were the first to make a science of it. The Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans also held it in high esteem.
Many people believe that the biblical Magi -- the kings who brought gifts to the Christ child -- were astrologers whose study of their art told them where to find the baby.
Although it is generally accepted that the Venerable Bede -- that great English historian of the Dark Ages -- studied astrology as a mystical discipline, it was not a popular art/science in Europe at that time. During the Crusades of the Middle Ages, the returning knights brought back many Eastern influences, including the study of astrology.
It wasn't until the European Renaissance of the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, when high learning and occult sciences were at their zeniths, that astrology came into its own in the West.
Although it didn't coexist well with Catholicism, it was well received in Protestant countries. During this period in history, however, astrology was still the province of the rich and powerful.
In England, astrology reached its high point during the reign (1558-1603) of Queen Elizabeth I. But with the discoveries and theories of astronomers Copernicus and Galileo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, respectively, astrology and astronomy diverged, never to be reunited under the same scientific banner. Astrology lost its association with mysticism and was regarded as a pseudo-science.
Of course, astrology is still practiced today. On the next page, we will look at astrology's impact on the modern world.