Historical Record of Astrology – Ancient Relics Dated Back 25,000 Years and More

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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When you begin to study astrology, you are faced with an avalanche of myriad subjects and possibilities, and this study can seem very daunting. Astrology is a massive body of information that has been handed down for millennia. It was initially verbal, eventually codified and written as the advance of human skills codified writing as we understand it. Or is that statement entirely true?

I have long been aware of ancient cave drawings in France that indicate knowledge of the lunar cycle. I could not recall exactly how old these drawing are thought to be, so I Googled to date them. Imagine my delight when I was supplied with new website sources I had never seen previously thanks to our current internet information flow. I found support for ancient lunar calendar knowledge through other archeological artifacts as well. You can do this yourself simply by putting “lunar calendar drawings” into your browser search box and then visit those web pages that seem to be archeological or primitive relic-oriented. I hit pay dirt in my first two tries. Online encyclopedic sources are marvelous for information.

Records of a written language from Babylonia circa 3400 BCE is the usual example given for mankind’s origination of a fully codified writing system. As archeology expands its search worldwide, the validity of that claim is in question. Records are continually being unearthed around the world, some in countries such as China that were not accessible until recently. Unfortunately, few records have withstood the ravages of time or are perhaps still buried and awaiting discovery. Counting and pictographs (picture symbols) predate a written language, and it is difficult to categorize some of these finds as language or pre- (proto) language.

For this article I am looking to the bone, tortoise-shell, hillside carvings and cave drawings mentioned (relics) that are variously dated and ranging from 18,000 to 35,000 years old. Can you imagine? The cave drawings in Lascaux, France of horses and a 29-day lunar cycle are potentially 18,000 to 35,000 years old. Sources and dating vary as dating is difficult. The amazing Ishango Bone from the Congo area of Africa is thought to be a mathematical device from 25,000 to 20,000 BCE. The Blanchard Bone plaque appears to be a meandering two-month lunar calendar and comes from the Dordogne, France region. It is dated to 32,000 to 25,000 BCE.

The Isturitz Baton (deer antler) comes from the region of Isturitz, France and is dated 25,000 to 20,000 BCE. The markings on the baton seem to represent both a four-month and a five-month lunar calendar.  These ancient relics are so involved they go beyond the simple 29-day lunar cycle and represented both calendars and mathematical recordings of a primitive sort. These are a few of the relics that have been found. There is so much speculation here, precise dating and interpretation are difficult as this is not writing per se but it is a form of record-keeping, and is based on the lunar cycle. Go online and see the pictures of these archeological treasures.

Original astrology/astronomy must have been primarily lunar-based because that was the only large body of potential information that was visible to ancient man. Yes, they could clearly see the Sun, and the solar cycles seemed to have evoked such places as Glastonbury and others because such sites clearly mark major solar cycles. But the Sun itself is so intensely bright that during daylight hours, little else is visible with the exception of the monthly lunar crescent to full moon passage and the limited dawn and twilight visibility of the morning and the evening stars, Venus and Mercury. Most measurements, observations and eventual delineations came from the night sky after the bright object called the Sun exited the sky for the evening and allowed human observation.

The ancients were able to view, observe, measure, and develop theories – again, primarily using the night sky, the lunar patterns. For example, the ancients were able to see the planet Venus as a Morning or an Evening Star at dawn or twilight and developed meanings for their observations. As observed Venus might lead the Sun over the horizon or follow that setting Sun under the horizon. The Sun would represent the life-giving force, the leader, the king, the father figure to the Moon’s queen, the matriarch, Venus could be seen as the bringer of the light or the follower of that light. The old word for the light bringer was Lucifer who is now thought to be the devil.

There is currently a group of highly educated, professional astrologers researching the old records and charts looking for buried treasure, seeking to understand the original concepts that have been passed down through the ages. During the telling and retelling of the old stories over the millennia, many changes occurred. The researchers are sifting through the smorgasbord of astrological lore to find kernels of truth. Their continuing search will uncover, sort, discern, eliminate or verify, find new choices and expand the astrological information base for all astrologers.

Lacking any viable proof, my own thoughts are that for our ancestors, first there was observation of seasonal changes leading to a lunar calendar, eventually leading to observations of the effect on human experience that produced both astronomy and astrology. Initially, the two comprised one practice, but have drifted apart with the rise of science and technology. However, you cannot ignore that the two practices have common roots. Ancient practitioners were both astronomers and astrologers, as were many of our most revered scientists and astronomers over the centuries. Astronomy measures and astrology interprets. They are the marriage of science and art, but seemingly divorced. As an astrologer, I use both so they are inseparable to me. Our rich human observational history facilitates our use of astrology.

First published on Ezine website March, 2010, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.