The constellations in the sky are a great mystery.
Their origins date back to prehistory and it’s thought that their unknown creators used them to impart stories of their beliefs and experiences.
Each one is a group of stars that appears to form an outline of an animal (Taurus), human (Aquarius), mythological creature (Sagittarius) or manufactured device (Libra).
In 1928 the International Astronomical Union ratified and recognized 88 modern constellations, but only 48 were placed in the sky by the Ancients.
To understand the encrypted message contained within a constellation you have to be conversant in the most ancient form of written language – pictograph.
In this language if the number 9 was to be represented it was indicated by 9 dots, as on the swastika calendar.
If a snake was meant, a snake was pictured; if a jaguar, the head of a jaguar was pictured.
The first astrologers observed and studied human nature and when it was found that people born between March 21 and April 21 were aggressive, use their heads when taking the offensive, and were given to butting in on the affairs of all and sundry, it became necessary to express this in pictograph form. Nothing pictures these Aries qualities so well as the Ram.
And when it was found that people born between April 21 and May 21 were slow to anger, but violently headstrong when once aroused and that they did not turn aside from obstacles but stubbornly crushed their way through them by force and perseverance, it became necessary to find a pictograph of these qualities. So they selected a bull.
They selected these pictographs, and traced them in the sky as constellations, just as the American Indian pictures a man in a boat when he wished to record that someone took a trip in a canoe.
All the 48 ancient constellations are pictographs left by the ancients to record what they found out in reference to certain sections of the heavens.
To indicate the influence exerted by each of the 12 major divisions of the zodiac, it was quite natural that they should trace 12 pictures along the zodiac itself, one for each major division.
These constellated pictures are not each 30 degree in extent, as are the signs which they describe.
Some are more and some are less than 30 degrees.
But a pictograph system must picture the first major division of the zodiac with the first constellation, and the second major division with the second constellation in the circle, wherever these may have moved through the precessional cycle.
It was found anciently that each of these 12 signs could be divided into three sections, and each of these sections, which were called decanates, had a distinct influence of its own which was only slightly less pronounced than that of the sign itself.
Therefore, to express in pictograph writing the influence of these 36 sections of the zodiac, each embracing 10 degrees, the ancients traced the 36 ultra zodiacal constellations in the sky.
Modern maps of the sky have many more than 48 constellations, because with the study of modern astronomy, kings and others decided that something should placed in the heavens to remember them by, and the astronomers accommodated them.
But the Greeks visited Chaldea and brought home the celestial sphere of the Chaldeans and these old Greek sources only show the 48 constellations.
Astrology was a religion
We must never lose sight of the fact that astrology was a religion to the Ancients.
In addition to its significance as influencing the physical life of the individual each of these constellations is also the pictograph of a spiritual idea.
That is to each of the ancient constellations there was attached a moral significance.
To portray a complex idea as a moral relation by means of a single pictograph was often too difficult.
So these ancient astrologers wove about many of the constellations a story, which allegorically explained the spiritual meaning of the picture.
The story of the ram of the Golden Fleece explains the moral significance of Aries, and points out how best Aries people can make spiritual progress.
The story of the winged steed Pegasus points clearly to the source of inspiration, how it may be gained and also teaches those born under the second decanate of Aquarius where their greatest power resides.
Each constellation has a definite lesson to teach the spiritual aspirant and each one has a practical application in basic chart reading.
A particular characteristic stands out clearly in connection with each of the zodiac signs and in connection with each decanate of the sign.
And for those who can read pictographs and understand the significance of mythology the constellation picturing each zodiacal division portrays this outstanding characteristic.
Advancing astrological knowledge
Undoubtedly, the advance of astrological knowledge in the future must depend primarily upon statistical methods in connection with research work of great volume.
We are not warranted in assuming something is true merely because it was believed in by astrologers in the past.
At the same time, we must recognise that the basic principles of astrological practice as handed down from the most ancient times have been amply proven by modern research methods.
Because we have already gained so much valuable information from the Ancients it seems probable that we can advance our knowledge markedly by testing their other ideas in the research laboratory.
These constellations, coming down to us through Chaldean and Greek avenues, record in the earliest form of writing practiced by man – pictograph – what the ancient priest astrologers believed about the physical and spiritual influence of the 12 major divisions, and 36 minor divisions, of the zodiac.
Article by Elbert Benjamine
Astrology for Aquarius – sharing our knowledge