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Encyclopedia > Egyptian astrology

Egypt was one of the most important places in the development of astrology, although astrology first originated in Babylon. Star charts have been found in Egypt that go back as far as 4,200 BC.


The Nile

Astrology in Egypt was dominated by the combination of the sun and the dog-star Sirius, as they foretold when in the year the great river Nile would flood. It was believed that the concerted action of the sun and Sirius together would bring the floods, upon which the whole of Egyptian civilisation depended, bringing fertility and life to what would otherwise be barren desert. Hand-coloured version of the anonymous Flammarion woodcut. ...

The Pharaohs

Many of the pharaohs had a great interest in astrology. Rameses VI, (the famous Ozymandias), who ruled Egypt from c. 1,300 - 1236BC, was one of these. He is believed to be responsible for fixing the Cardinal signs - Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. He also had ordered a magnificent hall in the great temple of Amon at Karnak, which was engineered in relation to the fixed points on the Celestial Sphere. Another pharaoh, Rameses II who ruled Egypt sometime between c. 1,200 - 1,085BC had a remarkable sky map carved on his tomb. It was possible to read from the map the culmination of the stars for each hour of the night throughout the year. It is believed that the pyramids of Egypt were oriented towards the North Pole of the sky and had a dual role as burial place of the pharaohs and astrological calculators. This article refers to the historical Pharaoh. ...

The Zodiac

It is thought that some of the astrological signs of the zodiac originated in Egypt, although most did originate in Babylon. Aries the ram appears for the first time in an Egyptian zodiac, although the head of a goose was also used as a symbol by the Egyptians. It is also possible that the sign of Gemini the Twins first appeared in Egypt, named after the two bright stars Castor and Pollux, which were called the 'Two Stars' by the Egyptians. There is also evidence of a babylonian origin for Gemini however, as the symbol of the twins appears there too. Leo the Lion is almost certainly Egyptian in origin, as the Babylonian name for the same constellation was the Great Dog. Virgo the virgin is quite likely to have originated with the Egyptian grain goddess Nidaba, as in Egypt the harvest began when the full moon was in Virgo. In Babylon the equivalent constellation was called the Great Mother. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Derek and Julia Parker, "The New Compleat Astrologer", Crescent Books, New York, 1990

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