[Blood-letting guide, with phases of moon and points from which blood is to be let keyed to nude figure]
Illus. and text in: Der scaepherders kelengier / [Antwerpen : Gheprent bij W. Vorsterman, 1516]
Published in: The tradition of science / Leonard C. Bruno. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1987, p. 136.
Approximately 2000 B.C., Babylonian astrologers believed that the Sun, Moon, and the five planets known at that time (Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) possessed distinct powers. Mars, for example, appeared to be red and was associated with aggression and war. Astrology was inherited by the Greeks from Babylonians around the 4th century B.C.Through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, astrology came to be regarded as a science. It was embraced by the Romans and the Arabs. The zodiac (which is derived from the Greek word meaning "circle of animals") is believed to have developed in ancient Egypt and later adopted by the Babylonians. Early astrologers knew it took 12 lunar cycles (i.e., months) for the sun to return to its original position. They then identified 12 constellations that they observed were linked to the progression of the seasons and assigned them names of certain animals and persons (in Babylonia, for example, the rainy season was found to occur when the Sun was in a particular constellation which was then named Aquarius, or water bearer). Each of these four groups is inscribed in its own quadrant, or group of "houses," on a circle. The division of the 12 houses is based on Earth's daily rotation and relates to such circumstances as relationships, finances, travel, etc. The division of the 12 signs of the zodiac is based on the earth's year-long rotation around the Sun and relates to character traits and areas of life.
The Moon has always been a magical and mystical object for people throughout history. It is the 2nd brightest object in the sky after the Sun. Since prehistoric times, the Moon has been an object of fascination, awe, and worship. The Moon has its influence on our culture through music, theater, literature, and more.