Monday, December 26, 2011

Candidates for the FIRST EVER Astrology Chart

by Milky Way Maid

My reading has uncovered a couple of candidates for the first-ever, first recorded anyway, astrological chart. How long ago would you guess that we have a chart, with or without interpretation?

Perhaps you guess the source might be Babylon or one of the Mesopotamian civilizations. Not a bad guess. Or perhaps one from ancient Egypt, where we know that the knowledge of astronomy was also rather advanced.

In fact we do have a chart which astrologer Joan Quigley claimed was the earliest known horoscope. It was cast in 2767 BC, and the astrologer was supposedly the great Imhotep himself. Imhotep has won lasting fame as the architect of the great pyramid of Saqqara. (SOURCE: Astrology for Adults, Joan Quigley, 1969, in which she cites an article by Cyril Fagan included in the Jan. 1954 issue of American Astrology.)

Annoyingly, no details are included in this mention, not even of what the subject of the chart was. Perhaps it was a horary to answer the question, “Where did I put my copy of This Old Pyramid?”

But luckily enough, inside the book “The Origin of the Zodiac” is an illustration titled, “The Original 'Horoscope of Eternity' 2767 BC.” No attribution, no story about the astrologer. But hey, how many charts do you think survived from 2767 BC?

This illustration still doesn't tell us what Imhotep wanted to know from this chart. But maybe a description of the image will give us some clues at least.

The image shows a map of the sky, with the constellations fanned out across the middle. The original is translated into English. From left to right appear Leo, Cancer, Gemini and Taurus. Major stars are indicated around the sky: Regulus, Praeseppe, Procyon, Sirius, Aldebaran, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Castor, El Nath, and the Pleiades. Along the right-hand edge are marked the latitudes, from 20 degrees north at the top and marked at 10 degree intervals down to 30 degrees south at the bottom right. The horizon is clearly marked along with the “Equator of 2767 BC”; the intersection is marked “Vernal Equinox, 2767 BC.”

Puzzlingly, two horizons are indicated; one is for 2767 BC (28 degrees Cancer), and the other is for 1300 BC (27 degrees Cancer). It seems extremely unlikely that anyone would draw up a chart for a present year (2767 BC) with another year about 1400 years in the future --- yet a comment on page 207 of the “Origin” book would seem to explain how that is. “The Egyptians had a traditional celestial diagram which they copied from century to century, and although it was more traditional than contemporary it did represent a particular moment from which time was counted.” The Egyptians were interested in knowing when the first day of the Wandering Calendar returned to its ideal position in the Sothic Calendar. In other words, the return of the Vernal Equinox to its IDEAL position marked the end or start of another cycle.

In other words, Egyptians were more interested in astrology or astronomy as indicators of omens for the prosperity of the people in general, and as indicators of cycles. They were not, surprisingly enough, interested in making observations on which to base predictions. The Babylonians aka Chaldeans were the opposite; they could not have imagined making a chart and NOT making some predictions about it.

The same “Origins” book states that the earliest personal horoscope was cast in 410 BC, with no details offered whatever. However I managed to dig up further details: it was a birth chart set for April 29, 410 BC in Babylon ( A translation of the cuneiform horoscope says: “Nisannu, night of the 14th(?), ... son of Shumu-usur, Shumu-iddina, descendant [---], was born. At that time the moon was below the Pincer of the Scorpion, Jupiter in Pisces, Venus in Taurus, Saturn in Cancer, Mars in Gemini. Mercury, which had set was not vis[ible]. [-] (Things?) will be propitious for you.” (Rochberg 1998: 56)

Other “oldest” documents include a record dated around 668-626 BC of astronomical observations with calculations of solar and lunar eclipses (and predictions for same). This is the Cerberus Slab of Hatra dated to the reign of Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria. It shows the seven known planets with highly accurate calculations of planetary conjunctions and oppositions.

Older astrological records date to around 1645 BC in Babylon ( This probably refers to the Venus tables of Ammiza-duga, discovered in 1850 in Ninevah. This is a cuneiform tablet of observations of the rising and setting Venus that covered a span of 21 years – actually fragments of several tablets that science has had to reconstruct. You can browse a PDF about this discovery and how they dated the tablets on Why only those 21 were recorded furnishes us with another mystery to solve.

The Chinese may have drawn up charts around 7500 years ago, but they can definitely point to a owning the longest lunar calendar in existence, dating back to 2637 BC. The first named Chinese astrologer was Sima Qian, who wrote a book titled, “Records of the Grand Historian” ( about the second century BC. To quote, “His history included detailed information on various methods of fortune telling and related astronomy topics to include a catalog of star names.” In ancient China, only emperors and other members of the royal family had access to personal horoscopes. The lives of ordinary people were not important enough to analyze with a birth chart.

Ancient Indians created records that show a highly developed knowledge of astrology as far back as 6500 BC, actual manuscripts can be dated only to 3700 BC. (The older ones are copies of originals.) These records show continuous observations from 6500 BC. We even have what is possibly the name of the oldest known astrologer: Pita Maha Siddhanta, who lived about 3000 BC. Pita was the author of books on Vedic astrology (

But there are other candidates, too. We may not recognize them as charts, per se, but the ancient ones placed stones and other markers as a kind of observatory and calendar. This includes the most famous of stone placements at Stonehenge. There are even older stone structures. Consider the one called Adam's Calendar in southern Africa, which dates to possibly 75 THOUSAND years ago. That date is selected because that is when three now-recumbent stones would have aligned with the Orion constellation --- an alignment that Andrew Collins disputes (

Adam's Calendar, in South Africa, has engendered a great deal of publicity and discussion. The original walls are over a yard wide in many places, and have eroded to knee-high or even to the ground. It is interesting that they lie amid nearly 2,000 ancient gold mines.
The famous El Caracol observatory in Chichen Itza, Mexico (Yucatan region) dates to about 500 AD.

You May Also Wish To Read or Watch:
You may wish to watch a clip about Adam's Calendar on YouTube at

Several pictures of different ruins at the Adam's Calendar sites are offered at

Pictures and more theory are posted at

A two-hour documentary about Adam's Calendar is embedded on this web page:

“Echoes of the Ancient Skies” by E.C. Krupp (Dover Publications) has lots of information about ancient astronomy including El Caracol and other sites in Mexico, China, Chaldea, Egypt, Cahokia, Scotland, Ireland, Britain and more.

“Astrology in the Middle Ages” by Theodore Otto Wedel (Dover reprint) talks about medieval English, French and Arabian astrology.

“The Origin of the Zodiac” by Rupert Gleadow (Dover reprint) is too small a book for all the territory that the author tries to cover: China, Persia and Babylon, Egypt, Plato and the Greeks, Mexico, Tibet, India, and Medieval astrology.

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