Long before the emergence of the solar zodiac, during the 2nd millennium BC a Babylonian magician-priest was interpreting heavenly omens daily, based only upon the impression the heavenly phenomena left on him. Not bound by an imperative of any kind of mathematical or astronomical calculations, he could draw his conclusions based upon the feeling stirred up in him after he had observed the sky. The only thing he wrote down were the phenomena of the colours surrounding the discs of the Sun, Moon and the five planets in the moment of their heliacal stations. In those days, a day began with the sunset, and the first half of the day belonged to the night, in accordance with the primary lunar astrology of the ancient times. Only some 1000 years later the Sun gets the primary importance, when its apparent path becomes a focal point in astrological subject (the emergence of the solar Zodiac). Before the era of the zodiacal astrology (the 2nd half of the 1st millennium BC), the only “tool” of the interpreter of heavenly omens were his eyes. The transition between the day and night, more accurately two hours before the sunset and 2 hours before sunrise represented the “working hours” of the astrologer because the heavenly phenomena are most clearly visible in these intervals. His work would usually start late in the night, a few hours before sunrise, in order to “catch” the first halo of the solar light on the eastern horizon and observe its development all the way up to 20 minutes before the actual sunrise, until all the colours of the spectra emerge in the solar visual circle. Any change in the rhythm of their emergence and any deviation from the usual intensity of the colour represented an omen for the next 24 hours, that is, for the second half of the day (depending upon whether the observed phenomenon was a sunset or a sunrise). The subject of inquiry was also the Moon, especially the first lunar crescent (the first visual appearance of the Moon after every conjunction with the Sun). The colour of the first lunar crescent was observed, its altitude in the sky, whether it was followed by some planet or a star, etc. The periods of heliacal rising or setting of every planet were also carefully observed.
The remnants of these first astrological “methods” can still be found, chiefly in Ptolemy’s work where he writes about the colours of the eclipses, comets and the meaning of atmospheric signs. Light halos, and bundles of light which follow most of the solar and lunar eclipses, have special importance. Halos containing dark and tawny nuances bear evil, Saturnian symbolism which portends death, disease and poverty. Clear halos, the ones in which the white colour dominates carry beneficent Jupiterian symbolism of prosperity and fertility. Red circles symbolize conflicts, wars, disputes and destructions in accordance with Martian colour. Venusian symbolism is contained in yellow circles of light and they signify peace accords, marriages, progress, conciliations and gains, depending upon the kind of a question. If the eclipse is surrounded by the light of undefined colour or by the light containing various colours, then Mercurial symbolism is present. The size of the halo and the size of the “light staff” is of primary importance because the bigger it is, the greater the influence of the respective planet on a question or an event. While observing sunrise and sunset it is important to see if the Sun on the horizon is surrounded by clear heavenly space, without clouds in its vicinity, or if the space around it is intensively coloured, or it is red and accompanied by clouds because the first situation portends lovely and clear day, the second indicates strong winds which will blow from the direction of the most intensive colour or the direction of the accompanying clouds. Rain and storm are indicated by dark and ashy solar halos. Ptolemy keeps the story about first lunar crescent in his astrology and we can notice that when we read the part of his text where he writes about the observation of the Moon three days before and three days after new Moon, but he extends the rule on the rest of the phases as well. A thin and clearly visible Moon in the moment of the observation is a sign of a nice and clear weather. If the Moon is in its waning or waxing phase and its invisible part is partially visible and if the visible part is at the same time reddish, then this is a sign of strong winds which will blow from the direction of the inclination of the lunar sickle or the direction of the clouds which cover lunar disc in the moment of the observation. Lunar halos are especially observed. A clear halo of light which is gradually fading toward its rim is a sign of a nice weather. If the Moon is surrounded by two or three of these halos then, probably, the week of the respective phase will be marked by rainy storms. Winds are indicated by yellowish and disrupted halos, blizzards by the foggy and thick ones. Although Ptolemy applies visual astrology mainly in weather predictions, the instructions from the earliest period of the Babylonian astrology indicate that this method was applicable on all the questions in the sense that the heavens can be consulted in this manner whenever a question comes to our mind. The colours following the heavenly phenomena bear crucial meaning so when we bring these colours into connection to the respective planetary symbolism, it is easy to obtain a simple answer to any kind of question. “Is she going to come back to me?” – Yes, if the question is followed by a glance toward the Sun setting in a clear and whitish horizon or is in that same moment, accidentally, followed by the setting Venus, clearly visible behind the solar disc (hence Venus as an evening star). The answer will be negative if the Sun is followed by Mars, or the setting is bloody red in colour, or the question is posed in the moment when the Moon is surrounded by red halos. The variations are numerous but the principle is simple, it is only important that our field of vision is sufficiently clear and wide.
Author: Natasa Karalic Koprivica