A different post from me today but seeing as I have recently added my new Zodiac and semi precious necklaces onto my Etsy shop I thought it may be interesting to take a quick look into the history of the zodiac.
It would seem that people fall into two main camps when it comes to the zodiac and their influence over people’s personalities and lives : you either have strong thoughts on them and think it’s a complete load of nonsense or love them and truly believe that the position of the sun, stars and planets can influence your life.
There are of course those in the middle who, like me, enjoy reading your horoscope if you happen to come across it, maybe even get a shiver down your spine if something looks a little too accurate, but equally wouldn’t choose a life long partner solely based on their star sign. The thought of having life pre ordained on some level can be comforting though, especially if things have felt difficult. But, what I find really fascinating, is where this all came from and how ancient beliefs are still being used in modern day, from discussions in the school corridors (my teenage daughter is obsessed with all things zodiac and knows the star signs for her friends) to magazines based solely on divinity and spirituality and horoscope predications in print and on line. People building careers on helping others by reading their birth charts so see where where the planets and stars were on their birthday and what this means for their past, present and future lives.
I’m going to have to admit that I find it utterly intriguing. It’s a huge topic and I can’t cover all aspects of it here but I’ll give a brief run down of every thing I have learned over the last few weeks research.
What is a Zodiac sign?
I’ll start with the basics – the zodiac signs and their corresponding star constellations are based on twelve 30 degree sectors made up by the Earth’s 360 degree orbit around the sun. I must have read this more than a dozen times for this to make sense ( I’m no mathematician so it took me a minute!) so if that sounds too complicated then think of the sun as the centre of a circle and the Earth is moving around the outer edge of the the circle (this is the orbit). The cirlce is then broken down into 12 chunks each one being a 30 degree wedge. These twelve wedges add up to the 360 degrees (ie, the whole way around the circle) that the Earth orbits the sun. The star constellations are the stars that fall with in these 30 degree pieces.
Where did the Zodiac come from?
It would seem that it is not known who it was exactly that decided star constellations could influence people’s lives but astrology has been used to help form ancient belief systems; in Ancient China eclipses and sunspots were seen as predictions of good or bad times for the Emperor, in Ancient Egypt the notion of constellations began when they observed that the stars made patterns through which the sun would move at certain times of the year.
Sumerians (c. 4100-1750 BCE) and Babylonians (1894 BCE) used the position of stars and planets to track their Gods in the sky. The Babylonians were also very interested in eclipses, believing that if an eclipse took place in a particular part of a zodiac (star constellation) then various things would happen such as drought and floods. By 1500BC the Babylonians had divided star constellations into 12 equal signs.
The Ancient Greeks adopted the 12 star constellations already devised by the Babylonians and included them in Greek divination with the name ‘Zodiac’, a Greek term for ‘sculpted animal figure’. From here, the Ancient Greeks devised the order of the zodiac with the first being Aries to mark the first day of spring. It’s quite easy to see from here why the constellations have been used in the past as a guide for planting and harvesting times for crops.
It wasn’t until the English mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), mathematised the motion of the planets and realised that gravity controlled everything that views on the zodiac and their influence changed. This marked a point in history where astronomy became known as a science and astrology was disregarded.
The Earth has shifted on it’s axis since then so the Zodiac dates don’t really correspond to the constellations any more but the notion of the zodiac remains.
What are the 12 Zodiac signs and their dates?
Aries – 21st March – 19th April
Taurus – 20th April – 20th May
Gemini – 21st May – 20th June
Cancer – 21st June – 22nd July
Leo – 23rd July – 22nd August
Virgo – 23rd August – 22nd September
Libra – 23rd September – 22nd October
Scorpio – 23rd October – 21st November
Sagittarius – 22nd November – 21st December
Capricorn – 22nd December – 19th January
Aquarius – 20th January – 18th February
These signs are split into 4 elements :
Fire signs – Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
Water – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Air – Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
Earth – Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo
These elements are thought to represent approach to life and temperaments. In brief, fire signs are energetic, earth signs are calm, air signs are creative and water signs are emotional.
I think once you have learned some of the history of the Zodiac and you see how important it has been for people many thousands of years ago the whole notion of a star sign seems slightly different – it’s not just about the stars in the sky when you were born but it connects you to all those people, many many years ago, who would read the night sky to see when they could plant their crops or use the stars to guide their way. Even today, I see and hear people discussing the effect the full moon had on them, what they feel they manifested into their lives and much more so, indirectly, there still a nod to the Zodiac, the Universe and to powers outside of our control. I wonder how many of these people would actually say they believe in star signs though?
New Zodiac and Semi Precious Necklaces
As I have said at the start of this, I have always found the subject of the Zodiac interesting and planned last year to make Zodiac necklaces for my Etsy shop. These pendants are made from polymer clay so they are light weight and comfortable to wear. The constellations are debossed into each pendant with a handmade stamps and brought to life with silver detail. I love how the pendants have the look of the moon which was not intended but a very happy coincidence.
I have gone one step further and combined them with semi precious beads so each Zodiac necklace can be personalised to each individual. If you have read my other post about my contemporary semi precious and polymer clay jewellery you will know how much I adore gemstones. Semi precious stones and Zodiac necklaces seemed a really obvious match to me.
Starting from the nearest red bead, there is Carnelian, Rose Quartz, Aventurine, Amethyst, Howlite, Blue Goldstone, Blue Lace Agate and Snowflake Obsidian. On the Etsy listing for the Zodiac necklaces I have detailed the properties for each of the semi precious beads to aid choosing but of course, you can just go for the one with the colour that you like the most!
Each necklace has two strands – the longer chain holds the Zodiac pendant and the shorter one, the semi precious bead – so it has the look of a layered necklace.
As ever, I regret my total lack of photographic skills. I have tried so many times to photograph them so they look as lovely in pictures as they do in real life but I think I’m going to have to keep trying!
What do you think of the Zodiac – intrigued or firm disbeliever? I may have stumbled down a rabbit hole on TikTok earlier on the subject of ‘glitch in the matrix’ so there’s a whole new topic to spend my time investigating.
During my research online I came across my horoscope for July. It told me that the last week of this month is going to be highly enjoyable – I am already wondering what weird and wonderful things have already been mapped out for me 😉
Until next time,