10 Totally Practical and Not At All Unscientific Uses for Astrology. Just FYI.

You probably know that people use astrology to make their decisions–when to apply for a new job, when to start a relationship. (I used to go through them all and pick out the one I liked for the day. It’s not like it’s any less scientific.) Astrology is also used as a way to explain peoples’ actions, personalities and preferences.

The concept is this: when we’re born, certain constellations influence our characters. Those same constellations, as well as the position of the sun, moon and planets, can also influence life on earth. Today, it has fallen by the wayside.

But when you look back in history? People used astrology for more than just finding a date…

1.) Animal breeding

Just like people, animals born under certain star signs were supposed to have certain traits. Libras were said to be the prettiest, while Scorpios, Pisces and Cancers would be best for producing future breeders. Breeders would figure out the ideal birth date, and then count backwards through the gestational period to calculate when they should breed their animals. This was practiced through the 17th century in Europe, and, should something not go according to plan, a “failure of the stars,” or sometimes witchcraft, was blamed. There were also astrological guidelines for weaning, castrating and docking animals.

2.) Agriculture

Since the zodiac signs operate cyclically, it was natural that they would be linked with another cyclical activity: growing and harvesting crops. Not only were the signs used as guidelines as for when to plant and harvest, but things got very specific, including planting seeds only on a waxing moon, and determining weather conditions for up to a year in advance based on celestial movement. Some of these practices, or their descendants, are still practiced today, and there are meteorologically-based theories about how moon phases affect water on Earth, which can in turn affect crop growth.

3.) In medicine

Astrology was also used in medicine. It was good for everything! Because the ability to actually open up a body and look inside was pretty recent, medical practitioners used astrology to explain what was going on in there, and used it to determine when a medical procedure should be performed for optimal results. Similar to chakras in Eastern traditions, zodiac signs were also associated with various parts of the body, as well as with various herbal medicine.

4.) In meteorology

Both pertaining to the heavens, its not surprising that astrology and astronomy, as well as meteorology, have been intertwined over history. Scientific greats like Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe believed firmly in using astrology to predict the month’s weather, although there was one fundamental difference in their measurments: Kepler thought the Earth moved and Brahe didn’t. Since the movement of planets is a main theme in astrology, this might have led to some interesting differences in their conclusions. Still, like agriculture, this early monitoring system would later evolve into our current understanding of how celestial bodies impact weather on Earth.

5.) In the Bible

Astrology shows up in the Bible, but it’s not cast in a good light. People adhering to Judaism and Christianity believed that astrology was a false form of magic, and that answers to the life, universe and everything should come from God. There’s a story in which Biblical hero Daniel successfully interprets a king’s dream by asking God, as opposed to the astrologers, who get it wrong. There are other warnings against the practice in other sections of the Bible as well.

6.) In marriage

Of course if people use astrology to plant crops, hire people and relocate, they’re going to use it in their personal lives. Today, people look into star signs all the time for compatibility information and when to ask someone out. In the past, things were even more specific. In 1647, an astrologer named William Lilly wrote a book detailing all the ways you could use astrology to determine whether or not your spouse was faithful to you, whether the baby your wife was carrying was yours, and if a cheating wife would ever return to her husband. We hope no one took this too seriously, because it would have disastrous results on relationships.

7.) In buying real estate

When making a relocation decision, some people turn to locational astrology. Practitioners of this branch take a person’s star chart and use that information to determine what kinds of experiences they’ll have in various places around the world. It’s also known as “astro-carto-graphy.”

8.) In reincarnation theories

One of the main arguments against astrology is that people will usually defy the set of character traits the stars have supposedly provided them, or sometimes two people with the same star chart end up being vastly different. To counter this, the concept of evolutionary astrology was invented. This theory states that souls, human and otherwise, are constantly being reincarnated, so those aberrant traits or glitches in what should have been, according to astrologists, a set reality, are actually due to the fact that souls have cycled through over and over. Unlike traditional astrology, this practice is measured based on the position of Pluto and the northern and southern poles of the moon.

9.) In hiring

And no, this one isn’t ancient. Many countries have laws against discriminating against applicants based on things they can’t help, such as ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. However, there aren’t many, if any, laws about discriminating based on birthday. In 2009, an Austrian company was sued because they would only accept applicants who were born under the signs of Leo, Aquarius, Aries, Taurus or Capricorn, saying that those signs were better suited for the job. Weirdly, the Austrian government sided with the company. Another company in China said that Scorpios and Virgos need not apply, giving preference to Capricorns, Pisces and Libras.

10.) In World War II

Knowing that Hitler was famously obsessed with the occult, the British decided to wage a little astrological warfare on him with the help of a weirdo named Louis de Wohl. De Wohl had made himself known by writing up the horoscopes of Britain’s elite, as well as Hitler’s. It predicted that he would lose the war. The British decided to use this to their advantage and sent him to the US, where he was to give speeches that declared the Third Reich doomed to failure due to the stars.

So there you have it. The next time you’re looking to breed your dog, make sure you’re not hooking it up with another Taurus.

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