From the beginning of human history, individuals across cultures and belief systems have looked to the sky for meaning. The movement of celestial bodies and their relation to our human lives has been the central tenant of astrology for thousands of years. The practice has both inspired reverence and worship, and deepened our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
While modern-day horoscopes may be the most familiar form of astrological knowledge, their lineage reaches back to ancient Mesopotamia. As author Andrea Richards recounts in Astrology, the second volume in TASCHEN's Library of Esoterica series, astronomy and astrology were once sister sciences: the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid at Giza was built to align with constellations, Persian scholars oversaw some of the first observatories, and even Galileo cast horoscopes for the Medicis. But with the Enlightenment and the birth of exact science, the practice moved to places where mystery was still permitted, inspiring literature, art, and psychology, and influenced artists and thinkers such as Goethe, Byron, and Blake. Later movements like the Theosophists and the New Agers, would thrust the practice into the mainstream.
Edited by Jessica Hundley, this vibrant visual history of Western astrology is the first ever compendium of its kind, exploring the symbolic meaning behind more than 400 images, from Egyptian temples and illuminated manuscripts to contemporary art from across the globe. Works by artists from Alphonese Mucha and Hilma af Klint to Arpita Singh and Manzel Bowman are sequenced to mirror the spin of the planets and the wheel of the zodiac. With wisdom from new interviews with astrologers like Robert Hand, Jessica Lanyadoo, and Mecca Woods, Astrology celebrates the stars and their mysterious influence on our everyday lives.
About the series
The Library of Esoterica explores how centuries of artists have given form to mysticism, translating the arcane and the obscure into enduring, visionary works of art. Each subject is showcased through both modern and archival imagery culled from private collectors, libraries, and museums around the globe. The result forms an inclusive visual history, a study of our primal pull to dream and nightmare, and the creative ways we strive to connect to the divine.