Unfortunately, AD's new job has stomped a mudhole in his Muse's butt and walked it dry. Ah, well.
I guess I can't let the team down, so let's make with the brainstorming on astrology!
Way back when dirt was still new -- despite what Hollywood will tell you -- ol Thag and Og didn't have wristwatches. Worse still, there wasn't exactly a corner bookstore to pop into for the grabbing of a handy calendar.
Without a calendar one day looks very much like the next -- especially if any change from day to day is veeerrrryyyy slow and minute. This leads to such faux pas as planting your last remaining kernels of wheat on the first warm day of the year -- not realizing that said day is actually Jan 2.
So, here's Thag and Og, embracing the suck, when one of them (probably Og, he always struck me as the smarter of the two) noticed that when the sun came up over the horizon about where that cluster of sparkly bits that looked a lot like Nog kissing a woolly mammoth hung out -- well, it didn't get any colder after that. And you could plant things and not have them freeze!
This led to two traits of the human personality that are so widespread I firmly believe that they are encoded in human DNA:
1) The urge to help his fellow anthropoids ... by telling them when the best time for planting that precious store of wheat -- to tremendous agricultural success -- co-existing with;
2) The realization that Knowledge. Is. Power -- and not spilling the beans on how he knew this arcane knowledge.
As soon as everyone figures out that the Ogster was jolly well right -- well Ol' Og had it made in the shade. Everyone who planted anything gave him a little off the top to keep him happy and to keep the knowledge flowing -- and Og was rolling in profit without having to actually do very darned much of anything.
I'm betting that one of Og's litter was probably the one who noticed that other significant times of the year could be predicted by keeping the old hairy eyeball on the Sun and seeing which group of stars it was rising in -- as far back as 2,000 BC.
Folks are seeing Og IXth and boy howdy, does he know everything. When to plant. When to harvest. When the first snows are due. When the river will flood. When the herds start migrating. You need to know the stuff that will keep the tribe fed (and tribal leaders out of the stew-pot) you go to Og the Ninth, slip him a little somethin' somethin' -- a rabbit, a new pot, a stylin' hat -- he goes and stares at the stars for a while, next day he gives you the info.
And thus religion is born.
Well, the stars -- being up so high and all -- they must see everything. They must know more than Oggy asks for, so sooner or later someone comes up to Og the Ninth and asks him something that has absolutely nothing -- at all -- to do with the calendar. Do the stars know if that cute little Cro-Magnon in the rabbit bikini likes me? Do the stars know if Thag the 14th is mine, or does he belong to the mammoth milk man? Do the stars know if I'm going to get eaten by a sabretooth tomorrow?
Now, Og's ninth great-grandson may not have answered a question of this nature the first time -- ethics were making some kind of appearance about that time -- so the hopeful askee probably went away then came back with double the offering. And maybe sweetened it with a bit of that shiny yellow metal from the river. And Oggy says, "Oh, what the hell" and slings together some bushwa star reading to earn the dosh and make the
Next thing you know, Og 9 is making a hell of a lot more from the bushwa side readings as he is from the legitimate stuff. Enough so that the Ogster hauls off and hires a couple of likely-looking
Astrology really hits its stride during the Babylonian era, when you couldn't even blow your nose without having a star-chart read to make sure your brains weren't going to depart your head by way of a sinus.
Well, the Egyptian priests noticed that their Babylonian brethren were raking in the moolah and they decided to hop onto this whole "star-chart thingummy" -- which jumped their whole "power and influence" thing a good bit -- enough to get the attention of those little Greek buggers.
And things just kind of exploded from there.
Once the Greeks had astrology, they spread it thick and far amongst the nations on the shores of the Med. Any place that didn't whole-heartedly embrace the Greek idea of divination by way of the stars, got the whole concept rammed down their throats by the Greek-worshipping Romans and their very efficient legions.
The Greeks and Romans codified the art of astrology and attempted to turn it into a half-arsed science, managing to spread it to the Indian sub-continent and then back to a very young, very vibrant Islamic Empire in the 7th Century.
European interest in astrology declined severely prior to the 1700's until the late 1800's - early 1900's when astrology became seen as a mysterious, naughty bit of occultism -- achieving its current height of popularity in the 1930's -- when Og's ggggggg-great grandchild discovered that you can still make a nice bit of dosh in the old family business (if you sell to newspapers or buy a 1-900 number).
Voila! A quick and dirty Guide To The History of Astrology!