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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

zodiac The part of the sky through which the Sun, Moon, and planets move relative to the starry background. The zodiac consists of the twelve astrological signs as well as several other constellations that are ignored by the astrologers. Each sign is itself divided into twelve “houses,” which are said to determine a human characteristic or prospect such as love, home, travel, death, health, and employment.
      The idea of the zodiac appears to date from the fifth century B.C. There is a tablet in the Louvre Museum, Paris, dated at about 300 B.C., which is the earliest known listing of the signs.
      Parts of the human body were assigned to be governed by each of the twelve signs, and the signs were used as a method of diagnosis by early physicians. An analysis of the positions of the planets against the zodiac, along with their attributes, was believed to indicate the appropriate treatment.

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