For centuries, humans have looked up at the night sky and marveled at the vast expanse of stars that twinkled above them. From ancient civilizations to modern-day astronomers, the stars have always been a source of inspiration and wonder.
In recent years, the popularity of personalized star maps has soared, as people seek unique and meaningful ways to capture the beauty of the night sky. That’s where MixPlaces, a new company determined to help people preserve and display their memories, comes in.
But before we hop into why they got our stamp of approval just a few months after opening, let’s dive a little deeper into the history of astrology.
The Zodiac: A Quick Crash Course
While astrology may not be recognized as a real science, it certainly has a very real and interesting history. It all began in Mesopotamia during the 3rd millennium BC. Mesopotamians are credited with inventing astronomy, but a lesser-known fact is that astrology emerged almost simultaneously.
Learn the Difference: Astronomy vs. Astrology
While the astronomy and astrology are often mentioned in the same breath, it's important to understand that they are two very different things. Astronomy is the study of the physical universe beyond the Earth's atmosphere, while astrology is a system of beliefs that suggests the position of the stars and planets can influence human affairs and natural phenomena.
Astronomy is based on scientific observation, experimentation, and measurement. Astronomers use telescopes and other instruments to study the properties and behavior of celestial objects, such as stars, planets, and galaxies. They seek to understand the physical processes that govern the universe, and to develop theories that explain the phenomena they observe.
Astrology, on the other hand, is a system of beliefs that has no basis in science. Astrologers interpret the position of the stars and planets at the time of a person's birth to create a personality profile, make predictions about their future, and offer advice on how to live their life. While astrology may be a source of comfort or inspiration for some people, there is no scientific evidence to support its claims.
In other words, astronomy is a disciplinary science and astrology is more of a spiritual belief system.
The Rise of Astrology
Mesopotamians observed astronomical cycles and thought about how these cosmic movements affected people. Its original purpose was to decipher an individual’s life path, personality, and destiny on the basis of the position of the planets at the moment of their birth. From Mesopotamia, astrology spread to India and developed its Western form—the one we’re most familiar with today—in Hellenistic Greece.
The word "zodiac" comes from the Greek word "zodiakos," meaning "circle of animals." The zodiac is a belt of space that extends about 9 degrees on either side of the ecliptic, or the path that the sun follows across the sky. The zodiac is divided into twelve equal parts, each named after the constellation that appears in that part of the sky.
Zodiac Signs & the Elements
If you’re somewhat familiar with astrology, you know that each zodiac sign has a corresponding element. Fire, Earth, Air, and Water are used to classify the zodiacs into groups with specific attributes, leaving us with three star signs per element.
What element each sign falls in is like a cosmic game of Tetris. These earthly elements are thought to cause and determine individual tendencies. Knowing your astrological element can help you make sense of your relationships to others and nature, as well as how you fit into the world.
Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are all Fire signs, making them feisty and bold. Earth signs include Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; these signs are said to be grounded, down-to-earth, and practical. Pisces, Scorpio, and Cancer are all water signs, meaning they’re empathetic, emotional, and intuitive. Finally, air signs are comprised of Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini, who are said to be witty, intellectual, and a bit spacey.
But your zodiac element isn't all there is to zodiac signs.
Traits & Characteristics Related to Zodiac Signs
Each zodiac sign is associated with a set of personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics. Surely, you already know this. After all, who hasn’t looked at a newspaper horoscope or heard the phrase, “that is such a [insert zodiac sign here] thing to do!”
If you’re unfamiliar with zodiac signs and their meanings, here’s a quick breakdown:
● Aries (March 21 – April 19): Aries is the sign of the warrior. People born under this sign are natural leaders who thrive on challenge and competition. They’re bold, ambitious, and love to be number one.
● Taurus (April 20 - May 20): Taurus is the sign of the earth. People born under this sign are reliable, loyal, and steadfast, with a deep appreciation for the finer things in life. Taureans enjoy relaxation, especially when it happens in soft and soothing environments.
● Gemini (May 21 - June 20): Curious, communicative, and adaptable, Gemini is the sign of the intellect. People born under this sign are quick-witted and sociable, with a love for learning and exploration. They’re playful, spontaneous, and deeply curious.
● Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Cancer is the sign of the nurturer. People born under this sign are deeply connected to their emotions and have a strong sense of empathy for others. In other words, they tend to cry a lot.
● Leo (July 23 - August 22): Leo is the sign of the performer. People born under this sign are natural leaders who love the spotlight and have a talent for entertaining others. Bold, confident, and charismatic, Leos, much like in the jungle, are considered zodiac royalty.
● Virgo (August 23 - September 22): Virgo is the sign of the perfectionist. People born under this sign have a strong sense of responsibility and a desire to make the world a better place. They’re logical, practical, and love consistency if it means honing and improving skills.
● Libra (September 23 - October 22): Charming, diplomatic, and harmonious, Libra is the sign of the diplomat. People born under this sign are skilled at navigating social situations and have a strong sense of justice and fairness. Libras are represented by a scale, which is unsurprising due to their ability to weigh different options and maintain balance.
● Scorpio (October 23 - November 21): Scorpio is the sign of the investigator. People born under this sign are deeply intuitive and have a strong desire to uncover the truth about themselves and others. They’re intense, passionate, and mysterious, putting them among the most complicated signs in the zodiac.
● Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21): Adventurous, optimistic, and philosophical, Sagittarius is the sign of the explorer. People born under this sign are natural adventurers who have a love for travel, learning, and new experiences.
● Capricorn (December 22 - January 19): Capricorn is the sign of the achiever. People born under this sign are hardworking and goal-oriented, with a desire to succeed in all aspects of their life. They’re ambitious, responsible, and disciplined, especially when it comes to achieving personal goals.
● Aquarius (January 20 - February 18): Independent, unconventional, and visionary, Aquarius is the sign of the humanitarian. People born under this sign are progressive thinkers who have a desire to make the world a better place.
● Pisces (February 19 - March 20): Pisces is the sign of the dreamer. People born under this sign are deeply connected to their emotions and have a creative and imaginative spirit. Sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive, the final sign in the zodiac wheel remains in a constant state of jumping between fantasy and reality.
Why Custom Star Maps are the Perfect Gift
Now that you’re well-versed in the world of the zodiac, let’s get into how custom star maps—and MixPlaces—fit into this celestial puzzle.
Custom star maps are great gifts for many occasions, whether it be a birthday or an achieved milestone, these maps are made to mean something to the recipient. But when it comes to zodiac-themed gifts, it just doesn’t get better than custom star maps. After all, they represent the connection between people and the cosmos.
But each zodiac sign, in accordance with their personality, also have distinct color schemes and palettes that represent their thoughts and feelings. Aries, for example, likes bold and fiery colors, such as red. Aquarius, on the other hand, may prefer cool tones and hues such as blues and turquoise.
The bad news is that because astrology is not a science, these predictions may not be completely accurate. The good news is that, if you’re gifting a loved one, you know them much deeper than just their zodiac traits. The even better news is that no matter whether it’s based on astrology, personal aesthetics, or tastes, MixPlaces has a color combination for everyone, meaning you can customize your star map gift in any way you like.
And MixPlaces is the perfect place to do it.
MixPlaces & Zodiac Art
When it comes to personalized cosmic maps, few other companies are as advanced as MixPlaces. Sure, you can buy any random constellation map and call it a day, but when it comes to deep customization, you really can’t do much better than these folks.
Like earth, the stars are constantly moving through time and space, meaning that their position changes every few minutes. MixPlaces allows you to upload an image to their product builder, from which they can extract your metadata and determine the exact time and place it was taken, creating an insanely accurate star map. If you don’t have a digital picture of the night you’re trying to commemorate, you can also manually add the date, time, and place you’d like to remember.
Additionally, these high-quality prints are meant to last. They’re printing on museum-grade paper using archival ink, meaning they won't fade or rot for decades to come. On the topic of longevity, MixPlaces also works towards environmental sustainability.
The wood they use in their prints and frames is salvaged and recycled, and their paper is certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. Additionally, their website runs on energy-saving servers. So don’t worry, Aquarians, Libras, and Cancers, you won't damage the world, create unbalance, or make any squirrels cry when you buy from this company.
One Gift for the 12 Zodiacs
The zodiac has a rich history that spans thousands of years and has captivated people's imaginations for centuries. While astrology may not be based on scientific evidence, it continues to be a source of comfort, inspiration, and entertainment for many people. Custom star maps are a perfect way to celebrate the zodiac and capture the endless beauty of the night sky in a unique and personalized way.
Whether it's for a special occasion or just to add a touch of celestial charm to their home decor, a custom star map can be a thoughtful and meaningful gift for anyone who loves the stars.
So why not surprise your friends and family with a personalized star map that celebrates their zodiac sign and captures a special moment in time?