The modern world we live in has so many things to offer that very often we take it all for granted. If you take something for granted, there is rarely a chance that you will want to learn something more about the subject you are already used to. Let’s say your zodiac sign. It comes as something common that almost every person on earth is endowed with and knows about from a very young age.
Has it ever occurred to you that there may be a story, a myth or a legend behind every sign? In fact, that is the naked truth, and there is a particular mythological side to each of the 12 Zodiac constellations. Nevertheless, when we do read something on the matter, it is related to horoscopes, prediction, compatibility charts, etc. It is time to put the tables away and discuss why precisely all the signs carry the names we know them after and what is a greater history behind each of them. Aren’t you already curious?
Aries: The Ram
The first sign of the Zodiac is Aries. However, it hasn’t always been named that way. The original name is Aries the Ram, which originates from the Greek mythology. There is a Greek myth about a golden ram who sacrificed himself to save two children. Greek gods wanted the kids of Nephele, who was a cloud nymph, to be sacrificed. The terrified mother begged Chrysomallus, the ram who was unique due to his golden fleece and his ability to fly, to save the kids from such a horrific fate. The ram did what he was asked to, yet to punish him, the god of war asked for his life instead. Like the courageous and selfless ram, those born under the given sign are bold and determined, not to mention that they are true leaders. Aries will do anything to achieve a goal if it is worth it.
Taurus: The Bull
The second Zodiac member on our list is Taurus. There is also another common name to this sign – the Bull. It is not that difficult to guess that there is a Greek legend to it too. This time it involves Zeus who was the most powerful of all Greek gods. This is how the legend goes – Zeus falls in love with a human princess named Europa. The god decides not to reveal his identity at the first acquaintance. Instead, he turns into a beautiful white bull. Zeus manages to capture the princess’s heart, and they conceive three kids together. To always remember the love and the bond between him and Europa, the god places Taurus in the night sky. If we talk about present-day Bulls, it is safe to say that they are as stubborn and determined as Zeus when he was in the form of the Bull. Always take what you want – that is Taurus’ credo, isn’t that?
Gemini: The Twins
The next Zodiac character in the mythology of the Greeks is the Twins. Castor and Pollux were two brothers said to be twins, despite the fact that they were born from different fathers. One of the brothers was immortal since he was the son of Zeus, while the other was mortal, yet the bond between the two was incredibly strong. As the times pass, the twins go into a battle, and the mortal twin dies. Pollux can’t bear the loss of his beloved brother and asks Zeus to take his life too. Moved by such a strong brotherly connection, the father of all gods allows the twins to spend time together by sharing a day at Olympus and a day in Hades. To celebrate the divine connection, the god places the Gemini constellation in the skies.
As for modern Gemini, they are highly social but usually torn between two characters that live inside them.
Cancer: The Crab
The myth behind the Zodiac constellation of Cancer is closely related to the legends of Heracles. The fact is that there was a name to the crab who was supposed to kill Heracles – Karkinos. Hera, Heracles’ mother sent the creature to side with Hydra and kill her stepson while he was performing his second labor. No matter how hard it tried, Karkinos wasn’t strong enough to compete with the son of Zeus. To repay the creature’s favor, Hera added the constellation of the crab to the skies. People who are born under the sign of Cancer are often quite sensitive and pretty delicate – you need to be careful with them so that you wouldn’t ‘crush’ them either physically or mentally.
Leo: The Lion
Many of you may have spotted that both names of this Zodiac member are quite alike. The Leo sign represents the strong Nemean Lion that Heracles had to destroy as his first labor. What is so special about this lion, you may wonder. As the tale goes, it was merely gigantic, and apart from that, its skin was so thick that it was impenetrable. As a matter of fact, Hera sent the giant lion to terrorize the local people of Nemea, and Heracles had to save them. Once the son of Zeus understood that the lion couldn’t be killed with arrows, he used his hands to defeat the creature. It wasn’t an easy task, but the hero managed to fulfill it. As for the one who placed the sign amongst the stars, the stories vary since some say that it was Zeus, while others claim it was Hera. To tell the truth, the latter sounds more plausible since it was her creation, after all.
Those of you who have encountered a Leo in real life may already know how regal and arrogant the sign can be. Besides, there is no use trying to criticize Leo – this will turn out to be as useless as Heracles' arrows.
Virgo: The Maiden
Stories about Virgo are not as one-sided as with previous signs. There are a few versions of the myth about the Maiden constellation. We are going to center our attention on the most common one. There was a violent and vicious ruler called Staphylos who had three daughters. One of them named Parthenos was the prototype of the Virgin constellation.
One day, when Parthenos and her sisters were keeping an eye on a wine cellar, they dozed off, and a pig entered the house, having left quite a mess in there. To escape the father’s wrath, the sisters decided to jump into the sea. And so they did; however, Apollo saved them and turned them into goddesses. After that, the Greek god added Virgo to other existing constellations.
Parthenos was kind, beautiful, and patient, so are most of those born under this constellation.
Libra: The Scales
We are going to start our story with a fun fact about Libra. The truth is that Libra is the only Zodiac character that represents something inanimate. All the other signs are either animals or mythology creatures, but not the Scales.
Libra represents the scales that Astraea had. Astraea was the justice goddess. She used to live with people and bless them up until she saw how unfair and greedy, not to mention angry, people became. When the goddess couldn’t bear the corruption of humankind, she left the earth, and Zeus placed her among all the other constellations.
Truth be told, the Scales are very righteous and fair so that Astraea could be proud!
Scorpio: The Scorpion
It is amazing how fascinating and intricate the mythology of ancient Greece is! Another legend on our list is the myth about Scorpius and Orion. To begin with, it should be clarified that Orion was a skillful hunter who came across the goddess of hunting – Artemis. There are two variations of the myth. In one, he misread her interest and tried to take advantage of Artemis in the woods. In the other, he showed off his trophies too much, but in both stories, he enraged Artemis, and she sent a poisonous creature to kill him. As you may have already guessed, the creature was a giant scorpion that killed Orion with its sting. For being able to deal with the task well, Artemis praised the creature and put it along with all the other constellations.
It should be stated that Scorpios are as quick and deadly as their mythological ancestor.
Sagittarius: The Centaur
Another peculiar creature in Greek mythology is a half-man and half-horse centaur. Kheiron was a centaur who trained all the most famous Greek warriors. He was the strongest as well as the smartest of his kin, and that is why he was highly respected even among the gods who resided on Mount Olympus. Once Heracles unintentionally poisoned Kheiron while in battle. To memorize and praise the wise warrior, Zeus added the Sagittarius constellation in the sky.
It should be noted that Sagittarius people are very wise and brave, not to mention that craving for adventure runs in their blood.
Capricorn: The Sea-Goat
Truth be told, the sign of Capricorn is a unique one. Some call it a sea-goat, and there is a hint of proof to the name. The fact is that Pricus was that very creature that lived in the sea and had a body of a fish in the back and a goat in the front. It should be emphasized that Pricus was highly intelligent and was able to turn back time. Also, he had a lot of children whom he cherished. However, as the time came, his children left the sea and went on land. Mere curiosity turned all of them into regular goats who weren’t even a bit intelligent.
Pricus couldn’t bear the loss of his kids, and he manipulated the time to give them a warning of what would happen if they left the sea. Nevertheless, no one listened to the great fatherly advice, and the same mistake was repeated. Feeling desperate, Pricus begged Chronos, who was his creator, to put him close to the stars so that he could see his children all the time. That is how the constellation appeared.
The truth is that Capricorn people are as parental and controlling as their ancestors, but that is a trait that helps them find the necessary solutions in any situation.
Aquarius: The Water Bearer
There was a handsome boy named Ganymedes. His attractiveness made Zeus decide to steal the boy. The god transformed into a mighty eagle and stole the boy bringing him to Olympus. After that, the god immortalized Ganymedes so that he would become a cupbearer. Apparently, the boy did his task very well so that after some time, Zeus himself added him to his constellation collection. The constellation got the name Aquarius, and those who happen to be born under the given sign tend to fit in any situation with ease.
Pisces: The Fish
Pisces is surely the last sign on the list, but the story behind it is no less exciting. Aphrodite used to be the beautiful goddess of love during the Greek time. She also had a son named Eros. Once, when both were on Olympus, the sacred place of gods was attacked. The attacker was the most horrible monster of all other monsters – Typhon. Trapped on the mountain, the mother and son were awaiting the inevitable death when Zeus turned them into two fish. In the form of fish, they both managed to escape. Athena thought the deed to be highly brave and decided to depict it in the sky with the help of the Pisces constellation. Just like Aphrodite and her son, Pisces are very intuitive, beautiful, and generous people.
As you can see, there are thrilling and interesting myths related to all the signs. Surely, the myths do not make astrology sound even remotely scientific, but there is a legacy to be carried on, and who are we to reject it? If you think about it for a while, people of ancient Greece possessed a vivid imagination, and this may be the one thing that brought the stories to these days. On the other hand, isn’t it amazing that centuries ago, people already knew about the constellations and could even tell one from another?