Myths About Zodiac Signs
The practice of predicting the future with the help of schematic maps with images of planets appeared in the V century BC. Then, for the first time, ancient priesthood began to associate natural phenomena with location of the Sun, the Moon and other planets. Of course, the horoscopes of those times weren’t as comprehensive and detailed as modern charts on today’s astrology portals. Today you can even find information about your Chinese Zodiac sign, wherever you live. But at that time, simple graphic diagrams displayed a sky map with reflection of a certain natural phenomena.
Around the same time, astrology emerged. It was believed that different planets can be patrons of people, and Zodiac signs can determine their characters and destinies. Since any horoscope (sky map) is focused on the Sun passing along all the Zodiac constellations, the sky map is constantly changing, which means that the characters of people born at different times also differ.
The oldest Babylonian horoscopes that came to us date back to 409 BC. The oldest horoscope, which takes into account not only 12 signs of the Zodiac, but also 360 degrees of the Zodiac circle with 60 minutes in each degree, is known from 263 BC.
A zodiac belt is a strip on the sphere of celestial bodies, extending about 8 degrees along the sides of the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the visible path of the Sun. Zodiac belt is the motion area of all the planets of the solar system, their satellites and other heavenly bodies. The history of Zodiac signs, on which horoscopes are based, is directly related to predictions in astrology. Let’s take a look at the signs in order to better understand these interdependencies.
According to Greek mythology, Aries originated from the myth of the flying golden ram Chrysomallus, who saved the royal children, Phrixus and Helle, from their treacherous stepmother Ino. In gratitude for his escape, the boy sacrificed his horned savior to Zeus. By the way, the wool of this earthly prototype of the first sign of Zodiac is a well-known “golden fleece”, for which the Argonauts went on a risky journey. It is not a coincidence that such qualities as courage, determination, energy and protectiveness are attributed to the representatives of this sign. The name of this Zodiac sign is consonant with the name of the Greek god of war – “Ares”.
The second month of the Sumerian calendar traditionally ended with a river flooding and was associated with wedding ceremonies. During the ceremony, the newlyweds had to trample the earth like bull-calves, preparing it for the birth of a new life. Until now, astrologers note extraordinary diligence and fertility of this sign representatives.
However, the Greeks had their own theory about Taurus. Do you remember romantic story about Zeus turning into a white bull in order to kidnap his mistress Europa, the Phoenician beauty, and hide her in Crete? This is the very first Taurus. Some researchers interpret the sign symbol as an image of the human larynx and recommend strengthening this part of the body to all May “lambs”.
The two-faced and ambiguous personality of this sign is explained by three ancient legends. Sumerian one tells about the almighty brothers Sin and Nergal, one reigned underground and the other in heaven. The Greeks renamed this couple (Castor and Pollux are the sons of the swan princess Leda and Zeus), and the legend was rewritten. When one of the brothers died, the second asked Zeus to deprive him of immortality and let him settle in heaven. There is a third story about Gemini as the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, nourished by a she-wolf. The Zodiac symbol is represented by the brothers who hold hands.
This is a special sign, which reign in the sky coincides with the period of summer solstice. Another story of ancient mythology from the school curriculum, included in the modern horoscope, is the Greek myth of the 12 Labours of Heracles. During the Hercules fight with Hydra, a cancer suddenly pinched his leg and, then was crushed. Nevertheless, Hera, who despised Heracles, appreciated this act and sent the brave animal straight to the horizon, amongst the stars.
At first, both the Sumerians and the Greeks used a symbolic picture of cancer to denote this sign. But over time, they decided to replace it with two abstract claws, which modern astrologers often confuse with Pisces. A curious theory identifies this image with yin and yang symbol, emphasizing that representatives of this sign harmoniously combine both female and male energy.
The time of ruthless competitions in honor of the golden-haired king Gilgamesh began in August. In ancient epics, the king was identified with a brave lion, and people born under Leo’s guardianship were considered warlike, proud and powerful. This is another constellation closely associated with the Labours of Heracles. According to Greek mythology, Hercules killed the Nemean lion by strangling it with his bare hands. Some historians see the Greek letter “lambda” in Leo’s symbol, others – the mane and tail.
In Virgo constellation Sumerians saw the ritual of purification, sacred bathing of a woman’s body. However, there was no exact mythological description for it in Greece. There were dozens of rough versions, but none of them was confirmed. The most reliable one tells that Virgo is Demeter, the goddess of fertility. It is no coincidence that she was depicted on star charts with a bunch of grass in her hands.
Confusion also arose around Zodiac symbol of Virgo. Someone interprets it as a monogram of “M” and “V” (Maria Virgo – “Virgin Mary”), referring to early Christianity. Others refer to the first three letters of the Greek alphabet, from which the word “virgin” is composed.
It is another mysterious astrological symbol. How did an inanimate object suddenly appear in the official “animal circle”? The constellation was a part of the nearby Scorpio, and was called “claws” by the ancient Greeks. An independent group of stars was discovered later by the Romans. At first, they depicted the constellation in the form of an altar, then – in the form of a lamp, and only later of a woman – Virgo, who holds the scales in her hands. This is a cosmic allegory of the Roman goddess of justice Astrea, weighing the good and evil deeds of people. Thus, this sign is connected both with Virgo and Scorpio. Most likely, this symbol is associated with the day of the autumnal equinox, which at the beginning of our era fell on Libra, and only later shifted to Virgo. An interesting coincidence: the ancient Sumerians traditionally held lynching rites on that day, weighing their own sins and good deeds. Until today, representatives of this sign often have to act as arbiters.
Both the Greeks and the Aztecs discovered an arthropod in certain section of the night sky. According to European reading, its appearance is associated with the myth of the Orion hunter, who angered his patroness, Artemis. The goddess woke up sleeping scorpion to sting rebellious man. The constellation was depicted as a fateful scene in ancient maps – the legs of the hunter and the death sting. The second version is that the severed tail of a lizard was captured in the sky. The legend left its mark on psychological characteristics of the representatives of the sign: if you “wake the Scorpions up”, do not wait for mercy. They can be very cruel.
The Sumerians dedicated this month of the ancient calendar to the hero of the epic Pabilsag. Volcanoes were his embodiment on earth (oh, what passions boil inside Sagittarius!), while in the sky – bow and arrow. Then the first image of the half horse appeared, which was later used by the Greeks. The Sumerians considered the nomadic tribes of the Arabian Desert, which attacks took place during that period, as their main enemies. The inhabitants of Ancient Hellas specified the constellation, linking it with the centaur Chiron, whom Heracles pierced with a poisoned arrow, and Zeus placed in the sky. Sagittarius, the archer, is very purposeful. His comments and advice are always very accurate.
It’s more suitable to make cartoons, rather than compose dramatic legends about this symbol. In the month of winter solstice, the Sumerians held a ceremony, during which the dead rulers returned from the underworld for a festive meal. The main one was the wise sovereign Enki, whose symbol was a fish and a hat with horns. He was often depicted in star charts in the form of an abstract mountain peak, symbolizing that the sign representatives stand their ground, rely on themselves and always achieve sky-high goals.
The Greeks associate Capricorn with the legend of the rural god Pan. Escaping from the pursuit of the thousand-headed fire-breathing monster Typhon, he jumped into the Nile: the part of the body above the water turned into a goat, and the one that was in the water turned into a fish tail. Symbol of a sea goat is interpreted ambiguously. Some astrologists see a schematic representation of a fantasy animal; others see an encrypted monogram of tt and gg letters, with which the word “goat” begins.
The Sumerians called February “the month of the Giant” in honor of a water bearer – the hairy, long-bearded man of huge stature pouring water from the vessels. The reason for this were heavy rains in Mesopotamia at that time. The symbol of a man with a jug was preserved in the ancient Greece. However, what he poured was rather wine than water. According to the legend, Aquarius, the Water sign is associated with the image of Ganymede, a Trojan youth, honored to pour wine to the gods on Olympus. Two waves symbolizing Aquarius are the merit of the Egyptians, who associated this sign with the flow of the sacred Nile.
That Zodiac sign is originated from the Sumerian “tails” sign. The explanation is logical and concise: it was the last month of the calendar year, the end of the cycle, the “tail”.
Everyone knows that Pisces are true romantics, and now it’s clear why. The sign is associated with a beautiful love legend about Aphrodite and Eros, who (what a mythological misfortune!) wanted to escape from the thousand-headed monster Typhon (just like Capricorn). Unlike Pan, another Greek god, they turned into two fish and continued to move, holding silver thread connecting them. The heads turned in different directions reflect the essence of these people – both their heart and mind control their life.