Greek Mythology: The Origin and History of the Zodiac Signs


     Did you know that the Origin, History and Meaning of the Zodiac Signs were born from Greek Mythology? Gods like Zeus and Hades are related to their Myths!

What is an Astrological Sign?

     In western astrology, the astrological signs are the twelve sectors of 30 ° of the ecliptic, beginning at the vernal equinox, also known as the First Aries Point. The order of the astrological signs is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Each sector was nominated for a constellation that it went through in times of nomination.

     The concept of the zodiac originated in Babylonian astrology, and was later influenced by Hellenistic culture (the Greeks). According to astrology, celestial phenomena relate to human activity with the principle of "as above, and below", so that the signs are maintained to represent characteristic modes of expression.

     Modern discoveries about the true nature of celestial objects have undermined the theoretical basis for assigning meaning to astrological signs, and empirical scientific research has shown that predictions and recommendations based on these systems are not accurate. Astrology is generally considered to be pseudoscience.


     King Atamante had the goddess Nefele as queen, with whom she had two children: Frixo and Hele. Having to return to Olympus, the goddess left the children in the care of their father. After a while, Atamante joined Ino, who planned to get rid of the children, children of her husband's "ex". He decided to spread disease and dry the grain seeds, harming future harvests. Predicting that Atamante would consult the oracle to find out the causes of the misfortunes, he bribed the priests to convince the king that the only way to appease the wrath of the gods was to sacrifice the children he had with Nephele.

     Although with great suffering, Atamante, for the good of the people, obeyed the orders of the oracle. Nefele, indignant, watched everything. To protect her children, she met them on the sly, warning them that on the day of the sacrifice a ram with gold wool would descend from the heavens and land in front of them. She instructed them to ride the ram. The only care they should take was not to look down during the flight. On the day of the sacrifice, the ram appeared and took the children. Hele, however, despite the recommendations, did not resist the temptation and looked, falling overboard in the place that was later known as Helesponto (today Dardanelles). Frixo arrived safely at Colchis where he sacrificed the ram in honor of Zeus, who placed him in the sky, among the stars.


     The image of the bull comes from a Greek myth in which Zeus, the head of the gods, would have been enchanted by the beauty of Europa, daughter of Agenor, and to seduce her, he transformed himself into a magnificent white bull. The young woman, who was having fun on the beach with her friends when she saw the animal approached, caressed it and, delighted with her docility, mounted it.

     At the same moment, the bull shot towards the sea, stopping only on the island of Crete, where Zeus made himself known by loving the young woman. Proud of his achievement, Zeus placed the bull among the stars.


     Zeus, disguised as a swan, fertilized Leda who had the twins Castor and Pollux, hatched from an egg. Pollux, unlike his brother Castor, was immortal. The two were very close and careful with each other. In a nearby region, they met and fell in love with the sisters Febe and Ilaira. But they were brides and they decided to kidnap them. The bride and groom, Idas and Linceu, pursued the brothers. In the ensuing confrontation, Idas threw his spear, mortally wounding Castor. Pollux, crazed with hatred, killed everyone around him. Pollux, desperate, asked Zeus to transfer his immortality to Castor.

     Not knowing what to do, Zeus complies with the request, and as soon as Castor receives the light of immortality, Pollux begins to die. Castor then asks Zeu not to let his brother die and to exchange his life for his. Zeus complies with the request and while one was on earth, another would be in heaven. Unhappy that they were not always together, Castor and Polux were transformed into the constellation of twins, where they would be together forever.


     The Lernean Hydra was a colossal snake that frightened the region of Lerna, in the Peloponnese, destroying herds and crops. The Hydra had nine heads, and each cut off, two were born in place. The second of the twelve works imposed on Hercules by the king Euristeu, was to rid the region of this terrible monster.

     Hercules planned to get rid of the Hydra by sticking their heads. To carry out his work, he enlisted the help of his friend Iolaus. To avoid the continuous resurgence, Hercules cut them off and Iolaus cauterized the place, preventing the appearance of new heads. After eliminating all mortals, while preparing to bury the latter, Hera, who hated Hercules for being the son of Zeus's adulterous relationship with a mortal, sent a huge crab to stop him.

     The hero crushed him with his feet and managed to complete his work. Iolaus set fire to the Hydra stronghold by burning its remains to prevent it from resurfacing. Hera picked up the crab and raised it to the sky in the form of a constellation. In Latin, cancer means crab.


     A giant lion terrified the population of the Nemea region, scaring and killing cattle and people. Since the animal was in a cave with two exits, it was very difficult to approach it. The hunters in the region asked for help from the king Euristeu, because the animal had proved invulnerable to its weapons. The king sent Hercules for what would be his first job: exterminating the Nemean Lion. The hero closed one of the exits from the cave, forcing the animal to abandon it from the other side.

     Hercules, who was waiting for him, dealt a violent blow to him with his club and when he realized that the animal had become dizzy, in rapid action, he straddled him and strangled him to death. Hercules began to use the animal's hard and resistant leather as a protective cover. To perpetuate his son's courage, Zeus transformed the lion into a constellation.

Check: Leo Quotes


     Astreia story illustrates the origin of this sign. The virgin Astrea, daughter of Zeus and Themis, the goddess of justice, used to wander the Earth alongside her sister Modesty. However, one day, when she sees a man weighing more than a customer's goods, Astréia is indignant with such injustice and with so much war and violence that she started to establish herself in the world and asks Zeus to take them away from Earth. Sad about such a decision, Zeus places her in the constellation Virgo. Her symbol, the scale, is placed in the constellation of Libra.


     Despite the promise to be eternally virgin and despise men, the goddess of the night and the moon Artemis, once fell in love with Orion, who was the son of the sea god Poseidon, and so he had the gift of walking on the surface of the water. or under it. Apollo, twin brother of Artemis, jealous, prevented the love between the two by a great perfidy: finding himself on a beach, in the company of his sister, he challenged her to reach, with his arrow, a black spot in the water, and that was barely distinguishable, due to the great distance.

     Artemis, all vain, promptly tensed the bow and hit the target, which soon disappeared into the abyss of the sea, being replaced by bloody foams. It was Orion, who swam underwater, fleeing an immense scorpion created by Apollo to pursue him. Upon learning of the disaster, Artemis, full of despair, managed from her father, Zeus, to have the scorpion turned into a constellation.


     During his fourth job, Hercules visits a centaur friend of his, named Folos. The centaur, a half-man, half-horse creature, invites the hero to eat in his cave. Hercules realizes that his friend had not offered him wine to drink and when he told his friend he found out that he would normally not be pleased, as the centaurs' wine is second to none and that his brothers would be furious at a human drinking from them. However, the brute Hercules takes the wine and drinks it.

     Several centaurs arrive and are furious at the presence of Hercules in his grave and the fact that he is drinking the wine, and arm themselves against the intruder. Chiron is the only one who comes in defense of the hero, but to no avail. The battle begins, the centaurs throwing stones and Hercules launching their arrows from above, steeped in the poison of Lerna's Hydra.

     After a while, the centaurs flee, showing the terrible situation: among all the dead, Chiron had also been wounded. Even though he is immortal and with all his medicinal knowledge, the pain does not alleviate and the centaur asks Zeus to remove his immortality in order to die in peace. Zeus complies with the request, but instead of letting his body be taken to Hades, he places it in the stars, in the constellation Sagittarius.


     The god of nature, Pan, a half-man, half-goat, was, at dusk, playing his flute on the banks of a river, when the terrible monster Typhon appeared, which had hundreds of arms and heads. Frightened, he dived into the river, because Typhon hated water, and transformed the submerged part of his body into fish to move around, while the other half continued to resemble the body of a goat. Zeus considered it a very clever strategy and, as a tribute, transformed Pan into the constellation Capricorn.


     Ganymede was a young man of extreme beauty, son of the kings of Troy. One day when shepherding his father's flock, Zeus saw him and fell in love with him, turned into an eagle, kidnapped him and took him to Mount Olympus to serve as a butler and water-bearer, the "waiter" of the gods, replacing the young Hebe who had this mission, but one day she fell and spilled the holy drink of the gods, and was sent away. Zeus put his beloved in the stars, after all, it is Ganymede who symbolizes the sign of Aquarius with a jar spilling water, the faithful servant of the gods.


     Aphrodite, goddess of love, and her son Eros (Cupid) would have turned into fish to escape the titan Tifon, who could not stand the water. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, created the constellation to remember the flight.

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