Aries: The myth most associated with Aries is the Greek story of Phrixus and Helle, children of King Athamas. Their stepmother, Ino, hated them and tried to have them killed by hatching a devious plan. Right before their murder, a magical Ram flew in to save them, sent by their natural mother Nephele. The Ram took off with the children on his back, bringing them to safety. Afterward, Zeus placed a Ram’s image in the heavens to immortalize his courage. The Ram then shed his golden fleece, which continued to be a source of inspiration and legend. From the sky, Aries the Ram now symbolizes leadership and bravery, along with the protective powers of his fabled golden fleece.
Taurus: The Greek myth of Taurus comes from the story of Cerus, a large and powerful Bull, owned by no one. The spring goddess Persephone found him one day, trampling a field of flowers without realizing it. Although the Bull could not speak, he understood Persephone, and she calmed him by her very presence. Persephone taught the Bull patience and how to manage his strength. Every year thereafter, she and Cerus would reunite in early spring. Riding on top of him, they would set the flowers in bloom. When Persephone descends into Hades in the fall, Taurus returns to the night sky as a constellation. There, he reminds us of quiet steadiness, loyalty, and earthly splendor.
Gemini: According to Greek myth, the Gemini Twins represent the brothers Castor and Pollux. Young and adventurous, they shared their life together with curiosity and zeal. Castor was mortal, Pollux immortal, and eventually Castor died, leaving Pollux distraught. Pollux wen to his father, Zeus, and begged him to help. Zeus allowed Pollux to share his immortality with Castor, transforming them into the constellation Gemini so they could live together forever. From the sky, the Twins remind us of human complexity, as they embody mortality and divinity, separation and unity.
Cancer: According to Greek myth, Cancer was a giant Crab named Crios, who guarded the sea nymphs of Poseidon’s kingdom. He was enormous and immortal and took his role of protector very seriously. One day, a few sea nymphs escaped, and Crios sent a giant squid named Vamari to retrieve them. The squid devoured them instead, and when he returned, Crios fought him to the death. Afterward, the Crab was crippled and in terrible pain. To repay him for his heroism, Poseidon relived Crios of his pain by placing him in the sky as the constellation as Cancer. From the sky, Cancer reminds us of the dear Crab’s protectiveness, care, and vulnerable strength.
Leo: According to Greek mythology, Leo was a mythical monster known as the Nemean Lion. Heracles was required to kill this Lion as one of his twelve labors – thought to be an impossible feat. Since the Lion was impervious to weapons, cunning Heracles eventually succeeded by strangling the Lion with his bare hands. Realizing the protective powers of the Lion’s hide, Heracles skinned the Lion, making a cloak and helmet out of his fur and head. Then the spirit of the Lion was placed in the sky as the constellation Leo, reminding us of the Lion’s mythic power and magical strength.
Virgo: Astraea is perhaps the most interesting Greek goddess associated with Virgo. She was the last of the celestial beings to leave Earth at the start of the Bronze Age, after witnessing the degeneration of mankind. Goddess of innocence and purity, Astraea was a virgin and caretaker of humanity. When she left Earth, she was placed in the heavens as the Virgo constellation. Many believe that the adjacent Libra constellation represents Astraea’s scales of justice. Shining from the sky, Virgo reminds us of virtue, as she waits to return to Earth in angelic form, as the ambassador of a new golden age.
Libra: The main Libra myth revolves around the Greek goddess Astraea, represented by the constellation Virgo. Astraea was the goddess of innocence and purity who lived on Earth as a celestial being. She eventually fled, escaping the onslaught of human depravity, which appeared at the dawn of the Bronzed Age. Astraea represented justice, just like her mother Themis, the goddess of divine justice. When Zeus placed Astraea in the sky, she was holding the scales of justice, represented by the constellation Libra. The Libra Scales remind us of harmony, delicacy, and fairness. They help Astraea to hold her place in the sky, until the day she returns to Earth as the ruler of a new golden age.
Scorpio: The Greek myth most associated with Scorpio involves the god Orion and the goddess Artemis. One day Orion bragged that he was the greatest hunter who existed and would kill every creature on earth to prove it. Artemis, goddess of hunting, did not retaliate or defend her status as the greatest hunter, because she was enamored by Orion. This irritated Apollo, Artemis’s twin, and he began to work with Gaia, the great earth goddess, to create a Scorpion that would kill Orion. Eventually, the pair battled, and the Scorpion won. Zeus then placed this creature in the sky in recognition of her good deed. The Scorpion was placed on the opposite end of the sky as Orion, to prevent them from fighting. It is said that Orion appears in the winter to hunt, fleeing in the summer when Scorpio appears. As a constellation, the fierceness and bravery of the Scorpion are immortalized, reminding us of her power – along with the fate of Orion’s hubris and brutality.
Sagittarius: The Greek myth of Sagittarius is connected to the archer Chiron, who was a gentle and compassionate centaur. While many centaurs lacked intelligence and acted out in violence, Chiron was known for his wisdom and ability to teach. One day, while trying to wipe out other centaurs who were causing problems, Heracles shot Chiron by accident. Finding Chiron suffering and helpless from his venomous arrows, Heracles experienced deep regret and sadness. Chiron was immortal and could not die – although he wanted to, since he was in so much pain. Prometheus stepped in after observing Chiron’s struggles, and help elevate him to the heavens, where he would live as the constellation Sagittarius. There, he reminds us of his wisdom, teaching, and gentle might.
Capricorn: The Greek myth connected with Capricorn is the story of the sea-goat Pricus. He was the father of a whole race of sea-goats who had the heads and bodies of goats and the tails of fish. They lived in the sea, close to shore, and were known as honorable and intelligent creatures. Created by Chronos, god of time, Pricus shared Chronos’s ability to manipulate time. As the story goes, Pricus children began exploring and swimming to shore. On land, they slowly lost their tails, intelligence, and ability to speak and live in the sea. Pricus was distraught. His children were disappearing from the water, rapidly becoming regular goats. To fix this, he revered time and warned the sea-goats of their fate in attempts to save them. No matter how many times he did this, Pricus’s children continued to leave the sea to explore. Finally, he gave up, allowing them to live out their karma. Immortal and in pain, he begged Chronos to help him die. Instead, Chronos placed him in the sky, where he could watch his children from above, even as they played on the highest peaks. There, Capricorn reminds us of paternal love, the inevitability of karma, and the importance of letting go.
Aquarius: The Greek myth associated with Aquarius is the story of Ganymede, a young prince who was said to be the most beautiful man of Troy. One day, tending to his father’s sheep, Ganymede was spotted by Zeus, who found him to be overwhelmingly desirable. Zeus decided he wanted to take Ganymede as his servant and young lover -a common practice in Greece. Once on Mount Olympus, Ganymede became Zeus’s cupbearer, brining Zeus drinks upon command. Essentially, Ganymede was Zeus’s slave, and Zeus cemented this role by paying Ganymede’s father with land and a herd of fine horses. One day Ganymede rebelled, pouring out all of Zeus’s wine, ambrosia, and water of the gods onto Earth, which caused a massive flood. After reflection, Zeus realized he had been unkind to Ganymede and decided to make him immortal rather than punish him. Zeus then placed him in the stars as the constellation Aquarius. There, the Water Bearer reminds us of rebellion and independence -and the chaos sometimes necessary when fighting for freedom and equality.
Pisces: According to Greek myth, Pisces is connected to Aphrodite (goddess of beauty) and her son Eros (god of love). One day, the monster Typhoon began to appear on Mount Olympus, sent by Gaia to attack the gods. None of the gods had the power to destroy Typhoon, so they transformed themselves into animals to flee from him. On a certain day, when Typhoon appeared, Pan warned the others and then transformed himself into a sea-goat, diving into the Euphrates River. Aphrodite and Eros were bathing on the banks of the river and missed Pan’s warning. When Typhoon suddenly appeared in the water, they turned themselves into Fish and swam away. Afterward, two Fish were placed in the sky as the Pisces constellation, commemorating the day when love and beauty were saved. Venus is the roman name for Aphrodite, and astrologers consider Pisces to be Venus exalted – or exalted love – and to represent the spiritual dimensions of the Venusian realms of love and art.
– Where I got this information: The Stars Within You. A Modern Guide To Astrology. By Juliana McCarthy.