The myth of Aquarius has several versions, but they all have a common element - water.
Versions of the Water Bearer
The Aquarius constellation is said to depict the figure of a youth holding a vessel, from which water flows. Like many myths, this one has many versions with the common thread being that Aquarius is a water bearer.
Greek Myth of Aquarius
Probably the most familiar and accepted myth surrounding Aquarius is the Greek story of Zeus kidnapping a young boy, Ganymede. According to Greek mythology, Zeus desired the youth and sent Aquila, his pet eagle, to capture the boy and bring him to Mount Olympus. Eventually, Zeus made Ganymede the cupbearer to the gods who would fill the Greek deities' wine cups whenever empty.
Another Ancient Greek Myth Version
Another version comes from ancient Greece sometime around 1,500 BC. This myth differs greatly from the Zeus version. Instead of representing a water bearer, the constellation Aquarius is said to represent a fabled couple that survived the Great Flood. It's not Noah; a man named Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were warned not by God, but the man's father to quickly build a large boat and stock it as quickly as they could.
The couple was obedient and heeded his warning. As a result, they survived the global flood, protected by their giant boat for nine days and nights until the water began to recede. At last they beached on Mount Parnassus, and they were told by God to toss the bones of their mother over their shoulders as they walked along the shores of the receding waters. Deucalion and Pyrrha began to toss Mother Earth (rocks and stones) over their shoulders until at one point in the myth, the two survivors look behind them and are surprised to find that the stones have turned into men and women to help them procreate a new world. In this version, Aquarius is known as the god that took all life, and then gave life back to the world.
Ancient Babylonian Aquarius
In the ancient Babylonian Empire, Aquarius was depicted as a water bearer god. The Water God was so prominent that his image was even carved on the stone buildings. When he brought the annual month of rain, they called this time the curse of rain.
In Arab mythology, Aquarius is not a being or god; he's a bucket. Scholars believe this version is directly linked to the Arab religious belief system that forbids any kind of depictions of living forms or beings.
Aquarius is the keeper of the Nile River who pours needed water into the river and creates the rainy season so the Nile will overflow its banks and nourish the valley farmlands.
Roman Water Bearer
In the Roman version, the story is similar, but the Roman names for the gods, of course, are different. Zeus is Jupiter and Aquarius is Ganyded, who was the king of Troy's son.
In Sumerian mythology, the youth known as Aquarius was the bearer of a destructive flood that ravaged the entire planet. This has been referred to as the great flood of the biblical Noah's time frame. This version says that Aquarius held the vessel from which the floodwaters flowed from the heavens onto the earth.
How to Find the Aquarius Constellation
The best place to find the constellation Aquarius is in the Southern Hemisphere sky during winter. It's considered to be one of the oldest constellations and until it's pointed out to you, chances are you'll be hard pressed to see the figure of a youth within the stars. Once you are able to connect the stars like the game, Connect the Dots, you'll recognize his head is on the right side with one arm by his side and his legs slightly bent. Granted it takes some imagination to visualize the figure like most constellations and the zodiac stories that explain them. It might help if you first find the constellation, Crater, which is said to be the water bearer's cup or vessel.
Deciphering the Myths of Aquarius
It doesn't really matter which myth of Aquarius you choose to believe because the constellation is still the same. How it was named or the myth behind it doesn't alter the properties and characteristics assigned to the zodiac sign of Aquarius.