No matter where you are on the Zodiac, it's fascinating to learn about the origin of the astrological signs. These symbols are connected to ancient myths, each of which offers a clue to the personality of the sign they represent.
The Origin of Astrological Signs
The origin of astrological signs are linked to the myths behind each signs' ruler.
Aries loved Aphrodite (Venus), and fathered five children with her. Harmonia (Harmony) was Aries' favorite child, and her soft sweetness was able to sooth Aries' warrior spirit. This myth teaches us that Mars needs the same calm and peace that everyone needs.
Zeus' love for Europa, in true Taurean style, places the emphasis squarely on sexuality. One day, watching from the heavens, Zeus spotted the innocent Europa. Enthralled, Venus sent Cupid to pierce Zeus's heart and he instantly feel in love with Europa. At that very moment, Zeus decided to seduce the young girl!
He disguised himself as a magnificent bull. Touched by the bull's gentleness, Europa placed a wreath of flowers around his neck. The two rode off to Crete where Zeus revealed himself. They made passionate love that resulted in three sons.
There are two myths surrounding Gemini. The first is of Castor and Pollux, twin brothers who were so close that they refused to be separated, even when one of them died. A devastated Pollux begged Zeus not to separate him from his dead brother Castor. Zeus finally decided that the twins would spend half their time in heaven and half of their time in the underworld.
The next myth has to do with Hermes. Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, but had to stay hidden because Zeus was already married to Hera. Hermes was not happy about this arrangement and grew jealous of Zeus' son Apollo who also was not of legitimate birth, but still lived in Zeus's palace.
Frustrated, Hermes began to cause trouble. When this was discovered by Apollo, Hermes responded by arguing his case with him. Charmed, Apollo took Hermes to Zeus where he promptly proceeded to tell his father about his half-brother's unfair treatment. Zeus was amused; he could see that this swift, clever negotiator Hermes would be the perfect spokesperson for the gods.
It became Hermes job to guide souls into the underworld, and he was given the rare gift of traveling freely through three realms: heaven, earth and the underworld.
Most Cancer myths center on mother/daughter issues. This is evident in the story of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. This story is also involved in the origin of Scorpio as you'll see further on.
Leo is associated with Apollo in Roman myths, and with Helios in Greek myths. Helios was the god of the Sun. Wearing a golden helmet and accompanied by his sister Eos (Dawn), Helios cut quite the dashing figure. Since Helios was the giver of light, he was the one to tell Hephaestus that Aphrodite was having an affair with Aries.
Virgo is often associated with the virgin Astraea (Star Maiden). She was the daughter of Zeus and Themis. For a while, Astraea lived on Earth and shared her ideas about justice with the mortals there. After a time, she felt that mankind had lost its capacity for high ideals, so Astraea returned to heaven and took her place among the stars, never to return.
Saturn (Cronus), fed up with his tyrannical father Uranus, decided to castrate him. Once the act was complete and Uranus' genitals were tossed in the water, Aphrodite, which literally means "one who comes from foam", was born.
Scorpio and Cancer share the myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Hades, the lord of the underworld, came along in his chariot and scooped up the maiden, deflowering her then and there. The pair then disappeared into a mysterious opening in the Earth.
Demeter frantically searched all over the earth for Persephone leaving a path of destruction. Resolution finally came when Hades (after negotiating with Hermes) agreed to allow Persephone to spend six months in the underworld with him and six months above with her mother.
Jupiter, Sagittarius's ruler, comes from the Latin word Div-pater, which literally means, "God-father". Jupiter (Zeus) was thought to impart spiritual enlightenment, ethics and morals. However, Jupiter had some drawbacks, namely an excess of abundance and arrogance. The myth of Chiron is often associated with Sagittarius.
The story of Pan and Typhon relates best to Capricorn. Pan, was a happy-go-lucky musical god with a goat's horns and hooves. One day, Pan leaped into the water to avoid the monster Typhon just as Jupiter was helping disguise Pan as an animal. The part of Pan that remained above water stayed goat-like, while the submerged portion became a fish. This myth is thought to embody Capricorn's yearning to find a balance between struggle and freedom.
Aquarius' ruler Uranus had three children, the Cyclops, with Gaia (Earth). While these children were highly innovative, they were also arrogant and willful. In a fit of anger, Uranus threw his children into a dark underworld, where he hoped they'd be contained. All the while, Uranus was extremely frustrated and disappointed; he felt that none of his children were perfect.
Poseidon (Neptune) was the son of Cronus and Rhea, along with Zeus and Hades. Poseidon and Zeus set out one day to overthrow the Titans (the first generation of gods) and were successful in their quest.
Afterward, the three brothers drew lots to see who would get to rule each part of the world. Zeus won the top-ranking position of reigning over the sky, Hades won the underworld, and Poseidon was left to rule bodies of water. Poseidon was upset that this brother Zeus won the most prestigious position, ruler of heaven. Since that time, tension has always remained between the two.