The astrological sign of Sagittarius represents everything from hunting, sports, weaponry, the military, to travel. It also relates to healing, learning, teaching, theology, the law, and philosophy. Sagittarian mythical creatures reveal that Sagittarius spans two realms - the human and the animal. Sagittarians have a way of seeing the world that broadens their perspective on life.
The centaur is one of the most fanciful of all the zodiac representatives. This Sagittarius mythical creature combines the head and upper torso of a man with the body of a horse. The centaur has enjoyed a rather dubious reputation. On the one hand, they are portrayed as sexual predators obsessed with exercising their passions. They're also said to have a love for drinking, fighting, and carousing across the countryside. In other accounts, centaurs are filled with wisdom that they willingly share with humans and gods alike. These two distinct natures of the centaur are perfectly represented in the half-human, half-animal symbolism of Sagittarius.
The Legend of Crotus
The centaur is associated with various old-world legends. One such legend surrounds a centaur known as Crotus (Greek Krotos.) Crotus was believed to be the offspring of a union between Pan and Eupheme. He was either a half-brother or foster brother to the nine Muses. By most accounts, Crotus was actually more of a satyr than a centaur. He had just two legs, those of a goat, and a horse's tail. In Greek mythology, Crotus was said to be a great hunter, and it's believed that he created the first bow by bending a piece of wood and securing one end to the other with a string. This part of the legend gives rise to the portrayal of Sagittarius as an archer. Crotus was also a musician, lover of the arts, and is said to be the originator of clapping to show appreciation at the end of a pleasing performance, a habit he took up while being entertained by the Muses.
The Legend of Chiron
The Romans told the story of Chiron, another famous centaur believed to be associated with Sagittarius legends. Chiron was actually the king of the centaurs and a more noble beast than the randy reveler centaurs. It's also said that he was the son of Saturn and a half-brother to Zeus and the other Olympian gods. Chiron's legend speaks of a wise and just centaur who was a talented archer, hunter, musician, mentor, oracle, and healer.
The Wise Mentor and Teacher
Abandoned by his parents, young Chiron came under the protection and tutelage of the goddess Artemis and her twin brother, Apollo. Due to their mentorship, Chiron was well educated in many disciplines and served as a tutor-mentor for many young Greek heroes, including the young hero Jason, before his quest for the golden fleece. Chiron also was responsible for influencing the warrior Achilles as a youth. Chiron taught him important skills and helped him develop the famous strength that would make him nearly invincible until a single arrow found the one vulnerable point in his heel and brought him down.
These legends give rise to Sagittarius, the archer. Aside from the legend of Crotus, this association also goes back to the story of Chiron. As the legend has it, Artemis trained Chiron in archery and hunting. Additionally, Chiron was accidentally struck by a poisoned arrow let loose by the mighty Hercules while trying to rescue Prometheus. Although Chiron, the son of a powerful god, was immortal, the injury caused him untold suffering. Unable to escape the unbearable pain or endure the wound eternally, Chiron willingly bestowed the gift of his immortality upon Prometheus.
The Bow and Arrow
The great god Zeus, wanting to memorialize the noble Chiron, decided to give the centaur his own constellation of stars. This way, Chiron would be remembered whenever people contemplated the heavens. Zeus included a bow and arrow in that constellation. So the centaur and the archer have been recorded together as one.
Other Sagittarius Mythical Creatures
Various ancient cultures wove fantastical tales about the constellation Sagittarius.
The Myth of Enkidu
The Sumerians saw Sagittarius as Enkidu, the wild feral man created by Aruru, the great mother goddess of creation and raised by animals. In the epic tale of Gilgamesh, Enkidu was the wartime friend of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, who aided in killing the divine bull sent by the goddess Ishtar to destroy them.
The Myth of Nergal
Babylonians identified Sagittarius as the god Nergal, a centaur-like creature firing an arrow from a bow. Nergal is usually depicted with wings, two heads, one panther head, and one human head, as well as a scorpion's stinger raised above its more conventional horse's tail.
The Myth of Pabilsaĝ
A Babylonian god of war, Pabilsaĝ, a bull centaur creature with a scorpion's tail who wielded a bow and arrow, was a Babylonian god of war.
Legends Reveal a True Adventurer
All of these myths are echoed in the diverse character of the astrological sign of Sagittarius. But there is no doubt that the core of these tales provides a backdrop for Sagittarius, the astrological sign that is often recognized as the wonderer and wanderer, as well as the brashest and most adventurous sign in the western zodiac.