Sunday, June 7, 2009

Zodiac Signs

Have you ever thought about the symbol of your sun sign? Each of the twelve zodiac signs has a unique symbol which is used to represent the zodiac। Only Greek mythology has a story associated with every symbol and its stellar constellation. Here I am representing the twelve zodiac constellations along with the stories of their symbols (with my hand made sketches of each) which have origins in Greek Mythology. The sketches I made are not representing any authentication related to the mythological stories, they are solely based on my imagination.

  1. ARIES: Phrixos and his sister Helle were twins. They were children of Zeus, the king of Gods. Their step mother Ino hated them. She roasted the seeds of local farmers so th ecrops would not grow. She also bribed the man who was sent to an Oracle by the farmers. The man declared that if Phrixos and Helle are kiled, crops can be saved. Both twins were thrown in the river. But they were rescued by a golden Ram sent by their natural mother Nephele. The golden ram was then made a constellation known as “Aries”.

  2. TAURUAS: Europa was a magnificient Phoenician princess. Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father’s herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flower, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and rail to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. The bull form of Zeus was raised to become a constellation known as “Taurus”.

  3. GEMINI: Castor and Pollux were twin sons of Tyndareus and Zeus respectively. The name of their mother was Leda. Pollux was immortal while Castor was mortal. They defeated a famous king Theseus. They were also arch enemies of their cousins Idas and Lynecus (twins). Idas and Lynecus cheated them once by not giving them their share of cattle which they all raided at Areadin. Castor and Pollux took revenge by abducting the cattle of Idas and Lynecus. In the meantime, Paris, prince of Troy kidnapped their sister Helen and this event finally led to the famous Trojan war of Troy. And the two sets of twins fought with each other and Castor was mortally wounded. POllus kiled Lynecus and Zeus killed Idas. Pollux, when given choice by his father Zeus, gev half of his immortality to his dying brother Castor. The brothers became part of the stellar constellation called “Gemini”

  4. CANCER: Hercules was a greek hero, who was given twelve difficult tasks to finish. One of them was to fight with a monstrous Hydra. While Hercules was busy fighting the multi headed Hydra, the goddess Hera, who did not like Hercules sent a crab called “cancer” to distract him. Cancer grabbed onto the hero’s toe with its claws, but barely breaking the rhythm of his great battle with the Hydra. Hercules crushed the crab under his foot. Hera, grateful for the little crustacean’s heroic but pitiful effort, gave it a place in the sky and the crab became a constellation known as “Cancer”

  5. LEO: Out of the twelve difficult tasks assigned to the greek hero Hercules, one was to slay the Nemean Lion and to bring back its skin. Hercules wandered the areas until he came upon the town of Cleonae. While he was looking for the lion, he made arrowsto use against it, not knowing that it was impervious. When he found the lion, he started shooting arrows but the lion would not die. After sometime Hercules made the lion return to his cave. The cave had two entrance one of which Hercules blocked; he then entered the other. Becuase of the fact that the lion’s skin was impenetrable, Hercules was forced to stun the lion with his club, before proceeding to strangle it. He then used lion’s own claws to cut off its pelt. When he returned, the King was shocked. He gave Hercules the lion’s invincible pelt to wear as a cloak. The Nemean Lion was raised to the sky to become a constellation called “Leo”

  6. VIRGO: Astrea was a daughter of Zeus and Themis. She and her mother were both personifications of justice. Astrea, the celestial virgin, was the last of the immortals to live with humans during the Iron Age, the final stage in the world’s disintegration from the utopion Golden Age. Fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, she ascended to heaven to become the constellation “Virgo”

  7. LIBRA: Astraea, the celestial virgin, was the last of the immortals to live with humans during the Iron Age, the final stage in the world’s disintegration from the utopian Golden Age. Fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, she ascended to heaven and the scales of justice she carried became the constellation “Libra”, reflected in her symbolic association with Justitia

  8. SCORPIO: Orion was a powerful greek hunter. Goddess Eos invited him to spend the night with her and he happily accepted but later bragged of the conquest and also boasted that he was such a magnificent hunter, that he would exterminate all of the wild beasts of the Earth. Apollo (God of the Sun, who was responsible for guarding herds) persuaded goddess Gaia, to send a giant scorpion with impenetrable armor to sting Orion until the hunter was dead. The scorpion succeeded and was raised to sky to become a constellation “Scorpio”.

  9. SAGITTARIUS: Chiron was a centuar and a skilled bowman। He was intelligent, civilized and kind. He was immortal and known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. He was said to be the last centaur and highly revered as a teacher and tutor. When Hercules went to his friend Pholus’s cave and both of them drank the divine wine, many centuars including Chiron, intoxicated by the smell of the wine, attacked the cave. Hercules shot poisonous arrows at them. Chiron was wounded. Chiron, the master of the healing arts, could not heal himself, so he willingly gave up his immortality. He was honoured with a place in the sky as constellation “Sagittarius”

  10. CAPRICORN: Amalthea was a goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother Rhea saved him from being devoured by his father Cronos। The goat's broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Amalthea was given place in sky as the constellation “Capricorn”

  11. AQUARIUS: Ganymede was a divine hero whose homeland was Troy। He was a Trojan prince। Ganymede was the most handsome among mortals, by reason of which he was abducted by Zeus in the form of an eagle to serve as cupbearer to the gods and as Zeus' beloved. Being associated with the Eagle (Aquila), Ganymede was raised in the sky as constellation “Aquarius”

  12. PISCES: Aphrodite was the greek goddess of love and beauty. Her son Eros is popularly known as the “cupid”. Both mother and son, transformed into fishes, in order to escape the monstrous Typhon when he attacked to destroy Zeus. They tied together with a cord on their tails, to make sure they do not lose one another. This form of the mother and son was raised to sky to become a constellation known as “Pisces”.


Anne said...

Mrinal ... the stories behind the zodiac signs are really amazing. In fact I was surprised to find that history interests you so much ... really good depiction too

Anonymous said...

Am jus surprised.. how come i dint notice ur blogs much before? every time i read a new one, m left speechless.. well,its not jus compliment or an exaggeration.. its like these writings.. make me feel rich..well, literally..Nisha

MR said...

thanks anne and Nisha..