The Most Fascinating Stories Behind the Names of the Zodiac Signs

According to some people, astrology is a pseudo-science; it is simply a quackery and quick money-making process. On the other hand, some person believes that astrology is an ancient science. Hence, these people have huge faith on astrology.

The debate, that astrology is trickery or true science shall continue forever. But though we believe astrology or not, it is almost obvious that we know the names of different zodiac signs. We hear from our friends, colleagues and others that he or she belongs to the sun sign “Cancer” or “Scorpio” and hence he or she possesses such characters and many more. But have we ever thought that from where did the zodiac sign name originate?

The zodiacal signs originated long time back, near about 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. During the prehistoric period, the ancient astronomers recorded the Sun’s movement from one celestial body to the other. Though astrology is ancient, but still the modern names of different sun-signs originated from medieval zodiac. According to medieval astrologers, our planet Earth travels from one constellation to the other in an elliptical pathway. The elliptical pathway consists of 12 constellations and they are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces consecutively.

The meaning of the term “zodiac” comes from Greek language that means “the circle of animals”. The Greek mythology places 12 animals in the sky as 12 constellations for their great acts of sacrifice and great courage.

Origin of the zodiac signs

Aries (the Ram) – it is the first zodiac sign among the 12 zodiac signs. It marks the Vernal Equinox, i.e. – the beginning of spring. The first point of Aries is the place where the Sun traverses the heavenly equator.

The Greek mythology depicts a beautiful story behind the origin of this sun sign. The Greek mythology story “The Golden fleece” depicts that the Olympian queen of the Gods and Goddesses of women and nuptials was Hera. She produced Nephele, a woman who was almost alike Hera and forced king Athamas to marry Nephele. King Athamas and Nephele had an unhappy marriage and hence Athamas married another woman called Ino who disliked her step-daughter Helle and step-son Phrixus and made a plot to kill them. She started parching the wheat as the crop production will fail. When Athamas appealed to Delphic Oracle, Ino bribed the messenger and asked to bring a false reply that Phrixus should be sacrificed to save wheat yield. On reaching

When Athamas was about to sacrifice Phrixus to Zeus, then Nephele came to save her son by sending a winged ram with a golden fleece. Phrixus climbed the back of the ram; his sister Hellas also joined him. But suddenly her grip failed and she fell down and died. After reaching Colchis, Phrixus sacrificed the ram in gratitude to Zeus. In return, Zeus placed the ram in the sky as a beautiful constellation for his heroic deed that we see even today as a constellation.

Taurus (the Bull) – the constellations of Taurus lies in the winter milky-way and has many appealing objects for the amateur astronomers.

For over 5000 years Taurus constellation is associated with a bull. The legend story depicts- the God Zeus fell in love with Europa. Being aware of the fact that his appearance will frighten charming Europa, Zeus took the disguise of a white bull and knelt in front of Europa while she was playing in the garden. The splendid bull captivated Europa as she couldn’t stop herself from climbing up the back of the bull. Zeus, as a bull took Europa to Crete and made her his mistress. To remember this affair Zeus placed the bull in the sky as a constellation.

Gemini (the Twins) – with spring approaching, the deep sky observers will see Gemini constellation. This constellation also has a Greek story behind its origin.

According to the story, Gemini represents two twin brothers- Castor and Pollux who had the same mother Leda, but different father. Castor was born of Tyndareus and Leda. Pollux was born to the God Zeus and Leda. Pollux was immortal and Castor was a mastered horseman. The twins together became great warriors. But unfortunately Castor died in a battle. Pollux was so much upset after his brother’s death that he asked his father Zeus to bring back Castor to life. Zeus became stirred by such brotherly love that he brought the twins side by side as a constellation in the sky to stay together forever. zodiac signs

Cancer (the Crab) – the sign originated from the Greek story of twelve labors of Hercules. The cancer constellation links to the second labor of Hercules. Hercules is the greatest hero of Greek mythology who appointed by Eurystheus, killed the giant Lerna Hydra, a horrifying water snake with hundred heads. While Hercules was struggling with hydra, Hera sent a giant crab to ruin his effort. Hercules being irritated by the crab crushed it under his heel. Hera was grateful to the crab for its support. As recognition of the endeavor of the crab to help her, Hera pleased the crab by placing it in the sky as a constellation.