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Sagittarius - Legends and History

Sagittarius or the arch man, from mythology, this


constellation is the image of the centaur Chiron, a
being who distinguished of the others by his
wisdom and knowledge. It was born of the loves
between Cronos and the Filira nymph, and had the
strange form of half man, half horse, because his
father had to become horse to generate it.
According to the legend, her mother when seeing
that she had generated a monster requested the
Gods that transformed it, being turned linden
tree.
Cancer - Legends and History
The history of the celestial Crab called Cancer takes to the
adventures of Hercules and their twelve arduous works to us. The
heroic Hercules was another son of Zeus, born ilegítimamente of a
mortal mother.
Juno (or Hera), wife of Zeus, jealous of that divine infidelity,
decided to take revenge themselves in the sprout, since Zeus was
beyond his reprimands. For that reason, it invoked several terrible
punishments against the young hero, including the one of madness;
finally, it gave like slave to a Greek king, who imposed 12 works to
him (hercúleos); after fulfilling them without failing no, it would
leave it in freedom.
The second work was the one to kill the Hidra de Lerna, a frightful creature of the
marshes whose breath is poisonous, of enormous body and that has 8 or 9 heads of
serpent. If the head of the center is cut, immediately it returns to grow of double size.
Hera, contemplating the encounter of Hercules with Hidra, decided to take part in
favor of the monster and sent a gigantic crab so that it distracted the hero, when
attacking it with its pliers. Cancer, the Crab, was thus sentry of the Hidra and a creature
of the Gods. Juno compensated to him by its action although it was useless, giving a
place him between stars near the victim of another one of the works of Hercules, Leon.
The Crab is a very resistant and old species. It is armed of a shell and it is equipped
of pliers like arms; he is energetic and it strikes quickly to his predators and without no
fear.
But the Greeks, on the contrary, saw in her two asses (represented, in individual, by
stars g and d), thus honoring the animals that helped to Jupiter in their fight against the
giants. To his presence he must the definition of Posebre that occurs to the greatest
cluster. Schiller, in its reestrucuturación in Christian key of the constellations,
assimilated the Crab to San Juan Evangelista
Gemini - Legends and History
Gemini is a zodiacal constellation representing the twin brothers Castor
and Pollux. Both were mothered by Leda, and were therefore brothers of
Helen, but they had different fathers: In one night, Leda was made
pregnant both by Jupiter in the form of a swan and by her husband, the
king Tyndarus of Sparta. Pollux, as the son of a god, was immortal and
was renowned for his strength, while his mortal brother Castor was
famous for his skill with horses. Both brothers voyaged in search of the
Golden Fleece as Argonauts, and then fought in the Trojan War to bring
their sister home to her husband Menelaus. They are traditionally
depicted as armed with spears and riding a matched pair of snow-white
horses.
The most common explanation for their presence in the heavens is that
Pollux was overcome with sorrow when his mortal brother died, and
begged Jupiter to allow him to share his immortality. Jupiter,
acknowledging the heroism of both brothers, consented and reunited the
pair in the heavens.
Castor and Pollux were unique among those placed in the sky in that
they are not represented merely as a constellation but as actual stars
which mark the twin's heads in the constellation. Castor is bright white
binary star, while Pollux is orange. They may be found
between Cancer and Taurus.
Leo - Legends and History
The lion is a symbol of kingship and
masculine power - and of the sun which
rules the sign of Leo. It was worshipped in
ancient Egypt, as its entry into Leo in the
heat of Summer coincided with the annual
flooding of the Nile. Regulus, the star which
marks the Lion's heart, was worshipped as
the ruler of the heavens throughout Europe
and Asia as far back as 4000 BC. It brought
riches, glory and power.The stars of Leo,
which form a 'reversed question mark', lie
between Cancer and Virgo on the zodiac
band.
Scorpio - Legends and History
As the Golden Huntsman, Orion, sets in the
West each Spring, Scorpio - the scorpion
which killed him - rises in the East. Its stars
have always been feared by sailors, as its
rising promised storms. But for the
alchemists, November, Scorpio's season,
when the earth decays, was the best time for
making gold. The scorpion in the skies was
also sacred to the god of war 7000 years ago
in the Euphrates valley. Antares, the great
red star that marks the heart of Scorpio, is
9000 times brighter than our sun. Scorpio,
with its curving tail, lies between Libra and
Sagittarius on the zodiac band.
Virgo - Legends and History

Virgo, the virgin carrying an ear of wheat, was


worshipped as the goddess of the harvest in the
ancient world. The earth's bounty - flowers, fruits
and fields of grain -were seen as her Beloved,
whom she mourned at harvest time, when he was
cut down in his prime. Having spent the winter in
the underworld, he was reborn each spring and
reunited with her. 3000 galaxies, unknown in
ancient times, lie behind her head and shoulders.
Virgo, carrying the Ear of Wheat - the bright star,
Spica - lies between Leo and Libra on the zodiac
band.
DRACO
The constellation Draco is associated with several myths, most
frequently with the one about the 12 labours of Heracles,
represented by the neighbouring constellation Hercules. In the
myth, Draco represents Ladon, the dragon that guarded the
golden apples in the gardens of the Hesperides.
The golden apple tree was a wedding present to Hera when she
married Zeus. She planted the tree in her garden on Mount Atlas
and tasked Atlas’ daughters, the Hesperides, with guarding it.
She also placed the dragon Ladon around the tree so that the
Hesperides would not pick any apples from it.
In some versions of the myth, Ladon had a hundred heads and
was the child of the monster Typhon and Echidna, who was half
woman and half serpent. In others, he was the offspring of two
sea deities, Ceto and Phorcys, and there is no mention of the
number of heads he had.
As part of his 12 labours, Heracles was asked to steal some
golden apples from the tree. He killed Ladon with his poisoned
arrows and took the apples. Saddened by the dragon’s death,
Hera placed its image in the sky among the constellations. Draco
is usually depicted coiled around the North Pole, with one foot
of Heracles on its head.
In Roman mythology, Draco was one of the Giant Titans who
warred with the Olympian gods for ten years. He was killed in
battle by the goddess Minerva and thrown into the sky, where it
froze around the North Pole.
CYGNUS
MYTH
Cygnus constellation is associated with several myths, most frequently the one of the Spartan
Queen Leda, who gave birth to two sets of twins, the immortal Pollux and Helen and mortal
Castor and Clytemnestra, after being seduced by the god Zeus, who had transformed himself into
a swan. The immortal children were fathered by the god and the mortal ones by Leda’s husband,
King Tyndareus. Castor and Pollux are represented by the zodiac constellation Gemini.
Cygnus is also sometimes identified as Orpheus, the Greek tragic hero who was murdered by the
Thracian Maenads for not honouring Dionysus. After death, Orpheus was transformed into a
swan and placed next to his lyre in the sky. The lyre is represented by the
neighbouring constellation Lyra.
Cygnus constellation is also sometimes associated with any of the several people called Cycnus
in Greek mythology. The most famous ones are Cycnus, the murderous son of Ares who
challenged Heracles to a duel and was killed, Cycnus, the son of Poseidon, who fought on the
side of the Trojans in the Trojan War, was killed by Achilles, and transformed into a swan after
death, and Cycnus, a close friend of Phaeton, the mortal son of the Sun god Helios.
Of the above three, the myth of Phaeton is the one that is most frequently associated with Cygnus
constellation. In the story, Phaeton and Cycnus were racing each other across the sky when they
came too close to the Sun. Their chariots burned up and they fell to the Earth. Cycnus came to
and, after looking for Phaeton for a while, he discovered his dead friend’s body trapped at the
bottom of the Eridanus River. He was unable to recover the body, so he made a pact with Zeus:
if the god gave him the body of a swan, he would only live as long as a swan usually does. Once
transformed, Cycnus was able to dive into the river, retrieve Phaeton’s body and give his friend a
proper burial. This allowed Phaeton’s soul to travel to the afterlife. Zeus was moved by Cycnus’
sacrifice and placed his image in the sky.
The Chinese also associate the constellation with a myth, the one of the “magpie bridge,” Que
Qiao. In the story, the lovers Niu Lang and Zhi Nu are separated by the Goddess of Heaven
because Zhi Nu is a fairy, and is therefore not allowed to be with a mortal man. When the
Goddess learns that the two are secretly married, she takes Zhi Nu with her and creates a river in
the sky to keep the lovers separated. The river is represented by the Milky Way itself in the
legend. Zhi Nu’s husband Niu Lang takes their two children to Heaven so that they can all be
together, but the Goddess does not relent and keeps the lovers separated. Once a year, the myth
goes, all the magpies in the world assemble to help the lovers be together by forming an
enormous bridge over the wide river. The constellation Cygnus represents the magpie bridge in
this story.
URSA MAJOR

Ursa Major is a well-known, significant constellation in many


cultures.
It is one of the oldest constellations in the sky, with a history
dating back to ancient times. The constellation is referenced in
Homer and the Bible. A great number of tales and legends
across the globe associate Ursa Major with a bear.
Ancient Greeks associated the constellation with the myth of
Callisto, the beautiful nymph who had sworn a vow of chastity
to the goddess Artemis. Zeus saw the nymph one day and fell in
love. The two had a son, and named him Arcas.
Artemis had already banished Callisto when she had learned
about the nymph’s pregnancy and broken vow, but it was Zeus’
jealous wife Hera, who was not amused by her husband’s
philandering, who would do even more damage. Angered by
Zeus’ betrayal, she turned Callisto into a bear.
Callisto lived as a bear for the next 15 years, roaming the forest
and always running and hiding from hunters. One day, her son
Arcas was walking in the forest and the two came face to face.
At the sight of the bear, Arcas quickly drew his spear, scared.
Seeing the scene from Olympus, Zeus intervened to prevent
disaster. He sent a whirlwind that carried both Callisto and
Arcas into the heavens, where he turned Arcas into the
constellation Boötes, the Herdsman, and Callisto into Ursa
Major. (In another version, Arcas becomes the constellation
Ursa Minor.) This only further infuriated Hera and she
persuaded her foster parents Oceanus and Tethys never to let the
bear bathe in the northern waters. This, according to the legend,
is why Ursa Major never sets below the horizon in mid-northern
latitudes.
LYRA

MYTH
Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus, the musician and poet in Greek mythology
who was killed by the Bacchantes. When he died, his lyre was thrown into a river.
Zeus sent an eagle to get the lyre and placed both of them in the sky.
Orpheus was the son of the Thracian King Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. When
he was young, god Apollo gave him a golden lyre and taught him to play it, and his
mother taught him to write verses.
Orpheus was known for his ability to charm even stones with his music, for his
attempts to save his wife Eurydice from the underworld, and for being the harpist
and companion of Jason and the Argonauts. Without Orpheus and his music, the
Argonauts would not have been able to make it past the Sirens, whose song enticed
sailors to come to them, which usually resulted in sailors crashing their ships into
the islands on which the Sirens lived. When the Argonauts approached the islands,
Orpheus drew his lyre and played music that drowned out the Sirens’ calls.
The most famous story involving Orpheus is that of the death of his wife Eurydice.
Eurydice was trying to escape a satyr at her wedding, and fell into a nest of vipers.
She was bitten on the heel and died. Orpheus found the body and, deeply shaken,
he played songs that made the gods and the nymphs cry. The gods felt pity for him
and advised him to travel to the underworld and try to retrieve Eurydice. Orpheus
took their advice. Once there, his song deeply moved Hades and his wife
Persephone and they agreed to return Eurydice to the world of the living on one
condition: Orpheus should walk in front of her and not look back until they both
had reached the upper world. Orpheus and Eurydice started walking and, as much
as he wanted to, he did not look back. However, he forgot that they both had to
arrive to the upper world before he could turn. As soon as he reached it, he turned
around, but Eurydice was not quite up there yet and she disappeared from his sight,
for good this time.
Orpheus found his death at the hands of Thracian Maenads, who ripped him to
shreds for not honouring Dionysus. His lyre was carried to heaven by the Muses,
who also collected the fragments of his body and buried them below Mount
Olympus.
Lyra constellation was often depicted as a vulture or an eagle carrying Orpheus’
lyre in its wings or beak, and called Aquila Cadens or Vultur Cadens, which means
“the falling eagle” or “falling vulture.”
In Wales, the constellation is known as King Arthur’s Harp (Talyn Arthur) or King
David’s Harp.
LIBRA

Mythology
The association with scales and balance
began with the ancient Babylonians, with
the scales representing the balance
between the seasons as well as day and
night. The ancient Greeks viewed Libra as
the claws of Scorpius reaching out.
To the Romans, Libra represented the
scales of justice being held by the goddess
Virgo or Astraea.
In astrology, which is not a science, Libra is
the seventh sign in the Zodiac and
represents those born between Sept. 23
and Oct. 22.
ORION
MYTH
In Greek mythology, the hunter Orion was the most handsome of men. He was the son of the sea
god Poseidon and Euryale, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. In Homer’s Odyssey, Orion is
described as exceptionally tall and armed with an unbreakable bronze club.
In one myth, Orion fell in love with the Pleiades, the seven sisters, daughters of Atlas and
Pleione. He started pursuing them and Zeus scooped them up and placed them in the sky. The
Pleiades are represented by the famous star cluster of the same name, located in the constellation
Taurus. Orion can still be seen chasing the sisters across the sky at night.
In another story, Orion fell in love with Merope, the beautiful daughter of King Oenopion who
didn’t return his affections. One night, he had too much to drink and tried to force himself on
her. The king, enraged, put out Orion’s eyes and banished him from his land, the island of Chios.
Hephaestus felt sorry for the blind, wandering Orion and offered one of his assistants to guide
the hunter and act as his eyes. Orion eventually encountered an oracle that told him if he went
east toward the sunrise, his sight would be restored. Orion did so and his eyes were miraculously
healed.
The constellation Orion has its origins in Sumerian mythology, specifically in the myth of
Gilgamesh. Sumerians associated it with the story of their hero fighting the bull of heaven,
represented by Taurus. They called Orion URU AN-NA, which means “the light of heaven.”
Their name for the constellation Taurus was GUD AN-NA, or “the bull of heaven.”
Orion is often shown as facing the attack of a bull, yet there are no myths in Greek mythology
telling any such tale. When describing the constellation, the Greek astronomer Ptolemy describes
the hero with a club and lion’s pelt, both of which are usually associated with Heracles, but there
is no evidence in mythology books of a direct relation between the constellation and Heracles.
However, since Heracles, the most famous of Greek heros, is represented by the much less
conspicuousconstellation Hercules, and since one of his tasks was to catch the Cretan bull, there
are at least hints of a possible connection between the two.
Most myths about Orion’s death involve a scorpion, but the stories differ from one mythographer
to another. In one tale, Orion boasted to the goddess Artemis and her mother Leto that he could
kill any beast on earth. The Earth Goddess heard him and sent a scorpion, which stung the giant
to death. In another story, he tried to force himself on Artemis and she was the one who sent the
scorpion. In yet another account of his death, Orion was stung while trying to save Leto from the
scorpion. All myths of Orion’s death share the same outcome: Orion and the scorpion were
placed on opposite sides of the sky, so that when the constellation Scorpius rises in the sky,
Orion sets below the horizon in the west, fleeing from the scorpion.
DRACO
CYGNUS
LYRA