What’s your Zodiac Story?
But there’s another factor both sets have in common: a connection to history and storytelling. The Constellation Blocks with Basswood Tray set features all 12 Zodiac signs. And the origin story of each zodiac constellation lies within Greek mythology.
Let’s take a look at the Greek Mythology origin stories behind each constellation of the zodiac.
1. ARIES - A flying ram with golden fleece once rescued two children. Ares, the god of war, was going to sacrifice the two children, but the ram asked if he could be sacrificed instead. Ares sacrificed the ram to the sea god Poseidon. The ram was rewarded by being turned into the constellation Aries.
2. TAURUS When Zeus fell in love with princess Europa, he turned himself into a white bull. This caught her attention. The couple went on to have three children together. Zeus celebrated their unusual love story by putting the constellation Taurus in the heavens.
3. GEMINI Castor and Pollux were twins: Castor was mortal and Pollux isn’t. When Castor became mortally wounded in battle, Pollux asked Zeus to make his brother immortal, too. Zeus did so by putting them both brothers in the skies as the constellation Gemini.
4. CANCER When Heracles went to kill the Hydra monster, the Hera sent a crab to pinch and vex Heracles. However, Heracles used his foot to squash the crab to death. Hera, who didn’t like Heracles, rewarded the crab’s efforts by placing it in the sky as the constellation Cancer.
5. LEO On his first labor, Heracles had to slay a terrible lion. This giant lion had a hide that no weapon could pierce. Heracles used a club and his bare hands to kill it. Hera, who hated Heracles, made the Lion immortal by placing Leo in the sky.
6. VIRGO Apollo saved two maiden sisters from drowning themselves. Later, Apollo turned one of the sisters into the constellation Virgo to honor her goodness.
7. LIBRA The goddess of justice once lived on earth. However, when humans became greedy and war-like, she asked Zeus to place her into the heavens. Her symbol, the scales of justice, became the constellation Libra.
8. SCORPIO When the hunter Orion announced he was going to kill every animal on earth, Artemis the hunting goddess knew he had to be stopped. She sent a scorpion to defeat Orion. The scorpion killed Orion, and Zeus honored the scorpion by creating the Scorpio constellation.
9. SAGITTARIUS Heracles accidentally poisoned the oldest centaur in battle. Zeus immortalized the half-man, half-horse by putting him in the sky as the constellation Sagittarius.
10. CAPRICORN This immortal half-goat, half-fish had the power to turn back time. It lived in the sea, but his children went on land. The Sea Goat missed his kids so much, he turned back time so that they would return to him. Eventually, they always went back to the land. Cronos placed Capricorn in the sky so that he could always see his children.
11. AQUARIUS Ganymedes was a handsome prince. Zeus brought him to Mount Olympus to become a cupbearer for the gods. Zeus ended up honoring Ganymedes as the constellation Aquarius.
12. PISCES A terrible monster once trapped Aphrodite and her son Eros. To help them escape, Zeus turned the pair into fish. With the help of two other fish, Aphrodite and Eros were able to swim to safety. Athena rewarded the fish who helped the gods escape by forming the constellation Pisces.
The enduring characters and stories in Greek mythology have informed our literature, drama, religions, and art for thousands of years. Greek mythology also informs what we see in the stars.
How else do you see the effects of ancient Greek mythology in your everyday, modern life?