The Twelve Olympians in the Zodiac
“Pallas (Minerva) watches over the Woolbearer (Aries);
Cytherea (Venus) over Taurus;
Phoebus (Apollo) the shapely Gemini;
You, Cyllenius (Mercury), over Cancer;
and Jupiter, you yourself rule Leo with the Mother of the Gods;
Virgo who bears ears of grain belongs to Ceres;
and the forged scales to Vulcan;
quarrelsome Scorpio clings to Mars;
Diana cherishes the hunting man part horse (Sagittarius);
and Vesta the contracted stars of Capricorn;
opposite Jupiter is Aquarius, the star of Juno;
and Neptune acknowledges his own Pisces in the upper air.”
Given the fact that the western Zodiac is composed of twelve signs, and that it’s more recognisable form dates to the classical world, involving the Olympians in it is not surprising. However, there is surprisingly very little literature about the gods and the signs. I suspect that this is in part due to an assumption that the signs = planetary gods. Suffice to say, that’s quite wrong, both because it would leave out several very relevant gods in hellenic worship (Athena and Hera, for instance) in favour of less worshipped deities (like Uranus and Hades), but also because many signs don’t correspond to the personalities of the gods (so Selene and Artemis are sensitive goddesses now?), as well as the fact that it reduces deities to planetary spirits when their cosmic roles were much larger (Zeus was as much associated with Jupiter as he was with the Sun, for instance).
The correct set for the Olympians is technically two signs, as each god governed a month, and each month was divided in two sign periods (Apollon, for instance, would get Taurus and Gemini), but like modern pagans classical greek and roman traditions preffered to consider a specific sign “special” to the deity, as part of the then arising custom of correspondences, which would shape western magic forever. As such, I’m treating the following in this way, but I took care to explain “secondary signs” also aligned with the deities.
Athena: Aries (and Pisces)
Athena‘s connection with Aries is fairly straight forward. Aries is associated with the head, and anyone even remotely aware of classical mythology knows that Athena sprung fully-formed from Zeus’ head, and is associated with intellect and all that it entails. Aries in particular is associated with traits like leadership, strategy and courage, all traits intrinsinc to Athena in her myths. Aries in particular is associated with the fire of the mind, raw creativity and thought, as well as the rising of the dawn, being the start of the Zodiac and exalted in the Sun, all traits visceral to the nature of Athena’s story, being the Nous of Zeus. Notably, the bird most associated with Aries is the owl, though Ares is also associated with owls (indeed, owls are also associated with Scorpio).
Athena in Aries is easily comparable to Hephaistos in Libra and Ares in Scorpio. The former relates directly to their mythology: the daughter of Zeus without a mother and the son of Hera without a father, the use of fire in benefit of civilisation, even their very unfortunate encounter. Aries and Scorpio are both signs associated with Mars, and represent vividly the contrast between Athena and Ares: the goddess of strategy versus the god of bloodlust, the light of the mind versus the water of the blood, the symbol of the dawn and renewal versus the symbol of death and the end.
Athena as the goddess of the first month in the greek calendar is also associated with the sign of Pisces. Athena often had the epiphet of “Tritogeneia”, “daughter of Triton”, as recently as Hesiod’s Theogony, and it’s generally thought that she was at least at some point considered to be the daughter of Poseidon rather than Zeus – in turn, this also explains why she comes right after Poseidon in the calendar. As Pisces is a sign associated with mutability, it seems to imply the symbolic change of a primal goddess associated with water to the more familiar deity of civilisation, of the basic role as the daughter of the sea to the more expansive role as the goddess of knowledge and strategy. Pisces is also associated with reason, intellect, dreams and selflessness, which obviously also ressonate with Athena’s nature.
Aphrodite: Taurus (and Aries)
The connection between Aphrodite and Taurus is very obvious, especially since it’s a link almost universally recognised, what with Aphrodite being the goddess of Venus and Venus being the planetary ruler of Taurus. Both Aphrodite and the Taurus sign are closely tied to the earthly attribute of harmony, being associated with nurture, faith, loyalty, friendship, love and sensuality (the latter in particular being the most classic [pun intended] aspects of Aphrodite). Taurus is closely tied to the colours blue and green, relating to Aphrodite’s aquatic birth as well as copper flames, and are described as magnetic and even outright dominating, a trait very familiar with Aphrodite’s power. However, in Aphrodite’s role as the harmoniser, empathy and warmth are traits intrisinc to the positive side of the sign, as well as to Aphrodite’s role in worship. Taurus is exalted in the Moon; while Aphrodite is not a goddess tied to the Moon, the associated with water in her birth as well as the association of the Moon with emotions in western astrological thought ressonate with her role as a deity associated with fertility and love, as well as Venus’ role as the maker of dew and the Water Planet in greek shamanism.
Aphrodite is by virtue of her month also associated with Aries, a connection quite understandable given Venus’ role as the Morning Star and thus the illuminator and goddess of the dawn (being to Eos what Apollon is to Helios), as well as Aries’ more impulsive traits. Obviously, a connection with Ares’ affair with her can also be made, but a more accurate comparision would be with Scorpio, as it is Ares’ martian sign (though, of course, that doesn’t rule out a minor role in Aries for Ares).
Apollon: Gemini (and Taurus)
Apollon‘s relation with Gemini is very clear for those who know more about this god than his superficial roles of “Sun god” (see Zeus and Leo beneath) and “music god”. Besides having a twin himself, Artemis, Apollon is also a very dualistic deity. He is the harmoniser as well as the destroyer: he heals plagues and sends plagues, he protects farmers from wolves and mice and sends the wolves and mice, he provides ships with gentle breezes and destructive storm winds, he is the nurturing daylight and the fiery sun rays. Apollon is both a god highly loved and highly feared, the light bearer who is just as likely to help you as well as utterly destroy you, and even do both, given his role as the purifier. Gemini thus bears a similar role to the Dagaz rune: it is a symbol of the inherent duality present in light. This duality shouldn’t be the subject of dichotomies, however, as said contrasts are just different shades of the same thing. A beam of light can just as easily be used in regenerative therapy as well as to destroy flesh, but it is still a beam of light, with basically no difference in these two roles besides intensity.
In addition, Gemini also represents velocity, quick talking and thinking. While we might associate this more with Hermes (as we’ll see below), Apollon is also remarked as a “fast god”, even outrunning Hermes – nothing less than absolute speed is to be expected from the light, after all. Apollon’s speed isn’t just in motion, however, as he too is impatient and gets what he wants as quickly as possible, be it the katharmos of a worshipper or his/her demise (and purification). Likewise, Gemini is closely tied to rationality, which again is a very apollonian trait.
Apollo is also represented by Taurus. Like Aphrodite, Apollo is also associated with the dawn and the Morning Star, thus associating him with Venus is expected. Also like Aphrodite, Apollon is associated with the harmonising principles, being the god of music – this is mostly due to the association of the kithara with solar energies, as Helios is also depicted playing it – as well as a god tied closely with male sexuality, emboydying masculine beauty, the transition of boyhood to manhood and having many lovers of both genders. Apollon is also the god that protects livestock, hence a further connection to the bull, which is an animal with distinct solar attributes.
Hermes: Cancer (and Gemini)
I’m going to start with Hermes‘ connection with Gemini, as it is the most obvious and so it will be out of the way first. Given the god’s association with Mercury, as well as the famous Gemini traits like intelligence, quick talking, playfulness and trickery, it’s no wonder that Hermes is closely tied to this sign. However, Gemini is the god’s secondary sign (though obviously by no means irrelevant in relation to him), and his connection to it is less strong than Apollon’s, which embodies’ Gemini’s more intrinsinc nature as a symbol of duality and enlightment, though as we will see this is not a dichotomy, as both signs are very closely tied together in terms of overall correspondences.
The sign of Cancer can be more or less described as the most protective of all signs. It is defined by strong emotions, particularly empathy, love (both romantic and parental; in general, “family love”), and a healthy passion for defense, both of the self and others. Hermes, sufice to say, is among the Olympians one of the closest to mankind, being the friend, protector, guardian and guide. He is the one who defends streets and flocks, that generously handles gifts, and the god most moved by compassion. He is the one to rescue Ares, when pratically everyone else hates him, and he is the one that protects Priam, even though Hermes chose to aid Greece over Troy. Hermes’ compassion is so great that the Fathers of the early Catholic Church even compared him to Jesus, and Paul was birefly worshipped as Hermes in the Bible. Being a god moved by his compassion to mankind, whom he sees in a friendly manner, it’s no wonder Hermes is associated with the most nurturing of all signs. The connection of Cancer with water and emotions also runs deep into Hermes’ own nature as a fluid god, associated with non-heteronormative sexuality and LGBT topics, both in the self-expression and it’s defense. Hermes’ nature is therefore very closely tied to the nature of water as the element of love, both romantic and otherwise, nurturing society as well as shaping it.
Cancer, as the lunar sign, is also associated with the night, and Hermes is something of a nocturnal god, being associated with theft (compassion extends to all…) and nightly amorous adventures. Hermes was also associated with egyptian lunar gods like Khonsu and Thoth, making him one of the few greek male deities associated with the Moon. In his role as a trickster, Hermes is also associated with shapeshifting, a classical trait of the Moon. He was also associated with dreams and served a role as a psychopomp, guiding the souls in the darkness of the afterlife, roles also associated with the Moon. His role as a psychopomp also relates to the nature of Cancer as the apex of the Sun’s cycle, where Helios begins to age after half an year of growth, but this is not a promise of doom as much as a balance, bringing the Sun’s light to the face of the Moon, illuminating the darkness of the night and the Underworld.
As previously stated, the roles of Apollon and Hermes in Gemini and Cancer are not a dichotomy. Both signs and gods share many traits: Gemini and Cancer both have an emphasis on duality, while Hermes and Apollon are both compassionate deities that share roles as protectors of roads, the home and livestock. Both gods are also associated with the afterlife, medicine and the Moon, Apollon protecting the souls until Hermes picks them and honouring Selene in the lunar month as well as defending from nightly terrors. Both are also fast gods, and Hermes was the one who invented the kithara, offering it to Apollon. They also bear a role in greco-roman magic, Hermes being the patron of magicians – and posteriorly equated with Thoth as the prophet Trimegistus – and Apollon the Olympian most relevant in Theurgy. Both the Moon and Mercury are also associated with serpents in astrology, and this connection extends to Hermes and Apollon, as the snake represent healing and immortality, as well as light beams. Apollon and Hermes are also associated with boyhood and buddying sexuality, representing in a way the young Sun.
Zeus: Leo (and Cancer)
As the King of the gods, Zeus‘ connection with Leo is apropriate as it is the “king of the Zodiac signs”. The connection gains a lot more weight in mythology: Zeus is closely associated with Helios, perhaps even more so than Apollon, as Helios is reffered as “the eye of Zeus” and is reffered as Zeus in his own orphic hymn. Aither (the primordial light that illumines the Heavens) is “Zeus’ power”, and his role as the god of civilisation, justice and law is very similar to that of sun gods like Shamash and Ra (Apollon also shares these traits, as he too is a god of justice and law). Zeus is outright reffered as the Sun in some particular greco-roman religious traditions like Pythagorean philosophy, where he is the supra-mundane Sun of the Olympians – Helios being the mundane Sun, and Apollo the mediator -, and his iconography shares many traits with that of Helios, with rayed hair, snakes, bulls and eagles. Zeus is also notorious in his role in agriculture, a more terrestrial form of Helios’ life-giving rays, and in this aspect he is depicted as a serpent, the most common metaphor in greek thought for solar beams. As the Sun symbolises the center, so is Leo’s position in the Zodiac indicative.
It’s interesting to note that the fire signs seem to parallel the three offspring of Hyperion: Zeus is equated with Helios, Athena with Eos and Artemis with Selene. The latter is not a clear cut comparision as Sagittarius is not associated directly with the Moon, but it’s nonetheless a very close comparision indeed, especially as Helios is sometimes the father of Eos and Selene, being equated with Hyperion.
Zeus also claims Leo via his son Herakles, who killed the Nemean Lion, and whose very labours are thought to be a metaphor for the Zodiac. Both Herakles and Zeus share many traits associated with the sign of Leo, like charisma, magnetism, pride, courage, leadership skills and a dose of personal pride.
Zeus is also associated with Cancer, for reasons also obvious in mythology. He is too a very emotional deity, driven by his desires, as well as nurturing and defensive. Zeus is also a notorious shapeshifter, a trait classic to the Moon. The fact that Zeus has claims over Cancer and Leo is quite interesting, as it means he is the god of the signs of both the Sun and the Moon. This parallels the almost universal notion that the two heavenly bodies are the eyes of the sky god, a belief also well present in Egypt with the god Horus and India with Shiva. Zeus, then, is the lord of heavenly light, the Aither focused on the Sun and Moon.
Demeter: Virgo (and Leo)
Demeter‘s connection with Virgo has survived even to modern days: Virgo is frequently depicted as a woman carrying grain, in the likeness of Demeter. While Demeter is technically not a virgin, the myth of her having a forced intercourse with Poseidon (resulting in Persephone in that version) has her cleansing herself, similar to how Hera remains a perpetual virgin by bathing on special springs (curiously, like Hera, Demeter too has a role in the protection of marriages). Likewise, unlike Aphrodite, Demeter seems to have a more “chaste” form of fertility, being less of a sexual goddess and more focused on the nurturing aspects of the creation of new life. At any rate, Virgo does not stand for literal virginity as much as a spiritual one, forsaking desires for duty.
Virgo is frequently associated with praticality, critical analysis, skepticism, structure and perfectionism, traits not seemingly seen in Demeter (unless you count her fairly reasonable rejection of Helios’ and Zeus’ statements that Hades did well in kidnapping her daughter as “skepticism”). Demeter, however, as a mother and deity that renews the souls of the departed, has the basic drive beyond those concepts, the sense of duty towards her role in the universe. This duty of course has suffered a severe lapse once, and even then the harsh seasons hostile to agriculture have become a part of life, that she enforces anyways, no matter how inconvenient they are. Demeter, therefore, embodies the Virgo trait of duty, often at the expense of others but nonetheless well intentioned.
Virgo is the second sign of Mercury, shared with the Gemini of Apollon. Both signs stress a very ordered methodical and logical view of the world, but while Gemini is fun loving, Virgo is more focused on duty. Both Apollon and Demeter have roles in relation to the souls of the dead, with Apollon being the purifier than rots the body and removes miasma and Demeter being the one that welcomes the souls of the departed into the world of the living again, to be reincarnated or to achieve divinity. Hermes, being the psychopomp, is related to both processes, and as such it’s no wonder that Mercury is the center of the transition of the soul, being recycled from the young, fun-loving Gemini into the more cynical and “mature” Virgo, just as Spring becomes Autumn eventually, before the cycle begins anew (it’s worth to note that both seasons are productive agriculturally in Greece). After all, people too can grow from serious to carefree phases in their lives.
Demeter is also associated with Leo. The goddess’ “leonine” traits are quite subtle, and in my opinion relate to her role in mythology. Primal goddesses like Rhea and Artemis are frequently connected with lions, which would have occured naturally in Greece until quite astonishingly recently in european history, and might directly refference the warrior nature of the lioness, similar to egyptian and hindu goddesses like Sekhmet and Durga. Besides the obvious life-giving aspects of the Sun, Demeter is also connected to it in her relationship with Persephone. Helios, after all, is who both informs her of Persephone’s fate and advises against Demeter taking action, and the whole story is a metaphor for the Sun’s harsh light in Summer months, making agriculture impossible. With her direct connection with the Sun’s wrath side therefore, Demeter is one of the few greek solar goddesses.
Hephaistos: Libra (and Virgo)
As previously discussed, Hesphaistos‘ correspondence with Libra is derived from his role as the smith god. By crafting fire, he made the weapons that the gods use to impose justice, down to the scales of Dike, the goddess of justice, often thought to be the woman depicted in the sign (but see below). As just, Hephaistos is a god of inovation, taming the chaos of the flames to produce items to impose civilisation.
The typical traits of Libra are almost a cruel joke to the smith god. Libra is a sign often associated with aesthetic beauty and gracefulness, things poor Hesphaistos appearently didn’t had if his origin story is of any indication (his statues seem to speak otherwise, at least). Libra is a sign correlated to extroverted and outgoing behaviour, while Hephaistos was cast aside by most of the gods of Olympos. Libra is associated with diplomacy, kindness and tact, things that are the exact opposite of the involvement of the smith god with the other deities. Rather, given Libra’s association with Venus, it seems to represent a rather idealised version of Aphrodite, perhaps by Hephaistos: rather than the goddess of harmony, fertility and sexuality, she is depicted in a romantic pedestal, a level headed, loyal, diplomatic woman rather than the free goddess. Whereas Aphrodite as depicted in Taurus is an earthly goddess responsible for reproduction and the harmonising principles of life, Aphrodite as depicted in Libra is an aerial deity that is almost child-like in it’s inoccence, and conveniently is aligned with the season of Autumn, as opposed to the fertile Spring. This seems to correlate to an actual deity, Aglaea, the second wife of Hesphaistos: as her name means “brilliant” or “shining”, it’s possible that she represents another side of the Morning Star, the calm light rather than the waters of fertility.
Hephaistos is secondarily associated with Virgo, which once again stresses civilisation, only through duty and order rather than community. Virgo also relates to Hephaistos in his virginal conception by his mother Hera.
Ares: Scorpio (and Libra)
Scorpio is the second Mars sign, and the one that most relates to Ares: while the fiery aspects of Aries might relate to him to some extent, it’s the more emotional Scorpio that ressonates closer to him and his primal nature. As the later Autumn sign, Scorpio is related to Winter’s start, and thus to sunset-like conditions: as the Sun dims, so does life. Ares has no major funerary function in greek religion (as far as I know), but he is defenitely among the Olympians the one most engaged in death and it’s miasma – besides Apollon and Artemis, masters of plague and warrior gods themselves -, and thus he is quite versed in the chthonic paths most heavenly gods don’t dare tread. Scorpio is a water sign, but a very dark one: rather than the sea or the spiritual water of the Moon as with Pisces and Cancer respectively, Scorpio is associated with stagnant water and blood, with decay through the fluid element. Suffice to say, the god of the vulture, of the boar and of the dog is well associated with these, blood being shed in the battlefield and flesh torn apart, left to rot in puddles. While Apollon rots the body to free the soul, Ares creates widespread decay, and nothing can best be seen than in the vindictive nature of Scorpio, whose sting causes damage for long after.
That said, Scorpio is not just about death. It symbolises the sexual aspects of water, and is indeed associated with genitalia, just like the Swadhisthana chakra. Ares does have some symbolism in fertility, his weapons being borrowed from Demeter, and, standing in opposition to Taurus, Scorpio highlights the affair of the two deities, still immortalised to this day as the male/female dichotomy, to say nothing about Ares’ roman equivalent, Mars, that started as an outright fertility deity. Thus, Scorpio represents the “darker” aspects of fertility, associated with sexual pleasure and with decay as support for new life, coinciding with the Autumn harvests.
Scorpio is defined by it’s loyalty bordering on possessiveness, as well as a rather strong impulsive nature but consciously made subtle or even outright hidden. Ares displays a surprising amount of loyalty to his family, even when most of Olympos doesn’t like him very much, and while numerous, his affairs are occult, unlike Zeus’ or Apollon’s. This reflects water as darkness: driven by strong impulses, but with the element of mystery and hidden nature. Due to Scorpio’s vindictiveness and hidden nature, it is often considered the most malign of the signs, just as Ares is the most distrusted of the Olympians, but neither are “evil” and while unpleasant they are necessary for the inner workings of nature. Darkness is after all important to health in it’s Melatonin friendliness, especially when it’s connected to water.
Ares is also associated with Libra, presumably due to the connection with Aphrodite (though this connection is best examined in the Scorpio/Taurus contrast). Libra’s idealistic, peaceful demanour is almost a contrast to the bloodthristy nature of Ares, but I don’t think it relates to his idealisation of Aphrodite, as he doesn’t need to (unless he has severe self-loathing). Rather, I think it marks a more apollonian trait of Ares: the god of war did originally began as a deity closer to Apollon in some aspects, especially as a solar deity amidst the Pelasgians, as the etymology of Areios Pagus still indicates, as well as Zeus’ epiphet as Areios. Both deities indeed are both warriors and represent very nasty aspects of nature such as destruction, one as the god of the silver bow and the other of the war spear. The difference seems to be that, while Apollon was also celebrated for his intellect, his healing prowess, role as a divine judge and his mastery of the arts, Ares was delegated to a god mostly associated with bloodlust and the occasional role as a protector, which he also shares with Apollon. To me, while it’s obvious that both deities are very different, they are more similar than usually considered at first glance, and Ares, like Apollon, can also be a more peaceful god associated with aesthetics. His roman counterpart, Mars, most defenitely is very peaceful, waging war to protect rather than mere bloodlust, and in this nature Ares resembles the more civilised Mars.
Artemis: Sagittarius (and Scorpio)
Artemis still remains intrinsic to the Sagittarius sign to this day: after all, who among the Olympians is the archer goddess, assocated with the forests and the primeval might of the centaur? Like her brother Apollon, Artemis is a goddess of fiery arrows, illuminating the darkness and destroying those who offend her, and her role in this department might even be more relevant than her brother’s, as he is otherwise also known as the god of the gold sword, especially when trying to differentiate the two. Artemis, like Apollon, is also a liminal deity, being the “lady of the gate” that welcomes new souls into the world, which in turn also extends her as a goddess associated with childbirth. As the first winter sign, Sagittarius bears connatations of liminality, and it’s stoic personality is characteristic of chthonic deities, though the nature as a goddess of childbirth and protector of women by choice is also connected to the less stressed altruistic side of the goddess, also expressed in the sign. Sagittarius is also the first sign of the night as the beginning of the winter, relating to Artemis’ intrinsic nature as a goddess of moonlight. The association of Sagittarius with Artemis also relates to her cult’s rivalry with primitive Christianity: Sagittarius is the sign of truth and knowledge, and Artemis is the light bearer. What better foils are there to opressive dogma?
Artemis is also associated with Scorpio, and for very good reasons. Her actions in myth are just as violent as Ares’, being a destructive, vindictive goddess, perhaps more so than Ares in some ways. Artemis is also connected with water, as like Athena she was originally a daughter of Poseidon, and Scorpio’s association with the sunset offer a nice contrast to Apollon’s dawn. Yet, it also bears a very ironic twist, as the chaste goddess is associated with the sign most related to sexual pleasure.
Hestia: Capricorn (and Sagittarius)
Much as with Hermes, I’m going to state Hestia‘s relation with Sagittarius first, which is the more obvious connection. As the goddess of the hearth, Hestia’s connection with fire is obvious, especially in the kindly, illuminating way Sagittarius demonstrates. She is also associated with architecture, again ressonating with the sagittarian craving for structure, and her calm personality ressonates further with the stoic sign.
However, her main sign if Capricorn, which stresses her more subtle but relevant nature. Capricorn, like Sagittarius, also stresses order, stability and stoicness. More so, it takes theses traits further and is a sign associated with praticality, hard work, strong will and stubborness. Hestia, as the perpetual tender of the flames and mistress of the oikos, is defenitely a very hard working and pratical goddess, and while I by no means would reffer to her as “stubborn”, she does have a strong will in what little myths she appears in. Her solution to deal with Poseidon and Apollon competing for her hand? Get rid of both. While she is often described as abdicating her seat in favour of the risen Dionysus, this seems to have been a recent interpretation, with no ancient sources reffering to a blatant removal. Rather, it’s her duty to the fire that keeps her occupied from taking in heavenly processions or an active role in divine shenigans, thus again being her choice to work rather than take leisure time. Hestia, for the lack of a better word, is a workaholic, and while she lacks the cold ambition of the Capricorn, the basic sentiments of devotion to work are still there.
Capricorn is also relevant in it’s role in the Zodiac. It’s the sign that covers the Winter Solstice, when the Sun is at it’s lowest, being opposite to Cancer. Thus, not only does it coincide with the time of the year where Hestia’s influence is most important, as well as to her role as the center, it also coincides with a liminal time in the Zodiac, when the Sun is reborn. Hestia, while less distinctively associated with the dawn in classical mythology, is clearly associated with it etymologically, with her name sharing an origin with that of Eos and many european and vedic goddesses of the morning, daylight, fire and even the Sun. Thus, Hestia as Eos heralds the return of Helios and Apollon, taking the role of a solar goddess just as Hermes takes the role of a lunar god in Cancer, reverting the usual classical associtions. Likewise, it also reflects the contrast in their roles: while Hermes guides the souls during the night to the afterlife, Hestia renews life by raising the flames to the heavens.
Hera: Aquarius (and Capricorn)
Hera is described as taking the sign of Aquarius due to her opposition to her husband according to Manilius, which I take both literally meaning their personalities as well as the simple fact that the two signs are opposite in the Zodiac. As Taurus/Scorpio are the fertility axis, Aries/Libra are the civilisation/intellect axis, Gemini/Sagittarius are the axis of the twins and Cancer/Capricorn are the axis of the waxing and waning of the Sun, Leo and Aquarius form a more subtle, yet important axis. Leo and Aquarius are the signs most associated with humanitarian traits: Leo is the leader, the king, while Aquarius is associated with intellectual drives and understanding. As represented by the King and Queen of the gods, both are necessary for society’s functioning, for stability and peace to prosper via righteousness and understanding. Both are also associated with personal pride, with Leo being the more emotional narcissism while Aquarius is a more detached vanity. Both are also associated with the natural forces of the sky: whereas Leo is the bright midday Sun, Aquarius is associated with clouds and myst. Fitting, thus, that Hera and Zeus are the gods that rule the heavens and Olympos, Zeus being the bright Aither and Hera the sky rains, both being the main agents of storms and of calm weather.
Hera is also associated with Aquarius due to the Ganymede myth. Ganymede as the cup-bearer is the blatant figure depicted in the Aquarius sign, forever pouring ambrosia for his beloved King. While some versions depict Ganymede’s deification as means to protect him from Hera – something most female lovers of Zeus didn’t even get -, this seems to be a more recent interpretation, and Hera is rarely mentioned in the tellings of this myth, Zeus appearently deciding to make Ganymede divine since the moment of passion. Indeed, besides Hera, Ganymede is Zeus eternal companion, making theirs one of the few permanent same-sex unions in hellenic tradition. Aquarius, thus, is a sign that represents Zeus’s husband/wife, the clouds that acompany sunlight, and in this I dare blurr the lines between Ganymede and Hera.
Hera is also associated with Capricorn, which again coincides with traits personal to her like ambition, praticality and stubborness. Much like her husband unites the Sun and the Moon, Hera unites the earth with the sky, something also expressed in mythology, where she is the power goddess of the storms and winds but is also associated with the earth to some degree, being a motherly goddess responsible for structure as well as descending to the earth to cleanse herself.
Poseidon: Pisces (and Aquarius)
Finally, we have Poseidon and Pisces. Poseidon, as the god of water and of the sea, is the lord of sea creatures, so the sign of the pair of fish is more than apropriate. Pisces, however, also dives deeper in Poseidon’s realm. For starters, it is associated with the feet, and Poseidon is also a god of the earth, of tremors and geological processes, closely tied to water eroding rocks. The sea is also considered to be where the pilars of the universe are located in most western eurasian religions, and in greek thought Poseidon’s realm extends even to the Underworld, where the four rivers run, a connection particularly important in the more chthonic versions of hellenic religion. If Cancer is the Moon and it’s spiritual essence while Scorpio is blood and the impulses, with Aquarius also representing sky waters, Pisces is simply the pure nature of water as an element, symbolising the immensitude of the seas and the many freshwater bodies. It’s the sign of mutability and change, ressonating with water’s classical attribute as well as the very real quick and natural changes into ice, liquid, gas or cloud and also the currents. It also symbolises Spring waters, be them from rains or melting snow and ice, feeding the fields and civilisation, acting as water changeing the sorrounding environment.
Pisces is also associated with dreams and the subconscious, which relate to Poseidon’s primal, impulsive nature. Indeed, in the Pisces/Virgo axis, it blantantly adheres to the pairing of Poseidon and Demeter, both deities responsible for ancient forces of nature, associated with the earth as well as the Underworld, Demeter as the renewer of souls while Poseidon flows through the rivers of Hades. However, Pisces is also associated with rational thought, so much like Demeter as Virgo Poseidon is a dutiful god, at times stoic god. Pisces correlates with selflessness and charity, representing Poseidon’s less wrathful and more fertile aspects. Both Poseidon and Demeter are also associated with horses, bearing the fertile connections of water and earth as well as the basis of civilisation.
Poseidon is also associated with Aquarius. Here, the humanitarian tendencies of the sign ressonate with Poseidon’s status as the second King amidst the Olympians (and the primary King in Mycenaean tradition), as well as his role in rain and clouds. To a lesser extent, the myth of Nerites is also reflected here, as he too bears a role as a lover to the King of the Gods, his transformation by Helios into a shellfish all the more emblematic in his role as the “cup-bearer”.