Zodiac Signs In The 21st Century

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Zodiac Signs In The 21st Century

The Zodiac Signs are anti-fragile. They’ve existed since before the dawn of measurable time, and they endure today. Paleolithic people painted them in caves. Priestesses on the battlements of ancient cities star-gazed, seeking answers and calculating. Sailors, crossing strange oceans, found the reassurance of their constellation in the sky.

If you time-machined yourself back in history, talking about your “star sign” would be a guaranteed go-to conversation staple. Or, to be fair, a go-to-jail move in some eras.

Still, there are images of the Zodiac Signs in many Christian cathedrals. They are etched into celebrity skin and deployed in pop culture. Each constellation (grouping of stars) has a name, and practically every culture has a version of these 12 archetypal characters.

The Origins Of The Zodiac Creatures Are Weirder Than They Seem

Zodiac originally meant “shiny herd” or “cycle of animals,” but the Air Signs are not even animals. And Sagittarius + Capricorn are both symbolized by magical creatures.

The actual Zodiac is a wide road of stars that runs in a circle. People have seen its constellations as significant for millennia, and the Sun passes through all of them in a year. Hence, Sun Signs.

The symbols for each sign are ancient and like anything that old, have adjusted over the eons. Many descriptions reflect the tone of a harsher but more simple era. Frankly, they often muted the magical weirdness and imposed medieval values onto them.  So here are my suggestions for Zodiac Signs rebranding in the 21st Century.

Some Of The Zodiac Sign Symbols Were Originally Monsters

Aries:  Classically this first sign of the Zodiac is the Ram, as in male sheep. Olden-day battering rams, to bust in the gates of besieged cities, often had huge rams heads on them and the Aries symbol evokes the Ram’s horns.  But before about 1200BC, Aries wasn’t the first Zodiac Sign. The Ancient Babylonians called it the Hired Man. Of course, that can pertain to any role from farm laborer to assassin and usually did. Then Aries got a makeover and was associated with Chrysomallus, the fabulous, enchanted, golden-fleeced flying Ram. Suggested Rebrand: Aries, you have wings!

Taurus: The archetypal depiction of Taurus is that they’re placid and patient but berserk when aroused to anger. But how much of this came from medieval Bull roles, pulling plows and serving as a symbol of patriarchal virility? Taurus was previously associated with Hathor, the ancient Egyptian Goddess, and the original Holy Cow. Before Aries got promoted, Taurus was the first sign of the Zodiac and seen as the most important constellation. The Chinese call it the Great Bridge and it contains the Pleiades, a favorite alien conspiracy theory destination. In some old texts, Taurus was symbolized as the Unicorn. Alien Unicorn?

Gemini Was The Vermilion Bird Of The South

Gemini: In Ancient Babylon, the “Twins” that symbolize Gemini were double aspects of their Underworld God, a Mars-Pluto hybrid. They evolved into the Ancient Greco-Roman Castor + Pollux, who were warriors so close they could not bear to separate when one died. So Zeus made them both immortal Twins. The old Chinese symbol for this Zodiac sign feels more like 21st Century Gemini. The Vermilion Bird of the South is a magical creature who flies between realms, brings inspiration and carries messages. Geminis are not really bi-natured; they’re fluid and fluent in the language of the Wind.

Cancer: This Moon-ruled sign is symbolized by the Crab. The original was made immortal by the Goddess Hera after she sent him to help a serpent monster attack Hercules and things didn’t quite go to plan. They were also associated with the Scarab (or Kataka) and Lobsters. The Moon card of the Tarot features the latter. But the 21st Century Cancer symbol could well hark back to the most esoteric of mythologies around the sign: Anubis – the iconic Pluto-like God of Ancient Egypt. Anubis is associated with wolves. Cancerians know their turf and every creature on it, in-depth, like a wolf. They have crazy-strong instincts, and they often like the idea of being in a pack.

Leo Is Based On A Supernatural Lion Monster

Leo:  Although the symbol evolved into being a kindly, regal and generous lion, Leo is associated with a supernatural Lion Monster. Weirdly, like neighboring Cancer, the Nemean Lion that became Leo was dispatched by Hercules. But before the Greco-Roman storyline, the constellation was associated with royalty and the Lion Goddess Sekhmet. Along with Taurus, it is one of the earliest acknowledged constellations. Suggestion: that Leo retains the Lion symbol but reclaims the Lioness aspect and the fierceness associated with the earlier Leo archetypes. In ancient times, Leo was revered as the bravest of the Zodiac. There are no cowardly lions.

Virgo: Virgo is supposedly the Virgin but halt right there. The symbol is linked to Astraea the Star Maiden, a Goddess of Justice who left Earth because they wouldn’t listen to her sensible counsel and wisdom. Additionally, it’s not actually a “virgin” as such. Virgo comes from virago aka the Heroic Maiden. The word became “bad-tempered woman” or “harridan” over the years. But it was initially a respectful title. The Virago archetype was also linked to Ceres and Isis. The 21st Century version of Virgo is simple; a subtle tweak of the current symbol to return it to Virago, and voila!

Libra Is The Azure Dragon Of The East

Libra: Libra is the only inanimate object symbol of the Zodiac, and it is a relatively recent constellation. It was a part of Scorpio and seen as the Scorpions claws. Even the “scales” symbology is suss. Some historians say that they rightly belong to Astraea, the Justice Goddess linked to Virgo. So Libra is a modern (modern in this context being the Ancient Romans) merger. In Chinese astrology, Libra is the fantastically named Azure Dragon Of The East, which sounds more Libran. It is also called the Avalon Dragon or the Blue Dragon. Rebranding Suggestion: Libra, throw away the Scales and embrace your Inner Dragon. 

Scorpio: Of all the Zodiac signs, Scorpio has the strongest brand recognition. You could rock up at any point in history, say “I’m a Scorpio” and people’s eyes would drop straight to your crotch. Then they’d dart across to check out your sword. In recent times, it’s been fashionable to say that Scorpio is also the Eagle, Phoenix or even a Dove. Sure they sound more aspirational than ‘venomous desert creature,’ but Scorpion Deities were big in Ancient Mesopotamia. Repeating a now familiar pattern, the Goddess Gaia sent the original scorpion down to attack Orion. Unlike the case of the unfortunate Crab and Lion, the Scorpion won. Is it time to own the Scorpion identity, stinger and all?

Sagittarius: Classically, Sagittarius is the Centaur, half-horse/half-human and traditionally seen as male. The usual portrayal of the Centaurs is a tad frat-boyish, let’s face it. Yes, they have wisdom and good aim, but they’re also prone to trashing forests and pursuing nymphs like nobody’s business. But Sagittarius was originally a Babylonian God, one of those composite creatures that the Bible hates; a panther’s head, different color hooves and somewhere in there (why?) a Scorpion’s stinger. But Sagittarius is also symbolized by the Satyr. Satyrs like living in forests or secret hide-outs, parties and playing the Pan pipes. They enjoy the company of Muses, the custodians of knowledge.

Capricorn Has Easily The Weirdest Zodiac Sign Story Of All

Capricorn: Capricorn is actually the Sea-Goat or Mer-Goat, a mythological creature whose origin is lost in primordial time. The Greco-Roman stories about Capricorn explain the fishtail as a kind of innovation by the Goat God Pan. But the concept of Capricorn as Sea Goat goes way back. Chronos/Saturn – the Time God – is the modern ruler of Capricorn but the ancient Sea-Goats or Goat Fish were affiliated to the Sumerian God of Water and an equivalent to Mercury. Easily the weirdest Zodiac sign story of all, the Sea Goat was linked to mystical races said to live beneath the sea, the Holy Grail and the monster Cthulhu that H.P. Lovecraft depicted so chillingly. Rebranding Suggestion: Capricorns could emphasize their epic and enviable supernatural lineage?

Aquarius: The Greco-Roman concept of Aquarius as “Water Bearer” comes from an unseemly story that certainly wouldn’t fly in a modern mythic narrative. Zeus saw the boy Ganymede, thought he was hot and kidnapped him to be his “cup-bearer.” The compensation? Immortality and his father was given a magic Chariot. Further back this sign was linked to the Storm God of the old Persia and the Storm Goddess Tempestas. Both are Uranian-style deities. Another Aquarius affiliation: The Egyptian River Nile deity Hapi was shown with vases of ‘divine’ water. He was male but with female breasts and interestingly, the sign has long been associated with gender fluidity. But if “Water-Bearer” is not resonating,  21st century Aquarius could rebrand as a Storm Bearer. Storm Broker?

Pisces – Dove Or Daemon?

Pisces: For the last few thousand years, Pisces (the Latin plural for Fish) has been associated with Jesus and Co. Beforehand it was linked to Venus and her son Eros AKA Cupid. The story is that they transformed into fish to escape a monster, with a cord to connect them. Medieval texts get really frothy with Pisces, referring to one Fish as ‘demonic’ and so on. But further back, Pisces is associated with the Syrian Goddess Atagartis, who was half-Fish, half woman. She was the prototypal mermaid and often depicted with two-fish above her head, probably representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Her key symbol was the Dove. Pisces Rebranding Suggestion: if you’re fed up with people misinterpreting the Fish symbolism, go straight for Dove. 

Thoughts?

 

Image: Kim Laughton

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FeeMysticAvistaJokermanQuellpunkt Recent comment authors
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FeeMM Member
Fee

This is so fun and interesting. I’m down with my dragon self. I appreciate this history, thank you.

Avista
Avista

Oh I love this! I think you meant ‘best’ story rather than ‘weirdest’ for Cappies! We’re so friggin maligned, Brightsiders can’t do anything but blither on about our apparent obsession with work and being coldly furious tyrants. But you’d be cold if you came from under the sea! I’ve long felt the connection with intuition and psychic ability is underrated for us – people think it’s all the Pisces but we’re sensitive and observers. We also do shit you don’t expect

ScorpleocapMM Member
Scorpleocap

Really fascinating post, Mystic! I love it when you go all historical.

HilarygherkinMM Member
Hilarygherkin

Mmmmmm yes, I like Anubis being a figure for Cancer-especially as Sirius, the Dog Star, is in Cancer; we are loyal and deeply affectionate to our pack, but highly suspicious of those outside and will bite when under threat.
Also LOVE claiming Libra (ascendant) as a beautiful Azure Dragon-a better, much more beautiful set of scales! Especially for our aesthetically-inclined senses, and it fits with the abilities of Librans being an iron fist in a velvet glove.

redondo.bleachMM Member
redondo.bleach

love this!

the association of pisces with dove makes me think of fiona apple’s lyrics to Regret: “But I’ve ran out of white doves’ feathers/ to soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth/ every time you address me” what with them being so empathetic and kind

Unicorn SparklesMM Member
Unicorn Sparkles

I always thought the water bearer thing was lame. And how often it comes back to androgyny/ robot image as well. We’re the slave labour but that’s ok cause we don’t feel anything. The grey man of the zodiac.

But then along comes storm goddess… and my eyebrow goes up….
must. Google. Tempestas.

Wish Upon a Star
Wish Upon a Star

I reread the Pisces description thourougly. The dove is important to me. It was the dove I first saw when I first meditated.

And when my mum passed away in the hospial there was a white bird flapping still outside the window at dusk trying to get my attention. A symbol of peace?

And lately mermaid during has entranced me. I am Pisces rising.

lindapetersMM Member
lindapeters

Wow! Have hanging on my wall a copy of the Lady & the Unicorn (Hearing) tapestry. Never thought of it in connection to my Taurus stellium of personal planets in 7th. Regulus in Virgo is unearthing treasures long distorted by one-sided patriarchal propaganda! Better reclaim my shadow…and fast! Thanks Mystic xx

HelMM Member
Hel

How do you see the unicorn?

lindapetersMM Member
lindapeters

As representing the essential spiritually potent nature of all reality. Fecundity. Spiritual penetration. Self respect. Self possession. Self sufficiency. The self emanating from the cosmos via the earth. We are spiritual animals. All faculties of perception which penetrate, permeate and perpetuate the entire cosmos into being. The self aware spiritual being at one with the cosmos and emerging from it….differentiated. The power of magnetism. The magnetism of power. The essential spiritual nature of power, the laws of which, if broken/flouted, court catastrophe.

HelMM Member
Hel

Wow, that was beautiful! I will read it many times, and let it sink in. Thank you!

sphinx
sphinx

Joyful archetypal study! Scorpion Goddesses rock the poisoning/healing/protection paradigm, Serket the Scorpion Goddess and Sekhmet the Lion Goddess are both sun-drenched, burning desert power in my mind, apparently along with Nergal – the original Gemini in the underworld. I like that the Geminids are the companions – rather than twins, aspects of the same self. This thinking resonated: http://www.michiganpsychicmedium.com/ancient-astrology-gemini-great-companions/ . I always wondered what the twins were about and couldn’t find a concrete foot hold in my mind.

Lux Interior Is My Co-PilotMM Member
Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot

OMG I LOVE this!

So much o it makes sense~!

Libra–Azure dragon–for sure and I bet those scales are irridescent!
Sagg–God with the head of a panther–that’s why panther tattoos always seemed so Sagg
Cap would have a complex ancient lineage
Cancer–wolves howl at (worship?) the moon right?
Aqua–storms!–electricity and lightning are totes aquarian–not to mention unpredictability

and every pisces always knew they had mermaid blood…

Jokerman
Jokerman

I taught both my GS dogs to howl at the Moon.
This was well before any of my knowledge about the astro. I’ve done it with friend’s dogs after they told me their dogs never have.

LibrariusMM Member
Librarius

I am done with being literally objectified and am eagerly upgrading to a dragon, with my Moon sign dropping the water cups to embrace storms. #soreadyforthis. That was really educational, thank you, Mystic!

SappysaturnMM Member
Sappysaturn

A sincere hell yeah & thank you from the bottom of my Capricorn–Cuthulu loving soul!

CatMM Member
Cat

I love all of this! So many connections making sense and feeling resonant.

inaflashMM Member
inaflash

I love this and as I relate heavily to my Virgo Rising I shall from now be going with Heroic Maiden which I have always known i am

HelMM Member
Hel

Yes, me too 🙂

Ms JeminiMM Member
Ms Jemini

Oh wow interesting stuff! I am pretty fond of birds and have referred myself as a bird a few times because I can be so chirpy and flit about the place. No idea that Gemini was once symbolised as one.
Great stuff!

LibrariusMM Member
Librarius

I was so intrigued by the interpretation that “Gemini are not bi-natured but fluid”!

astraeagold
astraeagold

A heroic maiden astride a blue dragon – now there’s a more gutsy interpretation of my virgo sun and libra rising than the one I’ve been living with for a lifetime. Thanks Mystic!

HelMM Member
Hel

That is Great! The Age of Queens in action

HelMM Member
Hel

I am a Taurus stellium ( sun, merc, Chiron, mars, Venus) and i have had many strange cues about the seven sisters, the Pleidian stars. I am a grounded taurean, yes, and yet, those are the stars that has come into my attention. I even grew up at an iceland in the north of Norway with the view of seven mountains sitting next to each other called The seven sisters. Unicorns have not seemed that appealing either, yet i have one, tiny leaden nick nak unicorn that i found among my childhood stuff, and after lord knows how many virgoan… Read more »

GemyogiMM Member
Gemyogi

Snap — taurus stellium and have always been drawn to the ‘seven sisters’ from the London tube stop to the hippy restaurant that used to be in High St Northcote… Also obsessed with dragons/phoenixes, and symbols of christianity (or should I say pre-christianity) have a stained glass window from a church of the sacred heart, crucifixes and the cross, saint Francis of Sienna, sacred herbs, all so much pagan stuff I call myself and atheist pagan witch. I’ve always loved the ‘virgin’ Mary (the Star of the Sea) despite having almost no religious instruction, going to church only for sunday… Read more »

HelMM Member
Hel

I love how virgin Mary has made it possible to keep relationship with the divine feminine in chatolic countries, and as i understand it also in the English church (?), in the orthodox church i have heard her named The Mother of God. In this way she has truly been a rebranding of former great goddesses, and where the veneration of saints are allowed there has been the veneration of many different archetypes. In Norway, and the rest of the protestant countries Mary has no independent position, and no veneration of the feminine has been allowed. The chatolic church had… Read more »

GemyogiMM Member
Gemyogi

Mary was included in the early Christian religion because they couldn’t stop ppl worshipping the Great Goddess, the Mother of All. Pagans wouldn’t accept the idea of a male God as the ultimate figure head, so they had to rebrand the Great Goddess as ‘Mary the mother of Jesus’. LOL

CentaurusMM Member
Centaurus

Really interesting comments and insight Hel, thank you 🙂

AqualadyMM Member
Aqualady

I love ancient history so this post is right up my alley. Sekhmet is a big one for me which vibes with my Midheaven. And a visit from a Satyr or was it Cernunnos :O has me re-evaluating my rising. Amazing post Mystic

JSNOWMM Member
JSNOW

I LOVE this post. This is where you soar above all the others Mystic! xoJS

PlutoMoonMM Member
PlutoMoon

I love this! My two cents: Aries: yes, give them golden wings! Chrysomallus all the way. Taurus: not feeling the alien unicorn, too Uranus (maybe you’re channeling Uranus in Taurus for this one, lol) – but how about a white supernatural bull, a la the prized cattle of Helios? Gemini: omg yes, Vermilion Bird of the South <3 Cancer: as a Cancer moon in the 8th, I feel the Anubis vibe strongly, so yes, but the Kataka/scarab symbol too. Maybe it's a blend. Anubis with a scarab in hand? Leo: yes on the Sekhmet Virgo: I just googled Virago and… Read more »

PlutoMoonMM Member
PlutoMoon

babysinclair just posted a brilliant idea for Capricorn: a wizard, a la Gandalf or Dumbledore. 🙂 Put him on a mountaintop and voila: stoic yet supernatural.

HelMM Member
Hel

As a Taurean I abselutely resent the idea of being the cattle of an old, male sun god, however magical. In my language ( norwegian) we still have Sun (Sol) as a name, and it is a girls name. As the old Sun was a goddess. And How in the world is being somebodys property New Era anyway!? God that is truly provoking!

PlutoMoonMM Member
PlutoMoon

Yeek, sorry, wasn’t my intention to provoke or offend. I was thinking regal and supernatural. What is your suggestion, as a Taurean?

HelMM Member
Hel

I think i am a bit testy on this full moon in general…a small nap helped. I am not sure yet what the future holds, yet I liked what mystic wrote.
And you are quite funny too actually

VirgoViragoMM Member
VirgoVirago

I guess I’m really on brand then nickname-wise. Great post!

GwendolynMM Member
Gwendolyn

All these respectful titles of women, went the way of Patriarchy
Denigrate humiliate rob burn

Son of a bitch also was a title of honour!

babysinclairMM Member
babysinclair

Love this post!!! And great point about Capricorns embracing their supernatural lineage. Even though it is supposedly the most worldly, I find it somehow majestic…kind of like Gandalf or Dumbledore, wise/stoic/magical/transcendant. I was thinking that I have Neptune goggles when it comes to Capricorn, being from the Neptune in Capricorn generation.

PlutoMoonMM Member
PlutoMoon

Oh my, yes, a wizard for Capricorn! On a mountain! love it.

PiMM Member
Pi

well as a dove, at least we have the opportunity to… oh never mind

i quite like the fish tbh but i suppose dove offers transcendence?

also, i really want a nice(?) scorpio at close quarters.. i’m all over that brand recognition 😀
there’s a Mezcal festival nearby tonight.. should do the trick? come to me, delicious scorpios mwaha x

PlutoMoonMM Member
PlutoMoon

I think Pisces should be a mermaid. 😉

FireTryin'MM Member
FireTryin'

Do tell how the mezcal festival turns out!!

PiMM Member
Pi

didn’t go, i am alone in this foreign city i am visiting, and the pisces / cap in me recoils at the thought of barging into bars alone.. so i found an arty thing instead.

the full moon is in my 3rd house, i should be all over town but i am struggling for some stupid reason, oh well.

MultiairMM Member
Multiair

This is one of my favourite ever posts. Thank you MM!

WizarDoraMM Member
WizarDora

Crab-wolf-moon. I’m there; itentionally and unintentionally.
Dogs smell under water. I’m claiming the beasts as our own. It’s a deal

Also, “like the idea of a pack” or, controlling the pack?

Wish Upon a Star
Wish Upon a Star

So all this time I got it right.

Many years ago I was in a shop with a friend and her daughter who I adore. She was my muse.

A print of the picture “Innocence” by Bouguereau reached out and called me.
A Venus like lady with 2 cupid angels presenting her with a rose.

I am Pisces Rising and this fits with pre era fish Pisces. So I got it right all along.

AqualadyMM Member
Aqualady

I got all excited when you mentioned Bouguereau’s Innocence as I have that print but then I realised you meant a different one lol The one I have is of Mary, Jesus, and a lamb. Kinda Piscean too though 🙂 I do love it when art calls to you.

Wish Upon a Star
Wish Upon a Star

Hey I really associate Pisces with Jesus, It is heart felt. The passing Piscean Age was named after Jesus. And Christianity is falling out of favour in this New Aquarian age. That’s no surprise.

GemyogiMM Member
Gemyogi

Vermilion Bird of the South! But I identify more as being a Dragon. (I’m born in the Chinese year of the dragon). Libra is my descendant.

GemyogiMM Member
Gemyogi

Also pretty Lilith-y. Fave goddesses are Artemis (the huntress) and Isis (winged egyptian goddess!)

Katiepi
Katiepi

Ha, this Sag has a mask of Satyro that’s one of my very favourite things, Bought in Italy 25yrs ago. And a chunky silver pin to match. Love the rebrand!

Jokerman
Jokerman

I don’t like the idea of a pack. I like wolves and, their cultivars, dogs.
But I’m too stark raving mad to be part of a pack

emgMM Member
emg

Lone wolf ?!?!

kat aquaMM Member
kat aqua

Yes, the lone wolf. Cancer Sun Aqua rising, so a Uranian Cancer like Jokerman. Once had a random man walk past me as I was sitting alone at a cafe table…he was talking to himself but I heard “she’s a lone wolf”. I was proud if a bit lonely-sad.

Jokerman
Jokerman

“There’s not even room enough to be anywhere”
From (its) “Not Dark Yet”, a song Dylan wrote on his 3rd Nodal Return.

Saoirse KirkeMM Member
Saoirse Kirke

I will co-reclaim Virago
I’m also separately trying to reclaim spinster.

Archaic etymology roundup

I miss this part

GreenWitchMM Member
GreenWitch

I have read that, originally, spinster referred to an economically self-sufficient woman. Of course they were dangerous! So the word becomes derogatory.

And, slightly off-piste here but related. I also read that originally, the word ‘whore’ referred only to men (in Elizabethan times – when there appears to be more gender-fluidity than our post-Victorian morals allow).

Not to mention Medusa – the Mistress – really being the protectress/warrior aspect of the Goddess usually known as Athene.

It’s an old Feminist saying but true – Words structure Worlds!

GreenWitchMM Member
GreenWitch

OOps meant to say – spinsters – spinning in the sun!

GemyogiMM Member
Gemyogi

I love this so much, as a bachelor woman about town myself. and proud spinster — self sufficient woman

JacquiMM Member
Jacqui

classic! “a go-to-gaol move” and “Jesus and Co” I am so using those in conversation.

SusanEMM Member
SusanE

This is so interesting! You are a fountain of knowledge!

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