The Zodiac and Its Astrological Signs

For thousands of years, from distant antiquity to the present day, people on earth are fascinated by the enormity and endless space above them, as they look wondrously up into the sky and observe the constellations of stars in the night sky, admire the creation of the universe and search for a meaning to their lives.

Zodiac Shield AmuletPicture: Zodiac Jewelry
The Zodiac, an annual cycle of twelve stations along the ecliptic, the apparent annual path of the sun across the heavens through the constellations, is in fact the first known celestial coordinate system, which also bears symbolism which pertains to the lives of men. In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the seasons were marked by the constellations of the stars, thus dating back to perhaps 5000 BCE. The Babylonian calendar assigned each month a constellation, and these were adopted by Western culture as well. Because of their location, the stars along the path of the ecliptic would have been given particular attention, and the constellations there ascribed to especially significant mythical beings or symbols. As the zodiac developed, these constellations gave their names to the celestial zones they inhabited, and so by extension to the zodiac signs.

The precise origins of the twelve constellations of the zodiac and their signs are unknown. The shape of the constellations themselves as observed from earth, were probably no the main factor, since most of them bear little or no resemblance to the mythical characters after which they were named. Their origins probably are in the belief of early people, that events on earth were mirrored in the heavens above them. Over time, a process probably developed whereby various important archetypal characters in ancient myth were linked to the sky by association to the patterns of stars. These constellations were given names and signs as well as personality attributes to those born in any specific zone of the zodiac. The astrological signs each correspond to the twelve equal zones of the zodiac. Most of the signs depict animals, all except Libra, Virgo and Gemini.

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