Want to know about the history of mythology in astrology - read this article by Sarah Bartlett to find out more.
Mythology is a vast subject spanning continents, civilisations and of course huge time-scales. In the ancient past, gods and goddesses were essential images in people's lives, giving us a sense of purpose, direction, meaning and even attempting to explain and understand the reasons for rain, thunder, drought, famine and mortality. Myths show us the parity of human nature rather than the disparity. The common ground in mythology is that there is usually a 'trickster' god, a 'creation' story, a 'divine lover', a hero on a quest, a magician, an old crone, a wise guru etc. Jung called mythical archetypes the 'great dreams of humanity'.
We may no longer worship Aphrodite, but Aphrodite is an archetypal representation of sexuality, pleasure, vanity and beauty. So what is an archetype? An archetype is an original model, or pattern; a fundamental image which we all unconsciously carry from ancient times, embedded deep within our collective and individual psyches.
Astrology and Mythology
In Mythic Astrology, the archetypes are represented by the god and goddesses of Greek mythology. Although the 'planets' were named after Roman deities, it is the earlier Greek pantheon (from which the Roman pantheon was derived) which provide a far more telling and characterful line-up. These deities and their myths are more appropriate for astrological metaphor and meaning than the Roman pantheon.
Mars was originally Ares
Venus was originally Aphrodite
Mercury was originally Hermes
Saturn was originally Kronos
Jupiter was originally Zeus
The Sun is represented by Apollo
The Moon is represented by Selene and also has associations with Demeter and other moon goddesses.
Uranus was originally Ouranus
Neptune was originally Poseidon
Pluto was originally Hades
For example, let's take a look at APHRODITE. In astrology she corresponds to the planet Venus, and Venus rules the signs of Taurus and Libra.
Aphrodite was best known as the Greek Goddess of love and beauty. Yet her origins are more ancient still. She had many emanations and was immortalised in many sources. Not unlike Kali, she was a triple-natured goddess, being virgin, mother and crone. Her connections date back to the Lady of Byblos, Astarte.
The Greek Aphrodite was an embodiment of both female wisdom and sexual power. She was born from the severed genitals of her father Ouranus, or rather from the foam they created as they fell into the sea. Aphrodite was both beauty and love personified, and would restore youth and beauty to those who honoured her. In Greek myth she was married off to the ugly god, Hephaestus, yet she rarely shared his bed. Her lover was Ares, the potent and extremist god of war. Aphrodite was also highly self-indulgent and vain.
When she later became assimilated into Roman religion, she became identified with temple prostitution and sacred, sexual ritual.
ASTROLOGICAL KEYWORDS: BEAUTY, SEXUAL PLEASURE, LOVE, VANITY.
Throughout this series of articles I shall first be looking at each planet and the myths/deities that correspond to that planetary energy, and then I shall reveal how each sign of the zodiac has its own archetypal and mythological resonance too. So next we'll look at the myths and astrological significance of the planet VENUS.