Astrology has always been linked to ancient stories, fairy tales and myths which is probably why the Planets of our Solar System and the Constellations in the skies above Earth have been named after mythical characters. Earth herself is portrayed as Gaia and Terra in Greek and Roman mythology.
Sun signs in astrology can be compared to the Gods and Goddesses in mythology. The key characteristics of the larger-than-life personalities or “archetypes” in mythological stories and legends are used to illustrate the way Planets and Zodiac Signs work within the Birth Chart.
The Mythical God or Goddess linked to your Zodiac Sign will reflect whether your Sign is Yang or Yin and has nothing to do with whether you were born male or female.
These sites give more information on Greek & Roman myths:
ARIES is a Yang sign ruled by the planet Mars (Ares in Greek mythology), the competitive, hot-headed God of War. His influence makes you impatient and energetic. He gives you your willingness to fight and your love of coming first.
According to Greek myth, Ares was patron and protector of the Amazons, a tribe of brave, independent, warrior women. He was also linked to assertive Eris, goddess of War. His influence gives you your courage and independent spirit, helping you to stand up for what you want and what you believe in.
TAURUS is a Yin sign ruled by the planet Venus (Aphrodite in Greek mythology), the Goddess of Love and Beauty. Her influence gives you an appreciation for all kinds of beauty, whether natural or artistic.
According to mythology, Venus attracted many admirers, drawn to her by her physical beauty and sensuality. Her influence makes you physically attractive to others. Venus also makes you talented in physical ways and she gives you your ability to relish the ordinary physical pleasures in life.
GEMINI is a Yang sign ruled by the planet Mercury (Hermes in Greek mythology), messenger to the Gods and God of the marketplace. His influence gives you your talent for communication and your ability to process information. He also makes you a natural at wheeling and dealing!
According to mythology, Mercury’s most serious task was to accompany souls as they departed life on their journey into the Underworld. Geminis are sometimes accused of being superficial but in fact they are versatile, as we can see from the legend of the winged messenger. Like him you have a serious side and you might express it by communicating with other people about very important and serious subjects.
CANCER is a Yin sign ruled by the Moon, which is linked to the Roman goddess Diana and Artemis Goddess of Childbirth in Greek mythology. Her influence gives you your creativity and your talent for nurturing. According to legend, immediately after her own birth Artemis helped her mother give birth to her twin brother Apollo.
Most Cancerians have strong links to their families and they often act as carers to family members.
Artemis was fiercely protective of her privacy and Aktaion, who spied on her while she was bathing, was turned into a stag and torn apart by his own dogs. Under the Artemis influence you become fiercely defensive when you feel vulnerable or when you or those you care for are under any kind of attack.
LEO is a Yang sign ruled by the Sun, which is linked to Apollo, God of the Sun in Greek & Roman mythology. His influence gives you your driving force and energetic character. It also gives you dramatic ability and a talent for standing in the spotlight through Apollo’s connection to the performing arts.
Apollo was worshipped as a protector and he was seen as handsome and charismatic. The Apollo influence causes you to respond to those who look to you for protection. It also gives you a very attractive, charismatic quality which other people look up to and draw inspiration from.
VIRGO is a Yin sign ruled by the planet Mercury in its female aspect, which is linked to Vesta Goddess of Hearth and Home. Her influence gives you your modesty and your ability to organise effectively.
In Greek mythology Mercury was Hermes and his female half was Hestia. Her name is not very well known because she is not one of the starring roles in mythology. She spent much of her time alone, working quietly and efficiently to create a peaceful sanctuary for the gods to return to when they were exhausted by their adventures. Virgoans are like Hestia in their ability to stay behind the scenes, doing essential work upon which the leading characters in life depend. Without them, the show couldn’t go on.
LIBRA is a Yang sign ruled by the planet Venus in its male aspect, which is linked to Vulcan, God of the Forge and the Celestial Artist. As the consort of beautiful Venus, Vulcan worked in the heavenly forge, fashioning intricate weapons and exquisite jewellery for the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. Under his influence, Librans are attracted to beauty and harmony and they are often gifted with artistic or creative talent.
In Greek mythology Vulcan was called Hephaistos, who was rejected as ugly by his warring parents Zeus and Hera. Under his influence, Librans often worry about being rejected by others. Like Hephaistos, they use their talents and abilities to charm their way to popularity. Vulcan/Hephaistos was credited the creating the first female, Pandora. This illustrates the Libran preference for relationship. Most Librans prefer to be paired with a Significant Other.
SCORPIO is a Yin sign ruled by the planet Pluto in its female aspect, which is linked to Proserpine, Goddess of the Underworld. Her influence gives you your perceptiveness and your strength of Character.
In Greek mythology Proserpine is Persephone who, while out playing as a young girl, was attracted by a strange looking plant. This illustrates Scorpio’s natural instinct for research, their tendency to explore in depth and their need to get to the root of the matter. While she was investigating the unknown shrub, Proserpine was abducted by powerful Pluto and taken to his underworld kingdom. At first she resisted the intensity of her experience but she endured it and eventually came to embrace the six months of each year she spent in the dark lands of Hades. Under her influence, Scorpios have the ability to come to terms with difficult or painful times in their lives and then to help others benefit from their experience.
SAGITTARIUS is a Yang sign ruled by the planet Jupiter, King of the Gods. Under his influence, you have the ability to guide and motivate others. The most confident and outgoing of the Gods, Jupiter inspires you with self-belief and optimism.
The mythological Jupiter (called Zeus in Greek mythology) was honoured for his wisdom and his quick flashes of insight, as symbolised by his ability to throw bolts of lightning. Sagittarians tend to be very fast learners and they absorb information easily. Jupiter was a notorious adventurer and his roving eye gave rise to many complicated situations on Mount Olympus. Always looking for novel experience and pastures new, Jupiter was prone to restlessness. The Jupiter influence creates a taste for adventure and risk-taking in most Sagittarians. Deprived of the ability to expand their horizons they become restless and bored – or boring!
CAPRICORN is a Yin sign ruled by the planet Saturn in its female aspect, which is linked to Opis, Goddess of Productivity. Her influence gives you your ambition and your determination to achieve your goals in life.
In Greek mythology Opis is Rhea, whose husband Cronus (Saturn) was so ambitious he tried to swallow his children as soon as they were born to avoid being overthrown by them. Rhea waited for the right moment, then tricked Cronus into swallowing a stone wrapped up like a baby. Thanks to her strategy, her son Zeus (Jupiter) survived to overthrow his father and become King of the Gods. Under Rhea’s influence, Capricorns know how to deal with threats to their ambitions and how to wait patiently for the right time to take effective action.
AQUARIUS is a Yang sign ruled by the planet Uranus, God of the Sky. He inspires you with originality and inventiveness. According to mythology, Uranus was a creature of the sky who mated with Terra (Gaia in Greek legend) and fathered the first generation of gods and goddesses. Aquarians are “creatures of the sky”. Their abstract ideas and unworldly ideologies can make them feel different from the more earthy, practical people around them.
Uranus was the father of Aphrodite (or Venus), the fair goddess of peace and harmony. Under his influence, Aquarians are able to bring new ideas into the world with the aim of making life fairer and more pleasant for everybody.
PISCES is a Yin sign ruled by the planet Neptune in its female aspect. Neptune married Amphitrite – an ethereal sea nymph who helped Neptune rule his watery kingdom. She gives Piceans their empathetic, supportive natures as well as their apparent vulnerability.
Mythology describes Amphitrite as a moody creature who transformed one of her husband’s mistresses into a six-headed sea monster in a fit of jealousy. Under her influence, you are full of hidden depths – prone to strong emotional currents that can wreck your self-confidence and overwhelm you with confusion and self-doubt. Like Amphitrite, you are a creature of the sea and of many moods. Sometimes you’re stormy, sometimes you’re calm and sometimes you’re somewhere in between.
The author and Jungian Analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen has written books about mythological archetypes and how they equate to certain types of human behaviour. Gods in Every Man and Goddesses in Every Woman.