The History of Aquarius
The sign of Aquarius is not coinciding with the constellation of Gemini. In the zodiac, it is located between Capricorn and Pisces, taking the eleventh 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. Aquarius is a fixed sign that comes after the winter has begun in Capricorn. It represents the stable, snowy and cold part of winter, before there is any sign of spring.
The name of this constellation is Latin for “water-carrier” or “cup-carrier” and it is one of the oldest of the recognized constellations along the zodiac. It was mentioned by Ptolemy in 2nd century AD, but prior to that it was recognized as “The Great One” in the Babylonian star catalogues. For ancient Babylonians it represented the god Ea himself, the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun’s path (the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice). Ea was represented holding an overflowing vase and was associated with the destructive floods. In Ancient Egypt, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile and the banks of the river were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river at the beginning of spring. Greeks thought of the constellation as a simple vase, pouring water.
The constellation of Aquarius has no particularly bright stars, and it is found in the region often called “the sea”, because of a large number of constellations whose names are in connection to water, such as Cetus (whale), Pisces (fish) and Eridanus (river).
The myth of Aquarius
Although there is a connection to Deucalion, who built a ship with his wife to survive an imminent flood, the story that usually follows the constellation of Aquarius is the myth of Ganymede.
Ganymede was the most beautiful boy of that time, who was abducted by the gods because of his beauty and taken to Mount Olympus where he replaced Hebe as Zeus’ a cupbearer. There is a version of the myth in which Hebe lost her job when she tripped and her dress came undone, exposing her breasts. However, she was replaced by a young, beautiful man, presumed to be Zeus’ lover and protégé. Hebe was Hera’s daughter and the supreme goddess got angry because of this replacement. Because of constant fighting, frustrated Zeus simply put Ganymede into the stars.
By one version of the myth, Ganymede was taken by Aquila (one of neighboring constellations), Zeus’ eagle. By another, Zeus transformed into an eagle himself and abducted him. To compensate for taking away his son, Zeus gave the harness of divine horses and a golden vine to his father, the king of Troy. Ganymede was the first mortal to become immortal. It is important to understand that the duality is presented through the sign of Aquarius, as it shows waters “above” that support life. This means that Ganymede was actually the first mortal who understood that which comes from above and gave this information to common people.
The connection between the Aquarius myth and the Aquarius zodiac sign
Aquarius represents, in a way, the mercy of the gods. In the same way Ganymede was noticed by deities because of his beauty, this person could be beautiful or special in any other way, enough to be supported by nature or her superiors. This is a story of one’s divinity, the ability to see things from “above”, reach for the skies in any possible way, and share a divine message with mere mortals. In a practical sense, this sign will tell us about someone who will easily get a very good job and work in the higher structures of human society.
The beauty of the person doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, but can also be seen through a certain talent or a special ability. We can see someone young, with the need to separate from an influential father and start a career on their own. In Aquarius we also see potential for bisexual and homosexual preferences, as well as possible benefits a person can have because of them.
The negative side of this myth is in Ganymede replacing Hebe, and this can manifest as someone beautiful taking the rightful position of someone else, at work, or even in a family. In an extreme scenario, the abduction of Ganymede represents a way in which a person will be taken “to the sky” and can point to the dangers of travelling by plain, or paragliding, parachute jumping, etc.