The relationship between constellations and the constellations of animals

The Relationship Between Constellations and the Constellations of Animals

For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the night sky and found patterns in the stars. These patterns, called constellations, have been used as markers for navigation, storytelling, and astrology. Because many cultures are intimately tied to the natural world, it is no surprise that some constellations are named after animals. In fact, some cultures have whole systems of animal constellations.

The relationship between constellations and the constellations of animals

The Zodiac

Perhaps the most famous animal constellation system is the zodiac. The zodiac is a band of the sky divided into twelve sections, each named after a different animal. The zodiac is important in astrology, in which an individual’s personality and future are tied to the position of the sun, moon, and planets relative to the zodiac. The zodiac dates back to ancient Babylon, and similar systems are found in cultures across the world, such as the Chinese zodiac.

The Mythological Origins of Animal Constellations

Many animal constellations have mythological origins. For example, the constellation Scorpio is often associated with the scorpion that killed Orion in Greek mythology. Similarly, the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear) is associated with Callisto, a nymph who was turned into a bear by Hera in a fit of jealousy. In many cultures, animal constellations are connected to stories that explain natural phenomena, such as the change of seasons or the movements of the stars.

Animals as a Way to Understand the Universe

Animal constellations serve not only as stories and myths, but also as a way to understand the universe. For example, the movements and positions of stars in certain animal constellations can be used to mark the seasons or to navigate the oceans. In some cultures, the appearance of certain animal constellations in the sky was seen as an omen or a sign of change. Even today, scientists use animal constellations as a way to map and understand the universe beyond our own planet.