Both astrology and mythology have captivated people for thousands of years. Though some connections between the zodiac and the Greek gods might be easy to guess – given that the Greeks themselves practiced a form of astrology with 12 signs – there are also some surprises to be found.
While Artemis, Zeus, Apollo, and the rest of their kin were certainly deities, they were also uniquely human in their faults. When people look to those gods for inspiration or connection, they find not just aspirational figures, but also the acknowledgement that flaws, too, are important for a person's character. What count as values and flaws may change over time, as they do with any historical figure's character traits, but our ability to identify with them, especially through the zodiac, transcends time.
Aries (March 21–April 19): Ares, God Of War
Few will be surprised that Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is connected with Ares, the Greek god of war. Aries's ruling planet is Mars, the Roman name for Ares. Both Aries and Ares are known for their passion and anger, but, despite being homophones, there's no linguistic connection between them.
Ares wasn't a particularly well-loved figure in ancient Athens, but he was a popular figure in Sparta, a more militaristic city-state. Likewise, Aries aren't necessarily everybody's cup of tea. Their courage is matched by their short tempers, but that doesn't make them bad, just difficult for some to get along with – hence their connection to the god of war.
Like Ares, an Aries simply isn't to everybody's taste, but for those who take the time to get to know them, they're enthusiastic and valuable friends.
Demeter is perhaps most famous for her connection to her daughter, Persephone, but Tauruses are likely to feel a deeper connection with her. Both Tauruses and Demeter are famed for their patient, devoted natures, though those traits can turn into stubbornness and possessiveness if left unchecked.
In Greek myth, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, fertility, and the cycles of birth and death. The fall and winter are her seasons of grieving her daughter; her heartbreak over Persephone's union with Hades causes her to neglect her duties as nurturer. Likewise, the intense devotion that Tauruses feel can turn sour and their world can go dark when they feel abandoned.
But Demeter and Tauruses have wonderful traits, as well. There are few figures in Greek tradition as nurturing as Demeter, and the practicality and stability of Tauruses makes them wonderful partners and friends – just try not to leave them for somebody else for half the year.
Gemini (May 21–June 20): Hermes, God Of Thieves
Geminis have a strong connection to Hermes, the Greek god of thieves, travelers, sports, and a host of other seemingly disparate ideas. Similarly, Geminis are naturally curious, often dipping their toes into many disciplines and learning them quickly before moving on to the next subject of interest. They soak up information and share it with others, their enthusiasm and sociability earning them many friends along the way.
Hermes was the messenger of the gods, just as Geminis are fond of diving into conversations with new people. They often seek new companions, always in search of what they see as their missing half – the other side of their symbol, the Twins.
But this connection has drawbacks, too. Some of Hermes's actions are morally ambiguous – he's a thief in some stories – and he has a tendency toward short, flighty encounters rather than deep connections. Likewise, Geminis can be indecisive and afraid of commitment, and be too preoccupied with what else is out there to really settle down. Naturally, the sign's ruling planet is Mercury, the Roman name for the Greek god.
Hera, the wife of Zeus, is one of the Greek pantheon's most pitiable figures – though she's the goddess of marriage, her husband is infamous for his constant infidelity. Cancers have a similar duality, being both loyal and intensely suspicious, sympathetic and insecure.
But Hera, like Cancers, is not without agency. Just as the goddess punished those who wronged her with little remorse, Cancers can have a bit of a manipulative streak. Taking advantage of their loyal nature is unwise, because neither Hera nor Cancers will suffer fools. They are kind and compassionate to those they care about, but those they care about had better care back or they'll find themselves on the wrong side of wrath.
Still, both Hera and Cancers have tough exteriors to protect their inner softness. That the astrological symbol for Cancer is the Crab is no coincidence – Cancers are feelings-driven and emotional, and therefore protect themselves by building walls around their true selves. But once a person does break through these barriers, they'll find someone compassionate, kind, and loyal to a fault.