Interesting Zodiac Facts
People today like to look at their horoscope in the newspaper, to see what suggestions their astrological sign might have for them. The word “horoscope” also comes from the ancient Greek, and roughly means “look at the hour,” i.e. compare the hour you were born to the placement of the stars in the sky.
When you look at a horoscope, you see that it begins with advice for Aries birthdays (March 21-April 19). Ptolemy fixed his astrological year at the vernal equinox, or the start of spring. Since the zodiac was about life, it made sense to link it to the time of the year when new things started to grow. Our current use of January as the start of the year is a modern day practice by comparison, having been around since only 46 B.C.
When Ptolemy first created his astrological calendar, the constellations selected were correctly aligned overhead. Since constellation paths change over time, the actual stars in the sky no longer match up with the dates associated with them. The rotation moves backward (called equinoctial precession). Now, when we celebrate birthday parties for those born under Aries, the Pisces constellation (soon to move backward to Aquarius) is actually overhead! The stars should properly realign themselves in just under 26,000 years!
As you think about your zodiac tattoos designs, there are some points you can consider. First, do you want a zodiac tattoo of the image associated with the constellation (e.g. Aries is a ram), or simply the letter-form glyph (sometimes called a sigul) associated with the constellation (e.g. Aries looks like a “V” with curled down tips, resembling a ram’s horns).
Each zodiac is associated with one of the four elements: earth, air, fire, or water. Each element is linked to certain personality characteristics.
- Earth: uses physical body to make things happen; works hard to achieve goals
- Air: all-pervasive and everywhere; tries to create unification
- Fire: has independent element of self; expresses self without fear
- Water: fluid and self-reflective; sensitive and emotional
One way to custom design your zodiac sign tattoo would be to include artwork representing the corresponding element within your zodiac tattoo designs. For example, Leo the lion is a fire element. How about a lion’s mane made of flames?
As you will see on the pages that follow, each zodiac symbol is also associated with a part of the body, a color, a metal, a flower, and a gem. Different sources sometimes list different characteristics or colors; we’ve included the most popular choices. (Note: some zodiac signs have both an ancient and modern-day gem association. Modern gems will be set apart in parentheses.) Each one even has a food assigned to it, which sign-bearers are recommend to eat for optimum health! While it is not necessary to include these characteristics in your zodiac tattoos, it may help you custom design one that is truly unique. For example, Aquarius is associated with the ankles and shins, the color blue-violet, and the tulip. You could design artwork of a flowing water pitcher, decorated with blue-violet tulips, and have it tattooed on your lower leg.
A word of caution.
The practice of astrology is based on ancient world-views that existed before our understandings of modern day science. Repeated scientific studies have found no link between celestial bodies and earthly events. Many western religions have condemned astrology as a form of magic. Thus, you will encounter people who will look down on astrological tattoos and accuse you of being superstitious. If you are really into astrology, and don’t care how people react, then tattoo away.