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The ancient Egyptian signs of the Zodiac

The ancient Egyptian signs of the Zodiac

The ancient Egyptian signs of the Zodiac

For the ancient Egyptians, there was great meaning in the heavens above. The planets and stars could help you understand who you were and what would happen in the future.

The ancient Egyptians knew a great deal about astronomy. The ceilings in tombs and temples, for example, often depicted constellations of the night sky, and the pyramids were precisely aligned towards the pole star. Stars had great meaning, for the Egyptians believed that after death, a pharaoh’s soul would ascend to the heavens and become an imperishable star.

Along with many stars, the Egyptians could identify five planets – ‘stars that know no rest’, as they called them – Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and Venus. These they associated with Horus, the god of the sky.

From astronomy came astrology, in which the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies were interpreted as having an influence on people and nature. People came to believe that fate was ‘written in the stars’. Would the Nile flood, would there be a famine, would the pharaoh live a long life? Look to the stars…

It was the influence of the Greeks during the Ptolemaic period (305 to 30 BC) that saw Egyptians develop their own zodiac, borrowing from the Greek and Babylonian zodiacs with which we are familiar to this day.

The most famous zodiac of Egypt was found in a chapel dedicated to Osiris at the Hathor temple at Dendera, dating back to 50 BC. The circular ceiling relief – now at the Louvre, Paris ­– depicts a mix of Greco-Roman and Egyptian iconography. On the walls of the chapel, rectangular zodiacs also depict the ancient star signs.

Dendera zodiac (source)

The 12 star signs of ancient Egypt were closely connected to the gods and goddesses. Here they are. Which is your sign? Is it a good fit for you?

 

The Nile

Birth dates: January 1–7, June 19–28, September 1–7, November 18–26

Deity: the Nile (whose god was Hapi) was seen as the life source of all Egypt

Qualities of those born under this sign: peaceful, easy-going, passion for life, dreamer

 

Amun-Ra

Birth dates: January 8–21, February 1–11

Deity: Amun-Ra was the king of the gods, a fusion of the creator god Amun and the sun god Ra

Qualities of those born under this sign: a born leader, good at getting the best from people, always striving to do your best, confident and tenacious

 

Mut

Birth dates: January 22–31, Sept 8–22

Deity: Mut was the mother goddess

Qualities of those born under this sign: nurturing, caring, practical, wise

Geb

Birth dates: February 12–29, August 20–31

Deity: Geb was the god of the earth

Qualities of those born under this sign: Intuitive, kind, sensitive, affinity with nature

 

Osiris

Birth dates: March 1–10, November 27–December 18

Deity: Osiris was the god of the dead and the resurrection into eternal life, and the ruler, protector and judge of the deceased

Qualities of those born under this sign: independent, feisty, strong – but also capable of emotional vulnerability

 

Isis

Birth dates: March 11–31, October 18–29, December 19–31

Deity: Isis was the goddess of life, healing and magic, and the protector of women and children

Qualities of those born under this sign: protective, energetic, creative

 

Thoth

Birth dates: April 1–19, November 8–17

Deity: Thoth was the god of learning and wisdom

Qualities of those born under this sign: innovative, a problem-solver, stubborn, good at communicating

 

Horus

Birth dates: April 20, May 7, August 12–19

Deity: Horus was the god of the sky, kingship and order

Qualities of those born under this sign: optimistic, brave, dedicated, hardworking

Anubis

Birth dates: May 8–27, June 29–July 13

Deity: Anubis was the god of death, mummification, embalming, the afterlife, cemeteries, tombs and the underworld

Qualities of those born under this sign: happy in your own company, passionate, naturally introverted

 

Seth

Birth dates: May 28–June 18, September 28–October 2

Deity: Seth (or Set) was the god of chaos, violence, deserts and storms

Qualities of those born under this sign: outgoing, adventurous, a trail-blazer

 

Bastet

Birth dates: July 14–28, September 23–27, October 3–17

Deity: Bastet was the goddess of protection, cats, perfume/ointments, fertility, pregnancy, children, music, the arts and warfare

Qualities of those born under this sign: peaceful, look for balance, intuitive, spiritual

 

Sekhmet

Birth dates: July 29–August 11, October 30–November 7

Deity: Sekhmet was a warrior goddess and a goddess of healing

Qualities of those born under this sign: keen sense of justice, intelligent, a good leader, free-spirited

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