I'm a Swedish writer and astrologer. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. Here's my personal website: stenudd.com
Books by Stefan Stenudd:
This book presents an imaginative reading of the divination cards, which is the most appropriate for the Tarot, consisting of symbolic images. Several spreads are introduced, as well as the meanings of all the 78 cards and their pictures. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The philosophers of Ancient Greece and what they thought about cosmology, myth, religion and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Qi (chi), prana, spirit, and all the other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Try the old deck of Tarot cards for free divination online. How to use the Tarot and what each card means.
Try the ancient Chinese divination online for free. The 64 hexagrams of I Ching, The Book of Change, and what they mean in divination.
The Sagittarius Symbol
Its meaning and origin
The above image is the established symbol (also called glyph) for the Zodiac sign Sagittarius, the Archer. It's a simplified drawing of a bow and arrow. Both the Zodiac sign and its symbol have been along for ages.
The Zodiac division of the ecliptic into twelve parts, each assigned a Zodiac sign, is probably of Babylonian (Mesopotamia) origin. They were very early with astrology, mapping the sky and noting planetary movements thousands of years ago. The Zodiac very much like the one we know today, might have emerged in Mesopotamia around 1000 BC, but Babylonian astrology is probably far older than that.
The Babylonians connected this Zodiac sign and the constellation to something quite similar to the Archer: the soldier. That's what they called the sign. To the Babylonians as well as later cultures, an archer would mostly be one of war. They may have gotten the connection from the shape of the constellation in the sky, although that's rather vague.
The constellation of Sagittarius is possible to see as a picture of an archer, if the right stars are connected with lines. There's something that could be the suggestion of a bow and a body behind it. Still, other things could just as easily be imagined. Through history, though, the image of the archer has been related to this constellation. Several of the Zodiac constellations are at least equally vague in depicting their Zodiac sign. Here's the constellation Sagittarius:
Below is an antique illustration of the same constellation, where the figure of a centaur archer has been added. It's from a 17th century book: Firmamentum sobiescianum, by Johannes Hevelius, 1690.
Anyway, here's that ink again, this time in the original black and white (click on the image to see a bigger version):
Sagittarius the SignAs for the picture commonly used to represent the Sagittarius Zodiac sign, it's been an image of an archer for as long as that has been its name - surely longer than the symbol described above has existed. Not just any archer, though, but a centaur, a man with the body of a horse. That mythological creature has been connected to the Zodiac sign and the constellation since the days of Ancient Greece. Below is one typical example, where the stars of the constellation Sagittarius have also been marked. It's an illustration from Poeticon astronomicon, a 1482 book by Hyginus.