From time immemorial mankind has been fascinated by astrological tattoo designs. Over the millennia the observation of the nighttime skies has resulted in many myths, legends and even the development of astrology and the use of zodiac charts and horoscope signs. Which, taken collectively, is a group of systems, beliefs and traditions that hold with the belief that the positions of celestial bodies can provide information about human and terrestrial affairs.
In astrological terms tattoo designs are created from those signs and symbols that divide the elliptic into twelve equal slices, making it a type of ecliptic coordinate system with the position of the sun at the vernal equinox as the origin of longitude. Well so they say, I just like to read my horoscope.
The term zodiac itself comes from the Latin word ‘zodiacus’, which in turn is derived from the Greek word ζδιακς κύκλος which can be interpreted as “circle of animals” due to the fact that the Greek astrological zodiac was made up of all animals or animal hybrids; signs and symbols that the Greeks ascribed to certain collections of stars in specific parts of the night sky.
While the twelve signs of the zodiac design may have originated in Babylonia and ancient Egypt, the advanced study of the twelve astrological houses and their movements through the heavens can be attributed to India and China.
China in particular developed a complex astrological science based on a twelve year (instead of twelve month) cycle; each year named after an animal, but those signs that Western society is most familiar with are those that have been handed down from the Babylonian to the Greek to the Latin and make up our twelve zodiacal signs and are used in all horoscope predictions.
Today in astronomy, the term zodiac refers to the ring of constellations that line the ecliptic (the sun’s path across the celestial sphere during the course of a year’s revolution around the sun). And while the term has been adopted by scientific terminology, for millennia the concept of the horoscope designs was the realm of astrology.
But even though the term is used in scientific circles, and our modern descriptions of Greek and Roman zodiac designs and symbols, the study of the zodiac itself can be traced back much further than Greece. The roots of the zodiac body art tattoo that we are familiar with today extend some 3,000 years back into history, originating in Babylonia and ancient Egypt.
The twelve signs of the zodiac are each ascribed specific characteristics that make the sign unique and which astrologers claim can be assigned to those who are born under that particular sign. But the twelve signs themselves can be divided into four main groups; each group relating to a specific element.
Aires (the Ram), Leo (the Lion), Sagittarius (the Archer) are all fire signs that deal with the power of fire and the sun. Gemini (the Twins), Libra (the Scales) and Aquarius (the Water Bearer) are air signs that deal with the power of the wind. Cancer (the Crab), Scorpio (the Scorpion) and Pisces (the Fish) are water signs that herald rainy seasons and the power of water.