Books by Stefan Stenudd:
The Aquarius Symbol
Its Origin and Meaning in Astrology
The above image is the established symbol (also called glyph) for the Zodiac sign Aquarius, the Water-Bearer (or Water-Carrier). It's a simplified drawing of water waves, the liquid Aquarius is carrying. Both the Zodiac sign and its symbol have been along for ages.
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 Great OneThe Babylonians connected this Zodiac sign and the constellation with one of their gods, Ea, calling it "The Great One." Ea was often depicted with an overflowing vase. Later, the Babylonians simply called the constellation the Pitcher.
The reason for the connection between the sign and the carrying of water is hidden in history, but it has been persistent. The constellation gives a clue.
When the stars in the constellation are connected with lines, it's possible to make out a figure of some sort, pouring something in abundance.
Several of the Zodiac constellations are more vague than that in depicting their Zodiac sign. Here's the constellation Aquarius:
Below is an antique illustration of the same constellation, where the figure of the water-bearer has been added. It's from a 17th century book: Firmamentum sobiescianum, by Johannes Hevelius, 1690.
Aquarius in InkBelow is an ink version of the symbol for Aquarius, which I did a number of years back in an experiment of using Japanese ink calligraphy (shodo) for old European astrology symbols. I've used these pictures on my astrology websites, mainly for fun and for the odd graphic effect, and I've seen them copied all over the Internet. I'm fine with that, although I think it wouldn't hurt if the source was mentioned. Well, what to do?
Anyway, here's that ink again, this time in the original black and white (click on the image to see a bigger version):
Aquarius the SignAs for the picture commonly used to represent the Aquarius Zodiac sign, it's been an image of a water-bearer since the days of old Babylonia - surely much longer than the symbol described above has existed. Below is one typical example of the figure, where the stars of the constellation Aquarius have also been marked, though not with unquestionable astronomical accuracy. It's an illustration from Poeticon astronomicon, a 1482 book by Hyginus.
Zodiac Sign SymbolsHere are the symbols (glyphs) of all the twelve Zodiac signs, and links to pages telling more about each Zodiac sign symbol.