Astronomy | Old Irish Zodiac

Old Irish Zodiac - the constellations of the Zodiac as they are known in the Irish language.

Ecliptic star groups in the Irish language

Zodiac Name Old Irish Name Meaning Symbol

Aries

Réithe Ram  

Taurus

Tarbh Bull  

Gemini

Castor & Pollucs The Twins  

Cancer

Portán Crab  

Leo

Hound  

Virgo

Oigbhean Young Woman  

Libra

Scálai Scales

Scorpio

Scorpion Scorpion  

Sagittarius

Laoch Caithte Saighead Hero of the Thrown Arrows  

Capricorn

Pocán The Goat  

Aquarius

An tUisceadóir Water Carrier  

Pisces

Dá Iasc Two Fishes  

This old Irish zodiac was obviously heavily influenced by Greco-Latin ideals, and translated straight into Irish, although it is interesting that Leo is called 'Cú', The Hound, and not Leon, the Lion. There is some evidence to suggest constellation groupings like the bull constellation were perceived in ancient Ireland. Other constellations which were recognised as groupings include Orion (which was known in various forms, most notably Nuadu of the Silver Hand) and Cassiopeia and the Northern Crown. Cygnus, The Swan, was probably recognised as a constellation too.

The Milky Way was known as 'The Way of the White Cow, and has led Mythical Ireland to believe the ancient 'river goddess' Boann (illuminated cow) was in fact meant to be the Moon, and that Newgrange, which is known in Irish as Brú na Bóinne, is not just a construct designed to capture Winter Solstice sunrise, but also Full Moon rise at certain times of the lunar cycle. Brú na Bóinne could mean 'womb of the moon'.

This page was last updated on Monday, 30th October 2017 @ 23:03:20