The Story of Libra
There are several myths which are associated with the constellation of
Libra, and a number of them are closely related to myths of Virgo.
There was Themis, daughter of Gaia, mother earth herself. Themis was in
charge of the Oracle at Delphi and sat beside Zeus to offer advice. She
was also the goddess of divine law, who judged whether the dead went to
Tartarus or the Elysian Fields.
She is commonly portrayed as a woman holding a pair of scales in one
hand, a sword in the other and wearing a blindfold as a symbol of
impartiality and inner sight.
Astraea Holding Balance Scales
Vermont State House
Later on, the stars of Libra were related to the myth of Astraea,
daughter of Themis and Zeus. Astraea was also called the Goddess of
Justice. In her great golden scales, she weighed the good and evil
deeds of humanity and decided their fate.
Astraea was the last of the immortals to mingle with humans on the
earth. But by the end of the Golden Age, she became increasingly offended
by the wickedness of humanity and returned to the
heavens, joining Demeter as the constellation Virgo. A variation of this myth has Astraea returning to the heavens in such a
hurry that she left her golden scales behind. Themis, as the scales, was
then placed in the sky as the constellation Libra to shine beside her daughter.
It is also said that the Romans, fearing her judgment, created the
constellation Libra from the claws of the Scorpion so that the scales
would always be nearby.
Libra in Astrology
We know from its association with the seventh house, that the
primary focus of Libra is the role that we play in partnership, particularly
that most important one of our life: our mate. Everything Libra revolves
around participation in a relationship.
We also know from the myths that Libra is all about balance...weighing good
against evil, weighing the pros and cons, seeing both sides of an issue.
The job of Libra, the Scales is to be impartial and fair, to maintain the equilibrium, to
keep everything in balance. The job of pronouncing judgement belongs to Virgo,
the Virgin. Libra does not like to disturb the status quo. Libra will avoid confrontations at all costs.
And we also know from its ruling planet, Venus, that Libra is associated
with beauty and love. If you read her myth, you know that Venus
does not like anything dirty or unrefined. She is also a very sexy
lady. As the ruling planet of Libra, she brings those qualities to the sign.
When planets travel through Libra, their energy becomes softer and
more willing to compromise. We like the pretty things in life more
and we are more willing to please others.
If we can take this to extremes, however, we can become terribly indecisive,
which causes no end of aggravation to our friends and family. We can also begin
to feel like all this stuff that we are doing for them is going unappreciated.
And that can lead to resentment at being taken advantage of and Hey, What About
At those times, we need to remember that you can't be a doormat unless you lie
Natural House: Seventh
Energy: Yang (+) Masculine
Traditional Ruler: Venus
Modern Ruler: Venus
Fall: The Sun
Key word: Harmony
Key phrase: I Balance!
Part of the Body: The Lower Back, the
Kidneys, and Adrenal Glands
Libra in the Sky
Constellation Art from Stellarium
The constellation of Libra is a faint constellation best viewed in late
spring in the northern latitudes. It lies between Scorpio to the east and Virgo to the west.
Although the constellation of Libra was identified as such
by the Babylonians, the ancient Greeks and Arabs considered it to be part of
Scorpio, representing the great claws of the scorpion. It was called
"Chelae Scorpionis", the Scorpion's Claws.
Even today, the stars of the constellation carry names that,
when translated from the ancient Arabic, refer to the claws. The alpha star
is known as Zuben Elgenubi, meaning "Southern Claw", and the beta star is
known as Zuben Eschamali, meaning "Northern Claw".
But as early as 800 - 650 BCE, a star map recovered from the
Assyrian ruins of King Assurbanipal's library in Nineveh depicted these
stars as a balance scale. Interestingly, some translate the name Zuben
Elgenubi to mean 'the price to be paid' and Zuben Eschamali as 'the price
to be received'.
Libra first appeared as a separate constellation in the
Julian calendar of 46 B.C. At that time, the sun passed through the
constellation of Libra at the autumnal equinox, when the days and nights are
equal in length and the world is in balance.
Libra is Latin for
Weighing Scales...the only constellation representing an inanimate
object. When viewed with a telescope, its brightest star, which sits at the
top of the Southern Scale, can be seen as a pale yellow and grey double
star. The second brightest star, at the top of the Northern Scale, is a
white star, although some say it is green.