The astrological zodiac as we use it today is based on the greek and roman zodiacal calendar, developed from the images and symbols well known to the people who lived on the European continent. That’s why we have Sagittarius symbolized by the constellation of the Centaur from greek mythology, Aries symbolized by the Ram, and Taurus symbolized by the Sacred Bull.
But the people of the Americas had their own mythology, animals, and symbols and they were also well known for following the movements of the stars and planets across the sky. They developed their own system for keeping track of equinoxes, full moons, and Venus risings, and their own mythology for explaining the stories of the stars. They had the Tortoise in the constellation we know as Sagittarius, the Python for Pisces, and the Rattlesnake Tail of Quetzalcoatl in Taurus.
Many of the stories and astronomical knowledge of the Mayan, Aztec, and Olmec people of the Americas has been lost in the great fires of the Christian missionaries. The divine mission of the conquistadors in this land was to both take all the precious minerals and natural resources of its people, and remove all the mythologies and sacred rituals of the land.
What we know now we salvage from the few codices that survived the fire; the living Maya and Indigenous people of Central and South America, and the vibrant archetypes that live on within the Latinx and Indigenous mindset.
One of the most vibrant of all mythologies is that of Quetzalcoatl, the Morning Star we know was Venus, whose rattlesnake tail sleeps in the cave of the Pleiades. The Pleiades are the constellation of seven stars in the shoulder of the bull of the constellation Taurus in Western Astrology, and are associated with the seven sisters of Greek Mythology.
For the Maya of the Yucatan, the Pleiades were the rattlesnake tail of Quetzalcoatl (tzab), and when Venus passed through tzab, Quetzalcoatl brought rains down to the Earth, and initiated the rainy season. The rattlesnake tail may represent the sound of rain pouring down from the heavens, and is associated with abundance and agricultural fertility.
Quetzalcoatl, Gukumatz, the winged serpent, actually had many forms in Mayan, Aztec, and Mayan mythologies including the ruler of the spiritual city of Tollan, the spirit of wind in the form of spider monkeys, and the harpy eagle rising at dawn.
As the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl is linked with water, fertility, and abundance, which connects his power to that of the Western interpretation for the constellation of Taurus, the bull. While both signify a time of abundance of the natural earth and power in growth, Taurus is thought to be grounded, structured, with masculine power that rises from the Earth. Quetzalcoatl is mystic, resplendent, and signifies androgynous power that rains down from the heavens.
Quetzalcoatl is the combination of the Quetzal, the spirit of transcendence and elevation above the material reality of Earth, and Coatl, the serpent of transformation and cyclical nature of matter. We can think of this manifestation of Quetzalcoatl/Taurus as a time of growth that rises from our connection with the cosmos: a profound acceptance of the cycles of growth here on Earth linked with the stars above. Matter is transformed through the cycles of time initiated by the dance of the stars in the cosmos.
Milbrath, Susan. Star Gods of the Maya : Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars, University of Texas Press, 1999. ProQuest Ebook Central.
McIvor, Robert. “An Early American Zodiac.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 106.1 (2012): 12. Web.