On my first night walk this Spring I was greeted by all sorts of old friends frolicking in the sky above me. There was Sirius, Monoceros (unicorn), Centaurus and Leo and I even looked for good old Sagittarius but then remembered that he was being over powered by Sol and wouldn’t show in the night sky again until some time this summer. They’re all animals, you know, there’s a dog, unicorn, lion and Centaur with each having its own symbolic meaning in mythology and in dreams. Actually nearly half (42/88) of the identified constellations are animals plus two more being Chimera (part human/part animal) for a total of 44 out of 88 while more than half are animals on the western monthly Zodiac (7 out of 12). All of the 12 zodiac images on the Chinese yearly zodiac are animals.
Sirius is the Dog Star and comes with loyalty and unconditional love and the Unicorn represents purity, high ideals, insight, and gentleness though he can also represent one-sidedness. Then there’s good old Leo. Besides being my birth sign he represents bravery, power and leadership and sometimes an archetype of the King. He is also symbolic of the Christ that may be why CS Lewis used him in the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe of the Narnia series.
The Centaur is the astronomer and the guardian of magic. He represents the melding or union of both the higher and lower aspects of humankind. He also represents the dual nature of us all that needs to be balanced in both the intellectual/mental and the physical of our nature.
Oh yes, I almost forgot there was another member of my symbolic menagerie that night that of the inverted crescent of a waxing moon looking very much like the fading smile of the Cheshire Cat an animal being simultaneously here and not here and thus representing the concept of all potential and who then makes a mockery of reality with his questionable reliability.
As with our dreams these animals in the sky are all guides to and from our deeper nature and whether in myth or dreams represent the energies of the deeper psyche i.e. they are reflections of ourselves and as such are very real in that they live within us no matter where we walk or lay down our heads.