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Libra the Celestial Scales: Discovering Balance in the Stars

CEO Khai Intela
Most of us are familiar with our zodiac sign, but have you ever wondered where its name comes from and what it looks like in the night sky? Let's delve into the captivating story of...

Most of us are familiar with our zodiac sign, but have you ever wondered where its name comes from and what it looks like in the night sky? Let's delve into the captivating story of Libra...

Common Associations

  • Quality: Cardinal
  • Element: Air
  • Affirmation: I (seek to) Balance
  • Ruling planet: Venus
  • Body: Lower back, buttocks, kidneys
  • Colour: Indigo Blue
  • Flower: Rose, Hydrangea
  • Birthstones: Sapphire - September birthdays, Opal - October birthdays
  • Lucky Number: 6 (community, childhood)
  • Tarot card: Justice

Justice from the Rider-Waite Tarot Caption: Justice from the Rider-Waite Tarot


Libra constellation Caption: Libra constellation

Libra, pronounced as "Ly-bra" like "Library," is a small yet distinctive constellation located next to Virgo in the evening sky. It resembles a lopsided diamond and is visible in the northern hemisphere between April and July. The best time to spot Libra directly overhead is at midnight in June. Among the 88 constellations, Libra ranks 29th in size.

Libra as illustrated in Urania’s Mirror Caption: Libra as illustrated in Urania’s Mirror, 1825

Libra is bordered by the head of Serpens to the north, Virgo to the northwest, Hydra (the largest constellation) to the southwest, Lupus to the south, Scorpius to the east, and the serpent bearer, Ophiuchus, to the northeast.

While not as prominent as other constellations, Libra holds a significant ancient galaxy cluster, estimated to be around 10 billion years old, the same age as our Milky Way. Additionally, the red dwarf star Gliese 581, located about 20 light-years from Earth, has three orbiting planets, with one potentially suitable for life.

In ancient times, Libra was considered part of the neighboring constellations Scorpio and Virgo. However, its brightest stars still bear the remnants of this association. The brightest star in Libra, α Librae, also known as Zubenelgenubi, means "the Southern Claw" in Arabic. The second-brightest star, β Librae, is called Zubeneschamali, meaning "The Northern Claw."

The Scorpionic Scales Caption: The Scorpionic Scales, from Mercator

Fun fact: Since 2002, the Sun actually appears in the constellation of Libra from October 31st to November 22nd. However, this differs from the dates used in media horoscopes, which are based on modern western or tropical astrology.

Mythology and History

Libra mythology Caption: Libra mythology

Libra was once considered part of Scorpio and was known as the "scales" or "balance" in Babylonian astronomy. In ancient Greece, Libra was also depicted as the Scorpion's Claws.

These scales held great significance for the Babylonian sun god Shamash, who represented truth and justice. Libra has ever since been associated with law, fairness, and civility.

Around 3000 years ago, the Sun's entry into Libra marked the beginning of autumn, when day and night were balanced. Roman astrologers associated the constellation with Astraea, the goddess of purity and justice, holding the scales. However, due to the Earth's wobble and precession, this alignment changed around AD 730.

Astraea Caption: Astraea

Libra was officially recognized as a separate constellation in ancient Rome. It represented the scales held by Astraea or Dike, who, interestingly, was associated with Virgo in Greek mythology. Although the Greeks intermingled the stars of Libra with those of Scorpius, the Romans always considered them as distinct groups.

Roman judges were believed to be born under the sign of Libra, and it is said that the Moon was in Libra during the founding of Rome, as mentioned in the historical passage, "qua condita Roma."

The Libra Archetype

Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, alongside Gemini and Aquarius. Unlike other signs represented by humans or animals, Libra's scales symbolize the collective human desire for justice. Libras also harbor a personal need for balance, order, and equality. Astrologers consider Libra an especially fortunate sign, as it occurs during the peak harvest season when the rewards of hard work are reaped.

Libras exude suavity, cleverness, and an innate likability. They possess exceptional observation skills, acute perception, and are great listeners. Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love, Libras are incredibly sensitive to beauty in all its forms, be it nature, art, or music. They abhor loud noises, cruelty, nastiness, and vulgarity, embodying a refined and civilized nature. Natural diplomats, Libras strive to create harmony by cooperating and compromising with those around them.

However, they may also exhibit negative Scorpio traits, including touchiness, thin-skinnedness, and difficulty handling criticism. Libras thrive on being the center of attention and can become resentful when they are not. At times, they may showcase passive-aggressive behavior or display a "iron fist in a velvet glove" approach — smoothly vengeful or ruthlessly determined.

But overall, smiling and sophisticated, Libras are a joy to be around.

Next time, we'll explore the celestial marvel of The Scorpion.