The Centaur

I was born on the 25th morning of some November month. As per western astrology, the sun was in the constellation Sagittarius during that time of the year. Therefore I became a Sagittarian from that moment. I became one of ‘God’s lucky children’, I became a centaur. No, the purpose of this post is not to debate on whether the theory of ancient astrology is full-proof or not. I hardly have any knowledge on this topic to start a debate. Nor am I an advocate of superstition. People, who know me closely, are well aware of the fact that I rebuff to follow any sort of rituals, norms or customs. I was born to Hindu parents. I am officially a Hindu till date, but my view on religion or god matches more with that of Buddhism. I am basically agnostic and I don’t believe in many popular Hindu customs.
The logical side of me does not want to believe that a person’s fate is written on the stars. Life is an unpredictable journey itself. But as I have said, I am a centaur. There is hardly one single person living deep down the flesh and blood body of one human being. There is also another side of me that likes to let its imagination run wild. The side that believes in stars and fate and destiny and universe’s grand schemes. The side that feels fascinated by the unknown and all the unsolved mysteries in the world. The side that likes to ponder on the magical nature of the big, vast universe and beyond and believes in an unknown supreme power that makes everything be. The side that believes in Magic. The side that also believes in true love and fairy tale and the impossible transformation of an asshole into a human being someday. So it was no wonder that Linda Goodman would be a love at first sight for me. During my adolescent years one of my favourite books was Linda Goodman’s Sun Sign. Till date no one has written a book better than Linda Goodman on character analysis based on sun sign. No fortune telling, no Indian bullshit of mixing deities and gods with astrology, just a simple compilation of a few analytical observations in a most delightful and literary manner. It’s a fun read, trust me.
What I find the most interesting thing about my sign is its symbol. Sagittarius means ‘archer’ in Latin. The symbol of Sagittarius is a centaur drawing an arrow. A centaur is a mythological creature that is half human, half horse. Astrologers say that Sagittarius is the most interesting among all signs. If one looks back to origin of the symbol, one might understand the rationale behind such assumption. Coincidentally the centaur is the only mythological character that is used to represent one of the signs. Rest of the symbols are made of pretty mundane stuff like weighing machine, goat, humans etc.
Centaurs are Greek mythological characters that were considered as a savage race living in the mountains and forest of Magnesia in Thessaly. Centaurs were the offspring of King Ixion and nymph Nephele. Although the birth history of the centaurs was not exactly the lovey-dovey kind, rather the opposite. King Ixion was the king of of the Lapiths who were the most ancient tribes of Thessaly. Having killed his own father-in-law, king Ixion was the first character of Greek mythology who was guilty of the heinous crime of kin-slaughtering. But Zeus took pity on him and invited him to some godly party arranged by him. But Ixion was basically the shameless asshole kind that is very common nowadays. He started hitting on Hera who happened to be the sister AND the wife of Zeus. (The entire Greek mythology could have been a great source for adult moviemakers, had they been the educated, intellectual kind.) You don’t go to a party and start hitting on the host’s wife, whether you are a god or a human. Zeus got pretty pissed off at the tomfoolery of the ungrateful bastard Ixion. But the king of the Gods was a patient man. Had he been the god of some Middle Eastern religious community, he would have cut Ixion’s balls and raped every woman of his family. Instead he thought of playing a little game with Ixion and his aching balls. Zeus was a pretty bored man. And constantly having to mate with siblings and a bunch of other semi goddesses was not a matter of joke after all. In those days mating was an unprotected affair that often ended up with giving birth to a bunch of unwanted kids. Although once Zeus tried to stop an unwanted birth by swallowing up the woman after sleeping with her. This whole swallowing up business was pretty common among the dudes of Greek mythology. I am grateful to the man whoever invented condom. However Zeus ended up looking like an asshole when he got a terrible headache as Athena was born from his head.
Zeus came up with an ingenious idea to deceive the man who wanted to screw his wife and he called up a nymph named Nephele. Nymphs were a bunch of independent semi goddess chicks who were free to mate with any god or mortal. Besides, nymphs were ageless beauties. Well, some people are just damn lucky. Nymphs used to possess another special skill; they could change their forms into any element of nature. Our Nephele was a cloud nymph. Zeus transformed her in the image of Hera in order to test the character of Ixion. Now test shmest, Ixion was a horny dude. He knew what to do when he saw Nephele who looked like Hera. Forbidden fruit always tastes sweeter. Ixion raped Nephele. This dude was reckless. Nephele gave birth to Centaurus who later became the father of the centaur race. Needless to say that Zeus got pretty mad at Ixion and banished him from Olympus and punished him for all eternity.

Roman mosaic, 2nd century A.D. Altes Museum, Berlin

Pallas and the centaur. By Sandro Botticelli.

Centaur symbolizes dual persona. Having the upper body of a man and the lower body of a horse, they have always been associated with having a conflicting set of traits. The tale of centaurs does not tell the otherwise anyway. In general they are depicted as a savage and lustful race, which is not surprising given their family history. Horny, murderer father on one side and promiscuous, beautiful but trickster mother on the other side; quite a deadly combination for a bloodline. But on the other hand, there was also the tale of Chiron, the most famous centaur who happened to be the teacher of great hero Achilles. Chiron was famous for his knowledge and his nobility. He happened to sacrifice his immortality willingly and got a place forever in the sky which is known as the constellation Centaurus. Although Centaurus constellation does not represent the constellation associated with Sagittarius. Sagittarius is different constellation that is also depicted as a centaur shooting an arrow. Some myths say that Sagittarius was the constellation invented by Chiron himself. In the constellation, the archer’s arrow is said to have pointed towards the star Antares or the ‘heart of the Scorpion’ which happens to be a part of the neighbouring constellation Scorpius. As per the astronomical position, the Centaur and the Scorpius are always at war. Sounds familiar?
Centaurs play a small but regular and significant role in Harry Potter series. Rowling has depicted them as a proud and wise race that lives in the forbidden forest. They can foretell the future by the positions of stars and planets. Although they hate to get involved in anything as mundane and as unimaginative as fortune telling. They are far more interested in the mysterious movements of the universe. Also, they hate and avoid humans. Quite legitimately though.

The education of Achilles. By Louis Jean Francois Lagrenee

Sagittarius is among the fire signs of the zodiac. Being born under a fire sign does not mean that one must possess a fiery rage. Although Sagittarian rage is very quick and unpredictable and it does not linger for very long. The centaurs are not the brooding type. They can get mad in one moment and calm down in the next. They are also very blunt with their choice of words. I have scared away many people by this very nature of me. My quick temper and blunt words can be quite frightening at times; but at the end of the day I consider it as a very handy tool to filter assholes and opportunists from true companions. This brings us to another most important trait of the Archer. The Archers are said to possess the terminal case of optimism. No matter how depressed they are, they always tend to look at the big picture and the positive side of everything. Life is one big ‘everything happens for a reason’ circus to them. They hate to remain sad for very long. It is said that sadness and gloom can make a Sagittarius physically ill. And I am a firsthand proof of that conjecture. Did I ever mention how much I hate pessimists? The Archers love to explore the unknown, visit new places, meet new people. They are very adaptable in nature.
I have seen narrow minded, vile, selfish Sagittarius with very low IQ as well. They are neither noble nor gregorious. They are more interested in petty gossips than exploring the mystery of universe. So in a way, they are very down to earth. I presume they are just a bit more like their father, that's all. The Archers are also said to possess a certain prophetic skill. They are good with intuitions and all. So next time if a Sagittarius tells you about their hunch, don’t underestimate or ignore them. They might turn out to be right.

Image courtesy: Google image

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