The elephant headed Lion and the Turtle as Indian zodiac symbols

I have been viewing and discussing some unique features of Inner Sky Electrum Innovative Astrology Software for Windows 7 and Vista. One of these features that this program can display a lot of illustrations of Old Sky Maps, Sky Atlases and historical Zodiacs.

Illustrations to be displayed in the celestial sphere zone: Hevelius, Grotius, Kircher, Abu Ma’shar, Abd al-Wahid, As-Sufi, Indian, Esna, Denderah, Athribis, reconstructed Sumerian-Babylonian, Chinese constellational lunar mansions…

Now I would like to focus on some interesting characteristics of the displayed Indian Zodiac. ISE astrological software used these horoscope paintings from Gujarat to create the zodiac images and it applies an elephant headed Lion.

This mixed lion that borrows head features from an elephant is known as Gajasimha in the Hindu religion and Art.

An other interesting trait that the Cancer zodiac sign (or/and constellation) is represented on these above mentioned paintings as a Turtle. I attached here the figure created by ISE astrology software.

(However, it is well-known that in many Native American cultures the Turtle represents the Mother of Earth…)

But to understand this Cancer-Turtle analogy within the context of the Hindu mythology, let us evoke the symbolic story about the churning of the Cosmic Milky Ocean.

„Churning of the milky ocean was an elaborate process. The churning tool or dasher was Mount Mandrachal and Vasuki, the king of serpents was the churning rope. Devatas holding the tail and asuras holding the head of Vasuki, started churning, alternatively rotating Mount Mandrachal. However, Mandrachal after mounting in the ocean, began to sink. Vishnu in the form of turtle (Kurma Avatar of his second incarnation) supported the mountain on his back. The first product emerged during the churning of the ocean was Halahala (Poison) which was swallowed by Lord Shiva. Followed by Halahala, various other products emerged and the list of products vary from one Purana to another. Finally, Dhanvantari, the heavenly physician emerged with a pot of Amrita, the nectar of immortality.”

And we know the main astrological meaning of the Cancer principle: like this mythical Turtle, it is the basis of all manifestations, a constant support under the water…


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