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Origins of the Planetary Myths in Astrology

Origins of the Planetary Myths in Astrology

In episode 436 astrologer Demetra George joins me to discuss the origins of the myths associated with the planets in astrology, and how the Greek gods were assigned to the planets by the philosopher Plato and his students in the 4th century BCE.

Early in the Greek tradition the planets either didn’t have names or were given descriptive names that matched their appearance, and it wasn’t until later that they were given the names of gods.

It wasn’t until the time of the philosopher Plato and his students in the 4th century BCE that we see that Greek authors begin to give the planets specific names based on the gods of Greek religion and mythology ( i.e. Hermes/Mercury, Aphrodite/Venus, Ares/Mars, Zeus/Jupiter, Kronos/Saturn).

The names first appear in the works of philosophers surrounding Plato’s Academy in Athens: Plato, Philip of Opus, Eudoxus of Cnidus, and Aristotle.

The full set of names seems to first appear in a philosophical text called the Epinomis, which is thought to have been written by Plato’s student Philip of Opus.

The names appear to have been chosen deliberately partially based on matching them to the older names that the Mesopotamian astrologers had given the planets in their pantheon (e.g. the god Hermes was assigned to the planet Mercury because Hermes was the Greek god of writing, and this matches the god the Mesopotamians assigned to Mercury which was called Nabu who was also a god of writing).

Our goal with this episode was to talk about this process of naming the planets after the gods, compare the Mesopotamian and Greek myths for the planets, and discuss the impact this had on astrology.

We spend the first 52 minutes setting up the problem and talking about the historical context and the issues involved, and then for the next hour and a half we go through and compare the Mesopotamian and Greek myths for each of the planets to see the ways in which they are consistent or inconsistent with each other. Finally after that we have a 30 minute segment drawing some conclusions and wrapping things up.

In some ways this episode acts as the third in a trilogy of episodes I’ve done over the past month in exploring the impact of Platonism on astrology, with the Lots episode being the first and the Proclus episode the second, and in this one we take things even further by tracing things right back to Plato and his students in the 4th century BCE.

The episode is important then because it addresses some very core issues about what do the planets mean in astrology and how did those meanings develop, and it takes us back to the very roots of western astrology and helps us to get another step closer to understanding where this system came from and how it first came together.

This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.

Demetra’s Time-Lords Workshop

Demetra is doing an intensive on Hellenistic time-lord techniques in person in June, and you can find out more information about it here:




  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:02:46 Premise of the discussion
  • 00:05:05 The Mesopotamian tradition
  • 00:19:30 Greek involvement in astrology
  • 00:26:43 Plato and the Academy
  • 00:42:20 Philip of Opus and the Epinomis
  • 00:52:09 Myths of the Planets comparison begins
  • 00:53:50 The Sun
  • 01:05:23 The Moon
  • 01:22:20 Mercury
  • 01:45:10 Venus
  • 02:00:20 Mars
  • 02:10:20 Jupiter
  • 02:22:20 Saturn
  • 02:33:13 Ouranos, Kronos, Zeus
  • 02:35:28 Concluding remarks
  • 03:00:40 Demetra’s time-lord retreat
  • 03:03:37 Credits

Watch the Video Version of This Episode

Watch the video version of this episode on Proclus and astrology on YouTube:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 436 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

Listen to the audio version of this episode or download it as an MP3:

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  • Very often, The Astrology Podcast releases an episode that happens to be an extremely specific match to a topic that I have found myself to be considering at that time, and undoubtedly each time I receive so many tools from the episode to enhance my own experience! Thank you for having such a variety of topics and taking us on deep dives into all of them!