Libra is one of the “newest” constellations of the zodiac. Originally all of its stars belonged to neighbouring Scorpio. They formed the scorpion’s claws and were separated into the new constellation by the ancient Babylonians long after they had established the others. The main stars in Libra are still called the Northern Claw (Zubeneschamali) and the Southern Claw (Zubenelgenubi).
When I began my series of Star Gayzing I mentioned that Scorpio was regarded by the Babylonian astrologers as the patron constellation of the “love of a man for a man”. I still haven’t found out why, or what part the scorpion’s claws played. Though, when you come to think of it, Libra can be seen as the perfect modern symbol of lgbt rights and equality considering the claws are now represented as a pair of balancing scales.
The Babylonians first depicted Libra as the scales of justice. But they probably may have been created it because it rose during the time of the autumnal equinox when day and night are of equal length.
Something else to think about is Libra’s position among the constellations. Just as the sun travels through the signs of the zodiac so does the moon. During a full moon the moon is exactly opposite the sun. When the sun is in Libra the full moon appears in Taurus. Babylonian astrology specifically places the full moon in the Pleiades, the star cluster at the edge of Taurus. This cluster has been referred to on some websites as being the star group dedicated by the Ancient Greeks to same-sex relationships. I’ll be dealing with the Pleiades in more detail next year.
What would be interesting to find out is if the same-sex connection between Libra and the Pleiades is just a modern one or if there was any connection in the ancient world. It seems to be a strange coincidence (I don’t believe in coincidence). From an astrological point of view it would seem that anyone born during a full moon in Libra has particularly gay stars shining down on them.