Even though the names of these particular characters may not have been known to the larger world at the time Revelation was written, any Gentile who read the vision would have been familiar with these types of characters and their relationship to one another. There are two reasons why: 1) ancient legend had already popularized the theme, and 2) these characters were already grouped together in the constellations.
What many readers of Revelation don't realize is that this scene is literally in the heavens right now, and has been forever. The constellations of Virgo, Serpens, and Ophiuchus represent Israel, Satan, and Michael, respectively. Serpens stands with his head below Virgo's feet, waiting to devour her baby, but Ophiuchus seizes the serpent so as to throw him down. (By the way, even though the child was snatched away to heaven two thousand years ago, the war between the immortals has yet to occur.)
The Primeval Story in the Stars
In the midst of a monologue preserved for us in the extremely old Book of Job, God himself states that it is he who brings forth the Mazzaroth. That's a Hebrew word which means "constellations."
In Genesis we find God explaining that he is placing the lights in the vault of the sky not only to separate day and night, but also to serve "as signs to mark sacred times and days and years" (Gen. 1:14). So the stars are not only for timekeeping but for designating very special moments in history. In my research I've been able to show that the entire story of redemptive history from Creation to Millennial Kingdom is encoded chronologically in the constellations (see ch. 20 of Leviathan's Ruse, Vol. 1). The greatest prophetic message ever given has actually been above our heads since before there were any human heads to look up and see it.
Evidently the immortals were privy to this information before the Flood because the Book of Enoch claims that some of the Watchers transmitted the knowledge of cosmic signs to mankind (8:5-7).
Why is it that the Sumerian civilization of southern Mesopotamia, which is the oldest fully-formed civilization known to historians, pops onto the archaeological record with a fully formed Zodiac and great reverence for alignments of the stellar bodies? It's because the Sumerians were the descendants of an antediluvian civilization which already possessed an understanding of the constellations and astronomy, as given either to Adam by God or to the children of Adam by the Watchers. The Book of Genesis records that the offspring of Noah's sons gathered themselves together in the plains of Shinar, in Mesopotamia, to build a city and a tower called Babel. The group of families that stayed near Shinar after the division of languages is what became the Sumerian civilization.
Modern versions of the Mazzaroth are based mostly upon the 48 Greek constellations, which are almost thematically identical to earlier Zodiacs. However, the Greeks created myths to explain the constellations, so that, for instance, the sign of a bow in the Hindu Zodiac became a bow-wielding centaur in the Greek Zodiac. No one has hard evidence to show which Greeks invented the myths (or linked the constellations to elements of preexisting myths), but the mystery societies claim that it was initiates of the Mysteries who did so.
Considering what I know about the occult schools and mystery religions, that claim is very plausible. Initiates of the Secret Doctrine, as they like to call it, probably did create the myths as a way of spreading esoteric doctrines behind the mask of drama. Since those myths are still being learned and written about today, the Initiates' mind-hacking scheme evidently worked like a charm. A recently published book titled Initiation Into the Mysteries of the Secret Doctrine, written by someone named only Aceka, purports to reveal the teachings of the constellations as the key to understanding ancient esoteric philosophy. Perhaps Aceka knows exactly what's up (yes, I did just make that pun, and I'm proud of it).
So what does this have to do with dragons devouring young ladies? It's relevant because the dragon-and-damsel theme may have been originally popularized by the ancient Greek tales of Perseus saving Andromeda, and Heracles saving Hesione. Both myths feature a gifted male hero saving a helpless princess from a sea serpent (which is Satan's mascot, a fire-breathing sea serpent named Leviathan). Andromeda and Perseus are both decan constellations in the Greek version of the Mazzaroth, and they are directly adjacent to one another. Of course, the original meanings of these constellations don't have anything to do with fictional Greek characters, but their mythological adventure is what we in the western world now associate with the constellations of the serpent-slayer and the bound maiden.
Again, the Mazzaroth is a story-telling device programmed by God, so we should expect it to involve the most archetypal imagery in existence. Serpents show up in the constellations a few times because the serpentine fallen angels (more about that in future posts) are pivotal to the story of this world at more than one point along the timeline. Maidens are also found a few times throughout the Zodiac and its decans because the overarching theme of Scripture is the marriage of the anointed prince (Messiah) to the anointed princess (spiritual Israel). The constellation Virgo stands for the Assembly in her role as bride, whereas Andromeda is the Assembly under either persecution or deception, and Cassiopeia is the historic Assembly of Israel seated in the Promised Land.
It's not the individual instances, but the pure and special maiden type, that implants itself in our collective conscious. It's the adversarial serpent type that sticks with us.
Later stories like Saint George and the Dragon and Georgic and Merlin may have drawn from both the Greek legends and John's apocalyptic scripture, sharing as they do these primeval motifs.
My next blog posts will explore that topic, after first laying some more groundwork about the serpentine immortals.