Robert Scott Wadsworth (Biblical Astronomy March 2003 Newsletter)
Judah - Leo (Arieh, the lion)
Gen. 49:8-9 (The Scriptures) – You, Yehudah, your brothers praise you; your hand is on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children bow down before you. Yehudah is a lion’s cub; from the prey you have gone up, my son! He bowed down, he crouched like a lion. And like a lion, who does rouse him? This symbol looks more like a serpent than it does a crouching lion. The constellation Hydra the serpent is a decan constellation to the sign Leo. The lions paw is coming down on the serpents neck. Perhaps the emphasis on this sign is the destruction of the Lion’s enemy, the serpent. But then again, it may have been a symbol for a crouching lion. A bit of a mystery.
Zebulun - Virgo (Bethulah, a virgin)
Gen. 49:13 (The Scriptures) – Zebulun dwells at the seashore, he is for a haven for ships, and his border is unto Tsidon. (Zebulun – dwelling)
Deut. 33:18,19 – Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and you Issachar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer sacrifices of righteousness; they will feast on the abundance of the seas, and the treasures hidden in the sand.
On the right side of the above symbol, is a fish. This is a strange symbol for Virgo (the Maiden), except for its interpretation as the tribal sign of Zebulun, who dwells at the seashore and feasts on the abundance of the seas.There are variations on the symbol given for the sign Virgo, but most of them have the fish included in the symbol. Below is another version of the symbol which I pulled off an internet website. Here the figure of the fish is clearly seen. According to Carl G. Liungman in his book Dictionary of Symbols, (1938), p.38, the left side of this symbol is based on the Hebraic letter mem. The fish is a Phoenician symbol.
Issachar - Cancer (Klaria,cattle folds)
Gen. 49:14,15 (Complete Jewish Bible) – Yissakar is a strong donkey lying down in the sheep sheds (TS – between two burdens). On seeing how good is settled life and how pleasant the country, he will bend his back to the burden, and submit to forced labor.
This symbol was always known as the two donkeys. See the article The Sign Cancer in the August 2002 edition of Biblical Astronomy for further information on the tribe of Issachar and the sign Cancer.