Virgo has been associated with many goddesses throughout history. For the Egyptians it represented Isis, while the Romans knew it as Ceres. All traditions in which Virgo features, however, agree that the constellation represents maidens, fertility, and purity. So pure, in fact, that in India, Virgo was known as Kauni, the mother of the god Krishna. In Ancient Babylonia, Virgo was associated with the goddess Ishtar, who descended into the Underworld to rescue her husband Tammuz, the god of all harvests, in order for the Earth to again produce crops.
Although it is not entirely clear how the constellation Leo became known to the ancient Egyptians, one enchanting piece of star lore goes as follows. The ancient Egyptians worshiped Leo because they knew the Sun entered the constellation during the Flooding of the Nile, which brought significant amounts of water and fertile soil onto the land. Food security in Egypt depended on this annual natural cycle, a circumstance that also coincided with the arrival of desert lions at the river. Although the lions moved toward the river to avoid the heat and lack of water in the desert at that time, a connection was made by the Egyptians, who honored the lion with festivals, and even today many statues of lions can be found along the course of the Nile River, proof of the reverence with which the ancient Egyptians regarded the desert lions.