Askalaphus was a gardener for Hades, god of the dead, in the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone, her mother Demeter searched for her in vain, until Hekate told her of the kidnapping. Demeter went to Zeus and demanded the return of her daughter, who decreed that, so long as Persephone had eaten none of the food of the dead, she could be freed. Persephone had been disconsolate in her enforced sojourn in the underworld, and refused all nourishment. But one day, when walking in the gardens, she had plucked a pomegranate, broken it open, and eaten six seeds. Askalaphus, in his capacity as gardener, had witnessed this, and duly reported it to Zeus, who ruled that Persephone could return to her mother and the earth for half of the year, but would need to spend the other six months with Hades in the underworld. Demeter cursed Askalaphus for his tattling, and transformed him into a screech owl.
Astrologically, Askalaphus represents tale-bearing, the revealing of secrets or inconvenient truths, gossiping, spying or eavesdropping; and meddling or being caught up in circumstances greater than oneself, often to one’s detriment.