The Stars of Orion

prajapati4In Hinduism, Orion is associated with Prajapati “lord of creatures” presiding over procreation, and protector of life. Vedic commentators also identify him with the creator referred to in the Nasadiya Sukta.

In Egypt he is the god Osiris. In Turkic and several other cultures, he retains this role of protector of the heavens as a swordsman on horseback. . The precise attributes of the constellation differ a great deal. One might see him as a very primitive hunter armed with a very large club. Most frequently he is portrayed as an archer aiming his arrow at Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull. This is where the expression “bull’s eye” comes from.

The Shaman of Trois Freres   has the key attributes of  the Celtic Kernunnos who in turn shares many traits with the Egyptian Orion

The Shaman of Trois Freres has the key attributes of the Celtic Kernunnos who in turn shares many traits with the Egyptian Osiris

Ancient cave paintings at Lascaux appear to have represented Orion as the Shaman. The chief commonality is the theme of a man of power. Yet he signifies no zodiacal sign.

Orion is probably the best known constellation after the Big Dipper. He is located on the celestial equator and visible throughout all inhabited parts of the world. It was named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology and followed by Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

Orion seen as Shaman

Orion seen as Shaman

The belt of Orion is it’s most prominent feature. . It consists of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. These three stars have collectively been known as the Three Kings.

Robert Bauval and Adrian Glibert have argued convincingingly of a correlation between the belt of Orion and the placement of the three pyramids at Giza (The Orion Mystery 1994) This requires its own study.  The belt is obviously of great significance and is in fact one of th best aids to identifying Orion himself. However, no one of these stars is considered to be of primary importance in astrological practise.

The Chinese called the constellation Shen, after another great hunter and warrior. It stands for lunar month 4  - includes culmination texts

The Chinese called the constellation Shen, after a great hunter and warrior. Chart includes  culmination texts. – from Dunhuang star atlas, Tang Dynasty

The most powerful stars of Orion are Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Rigel. They are all brilliant stars signifying the right and left shoulder and the left foot respectively. If  Orion is seen as an archer, the placement of these stars tells us a lot. For anyone who have ever practised archery, the relationship between the left and right arm is virtually taken for granted.

Assuming the archer is right handed, the left arm must hold the centre of the bow with great strength. The right arm draws the bow and mounts the arrow. In order to be effective, one foot must be firmly planted. If any one of these is missing or compromised, the arrow has little hope of hitting its target.


Arabian Orion as Archer – Circa 1300

The right shoulder is Betelgeuse, a massive reddish star. He is synonymous with  great strength. A planet or luminary rising, culminating, setting or conjunct Betelgeuse will be considered a powerful companion.  He is the one who must have the strength to metaphorically ‘flex the bow’

On the left shoulder is Bellatrix, a star of the deep power of the undefeated Feminine. She is the Amazon warrior.  In Tibetan Buddhism, the left hand is related to Compassion and the Right to Skillful Means, being feminine and masculine respectively. The symbol for these is the bell and the dorje.

It is in a similar sense that Bellatrix and Betelgeuse work together. The apparent passivity of the left hand of the hunter is in reality the necessary correlative of the right.  She holds the bow firm without wavering. Bellatrix is strongly associated with the Power of the Feminine. If she is in any of the aforementioned relations to Planets and Luminaries, the Feminine path to Completion is highlighted.

Rigel in relation to our Sun

Rigel in relation to our Sun

As already noted, the Orion asterism is not consistently conceived. It doesn’t matter. It’s the metaphor as understood that is of most importance at the end of the day. However, all versions see him as the man of great power

Festival of Lughnasadh

Blessed Lughnasadh to all my friends and readers! May your harvest be bountiful !  I will be posting on all eight Sabbats as they occur. Recognizing and celebrating the wheel of the year is all but forgotten in increasingly urban societies, but continues to be both relevant and profound in significance.

 Dancing Bacchante at Harvest Time - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Dancing Bacchante at Harvest Time – Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Sun is rising with Procyon, but we are entering the “dog days” named after the apparent heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. The days are hotter but shorter. It’s the time of first harvest in the Northern Hemisphere and the focus is on grain, which can sustain us throughout the winter months. In that sense, Lughnasadh is a recognition of the waning Solar force and the need to preserve some of what it has helped produce.


Grain has held a very important place in civilization for millennia.  Grain has been associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. Tammuz,  The Sumerian Sun god was slain and his beloved Ishtar mourned so deeply that nature stopped producing. Ishtar followed the Sun god to the Underworld to bring him back,. The story of Demeter and Persephone shares the same theme.

I’ve added the chart for Noon 30 August 2013 for general purposes, set for Pacific Time. Note that Regulus is parallel the Part of Fortune.

Original music by Thorrin Jonsson