Sirius, The God * Dog Star
Sirius was an object of wonder and veneration to all ancient peoples throughout human history. In the ancient Vedas this star was known as the Chieftain's star; in other Hindu writings, it is referred to as Sukra, the Rain God, or Rain Star. The Dog Star is also described as, "he who awakens the gods of the air, and summons them to their office of bringing the rain."
By the ancient Egyptians, Sirius was revered as the Nile Star, or Star of Isis. Its annual appearance just before dawn at the June 21 solstice, heralded the coming rise of the Nile, upon which Egyptian agriculture depended. This particular helical rising is referred to in many temple inscriptions, wherein the star is known as the Divine Sepat, identified as the soul of Isis.
For example, in the temple of Isis-Hathor at Dedendrah, Egypt, appears the inscription, "Her majesty Isis shines into the temple on New Year's Day, and she mingles her light with that of her father on the horizon." The Arabic word Al Shi'ra resembles the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian names suggesting a common origin in Sanskrit, in which the name Surya, the Sun God, simply means the "shining one."
For up to 35 days before and 35 days after our sun conjuncts the star Sirius ~ close to July 4 ~ it is hidden by the suns glare. The ancient Egyptians refused to bury their dead during the 70 days Sirius was hidden from view because it was believed Sirius was the doorway to the afterlife, and the doorway was thought to be closed during this yearly period.
In mythology the dog Sirius is one of the watchmen of the Heavens, fixed in one place at the bridge of the Milky Way, keeping guard over the abyss into incarnation. Its namesake the Dog Star is a symbol of power, will and steadfastness of purpose, exemplifying the initiate who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness.
Located just below the Dog Star is the constellation called Argo, the Ship. Astrologically this region in the sky has been known as the River of Stars, gateway to the ocean of higher consciousness.
The Chinese recognized this area as the bridge between heaven and hell ~ the bridge of the gatherer, the judge. In the higher mind are gathered the results of the experiences of the personality.
Between each life the Soul judges its past progress, and also the conditions needed to aid its future growth. As long as it is attached to desire, sensation, and needs experiences, the Soul continues to come into incarnation. Until it is perfected, the Soul cannot pass over, or through, the Bridge.
The association of Sirius as a celestial dog has been consistent throughout the classical world; even in remote China, the star was identified as a heavenly wolf. In ancient Chaldea (present day Iraq) the star was known as the "Dog Star that Leads," or it was called the "Star of the Dog." In Assyria, it was said to be the "Dog of the Sun." In still older Akkadia, it was named the "Dog Star of the Sun."
In Greek times Aratus referred to Canis Major as the guard dog of Orion, following on the heels of its master and standing on its hind legs with alpha star Sirius carried in its jaws. The concept of the mind slaying the real can be seen in the tales which relate the dog as the hunter and killer ~ the hound from hell.
Manilius called Canis Major the "dog with the blazing face." Also called the Large Dog, Sirius appears to cross the sky in pursuit of the Hare, represented by the constellation Lepus under Orion's feet.
Mythologists such as Eratosthenes said that the constellation represents Laelaps, a dog so swift that no prey could escape it. Laelaps had a long list of owners. One story says it is the dog given by Zeus to Europa, whose son Minos, King of Crete, passed it on to Procris, daughter of Cephalus. The dog was presented to Procris along with a javelin that could never miss. Ironically, Cephalus accidentally killed her while out hunting with Laelaps.
Cephalus inherited the dog and took it with him to Thebes, north of Athens, where a vicious fox was ravaging the countryside. The fox was so swift that it was destined never to be caught ~ yet Laelaps the hound was destined to catch whatever it pursued.
Off they went, almost faster than the eye could follow, the inescapable dog in pursuit of the uncatchable fox. At one moment the dog would seem to have its prey within grasp, but could only close its jaws on thin air as the fox raced ahead of it again. There could be no resolution of such a paradox, so Zeus turned them both to stone and placed the dog in the sky without the fox.
In the Chinese tradition, there is a remarkable analogy in the double meaning of the word Spirit and the word Sing (star). Shin and Sing, the Chinese words for soul and essence, are often interchangeable, as they are in the English language.
It is said that the fixed stars, and their domain, contain the essences or souls of matter ... a living soul is a higher essence of matter, and when evolved may also be called a star. These stars and essences become gods.
Like souls, stars are regarded as having divine attributes. Stars look down from regions of chaotic, violent, purity onto the world of humanity and influence the energies of humankind invisibly, yet most powerfully.