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An assembly of sacred
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The awaited return of the most obvious seasonal signal
The "brilliant" sectors of the sky
An assembly of sacred images

Figures portrayed
by stars in the night,
by nature "dramatic" figures

Why make reference to
seasonal stars.
Measuring time in "moons"

When lunar imagery is combined
with stellar imagery to compose a "mythical cinema"

The human condition
and its development
in the collective memory


French version


Canis Major constellation

This constellation consists of a line drawn between two widely separated stars, going from the horizon upwards towards Orion and ending with Sirius, the latter being a veritable beacon, the most remarkable bluish-white star in the sky. We see an animal upright on its hind legs with Sirius, logically, as the "head".

Sirius’ exceptional brilliance and its position at the base of the grand stellar alignment of Aldebaran - Orion’s belt - Sirius, on the edge of the Milky Way is the Dog’s head of the stars, - Astro Kuôn in Greek, Tien Gou or Bai Kouan in Chinese. It is an unrivaled seasonal reference point in the northern hemisphere.

Egypt demonstrates that fact with a wealth of details: we know that the Egyptian New Year’s celebration, the renewal of the cycle, was considered as the rebirth of all existence. This WP, Wopa, Opa, Opè, is celebrated upon the heliacal rising of Sôthis (Sirius), which, in the middle of summer, coincides with the spectacular annual flooding of the Nile, a rebirth for the whole valley.

Grand Chien

The rising of the Dog with the sun during the annual period of high temperatures in southern Europe has given us the term "dog days", and the image of St. Roch’s dog (feast day August 16).

Saint Roch

India maintains traces of a Bear, Riksha, master of the kingdom of the night, which is crossed by the "Luminous Virgin" who conducts souls. Riksha holds the most brilliant jewel in the sky, the Syamantaka. Syama is one of the names of Sirius. This is a silhouette of a standing bear that guards the Stream of souls. It corresponds fairly well to the lines of the constellation, and is perhaps one of the keys to the appearance of a bear in a good number of European myths and religious sects (Atalanta, Artemis Brauron, etc). In addition we have the remarkable seasonal hibernation of the bear, which goes to sleep in autumn and wakes during the Full Moon near the Spring Equinox.

This notion of a "guard" of the torrent of souls from the past and the future can explain why the constellation appears to be posted on the edge of the Milky Way, cutting the ecliptic where the moon passes (the "Portal of the gods" to the neo Platonian Macrobius) was seen nearly universally as a Dog or a Wolf (howling at the moon) now domesticated and having become the guardian of human camps.

Consequently, the image of a dog (Kabala, Kelb, Kerberos, Cerberus, in India and the eastern Mediterranean) is found nearly everywhere as a vigilant guardian in myths and rites related to entering the Kingdom of the Dead. This image takes on its real brilliance in Egypt with NPw, Inpou, Anubis Oupou ouaout "Who opens the Ways", omnipresent in the funeral rite.

This impressive celestial canine appears to have resembled a Fox in very ancient times (attested by Aratos and pre-Columbian glyphs). The Milky Way gives him a fluffy luminous tail.

These canines who guard the vital milk of Milky Way seem to have been originally viewed in the feminine: silhouette of the Vixen (in China: nocturnal form used by souls of the dead to visit the living), silhouette de the She-Wolf or Female Dog.

This She-Wolf/She-Dog manifests an ambiguous signal, indicating both the somber passage through death and the rich hope of the rebirth of Existence: in oral tradition its silhouette appears to merge with the ancient Mother Goddess who presided over the origins of the tribe or clan and the major seasonal rites of sacrificial war. In The Troad: Hékabè, Hecubas, the Queen mother was projected into the stars over the sea in the form of a She-Dog following the massacres of the "Trojan War"; in Attica: Maïra the Dog gives the signal for the rites of Autumn, formerly sacrificial rites (suicides of young maidens by hanging became the swing rite); in China: Liou Kincti is a figure of ancient times honored during the Festival of Oullampan, which is the celebration of meeting with souls of the Full Moon, neighbor of the Autumn Equinox, where she is transformed into a she-dog after the visit of her "devoted" child (= sacrificial victim) in the kingdom of the dead.
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