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by nature "dramatic" figures
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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


Heliacal rising and nocturnal rising,
Two apparitions arising with diametrically opposed seasons:
two readings and two mythical figures for the same constellation

This is yet another series of images that difficult for our contemporaries to assimilate. Any concern about the rising and the setting of constellations has been erased from their minds. Yet, these celestial movements occupied the minds of our ancestors for thousands of years.

Helical rising
The first reappearance of a seasonal constellation that disappeared months earlier occurs on the Eastern horizon at the end of the night. This is the place where the sun is going to rise. Soon, the first rays of the sun delicately tint the horizon: this is the "dawn with fingertips of rose". The brilliant points of the constellation merge and disappear: this is the "helical rising", the rising of this constellation into the sun. This brief moment of reappearance is what religious observers are attentively awaiting. This is what still, today, serves as the basis for all astrological speculations.
Mythology would have the helical rising of the constellation to be "born of the earth". It would also say that the giant Orion or Cephalus "was so handsome that Aurora, who had fallen in love with him, kidnapped him".

Nocturnal rising
For months this constellation is going to be "kidnapped", invisible because it is in the sky during the day. It rises slowly higher hour after hour and finishes by escaping the sunlight that prevented us from seeing it: finally, one night it rises at dusk. This is the evening rising or nocturnal rising. We can watch the constellation gravitate in the dark sky during one whole night. It has at this point become the starry image that is the "signature" of a season.

Two seasons: two readings
But what season? A completely different season from that announced by the helical rising: the opposite in terms of weather, the way nature looks, and the resources the season provides to human beings in their various efforts to survive. Its appearance in opposing seasons mean that the same constellation is going to be interpreted in different ways.
Apparently conceived around 4000 years ago, the myth of the "Birth of Orion" was spread by the Bœotians. It is a good illustration of this duality: during its helical rising in autumn, the rainy season, it is seen as the celestial "Great Bullhide", the copiously watered constellation remains "buried" for months. It reappears in the Spring, which is the season of rebirth: the pattern of the stars is then seen as a beautiful "Child Giant" Oar-Ion, Orion.

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