This weekend Sirius, a bright, blue star became briefly visible in the predawn sky for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The heliacal rising—the annual first appearance in the pre-dawn sky—of Sirius happened on Saturday after a period of six weeks when it was lost in the Sun’s glare. Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major has long been a well-known star to many ancient cultures, often called the 'Dog Star'. It is over twenty times brighter than our sun and is twice as massive. At night time, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and has a blue-white glare. Being such a visible heavenly body, it has been the object of wonder and veneration to ancient peoples throughout human history. If our sun’s warmth keeps the physical world alive, it is said that Sirius keeps the spiritual world alive.
Interestingly, totally separate ancient cultures with no apparent communication have related Sirius with either a wolf or a dog (see image of the constellation, it’s clear to see why), head over to my blog post to hear more about which other cultures had deep connections to Sirius.
In ancient Chaldea (present day Iraq) the star was known as the "Dog Star that Leads". In ancient China, the star was identified as a heavenly wolf. And in Assyria and Akkadia, it was said to be the "Dog of the Sun”. To add to the list, North American indigenous tribes have talked of the star in canine terms: the Seri and Tohono O’odham tribes of the southwest describe Sirius as a “dog that follows mountain sheep”, while the Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of the “Path of Souls”. The Skidi tribe of Nebraska knew it as the “Wolf Star”, while further north, the Alaskan Inuit of the Bering Strait called it “Moon Dog”.
The Sirius Mystery by the American author Robert Temple (on my reading list) was published in which the author claimed that the Dogons (an ancient African tribe from Mali) knew details about Sirius that were impossible to know without the use of telescopes. According to him, the Dogon understood the binary nature of Sirius, which is, in fact, composed of two stars named Sirius A and Sirius B.
There is a whole load of reading around current secret societies and the use of the Sirius star, but that you can read into yourself haha.
The Ancient Egyptians
The ancient Egyptians viewed Sirius as a giver of life, as it always reappeared at the time of the annual flooding of the Nile and marked the start of the Egyptian New Year with a festival known as The Coming of Sopdet “Shining for a moment, one morning in summer, she stimulates the Nile and starts the year." Sopdet was the goddess of agricultural and closely associated with the Nile (see my image from Luxor of Sopdet seen with Thoth keeping track of the cycles and with a star above her head.)
When the star sank in the west and disappeared from the night sky, it remained hidden for 70 days before emerging again in the east. These were perceived as moments of ending and renewal. In ancient Egyptian culture there were two calendars for measuring the cycle of the year: the solar calendar of Ra; and the calendar used for measuring the return of Sirius. The year itself was divided into three seasons, based on this rhythmic return of Sirius - it was a pivotal element to their culture and beliefs.
They called it Septit or Sothis and it was often associated with the goddess Isis, the mother goddess. Isis is the female aspect of the trinity formed by herself, Osiris and their son Horus. In my main image you can see the ancient hieroglyph used to represent Sirius, it contains three elements: a “phallic” obelisk (representing Osiris), a “womb-like” dome (representing Isis) and a star (representing Horus). They held Sirius in such a high regard that most of their deities were associated, in some way or another, with the star. Another central one was Thoth, god of wisdom, who it is said ‘came from the stars’ (Sirius) to earth to teach civilisation and then again ‘mounted to the stars’, going back to his home and leaving behind the mystery religion of Egypt with its celestial secrets.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was built in perfect alignment with the Sun and the stars, especially Sirius (and obviously as you know Orion). The light from these stars was said to be used in ceremonies of Egyptian Mysteries. And the ‘air shafts’ in the Great Pyramid have been found to align with these stars - Orion (associated with the god Osiris) is aligned with the King’s Chamber while Sirius (associated with the goddess Isis) is aligned with the Queen’s Chamber (see image). When I was in Cairo, the hidden pyramid on top of the hill called Abu Rawash was also said to be aligned to Sirius (trying to find more info on this.)
Sirius was, and still is, associated with divinity and regarded as a source of great knowledge and power. Use this time to call in wisdom and renewal.