Hunter in the Sky
a Hero of two hemispheres
ORION is the most recognizable constellation in the night sky. Beyond linking the northern and the southern hemispheres, this seven star constellation represents many of the popular mythological heroes that are key in revealing the secret language of the sky.
For Egyptian royalty, Orion represented god Osiris. When pharoah (god on earth) died, this half human-half god would use a pyramid as a vehicle of ascension so the ruler of Egypt could take his place among the stars as Osiris (god of heaven). Nearby is the brightest star in the sky, Sirius in Canis Major, which represented Isis.
Further north, the Celtic race called it Herne the Hunter. Legend tells us that Herne walks Windsor Forest in the winter with his hunting dogs and blasts his horn 'round the great oak.
Who was Herne? It's obvious when you consider these constellations which reside together in the night sky; Herne as Orion, his hunting dogs were Canis Major and Minor and since he is a winter constellation he appears during the last part of the hunting season before the winter solstice. The blasting of the horn is the symbolic announcemnet of his appearance as he walks at tree top appearing to be a giant as he crosses the sky. The giant oak itself is a focal point, a navel of the world for the forest people and is a way of symbolically connecting themselves to the sky. Their source of celestial power. The branches of the oak are a representation of the canopy of the sky like the vault of heavenly stars above their heads.
Every culture on our planet looked to the heavens as a wellspring of enlightenment before they learned to look within themselves. Those in the northern hemisphere utilized the constellations of the northern sky. Those who lived along the equator did the same with the equatorial asterisms and the southern hemisphere.
"Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are artists of one kind or another. The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world."
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
|ORION IN WORLD CULTURE
The first literary mention of the constellation of Orion as Herne the Hunter is in William Shakespeare's play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, though there are several theories attempting to place the origins of Herne as predating any evidence for him by connecting his appearance to pagan deities or ancient archetypes.
The constellation of Orion appears in Milton's Paradise Lost, and Tennyson's Locksley Hall, "Great Orion sloping slowly to the west".
In the Middle-earth mythos of J. R. R. Tolkien, Menelmacar is the Quenya elven name for Orion.
The opening lines of the poem "The Star-Splitter" by Robert Frost accurately describe the rising of Orion: "You know Orion always comes up sideways. / Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains".
Orion is a protector in Jimmy Buffett's book The Jolly Mon.
"Orion the Hunter" is a comic book produced by Blue Water Productions.
"Orion" is the name chosen by NASA for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), as officially announced on August 22, 2006, to be built by Lockheed Martin, as announced on August 31, 2006. A NASA spacecraft program from the 1960s was named "Gemini" after the constellation adjacent to Orion that is associated with The Twins (with that spacecraft having a two-person crew).
Architect Daniel Libeskind used the Orion constellation in his concept for the design of the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre.
In the New Gods created by Jack Kirby for DC Comics, Orion is the son of the popular villain Darkseid.
Orion was the star constellation that was first recognized symbol, initially mistaken as a character from an ancient or alien language, on the star gate device in the film Stargate.
Orion was the name of the cat in the movie Men in Black, when the term 'Orion's Belt' was repeatedly mistaken for the constellation; in fact the character was trying to say 'Orion's bell', referring to an ornament on the cat's collar.
In the Star Trek fictional universe, Orion is home to a civilization of green-skin humanoids that practice a slave trade using their women. The Orion Syndicate is an interplanetary organized crime ring within this society.
In the movie Blade Runner, the Replicant portrayed by Rutger Hauer tells Harrison Ford's character that he has "seen things you people wouldn't believe, attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion."
Adrienne Rich wrote the poem, "Orion", in which she describes how she viewed him differently from childhood to middle age.
The Romanian poet Geo Bogza devoted a poem to Orion.