Sirius, the Dog in the Stars April 13, 2017 17:30

 

"Always look up!" Obviously check you are not about to walk into a lamp post first, but then, on crystal clear black nights, look up.  There's a dog in them there stars.

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, he is Orion’s dog.  You’ll find him in the Canis Major constellation, not just in Harry Potter books.  

                                       Sirius, Cairn Terrier Collectibles

On Ceos Island in the Aegean Sea, they used to offer sacrifices to Sirius and Zeus to bring cooling breezes.  Coins from the Isle pictured dogs or stars with emanating rays. If you are reading this on April 25th( not long now!), look sharp!  The Romans celebrated this day for the heliacal setting of Sirius.  They would sacrifice a dog (bad), and a sheep (well, ok then) to the goddess Robigo so that the wheat crop wouldn’t get rust.  It was one of their major agricultural festivals.

The Ancient Greeks thought that the rays of Sirius could adversely affect dogs, making them behave abnormally in the heat of summer (‘only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the heat of the midday sun’, thank you Oscar Wilde.)  Here’s Homer in his Iliad, describing Achilles approaching Troy.

“Sirius rises late in the dark liquid sky.  On summer’s nights, star of stars Orion’s dog they call it, brightest of all, but an evil portent bringing heat and fevers to suffering humanity”.

                                     Sirius Dog Star Cairn Terrier Collectibles

(Ed’s note to Homer.. cheer up mate, else this whole Iliad thing will be nothing more than a bloody Greek history of epic proportions.  You need more jokes.)

Chinese astrologers know Sirius as the Celestial Wolf, and the Cherokee Indians paired him with Antares as the Dog Star guardian of the end of the path of souls.  The Alaskan Inuit call him Moon Dog.  

So these are our dog days.  The hot days of summer signalled when Sirius rises just before the sun.  Draw a line left through Orion’s belt and you’ll see him, the brightest star in the sky.