Consequence as a Theme in Orion’s Myth
Imagine the last time you were camping, or just laying out in your backyard and you took a few moments to enjoy the stars and constellations. I always get a majestic feeling. In a universe of billions and billions of stars, who would have ever thought that there were meanings and stories behind the existence of them? Our ancestors have passed down through myths and tales of how these stars came into being. The one in particular that has my attention, is the myth of Orion. The myth of Orion in Greek mythology tells the tale of a prideful hunter in the heavens, and in Egyptian mythology, tells the tale of a giant green-skinned God (also going by the name of Osiris) who’s Pyramids of Giza are dedicated to his 3-star constellation called Orion/Osiris belt. These myths not only reveal the kind of effect they have on the Greek and Egyptian cultures in which they were set, but also on the whole world today by how they dedicate the pyramids of Giza, and the constellation names and meanings to their ancestral beliefs of Orion.
The myth of Orion is unique because there are two cultures in which interpret his tale a little differently. The first one I will address is the Greek version. In this version, Orion is a mighty hunter of the heavens. He is known for desiring one of the seven Pleiades, which were the daughters of Atlas. Orion ended up chasing and having his way with Merope. Scorpius was then sent by the gods to rise in the east, as Orion the hunter sets in the western sky, in an impossible chase that will last as long as the constellations last. This is why the constellation Orion’s belt sits opposite of the giant scorpion. The scorpion was sent to chase him across the heavens. That was not Orion’s only punishment. He also lost his vision. He then travelled across the sea to Lemnos and petitioned the god Hephaistos for help in recovering his sight. Lending him his assistant Kedalion, the god told him he had to travel to the rising place of the sun, where the sun-god would restore his vision. Orion made the long trip and was able to see once again. Upon returning to Greece, Orion sought out Oinopion, the king of Chios island. But, the king hid himself in an underground bronze chamber to avoid punishment. Orion bragged he would hunt down all the beasts of the earth, and so Mother Earth sent up a giant scorpion to destroy him. In Egyptian mythology however, the myth takes a different stance. According to TourEgypt.com, “Orion was actually the giant green-skinned god Osiris which Egyptologists explain as a reference to the fact that he is dead, or as an allusion to his role as an agricultural god.” In Egyptian depictions, usually when the body was a green color, it meant that they were dead. Osiris had married Isis his sister, which made his brother Set very jealous and plotted his death. Set lured Osiris into a golden chest and sent it far away down the Nile river. Isis went down the river and found the golden chest, and She then went to Thoth, wise Thoth, who knows all secrets, and implored his help. She asked him for magic that could bring Osiris back to life. Thoth and Isis together created the Ritual of Life, that which allows us to live forever when we die. But before Thoth could work the magic, cruel Set discovered them. He stole the body of Osiris and tore it into many pieces, scattering them throughout Egypt. He was sure that Osiris would never be reborn. Isis didn’t give up though. She went to her sister, kind Nephthys, to guide her and help her find the pieces of Osiris. They searched for a long time and brought each piece to Thoth, hoping he could fix it. When all the pieces were together, Thoth went to Anubis, lord of the dead. Anubis sewed the pieces back together and cast the Ritual of Life and his spirit reentered him and he lived again. Osiris had to live in the land of the dead forever, and became lord of the dead. There he stands in judgment over the souls of the dead. The 3 Pyramids of the Giza Plateau were built in alignment with 3-stars of Orion/Osiris belt in honor of Osiris.
The whole city of Teotihuacan also seems to be aligned astronomically. It is consistently oriented 15 to 25 degrees East of true North, and the front wall of the pyramid of the sun is exactly perpendicular to the point on the horizon where the sun sets on the equinox. The rest of the ceremonial buildings were laid out at right angles to the pyramid of the sun. The avenue of the dead points at the setting of the Pleiades. What this says to me about greek and egyptian cultures is that they really took time and effort to sacrifice and show their dedication to their beliefs. Thinking that something as important as building pyramids and cities in alignment with the stars is ingenious. It was what they believed was right, and some still believe in to this day.
The myth reveals that even our ancestors somewhat believed in karma I think. Orion is said to have raped Merope, so he will be punished forever in the heavens by being chased by a scorpion. In Egyptian mythology, he marries his sister and is punished by his jealous brother by being killed. We can all learn from this and know that by making selfish decisions like that, you one day will get payback. Orion gets his payback each time the sun sets in the sky, every night. Every night we are reminded of this tale and what Orion did to deserve this.
Now every time you look at the constellations, you know that thousands of years ago it is exactly what our ancestors were seeing too. It amazes me that to this day, we still have the same name for the arrangement of these three stars after all the changing of our civilizations. I realize and appreciate the great impact that the Greek and Egyptian cultures have made on our modern day. But who will ever know the truth behind it? Orion’s belt is only one constellation, but there are two beliefs behind it, and either one could be correct. Each culture believes they are correct and hold true to their traditional myth of Orion’s belt.
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