Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of January 4th - January 10th,  2002

The Roaring Lion

Columns Archive


   The WEB's tapestry has been examining the myth of Orion,
Orion on the Horizon

Orion Rising

the Earth's most prominent constellation. Because the stars of Orion's belt lie on the celestial equator, Orion is visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres. If you travel below the equator, you can no longer see the north star, Polaris. The further south you go, the more the northern circumpolar constellations begin to disappear, never to rise again above the horizon. For instance, the seven stars of Ursa Major cannot be seen in Argentina. Orion has very bright stars, is on the equator, and is visible around the entire world.

   The stars in the shoulders of Orion, Betelgeuze and Bellatrix, are said to be of a Mars/Mercury nature. That means thoughts, communications, and contracts (Mercury) are energized (Mars). Under their influence, we put designs into action, make demonstrative statements, and are challenged (God of War) by what is said (Messenger). We must fight for our ideas. Characteristics such as quick decision taking, courage, a fighting spirit, strategic talents, and the ability to organize are prominent- but there can also be the reckless aggressiveness of a belligerent daredevil.

   Legends about these two stars were also associated with royalty, or persons in power. The Irish called this constellation the Armed King. Bellatrix was described as the conquering Lion, heralding his presence with his roar. Even though we are not working with the sign or constellation Leo, lions are a symbol of royalty, and the myth incorporates this design into its fabric.

The huge Scorpion


   Rigel, the more prominent star in the left knee (on our right as we look at him in heaven) is of a Mars Jupiter nature. Once again with Mars we have action, energy, and boldness, but this time combined with another fire ruler, Jupiter, adding moral conviction, a more spirited enterprise, foreign intrigue, and bigger... well, anything; bigger challenges, more disastrous disappointments but also greater glory for those who succeed.

   In the myth, these themes are captured and retold as Orion meets, falls in love with and is promised a princess. Merope is the daughter of King Oenopion. A huge challenge is given to Orion, who must kill all of the wild beasts on the island, which he does with great skill. As a hunter, he knows his craft. But in spite of his power and strength (myths often record him as a giant among men), Orion is constantly wrestling with foes more powerful than himself. He is attacked by a Scorpion 'larger than an elephant.' While Oenopion was underhanded and deliberately kept changing the promised marriage date, some versions have Orion raping the bride prior to the wedding, which is why Oenopion later plucked out his eyes. Other versions say Orion tried to rape Artemis, or the Hyperborean maiden Opis at Delos, or lay with Eos. Such is the nature of Martial energy working with Scorpio. Think of it as too much testosterone. Because Scorpio sets as Orion rises, Orion is on the Ascendant while Scorpio is on the Descendant. Astrologically, this chart deals with people who would be devious, secretive, mean or powerful. Orion is premature, the Scorpion revenge. Oenopion even rhymes with Scorpion.

   Another myth weaving astrological design into the storytelling of creation.


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