During the spring equinox of around 4000-2000 BC, the Sun was rising on the background of the constellation of Taurus. Then, the stars have shifted, and for the next 2000 years, it was the Aries that marked the spring. And for the past 2000 years, it was the Pisces.
In Biblical terms, we see a transition from Baal – the bull-headed god, to Moses – depicted with the ram’s horns, followed by Jesus – the fish.
But we are not here to talk about the equinoxes. This illustration only shows that if some parts of the Biblical narrative are related to the star lore, the others could be as well.
As the story goes, it was the prophet Elijah who passionately fought against the Baal worship and helped the true religion of the Judaic tribes to be established.
In the New Testament, Elijah is equated with John the Baptist, whose similarities with Orion I have already shown in the previous article. But there is much more than that.
The storm god
Because the Old Testament described his ability to control the rain, Elijah has already been related to the “storm-gods” of other pagans. In fact, with the spread of Christianity, he simply took their place, meaning that the main attributes were probably similar.
Orion appears in the night sky during Autumn. The rainy season starts at the same time. He will disappear in spring, during another rainy season, marking the beginning of the Earth’s blooming season. These events are even more noticeable around the equator, where summer brings droughts and the rain is vital for survival.
The wine god
Another famous episode of the Old Testament, related to the prophet Elijah, happens in the vineyard. In Jewish tradition, during the Passover Seder, a cup of wine is placed aside for the prophet Elijah.
Wine is an attribute of Bachus/Dyonisus, already positively identified with Orion in ancient Greece. In the fertile lands of Greece, the beginning of wine season, marked with the Orion, was more important than the rain, but the principle is the same as with the storm-god.
The dogs of Orion
In the vineyard of Naboth Elijah threatens Ahab with dogs. He tells him that dogs will lick his blood, that dogs will eat Jezebel, and that his family will be consumed by dogs. And as the Jewish folklore states: “When dogs are happy for no reason, it is because Elijah is in the neighborhood”.
Some of the two closest constellations to Orion are his faithful hounds – Canis Major and Canis Minor.
In the church iconography, the prophet Elijah is often sitting in front of a cave, next to the white rocks or a brook (Milky Way). At other times, we see him with the typical Orion’s arm, stretched above his head, sometimes carrying a sword.
In the next picture, we see the Orion constellation, with his hand in the air, touching the Milky Way. To the left, we see the constellation of Corvus, the raven. Note how this stellar image reflects in the Christian imagery.
In Babylon, the constellation Corvus was sacred to storm-god Adad, as in the 2nd Millenium it marked the season of the autumn rains. Here we see another parallel with St. Elliah, the thunderer.
The ascension into heaven
The ancients saw the disappearance of Orion from the night sky as a sacrifice that brought prosperity to the land. Sometimes the hero is dismembered, as in the case of Dionysus/Osiris. At other times he simply travels to the underworld, as in the case of Orpheus.
But in the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah goes to the sky in the flaming chariot.
According to the Jewish tradition, Elijah is one of the eight people who ascended into heaven alive. And the fact is that Orion is one of the few human-looking constellations in the night sky.
As for the chariot, one does not need to look further than one of the most important constellations of the night sky – The Ursa major, also known as the “chariot” or a “wagon” in many different cultures.
Orion in Islam
In Islam, the prophet Elijah is associated with the sage Al Khidr, probably meaning “the green man”. This attribute already associates the fertility attributes of Orion, as well as the Green man of many other traditions across the world, a similarity that did not go unnoticed.
According to the Islamic narrative, it is Al Khidr who meets with Moses and gives him some important lessons. This saint is an immortal who drank from the fountain of youth, granted with the eternal life. This could be another allegory for Orion, standing next to the Milky Way – the fountain of life in our Universe.
In the following picture, we see him depicted standing on a fish – a possible allusion for the age of Pisces.
As we stated, from a Christian perspective, it is Jesus who marked the age of Pisces. The Biblical episode known as Transfiguration, states that Jesus saw Moses (Aries – previous age) and the prophet Elijah – (Orion) in the sky. Could this be an Islamic representation of the same idea?
And just as Al Khidr / Elijah, paved the way for Moses, so did the John the Baptist for Jesus in Christianity. Could it be that all of these stories belong to the star lore whose purpose is to mark the beginning of the new stellar age? And could it be that once again, in our days, the Orion will mark the new age, that of Aquarius? The age when we will, perhaps, learn to respect these wise traditions of the old days, to understand better that which is to come…
[…] also connect this myth to the sacrificial Dionysis/Osiris myths that Cogniarchae describes in his analysis of the worship of the constellation […]