Since ancient times and across multiple civilizations, Sirius, the dog star, has been surrounded with a mysterious lore. Esoteric teachings of all ages have invariably attributed to Sirius a special status and the star’s importance in occult symbolism is an attestation of that fact.
What makes Sirius so special? Is it simply due to the fact that it is the brightest star in the sky? Or is it also because humanity has an ancient, mysterious connection with it? This article looks at the importance of Sirius throughout History and secret societies and will describe the symbolism surrounding it.
Sirius is located in the constellation Canis Major – also known as the Big Dog – and is therefore known as the “dog star”. It is over twenty times brighter than our sun and is twice as massive. At night time, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and its blue-white glare never failed to amaze star gazers since the dawn of time. No wonder Sirius has been revered by practically all civilizations. But is there more to Sirius than meets the eye?
Artifacts of ancient civilizations have revealed that Sirius was of a great importance in astronomy, mythology and occultism. Mystery schools consider it to be “sun behind the sun” and, therefore, the true source of our sun’s potency. If our sun’s warmth keeps the physical world alive, Sirius is considered to keep the spiritual world alive. It is the “real light” shining in the East, the spiritual light, where as the sun illuminates the physical world, which is considered to be a grand illusion.
Associating Sirius with the divine and even considering it as the home of humanity’s “great teachers” is not only embedded in the mythology of a few primitive civilizations: It is a widespread belief that has survived (and even intensified) to this day. We will look at the importance of Sirius in ancient times, analyze its prominence in secret societies and we will examine these esoteric concepts as they are translated in popular culture.
In Ancient Civilizations
In Ancient Egypt, Sirius was regarded as the most important star in the sky. In fact, it was astronomically the foundation of the Egyptians’ entire religious system. It was revered as Sothis and was associated with Isis, the mother goddess of Egyptian mythology. Isis is the female aspect of the trinity formed by herself, Osiris and their son Horus. Ancient Egyptians held Sirius in such a high regard that most of their deities were associated, in some way or another, with the star. Anubis, the dog-headed god of death, had an obvious connection with the dog star and Toth-Hermes, the great teacher of humanity, was also esoterically connected with the star.
The Egyptian calendar system was based on the heliacal rising of Sirius that occurred just before the annual flooding of the Nile during summer. The star’s celestial movement was also observed and revered by ancient Greeks, Sumerians, Babylonians and countless other civilizations. The star was therefore considered sacred and its apparition in the sky was accompanied with feasts and celebrations. The dog star heralded the coming of the hot and dry days of July and August, hence the popular term “the dog days of summer”.
Several occult researchers have claimed that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built in perfect alignment with the stars, especially Sirius. The light from these stars were said to be used in ceremonies of Egyptian Mysteries.
“This ancient people (Egyptians) knew that once every year the Parent Sun is in line with the Dog Star. Therefore, the Great Pyramid was so constructed that, at this sacred moment, the light of the Dog Star fell upon the square “Stone of God” at the upper end of the Great Gallery, descending upon the head of the high priest, who received the Super Solar Force and sought through his own perfected Solar Body to transmit to other Initiates this added stimulation for the evolution of their Godhood. This then was the purpose of the “`Stone of God,’ whereon in the Ritual, Osiris sits to bestow upon him (the illuminate) the Atf crown or celestial light.” “North and South of that crown is love,” proclaims an Egyptian hymn. “And thus throughout the teaching of Egypt the visible light was but the shadow of the invisible Light; and in the wisdom of the ancient country the measures of Truth were the years of the Most High.” [1. Marshall Adams, The Book of the Master]
Recent scientific discoveries relating to the Great Pyramid and its mysterious “air shafts” have lead researchers to further confirm the importance of Sirius within the pyramid.
A fascinating aspect of Sirius is the consistency of the symbolism and meanings attached to it. Several great civilizations have indeed associated Sirius with a dog-like figure and viewed the star as either the source or the destination of a mysterious force. In Chinese and Japanese astronomy, Sirius is known as the “star of the celestial wolf”. Several aboriginal tribes of North America referred to the star in canine terms: the Seri and Tohono O’odham tribes of the southwest describe the Sirius as a “dog that follows mountain sheep”, while the Blackfoot call it “Dog-face”. The Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of the “Path of Souls”. The Wolf (Skidi) tribe of Nebraska knew it as the “Wolf Star”, while other branches of knew it as the “Coyote Star”. Further north, the Alaskan Inuit of the Bering Strait called it “Moon Dog”. [2. J.B. Holberg, Sirius: Brightest Diamond in the Night Sky]
The Dogon Tribe and Atlantis
In 1971, the American author Robert Temple published a controversial book entitled The Sirius Mysterywhere he claimed that the Dogons (an ancient African tribe from Mali) knew details about Sirius that would be impossible to be know without the use of telescopes. According to him, the Dogon understood the binary nature of Sirius, which is, in fact, composed of two stars named Sirius A and Sirius B. This lead Robert Temple to believe that the Dogons had “direct” connections with beings from Sirius. While some might say “you can’t be Sirius” (sorry), a great number of secret societies (who have historically held within their ranks some of the world’s most influential people) and belief systems teach about a mystic connection between Sirius and humanity.
In Dogon mythology, humanity is said to be born from the Nommo, a race of amphibians who were inhabitants of a planet circling Sirius. They are said to have “descended from the sky in a vessel accompanied by fire and thunder” and imparted to humans profound knowledge. This lead Robert Temple to theorize that the Nommos were extraterrestrial inhabitants of Sirius who travelled to earth at some point in the distant past to teach ancient civilizations (such as the Egyptians and Dogons) about the Sirius star system as well as our own solar system. These civilizations would then record the Nommos’ teachings in their religions and make them a central focus of their Mysteries.
The Dogon’s mythology system is strikingly similar to the ones of other civilizations such as the Sumerians, Egyptians, Israelites and Babylonians as it includes the archetypal myth of a “great teacher from above”. Depending on the civilization, this great teacher is known as eith Enoch, Thoth or Hermes Trismegistus and is said to have taught humanity theurgic sciences. In occult traditions, it is believed that Thoth-Hermes had taught the people of Atlantis, which, according to legend, became the world’s most advanced civilization before the entire continent was submerged by the Great Deluge (accounts of a flood can be found in the mythologies of countless civilizations). Survivors from Atlantis travelled by boat to several countries, including Egypt, where they imparted their advanced knowledge. Occultists believe that the inexplicable resemblances between distant civilizations (such as the Mayas and the Egyptians) can be explained by their common contact with Atlanteans.
“Was the religious, philosophic, and scientific knowledge possessed by the priestcrafts of antiquity secured from Atlantis, whose submergence obliterated every vestige of its part in the drama of world progress? Atlantean sun worship has been perpetuated in the ritualism and ceremonialism of both Christianity and pagandom. Both the cross and the serpent were Atlantean emblems of divine wisdom. The divine (Atlantean) progenitors of the Mayas and Quichés of Central America coexisted within the green and azure radiance of Gucumatz, the “plumed” serpent. The six sky-born sages came into manifestation as centers of light bound together or synthesized by the seventh – and chief – of their order, the “feathered” snake. The title of “winged” or “plumed” snake was applied to Quetzalcoatl, or Kukulcan, the Central American initiate. The center of the Atlantean Wisdom-Religion was presumably a great pyramidal temple standing on the brow of a plateau rising in the midst of the City of the Golden Gates. From here the Initiate-Priests of the Sacred Feather went forth, carrying the keys of Universal Wisdom to the uttermost parts of the earth.
From the Atlanteans the world has received not only the heritage of arts and crafts, philosophies and sciences, ethics and religions, but also the heritage of hate, strife, and perversion. The Atlanteans instigated the first war; and it has been said that all subsequent wars were fought in a fruitless effort to justify the first one and right the wrong which it caused. Before Atlantis sank, its spiritually illumined Initiates, who realized that their land was doomed because it had departed from the Path of Light, withdrew from the ill-fated continent. Carrying with them the sacred and secret doctrine, these Atlanteans established themselves in Egypt, where they became its first “divine” rulers. Nearly all the great cosmologic myths forming the foundation of the various sacred books of the world are based upon the Atlantean Mystery rituals.” [3. Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages]
Is Thoth-Hermes-Trismegistus the equivalent of the Dogon’s Nommos, who are believed to originate from Sirius? Ancient texts concerning Hermes describe him as a teacher of mysteries who “came from the stars”. Furthermore, Thoth-Hermes was directly connected with Sirius in Egyptian mythology.
“The dog-star: the star worshipped in Egypt and reverenced by the Occultists; by the former because its heliacal rising with the Sun was a sign of the beneficient inundation of the Nile, and by the latter because it is mysteriously associated with Toth-Hermes, god of wisdom, and Mercury, in another form. Thus Sothis-Sirius had, and still has, a mystic and direct influence over the whole living heaven, and is connected with almost every god and goddess. It was “Isis in the heaven” and called Isis-Sothis, for Isis was “in the constellation of the dog”, as is declared on her monuments. Being connected with the Pyramid, Sirius was, therefore, connected with the initiations which took place in it.” [4. Helena Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary]
“The Trismegistic treatise ‘The Virgin of the World’ from Egypt refers to ‘the Black Rite’, connected with the ‘black’ Osiris, as the highest degree of secret initiation possible in the ancient Egyptian religion – it is the ultimate secret of the mysteries of Isis. This treatise says Hermes came to earth to teach men civilization and then again ‘mounted to the stars’, going back to his home and leaving behind the mystery religion of Egypt with its celestial secrets which were some day to be decoded.” [5. Robert Temple, The Sirius Mystery]
Interpreting the mythology of ancient cultures is not an exact science and connections are inherently difficult to prove. However, the symbolic link between Sirius and occult knowledge has constantly appeared throughout History and has seamlessly traveled through the ages. In fact, it is as revered today as it was millenniums ago. Modern secret societies such as the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians and the Golden Dawn (which are considered to be Hermetic Orders due to the fact their teachings are based on those of Hermes Trismegistus) all attribute to Sirius the utmost importance. An educated look at their symbolism provides a glimpse at the profound connection between Sirius and occult philosophy.
Sirius in Occult Symbolism and Secret Societies
To claim that Sirius is “important” to Hermetic Orders would be a gross understatement. The dog star is nothing less than the central focus of the teachings and symbolism of secret societies. The ultimate proof of this fact: many secret societies are actually named after the star.
In the Tarot
In Masonic lodges, Sirius is known as the “Blazing Star” and a simple look at its prominence in Masonic symbolism reveals its utmost importance. The Masonic author William Hutchinson wrote about Sirius: “It is the first and most exalted object that demands our attention in the Lodge.” The same way the light of Sirius made its way into the Great Pyramid during initiations, it is symbolically present in Masonic lodges.
“The Ancient Astronomers saw all the great Symbols of Masonry in the Stars. Sirius glitters in our lodges as the Blazing Star.” [7. Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma]
“(The Blazing Star) originally represented SIRIUS, or the Dog-star, the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God ANUBIS, companion of ISIS in her search for the body of OSIRIS, her brother and husband. Then it became the image of HORUS, the son of OSIRIS, himself symbolized also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time; Son of ISIS, who was the universal nature, himself the primitive matter, inexhaustible source of Life, spark of uncreated fire, universal seed of all beings. It was HERMES, also, the Master of Learning, whose name in Greek is that of the God Mercury.” [8. Ibid.]
In Freemasonry, it is taught that the Blazing Star is a symbol of deity, of omnipresence (the Creator is present everywhere) and of omniscience (the Creator sees and knows all). Sirius is therefore the “sacred place” all Masons must ascend to: It is the source of divine power and the destination of divine individuals. This concept is often represented in Masonic art.
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