A Fable for Sirius

(I photographed Saturn last month, risen above the Thunder Moon of July, the month of thunderstorms. Jupiter was to the left but I could not get it into the picture, which is a bit grainy with the zoom)

The thunder moon of July was beautiful, from on top of Cadillac mountain. It lost its bloodied tint as it rose higher above the horizon while slowly shrinking. The temperature had dipped, even though the month had vacillated between the dog days of summer and the cooling dregs of starry respite. They say the heliacal rising of Sirius from late July to Mid August made the days hot in those long forgotten times [1]

July is also the month of dramatic thunderstorms [2] and we experienced some that were particularly frightful this year. Through the zip and crackle of lightening, the resounding heavens created this ominous atmosphere like from a Greek mythology, a genesis of dripping skies, for Ouranos himself wailed of his impotence, his inability to action except in the assemblage of his warring clouds and dire sounding racket. He dripped like foam on the seas. Kronos as Saturn, brightly risen with the moon, appears to contemplate over this ancient spectacle, so close to her luminous being as he slowly strips her of her ruby illusions. There was a bright Jupiter to the left (not in the picture) that shone this July and made for brilliant respite, from a restrictive Saturn near the moon.

Saturn was linked to agriculture by astrologers. In Greek mythology, Kronos or Saturn was the son of Uranus / Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) and the youngest of the twelve Titans. On the advice of his mother, he castrated his father and thus separated Heaven from Earth. He then became the king of the Titans, and took his sister Rhea as his consort. Kronos was in turn killed by his son Zeus, the Olympian, god of sky whose weapon was the thunderbolt. He changed the weather and manipulated the movement of the sun and the moon.

Mythologies create a fascinating connection between stars and planets with life on Earth. For a moment there, the weather seemed orchestrated by celestial machinations. It wasn’t simply staid, matter of fact meteorological observations but divine shenanigans or perhaps, this is how I wished to see it.

These would have been the months of deluge on the Nile in earlier times. The brightest star in Canis Major would have staved people off the flood plains to higher ground because of the predictable annual flooding of the river which in some places was known to rise up to 46 feet ! [3][4] Here, the dog days of summer and thunder moons are a mirage of divine charioteers that drive the weather. This poem is devoted to Sirius, which for personal reasons is one of my favourite stars. Canis Major spans over 20 degrees of the Zodiac in the Sign of Cancer. Cancer is a deeply emotional and intuitive sign while its opposite in the zodiac Capricorn, is cool, practical and logical. These polarities are ruled by different celestial bodies; in the case of Cancer, it is the Moon and Capricorn is ruled by Saturn.

The poem is more of a myth building exercise, loosely inspired by the Gods that control the weather and/or our fears. It is also a poem anchored contemplation of the cosmic forces behind the deluge of the Nile as it happened in ancient times and some facetious meteorology 😄

Bright dog days 
scorched summer hearts,
melting icy lemonades
beneath stars, hidden
in broad daylight.
And as Sirius dogged
the heels of night,
starry portent
warned of deluge
on ancient sounding
rivers. Hearts aquiver,
the eyes simply blinked
a thunder moon.

A mirage of the night
spawned a genesis
of dripping skies
as Ouranos contemplated
in airy impotence
the foaming mouth
of a raging Ocean,
and Kronos stripped
a red eye moon
of bloody illusions
even as she rose,
brilliantly luminous
to thunderclap
having shed
the betrayal
of a Saturnine deceit,
a frozen rigidity.

In these breathless
oppositions
those oft repeated tales
of cyclical depressions,
regaled mankind
with unstable weather.
Low pressures
stoked
compassionate release
of ancient burdens, on cue.
It was Sirius that simply
shone for millennia
in the arc
of the Sun's brow
and prod the moon
to flood a cove.

Notes:

The dog days refer to Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which means “big dog” in Latin and is said to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs. To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the time Sirius appears to rise alongside the sun, in late July in the Northern Hemisphere. They believed the heat from the two stars combined is what made these days the hottest of the year, a period that could bring fever or even catastrophe. In 2021, the dog days span from July 3 to August 11.” [1]

“The full moon in July also is called the Thunder Moon because of the frequency of thunderstorms during this hot, dry month.” [2]

According to historical evidence of Greek authors and later Egyptian texts, flooding of the Nile based on heliacal rising of Sirius could be predicted at the beginning of I millennium AD. This fact is confirmed by astronomical calculations” [3]

Sirius played a significant role in every aspect of Ancient Egypt culture, a role that carried on well into the 20th century, because its heliacal rising in mid-August each year was the signal from the natural world that the mighty river Nile was about to flood. At the heliacal rising of Sirius, people would move off the flood plain to make way for the river, which would rise up to 46 feet in some places!The ‘heliacal rising’ is the first appearance of a bright star in the morning sky, before sunrise.” [4]

References:

[1]~https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012BlgAJ..18c..53N/abstract

[2]~https://www.interlochenpublicradio.org/news/2019-08-26/sirius-and-the-flooding-of-the-nile-this-week-on-the-storytellers-night-sky

[3]~https://blogs.nasa.gov/Watch_the_Skies/tag/thunder-moon/

[4]~https://www.google.com/amp/s/api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/article/150710-dog-days-summer-sirius-star-astronomy-weather-language

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