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Sirius Star

The ancient wonder and veneration of the dog star Sirius

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Sirius, the brightest star in our sky, has been the object of wonder and veneration to ancient peoples throughout the whole of human history.

Sirius is also known as the "Dog Star", reflecting its prominence in its constellation, Canis Major (Greater Dog).  Curiously, ancient cultures with no apparent connection have universally associated the blazing Sirius with either a wolf or a dog.  In ancient China, the star was identified as a heavenly wolf.  In ancient Chaldea (present day Iraq) the star was known as the "Dog Star that Leads". In Assyria and Akkadia, it was said to be the "Dog of the Sun”.  Several indigenous 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 Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of the “Path of Souls”. The Skidi tribe of Nebraska knew it as the “Wolf Star”, while further north, the Alaskan Inuit of the Bering Strait called it “Moon Dog”. 

The name Sirius is derived from the Ancient Greek ‘Seirios’, which means ‘glowing’ or ‘scorcher’, and artefacts of ancient civilizations have shown that Sirius has been of great importance in astronomy, mythology and occultism for thousands of years.  In the ancient Vedas this star was known as the Chieftain's star; in other Hindu writings, it is referred to as Sukra, the Rain God, or Rain Star.  The heliacal rising of Sirius marked the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt and the "dog days" of summer for the ancient Greeks, while to the Polynesians it marked winter and was an important star for navigation around the Pacific Ocean. The star’s celestial movement was also observed and revered by Sumerians, Babylonians and countless other civilizations. The star was therefore considered sacred and its apparition in the sky was accompanied with feasts and celebrations.

Sirius MasonicIn 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. Ancient Egyptians held Sirius in such a high regard that most of their deities were associated, in some way or another, 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.

In 1971, the American author Robert Temple published a controversial book entitled The Sirius Mystery where 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.

Still today, we see that Sirius forms an important part of religious beliefs and spiritual practice. The Dog Star remains the central focus of the teachings and symbolism of many secret societies and esoteric schools still in existence today.

From the dawn of civilization to modern times, from remote tribes of Africa to the great capitals of the modern world, Sirius was, and still is, associated with divinity and regarded as a source of great knowledge and power.  But what is it that 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?

By April Holloway



Physicist Thomas Brophy published over a decade back a rigorous analysis of Bauvall's thesis with corrections and much greater detail. Brophy accounts for the slight pyramid "misalignment" and accounts for other common "anomalies." The accuracy of Brophy's overlays of the constellations far and away exceed Andrew Collins' Cygnus plot. Get the book, The Origin Map. It will blow you away.

aprilholloway's picture

Hi Samantha, thanks for your comment. I am glad you enjoy them.  You are able to share them  on your Facebook page. There are three ways to do this:

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KundaliniRises's picture

Sorry for the pun.

People interested in how the ancients thought about stars and constellations would do well to acquaint themselves with good explanations of how precession works.

Precession is the phenomenon drived from a slight wobble in the Earth's axis that also causes different constellations to coincide with the solstices and equinoxes over time. The complete 360 degree rotation takes approximately 26,000 years.

This is why we are entering the Age of Aquarius, because that constellation is assuming this important position.

It also causes different stars to assume the position of "pole star" over time (i.e., the star to which the axis of the Earth points as it rotates). Today, Polaris is "pole star." In 3,000 BC Draco assumed pole position. Today it's Polaris. By 3,000 AD Gamma Cephie will be pole star. Around 12,000 years ago, bright star Deneb occupied pole position. Deneb is in the constellation Cygnus, so Cygnus was an important constellation at that time.

People like Graham Hancock and John anthony West have used the alignment of certain major temple complexes with precessional/constellation relationships to redate these structures, the most famous being the Sphynx, the face of which would have pointed to the solstices in the Age of Leo, not the time when the pyramids were supposedly built. Geologist Robert Schoch confirmed this with the water weathering on the Sphynx and enclosure.

I recommend Andrew Collins excellent book The Cygnus Mystery. Collins convincingly argues that the temple complex at Giza is a terrestrial reproduction of the bird-constellation Cygnus, whose major stars more perfectly match the slightly offset line of the three pyramids than Orion's belt (with which they've also been associated). Other major points of interest on the Giza plateau perfectly match the layout of Cygnus, including a formerly unknown cave near the pyramids that leads to a cave complext underneath the plateau. The cave was venerated in bird terms, according to inscriptions and objects found near its opening.

Cross-shaped Cygnus has traditionally been thought of as a bird constellation, with the horizontal parts of the cross corresponding to wings. In deeply ancient times the bird was a vulture. Since vultures feed off the dead and migrate north, the ancients viewed them as carriers of the soul to the afterlife, somewhere in the north. This created a perfect association for them of the vulture and the constellation that occupied the northern pole position in those times.

It's easy to imagine neolithic inhabitants of what is now Egypt venerating Cygnus and laying out its coordinates on the ground in what later became the temple complex of the Giza plateau. They first noticed an enormous and singular mound of rock that became a sacred object for them, pointing in the direction of the solstices where the constellation Leo rose on the horizon. They eventually carved the stone into the shape of a lion. They interpreted the opening of the bird cave as corresponding to another of the stars in Cygnus, so then set about building altars or placing sacred objects at the places that corresponded with the other stars in the constellation.

In dynastic Egypt, the head of the Sphynx was recarved into the likeness of a pharoah, and the various sacred spots were further built up. Enormous pyramids were built in place of what might have been much smaller and simpler sacred buildings on the plateau.

Native's picture


It is my belief that Sirius in ancient times was used together with Vega in Lyra constellation as a ruler line in order to find the direction to the Milky Way center which mythologically was mentioned as "The Cosmic Womb" from where everything is created in our galaxy.
Drawing a line from Sirius over the northern celestial pole to Vega and prolonging the line, this points toward /but a litte above) the galactic center and combining the tellings of the Milky Way Myths and the Stories of Creation, this gives origin to the mutual and very like cultural tellings from all over the World.

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aprilholloway's picture


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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