Canis Major | Sirius
At a distance of only 8.6 light years (2.6 parsecs), Sirius is one of the closest star systems to Earth, and because of it's incredible luminosity, the double star system appears as the brightest star in the night sky. "Sirius" comes from the Ancient Greek word Seirios, meaning "glowing," "searing" or "scorching/scorcher." Although only two stars in the system are visible, it is believed that a third, now "dead" black dwarf, is responsible for the central mass that the two remaining stars orbit.
Sirius C was initially the more massive, then Sirius B, which turned into a red giant, before turning into a condensed white dwarf. Sirius A, a luminous blue star, is what we see as the larger of the three from Earth. The system is refered to as Sirius and is known as the "Dog Star" because of its prominent location in Canis Major, the Greater Dog constellation.
The Ancient Egyptians knew Sirius as Sopdet (Sothis in Greek), which they recorded in their earliest astronomical records as well as the famous Book of the Dead. In the Book of the Dead, Sirius was considered the place where the soul goes after leaving the body; the afterlife. Sothis was so important to the Egyptians because they noticed that the star become brightest every July and August, when the Sun lined up with the star and the Nile River flooded.
The Nile was considered the life force of Egypt, the same way blood is to the body of all humans and animals. Like blood, the Nile delivered important nutrients and water to the land, especially during Sirius' closest approach to the solar system. This is where the phrase "dog days of summer" comes from. During the Middle Kingdom, the Egyptians based their calendar on the heliacal rising of Sirius, when it becomes visible just before sunrise after moving away from the glare of the Sun. This occured after a 70-day absence from the night skies
and just before the Nile flooded and the summer solstice (Druid celebration of Lucifer).
The Pyramid of Djoser was built in the 27th Century BC for Pharaoh Djoser.
Sirius' association with the annual flooding represented rebirth and resurrection to the Egyptians, which was one of the major reasons for building the pyramids. Many Egyptologists believe that the pyramids were originally meant to be stairways to Heaven, specifially Sirius, where Pharaohs could ascend to the afterlife as gods among the stars. Ancient Egyptians believed that Osirus,
his sister/wife Isis and their brother and rival Set/Seth descended to Earth from Sirius, which is likely where the Masonic belief of heavenly beings or angels descending from Heaven to Earth came from.
Freemasonry is based on many of the teachings of ancient mysteries including Egyptian religion and occultism. Sirius is refered to as the "Blazing Star" and is often depicted on Masonic tracing boards with a ladder come from it, with heavenly beings descending to Earth, bringing with them knowledge and enlightenment. One of these beings is Lucifer, who is associated with illumination and whose name means "light bearer."
The Egyptian belief that the gods came from Sirius survived the centuries and their descendents carried on mythology to the modern day. In Mali, West Africa, the Dogon tribe (who are believed to be descendents of the Egyptians) still practice traditions based on the 50 year orbit of Sirius B, which they have known about for at least 3,200 years. Their mythology surrounds celestial beings known to them as the Nommo, a race of human-fish hybrids.
Sirius A (center) & B (lower left)
In Robert K. G. Temple's The Sirius Mystery, he asks the obvious question of how a primitive West African tribe could hold such amazing astronomical knowledge for thousands of years, without possessing any sort of modern technology that has allowed us to verify their beliefs. The Dogon traditional stories tell that extraterrestrial beings came to Earth to from a small companion star (B) of Sirius (A) that is only visible from Earth every 50 years. These celestial beings are said to have brought man knowledge of the solar system,
including the fact that Saturn has rings and Jupiter has moons. They also allegedly brought the arts of civilization to humans and in the book are claimed to have originated the systems of the Pharaohs of Egypt, which as stated above, conincides with the Ancient Egyptian beliefs. These unanswered questions as to how the Dogon could have known all of this without so much as having primitive telescopes or why these sacred beings left what are the basis for much of the mysteries surrounding Freemasonry and the ancient astronaut theories.
Sopdet became the goddess of Sirius/Sothis only after years of the star being associated with an ancient cow goddess. Her name means "(she who is) sharp," which is a reference to Sirius' brightness, which is why she is depicted with a five-pointed star/pentagram on her head. In Masonry, the pentagram represents the "Blazing Star," Sirius, and like Sirius, Sopdet became associated with the annual flooding of the Nile River, making her the goddess of prosperity and fertility
of the soil. Her consort was Sah, the deity associated with the constellation Orion, which (after Osiris) eventually became assocaited with Horus. This eventually lead to the belief that Sopdet was the manifestation of the goddess Isis (Horus' mother), which is why Egyptians considered Sirius to be the heart of Isis. By the Middle Kingdom, Sopdet and Isis were considered the same being, which is where the mythology surrounding Horus marrying his mother probably came from. Sopdet served the Pharaohs by guiding their way to
Heaven and the fact that Sirius disappeared from the skies for 70 days out of the year is why mummification took exactly 70 days.
Sirius would later become associated with the jackal-headed god, Anubis, who like Sopdet, was also linked to mummification and the afterlife. In the Old Kingdom, Anubis was the most important god of the dead but would later be replaced by Osiris, who would become king of the undeworld. Sopdet and Anubis were also associated because Sopdet was often depicted riding on the back of a dog. Anubis' half-human, half-jackal iconography comes from the fact that jackals scanvenge the cemetaries,
threatening the eternal rest of the dead. His black color represents death and rotting flesh and with his canine image, this lead him to become associated with Sirius, the "(black) dog star". He is often depicted attending to the protection of the mummies by sitting on their tomb and also weighing their heart to value their worthiness, as shown in the Book of the Dead. During the embalming process, the head embalmer would wear an Anubis costume and would remove the heart from the corpse himself. In earlier myths, Anubis is the son of
Ra but later on became known as the son of Osiris and Nephthys and the half-brother of Horus.
Robert K. G. Temple has suggested that the Great Sphinx was originally a monument of Anubus, before the head was allegedly carved into that of the Middle Kingdom Pharaoh, Amenemhet II. He came to this conclusion based on the style of the eye make-up and the pleats on the head-dress. When the monument is compared to a life-size statue of a jackal found in King Tutankhamun's tomb, his theory makes sense.