Pagan Paths

Hellenismos, otherwise known as Greek Reconstructionist Paganism, is the traditional, polytheistic religion of ancient Greece, reconstructed in and adapted to the modern world. It's a vibrant religion which can draw on a surprising amount of ancient sources. Baring the Aegis blogger Elani Temperance blogs about her experiences within this Tradition.

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Constellation Canis Minor: the little dog

Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a short one again. Canis Minor is... well... minor. The picture below gives a good overview of its position in the sky, completely surrounded by constellations a lot bigger than it is. In fact, there are only two stars in the recognized constellation. One of them, however, is the seventh brightest star in our sky. 
 


Canis Minor is, unsurprisingly, closely linked to the constellation Canis Major. Like Canis Major, Canis Minor may represent one of Orion's hunting dogs. The Ancient Hellens called the brightest star of the constellation 'Procyon' (προκυων), 'coming before the dog', because it rises an hour before the 'dog star', Sirius, of Canis Major. Canis Minor may thus also represent the Teumessian fox, a fox that could never be caught. With just two stars, there is a lot of leeway, after all. As I wrote in my post about Canis Major, Canis Major may represent Laelaps, a dog who would always catch his pray. The fox was a prey that could never be caught. Zeus, stunned by the display, rewarded them both and placed them in the sky.

The constellation may also be linked to the constellation Boötes, the herdsman. From that post:

A second interpretation for the source of Boötes is given to us by Latin author, Gaius Julius Hyginus (64 BC – AD 17) is that of Ikários (Ἰκάριος), a grape farmer from Athens who was trained by Dionysus. Ikários is not to be confused with Íkaros from mythology, the son of Daidalos. This Ikários was such a fine winemaker that he could produce wine so strong, those who drank it appeared to be poisoned. His skill turned out to be his undoing; Íkaros was killed by those who drank his wine, thinking the wine maker was out to kill them. His daughter Erigone was taken to his body by the family hound, Maera, whereupon both she and the dog committed suicide by hanging. It may have been that Dionysus was so angry over the murder and the following suicides, He punished Athens by making all of the city's maidens commit suicide in the same way. Zeus, stricken by the events, placed all of them in the sky; Ikários as Boötes, Erigone as Virgo, and Maera as Canis Major, Canis Minor or the star, Procyon.

Canis Minor's size is one of the reasons I'm a big fan. Throwing professionalism out the window: it's just so cute. If you want to observe it for yourself, it's visible at latitudes between +90° and −75°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of March.

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Elani Temperance is a twenty-seven year old woman, who lives with her partner in The Netherlands. She has been Pagan for a little over twelve years and has explored Neo-Wicca, Technopaganism, Hedge Witchery and Eclectic Religious Witchcraft before progressing to Hellenismos. Although her home practice is fully Hellenic, she has an online Neo-Pagan magazine called 'Little Witch magazine' (www.littlewitchmagazine.com) in which she and several co-writers try to cover the whole gamut of Neo-Paganism. Baring the Aegis is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BaringTheAegis

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