The Stories Of the Stars – Orion, The Hunter

One of the most distinctive and easily recognisable constellations of the winter sky is Orion the hunter, which from the UK is visable in the southern sky through out the night at this time of year (January), rising on his side in the east in the early evening and setting in the west in the morning.

In an earlier blog we looked at the constellation of Orion and gave one version from Greek mythology of his story.


orion

Here is another version of the story;-

Orion was Born of Persidion, brother of Zeus and god of the sea, he stood head and shoulders above any man and was by all accounts the greatest hunter who ever lived. Permanently armed with his unbreakable bronze club and his great bow his quarry could never escape from his almighty strength and his quick sharp mind. Any beast that roamed the earth no matter how strong or fearsome could not withstand the quick-witted might and deadly skill of Orion.

With this famed ability to defeat the mightiest of beasts Orion soon began to travel throughout the land, ridding towns and villages of the most deadly monsters with ease. Time and time again he hunted down all kinds of imaginable creatures and  they all fell to his club and bow.

As the years passed, Orion soon became bored of the monsters he faced as they were simply no match for him. He wanted some real opponents, someone or something that would challenge his mind and body to the limits. He needed something  that would excite him again unlike the monogamous defeats of these mundane earth bound creatures.  So Orion journeyed to the underworld with his faithful hunting dog Sirius by his side to battle the monsters of the dark.

Months passed by and when Orion and Sirius next appeared from the bowels of the earth they bore many scars and wounds and had endured many dangerous adventures and battles, but they were alive and victorious. Tales of their deeds and adventures spread far and wide and many celebrated Orion’s victories and retold the stories that seemed so impossible. It was now clear that, whether he was or not before, Orion was now one of the true heroes of legend.

Having  heard the tales the people were now telling and having watched closely the fate of Orion for many years, Artemis the goddess of hunting fell more and more deeply in love with Orion.

She had been increasingly impressed with him before and now after his biggest victory in the underworld it was time to let her affection be known.  Hearing of her plans to reveal herself and her affections for Orion, Artemis’s   twin brother Apollo (the god of light and the archer) was enraged that she was to break her vow of chastity for a mere mortal man. Apollo set out to put a stop to the revelation and stop his sister’s infatuation with such a lowly being.

Apollo challenged Artemis to a contest. He insisted that he alone was the better archer of the two and that she was not worthy of the title goddess of war. Enraged Artemis deplored that her aim was truer than any other and that he only need offer a target and no matter how small and she would hit it.

Pointing far, far below to the earth at a small moving animal Apollo jibed that Artemis couldn’t even see the animal let alone hit it. Determined Artemis raised her bow and loosed her arrow. The arrow flew swift and true,  however both the brother and sister lost sight of the arrow as it hurtled towards earth.  So following quickly after the arrow,  two gods raced to earth to see if it had hit its target.

As Artemis grew nearer and nearer however, horror griped her.  What she had first thought to be small animal now appeared to be a man, and as they drew closer still Artemis saw that it was not just any man it was none other than her beloved Orion. Her brother had tricked her and caused her to kill her beloved. Scooping down upon the dying man she grasped him tenderly by his arms and in one swift movement flung him up in to the stars where he could remain with her;  immortal, undying and majestic and through the ages.  The greatest hunter who ever lived.