Ancient Astral Secrets

This long article explains the strange possibility that many of the famous Greek Myths were not simply fanciful tales. Instead, they were actually Memory Palace (or Method of Loci) stories, created to help the reciter remember complex information about the star systems in our sky. What is astonishing is that they seem to encode astronomically correct properties of those star systems, even though our ancestors should not have known such information.
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In 1882, Robert Hewitt Brown wrote an excellent book on Freemasonry entitled 'Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy'. The book is a treasure-trove of fascinating information on Masonic understanding of astronomy, ancient history and the preservation of ancient information.

As many people are aware, Freemasonry does seem to know an awful lot of information about our ancient past and the knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians, Hebrews and Babylonians. Unfortunately for the rest of us, much of this information is only made available to people high up in the Masonic ranks. Brown's book gives insights to some of this knowledge, much of which tallies well with ancient books such as the Hermetica, which itself is uncannily similar in spirit to the Tao Te Ching, but there are tantalising hints that much more exists.

On page 7 of Brown's book, he writes about 'the mythological stories, the wonderful adventures of the gods. These fables are most of them absurd enough if understood as real histories, but the allegorical key being given, many of them are found to contain profound and sublime astronomical truths. This key was religiously kept secret by the priests and philosophers, and was only imparted to those who were initiated into the mysteries. The profane and vulgar crowd were kept in darkness, and believed in and worshipped a real Hercules or Jupiter, whom they thought actually lived and performed all the exploits, and underwent all the transformations of the mythology.'

'By these means the priests ruled the people with a despotic power. The fables of the mythology disclosed to them grand scientific truths, and to them only. The very stories themselves served to perpetuate those truths for the benefit of the initiated, and also formed an easy vehicle for their transmission. Book were not only rare and difficult of multiplication, but it is also probable that, in order that scientific knowledge might be concealed, it was considered unlawful to commit it to writing, the sacred hieroglyphs were employed. These were known only to the initiated; there was another set of written characters used by the common people. '
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Brown's comments leave us with a fascinating possibility, that the Ancient Egyptian high priests knew advanced knowledge about the stars and they encoded this information into stories about Hercules and other heroes of Classical Myth. What's more, they memorised these stories, rather than writing them down. Brown doesn't reveal the code that turns these stories into astronomical data, unsurprisingly, even if he knew it. Fortunately, t's still a code and as Alan Turing and others showed at Bletchley Park, codes can be cracked.

The first step to cracking this code would be to study a Classical Myth about Hercules and check if it meets certain properties:

1) Does it seem to be a code rather than just a story?
2) Does its origins fit with a very ancient, Egyptian or Babylonian source?
3) Is it structured so that it can be accurately memorised?

In this article, I am going to first focus on the Labours of Hercules, probably the most well known stories about Hercules. They were supposedly originally written by the Ancient Greek scholar Paisandros of Rhodes. Unfortunately, none of his copies survived. Modern scholars also believe that Paisandros of Rhodes probably wasn’t the original author of the Labours. Instead, he probably lifted the stories from even earlier sources. We are therefore reading second-hand versions of what were possibly second, fourth or tenth-hand versions of the actual, original texts. This would indicate that the original version of the Labours of Hercules was very old indeed.

We know, from reading texts by Pythagorus and Plato, and Diodorus Siculus's history book, that much of Greek culture was actually taken from Ancient Egypt, their cultural forebears, who they revered and strived to learn from. We can therefore tick off Property 2 in our list of required criteria, that the Labours of Hercules are likely to have come originally from Ancient Egypt.

Here is the Apollodorus version of the Tenth Labour of Hercules
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“As a tenth labour Hercules was ordered to fetch the kine (cattle) of Geryon from Erythia. Now Erythia was an island near the ocean; it is now called Gadira. This island was inhabited by Geryon, son of Chrysaor by Callirhoe, daughter of Ocean. He had the body of three men grown together and joined in one at the waist, but parted in three from the flanks and thighs. He owned red kine, of which Eurytion was the herdsman and Orthus, the two-headed hound, begotten by Typhon on Echidna, was the watch-dog. So journeying through Europe to fetch the kine of Geryon Hercules destroyed many wild beasts and set foot in Libya, and proceeding to Tartessus he erected as tokens of his journey two pillars over against each other at the boundaries of Europe and Libya. But being heated by the Sun on his journey, he bent his bow at the god, who in admiration of his hardiness, gave him a golden goblet in which he crossed the ocean. And having reached Erythia he lodged on Mount Abas. However the dog, perceiving him, rushed at him; but he smote it with his club, and when the herdsman Eurytion came to the help of the dog, Hercules killed him also. But Menoetes, who was there pasturing the kine of Hades, reported to Geryon what had occurred, and he, coming up with Hercules beside the river Anthemus, as he was driving away the kine, joined battle with him and was shot dead. And Hercules, embarking the kine in the goblet and sailing across to Tartessus, gave back the goblet to the Sun.”
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This is only the first half of the Tenth Labour but it is enough to give us an idea of its structure and content. Firstly, it doesn't work well as a story because it's a mess of strange characters with little action or description; it's more like a shopping list than an engaging story, but this tells us something. The style and content of the Tenth Labour is in keeping with a Method of Loci story.

The Method of Loci technique (also known as the Memory Palace technique) was allegedly invented by Simonides of Ceos, an Ancient Greek poet living in around 500 BC. Simonides supposedly developed the technique when he had the gruelling task of identifying, from memory, who had been crushed by a falling roof during a banquet that he had attended. Luckily for Simonides, he had left before the disaster struck. By remembering their table placings in his mind, he was able to recover this information.

It's a memorable tale, but it is likely to be an Ancient Greek urban myth, as the technique was highly likely to have been used long before Simonides lived. Early Greek civilisation was high on learning, but low on writing and In an era dominated by oral tradition, such a powerful and useful technique as the Method of Loci would have been a mainstay of scholars, orators and intellectuals before the Classical Greek Civilisation even began. The human brain has changed little in tens of thousands of years, and so it is logical to conclude that the Ancient Egyptian High Priests would have also used Method of Loci techniques to store large amounts of data in their heads. Other ancient priest groups would have followed suit.

For example, Julius Caesar mentions such a system being used by the Druids. In Chapter 14 of 'De Bello Gallico', Caesar writes:

'The Druids do not go to war, nor pay tribute together with the rest; they have an exemption from military service and a dispensation in all matters. Induced by such great advantages, many embrace this profession of their own accord, and [many] are sent to it by their parents and relations. They are said there to learn by heart a great number of verses; accordingly some remain in the course of training twenty years. Nor do they regard it lawful to commit these to writing, though in almost all other matters, in their public and private transactions, they use Greek characters. That practice they seem to me to have adopted for two reasons; because they neither desire their doctrines to be divulged among the mass of the people, nor those who learn, to devote themselves the less to the efforts of memory, relying on writing; since it generally occurs to most men, that, in their dependence on writing, they relax their diligence in learning thoroughly, and their employment of the memory. They wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another, and they think that men by this tenet are in a great degree excited to valour, the fear of death being disregarded. They likewise discuss and impart to the youth many things respecting the stars and their motion, respecting the extent of the world and of our earth, respecting the nature of things, respecting the power and the majesty of the immortal gods.'

It's fascinating to see how similar the Druids' belief system was to the Ancient Egyptians, the Jain, Hinduism and many ancient religions.
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In order to understand how the Method of Loci system works, here's an example. You need to remember a string of information; ‘red four, blue two, green five, pink three.’ This is only a short string but it should quickly become obvious that the information will get jumbled in your head over time, or after passing it on verbally to someone else. This is because the form of the data is so dry. Our minds aren't usually tuned to remember numbers, they're much better at remembering distinct and memorable images. Therefore, it's much better to use a code to remember the dry data. You turn the dry data into something memorable using the code, memorise it, then translate it back to retrieve the dry data.

Here's how the dry data ‘red four, blue two, green five, pink three' is turned into a Method of Loci (or Memory Palace) story. Imagine that you're in a place you’re familiar with, such as your house. You're now going to travel on an imaginary journey through your house. You’ll start your journey in your front room. You step into that room and you see a four-legged Red Dragon. You then walk to your kitchen and find, leaning against the stove, a two-legged Blue Pelican. You leave your kitchen and step into your garden and find a five-legged Green Frog on the lawn. Beyond it, by the gate, you see a three-legged Pink Princess. The combination of a familiar location and exotic creatures helps the data stick in your head. Memory champions can use this data to memorise an entire pack of cards that have been shuffled, dealt out, then hidden.

If we look again at the Tenth Labour of Hercules, it should become clear that it meets all the criteria of a Greek Method of Loci story, familiar geography, exotic creatures and a string of events. We also have the insight, given to us by Brown, that these tales were actually Method of Loci stories about the stars, but which stars and what was the data?
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Fortunately for us, we have a big clue to help us crack the code. Hercules was a hunter with a bow and club and there is a constellation in the night sky of a hunter with a bow and club; Orion the Hunter. It therefore makes sense to focus on that part of the sky to decipher the code.

There are several constellations in the skies around Orion. They are the constellations Canis Minor (the Little Dog), Canis Major (the Big Dog), Gemini (the Twins or Brothers), Taurus the Bull and Eridanus the River. It's very interesting to note that these constellation bear a close resemblance to characters described in Hercules' Labours.

For example, in the Tenth Labour, Hercules fights two brothers and their guard dog. It makes sense that Gemini (the twins) and Canis Minor (the little dog) could be the associated constellations. In the Twelfth Labour, Hercules fights a mighty dog, Cerberus, which could represent Canis Major.

If this is correct, then somehow, the Labours have encoded information about the main stars in these constellations by representing Hercules' enemies as these stars. Geryon is therefore the star Castor, Eurytion is the star Pollux, Orthrus is the star Procyon and Cerberus is the star Sirius.

Let's list the properties of the characters in the Labours, alongside the properties of the stars they seem to represent:

Geryon is a triple-paired man (three pairs of legs and arms). Castor is three pairs of stars all gravitationally locked together.
Eurytion is a Normal man. Pollux, the star system that he represents, is a single star system.
Orthrus is a two-headed dog. Procyon is a binary (or double) star system.
Cerberus is a triple-headed dog. Sirius, the main star of Canis Major, is at least a binary star system and may really be a triple star system (according to the latest astronomical evidence).

The depth of the connections in the list should hopefully convince any reader that Brown was right; the Greek Myths are not just tales, they are encoded allegories, Method of Loci stories designed to encode information about star systems. This leads to a shocking fact; the Ancient Egyptians knew information about distant star systems that the Western World only found out a century ago. The only way they could have known such information is that they inherited it from a technologically advanced, older civilisation, or it was given to them by a technologically advanced, alien civilisation.
The Chimaera

Hopefully, we've seen enough evidence to show that Brown was right; Classical Greek Myths are encoded stories, describing astronomical information. This next section will study a different aspect of this information. Instead of decoding the properties of star systems, I'm going to decode information about our interaction with those star systems. To do that, I'm going to study another myth, that of Bellerephon and the Chimaera. Here's Apollodorus's version of the story (translated by J.G.Fraser):

“Bellerophon, son of Glaucus, son of Sisyphus, came to Proetus and was purified. And Stheneboea fell in love with him, and sent him proposals for a meeting; and when he rejected them, she told Proetus that Bellerophon had sent her a vicious proposal. Proetus believed her, and gave him a letter to take to Iobates, in which it was written that he was to kill Bellerophon. Having read the letter, Iobates ordered him to kill the Chimera, believing that he would be destroyed by the beast, for it was more than a match for many, let alone one; it had the fore part of a lion, the tail of a dragon, and its third head, the middle one, was that of a goat, through which it belched fire. And it devastated the country and harried the cattle; for it was a single creature with the power of three beasts. It is said, too, that this Chimera was bred by Amisodarus, as Homer also affirms, and that it was begotten by Typhon on Echidna, as Hesiod relates. So Bellerophon mounted his winged steed Pegasus, offspring of Medusa and Poseidon, and soaring on high shot down the Chimera from the height.”

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Once again, the myth looks to be a Method of Loci story, with very exotic characters appearing in a bland sequence of events. Unfortunately, it's not easy to connect this story with stars in our sky because there is no Greek Chimaera constellation.

But what if there was once a Chimaera constellation, long ago? It's worth remembering that Greece probably inherited these stories from Egypt or Babylon. We therefore can study the Ancient Egyptian or Babylonian constellations and see if they include a Chimaera constellation.

Firstly, to work out where the Chimaera constellation once stood in the night sky, we can study the content of the myth. We know, from studying the Orion-Hercules Labours, that the mythical stories seem to refer to neighbouring constellations in the night sky, such as Gemini and Canis Minor. We can therefore apply this pattern to the Chimaera story. If we can find a neighbouring constellation to the Chimaera constellation that does have a Greek counterpart, we've got a big clue to the Chimaera constellation's location.

In the Chimaera story, Bellerophon attacks the Chimaera from his winged steed Pegasus 'on high' and shoots it down. Logically, therefore, we can guess that the Chimaera constellation is beneath the constellation Pegasus and probably in the general direction of Pegasus's pointing head.

Below is a screenshot from the excellent Stellarium astronomy program, which is free. As we can see in the picture, Pegasus, the winged horse, is on the left and its head is pointing downwards. Beneath him is a group of constellations consisting of Cygnus (The Swan), Lyra (the Lyre, dominated by the star Vega) and Draco (the dragon). If the Chimaera constellation did once exist, it makes sense that it was somewhere in that group of constellations.
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Rebuilding the Chimaera constellation

We've therefore got a rough location for our Chimaera constellation; the constellations of Draco, Lyre, Cygnus and Cepheus. If the theory describe above is correct, then some or all of those Greek constellations replaced an older Egyptian or Babylonian Chimaera constellation.

The next step in deciphering what stars the Chimaera constellation represented is to study the Egyptian and Babylonian zodiacs. We have a copy of the Egyptian constellations thanks to the Dendera Zodiac, the famous Egyptian ceiling frieze found in a temple in Dendera, Egypt (and hacked out of it by Frenchmen and taken to Paris). We also know the Babylonian zodiac, thanks to excellent work by modern scholars. In Gavin White's extremely useful book ‘Babylonian Star Lore’, which is still in print, Gavin explains the Babylonian star constellations, what they signified and their history.
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As we can see from Gavin's illustration, the Babylonian constellations are different from the Greek ones, but there are enough similarities to the Greek zodiac and the Dendera Zodiac to spot the changes between the different versions.

If we overlay the different zodiacs, we find that the Babylonian constellation in the same part of the sky as the Greek constellations Draco/Cygnus/Lyre was called the Panther, a winged lion.

The Panther constellation uses the stars that make up most of the Cygnus constellation, and part of Cepheus. Cygnus’s broad wings make the Panther’s front leg and wing, while the stars in Cepheus make up its back leg. According to Gavin's book, the Panther was a beast closely associated with the realm of the dead and the afterlife. It was the sacred beast of Nergal, the Babylonian lord of the dead, and acted as a guardian to the entrance to the underworld. As such, the Panther was a very similar animal to Cerberus (or Kerberos), the three-headed Greek hound that also guarded the gates to the Underworld.

We can therefore guess that the Panther constellation was the Chimaera's main body. The Chimaera's body was a lion, but a Panther is a pretty close match. If this is true, then we need to find the other bits that make up the Chimaera. First off, where's the Chimaera's dragon tail? It should, logically, be in the part of the sky behind where the Panther's back end stood. Fortunately, there is a constellation in this place; Draco, the dragon constellation.
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This is a promising development. This illustration depicts the first two stages of assembling the Chimaera constellation from the Panther and Draco. The Chimaera's lion body is the Babylonian Panther constellation that stood in that part of the sky and out of its back emerges the dragon tail which later became the Greek Draco constellation. At the end of this dragon tail lies the star Thuban, the main star in the Draco constellation.

We now have two parts to the lost Chimera constellation; the Babylonian Panther constellation and the Greek Draco constellation. We now need to reconstruct is the middle part of the Chimaera, its goat head that rose up from the back of the Chimera’s body, breathing fire.

The place in the sky where the goat head of Chimera would have sat is now the Greek constellation Lyre. Although a Lyre (a Greek stringed instrument like a pocket harp) has little to do with a goat, this place in the heavens, dominated by the star Vega, had a very different constellation in Egyptian and Babylonian astrology. According to the Dendera zodiac and Babylonion records, this part of the sky contained the Babylonian constellation Gula. Gula was a goddess who could both heal and kill with plague, which was pretty much normal behaviour for the Babylonian and Sumerian gods. Gula was known as the She-Goat. We have our final match. We can now draw the Chimaera constellation in full.
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Just to recap, the Chimaera's body is the Babylonian Panther constellation, which included the star Deneb. Its dragon tail is the constellation Draco the dragon, that ended with the star Thuban. Its goat head, rising up from its middle, was the star Vega in the Lyre or She-Goat constellation.

It has been a convoluted process to reconstruct the Chimaera constellation but if it's correct, then it opens a door to another aspect of the ancient myths, that they describe interactions between ourselves and certain, key, star-systems.

Two fiery stars

In my article on the Great Pyramid and 2787BC, I explain how the star Thuban seemed to be have been of extreme importance to ancient civilisations because that was the star at which the Great Pyramid aimed its ray of light. Also, my article laser transmissions from Sirius explains that the Sirius star system seems to have been a source of a ray of light aimed at Earth.

These two articles seem to indicate that there was a ray of 'fiery' light between ourselves and the stars Thuban and Sirius.

It is therefore a fascinating coincidence that the star Thuban in the Chimaera constellation is a dragon-tail breathing fire. The star Sirius in the Cerberus constellation is also a dragon-tail, breathing fire (for Cerberus, representing Canis Major, whose main star is Sirius, was a three-headed dog with a dragon's tail).

We therefore seem to have another encoded symbol in the Greek Myths. Earlier, it was shown that heads and limbs of the mythical characters represented the number and pairing of stars in a star-system. This time, it seems that having a fiery dragon's tail represents that star sending or receiving a ray of light from Earth.

It's also interesting to note that both constellations, Chimaera and Cerberus, are associated with important Ancient Greek and Egyptian male gods that travelled to Earth, helped humanity, were killed by envious, violent enemies, died, but conquered the underworld and became ever more powerful as a result. In the Chimaera's case it was the star Vega and Orpheus, with his Lyre. In the case of the Chimaera constellation, it was the star Sirius and Osiris, possibly the most famous Egyptian god of all. Is this more than a coincidence? Is there a connection between Orpheus, Osiris and these rays of light?

The next section will study more constellations in our night sky and use the myths to decode information about them, and their possible interactions with our planet.
The mystery deepens

So far in this extended article, I've been exploring a strange but fascinating idea; that the Greek Myths were really Method of Loci stories that encoded information about stars. After some investigation, it's clear that certain patterns within the Method of Loci stories do correlate with actual properties of star systems. If these links are correct, then someone gave the Ancient Greeks advanced information about the stars in our galactic neighbourhood. But who gave them this information?

As mentioned before in this article, the Ancient Greeks were inspired by, and in awe of, Ancient Egypt. Pythagoras, Plato and other greats of Ancient Greece not only revered the Egyptians, but repeatedly visited them, seeking information and instruction from the priests that they felt were far ahead of them in knowledge. It's therefore logical to conclude that the Greek Myth stories did not originate in Ancient Greece, which shows no signs of having advanced celestial knowledge or access to such scientific information, but instead originated in either Ancient Egypt or another ancient civilisation connected to Ancient Egypt. Let's follow this trail and see where it leads us…
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The Dendera Zodiac

The Dendera Zodiac was carved into the ceiling of the hallway (pronaos) of a chapel dedicated to Osiris in the Hathor temple at Dendera, in the northern delta lowlands of Egypt, near the Nile. It was carved in about 50 BC, in other words right at the end of the era of Ancient Egypt. Although it's not that old compared to most Ancient Egyptian relics, it's highly likely that it was made according to a sky map that the Ancient Egyptians had used for millennia. If you want to see it in person, head over to the Musée du Louvre in Paris, as certain Frenchman chopped it out of the ceiling and took it back to France a century-or-so ago.

The Dendera Zodiac is different to the Greek constellations, but fortunately not that different. There's enough similarities for us to be able to match up which Egyptian figures correspond to Greek constellation figures. As Ancient Egypt was much older than Greek civilisation, it's almost certain that the Egyptian figures came first and the Greek ones were either inspired by or direct copies of the Egyptian figures. So far in this article, two stars have been flagged up as being of importance, as stars that seemed to have been 'fiery dragons'; stars that shone a ray of light at Earth. These two stars are Vega and Sirius. On the Dendera Zodiac copy above, Sirius is represented at about seven o'clock by the Hathor cow with a big star between her horns. Vega is represented by a seated goddess figure at eleven o'clock holding a staff. It's very interesting to note that both of these figures in the zodiac are sitting in boats. The Ancient Egyptians believed that their gods travelled the stars in their afterworld and these journeys were depicted as the gods travelling on boats. The Ancient Egyptians very much believed that the purpose of the Great Pyramid was for their god-pharaoh to travel to the Heavens (literally the stars and the afterlife) and they invariably depicted this as him travelling on a celestial boat.
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This is a fascinating coincidence. Our two suspect stars are the very two stars on the Dendera Zodiac that are marked by the Ancient Egyptians as being 'god traveller' stars. If we cast our eyes over the rest of the zodiac, there are two figures on the zodiac's border that sit in boats (at eleven o'clock and four o'clock) but there are no more that sit in boats in the central part of the zodiac, with one odd exception. Up at twelve o'clock, the centaur archer has his front feet in a boat. Why just the front feet? It's a bit odd, but worth investigation.

The Centaur Archer

The centaur archer is a very old celestial figure indeed. It seems to have originated in Mesopotamia as the god Pabilsag. Not a lot is known about Pabilsag, apart from the fact that he was the brother of Gula (the Babylonian goddess associated with Vega) and son of Enlil, the autocratic father of the Sumerian gods. He was linked to other gods in behaviour and sometimes identity, in particular the Sumerian god of the underworld, Nergal. The depictions of Pabilsag inn Sumer and Babylon are pretty similar to the figure on the Dendera zodiac, apart from a couple of odd differences.
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On the left-hand side of the illustration above is a depiction of Pabilsag. As you can see, he's still a centaur archer, but he's got a scorpion's tail and a dog's head sticking out of the back of his head. It seems that we're once more into the territory of very weird figures, just as we found in the Labours of Hercules. The weirdness of the Pabilsag figure and his enduring location in our skies as Sagittarius the Centaur Archer is intriguing. It offers a tantalising possibility, that the Greek Myths were versions of stories from much older civilisations, handed down from priest to priest over literally millennia, retaining their coded information, viewed with extreme importance by those remembering them, until they finally reached the Greeks. At that point, they were written down and, through that method, we inherited them, without realising their actual purpose. The figure of Pabilsag, originating in 2,000 to 3,000 BC or even earlier, shows their real origin, at the dawn of human civilisation.

If the figure of Pabilsag is an encoding, just like the Labours of Hercules, what can we glean from it? In the last section, it became clear that an Egyptian celestial figure in a boat was strongly connected to stars that 'breathed fire' and, more specifically, if the 'laser transmissions from Sirius' and the 'Great Pyramid and 2787BC' are correct, a star that sent a ray to Earth. In other words, 'fire breathing' and 'boat riding' stars were inhabited stars whose inhabitant(s) travelled to Earth. If this is correct, then the forelegs of the centaur archer contain an inhabited star whose inhabitant(s) travelled to Earth. There's another interesting possibility. Pabilsag's back-end has a scorpion's tail sticking out of it. This is clearly not natural, which is a strong indication that it's an encoded message. What does a scorpion's sting signify? To work that out, let's look at the actual stars of Sagittarius and what we know about them. By studying their properties, we can look for links to Pabilsag, Dendera and the evidence we've uncovered so far.
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Here's a picture of the Sagittarius constellation, created by the Stellarium astronomy programme. The Sagittarius constellation includes the cluster of stars known as the 'teapot'; they're the ones around the centaur's face, upper torso and bow. At this point, it would seem sensible to guess that the main star of Sagittarius would be 'Nunki' or 'Kaus Australis', the large stars marked in the diagram. Nope, they're not. Strangely enough, the main star of Sagittarius, Alpha Sagittarii, is a much smaller and dimmer star positioned at the forelegs of the centaur. What a fascinating coincidence! This star is known as Rukbat Al Rami, or 'the knees of the centaur'.

Alpha Sagittarii is a very interesting star. It is a blue, class B dwarf star, about 180 light years from Earth. It's twice as hot as the Sun and considerably more massive, with a luminosity in visible wavelengths about 40 times greater than that of the Sun (in other words, visibly much brighter). Just like Vega, it has a strange excess of infra-red radiation. It is also emitting a strange excess of X-rays, which a star of this type shouldn't normally be emitting. Are these markers for an inhabited star, one that's technically advanced? The only way to be confident of such an idea would be to find a pattern of behaviour. Until then, it's just an interesting possibility.

The other part of the centaur's body that's been flagged up as important is its back-end. This is the location, on the Pabilsag depictions, of the god's very odd scorpion tail. What was the sting in that tail? As we can see from the image above, there isn't a major star in that part of the firmament. Since the scorpion's tail sticks out, then curls around and up, the sting would be above the rump and probably a bit forward of it. I've added a small, white ellipse in the picture above to mark the spot. This area contains a cluster of stars collectively known as Chi Sagittarii. The path would go cold here, if it wasn't for something very odd that happened in 1977…
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The Wow! signal

On August 15, 1977, Dr. Jerry R. Ehman detected a strange signal while working on a SETI project at The Big Ear radio telescope of Ohio State University. Dr. Ehman was amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used. He circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment "Wow!" on its side. The signal lasted for 72 seconds, the full duration the telescope observed it. The signal came from an area of space close to Chi Sagittarii.

The reason the signal looked so good to Dr. Ehman was due to several factors. Firstly, the signal's frequency was exactly the frequency they’d expected a signaller to use. This frequency is known as the cold hydrogen line. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and when its electrons change their energy state around their nucleus, they emit radiation of a very specific frequency. This is (approximately) 1420 MHz and it lies within the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Because of it being at this frequency, the radiation gets through interstellar dust clouds very well, making it possible for a signal at the frequency to cross the interstellar distances. Because of these factors, it made sense that if someone wanted to send an electromagnetic signal, they'd choose this frequency. Lo and behold, years after they calculated this possibility, it turned out to be true (at least for 72 seconds).

Actually, just saying the signal came in at 1420 MHz is doing it an injustice. A very precise value for hydrogen’s natural frequency is 1420.405 MHz. The two different values detected for the frequency of the Wow! signal were 1420.356 MHz and 1420.457 MHz. They are the same distance apart to the actual resonant frequency. The first is about 0.05 MHz less than the hydrogen line, and the second is about 0.05 MHz more than the hydrogen line. That's how accurately the wow! signal matched the cold hydrogen line.
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The Big Ear telescope was fixed and used the rotation of the Earth to scan the sky. At the speed of the earth's rotation, and given the width of its observation ‘window’, it could observe any given point in the sky for just 72 seconds. An extraterrestrial signal, therefore, would be expected to register for exactly 72 seconds. Also, the recorded intensity of that signal would show a gradual peaking for the first 36 seconds, until the signal reached the centre of Big Ear's observation ‘window’, and then it would gradually decrease to nothing. This is exactly what the ‘wow’ signal did.

In some ways, it’s bizarre that the ‘wow!’ signal isn’t trumpeted as proof of extra-terrestrial intelligence. It couldn’t have been a more authentic extra-terrestrial signal. If it had been received forty years later, the story might have been very different. We would have been able to keep a digital record of the signal and analyse it, looking for meaning, rather than a short string of numbers and letters showing its signal strength. Hopefully, an equally authentic signal will crop up again and be recorded in much greater detail.

The importance of a centaur's knee

The earlier section explored the fascinating importance of what seems a minor star in Sagittarius. Although Rukbat Al Rami is small, dim and nowhere near the central stars of Sagittarius, someone of sufficient influence in our past declared that it was the main star of Sagittarius and it's stayed that way. By strange coincidence, the Dendera zodiac also marked it as being important, as important as Vega and Sirius. Are there other writings in our ancient past that paid particular attention to a centaur's knee? Time to return to the Labours of Hercules.

The fourth Labour of Hercules consists of Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar. In this Labour, Hercules must bring back a wild boar that has terrorised the country. Here is an abridged translation of the Apollodorus version of the fourth Labour (yep, I know it's still long, but treat it as some more practice in skimming and focus on the middle bit):

“As a fourth labour he [Eurystheus] ordered him [Hercules] to bring the Erymanthian Boar alive; now that animal ravaged Psophis, sallying from a mountain which they call Erymanthus. So passing through Pholoe he [Hercules] was entertained by the centaur Pholus, a son of Silenus by a Melian nymph. He set roast meat before Hercules, while he himself ate his meat raw. When Hercules called for wine, he said he feared to open the jar that belonged to the centaurs in common. But Hercules, bidding him be of good courage, opened it, and not long afterwards, scenting the smell, the centaurs arrived at the cave of Pholus, armed with rocks and firs. The first who dared to enter, Anchius and Agrius, were repelled by Hercules with a shower of brands, and the rest of them he shot and pursued as far as Malea, Thence they took refuge with Chiron, who, driven by the Lapiths from Mount Pelion, took up his abode at Malea. As the centaurs cowered about Chiron, Hercules shot an arrow at them, which passing through the arm of Elatus, stuck in the knee of Chiron. Distressed at this, Hercules ran up to him, drew out the shaft, and applied a medicine that Chiron gave him. But the hurt proved incurable, Chiron retired to the cave and there he wished to die, but he could not, for he was immortal. However, Prometheus offered himself to Zeus to be immortal in his stead, and so Chiron died. But Pholus, drawing the arrow from a corpse, wondered that so little a thing could kill such big fellows; howbeit, it slipped from his hand and lighting on his foot killed him on the spot. So when Hercules returned to Pholoe, he beheld Pholus dead; and he buried him and proceeded to the boar-hunt. And when he had chased the boar with shouts from a certain thicket, he drove the exhausted animal into deep snow, trapped it, and brought it to Mycenae.”

The strange style of the Labours comes to the fore again. This Labour is supposed to be about the capture of a boar but almost the whole story is about centaurs. The boar hunt is almost an afterthought. Why isn’t this Labour called ‘Hercules defeats the centaurs’? It seems that the author of the fourth Labour really wanted to talk about centaurs. What was the motivation behind this? There is a possible reason. The area of the sky that contains the Greek Centaurus constellation is depicted differently in the Dendera zodiac. In that zodiac, it is drawn as an animal looking backwards, similar to a big cat, but with a horn protruding from its mouth, just like a large boar.
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Gavin White, in his book ‘Babylonian Star-Lore’, puts forward the idea that this was an altered depiction of the Babylonian ‘Wild Boar’ constellation and that the horn was originally the boar’s tusk. Both creatures stand beside a square, that the Babylonians called ‘the abyss’; a cold and empty area of the sky. This would be a reasonable origin for the ‘driven into deep snow’ element of the Labour. This dual identity for that part of the sky, wild boar and centaur, would also explain the odd way a boar story spends most of its time talking about centaurs.

In this Labour, two particular ‘arrow deaths’ jump out. One concerns Pholus, the centaur that welcomes Hercules into his cave. In the text, Pholus draws Hercules’ arrow from a corpse and drops it. The arrow lands on his foot and kills him. The second event concerns Chiron, a centaur who was highly regarded by the Greeks and seen as an learned educator and healer, just like Pabilsag. Hercules shoots an arrow and it passes through the arm of Elatus and sticks in Chiron’s knee, mortally wounding him.

If these Labours were really encoded information about stars, the arrow paths would logically represent a path between stars. Fortunately, we know the destination; the knee of the learned civilising centaur, Alpha Sagittarii, a.k.a. Rukbat Al Rami. The source is also straightforward, since there is a Hercules constellation near Sagittarius in the heavens. As we can see from the Stellarium image on the right, I've drawn a line between Hercules and the knee of Sagittarius. In the Labour, the arrow passes through the arm of Elatus. There seems to be only one candidate star that sits on another constellation's arm that could be the 'arm of Elatus' star'. It's the one marked with the white circle. This star is called Gamma Ophiuchi.

Gamma Ophiuchi is a single, class A4 star about 95 light years from Earth. It has been of significant interest to astronomers in recent decades because it has one exceptional feature; just like Vega, Sirius B and Rukbat Alrami, it has a ‘debris disk’ causing it to admit an excess of infrared radiation. What is it about these infra-red excess stars? Why do they keep cropping up?

Before we leave the centaurs, there's one more star we can add to our 'intriguing stars' list and that's the foot of the centaur. Poor old Pholus drops Hercules' arrow on to his own foot and kills himself. Which star might this be referring to? Actually, it's an easy-peasy one. The main star of the Centaurus system, Alpha Centauri, was known as Rijl al-Qanṭūris, or 'the foot of the centaur'. Alpha Centauri is in fact a triple-star system, which includes the star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun. Interestingly, none of these three stars seem to show an infra-red excess but the Alpha Centauri system has shown an excess of X-rays, reported in the astrophysics paper 'X-rays from Alpha Centauri - The darkening of the solar twin'. An excess of x-rays was also spotted from Alpha Sagittarii. Is this purely a natural phenomenon, or is there alien technology at work? I've no idea at the moment, but it's nice to have another star added to the list.

To summarise, here's the 'intriguing stars' list so far:
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I haven't added Thuban to the list as it seems to have been a star to which Earth sent a ray of light, not the other way around. I've also not included any stars that don't 'flame' in the stories and don't show any anomalous astrophysical behaviour; they might be inhabited, but goodness knows how we could detect it from here.

In Conclusion

According to all the evidence so far, it would seem that certain Greek myths contained hidden information about star systems, that the Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian pantheons were the origins for these myths and that their depictions also contained encoded information about inhabited star systems. Somehow, our ancient forebears knew information about stars that we've only worked out in the last century. What's more, they seemed to believe that we have been interacting with these star-systems using advanced technology, some of which is still with us today, sitting on a plateau outside Cairo.

Adrian Ellis - Spring, 2015 (updated Feb 2019)