Star Lore – Orion

Star Lore – Orion

Look up at the stars and you’ll likely see constellations associated with stories of Greek and Roman gods and heroes. But other cultures have seen these same stars from different points of view. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

“Orion is one of those groupings of stars that is noticed by everybody. There are certain parts of Orion that nobody can miss. The belt is the deal – three stars in a row, fairly close together. Just about everybody gets it. So we see that as the belt of Orion, where his waist is of course, and so who’s Orion? He’s this great hunter. And there’s stories about Orion as a hunter in, in Greek myth.”

But other civilizations such as the Maya, have interpreted this distinctive grouping of stars in different ways.

“In fact the three stars that form part of the grouping around the sword of Orion were actually thought of as three hearth stones, the hearth stones at the time of creation. And, in fact, that constellation, in turn, was linked to the configuration of the sky at the time that the Maya thought the Universe got started. So they had an astro-calendrical myth to tell about the origin of the Universe that was linked to these stars. On the other hand, we could go to ancient pagan myth in the Viking territory and there Orion’s belt and the sword are called Frigga’s Distaff. Now Frigga was a goddess of fertility, the wife of the high god, Odin – and she also was a spinner. Well, the spinning is linked to the turning of the sky and the seasonal signal that they used with Orion.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Star Lore - Orion

It may look like Orion's belt to us, but other cultures have had their own interpretation of this striking group of stars.
Air Date:08/28/2003
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Star Lore - Orion

Look up at the stars and you'll likely see constellations associated with stories of Greek and Roman gods and heroes. But other cultures have seen these same stars from different points of view. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

"Orion is one of those groupings of stars that is noticed by everybody. There are certain parts of Orion that nobody can miss. The belt is the deal - three stars in a row, fairly close together. Just about everybody gets it. So we see that as the belt of Orion, where his waist is of course, and so who's Orion? He's this great hunter. And there's stories about Orion as a hunter in, in Greek myth."

But other civilizations such as the Maya, have interpreted this distinctive grouping of stars in different ways.

"In fact the three stars that form part of the grouping around the sword of Orion were actually thought of as three hearth stones, the hearth stones at the time of creation. And, in fact, that constellation, in turn, was linked to the configuration of the sky at the time that the Maya thought the Universe got started. So they had an astro-calendrical myth to tell about the origin of the Universe that was linked to these stars. On the other hand, we could go to ancient pagan myth in the Viking territory and there Orion's belt and the sword are called Frigga's Distaff. Now Frigga was a goddess of fertility, the wife of the high god, Odin - and she also was a spinner. Well, the spinning is linked to the turning of the sky and the seasonal signal that they used with Orion."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music