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Ancient Signs

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Balor Concubar LexiLine? Logo Orion Meteor Showers
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ORION BALOR CONCUBAR
METEOR SHOWERS

by F. Graham Millar
Halifax Centre, RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada)
Website use with permission of the late copyright-holding author and based on the author's significant pioneer article which appeared in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 89, No. 4, Aug. 1995, pp.141-154.

Orion Balor Concubar
David and Goliath and ancient Star Positions and Meteor Showers

Millar Chart

Concubar has Sanskrit roots defining him as the original Cupid, a bow-hunter. We do not find Balor/Concubar on the Gundestrup Cauldron. For him we may look elsewhere for one or more of the motifs - a single eye, blindness, a weapon piercing the eye in the back of his head, the piercing of the head, or beheading.

Orion is reputed to be blind (Allen 1963); no other constellation bears this attribute. The head of Orion is represented by only one star, Meissa (Allen 1963). It is a double in which the brighter star is pale white and of magnitude 3.5. To the naked eye this is a dim star, not visible through hazy cloud, so on occasion Orion is blind or lacks a head. Astrologically, then, Balor/Concubar can be identified with Orion.

Orion is today a sloping figure. A vertical struck through him is tangent to the locus of the pole at about 3000 BC; he was vertical then. This date broadly sets the time of origin of the myth of David and Goliath, perhaps as early as 3500 BC.

Three star positions by which the ancients kept track of the calendar may be used to set a date for the formation of the myth giving a result in agreement with dates suggested on other grounds. These positions were the following:

Heliacal Rising: when a star makes its first seasonal appearance on the eastern horizon just before dawn.

Culmination: when a star stands on the zenith meridian. After its heliacal rising, a star rises a little earlier each night until, halfway into its season of visibility, it is up all night. It then culminates at midnight. The nonsetting circumpolar stars can culminate, either low in the north (inferior) or overhead (superior).

Heliacal Setting: when a setting star makes its last seasonal appearance on the western horizon just after sunset.

Considering precession, around 3500 BC Boötes culminated in the inferior position
on August 4th, Lughnasadh (Lugh's Day). Orion was then low in the southeast. He would remain in the sky until his heliacal setting about November 4th, Samhain (Summer's End).

In the interval between those dates he was exposed to the weapon of Lugh, whose long arm was extended toward him. Succumbing at Samhain, Orion went to the Otherworld. The Finn version is explicit: Finn lured the wizard over the cliff, that is, to the Otherworld.

The weapons in the myth may have been inspired by a meteor shower. A meteor, or shooting star, is vividly mythologized as a thunderbolt, a thrown spear, a glinting sword, or a sword half-drawn from the scabbard and reinserted. Meteors originate from solid particles, usually only grain-sized, that fall from space into the atmosphere where they burn in a white-hot glow. Some, believed to be remnants of comets, occur in showers of a few days duration centred on the date when their orbit intersects the Earth's orbit.

From year to year showers may vary in the maximum number visible per hour. A shower comes from a definite direction in space, and by perspective the meteors seem to radiate from a point on the celestial sphere called the radiant. A shower takes its name from the constellation in which the radiant lies.

Of all the constellations, only three bear the name of a mythical hero and at the same time contain a meteor radiant. Perseus is one, but he can be identified with Mithra and so is disregarded here. Hercules and Orion remain, the possessors of the thrown weapons. Never in any age has Orion been visible at the time of the Herculids, since at that time the Sun is invariably close to Orion, outblazing him.

Bootes is not the radiant for a major meteor shower, and neither is Corona Borealis (Sherrod 1981). However, Hercules/Aed/Vulcan was the Smith who made the weapons. It was only possible for Hercules to give the bolts to Bootes. (As a parallel, Saul gave David his armour - I Samuel 17:38). Bootes then flung the bolts with his sling, Corona Borealis.

Around 3000 BC, Orion was visible from August to October. Bootes, low in the north on August 4th, was in position to bombard him until his heliacal setting - but not without opposition from Orion, as implied by a Vedic hymn in praise of Indra for slaying the dragon Vrtra: Vrtra fought back. The same is implied in the story of Culhwch. Vrtra's weapon was perhaps an Orionid meteor.

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CARNAC, FRANCE
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Studying Ancient Britain
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Deciphering megalithic sites



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