I recently received a very interesting email from Adriano Forgione, publisher of the best-selling Italian ‘ancient mysteries’ magazine FENIX. Adriano, a long-time reader of the Grail, asked if I could publish a short article that he had written regarding his personal discovery of a very interesting ancient Egyptian artifact (image above; reason why it is very interesting in his article below).
As this is a topic I’m extremely familiar with, I thought it might be more helpful to present both Adriano’s article, and some comments from myself, together here in this post. Here’s Adriano’s article first:
During my travels in Egypt for my studies I meet in the Nubian Museum in Aswan, an absolutely unknown artifact, not recognized for its importance. The first time I saw it in 2008, I understood immediately to find myself in front of an “astronomical-mythological” object of enormous value. An object of unrecognized importance until today, not only among archaeologists, but also from my own colleagues who deal with ancient knowledge and the sacred science, simply because the finding is unknown.
Let me make an introduction: Orion is known by the ancients as the constellation of the “Heavenly Hunter.” Often it depicted with a club, but more often with a bow, and sometimes accompanied by a lion skin. The posture assumed in the sky from this constellation have a perfect match with that of the Egyptian pharaoh when he were depicted as the “Divine Warrior” and “Egypt Divine Defender”. A parallel between the lines that form the silhouette of this constellation and the pharaoh’s profile, at the earliest dynasties (eg in the Narmer tablet that carry in the accompanying images) highlights the correspondence, and so it was until the end of Egyptian history. In fact the representations on the outer pillars of the temples, until the Ptolemaic era have respected this artistic canon, representing, such a form, a divine concept. I recall that the temple was a sacred place and house of the cosmic order. Therefore, the Pharaoh/Orion as “Heavenly Hunter” of demons, it protected the sacred place from the disorder and the chaos. The enemies of Egypt, dominated by the sovereign, were, therefore, only a metaphor of opposing forces of the divine spiritual and light forces and not mere propaganda, as Egyptologists erroneously interpret.
And then here comes the object that I’ve identified in the museum. We can find the more ancient representation and relationship between Orion and the Great Hunter Archer, of the Egyptian mythology, in a dish of pre-dynastic era (dating back to 3500 BC) in the Museum of Aswan. This can tell us that this correspondence could go back to the Egyptian prehistory. Not only that, this would demonstrate that prehistoric Egyptians already associated the constellations that today we identify with Orion the Hunter, the Hare and the Canis Major and Canis Minor to these very ancient symbologies, so they were not Greek, but of Egyptian origin. As proof of what I’m saying, and I read in this finding, there is depicted a hunter with bow and arrows, in the same posture that we know now as the “symbol of Orion.” To the left of the hunter there is a dog, exactly where in the sky there is the constellation “Canis Minor”. But according to mythology, and also according to the astronomy, the dogs following Orion in its hunting are two. The other is the Canis Major, where Sirius lies, (called the “Dog’s Star”) and that, chasing the constellation of the “Hare”, placed just under the feet of Orion.
Everything is portrayed perfectly in this ancient dish, which was, in my opinion, a ritual object. Some might ask: and the leopard skin to the right? Here it is explained: Orion, as predator and beasts hunter is associated with the “Lion skin” according to the Greeks, as it is archetypal of the One who shot down the bestial strength and the darkness that it symbolizes (just like Hercules or Gilgamesh). But we know that for the ancient Egyptians, the symbol of the dominion of the brutality was not associated with the lion, but with the leopard (Leo-Pardus, the Heavenly Lion) of which skin the sovereign and priests was dressed. Therefore, I am sure to have in this marvellous object, completely anonymous, a proof of the remote and ancient origins of Egyptian astronomical knowledge (later transposed in the Book of the Dead), as well an indication that the constellations which we call today “Heavenly Hunter/Orion”, “Canis Major”, “Canis Minor” and “Hare”, should have their origin and their names thanks to this people of the prehistoric Egypt. Only thousand years later were they passed to the Greeks and to our civilization.
Long-time readers of this site (and our Darklore anthology series) will note that Adriano’s discovery agrees with – perhaps even confirms – a hypothesis I put forward some 17 years ago (web version/PDF version): that similar depictions of ‘the God with the Upraised Arm’ – found in art across the ancient ‘near-East’, not just Egypt – were actually an astronomical archetype based on the constellation of Orion….thousands of years before the Greeks.
Adriano’s discovery takes things a step further though, with many of the elements on the dish appearing to be precursors of later Greek ‘creations’: the dog following the Orion figure, the animal beneath that appears very much like a hare, and the lion skin. Dating on the dish is key here – could this be a later copy based on Greek designs? If it is indeed from pre-Dynastic Egypt, this dish should signal a paradigm change in what we believe about the origins of the ‘Greek’ constellations. Can anyone provide further information about this artifact?
(Regardless of that, it’s quite instructive to look at how similar the depiction of the ‘dog and prey’ beneath Orion is to the two people beneath the feet of Narmer on the Narmer Palette.)
Many thanks to Adriano Forgione for sending this fascinating article in to us!