Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Sagittarius and Capricorn

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 3, 2015

Sagittarius

Nunki

Sagittarius Sagittarius constellation lies in the southern sky. It is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is the ninth astrological sign and one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for the archer, and its symbol is ♐, a stylized arrow. Sagittarius is commonly represented as a centaur drawing a bow. It lies between Scorpius and Ophiuchus to the west and Capricornus to the east.

As of 2002, the Sun appears in the constellation Sagittarius from 18 December to 18 January. In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Sagittarius from 22 November to 21 December, and in sidereal astrology, from 16 December to 14 January.

Also known as the Archer, Sagittarius is represented by the symbol of an arrow. The arrow of this constellation points towards the star Antares, the “heart of the scorpion,” and Sagittarius stands poised to attack should Scorpius ever attack the nearby Hercules, or to avenge Scorpius’s slaying of Orion.

In Greek mythology, Sagittarius represents a centaur, a half human, half horse creature with the torso of a man and the body and four legs of a horse, the learned healer who forms a bridge between human beings and beasts. The centaur is depicted as aiming an arrow toward the heart of the neighbouring constellation Scorpio, represented by the red supergiant star Antares.

However, perhaps due to the Greek’s adoption of the Sumerian constellation, some confusion surrounds the identity of the archer. A competing mythological tradition, as espoused by Eratosthenes, identified the Archer not as a centaur but as the son of Pan, the satyr Crotus, a mythical creature with two feet and a satyr’s tail, who was the nurse to the nine Muses, daughters of Zeus, who Greeks credited with the invention of archery. He argued that the constellation really represented a satyr and not a centaur.

According to the Roman author Hyginus, Crotus was the son of Pan and the archer the constellation was named after. Crotus invented archery and lived on Mount Helicon. He often went hunting on horseback and lived among the Muses, who requested that Zeus place him in the sky, where he is seen demonstrating archery. Because he was close to the Muses, they were the ones who asked Zeus to place him in the sky.

Chiron

Sometimes Sagittarius is wrongly identified as the centaur Chiron (“hand”), held to be the superlative centaur amongst his brethren, who mentored Achilles in archery. Chiron is the son of Philyra and Saturn and tutor to Jason, who was said to have changed himself into a horse to escape his jealous wife, Rhea.

However, Chiron is in fact represented by the constellation Centaurus, the other heavenly centaur. An alternative tradition is that Chiron merely invented the constellation Sagittarius to help in guiding the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Chiron was notable throughout Greek mythology for his youth-nurturing nature. His personal skills tend to match those of Apollo, his foster father (sometimes along with Artemis); medicine, music, archery, hunting, prophecy. His parents were Cronus and Philyra (“linden-tree”).

Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind, but he was not related directly to the other centaurs. He was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. A great healer, astrologer, and respected oracle, Chiron was said to be the first among centaurs and highly revered as a teacher and tutor.

Chiron lived predominantly on Mount Pelion; there he married the nymph Chariclo (“graceful spinner”) who bore him three daughters, Hippe (also known as Melanippe (also the name of her daughter), the “Black Mare” or Euippe, “truly a mare”), Endeïs, and Ocyrhoe, and one son Carystus.

According to an archaic myth he was sired by the Titan Cronus when he had taken the form of a horse and impregnated the nymph Philyra. Chiron’s lineage was different from other centaurs, who were born of sun and raincloud, rendered by Greeks of the Classic period as from the union of the king Ixion, consigned to a fiery wheel, and Nephele (“cloud”), which in the Olympian telling Zeus invented to look like Hera.

Myths in the Olympian tradition attributed Chiron’s uniquely peaceful character and intelligence to teaching by Apollo and Artemis in his younger days. Some sources speculate that Chiron was originally a Thessalian god, later subsumed into the Greek pantheon as a centaur.

Nergal

Sagittarius constellation has its roots in Sumerian mythology. In Babylonian mythology, Sagittarius is associated with the centaur-like god Nergal, and depicted with two heads – one human and one panther – and also wings, and the stinger of a scorpion positioned above a horse’s tail.

The Babylonians identified Sagittarius as the god Nergal, a strange centaur-like creature firing an arrow from a bow. It is generally depicted with wings, with two heads, one panther head and one human head, as well as a scorpion’s stinger raised above its more conventional horse’s tail.

Pabilsag

Pabilsaĝ, in Mesopotamian tradition was a tutelary god of the city of Isin. The consort of the goddess Nininsinna, also called Ninsun, he was identified with the lost city of Larak. According to the ancient Babylonian text, Pabilsag wedded Nininsina near a riverbank. By Pabilsag she bore Damu.

The text Pabilsag’s journey to Nibru describes Pabilsag as journeying to Nippur and presenting the god Enlil with gifts. He was given the epithet of “the wild bull with multicoloured legs”.

He is represented in the constellation Sagittarius. The Sumerian name Pabilsag (Pabil: “elder paternal kinsman” and Sag: “chief” or “head”) is translated as the “Forefather” or “Chief Ancestor”. The figure is reminiscent of modern depictions of Sagittarius.

The cuneiform pa sign, (as sumerogram, PA), has many uses in both the 14th century BC Amarna letters and the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is routinely and commonly used to spell the Akkadian language word “pānu”, face, presence, and with a preposition (ex. ana pānu), before.

The cuneiform Ne sign, is found in both the 14th century BC Amarna letters and the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the Amarna letters, it is especially used in the opening, and introductory paragraph of the clay tablet letter, when addressing the Pharaoh (King), or when sent to another individual who is part of the Pharaoh’s correspondence, for the alternate syllabic usage of “bil”, (used for the ‘b’).

In the Amarna letters it is used as Bil (cuneiform), for the spelling of speaks, or “says”, in the opening statement; the Akkadian language word is qabû (“say” or “tell”).

Ninsun

Ninsun or Ninsuna (“lady wild cow”), also called Rimat-Ninsun (“August Cow”, “Wild Cow of the Enclosure”, and “The Great Queen”) is a goddess, best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh, and as the tutelary goddess of Gudea of Lagash. Her parents are the deities Anu and Uras.

In the Tello relief (the ancient Lagash, 2150 BC) her name is written with the cuneiform glyphs as: DINGIR.NIN.GUL where the glyph for GUL is the same for SUN. The meaning of SUN is attested as “cow”. Ninsun was called Gula in Sumerian Mythology until the name was later changed to Ninisina. Gula in the latter became a Babylonian goddess.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is depicted as a human queen who lives in Uruk with her son as king. Since the father of Gilgamesh was former king Lugalbanda, it stands to reason that Ninsun procreated with Lugalbanda to give birth. Also in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is summoned by Gilgamesh and Enkidu to help pray to the god Utu to help the two on their journey to the Country of the Living to battle Humbaba.

Nintinugga

Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. She is identical with the goddess of Akkadian mythology, known as Bau or Baba, though it would seem that the two were originally independent. She was the daughter of An and Ninurta’s wife. She was known as a patron deity of Lagash, where Gudea built her a temple.

The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way to Gula after the First Babylonian Dynasty. Since it is probable that Ninib has absorbed the cults of minor sun-deities, the two names may represent consorts of different gods. However this may be, the qualities of both are alike, and the two occur as synonymous designations of Ninurta’s female consort.

Other names borne by this goddess are Nin-Karrak, Nin Ezen, Ga-tum-dug and Nm-din-dug, the latter signifying “the lady who restores to life”, or the Goddess of Healing. After the Great Flood, she helped “breathe life” back into mankind. The designation well emphasizes the chief trait of Bau-Gula which is that of healer. She is often spoken of as “the great physician,” and accordingly plays a specially prominent role in incantations and incantation rituals intended to relieve those suffering from disease.

She is, however, also invoked to curse those who trample upon the rights of rulers or those who do wrong with poisonous potions. As in the case of Ninib, the cult of Bau-Gula is prominent in Shirgulla and in Nippur. While generally in close association with her consort, she is also invoked alone, giving her more dominance than most of the goddesses of Babylonia and Assyria.

Ma.Gur

Epsilon Sagittarii (Epsilon Sgr, ε Sagittarii, ε Sgr) is a binary star system in the southern zodiac constellation Sagittarius. Its traditional name is Kaus Australis (from Arabic: qaws (“bow”) and Latin austrālis (“southern”).

The apparent visual magnitude of +1.85 makes it the brightest star in the constellation. The star marks the base of the archer’s bow. Together with the stars Delta (Kaus Media) and Lambda Sagittarii (Kaus Borealis), Epsilon Sagittarii represents the archer’s bow.

Kaus Australis is listed in MUL.APIN as MA.GUR (“the Bark”). In the myth “Enki and the World Order,” one of the longest and best preserved of the narrative poems, the Abzu of Eridu is described as a splendid shrine, nestled among the shade trees filled with birds and navigable canals stocked with fish.

In this Eden-like garden, Enki takes pleasure trips over the marshland and canals in his MAGUR type boat which he refers to as “the Ibex of the Abzu.” This ship is presumably some sort of small runabout as MA-GUR means “ship to turn about in.”

The ibex is an allusion to the wild goat of the surrounding mountains and is often used to represent the person of Enki on cylinder seals and statuettes. Probably the most beautiful of these is the statue of the ibex peering through a shrub, found in the royal palace at Ur and dated to about 2500 BC. Lavishly done in gold and lapis lazuli, it shows a winged ibex peering through a shrub which represents the “Tree of Life” or immortality.

John J. McHugh argues that the Noah’s flood story in Genesis was preceded by a Sumerian constellation tradition depicting Utnapishtim’s flood. The events of the Noah’s flood story – though based on an actual Mesopotamian flood – were also originally depicted among a set of Sumerian constellation figures.

McHugh holds that before the invention of writing the Sumerians were using a number of constellations as a picture-book to relate the basic themes contained in the Noah’s flood story. The main characters of the story were illustrated by the constellations Aquarius, Argo and Orion.

Aquarius depicts the god pouring the waters of the flood, the original flood-ship was the constellation Ma.Gur and the constellation Orion (or mulSIPA.ZI.AN.NA “The True Shepherd of Anu” in Mesopotamia) is the flood hero. He holds that the Magur ship was adopted by the ancient Greeks as the ship-constellation Argo or Argo Navis (the Ship Argo).

Argo is a large constellation in the southern sky that has since been divided into three constellations. It represented the Argo, the ship used by Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology. The genitive was “Argus Navis”, abbreviated “Arg”. Flamsteed and other early modern astronomers called the constellation just Navis (the Ship), genitive “Navis”, abbreviated “Nav”.

Due to precession, the stars of Argo have been shifted farther south since Classical times, and far fewer of its stars are visible today from the latitude of the Mediterranean. The original constellation was found low near the southern horizon of the Mediterranean sky. The ship became visible in springtime and sailed westward, skimming along the southern horizon. The ancient Greeks identified it with the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece.

According to McHugh this story of the flood was depicted in the Sumerian constellations. The human figures depicted on the cylinder seal supposedly represent constellations (both aquatic and other constellations).

We have a ship-constellation, a sea-monster constellation, a river constellation, a “water-god” constellation, and a flood-hero constellation related to illustrating a deluge-myth. Some of the key constellations for the depiction of the story in the sky appear to be Aquarius, Argo, Capricornus, Orion, and Pisces.

McHugh’s theory involves the concept of the “flood waters of the Apsu” being represented in the sky. The constellations in this region are: Goat-fish, Water-god, Fish[es], Field, Rivers [Eridanus has two distinct streams], and Ibex.

Using the Mul.Apin star-list (which comprised material from circa 1,000 BCE) McHugh apparently connects the star name mulMA.GUR8 (“the star of the MAGUR-ship”) in the Path of Ea, as being connected to the ark of the flood.

According to McHugh by 700 BCE (i.e., during the Assyrian period) precessional changes had noticeably affected the visibility of the southern stars and so to keep all the flood myth characters depicted in the visible sky the constellation depicting the Ark was changed from Ma.Gur [or Argo?] to the Pegasus-square (i.e., Iku).

This change also led to the change in depiction of the Ark from a crescent shape to a square. The Ma.Gur ship-constellation was adopted in Greek constellation iconography as the (enormous) ship-constellation Argo, and located in a different region of the sky. With the change in constellations the iconography of the Ark changed from crescent shaped Magur ships to coffin or box shaped depictions.

Nunki

Sigma Sagittarii (Sigma Sgr, σ Sagittarii, σ Sgr) is the second brightest star in the constellation Sagittarius. Its modern name Nunki is an Assyrian or Babylonian name recovered by archaeologists and made public by R. H. Allen.

“Nunki” is a Babylonian name thought to represent the sacred Babylonian city of Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI; Sumerian: eridu; Akkadian: irîtu modern Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain), an archaeological site on the Euphrates in southern Mesopotamia (modern Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq), which would make Nunki the oldest star name currently in use.

Eridu is considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia. Located 12 km southwest of Ur, Eridu was the southernmost of a conglomeration of Sumerian cities that grew about temples, almost in sight of one another.

In Sumerian mythology, Eridu was originally the home of Enki, later known by the Akkadians as Ea, who was considered to have founded the city. His temple was called E-Abzu, as Enki was believed to live in Abzu, an aquifer from which all life was believed to stem. His consort Ninhursag had a nearby temple at Ubaid, a low, relatively small tell (settlement mound) west of nearby Ur.

Nunki has been identified with Nunki of the Euphratean Tablet of the Thirty Stars, “the Star of the Proclamation of the Sea”, or the “Voice from the Sea” (indicating direction, guidance, instruction), and portended favorable events for mariners and shipping.

In Latin, Nunki is called Pelagus (“sea”). The Greeks gave the stars of each constellation letter names, in order of brightness. Thus, given the fact that “Sigma Sagittarii” is now the second-brightest star in the constellation, the order of brightness must have changed over the years. Sigma (Nunki), with zeta (Ascella), and pi (Albadah), may have been the Akkadian Gu-shi-rab-ba, “the Yoke of the Sea”.

In ancient Arabia the two small groups of stars now marking the head and the vane of the Archer’s arrow were noteworthy as relics of still earlier asterisms, as well as a lunar station.

The westernmost of these, gamma (Alnasl), delta (Kaus Medius), epsilon (Kaus Australis), and eta were Al Na’am al Warid (“the Going Ostriches”); and the easternmost, sigma (Nunki), zeta (Ascella), phi, chi, and tau, Al Na’am al Sadirah (”the Returning Ostriches”); passing to and from the celestial river, the Milky Way, with the star lamda (Kaus Borealis) for their Keeper.

All of the foregoing stars were included in the Arabic 18th manzil, Al Na’am. They were attributed with influences over the taming of wild beasts, the strengthening of prisons, the destruction of a society’s wealth and the desires of men to travel to certain places.

In India this star marked the junction of the nakshatra Ashadha with Abhijit. The Archer is associated with the Hebrew letter Vau and the 6th Tarot Trump “The Lovers”. According to Ptolemy, Nunki is of the nature of Jupiter and Mercury; to Alvidas, of the nature of Saturn and Mercury. It was thought to give truthfulness, optimism and a religious mind.

Because it is close to the ecliptic, Nunki can be occulted by the Moon and very rarely by planets. The last occultation of Nunki by a planet took place on November 17, 1981, when it was occulted by Venus. Furthermore, Nunki is the brightest star that can be principally occulted by an exterior planet between 5000 BC and 5000 AD. However, only Mars can do this, and only rarely; the last time was on September 3, 423.

Nunki is a hot blue star at the core of Sagittarius (“The Archer”), the constellation of the zodiac that holds the winter solstice. The winter solstice occurs just hours before the Capricorn new moon. The only difference in the two charts is that the moon is at the very end of Sagittarius for the winter solstice chart while the moon meets the sun in the very first degree of Capricorn for the new moon. The solstice chart gifts us with faith in the cosmic laws of the universe for this new moon and in fact, to the whole New Year.

Nunki is the northernmost of the stars that make the bowl of the exquisite asterism, the “Little Milk Dipper,” known in some ancient Chinese writings as “The Ladle“. Some other Oriental star charts depict this asterism as a “Sacred Shrine” or a temple. It is an upside-down (when viewed from the Northern Hemisphere) five star dipper with its handle (Kaus Borealis) stuck into the belt of the Milky Way. Like all Sagittarius‘ stars, Nunki lies in the direction of the Galaxy’s core, and is also near the line of the Ecliptic.

This large figure, known as the Autumn Dipper, is not usually described as a “dipper” in most stargazing guides; you shouldn’t expect to find any recognized authority for the Autumn Dipper. When starry dippers are mentioned, most people immediately think of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper in the northern sky, and perhaps even the lesser-known Milk Dipper in Sagittarius. In truth, however, the Autumn Dipper looks like a much larger and brighter version of the Little Dipper.

Capricorn

Capricornus is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for “horned goat” or “goat horn”, and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature that is half goat, half fish. Its symbol is ♑.

Under its modern boundaries it is bordered by Aquila, Sagittarius, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus, and Aquarius. The constellation is located in an area of sky called the Sea or the Water, consisting of many water-related constellations such as Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus. It is the smallest constellation in the zodiac.

Despite its faintness, Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age. First attested in depictions on a cylinder-seal from around the 21st century BC, it was explicitly recorded in the Babylonian star catalogues as MULSUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish” before 1000 BC. The constellation was a symbol of the god Ea and in the Early Bronze Age marked the winter solstice.

Due to the precession of the equinoxes the December solstice no longer takes place while the sun is in the constellation Capricornus, as it did until 130 BCE, but the astrological sign called Capricorn begins with the solstice. The solstice now takes place when the Sun is in Sagittarius.

The sun’s most southerly position, which is attained at the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice, is now called the Tropic of Capricorn, a term which also applies to the line on the Earth at which the sun is directly overhead at noon on that solstice. The Sun is now in Capricorn from late January through mid-February.

In Greek mythology, the constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother, Rhea, saved him from being devoured by his father, Cronos. The goat’s broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Capricornus is also sometimes identified as Pan, the god with a goat’s head, who saved himself from the monster Typhon by giving himself a fish’s tail and diving into a river.

The planet Neptune was discovered in Capricornus by German astronomer Johann Galle, near Deneb Algedi (δ Capricorni) on September 23, 1846, which is appropriate as Capricornus can be seen best from Europe at 4:00am in September.

Capricorn (♑) is the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac, Pining Umali originating from the constellation of Capricornus. It spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac, corresponding to celestial longitude. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn.

Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from December 22 to January 20 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 14 to February 14.

In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, introvert sign, a power sign and one of the four cardinal signs. It is third and last of the earth signs in the zodiac. The other two earth signs are Taurus and Virgo.

It is also tagged as the most ambitious starsign. Its symbol is based on the Sumerian primordial god of wisdom and waters, Enki with the head and upper body of a mountain goat, and the lower body and tail of a fish. Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, Enki was the god of intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lakewater (a, aba, ab).

The mountain goat part of the symbol depicts ambition, resolute, intelligence, curiosity but also steadiness, and ability to thrive in inhospitable environments while the fish represents passion, spirituality, intuition, connection with soul. Individuals born between December 22 to January 19 may be called Capricornian.

Makara

In India, the day when the Sun enters the sidereal zodiac sign of Capricorn is celebrated as the Makara Sankranti festival. The Indian astronomical calendar is not based on the Western sidereal system but has a differential lag. Hence, the festival is celebrated on either of 14 or 15 January every year, when, as per the Indian astronomical calendar, the Sun enters the Capricorn sign.

Makara is a sea-creature in Hindu mythology. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part, in animal forms of an elephant, crocodile, stag, or deer, and in the hind part as an aquatic animal, in the form of a fish or seal tail. Sometimes, even a peacock tail is depicted.

Makara is the vahana (vehicle) of the Ganga – the goddess of river Ganges (Ganga) and the sea god Varuna. It is also the insignia of the love god Kamadeva, also known as Makaradhvaja (one whose flag a makara is depicted). Makara is the astrological sign of Capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac. It is often portrayed protecting entryways to Hindu and Buddhist temples.

Makara symbolized in ornaments are also in popular use as wedding gifts for bridal decoration. The Hindu Preserver-god Vishnu is also shown wearing makara-shaped earrings called Makarakundalas. The Sun god Surya and the Mother Goddess Chandi are also sometimes described as being adorned with Makarakundalas.

Makara is a Sanskrit word which means “sea dragon” or “water-monster” and in Tibetan language it is called the “chu-srin”, and also denotes a hybrid creature. It is the origin of the word for crocodile ”mugger” in Hindi. The English word ”mugger” evolved meaning one who sneaks up and attacks another. The name is applied to the Mugger crocodile, the most common crocodile in India, and is descriptive of its aggressive feeding behavior.

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