Ann K. Schwader
through the old year's drained & dying lands,
Spilling inundation from her hands
Until our fields lie deep in Kemet's blood.
& brightest mother of the dawn,
Fairest of all the thirty-six who claim
A sacred segment of the night sky's fame,
rises fertile as her image drawn
with celebration! We know how
dreads the Great Dog's scorching -- let us show
Their dog star loved us first
& best, & still
Sustains us by the bounty of her
Made manifest in our
Egyptian name of the goddess was "Sopdet", from which came the Greek
Sothis, normally used in Ancient Egyptian studies. She is portrayed as
a lady with a star on her head.
early as the First Dynasty, Sothis was called bringer of the New Year
and the Nile Flood. The agricultural calendar started with the rise of
the Nile. Gradually Sothis became linked with the constellation Orion,
because of the prosperity which resulted from the fertile silt left by
the receding waters of the river.
the Pyramid texts, there is clear evidence that the king unites with
his sister Sothis who gives birth to the morning star. She is also the
king’s guide to the heavenly Field of Rushes.
442, Pyramid texts: The king becomes a star
this Great One has fallen on his side; He who is in Nedyt was cast
down. Your hand is grasped by Re, Your head is raised by the Two
Enneads. Lo, he has come as Orion, Lo; Osiris has come as Orion, Lord
of wine at the wag-feast. "Good one," said his mother, "Heir," said his
father. Conceived of sky, born of dusk. Sky conceived you and Orion,
Dusk, gave birth to you and Orion. Who lives, lives by the gods'
command, You shall live! You shall rise with Orion in
the eastern sky, You shall set with Orion in the western sky, Your
third is Sothis, pure of thrones, She is your guide on sky's good
paths, In the Field of Rushes.
573, The king prays for admittance to the sky
in peace, O Pure One, in peace! Awake in peace, Horus of-the-East, in
peace! Awake in peace, Soul-of-the-East, in peace! Awake in peace,
Horus-of-Lightland, in peace! You lie down in the Night-bark, You awake
in the Day-bark, For you are he who gazes on the gods, There is no god
who gazes on you! O father of Pepi, take Pepi with you Living, to your
mother Nut! …Command the Living One, the son of Sothis, To
speak for this Pepi, To speak for this Pepi, To make flourish his
jar-stands on earth, For Pepi is one with these four gods: Imsety,
Hapy, Duamutef, Kebhsenuf, Who live by Maat, Who
lean on their staffs, Who watch over Upper Egypt.
the Lamentations of Isis and Nepthys (a fourth century BC papyrus),
Isis states that she is Sothis, who will without fail follow Osiris in
his manifestation as Orion in heaven. In the Late Period, the cult of
Isis-Sothis resulted in less individuality for Sothis, and Greek
versions of this double deity caused Sothis to be even further
separated from her Pharaonic origins.
Sothis and Orion are astral symbols for abundant crops.
Main center of worship was in Per-sopdu/ Soped/ Saft
el-Hinna, 20th Nome, Lower Egypt
main festival was approximately July 25 (7th Thuthi), the
annual flooding of the Nile River.
the appearance of Sirius at dawn in July (the 'heliacal rising') the
annual inundation of the Nile began, a phenomenon ascribed to Sopdet.
She is depicted in human form wearing the tall conical white crown of
Upper Egypt surmounted by a star. Her Greek name is Sothis.
god Sah and his consort, Sopdet (Spdt, Sepedet), who is probably better
known by her Greek name, Sothis, personified the constellation of Orion
(which he is sometimes referred to) and the bright, first magnitude
star Sirius (the "dog star") respectively. Orion was, to the ancient
Egyptians, the most distinctive of all the constellations in the night
sky, and it rose directly before the adjacent star Sirius, thus
explaining the connection between these two ancient gods from a very
early date. Orion was imagined as being swallowed at dawn by the
Underworld but had the power to emerge again into the night sky. Their
son was Soped (Sopdu, Horus Spd), who was another astral deity. They
came to be viewed as manifestations of Osiris and Isis. Later,
during Greek times, Sothis was identified with Demeter as well.
while perhaps not as familiar to us as Sopdet, is mentioned very
frequently in the Pyramid Texts, where he is called "father of the
gods." The deceased king is said to enter the sky "In the name of the
Dweller in Orion, with a season in the sky and a season on earth". The
association between Sah and Sopdet is also clear in these early texts
where the king is told, "You shall reach the sky as Orion, your soul
shall be as effective as Sothis." During the New Kingdom,
texts explains that Orion is said to row towards the stars in a boat
and Sah was sometimes depicted in this manner in scenes found in
temples and tombs, where he is surrounded by stars as he sails across
the sky in a papyrus skiff.
reason that Sopdet, or Sothis, is better known to us is that Sirius
was, for the ancient Egyptians, a very important star that signaled the
coming annual inundation of the Nile River
which marked the beginning of the agricultural year after having been
hidden from view for seventy days, in its appearance on the eastern
horizon at dawn during July. Hence, the Goddess was called the "bringer
of the New Year and the Nile flood." Pyramid Text
965 describes Sopdet as the daughter of Osiris. Therefore, Sopdet
became associated with the prosperity resulting from the fertile silt
left by the receding waters. In the Pyramid Text, Sopdet is described
as having united with the king/Osiris to give birth to the morning
star, Venus, and through her association with that netherworld god, she
was naturally identified with Isis,
who she was eventually synchronized with as Isis-Sothis.
the Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys,
from a fourth century BC papyrus, Isis
asserts that she is Sothis,
who will unswervingly follow Osiris in his manifestation as Orion in
heaven. Though at first an important deity of the inundation and as an
afterlife guide to the deceased king through the Field of Rushes, by
the Middle Kingdom
she was identified as a "mother" and "nurse."
earliest known depictions of Sothis, known from a 1st Dynasty ivory
tablet unearthed at Abydos,White Crown
of Upper Egypt but with tall, upswept horns at the sides and surmounted
by a star with five points. In this iconography, she had few
variations, and is usually represented as simply standing with arms at
her sides or with one arm folded across her lower breast. However,
occasionally the goddess could also be depicted as a large dog. In her
role as Isis-Sothis, she is also shown riding side-saddle on this
symbolic animal on some of the coins minted at Alexandria during Roman
times. represent the goddess as a reclining cow with a plant-like
emblem (perhaps representing the "year") between her horns. She is
almost always shown as a woman wearing a tall crown.
star Sirius may have been worshipped as a cow-goddess in the Predynastic Period before its eventual
identification with Isis
and Sopdet. Sopdet was
clearly an important god in her own right at first, but her growing
identification with Isis eventually meant that her individual identity
was decreased during later times. By the Graeco-
Roman Period, her
assimilation with Isis was almost complete. Though we know
nothing of any specific cult that worshipped specifically Sopdet,
during the excavation for the Cairo Metro
(subway), a temple was unearthed that was apparently dedicated to
Mystery of Sirius
of Orion and the Great Pyramid
is the brightest star in the nighttime sky, with a visual apparent
magnitude of -1.46. It is located in the constellation Canis Major. Its
name comes from the Latin sirius, from Greek(seirios,
"glowing"). It is situated in the eye of the greater dog
Canis Major, therefore it is known as the 'Dog Star'.
can be seen from every inhabited region of the Earth's surface and, in
the Northern Hemisphere, is known as a vertex of the 'Winter Triangle.'
a distance of 2.6 pc or 8.57 light years, Sirius is also one of the
nearest stars to Earth. The best time of year to view it is around
January 1, when it reaches the meridian at midnight.
locate Sirius ... When looking at
the constellation Orion, locate
Orion's belt which are the three
bright stars in a row. Follow an imaginary line through these stars to
Sirius which is just above the horizon.
was the pole star when the Pyramids were built Seamen of that era
called it “The Dragon’s Tail.”
animal is the snake and reptiles. Her metal is gold.
Sirius is two stars. In 1862, a faint companion star was detected, and
named Sirius B. In 1915, astronomers deduced that Sirius B was a white
dwarf star, and must have originally been the more massive of the two.
B is invisible to the naked eye but packs almost the entire mass of our
sun into a globe only 4 times as large as the Earth. Sirius B's surface
is 300 times harder than diamonds, while its interior has a density
3,000 times that of diamonds. Spinning on its axis about 23 times a
minute, it generates huge magnetic fields around it.
two stars, Sirius A and Sirius B move around each other, constantly
exchanging particles. Because of its greater density and magnetic
field, Sirius B takes the lion's share, taking gases and materials off
of its larger host body.
49.9 years, Sirius A and B come as close together as their orbits
allow, creating huge magnetic storms between them. As they approach
each other, the stars both begin to spin faster as tidal forces become
stronger, finally flip-flopping over, actually trading places with each
other. This energy is eventually released to flow on magnetic field
lines to the Sun, which transmits it like a lens to all the planets
Ritual for Prosperity
possible, visit a nearby river and obtain a jar of its water. Before
beginning the ritual, bathe in water to which you have added the river
water and lily or lotus scented oil, saying “Mother Sothis, bathe me in
candle symbolizing the Eastern Star, Sothis; blue candle, symbolizing
the Nile (water), green candle symbolizing fertile fields (earth), gray
or white candle symbolizing Air, and red candle symbolizing Fire.
with salt water. Cast the circle deosil, and call the quarters:
of the East, Powers of Air, be welcomed into this circle, lend your
powerful breath to my work.
of the South, Powers of Fire, be welcomed into this circle, lend your
warmth to my work.
of the West, Powers of Water, be welcomed into this circle, lend your
nurturing flow to my work.
of the North, Powers of Earth, be welcomed into this circle, lend your
fruitfulness to my work.
the Goddess Sothis into the circle: “Sothis, Star of the Eastern
Horizon, She who is also Isis, beloved of Sah, Sister of Kings and
bringer of prosperity with the annual flood, be welcomed into this
the four colored candles, and then light the Goddess candle.
“Goddess Sothis, she who brings increase, spread your living waters
over me, make my seeds sprout, my fortunes multiply, and my work
on the annual flooding of the Nile River, bringing life-giving silt to
the farms on the river banks, nourishing the farms with its waters.
Know that we too can benefit from the blessings of the Earth and Water,
Air and Fire, and be fruitful. Know too that we must aid those who have
lost their homes in the flood, and that our prosperity can benefit and
power: start with a whispered “Om,” feel the waters rise, become part
of the flow. The power is a great flood, release it with a shout to
nourish the land and restore the Earth.
release the Circle. Thank the Watchtowers, saying “Stay if you can,
leave if you must;” lastly, spend a few quiet moments with Sothis,
feeling her eternal femininity and nurturance. Thank the Goddess,
saying, “I will remember your example, merciful Star of the East. Stay
if you can, leave if you must.”
again. Leave spring water and bread for Sothis outdoors as thanks.
of the Eastern Sky
Original Piece by Dame Niamh
awoke, my eyes opening to the greater and lesser lights
me. I saw a mighty constellation, the Hunter,
of sinew, strong, mighty, wearing a belt of stars.
rode towards me upon a wing of blackness,
held out his hand. “Come, rule with me;
shall hide behind the nebulae for seventy days
shall not be seen for seventy days;
you shall come forth, Queen of the Eastern sky,
bring the Floods to men. I shall be waiting here
you to join me. Together, our glowing light shall be a sign
you, closest star to this world, have come again
brought the Spring, and planting time.”
looked up, up, and saw the Winged Queen upon her throne.
Your service, Queen, I will bring the floods.”
heard her voice, distantly, as from great heights,
will be one, my daughter. When men have forgotten Me
will look upon you, and remember. ”