I am a year older since my last post. I think I am more comfortable with 27 than any other age hitherto. It fits. When I hit 26, I almost felt the age I was supposed to be. But I am a solid 27, an age with so many threes: 3 x 9 which is 3 x 3 (3x3x3; 3³) which is 3 years less than 30. Three stars in the triangle that create the major shape of the Libra constellation, the newest sign–once part of the constellation Virgo the Virgin and then part of the Scorpius the Scorpion, represented its claws–and the dimmest. The first Earth-like planet to be found lies in the direction of this constellation: Gliese 581 c with located one and a half degrees above and slightly to the left of Zubeneschamali.
I have been drawing three dots on my wrist and ankle for the past 6 years as some sort of reoccurring tattoo for the non-committal. I realized, yesterday in fact, that I don’t think the symbol had some significance in a past life (as colleagues at Blueberry Hill once mused); I think it stems back to Orion’s belt, the first constellation I learned in preschool, a friendly familiar star cluster for much of my early childhood.
Orion the hunter stands in the night sky in wait of the Taurus, ready to loose his arrow at the bull’s first shudder. There are, as is the case with so many myths, multiple versions of how Orion entered our astrological pantheon. He was the lover of Eos, the Dawn, and then a follower of Artemis. Artemis killed him, but the circumstances are disputed. One tale tells of his death being punishment for a rape of one of Artemis’s other followers. Artemis sent a scorpion that poisoned the proud hunter. This is why Scorpio’s sign, when rising, chases Orion’s stars beneath the western horizon.
But I will subscribe to the other tale, as unlikely as it seems. Artemis and Orion fell in love (despite Artemis’s wishes to her father that she remain an eternal virgin devoted to the hunt); they were to marry. Yet Artemis’s twin-brother, Apollo (heir to Olympus) deemed their half-bred arrangement inappropriate. While the three visited the sea, Orion went walking out into the water. Soon only his head bobbed above the surface. Apollo challenged his sister, alleging that she could not hit the small speck far out on the water. Not one to back down from a challenge to her abilities as an archer, Artemis fired an arrow out over the sea, hitting the speck squarely. The speck disappeared under the water. Moments later the body of Orion washed up on the shore.
Having just returned from Robert O’Hara’s Good Breeding, I have a new investment in our old myths, those little stories of divine romantic-novel-esque-comic-book-pornography. I wonder if Christianity will ever become mythology, if we will find new gods, if the Bible will become relegated to a kind of holy fiction, as I would argue has happened with the stories of Olympus through theater. Theaters may be some of the last temples worshiping Zeus, his siblings, and his bastard lot.
Libra–the scales–is the only one of the twelve on the ecliptic that is not named for a living creature. While we may be balanced, I wonder if it also signifies why we are slightly removed, why we are more comfortable on the periphery, why we favor thought over emotion. Maybe it is time to choose a substitute sign, to stand in when emotion is called for, and maybe I will choose Orion.
Orion the devoted. Not the rapist.