There is a hero. Everyone loves him because he is charitable and people’s lives tend to flourish under his watchful eye. But there is a nemesis, a huge and hideous reptile, the largest ever seen, who rises slowly from beneath the Earth bringing death and darkness and fear in his wake. The hero goes down to meet the terrible creature and to do battle with him.

The tilt of the Earth's axis, and the changing speed of Earth through its orbit, combine to create the figure 8, known as the analemma, of the Sun's daily position over the course of a year.The battle doesn't goes well for the famed beloved hero. He fights bravely but he loses, and the dangerous reptile then rules the realm. The hero lies nearly motionless for three days beneath the winding scaly tail of the hated animal. But then he awakens.

For the next forty days and forty nights the hero rehabilitates. Even more, he spends this chapter being educated, preparing, elevating his capacity to make war on his enemy. The hero arises from the depths to once again meet the monster, and this time defeats him in spectacular fashion. The crippled reptile is then cast down to the depths, exiled out of sight below the Earth.

At last the returning victorious hero rises high above the realm bringing life, light, and warming energy to the world.

The Sun returns from the conflict with Hydra at the nadir of its journey to find victory at the vernal equinox, where light defeats darkness, before continuing on to the summer solstice.

The stage is reset, and the plot begins again. This is the continuous backdrop, the essential story of humankind. Everyone who has ever lived, every member of every tribe no matter how remote, has witnessed precisely this perennial story every single year of their lives.

Orion and the Scorpion keep their distance from each other following an epic battle that is reminiscent of the Sun's annual entanglement with Hydra.

The story of the hero and the reptile is reiterated in many places with many variations all around the sky and it permeates throughout literary history.

Every tribe has their own name (or several) for the hero, and for the monster, and their own symbols and iconography and numerology, with embellishments for paying proper respect to the incessant drama that defines our place in the cosmos.

And so do you.

Serpent by Frank Frazetta

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Tags: analemma, equinox, hero, hydra, index, mythology, solar, solstice

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