Dog Stars: Sirius, Procyon and Gomeisa


The constellations of Canis Minor and Canis Major are often associated with canine-related mythology. Procyon — the Behenian fixed star in the Canis Minor constellation — and Sirius — the Behenian fixed star in the Canis Major constellation — have been explored at great lengths by scholars of history and occult practitioners alike. With regards to Gomeisa, there is comparatively less literature already written about the star. But, due to the star’s placement in my natal chart, the fixed star Gomeisa of the Canis Minor constellation has become a recent interest of mine. In this post, I would like to summarize the discourse that surrounds the three dog stars, along with highlighting the stars’ relation to the god Dionysus, a deity whom I once had a very close devotional relationship with. Additionally, I would like to touch upon the stars’ connection to Hekate: the hound-headed witch-goddess, she who howls like a dog.

This post, part one of my Dog Stars series, will be purely theoretical. The second post which I plan to make on the topic of dog stars will (hopefully) be a more practical observation of my own attempts to reach out to the dog stars and form a devotional relationship with them.

Canis Major and Canis Minor

Various hounds in Greek mythology have been attributed to the Canis Major and Canis Minor constellations. In one case, the constellations are associated with the mythology of a hound named Laelaps who has origins as Zeus’ gift to his lover Europa. Laelaps was then passed down to King Minos, who later gave it as a reward to the Athenian princess Procris. Procis’ husband, Cephalus, commanded the hound to hunt the Teumessian fox— this resulted in a paradox, for Laelaps was a dog who always caught its prey whilst the Teumessian fox was a beast who could never be caught. Zeus, perplexed by their impossible fates, turned both the hound and the fox into stone and cast them both into the stars to become constellations: Laelaps becoming Canis Major, and the Teumessian fox becoming Canis Minor.

In a different tale, the Canis Minor constellation is said to represent Maera, the dog belonging to Ikarios, the first winemaker. In this story, Dionysus taught Ikarios the art of winemaking, but when Ikarios offered his wine to a group of shepherds, Ikarios was killed by the shepherds who thought Ikarios had poisoned them for they had never experienced drunkenness before. Maera, the ever-loyal dog, found Ikarios body and ran to his daughter Erigone. Both the daughter and the dog ended up taking their own lives, overwhelmed with grief at the death of their father and master. Here, Ikarios is associated with Boötes (the constellation of the Herdsman), Erigone with the constellation Virgo, and Maera with Canis Minor.

In other myths, Canis Major is said to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs who pursued Lepus the Hare or helped Orion fight Taurus the Bull, whilst in Roman times, Canis Minor is said to represent Orion’s second hunting dog. Regardless of which myth is referenced, one commonality is clear: both constellations are associated with canines (foxes being an animal that is also a part of the dog family). 

Holy Stars, Stars of Devotion

The dog stars’ connection to the god Dionysus also extends beyond the aforementioned myth of Ikarios, the first winemaker and his loyal hound, Maera. It has been found that at the Temple of Apollo at Delos — a temple which Apollo leaves to Dionysus’ care every winter — the temple was positioned in an alignment that allowed for the observation of certain stars associated with both Dionysus and Apollo. The orientation of the temple was chosen by the directions of which the stars emerge or set. In this case, the temple was constructed in view of the constellation Corvus (the constellation of the crow related to the mythology of Apollo), along with having the star Procyon (the brightest star of Canis Minor) be visible from its eastern view. In the words of Dimitrijevic (2020), the placement of the temple thus made it clear that ‘Dionysus with “his” stars was present at Delos’, the stars belonging to him being that of Procyon.

Procyon, however, was far from the only Behenian fixed star to have been used to map temples. Sirius of the Canis Major constellation has also been used to map temples in Ancient Egypt as well, such as that of the Temple of Isis-Hathor. The usage of the two dog stars in relation to temple placements supports the stars’ devotional and priest-like nature. Due to the dog stars’ association with the divine, there is a holiness attached to these stars. This view is similar to Bernadette Brady’s interpretation of Sirius, where it is believed that when Sirius is present in a chart by paran, the star is ‘a marker of great deeds’, a sign indicating that ‘the mundane may become sacred’. In the words of Bernadette Brady: ‘the small action of the individual may have a large effect on the collective. The individual, however, may be sacrificed to this collective expression, or may gain fame and glory […] Sirius can bring immortality to its bearer, but the price may be the burn’.

Thus, it is my understanding that although both Procyon and Sirius are markers of glory and greatness (however one wishes to define such terms in this modern day and age), having Procyon be present in a chart by paran seems to point towards a quick and sudden rise in status and renown, followed by a potentially dramatic fall. In contrast, the existence of Sirius in a chart by paran seems to represent a moment of shining, blinding glory, followed by a form of immortalization or pseudo-deification of some sort. The imagery of a candle that burns itself out comes to mind. Or, a better analogy may be an exploding firework, one whose light is so bright and beautiful that the memory of the detonation is forever seared into the minds of all who witnessed its brilliance. Yet, in the end, the fire consumes itself and the fuel undergoes self-cannibalization. 

Glory and fame, with the risk of self-destruction and the hope of immortalization, seems to be the nature of Sirius and — to a lesser extent — its brother-star of Procyon.

Love, Devotion and Grief

Gomeisa of Canis Minor, on the other hand, has a much quieter but still poignant influence. It is my conjecture that the star holds a devotional (and loving) nature similar to that of Sirius and Procyon, but unlike the two other dog stars, Gomeisa is much more melancholic, representing a love that turns into sorrow and endures in spite of the grief. The star has many aliases, including that of the ‘Bleary-Eyed (Woman)’, the ‘Wateried Eyed’.

In the book Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinckley Allen, it is stated that the name Gomeisa may have originated from the Arabic ‘Al Ghumaisa’, related to the story of Suhail (the star Canopus) and his marriage to Al Jauzah (Orion, who in this story was a woman) and their subsequent escape in which Al Shira (the constellation Canis Major) followed them away, leaving behind Al Ghumaisa— a figure which represented the star Gomeisa and the constellation Canis Minor. Gomeisa was left in tears upon the departure of Canopus, Orion and Canis Major, earning perhaps her moniker of the ‘Weeping One’. 

This tale brings to mind the aforementioned myth of Ikarios and his dog Maera, where Maera ended up dying from grief after the death of Ikarios. I assume many individuals would have heard similar stories of dogs in real life, where the dogs ended up waiting for those who raised them to return, even when it is likely that their masters had died long ago (one such example is that of Hachiko who waited for over nine years at the train station for its deceased owner). Dogs are thought to be ‘man’s best friend’, the most loyal and loving companion a man could have. It is this sense of loyalty-turned-devotion, and the displays of love that goes beyond death, that — in my opinion — exemplifies the nature of the fixed star Gomeisa.

As cheesy as it sounds, I am reminded of a beautifully written line from the TV series WandaVision: ‘what is grief, if not love persevering?’. Gomeisa to me represents love in what could arguably be its purest form: an enduring, everlasting love that perseveres through the devastation of having loved so profoundly. Due to the holy quality that tends to accompany the dog stars, I associated Gomeisa with the concept of love as agape: a kind of ‘deep and profound sacrificial love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance’, one that comes ‘out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned’.

Additionally, I believe Gomeisa has the capacity to act as a balm for the soul, something to soothe the heart and encourage one to weep. A lesson Gomeisa teaches is that grief is not something to be repressed or denied, and healing begins with the decision to embrace the tears. It is in that regard that I believe Gomeisa to be a severely overlooked star but one that could prove to be beneficial to many who are recovering from pain or trauma. Or, if one wishes to contact the comparatively more intense Behenian fixed stars of Procyon and Sirius, then I believe that Gomeisa holds the potential to act as a gentle liaison to the two other dog stars as well.

Occult Stars, Stars of Magic

In terms of the occult, both Procyon and Sirius appear to have links to mysticism and witchcraft. The Bodleian MS claims that a talisman constructed of Sirius’ image and within the correct election will ‘grant the favor of the spirits of the air and the peoples of the earth’, whilst Agrippa claims that a talisman of Sirius will bestow ‘honor and good will, and the favor of men, and Aerial spirits’ among other abilities. Procyon has a similar description. The Bodleian MS states that a talisman of Procyon will give its user ‘favor of the spirits of the air’ and ‘great power over magic’. Likewise, Agrippa states that a Procyon talisman grants ‘the favor of the gods, of spirits, and men’ and gives ‘power against witchcraft’. Additionally, according to Vivian E. Robson, those with their Moon or Mercury in conjunction with Procyon are said to have ‘occult interests’ whilst those with 

The dog stars’ association with witchcraft and protective magic is not entirely unsurprising if one considers Cerberus— the three-headed hound who guards the underworld, possibly one of the most well known hounds in mythology. Hounds, such as that of Cerberus, have long been associated with protection, performing the role of a sentinel in defending various places and people. Hekate, the titan of witchcraft herself, also has various epithets pertaining to her dog-like nature. Some examples include Kynegetis (Leader of Dogs), Kyno (Female Dog), Kynokephalos (Dog-Headed), Kynolygmate (Who Howls Dog-like), Philoskylax (Lover of Dogs) and many other epithets.

A part of me wonders too if there is a transmutative quality to the dog stars. In the book Hekataeon by Jack Grayle, Hekate’s epithet of Borborophorba (Eater of Filth) refers to how in the ancient world, ‘feral dogs and jackals would enter tombs and devour corpses in the cemeteries outside the city walls’. This alludes to the role of dogs as psychopomps, responsible for ‘processing the dead and transitioning them to the afterlife’. Perhaps, the role of dogs as psychopomps is also a reason why Anubis — the Ancient Egyptian deity of death and the afterlife — is depicted with a dog’s head. With this perspective, it may be possible too that stars such as Gomeisa may be capable of taking what is ‘dead’ within someone and transmuting it into something greater.

Dog Days of Summer

Despite the overall benefic nature of the dog stars, it should be noted however that stars such as Sirius have historically been feared for their destructive powers as much as they have been revered for their brilliance. With brilliant light comes searing fire, bringing forth the kind of heat that scorches and scours the land and all who live within it.

Seirios, the Greek name for the fixed star Sirius, has been described to be the ‘brightest among the stars, and yet is wrought as a sign of evil and brings on the great fever for unfortunate mortals’. Sirius is a herald for periods of drought and extreme heat, as seen in the following fragment by Alcaeus: ‘the dogstar, Seirios (Sirius), is coming round, the season is harsh, everything is thirsty under the heat, the cicada sings sweetly from the leaves […] now are women most pesilential, but men are feeble, since Seirios parches their heads and knees.’ 

The same warnings regarding Sirius’ nature as a bringer of misfortune also rings true in both Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian beliefs. According to Bernadette Brady, Sirius was known in Ancient Egypt as ‘The Scorcher’, and the heat from Sirius was thought to cause rabies or madness in dogs. Further exploration on Sirius’ violent side can be read in this Twitter thread by Amaya Rourke: 

Regardless, in my view, this does not necessarily mean that Sirius is always a malefic star, nor that other dog stars such as Procyon or Gomeisa are malefic either. Just because a star holds the capacity for destruction does not mean that it is actively malevolent. The star’s fiery nature merely means that there is an intensity and a danger to the star, the same way fire is dangerous and can burn you if you are careless in approaching it. In practice, it can therefore be suggested that a degree of care should be heeded when one wishes to approach a star that burns as brightly as Sirius.

It is with this line of thinking that I plan to approach Gomeisa first, hoping that the Weeping Star would later be willing to act as a bridge for Sirius and its brother-star, Procyon.


I would like to end this post by stating that the concept of devotion appears to be the key to understanding the dog stars of Sirius, Procyon and Gomeisa. Whether it be the act of devoting oneself to a cause or a faith, or declaring our love for a partner, the selfless love that a hound has for its owner represents the core essence of the dog stars.

On the 20th of September 2022 11:50AM GMT+7, the moon will be at 22°09’ Cancer, which should be a good timing for venerating the star Gomeisa who is positioned at 22°12′ Cancer. If all goes well and if what may occur isn’t something that is too private or sensitive for me to publicly share, I will hopefully be making a follow-up post to this one, discussing my experience venerating the fixed star Gomeisa.


Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars by Bernadette Brady
Fixed Star, Sign and Constellation Magic by Christopher Warnock

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Ivy Senna

occultist, animist and astrolater.

2 thoughts on “Dog Stars: Sirius, Procyon and Gomeisa”

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