The dog days of summer is a common expression, though not everyone knows where the saying originated. It is an astrological/astronomical reference to the fixed star Sirius, aka the “dog star” located in the Canis Major constellation. Sirius is a fixed star in the Western tropical zodiac sign of Cancer, and experiences its heliacal rising (aka becomes most visible on the eastern horizon just before sunrise) during Cancer season.
Many old farmers almanacs will list the dog days as being from July 3rd to August 11th, with Sirius making its big appearance around July 19th. However, the days leading up to Sirius’ heliacal rising were usually considered to be the sultriest. As Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky,
its rising in the summertime in the northern hemisphere could be seen as augmenting the Sun itself (Sirius derives from the Greek for “scorching”).
With those trivial things in mind, the astrological view of Sirius (and the other dog stars located in Cancer such as Procyon) is that of agressive bark, bite, and a nose for the scent of great things looming on the horizon. Sirius is the dog star pointing towards Orion and Procyon the smaller puppy pointing towards Sirius – sniffing out new opportunities. Combined with the scorching star light comparable only to the Sun, and you see why Sirius is a sometimes too-hot-to-handle marker for success and achievement as well as major burn-outs and blow ups.
This energy playing out in people’s charts is fairly evident – elevating the ordinary to extraordinary levels with mixed results but always remarkable. While some folks such as Elon Musk have Sirius prominent in their charts (in Musk’s case, conjunct his natal Mercury), the qualities of the biggest dog-star are more noticeable when rising on the ascendant. Examples of notable people with Sirius rising on their ascendant (and their Moon signs, since the Moon is the chart ruler for these folks):
- Bill Burr (Full Moon in Sagittarius)
- Robert Pattinson (Moon in Cancer)
- Robert DeNiro (Moon in Pisces)
- Mel Gibson (Moon in Libra)
- Victoria Beckham (Moon in Aquarius)
- Michael Jordan (Moon in Sagittarius)
- Richard Gere (Moon in Sagittarius)
- Billy Joel (Moon in Libra)
- Valentino (the designer; Moon in Cancer)
- Jack Lemmon (Moon in Leo)
- Frank Gifford (Moon in Taurus)
- Two astrologers of note have Sirius rising: Robert Hand (Moon in Scorpio) and Deborah Houlding (Moon in Virgo)
The de facto chart for Syria also has Sirius rising on the ascendant; I wonder if Mars crossing it will bring more conflict…
Speaking of, Mars in Cancer will be conjunct fixed star Sirius starting June 23rd – the day of the New Moon in Cancer that rocks the boat – until June 28th. Mars in Cancer will be forming a configuration known as a cardinal T-square while conjunct Sirius – Mars opppsing Pluto in Capricorn and both Mars and Pluto square Jupiter in Libra. Mars opposing Pluto is a destructive force of nature; square Jupiter in Libra means there is some powerful rebalancing, restructuring coinciding with the tearing down process. This cardinal T-square involving Sirius will light a match to the individual and collective powder kegs.
Sirius is considered to be of the nature of Jupiter and Mars so inherent to this star is a tendency towards rashness – pushing too hard, too fast. Transit Mars conjunct Sirius beginning at the Cancer New Moon is only going to aggravate the propensity for big time recklessness.
The Full Moon of July 8th/9th will have the Sun widely conjunct Sirius; a full article can be read here but overall this is a dangerous Full Moon and conjunct Sirius could be considered rabid, even.
Might be wise to keep your passionate impulses on a leash during this year’s dog days!