|Fixed star: MEISSA Heka|
|Constellation: Lambda (λ) Orion|
|Longitude 1900: 22GEM19||Longitude 2000: 23GEM42|
|Declination 1900: +09.52'||Declination 2000: +09.55'|
|Right ascension: 05h 35m||Latitude: -13.22'|
|Spectral class: O8||Magnitude: 3.7|
Lambda (λ) Orion, Meissa, is a double star, 3.7 and 6, pale white and violet, in the Hunter's head.
Orion's body has many bright stars, but his head is marked with only three dim stars; lambda (Meissa), phi1 (φ1), and phi² (φ2); the reason Manilius explains is that his head "is imbedded in high heaven with his countenance remote." Another translation gives:
"In his vast Head immerst in boundless spheres
"Three Stars less bright, but yet as great, he bears.
"But further off remov'd, their Splendor's lost." — Creech's Manilius (1st century A.D.).
Al Maisan, the title of gamma Gemini (Alhena), by some error of the 14th century Arabian lexicographer Al Firuzabadi was applied to this star as Meissa, and is now common for it. The 10th century Persian astronomical writer Al Sufi called it Al Tahayi; but Al Ferghani (circa 950 A.D.), and Al Tizini (Arabian astronomer, first half of 16th century) knew it as Ras al Jauzah, the Head of the Jauzah, which it marks. [In early Arabic astronomy Orion was Al Jauzah, the term means walnut, and also seems to be used for a black sheep with a white spot on the middle of the body].
The original Arabic name, Al Hak'ah, a White Spot, was from the added faint light of the smaller phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 in the background, and has descended to us as Heka and Hika. These three stars were another of the Athafiyy of the Arabs; and everywhere in early astrology were thought, like all similar groups, to be of unfortunate influence in human affairs.
The three stars in the head of Orion: lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 constituted the Euphratean lunar station Mas-tab-ba-tur-tur, the Little Twins, a title also found for gamma Gemini (γ Alhena) and eta Gemini (η Propus); and individually were important stars among the Babylonians, rising to them with the sun at the summer solstice.
The three stars in the head of Orion: lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2, with alpha (α Betelgeuse), and gamma (γ Bellatrix), in the two shoulders, were known as Kakkab Sar, the Constellation of the King.
In other lunar zodiacs the three stars in the head of Orion: lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 were the Sogdian Iranian Marezana, and the Khorasmian (east of Persia) Ikhma, the Twins; the Persian Avecr, the Coronet; and the Coptic people of Egypt Klusos, Watery.
The three stars in the head of Orion: lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 also were the 3rd manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Hak'ah.
They were also the sieu (Chinese Moon Mansion) Tsee, or Tsuy He, the Beak, or Pouting Lips, anciently Tsok, which Reeves gave as Keo.
The three stars in the head of Orion: lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 constituted the nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) Mriga çiras, or Mriga-çirsha, (Robson gives Mrigasiras, see Margashīrsha/Mrigashira ) the Head of the Stag,— Soma, the Moon, being its presiding divinity, and lambda (λ this star Meissa) the junction star towards Ardra, and its determinant. As to this lunar station the 19th American philologist Professor Whitney's very reasonably wrote:
It is not a little strange that the framers of the system should have chosen for marking the 3rd station this faint group, to the neglect of the brilliant and conspicuous pair beta (β) and zeta (ζ) Taurus (El Nath and Al Hecka), the tips of the Bull's horns. There is hardly another case where we have so much reason to find fault with their selection.
But they were possibly influenced by recollection of the fact that the vernal equinox lay here 4500 B.C. In addition to the customary Hindu title, the German Sanskrit scholar Weber mentioned Andhaka, Blind, apparently from its dimness; Aryika, Honorable, or Worthy; and Invaka, of doubtful meaning, sometimes read Invala.
In China these stars were Si ma ts'ien, the Head of the Tiger.
The 15th century Tartar astronomer Ulug Beg, as well as Nasr al Din, likened the group to the letter of the Persian alphabet that was similar in form to the Greek A. La Lande wrote of them:
"qui ressemblent a un jeu de trois noix, ce qui a fait appeller cette constellation Nux, ou Juglans, Stella jugula."
Hipparchos (circa 160-120 B.C.) did not allude to them, but the second-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy called them "o nepheloeides", the Nebulous One, for such is their appearance to the casual observer, and has been their designation in all early catalogues, even to Flamsteed's in his in capite Orionis nebulosa.
[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].
The three stars in the head of Orion: this star lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 constituted the 3rd manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Hak'ah, A White Spot.
*, p.70.]Helps the return from a journey, the instruction of scholars, building, and gives health and goodwill. [Robson
*, p.70.]begin war but do not sow or undertake any good. [Robson
The three stars in the head of Orion: this star lambda (λ Meissa), phi (φ)1 and phi (φ)2 constituted the nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) Mriga çiras, or Mriga-çirsha, (Robson gives Mrigasiras, see Margashīrsha/Mrigashira ) the Head of the Stag,— Soma, the Moon, being its presiding divinity, and lambda (λ this star Meissa) the junction star towards Ardra, and its determinant.
*, p.76.]Ruled by Mars. A soft asterism belonging to the serving caste and favorable for friendship, married love, purchase and making of clothes and ornaments, music, and auspicious deeds when containing the Moon. Those born on the lunar day will deal in perfumes, flowers, ornaments, and animals, will be lascivious and good writers or painters. With Moon here at birth native will be timid, capricious, skilful, talkative, rich, fond of pleasure. Rules cots and the brows. [Robson
Orion was created out of an ox-hide by the Gods, Jupiter, Neptune and Mercury, at the request of Hyreus who had entertained them. He was blinded by Oenopion (the name means "wine-faced") for having raped Merope, Oenopion's daughter, but recovered his sight by exposing his eyes to the rising sun. In consequence of his boast that he could slay any beast bred upon the earth the scorpion (Scorpius) was brought forth and Orion died from its sting. [Robson*, p.55.]The giant
Betelgeuze and Bellatrix are like Jupiter and Saturn. It is said to give a strong and dignified nature, self-confidence, inconstancy, arrogance, violence, impiety, prosperity in trade and particularly by voyages or abroad, but danger of treachery and poison. It was thought by the Romans to be very harmful to cattle and productive of storms. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Aleph and the 1st Tarot Trump "The Juggler." [Robson*, p.55.]According to Ptolemy the bright stars with the exception of
"Near neighbor to the Twins (Gemini), Orion may be seen stretching his arms over a vast expanse of sky and rising to the stars with no less huge a stride. A single light marks each of his shining shoulders, and three aslant trace the downward line of his sword: but three mark Orion's head, which is imbedded in high heaven with his countenance remote. It is Orion who leads the constellations as they speed over the full circuit of heaven." [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD. p.35.]
"Orion will fashion alert minds and agile bodies, souls prompt to respond to duty's call, and hearts which press on with unflagging energy in spite of every trial. A son of Orion's will be worth a multitude and will seem to dwell in every quarter of the city; flying from door to door with the one word of morning greeting, he will enjoy the friendship of all." [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD. p.305.]