Orion the Hunter
Perhaps the most well known stories about this constellation come from the Greeks. Orion was the son of Posiden and the greatest hunter in all of Greece. It was said he was joined by his two hunting dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor-the Big and Little Dogs) on many of his hunts. It was said he persued the Seven Sisters, the Pliedes and was struck blind for this act. His eyesight was eventually restored when he was sent on a quest to find the rays of the rising sun.
The most well known stories of Orion involve his death, and there are several different versions of this tragedy. One sources says Orion's skills were so great that his hunting prowess made Artemis jealous, so the goddess of the hunt sent the great scorpion Scorpius to kill him. Another version says it was the earth mother Gaia that sent the scorpion. A third version claims Artemis and Orion weren't rivals, but lovers! In this version, Apollo tricks his sister into shooting Orion while he was swimming in the ocean. She was so sad, she placed him in the sky as a constellation. In all versions, Orion is placed far away from the scorpion for his protection.
According to the Tewa, a tribe of North America, the constellation of Orion was their hero Long Sash, named for the long belt he wore. Long Sash was a wise and loved leader. He led his people in a time of great peace and prosperity. But then there came a time of troubles. The crops died. There was sickness and famine. Thier enemies were attacking, and times were hard. The people went to Long Sash and said "Lead us away from here! Lead us away from this bad place before we all die!"
Long Sash thought for a moment and replied "My people, times are bad now, but things may yet improve. If you wish to go on this journey, the way will be long and dangerous. Stop, think, ask yourselves: do you want to take that risk?"
But the people were firm. They wanted to be led out of there. So Long Sash led them on this dangerous journey. As they traveled, sometimes the people would argue and get into fights. Sometimes they would even start to hit each other. This made Long Sash very sad. He siad to his people "STOP! You are hurting eachother worse than your enemies have! If you are to come to a place to call your own, there must never be violence among you. So I will build two campfires, and whenever you have a problem with one of your brothers or sisters, go to these two camp fires and talk about your problems peacefully.
The stars that form the heads of the Gemini twins are those two campfires. You may notice one of the stars is a little brighter than the other. And that is because the Gemini stars becamse known as the place of decision making. Long Sash wanted to remind his people that real choices are seldom easy. Sometimes, one path or decision may look brighter or easier than another, but that doesn't always mean its the best way to go.
Guided by this wisdom the people continued on their journey until they reached a land so new not even Long Sash had seen it before. This was the middle place, called Earth, and it would be their new home. The people settled down, they had children, and grew older. But Long Sash knew he wasn't going to be with his people forever, so he said "In the sky I will place my head dress as a bright, comforting cluster of stars. So should you ever needed to be reminded of my wisdom, look upon these stars and think of me. The constellation we call the Pleiades is really Long Sash's head dress. And even after he died, he still remained in the sky to watch over his people.
The Egyptian viewed this constellation as Osiris, god of the Nile and ruler of the under world. It was said Osiris was murdered by his evil brother Set (or Seth) and his hacked up body was tossed in the Nile. He was revived by his wife Isis, and he became ruler of the underworld. His death was avenged by his son Horus. The constellation of the Rabbit below Orion was seen as Osiris' boat, and the Big Dog was seen as Anubis, judge of the dead.
Frigga's Spinning Wheel
The Norseman saw the lower half of the constellation as the spinning wheel of Frigga. She was the wife of Odin and goddess of the homestead. She used the wheel to spin the clouds, and when she wasn't using it the spinning wheel gleamed so brightly it could be seen from Midgard (Earth).