Live at the Helice Opera House


I’ve been pondering the origin and meaning of the world “helice” ever since I saw it on the cover of a Dreilide Thrace recording in “Someone To Watch Over Me” episode of Battlestar Galactica. Earlier today I posted my review of that episode. An anonymous commenter over at Brad Templeton’s blog noted that:

The character Slick has been said to be loosely based on Bear McCreary. And “Helice” was what the greeks called Ursa Major, Great Bear.

After a few searches I found the Constellations of Words web site that said:

Helice is the Great Bear, Ursa Major, the name Helice is cognate with the name Helen, who might also be Helen of Troy? [I have never seen Helen of Troy identified with any constellation]. Female bears might represent the ‘fallen woman’ in society; bears have loud passionate ‘love affairs’ and then part company, leaving the female pregnant and alone.

The constellation below Ursa Major is Leo Minor. From the same site:

The picture shows three of the Bear’s paws are placed on the ground and her right front paw is lifted – not leaving a track. The Arabs called these tracks the ‘three gazelle leaps’.Ideler, translator of Kazwini, an Arabian astronomy book, surmised that the stars of Leo Minor were the Arabs’ Al Thiba’ wa-Auladuha, the Gazelle with her Young.

Remember that Anders calls Ellen “the gazelle”:

“I guess he boxed us for a while. Introduced Saul first, not long after the war. And then the gazelle, the Ellen. And back on Earth, the warning signs that we got it looked different to each one of us. I saw a woman. Tory, you saw a man. Funny, no one, no one else could see them. Galen, you thought you had a chip in your head.”

Equating Ellen with a constellation reminds me of the ancient mythological stories where all the gods were represented in the stars. Also, while we’re equating Ellen with Helen of Troy at all, it should be pointed out that the return of Ellen on Boomer’s Raptor was a huge Trojan Horse that was used in reverse to kidnap Hera.