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The Seven Star Sisters

Updated: Feb 25

The Seven Star Sisters is also known as the Pleiades, a prominent star cluster in the night sky. Located in the zodiac sign of Taurus, the celestial bull, this particular star cluster can be visible from virtually every part of the globe. It can be seen with the naked eye and was used during ancient times to check one's eyesight; seeing all seven stars would clarify you have superb vision. The seven sisters are dominated by hot blue and luminous stars formed within the last 100 million years. Due to the positioning of the Sun, you will be unable to see this star cluster during May and June.

The Seven Star Sisters are visible in the North Hemisphere skies from October to April. Having been associated with the winter seasons, our ancestors would use these stars as the perfect guide for planting their crops and farming their land.

The Seven Star Sisters are known in many cultures worldwide; however, most famously, the Seven Sisters were the daughters of the Titan Atlas, who held up the sky and mother Pleione, the mythical protectress of sailors in Greek mythology. When searching for it in the night sky, you will notice not just seven but nine stars, the seven sisters beside their mother and father.

The sister's names are Maia, Alcyone, Merope, Asterope, Celaeno, Taygete, and Electra, each with their own mythology story.

Maia, the oldest sister, was known for her beauty and solitary life. Timid, Maia was quite happy in her own company whilst living alone in the caves. Seduced by Zeus, she would become the mother of Hermes. The Romans viewed Maia as their spring goddess. At the time, the brightest star in the cluster was honoured by the Romans by having a calendar month named after her, May.

Alcyone was known as the leader and would be the sister to watch over the Mediterranean Sea, ensuring it was calm and safe for sailors. Marrying Ceyx, the son of the morning star/king of Trachis. Unfortunately for them, Zeus found out the couple was impersonating him and his wife and drowned Ceyx in a storm at sea. Alcyone was devastated and threw herself into the sea to be with her husband, where the gods would transform and reunite Alcyone and Ceyx into a halcyon (kingfisher).

Merope was sadly known as the lost Pleiade. Due to her not shining as brightly as her sisters, Merope was the last star to be located by astronomers. Stories suggest she became lost due to her shame of marrying the mortal king Sisyphus. Having angered Zeus because of his arrogance, Sisyphus would be punished. Having survived both attacks on his life, this infuriated Zeus even further. As further punishment, Sisyphus would be given the impossible task of rolling a giant boulder up a large hill, but to Zeus's delight, he was unsuccessful.

Asterope was known as the weaker sister, like Melope, who was shining less brightly than her other sisters yet still being able to be seen with the naked eye. The mother of Oenomaus, the king of the Greek region of Pisa, whose father was Ares, the god of war.

Celaeno lost her brightness due to being struck by lightning by her younger sister. Celaeno had four children with Poseidon, the sea god, and two with the Titan Prometheus.

Taygete preferred her own company and independence and lived alone in the mountains. Zeus tried to seduce her, but before he could, she ran into the arms of Artemis, who turned Taygete into a doe, allowing her to escape the clutches of both Zeus and Hercules, who also took a liking to her. Zeus eventually caught her. She would give birth to a son, Lacedaemon, fathered by Zeus; however, not being able to overcome her trauma linked to Zeus, Taygete would sadly take her life.

Electra, the baby of the family yet the third brightest of all the sisters, was the wife of Corythus, who would create a son, not with her husband but with Zeus. He would be known as Dardanus, the founder of Troy.

The ancient Greeks weren't the only ones to believe in the seven sisters. Native Americans believed the seven sisters were running away from the Jampijinpa man (most likely Zeus in Greek mythology); whilst travelling across the land, forming a steep hill, they launched themselves into the sky to escape him. The seven sisters' story is linked to Krttika in Hindu astrology, and the word Subaru is linked to the Pleiades star cluster in Japan.

I think we can agree that these stars look and sound pretty incredible; we may even relate to one of the sisters or one of the sisters may remind us of someone we know. The next time we are outside under the night sky, look up and see if we can spot them. Once located, remember hundreds of years previous, our ancestors would have done precisely the same. How incredible.

Click on the link to see how to spot the beautiful seven sisters for yourself.

Sending love and light


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