Delving into the annals of time, the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades have held an enduring fascination, finding a celestial home in the iconic Pleiades star cluster. These ethereal figures have not merely adorned the night sky; they have woven themselves into the very fabric of myths and legends, transcending cultural boundaries and leaving an indelible mark on human imagination.
Their celestial journey unfolds in the earliest pages of human history, with the Pleiades gaining mention in Chinese annals as far back as 2350 BC. Sailors, guided by their radiant presence, navigated uncharted waters, while farmers, like the Zuni tribe in New Mexico, choreographed their planting rituals in sync with the cosmic ballet of these stars.
Greek Mythology: Tales of Immortal Sisters
Within the tapestry of Greek mythology, the Pleiades emerge as Maia, Alcyone, Asterope, Celaeno, Taygete, Electra, and Merope. Their narratives unfold in intricate patterns, intertwining with the likes of Orion and reverberating with the echoes of encounters with deities such as Zeus and Poseidon. Each sister, a celestial muse, contributes a unique verse to the cosmic epic—Maia in her solitude, Alcyone calming the turbulent Mediterranean waves, and Merope, the enigmatic 'Lost Pleiad.'
Native American Odyssey: Bears and Orphan Boys
The Pleiades embark on diverse odysseys in Native American lore. For the Kiowa tribe, seven girls seek refuge from bears, transforming into stars atop a towering rock. Meanwhile, Western Mono Indians paint a poignant picture of The Orphan Boys, stars disowned by their tribe but embraced by wolves, their nightly howls a reminder of earthly cruelties.
Aboriginal Tapestry: Yunggarmurra Water Girls
Aboriginal tribes, particularly those in the Northern Territories, cast the Pleiades as the 'Yunggarmurra Water Girls.' These sisters, guardians of beauty, wield the magic of love. Their father, Dunia, metamorphosed into a crocodile to end an era of incest, while the stars adorned themselves in crystal 'coats,' explaining their luminance.
Hindu Pantheon: Krittika, the Cosmic Wives
In the intricate tapestry of Hinduism, the Pleiades are known as Krittika, cosmic consorts to the Seven Sages or Rishis. They also find resonance in the story of Murugan, the war god, who assumes six faces—one for each sister.
Japanese Constellations: Unity in Subaru
Japanese culture christens the Pleiades as 'Subaru,' symbolizing unity. Intriguingly, the Subaru car logo features six stars, though seven grace the night sky.
Etymology: Sailing through Linguistic Seas
The very name 'Pleiades' echoes its celestial significance, allegedly derived from their mother, Pleione. Some propose a linguistic voyage, linking it to 'plein,' meaning 'to sail,' marking the commencement of the sailing season in the Mediterranean.
Mythology Unveiled: Catasterism and Celestial Poetry
One of the poignant myths unfurls the catasterism of the sisters, a metamorphosis into stars to escape the relentless pursuit of Orion. Zeus immortalizes them, and their celestial glow permeates the works of poets like Hesiod and Sappho. Even Lord Tennyson, in 'Locksley Hall,' weaves their brilliance into verse.
Book of Job: Celestial Interludes
The Book of Job echoes the celestial resonance, invoking the Pleiades and Orion, posing cosmic queries that transcend time.
Alternative Visions: Amazonian Queens and Ritual Revelry
A fascinating alternative version diverges from the familiar narrative, envisioning the Pleiades as daughters of an Amazonian queen. In this rendition, they pioneer ritual dances and nocturnal celebrations, adding a unique hue to their celestial odyssey.