The Pleaides  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Pleaides Image
NO GROUP OF STARS KNOWN TO ASTRONOMY HAS EXCITED SUCH UNIVERSAL ATTENTION AS THIS LITTLE CLUSTER OF STARS KNOWN AS THE "PLEAIDES". MIGHTY NATIONS HAVE WORSHIPPED THEM, AND GREAT TEMPLES HAVE BEEN BUILT IN THEIR HONOR. AND, ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING ILLUSTRATIONS OF GODDESS LORE AND EVIDENCE OF ITS ORIGIN IN HUMAN HISTORY IS THE STORY OF THE "SEVEN SISTERS". ACCORDING TO MYTHOLOGY, THEY WERE THE SEVEN DAUGHTERS OF ATLAS, THE GIANT WHO BEARS THE WORLD UPON HIS SHOULDERS; THEIR MOTHER WAS THE NYMPH, PLEIONE. THE STORY IS, THAT THESE SEVEN MAIDENS (THE SEVEN STARS OF PLEIADES), TOGETHER WITH THEIR SISTERS, THE HYADES, WERE TRANSFORMED INTO STARTS ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR AMIABLE VIRTUES AND MUTUAL AFFECTION.

THOSE THE SEVEN NAMES THEY BEAR;ALCYONE AND MEROPE, CELAENO,TAYGETA, AND STEROPE, ELECTRAAND QUIETLY MAIA, SMALL ALIKE AND FAINT,BUT BY THE WILL OF JOVE ILLUSTRIOUS LLAT MORN AND EVENING, SINCE HE MAKES THEM MARKSUMMER AND WINTER, HARVESTING AND SEED TIME.--ARATOS--

ONE MYTH CONCERNING THE PLEIADES RELATE THAT THEY WERE SO BEAUTIFUL IN APPEARANCE THAT ORION UNCEASINGLY PURSUED THEM, MUCH TO THEIR DISCOMFORT. THEY APPEALED TO JUPITER FOR ASSISTANCE, AND HE, PITYING THEM, CHANGED THEM INTO DOVES. THEREUPON THEY FLEW INTO THE SKY AND FOUND A REFUGE AMONG THE STARS.

ONE OF THE SEVEN STARS IN THIS CLUSTER IS NOT AS BRILLIANT AS THE OTHERS, AND THIS STAR, THE GREEKS CALLED THE" LOST PLEIAD. "THE TRADITION THAT ONE OF THE STARS IN THIS GROUP HAS BEEN LOST OR HAS GROWN DIM IS A VERY ANCIENT TALE WHICH HAS BEEN ALMOST UNIVERSALLY FOUND. AS TO WHICH OF THE SEVEN SISTERS DISAPPEARED, MYTHOLOGY IS UNCERTAIN, BUT THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT ORIGINALLY ONE OF THESE STRS WAS BRIGHTER THAN IT NOW APPEARS.

"ALCYONE", (THE QUEEN WHO WARDS OFF EVIL) THE BRIGHTEST OF THE PLEIADES, REPRESENTS IN THE SKY THE ATLANTID NYMPH WHO BECAME THE MOTHER OF HYRIEUS BY POSEIDON. SHE IS SOMETIMES CALLED "THE LIGHT OF THE PLEIADES" AND IS FAMOUS FOR LOCATING THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, THE POINT ABOUT WHICH THE STARRY HEAVENS REVOLVED.

"BEYOND THE MOONS THAT BEAM, THE SUNS THAT BLAZE,"PAST FIELDS OF ETHER, CRIMSON, VIOLET, ROSE,"THE VAST STAR GARDEN OF ETERNITY,"BEHOLD! IT SHINES WITH WHITE, IMMACULATE RAYS,"THE HOME OF PEACE, THE HAVEN OF REPOSE,"THE LOTUS FLOWER OF HEAVEN, ALCYONE."--FRANCIS MACE-- "

THE STAR, "MAIA, "(GRANDMOTHER, MOTHER, THE GREAT ONE) REPRESENTS THE OLDEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL OF THE SISTERS, AND SOME HAVE SAID THAT SHE IS, IN FACT, THE BRIGHTEST OF THE GROUP. MAIA MARRIED JUPITER AND BECAME THE MOTHER OF MERCURY.

"FAREWELL, DELIGHTFUL BOY,"OF JOVE AND MAIA SPRUNG--NEVER BY ME"NOR THOU, NOR OTHER SONGS, SHALL UNREMEMBERED BE."--SHELLEY-- ELECTRA "(SHINING) WAS THE MOTHER OF DARDANUS, THE FOUNDER OF TROY. AGHAST AT THE FALL OF TROY, SHE FLED FROM HER SISTERS THAT SHE MIGHT NOT BE OBLIGED TO GAZE ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY SO PRECIOUS IN HER SIGHT. ACCORDING TO ANOTHER STORY, SHE VEILED HER FACE SO THAT SHE COULD NOT SEE THE CITY'S FALL. SOME SAY SHE IS THE "LOST PLEIAD" WHO COULD NOT BEAR THE LOSS OF TROY.

"MEROPE" (ELOQUENT) MADE THE MISTAKE OF MARRYING BENEATH HER. WHILE HER SISTERS HAD CHOSEN GODS FOR HUSBANDS WHEREAS SHE SELECTED A MORTAL, THE KING OF CORINTH. SHE SUBSEQUENTLY REPENTED HER CHOICE AND HID HER FACE IN SHAME. MANY CLAIM THAT SHE IS THE "LOST PLEIAD" WHO, FEELING DISGRACED, WITHDREW FROM THE COMPANY OF HER SISTERS. "TAYGETA "(LONG-NECKED) WAS THE PATRON GODDESS OF SPARTA, SINCE HER SON IS THE ONE WHO HAD FOUNDED THAT STATE.

"CALAENO "(SWARTHY) IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN STRUCK BY LIGHTENING. SOME SAY THAT SHE IS THE "LOST PLEIAD "AND THAT, AFTER BEING STRUCK BY THE LIGHTNING, SHE WAS REMOVED AND PLACED INTO THE TAIL OF THE GREAT BEAR.

"STEROPE, "(LIGHTNING, TWINKLING) IT IS SAID, MARRIED CENOMAUS; THEIR OFFSPRING WAS HIPPODAIMA, A BEAUTIFUL MAIDEN. WAS SHE THE LOST PLEIAD?

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