Living in a dark sky community like Sedona might explain the connection this Arizona town, surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests has to the stars. Add to this its vibrant arts community and it is easy to understand how this spiritually inclined desert town could fall under the spell of the Pleiades, the famous star cluster that has captivated and enthralled, was revered and worshiped by many diverse peoples, cultures and civilizations, and has had an enormous influence on the human psyche, our collective unconscious, where they continue to charm and fascinate today.

Nebra Sky Disk

The Pleiades, popularly known as the Seven Sisters, is a bright cluster of stars visible to the naked eye and known to the ancients around the world. Stories about these famous seven sisters have been shared throughout the generations and by word-of-mouth, through art, poetry, architecture and music. Cultures such as the Indians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Chinese, Aborigines and Native Americans recount their own version of the story, woven into their own mythos. The Pleiades are depicted on the Nebra Sky DIsc, one of the most fascinating, and some would say controversial, archaeological finds of recent years, dated to 1600 BCE. Four thousand years ago, the Chinese already knew about this star cluster and the Japanese, who refer to the stars as Subaru, use their image as the logo for their popular car manufacturer.Throughout the millennia, the Pleiades have inspired and guided sailors of the seven seas and other explorers on land in search of their hopes and dreams during the endless migrations of humanity across the globe. 

The story of the Pleiades recounts that, — Once upon a time in the ancient mythical world of Greece titan giant Atlas and his wife, the sea nymph Pleione, gave birth to seven beautiful daughters named Taygete, Maia, Asterope, Merope, Celaeno, Alcyone and Electra. In their youth, these seven sisters were relentlessly pursued by the handsome hunter Orion and in dire need of protection for which they they turned to Zeus, god of sky, lightning, and thunder. Regarded as ruler of all gods on Mount Olympus, Zeus transformed the seven sisters into doves and placed them in the protection of Taurus the Bull where they can still be found today.

The Pleiades – Elihu Vedder

In ancient Greece, the stories and myths of the Pleiades traveled from Greece to many other cultures. Although the Pleiades are only a faint glow in the night sky, they have inspired many stories, and to the Greeks the seven sisters of the Pleiades were prominent figures that played important roles in the mythology of the gods. The seven sisters of the Pleiades also play an interesting role in the mythology of power dynamics between men and women and the Greek gods. Interestingly, people of other cultures in that area of southern Europe, but outside of the Greek world, share similar stories. These stories reflect the reality of the social environment of that time, as well as the spiritual relationships between people and their gods. Although we think of Greece as the birthplace of logic and reason in the western world, the myths of the Pleiades suggest that there is much more to discover about the imaginary world.