Pleiades – star goddesses of the greek mythology

The Pleiades, also known as the Pleiades, "The Seven Sisters", the Gluckhenne or the Ladder Car, have a different but always special meaning for many cultures. It is always associated with a dove and the Pleiades are also called the "dove flock.

The Pleiades, which also Pleiades, "The seven sisters", Gluckhenne or ladder wagons are called, have for many cultures a different however always special meaning.

In Greek antiquity they were considered daughters of Pleione and her husband, the Titan Atlas, the one who carries the vault of heaven in the north. In some places it is said that Aphrodite herself was the mother of the Pleiades, whom she gave birth to under the name Pleione.

In any case they played an important role in the cult of Aphrodite. She is associated again and again with a dove and the Pleiades also "flock of doves" called.

Pleiades - star goddesses of the greek mythology

Nymphs lifted up to the sky

They are beautiful nymphs and are called Merope, the eloquent, Alkyone, aware of the storm, Asterope, the sparkling, Celaeno, the dark-skinned, Elektra, the bright shining, Maia, the mother respectively. Called wet nurse or nurturer and taygete, the one with the long neck. In the Greek mythology there are some – also contradictory – myths about them. Thus they are said to have followed the goddess Artemis as virgin nymphs.

On the other hand, in other traditions it is said that each of them was married resp. Lovers had. Merope is considered z.B. the wife of Orion, the giant and hunter and son of Poseidon. However, she is said to have been constantly mistreated by her husband. According to another story Orion pursued all Pleiades in his lechery stormily and emphatically. Therefore they rushed on their Escape before him constantly into the sea. Zeus is said to have come to their aid.

This one is said to have been raised by them as a child. He transformed the Pleiades into Doves and placed them in the sky. There they are as stars today still in each case from the middle of September to the end of April at the northern starry sky to see.

Her parents Pleione and Atlas are considered the eighth and ninth stars of the group. Orion was also transferred to the sky, where he still pursues the Pleiades night after night without ever catching up with them.

The salvation of the sisters and their placement in the sky but could have had ulterior motives. The charming beauties were better accessible there for Zeus, Poseidon and Ares. Zeus seduced successively Maia, Electra and Taygete. Poseidon approached Alkyone and Kelaino, Ares committed a crime against Asterope. Only Merope is said to have escaped the gods by marrying the cunning Sisyphus.

Beside other cunning deeds this wedding was probably what the gods never forgave him for. He was finally condemned to roll a heavy boulder up a steep hill in the underworld forever.

Artemis as "huntress of the seven stars

According to another tradition Orion was not the hunter but the hunted of the Pleiades, until finally the "huntress of the seven stars", struck down the goddess Artemis with an arrow. The whole thing is said to have taken place in the sea, Orion was given to the bottom of the sea afterwards.

This could indicate a ritual action in which, at a certain time of the year, the "hero" is sacrificed to sink into the great mother (in this case, the sea) to be reborn again.

Mythically significant in many cultures

The Pleiades have a great mythological and astrological meaning, because they marked already in the 3. millennium v.u.Z. the beginning of spring. They were called the seven stars because of their regular rising and setting in spring and. Autumn in many ancient cultures as Calendar stars mentioned. In the middle to the end of March they appear for the last time in the evening sky, thus beginning the Time of sowing. When the Pleiades rose again in the night sky for the first time in mid-October, the agricultural year ended.
So the people of very early cultures were obviously not only amazed under the starry sky, but also knew how to interpret it in a very practical way.
Interesting: they are considered feminine in many cultures: In India the star cluster is called "Krittika" – the seven virgins, in Chukchi (Northeast Siberia) it is the "constellation of the lonely girls", the Maori in New Zealand interpreted them as a mother with six daughters, for the Australian Aborigines they are consecrated, sacred girls playing at a "corrobori", a large tribal gathering, for the Sami tribes they are a group of virgins, for some indigenous peoples of North America sacred dancers.

So only in ancient Greece, also in other cultures a special meaning has always been attributed to the Pleiades. The oldest known astronomical descriptions of the Pleiades were written in 2357 in China written.

In the old Persia the Pleiades culminated on the 17th day of the year. November at midnight. Every petition presented to the Great King on this day was approved. In the advanced cultures Central America defined the duration of the great year (26000 years) as the time it takes the vernal equinox to travel once from the Pleiades across the zodiac back to the Pleiades.

The sacrifice to Xipe Totec, the Mexican redeemer took place on the "starry hill" exactly at that moment, when in the last night of the great annual cycle the Pleiades reached the zenith. it was believed that the universe was breaking into pieces and thus the End of the world would come, if the Pleiades were not appeased by sacrifices.

In the culture of the Maya was of the opinion that a Gate of heaven located in the Pleiades, through which the souls of the deceased pass and are reborn.

Interesting: they are considered feminine in many cultures: In India the star cluster is called "Krittika" – the seven virgins, in Chukchi (Northeast Siberia) it is the "constellation of the lonely girls", which is Maori in New Zealand interpreted it as a mother with six daughters, for the Australian Aborigines they are consecrated sacred girls who play at a "corrobori", a large tribal gathering, for the Sami tribes are a group of virgins, for some indigenous peoples of North America sacred dancers.

We also see the Pleiades on an important object from Central Europe, probably serving astronomy, fer Nebra sky disk. This is a 3700 to 4100 year old circular bronze plate with applications of gold, the oldest concrete depiction of the sky known to date.
On top of it a group of seven closely spaced points, which are Pleiades is identified. These are associated with the increasing and the full moon shown.

The fascinating star cluster in the northern night sky

The Pleiades are located in the Constellation of the Bull on whose neck. They are the most prominent and conspicuous object in this constellation. Sometimes they are considered as a constellation of their own.

The star cluster of the Pleiades lies around 380 light years from Earth, is about 125 million years old and comprises at least 1200 stars. The brightest stars are still named after the figures of Greek mythology. Alcyone (Eta Tauri) is the brightest star in the Pleiades, it is a thousand times brighter than our Sun.

The Pleiades star cluster has been given its own names and meanings by various cultures: The Inuit in Greenland see in the star cluster a pack of sled dogs, attacking a bear.

They were described as Birds in the Middle Ages as a mother hen with her chicks. In connection with the roman god of wine Bacchus she was seen as the grapevine. But most often they are seen as girls, sisters, star goddesses, as already besc
written in the ancient myths of Greece.

The Kiowa tribe in North America tells the following story: Seven little girls were playing some distance from the village when they were discovered and attacked by several bears. The girls fled in their distress to a small boulder, which they begged: "Stone, have pity on us, save us".

This heard the girls and began to grow in the height. The bears jumped at the rock and broke big stones out of it, but could not reach the girls. Eventually, the rock grew up into the sky, where the girls still are – as seven stars in the firmament, the Pleiades.

Sisters, midwives, hen and vine

A story from the dreamtime of the Australian Aborigines tells of "Seven Sisters", who lived as nymphs in the water. These are associated with the Pleiades in the creation story of the Australian aborigines. In Egypt and in the Orient they are called "the seven midwives. The seven-branched candelabra, the holy menorah, which originates from pre-patriarchal Jerusalem, probably symbolizes the Pleiades.

Arabic literature the Pleiades are called ath-Thurayya. Based on this is a female first name – known in Turkish as Surayya and in Arabic as Soraya. Thuraya is also the name of the satellite telephone system based in the United Arab Emirates. In the prevedic India they were attributed a sacred meaning.

There they were called "the holy mothers of the world" or also "Krittikas" worshipped, which meant "blade" or "knife. Possibly their blade was a castrating crescent moon, because as the seven priestesses they judged men. The greek word "kritikos" also means "judge.

For the Hindus the Pleiades are a consecrated to the fire god Agni Flame or a short-handled razor. The latter copulated with the "Seven Mothers" during their menstruation (a tantric ritual that the Vedic culture later outlawed). Fruit of this union with the Pleiades is a big red cloud, which is permeated by lightning (thus the female and male aspect is well represented). In some cultures and historical representations only six stars are counted to the Pleiades. So also in Japan. The Japanese name of the Pleiades is "Subaru".

The logo of the car manufacturer of the same name therefore shows the six stars in a similar arrangement as in the sky. Also the group of six drawn dots above the Aurochs in the Caves of Lascaux are identified with the Pleiades.

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