Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

seven sisters

"Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid".--Tennyson

I think sometimes that matters of belief and of personal theories are a bit like how many stars one sees when one looks at the Pleiades. The Pleiades are better than an eye chart. A person with one level of acuity sees x stars, with a greater level sees x + 1, or x + 2, and so on. Seven sisters, the myth went, but people see different things. Yet actually, without much magnification, one learns that there are stars as yet uncounted, and with magnification, one finds that a star cluster resides there, M 45, hundreds of stars.

Those who have the most visual acuity see the most stars with the unadorned and unaided eye. Yet although the 19/19 vision helps one see the stars better, the act of seeing is only that--seeing stars. The understanding of them is something that the gift of sight does not provide.

Is it 5 stars? A cluster? Hundreds of stars? 3000? Theories develop. Ideas exchange. Intuitions intuit. The cluster is light years across, and light years away. Keep looking at it. It's a kind of personal kaleidoscope. But the patterns turn so slowly--rising and setting on a winter night. Patterns evolve for millenia. Red brown dwarfs. Mirroring nebulae. Seven sisters. Atlas. Pleione. Mother. Father. Alcyone, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Sterope, Merope and Taygete. Doomed all. Sisters mourning sisters. Changed into doves. Changed into stars.
Myths of origin. Myths to explain.

I went to a small college once which had a planetarium made of milk cartons. Stars projected onto milk walls. Merope married a mortal. She's the faintest star. They're all exploited by gods. Everything explained. Everything in its place. Nothing tidy.

"And if longing seizes you for sailing the stormy seas,
when the Pleiades flee mighty Orion
and plunge into the misty deep
and all the gusty winds are raging,
then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea
but, as I bid you, remember to work the land." --Hesiod

People try to channel Pleiadians. One man claimed that he gained wisdom at their reptilian feet. Another man claimed the first man's "proof" was photos from Sears. I personally believe with mystic fervor that Photoshop can create star clusters from milk cartons. The Navajo called them "hard flint boys". The Greek sailed by them.

The Moon will be passing in front of them this month, and many months this year. Hiding from Apollo. Hidden by Artemis, the moon goddess. Hiding from Quantrill. An underground railroad. Hidden in bright, plain sight. Jonson wrote "Earth, let not thy envious shade dare itself to interpose". Eclipsing Sisters.

We spin our myths and theories and poems and fables and science and dreams--but we don't wear the high-magnification goggles, and we can't divine the whirlwind, nor count the stars the Seven Sisters hide.

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