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Orion and the Pleiades in History and the Bible

Cheryl enjoys writing about subjects that connect the Bible to history.


The Pleiades

The Pleiades is a 7-star cluster and is one of the most noticeable of all the star patterns. Without the aid of magnifying equipment, this cluster looks like a tiny misty dipper of six little stars. The Pleiades is sometimes referred to as the Seven Sisters because in Greek mythology, the Pleiads were the seven daughters of Atlas, and Pleione, Atlas was the Titan who held up the sky, and Pleione was the protector of those who were sailing the ocean. The seven sisters were Electra, Merope Asterope, Maia, Celaeno, Alcyone, and Taygete. They were sometimes said to be nymphs who were in the train of Artemis. The Pleaids were also said to be half-sisters of the seven Hyades which pattern another star cluster, located near the Pleiades stars.

Modern-day astronomy views the Pleiades quite differently. Astronomers say this cluster of several hundred stars has condensed from a cloud of gas and dust around 100 million years ago. The Pleiades are nearly 400 light-years away. This indicates that the cluster of stars must be extremely bright in order for us to see their light across such a vast span of space. Astronomers believe these stars are hundreds of times more luminous than our sun. Some people see seven or eight stars in this cluster with the unaided eye. There is a Polynesian legend, which indicates that the Pleiades once made up a single star and it was the brightest in the sky. This star bragged about its beauty which drew the ire of the Polynesian god Tane. Legend says Tane smashed the star into pieces, and this is how the Pleiades star cluster was formed.



There are more myths, legends, and history related to Orion, which is named after the hunter in Greek mythology. Orion is a prominent constellation that is within close proximity of the Pleiades. Orion was a humongous supernaturally strong hunter. His parents were the Gorgon Euryale and the god of the sea, Neptune/Poseidon. In medieval Muslim astronomy, Orion was known as al-jabbar, "the giant". Saiph which is Orion's sixth brightest star, is named saif al-jabbar, which is Arabic for "sword of the giant". The Finns refer to Orion's belt and the stars beneath it as Väinämöisen viikate. In India, Orion is referred to as Nataraja 'the cosmic dancer' who is an avatar of Shiva. In old Hungarian tradition, "Orion" was known as Reaper (Kaszás) or the magic archer. In recently rediscovered Hungarian myths, he is called "Nimród", who is considered the greatest hunter. In China, Orion was one of the 28 lunar mansions (Sieu (Xiu) (宿). The constellation is called Shen, which literally means "three", for the number of stars on Orion's Belt. In Scandinavian tradition, Orion's belt was known as Freyja's distaff or Frigg's Distaff also known as friggerock. In Puerto Rico, the three stars of Orion's belt are known as the "Los Tres Reyes Magos" which is Spanish for The Three Wise men. In Spain and other Latin nations, the three stars are referred to as Las tres Marias which translates as the three Mary's. The Lakota Native Americans, call Orion's belt Tayamnicankhu the spine of a bison. The huge rectangle of Orion is the bison's ribs. The star cluster the Pleiades is the bison's head. Sirius in Canis Major, which is known as Tayamnisinte, is its tail. The Chippewa Native Americans call this constellation Kabibona'kan, which means the Winter Maker. This is because its presence in the night sky signals the coming of the cold weather months, You may be familiar with the film distribution company Orion Pictures which made movies from 1979-1999 and used the constellation as its logo. The Babylonians referred to Orion as the chief shepherd in the sky or the god Anu. In ancient Egypt the stars of Orion were known as the god Sah. The Armenians associated the constellation with their god Hyak.

The Bible

The Bible mentions Orion three times and the Pleiades once.

Job 9:9 "He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion", Job 38:31 "Can you loosen Orion's belt?", and Amos 5:8 "He who made the Pleiades and Orion".

These scriptures indicate that there is One who is above all created things and He is the One who created them. No matter how beautiful the creation is, those who love Him must always remember that He alone is to be worshiped. . The Lord made it clear to Job and to Israel through the prophet Amos that He alone has the power to create and that He is above His creation.

Consider the lines from the song Above all by Michael W Smith.

Above all powers above all kings above all nature and all created things. Above all kingdoms above all thrones above all wonders, the world has ever known.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston


Rachelle Williams from Tempe, AZ on October 28, 2020:

Oh, you've done your homework on this one. I appreciate learning new things and I LOVE learning about the connection between humans and the celestial realm - You have gained a new fan!

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on October 27, 2020:

Anti mi, you have done a wonderful research and beautiful presentation in this article. I like this. Stay safe. Warmest regards to the brethren there.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 26, 2020:

This is such an interesting article and I enjoyed reading it. That song is beautiful also. Thanks for sharing this information, Cheryl.

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on October 26, 2020:

Cheryl, you write about interesting topics. Thanks for sharing this one. I learned something new.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 26, 2020:

I am listening to the "Above All" song right now. Beautiful! It is amazing how many stories in mythology are linked to the stars in the sky.