Seven Sisters - Possibly the World's oldest story2 August 2023
It's difficult to capture the profoundly tranquil sensation of gazing upon a full moon, casting its glow across the Pacific Ocean veiled in clouds, under the celestial blanket of a million stars. One lone aircraft, approximately twenty miles ahead of us, its dissipating contrail illuminated by the enchanting touch of the silvery lunar light. Two 747s soaring harmoniously across one of the most desolate and isolated expanses of our planet, long vanished from the vigilant gaze of any radar screen.
Two celestial chariots traversing the heavens, tracing the constellations revered and named by our earliest forebears, who beheld those enigmatic lights adorning the nocturnal canvas. Spurring myths, legends, and perhaps nurturing humanity's boundless yearning for truth and comprehension of the vast universe we inhabit. And there, just to the left of the radiant moon, resides the Pleiades star cluster.
One of the most ancient narratives hailing from the age of antiquity revolves around the “Seven Sisters,” a myth concerning the Pleiades star cluster, a tale ubiquitous across myriad cultures worldwide: from the Egyptians, Indians, and Polynesians, to the Chinese, Greeks, and even the once exceptionally isolated (until the early 1800s) Aboriginals. This saga recounts the story of seven young maidens, one of whom eventually became lost — either descending to Earth and vanishing from sight after falling in love with a mortal, or being taken, abducted, or whichever fate steered her course. Regardless, the seventh sister chose to forsake her celestial existence and embraced the realm of the unseen.
Interestingly, the Pleiades star cluster exhibits six discernible stars to the discerning eye, yet recent research has unveiled that another luminous star slipped from view around 100,000 years ago, obscured by the position of another, blending seamlessly with its stellar companions. Considering that our earliest human ancestors embarked on their migrations from Africa to regions now known as Australia and Europe approximately 105,000 years ago, it's very plausible that the tale of the Seven Sisters stands as one of the most ancient enduring stories from the nascent days of our species — surviving through eons, cultures, and generations.