Pleiades (astronomy)

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated


The Pleiades is a star cluster an approximately 400 light-year distance from Earth and near the constellations of Orion and Taurus in the night sky. The cluster includes seven bright stars that are easily seen with the naked eyes. In more recent years, astronomers equipped with telescopes have found the cluster to contain some 400 stars and to be surrounded by a nebula. As with many of the heavenly bodies, the Pleiades has attracted the speculation of people who have imposed a mythological significance on the objects seen in the night sky. And such speculations have not been limited to prescientific cultures. Early in the twentieth century, the leader of the group later known as the Jehovah's Witnesses suggested that one of the stars of the Pleiades was actually the throne of the Lord God Jehovah.

In ancient Greece, the seven prominent stars were named after the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Atlas, a titan who warred against the gods, was condemned by Zeus to hold up the heavens on his shoulders. His daughters were named Alcyone, Asterope, Celaeno, Electra, Maia, Merope, and Taygete. Each has her own story from the mythological cycles.

Pleiades, largely a concern for the astronomical community in recent centuries, broke into the news in 1975 when Eduard Albert "Billy" Meier, the leader of a small metaphysical study group in his native Switzerland, announced that he had seen a saucer-shaped craft land and had communicated with its pilot, a woman named Semjase. Semjase claimed to reside on a planet in the Pleiades. Having discovered Earth in the distant past, some Pleiadians settled here and intermarried. The peace-loving Semjase was part of a group who were attempting to assist humanity out of its warlike tendencies. Meier claimed that Semjase allowed him to take pictures of the Pleiadian spacecraft, called beam ships, and that he even took a trip to the Pleiades himself. While the photographs were the most important aspect of the Meier contact claims, he also asserted that he had telepathic contacts with Semjase.

A first volume of photographs and an outline of the Meier story was published in English in 1979, and a number of additional books appeared over the next few years as ufologists debated the pros and cons of the Meier pictures. American inventor Fred Bell also claimed to have been in touch and received a variety of technological information from Semjase. But, although Meier received much support, mainstream ufologists denounced him. Kal K. Kroff authored two books condemning him as a hoaxer. Kroff's attacks on Meier were countered by Meier's supporters with more than a dozen books, illustrated with his many photos of the spaceships, and several video tapes. Together they made the Pleiades a well-known item within the lay community of people interested in flying saucers.

Beginning in the late 1980s, channelers (mediums), people who receive information from various extrasensory sources, appeared within the larger New Age community and claimed that they were channeling material from Pleiadians. The results of these contacts began to appear in 1991 with Jani King 's book, The P'taah Tapes: Transmissions from the Pleiades. It was followed the next year by possibly the most influential volume, Barbara Marciniak 's Bringers of the Dawn: Teachings from the Pleiadians. Additional Pleiadian contactees include Amorah Quan Yin, Nina Jenice, Susan Drew, Barbara Hand Clow, and Lyssa Royal, whose channeled material appears regularly in the monthly magazine of channeled material, Sedona: A Journal of Emergence. In 1996 Preston Nichols, the man who made some extraordinary claims concerning his secret work on a U.S. government project with mind control, materialization, and weather control known as the Montauk Project, revealed that he had also taken a trip to the Pleiades on a spaceship.

Together these New Age Channelers have led in the development of that segment of the New Age community who look to extraterrestrials as the source of the teaching material they are releasing.


Amorah Quan Yin. Pleiadian Perspectives on Human Evolution. Santa Fe, N.Mex.: Bear & Co., 1996.

. The Pleiadian Workbook. Santa Fe, N.Mex.: Bear & Co., 1996.

Bell, Fred. Rays of Truth-Crystals of Light. Blue Hill, Maine: Medicine Bear Publishing, 1999.

Clark, Jerome. UFO Encyclopedia. 2 vols. 2nd ed. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1998.

Klimo, Jon. Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. Rev. ed. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 1998.

Nichols, Preston B., and Peter Moon. Encounter in the Pleiades: An Inside Look at UFOs. New York: Sky Books, 1996.

Rutherford, J. F. Reconciliation. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1917.

Winters, Randolph. The Pleiadian Mission: A Time of Awareness. Atwood, Calif.: The Pleiades Project, 1994.

views updated

Pleiades •Andes •Hades, Mercedes •Archimedes • Thucydides • aphides •Eumenides, ParmenidesMaimonides, Simonides •Euripides • cantharides • Hesperides •Hebrides •Aristides, bona fides •Culdees •Alcibiades, Hyades, Pleiades •Cyclades • antipodes • Sporades •Ganges • Apelles •tales, ThalesAchilles, Antilles •Los Angeles • Ramillies • Pericles •isosceles • Praxiteles • Hercules •Empedocles • Sophocles • Damocles •Androcles • Heracles • Themistocles •Hermes • Menes • testudines •Diogenes • Cleisthenes •Demosthenes •Aristophanes, Xenophanes •manganese • Holofernes • editiones principes • herpes •lares, primus inter pares •Antares, Ares, Aries, caries •antifreeze • Ceres • Buenos Aires

views updated


In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters who were the daughters of the Titan Atlas and the nymph Pleione. Their names were Maia, Electra, Taygete, Celaeno, Alcyone, Sterope, and Merope. The Pleiades are best known as a constellation in the sky consisting of seven stars.

Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus

nymph minor goddess of nature, usually represented as young and beautiful

According to one legend, Zeus* turned the Pleiades into a constellation after they had killed themselves out of sorrow over the death of their sisters, the Hyades. A better-known version of the story says that the giant hunter Orion fell in love with the seven sisters and pursued them constantly. To save the Pleiades from Orion's attentions, Zeus turned them into stars and set them in the night sky. However, this did not stop Orion. He, too, was changed into a constellation, the one that appears to chase the Pleiades through the heavens. One of the stars in the constellation of the Pleiades is not as bright as the others. Some say this is Merope, who was ashamed of her love for a mortal. Others say it is Electra, mourning for the destruction of Troy*, the city descended from her son Dardanus.

See also Orion.

views updated

Ple·ia·des / ˈplēədēz/ 1. Greek Mythol. the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione. They were pursued by the hunter Orion until Zeus changed them into a cluster of stars. 2. Astron. a well-known open cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus. Six (or more) stars are visible to the naked eye but there are actually some five hundred in the cluster, formed very recently in stellar terms. Also called Seven Sisters.

views updated

Pleiades Young, open cluster in the constellation Taurus, popularly called the Seven Sisters. Although only six or seven stars are visible to the naked eye, there are in fact more than 1000 embedded in a reflection nebula. The brightest member is Alcyone, which is more than 300 times as luminous as the Sun. The cluster lies slightly more than 400 light years away.

views updated

Pleiades the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione, the eldest of whom, Merope, was ‘the lost Pleiad’, and not represented by a star. They were pursued by the hunter Orion until Zeus changed them into stars. Their name has been given to a cluster of stars (usually spoken of as seven and also called Seven Sisters) in the constellation Taurus; six stars are visible to the naked eye but there are actually some five hundred present, formed very recently in stellar terms.

views updated


a close group or cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus, 1388; hence. a group of brilliant persons or outstanding things.

Examples : pleiad of French poets, 1838; of stars, 1388; of writers, 1882.

More From

You Might Also Like