The Pleiades also known as M45 or the Seven Sisters The Pleiades are a dipper-shaped cluster of stars situated in the “shoulder” of the constellation Taurus sometimes referred to as the Maia Nebula. 400 light years from Earth, the Pleiades are one of the most visible clusters in the night sky. The cluster is dominated by hot blue stars, which have formed within the last 100 million years. On a given night, between six and seven of the nearly 500 stars in the clusters are visible with the naked eye. The Pleiades have been the subject of myths and tales from a variety of cultures; they are best known, however, as the seven sisters from Greek mythology. The nine most prominent stars have individual Greek names and represent each of the seven sisters of Greek mythology and their parents. The brightest member in the Pleiades is Alcyone. The other stars in the cluster that have Greek names include Merope, Celaeno, Sterope, Taygeta, Maia, Electra, Ancient civilizations looked to the heavens as guides for their daily lives. They believed that the gods lived in the heavens and sometimes flew down to the planet bringing messages of teaching or warnings of disasters. These people communicated with their gods through meditation and dreamtime. They believed that the gods would one day return. The alignment in the heavens is like a blueprint upon which those on the planet can plan their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities. In essence they worshipped those from the skies, the Pleiades being a major factor for many civilizations. According to myth, the hunter Orion was in love with the SEVEN SISTERS and pursued them until the gods took them to safety, transforming them first into doves, and then into stars. Maia, the eldest of the seven Pleiades, gave birth to Hermes (Thoth). The Pleiades' high visibility in the night sky has guaranteed it a special place in many cultures. They are mentioned three times in the Bible, twice by name and once by reference. the Pleiades represent the goddess Nut, the "divine mother and lady of heaven". In Japan - the word for Pleiades translates to 'Subaru'. If you examine the insignia logo for this line of cars, you'll see a stylized symbol of the Seven Sisters. In China and Ancient Egypt they were called Kimah. The heliacal rising of the Pleiades (around June) also begins the new year for the Maori of New Zealand, who call the Pleiades Matariki. In the Swahili language of East Africa they are called "kilimia" which means "digging stars" as their visibility was taken as a sign to prepare digging as the onset of the rain was near. In Indian astrology the Pleiades were called the star of fire, and their ruling deity is the Vedic god Agni, the god of the sacred fire. The Sioux of North America had a legend that linked the origin of the Pleiades to Devils Tower. Legend tells that seven maidens were being pursued by a ferocious bear. Kneeling to pray for help, they called on the Indian gods, who raised the ground where they were located high into the air. Angered, the bear clawed at the earth in a vain attempt to reach them. After leaving huge claw marks in the unyielding earth, the bear finally gave up and retreated. The maidens were turned into stars and placed in the sky forever out of harm's way. The site is what we now call the Devil's Tower 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.' Native Amercians believed in constellations and created ancient star maps. Legend has it that they exist at the center of the Earth. That beyond them was the sky and that beyond the sky were dimensional portals or sky holes. Beyond the dimensional portals was an area that they call the 'Ocean of Pitch', were the beauty of the night sky and the galaxies spun out towards them. Beyond that were the boundaries of the universe. And that set along the rim at the boundaries of the universe were 4 different extraterrestrial groups. Early Dakota stories speak of the ancestors as being the Pleiades. The Hopis called the Pleiadians the 'Chuhukon', meaning those who cling together. They considered themselves direct descendents of the Pleiadians. Navajos named the Pleiades the 'Sparkling Suns', the home of the 'Black God'. The Iroquois pray to them for happiness. The Cree claim to have come to Earth from the stars in spirit form first and then became flesh and blood. Some Native Americans believed that all tribes in North America came from the Pleiades. That they were actually descendents and had been given a task by the Pleiadians to keep the Earth safe. They believe that Mythic Mountain is actually the home of the Kachinas [Gods]. This mountain top is sacred. Native Americans believed that the home of the Kachinas was on top of a mountain where there were great cloud formations. Today we know that UFO's often hide in what we call Lenticular Clouds. These are cloud formations that resemble UFO's and are said to hide actual spacecraft. Although the Pleiades are popularly termed the Seven Sisters, only six stars are easily visible to the naked eye, and a considerable mythology has grown up to account for the 'missing' Pleiade.