This post comes to us from Michael Kerschner, Musical Director.
How many stars do you see in the Pleiades? Often referred to as the constellation of the Seven Sisters, the naked eye can only see six stars. The sisters have intrigued cultures around the globe and across time, birthing a myriad of mythologies that explain the destiny of the missing star.
In H.C. Anderson’s The Little Match Girl, a discarded girl who is lost on a lonely winter’s night has a vision of a Christmas tree. Her vision fades upwards into the sky and the twinkling candles of the tree become stars. When she sees one of these stars fall to earth, she remembers her steadfast grandmother, who once explained to her that when a star falls, a soul goes up to God.
This Saturday, the seventh sister is the Match Girl’s falling star, a gleaming memory of the only person to have ever loved her. It is also the little girl’s fate, written in the sky. The vision supplied the girl with the strength to meet her destiny like a warrior. If the province of the Warrior is death, then her legacy is bravery and resolve.
When the Match Girl’s frozen body was found, the secrets of her abusive father were lost. Also lost were her visions of the way life should be: luminescent, loving, and warm. Who would guess at the inner life of a warrior women who’s death seemed unavoidable? Is it so much easier to blame her helplessness than it is to marvel at her endurance to choose a dignity in death that was denied to her in life?
When we look to the Pleiades with a telescope we see a reflective nebula, in fact hundreds of stars many times brighter than our own. The constellation is a beautiful, delicate body, and it is the whole story writ large. Looking up is the easy part. How many stars do you see in the Pleiades?