A tarot spread to try out during the winter months when the constellations Orion and Taurus are overhead. Within the Taurus constellation is the famous Pleiades Star Cluster. In Greek mythology the Pleiades are seven sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. This star cluster has been observed and worshiped by many ancient civilizations, and today they are connected to the new age idea of higher consciousness life and divine evolution.
Middle Assyrian Chalcedony Cylinder Seal with a Lion-Dragon, 1300-1200 BC
This has the image of Ashur*, chief god of Assyria, on a winged solar disc facing a scorpion-tailed lion-dragon**. Above the lion-dragon is a recumbent crescent moon, a symbol of Sin, the moon god and alongside it is an eight-pointed star which represents the goddess Ishtar. Next are seven dots representing the Sebittu, seven benevolent gods whose power could be harnessed against evil by means of magic incantation. Astrologically these dots were identified with the Pleiades. There were temples dedicated to the Sebbitu at the Assyrian cities of Kalhu (Nimrud), Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad) and Nineveh.
*The god in the winged sun disc could also be Shamash, the sun god. Scholars are not all in agreement over which god is being represented within the winged sun disc in Assyrian art. Ashur is an indistinct deity with no clear iconography of his own. When he is represented in art his attributes tend to be borrowed from another god (in this case Shamash), which makes it difficult to definitively identify him.
**The lion-dragon is a beast which could be a reference to either the chief Assyrian god Ashur, the moon god Sin or the storm god Adad.
Pleiades were seven sisters created by the Titan Atlas and his mate Pleione, the daughter of the Titan Oceanus. They were goddesses of the mountains and the companions of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Their names were Maea, Electra, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaino, Sterope and Merope.
According to a myth, Orion, the son of Poseidon, was pursuing the Pleiades for five whole years. But in the end Zeus, the King of the Gods, took pity on them and transformed the Pleiades into doves, and then into a constellation of seven stars, the famous Pleiades. The brightest stars of the constellation were named after the sisters. However, Orion also transformed into a star …and it is said that he still continues chasing them across the night sky.