Matariki

The Matariki Mandala

This Mandala was drawn to represents my understanding of some of the connections originating from old time mythological times from around the world that seems to be lost in this day and age. What I also find fascinating is the connections that I have found between the different beliefs

The rise of Matariki in the midwinter solstice has and important meaning in the Maori culture as it is a time of renewal and an opportunity to reflect on who they are at this moment in time and build connections with their whanau. 

Matariki or the Pleiades have an important connection to most cultures around the world as there are often used to mark the change of seasons or guide sailors across the oceans.

Greek Mythology

In the Greek mythology Pleiades means doves and they were the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. One day the Pleiades and their mother were travelling to meet Orion and he fell in love with Pleione and her daughters. Since then, he spent a great deal of time chasing them, trying to win their affection. After some time, Zeus intervened and changed the women into doves to help them to escape and placed them in front of the hunter Orion in the sky to remind him of his fate.

Interestingly according to Maori tradition in the southern Hemisphere Orion’s is depicted as holding a bird’s perch luring the doves to eat Puanga which is represented by the Star Rigel in the Orion cluster of stars. The doves are the daughters of Matariki who holds the healing energy of the world

The nine stars of Matariki
It is another common misconception that Matariki is seven sisters. There are nine stars in the Greek tradition of the constellation: seven children and their parents. In the Māori tradition, there are also nine stars:

  1. Matariki (Alcyone) – the mother of the other stars in the constellation. Rehua (Antares) is the father but is not considered part of the Matariki constellation.
  2. Pōhutukawa – connects Matariki to the dead and is the star that carries our dead across the year (Sterope/Asterope).
  3. Tupuānuku – is tied to food that grows in the ground (Pleione).
  4. Tupuārangi – is tied to food that comes from above your head such as birds and fruit (Atlas).
  5. Waitī – is tied to food that comes from fresh water (Maia).
  6. Waitā– is tied to food that comes from salt water (Taygeta).
  7. Waipunarangi – is tied to the rain (Electra).
  8. Ururangi – is tied to the winds (Merope).
  9. Hiwaiterangi/Hiwa – is the youngest star in the cluster, the star you send your wishes to (Celaeno).
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