Seven Stars

Seven Stars

I’m learning the jig, "Moon and Seven Stars." Is the tile an allusion to Rev. 1:16?

Re: Seven Stars

I assume it is to Ursa Major/The Plough/ The Big Dipper

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Or the Seven Sisters star formation, the Pleiades (Messier 45)?

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@ Jim - The Plow and Big Dipper are constellations, not stars, so this doesn’t work.
@ Conical - Constellation.

The tile seems to refer seven individual stares.

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It’s a very old tune apparently, so we may never know the original inspiration.

Putting on my amateur astronomer hat though, I’d have to point out that the Pleiades or "Seven Sisters" star formation is positioned in the sky where there is frequently a conjunction (close appearance) of those stars and the Moon in the same part of the sky. That isn’t possible with the Big Dipper. The Pleiades is also one of the brightest star clusters in the sky, so it can be seen when the moon is bright and washes out many other astronomical objects.

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Not to be too nitpicky, but the Big Dipper isn’t a constellation (though it is part of one - Ursa Major). The Big Dipper is technically an asterism. 😬

Er ahem anyway… no idea about the tune name, but the Big Dipper and the Pleiades both sound reasonable (unless the “stars” in the title are metaphorical).

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@Lanair - I’ll have to look up, "asterism." What metaphor would you think seven stars represent?

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Oh goodness, I have no idea. The tune is from like the 18th century (or even earlier), so it could be anything… something related to politics, military exploits, rich old aristocrats, religion, agriculture, geography, maybe Snow White and the seven dwarfs… 😉

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The reference to the moon along with seven stars that one assumes are specific stars makes no sense to me, since the moon has no relationship with stars individually or as constellations. More likely, the reference is to the moon and seven planets that look like stars. Stars relative to each other are fixed, but the moon and planets move in orbits which sets then apart as a group. Of course, I may be full of it.

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Re: Seven Stars

Revelation 1:16, KJV: "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
Revelations, the book in the Christian bible, is full of deep poetry and psychedelic imagery and can be interpreted in many, many ways!
‘Seven stars’ appears in lots of global folklore and, indeed can refer to M45 (the Pleiades), the Plough or Big Dipper asterism in Ursa Major, Ursa Minor including Polaris (the North Star) or even Orion. When used to refer to the planets it already includes the Moon and the Sun plus Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn so ‘Seven stars and the moon’ means you’ve included the Moon twice.
And what about the Tarot, seven of pentacles plus the Moon card?

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Fiddler’s Companion agrees with conical bore http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/MOO_MORM.htm#MOON_AND_SEVEN_STARS (follow cross-reference to "Seven Stars"):

"…The ‘seven stars’ are the constellation of the Pleiades, the seven sisters, easily found in northern hemisphere skies…"

and

"The American variant title, ‘The Moon and Seven Stars,’ is perhaps derived from freemasonry, writes New Hampshire fiddler Randy Miller, ‘where the moon rules the night, and the seven stars signify the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades star cluster, as well as the seven-day division of time.’"

Incidentally, I have mostly heard it referred to among English traditional musicians as ‘The Moon and Seven Stars’, so I am quite surprised to see this referred to as "The American variant title." Perhaps that title has been popularised through the Fiddler’s Fakebook (there are not many American published collections containing English Country Dance tunes – at least, not as infuential as The Fiddler’s Fakebook). I have beard it referred to as ‘The Seven Stars’ as well, but probably assumed that it was an abbreviation.

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I wish it was the name of a local pub (preferably walking/staggering distance) where I could have a good ol’ sesh with my mates without worrying about viruses etc.

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There’s a pub called the "Half Moon and Seven Stars" in Preston about half way between Canterbury and Ramsgate. They claim to have been serving ale since 1570. I don’t know if they have a session there.

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I know the pub slightly, never heard of it as a session pub though even before the pandemic , and the East Kent sessions have moved around various pubs within about a 12 mile radius of Canterbury. Might be worth a try though if or when we get the all clear……….

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Isn’t there already a pub called "The Plough and Star(s)"??

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Hello dear Ben

Thank you so much for that wonderful film of Shay singing.
I must admit that I welled up with some emotion.
Shay did so much to encourage me in my early days and was, is, a supreme sensitive musician. He accompanied me on many an occasion. And the whole family have treated me with much love and respect.
If you, or any other readers, meet up with him, please send my love and blessings
Thank you again

Keep safe and well everyone
All the best
Brian x

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Sorry, but my amateur astronomer part is causing me to be pedantic CMO! The Pleiades are not a constellation, they are a star cluster or an asterism. The constellation is Taurus.

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A brief Google displayed 17 pubs in England called The Seven Stars; and that was just on page 1! Didn’t see any in Scotland or Wales.