The Seven Sisters Dreaming depicts the story of the seven ancestral Napaljarri sisters who are found in the night sky today in the cluster of seven stars in the constellation Taurus, more commonly known as the Pleiades.
The Pleiades are seven women of the Napaljarri skin group and are often depicted in paintings of this dreaming carrying The Bush Turkey Man who is in love with the Seven Sisters and who represents the Orion’s Belt cluster of stars. The morning star, is a Jakamarra man who is also in love with the Seven Sisters and is often shown chasing them across the night sky. In a final attempt to escape from the Morning Star Man the Seven Sisters turned themselves into fire and ascended to the heavens to become stars.
The custodians of the Seven Sisters Dreaming are Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men and Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women. Some parts of the Seven Sisters Dreaming are closely associated with men’s sacred ceremonies.
Star Dreaming – This ceremony tells of the journey of Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men who travelled from Kurlurngalinypa (near Lajamanu) to Yanjirlypirri (west of Yuendumu) and then on to Lake Mackay on the West Australian border. Along the way they performed initiation ceremonies for young men. Women also danced for the young men. The site depicted in this canvas is (star) where there is a low hill and a water soakage. The importance of this place cannot be overemphasized as young boys are brought here to be initiated from as far as Pitjanjatjara country to the south and Lajamanu to the north.
In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, associated sites and other elements. Often depicted in paintings for this Jukurrpa is the female star -Venus – the Evening Star, who chases the Seven Sisters for having stolen the night from her.