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Acrylic on canvas 2023


Altair was a simple cowherd. One evening, he was sitting under an oak tree playing an old love melody on his flute. Suddenly, a white dove gracefully swooped down from the sunset painted sky and when it landed, it turned into a beautiful young woman. He was a child of the summer, she a heavenly being born of the autumn skies.

She told him that she was Vega, daughter of the Queen of the skies. She heard his melody so descended to earth to find the source of this beautiful tune. She loved it so much that she would come every sunrise and return to the heavens just before nightfall. Being a heavenly being, she knew she must not mix with mortals but the two had fallen in love.

Her mother soon discovered what her daughter was up to and went down to Altair’s meadow to drag her daughter back where she belonged. Altair was shocked and heartbroken and was determined
to find his love once more. He jumped on the back of his bull and they flew up to the heavens to find Vega. When the Queen of the skies saw them coming she laid a river of stars in their path to block their passage. We now know this river as The Milky Way. The two lovers gazed at each other across the river and wept.

Vega’s father, the king of the heavens took pity on the lovers and allowed them to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month by forming a bridge of magpies allowing the lovers to be together for just one day. This story offers the hope that, even in times of great separation, those who are connected by the heart may still be together even though the wait is long. Where there is love; there is a way.

In Chinese communities, this meeting is still celebrated each year in the Qixi festival - on the 7th day of the 7th month. Vega and Altair can be seen in the summer night sky in an asterism known as the ‘summer triangle’ - she on one side of the Milky Way, he on the other.


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Altair and Vega

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