The Manohra Dance-Drama: An Examination of Pleiades and Orion Through the Lens of Thai Folklore and Folk Practices

painting by Chakrabhand Posayakrit, depicting Manohra dancing


This article will discuss the folktale of the Manohra and how it may be a local interpretation of the story of the Pleiades— the seven celestial sisters, hunted by Orion. Likewise, there will be an exploration of the shamanistic element of the Manohra dance tradition, where ritual and dance and magic and spirit possession blurs into one. Finally, the Orion-esque figure of Phran Boon — the hunter of Manohra — will be examined. The article will then end with a retelling of the tale of Betelgeuse and Rigel, two stars within the constellation of Orion, as star-crossed lovers.

The Pleiades: Seven Celestial Sisters

Many may already be familiar with the basic structure of the myth of the Pleiades. But to those unaware, the Greek myth of the Pleiades could be surmised with how the Pleiades are the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione: Maia, Electra, Taygete, Celaeno, Alcyone, Sterope, and Merope. When Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades. The hunt went on for seven years, and in order to prevent the sisters from being caught, Zeus transformed the sisters first into doves, and then into stars. The seven sisters thus became the seven stars of the Pleiades constellation, and the constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky. Yet, there also exists an alternative retelling where all seven sisters ended up committing suicide as they were so saddened by either the fate of their father, Atlas, or due the loss of their siblings, the Hyades.

Several months ago, Jessica Hart (@jess.of.the.harts on IG) had given a presentation on the tale of the Pleiades and Alcyone, reviewing familiar European stories before examining wider patterns that emerge when considering Pacific, Siberian and Japanese folklore. Her talk could be viewed within Sasha Ravitch’s Patreon here. In the presentation, Hart outlines six different Pleiadean motifs that often come up in folktales from across the globe, the motifs being that of 1) water, 2) bird-women, 3) gender taboos, 4) grief and 5) music / dancing. I eagerly urge those interested in learning more to go watch Hart’s presentation for it truly is a heartfelt and well-researched talk on the Pleiades. With those motifs established, I would like to explore some local Thai folklore related to the Pleiades.

In Thailand, the Pleiades are also associated with birds— in this case, with chickens. The Pleiades are known here as the Dao Luk Kai which translates to the ‘Chick Stars’. A folk tale tells of a poor elderly couple who lived in a forest. The couple raised a family of chickens: a mother hen and her six or seven chicks. One day, a monk arrived at the couple’s home, and it is customary for offerings to be given to monks when they pass by. Worried that they had no suitable food to offer him, the elderly couple contemplated cooking the mother hen. The hen overheard the conversation and rushed back to the coop to say farewell to her children. She told them to take care of themselves, and that her death would repay the kindness of the elderly couple, who had taken care of all of them for so long. As the mother hen’s feathers were being burned over a fire, the chicks threw themselves into the fire to die along with their mother.

The tale above bears some similarity to the Pleiadean motifs as outlined by Jessica Hart. First, the Pleiades are associated with hens and chicks whom are avian. Secondly, it could be said that the seven sisters are represented by the seven chicks (or the six chicks plus the mother hen, to become seven). The decision for the chicks to commit suicide over the grief of their mother is also reminiscent of how the Pleiades are sometimes said to have committed suicide over their grief for Atlas’ fate.

Through this essay, I wish to argue that aside from the tale of the Chick Stars, there exists another Thai folktale connected to the Pleiades: the tale of Manohra.

Temple artwork depicting the Mother Hen star and her chicks, taken from Pengkaew (2000)

The Story of Manohra

One of my favorite retellings of the Manohra folktale is this abbreviated retelling here which is accompanied by the Manohra dance. It was filmed as part of a Living Traditions Grant to Las Vegas-based Thai master teacher Supatra Chemprachum, with the aim of documenting the choreography of this dance for teaching purposes and cultural preservation. For those who prefer reading, I have also transcribed the retelling below:

A long time ago, high on a tall mountain — halfway between heaven and the earth — lived the king who had seven beautiful daughters. They were kinnaree, beings with special powers, half-human half-bird. They could remove their wings and tails, and take human forms. The king’s youngest daughter was named Manohra, and she was said to be the most beautiful of all. When the moon was full, manohra and her sisters would put on their wings and tails, and fly from their home — high on Krailat Mountain — to an enchanting lake in the Himmapan forest far below. When they reached the shore, they took off their wings and tails to bathe in the moonlight and the fresh, sparkling water. 

There was another king who lived on the other side of the Himmapan forest. This king had one son: a handsome and powerful warrior named Phra Suthon. One of the prince’s hunters who had lost his way was traveling through the Himmapan forest on a full moon night when he saw the kinnaree princesses frolicking in the lake. He was struck by their beauty and was determined to bring one home to be his prince’s bride. On the night of the next full moon, Manohra and her sisters flew down from Krailat Mountain. The hunter was there, by the lake shore, hiding in the bushes. As soon as their backs were turned, he crept down the bank and took one set of wings and tail from the lake shore. 

When the kinnaree sisters came back, the hunter leaped from bushes, frightening them. They rushed to put on their wings and tails but Manohra’s were not there, so she could not fly and was captured. She was sad and frightened but when she was presented to Phra Suthon, it was love at first sight. They soon became married. The queen put Manohra’s wings and tail in the royal treasury for safekeeping. Manohra and Phra Suthon lived happily for a little while, but not for long. 

There was a scheming court advisor who had hoped to marry his daughter to the prince. He told the king that an enemy was planning to attack, so Phra Suthon would have to go to the border to fight. One night whilst the warrior-prince was away, the king had a nightmare. This court advisor convinced him that this dream meant that Manohra must be sacrificed by fire or else the queen was going to die. Manohra asked only that she’d be allowed to die complete with her wings and tail— she would perform the beautiful and exotic kinnaree dance for the court. At the end of this dance, she would fly into the fire to make the sacrifice and save the queen. So, it was agreed.

Manohra began dancing.

She tried her wings to see if she could fly. As soon as her feet came off the floor, the guards lifted their bows to take aim. Manohra kept dancing, but with each step she flew a little higher until she had flown so high that their arrows could no longer reach her and she was free. Before she flew away, Manohra asked the queen to warn Phra Suthon not to follow after her; without wings to fly, the journey for him would be long and perilous. Manohra loved her husband and did not want to leave him, but she feared for her own life. As she flew over the Himmapan forest, she stopped to visit a wise old hermit who lived along the way. She knew Phra Suthon might not heed her warning and so she left gifts for him: a golden ring he had given her, and an enchanted cloth to protect him from the dangers along the way. 

When he returned home and found her gone, Phra Suthon chose to follow Manohra in spite of the danger. He met the hermit and received the gift Manohra had left for him. On the bank of a big river he climbed the tallest tree he could find to look for a crossing. At the top was an eagle’s nest, as big as a house. The gigantic birds were talking: they were going to fly to Krailat Mountain for a festival to celebrate Manohra’s return. Phra Suthon cleverly hid in between their feathers, holding on for dear life as they flew. When they arrived at the palace, he dropped down into the garden outside the palace to wait for his chance.

When Manohra had returned home, the king had ordered her to stay outside the palace walls for seven years, seven months and seven days to wash off the smell of the human kingdom. Each day she was bathed in water from a pond in the garden. Phra Suthon’s long journey to Krailat Mountain ended in that same garden, on the last day of Manohra’s exile. He watched Manohra’s attendants at the pond, trying to think of a way to get a message to his wife. He offered to lift the heavy pot of water to put on the last attendant’s shoulder, and was able to slip Manohra’s golden ring into it. Manohra found the ring when the water was poured over her and knew at once that her husband had come. Later that day, she was joyfully welcomed back into the palace for the first time since her return. When she told the story of what had happened, her father asked: “if he truly loved you, why didn’t he come for you?” Manohra answered: “he is here.”

When they met Phra Suthon, so handsome and powerful, they were ready to forgive anything— almost. The king told Phra Suthon that he could keep Manohra as his wife if he could prove that he really knew her. The prince agreed, but when Manohra and her sisters were brought in, they had all been made up to look exactly alike. Phra Suthon could not tell one from the other. Then, he remembered the ring, and knew in his heart that Manohra would be wearing it. Sure enough, he correctly chose his wife from all the kinnaree sisters and they were reunited at last. Phra Suthon and Manohra returned to his kingdom where his father — the king — felt so badly about everything that happened that he gave up his throne so that Phra Suthon could be king and Manohra — the kinnaree — his wife and queen. 

And they lived happily ever after.

“The Seven Bathing Kinnaris”, 1995, oil on canvas, by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Analysis of the Tale

It should be noted that the tale transcribed above is merely an abbreviated version. A study by Ginsburg (1971) examines the various versions of the folk tale that was found transcribed throughout history, including a Pali text, a text within the National Library, and a text found at Songkhla. These versions often have details that are glossed over in abbreviated retellings, such as how the hunter won the favor of a naga lord who then taught him how to catch the kinnaree. Likewise, in the Pali text, it is the king who suffers a nightmare— a nightmare that happened to be about ‘intestines’ which ‘flow out and encircle the world three times’. This could perhaps be linked to how far eastern tales related to the Pleiades often have imagery of ‘guts’ in them, such as in the Japanese or east Asian folklore, as explored by Jessica Hart in her presentation.

Regardless, the story of Manohra is one with several glaringly obvious Pleiadean motifs present in it. The most obvious is probably how Manohra is one of the seven sisters who live on a mountain high up in the heavens, making her one of the seven celestial sisters as commonly found in Pleiadean myths. She and the rest of her kinnaree sisters could also be described as swan maidens as well, for in traditional Thai art depictions, a kinnaree is often shown to have the arms of a woman, and the wings, tail and feet of a swan. The depiction of how the kinnaree are able to take off their wings and tails when bathing is also reminiscent of how animal brides are often presented in fairy tales. The fact that Manohra was the sister who was ‘left behind’, unable to flee the hunter with the rest of her sisters, makes her a figure that bears similarity to Merope, the so-called lost or missing Pleiad according to Greek mythology.

Additionally, Manohra’s guile of using her celestial dance to distract the guardsmen and archers also fits with how the Pleiades are said to be associated with music and dancing. In traditional Thai beliefs, it is similarly claimed that the kinnaree are renowned for the beauty of their dance, song and poetry, and thus they are a traditional symbol of feminine beauty and grace. This is what sets the bird-maiden apart from your average human being, and the idea of them being Other or different from humans is further exacerbated by how Manohra has to wash herself for seven years, seven months and seven days in order to free herself from the human scent. The motif of a celestial maiden being tainted by humanity and unable to return to the heavens due to said human taint is also something present in the Japanese Tennyo folktale explored by Jessica Hart in her presentation as well.

Finally, is the motif of Manohra being hunted by a hunter, just like how the Pleiades were hunted by Orion. A clear difference in the tale is how Manohra ended up in a happy marriage with a prince rather than being partnered with the hunter himself. It is interesting to see too how Manohra was ordered to be sacrificed by fire, just like how in the tale of the Seven Chicks the Mother Hen was burned over a fire. Thus, it is safe to say that there is ample evidence supporting how the tale of Manohra is likely a Pleiadean tale, interpreted via local lens.

The Manohra Dance

One of the ways the manohra myth survives into modernity is through its retellings via the Manohra dance-drama. The dance has origins in Southern Thailand, and was recently granted the UNESCO heritage status. These dancers are called ‘nora’, a term shortened from Manohra. The word nora carries a variety of meanings in Thai society. In certain areas of Thailand, especially in the southern provinces, a trained nora shaman —  known as nairong nora — is a mediator between the mundane world and the spirit world. Nairong nora (often shortened to nairong) have traditionally all been men, and they are well known for their magic and their ability to exorcise. In contemporary times though, the word ‘nora’ is often seen simply as a type of southern folk dance-drama entertainment and has no relation to shamanism.

Despite the changing times, the nora dance (also known as the ‘lakhn chatri’) still sometimes holds a magico-religious function to it. This is because the dances are often performed in the kae bon ritual, the ritual name literally translating to mean the ‘releasing or correcting of a vow’. Here, a supplicant may pray to a spirit to grant them boons or favors, and the supplicant must vow to make an offering in return. If the favor is granted, the supplicant must then placate the spirit with the promised offering lest they incur the wrath of the spirit and suffer from misfortune due to a broken vow. The nora dance serves the purpose of being an offering to the spirit, wherein dancers are hired to dance in front of spirit shrines in order to fulfill the promise made during the vow. Dances can still be seen performed at the Lak Muang (‘city pillar’) shrine in Bangkok — a shrine that is said to house the guardian spirit of Thailand’s capital city — along with other spirit shrines throughout the country.

The magio-religious root of the dance can also be seen in how invocations are to be faithfully recited prior to the start of every performance. The manohra invocation begins with homage to teachers of the art, to parents, to Buddha and to the spirit. Then, comes the recitation of the story of Thep Singhon — the legendary first Manohra master — before proceeding with the retelling of Manohra’s capture and marriage to Phra Suthon. Naturally, there may be variations between the performances when performed by different troupes (such as the story of Thep Singhon being mixed with the folkloric version of the Suthon tale). Ginsburg (1971) expands upon this in a much greater depth that is beyond the scope of this essay; I do recommend you read up on his paper though if you are interested in the details.

In interviews with manohra dancers in 1969, Ginsburg (1971) found that there is evidence of a ‘compulsive feeling’ to continue the family tradition. The interviewed dancers spoke of the necessity of continuing the performances, else they may be cursed for abandoning the family tradition. Even the props and costumes used in the performance are treated as sacred objects, and any accident to them — such as a crown or mask falling from its place of storage — signifies the end of the owner’s career as manohra dancers. Mantras were also recited as a part of the dancing practice, and much attention was devoted to these mantras in former times especially in competitions between rival troupes where the mantras were essential in protecting one’s performance against the rival’s curse. The magical nature of the performance meant that in the past, young girls were commonly forbidden to watch the manohra performances, lest they be bewitched into throwing themselves at the manohra dance master in order to be one of his wives.

Although troupe performances can be done as a form of simple entertainment, it is important to understand too that in the past (and in certain rural areas in the present) manohra dancers were the equivalent of shamans within the local community, renowned for their knowledge of magic and employed for exorcisms (the rong khru ritual, for example) and other ceremonies. In her paper In Contact with the Dead: Nora Rong Khru Chao Ban Ritual of Thailand, Jungwiwattanaporn (2006) explores the shamanistic nature of the rong khru ritual, an annual ceremony conducted exclusively within a nora troupe, dubbing it the ‘ancestor-trance’ ritual. To quote the paper:

‘[…] there has always been a strong belief among the nora performers in the existence of the spirits of both mythological and historical nora teachers who possess supernatural power. Although each nora school might have its own line of historical teachers, all nora performers as well as their families believe that they all share similar mythological origin. This creates a strong tie for a potential communitas of nora performers that manifests itself during a ritual. It is therefore not only an act of piousness but also an obligation that the living nora members will conduct a regular ceremony known as nora rong khru. This event will allow all the respected spirits to communicate with the family members via trance possession so that the living can return their gratitude to the dead and the dead can grant blessings to the living.’

In other words, it is believed that the rong khru ritual allows the nora dancer to communicate with their ancestors and teachers, both the historical ones and the mythological ones— calling upon the mighty dead to either propitiate them or ask for blessings. The nora rong khru ceremony provides a gateway for their ancestral teacher spirits to descend and possess the designated trancers (or any ritual participants who happen to be ‘chosen’ by the spirits). It is due to nora’s abilities to both entertain and bridge the worlds of the living and the dead that the nora rong khru ritual has been ‘borrowed’ for other occasions when a contact with the spirit world is needed. Hence, the nora rong khru ritual can also serve many goals. Some of the goals include the healing of illnesses and the removal of birthmarks, or the conduction of a graduation ceremony for the dancers-in-training, giving the nora apprentices an opportunity to go through a rite of passage or and move on to the next level of their practice.

The rong khru chao ban ritual is an instance where the chao ban — the villagers, those outside the dancing troupe — are able to make use of the ritual for the purposes of contacting various ghosts and spirits. For example, the ritual can be used to mediate between the villagers and their ancestral spirits who refuse to be reborn because they want to protect their living family members. Despite the importance of such a ceremony, not every household can afford to have the ritual done every year due to its extravagant cost and demanding preparations. Therefore, it can take anywhere from one to nine years for a family to hold the next ceremony.

When it comes to the training for a nora performer, the training ranges from traditional dancing to singing to acting to shamanic study and magic practice. The nairong — the leader responsible for training the dancers, managing the troupe, and leading the shamanic rituals — would require an expertise in trance induction, emphasizing the ritual process in order to induce a ‘full’ trance mediumship, along with knowledge in making charms and medicines. Usually only the selected ‘heir’ of a nora line will be taught the secret arts of nora shamanism and magic, thus becoming the troupe’s nairong, leaving the rest of the troupe as dancers-mediums and musicians. Although it is possible for a female to be the leader, most troupe leaders are males. In Thailand, women are traditionally not allowed to become a nairong.

images of a rong khru ceremony, taken from

Phran Boon: Hunter of Manohra

The tale of the Pleaides would not be complete without the mention of Orion. Likewise, Manohra’s story would not exist if not for the Hunter whose cunning was used to steal her kinnaree wings. In the written transcription of the Manohra folktale, the hunter who trapped and captured Manohra is given the name Phran Boon. The word Phran is a title that translates literally to ‘hunter’, whilst Boon refers to the name of the hunter.

As elaborated upon within Ginsburg (1971), the Pali version of the Manohra story includes a subplot of how Phran Boon once gained the favor of the nagas and was welcomed into the naga underworld for seven days. It is assumed that during his time there, he was able to gain various material and spiritual gifts. When the hunter stumbled across the bathing kinnaree, the story goes on to explain how the hunter went to the forest-dwelling hermit to ask for advice in catching the kinnaree, to which the hermit explained that a naga noose was needed. The hunter then obtained the said noose with some protests from the naga, and used the noose to capture Manohra. 

The inclusion of nagas into the story is one that I find to be fascinating, for there appears to be a historical relationship between bird-women and serpentfolk. For example, when it comes to the ‘crane dance’ as performed in Delos, in Ancient Greece, the Ancient Greek word for crane, geranos, is related to a homonym from the root *-ger, meaning to wind, ‘as of rivers and serpents’. The following quote is taken from Singer et al (2019), expanding upon this:

‘[l]ike so many other old maze dances, it probably originated as an imitation of the winding path of a serpent. [I]nscriptions [found on Delos] indicate that the dancers carried rhymoi – a word over which there has been great controversy. It actually seems to mean “ropes”; and it is highly possible that in the classical period, at least, the dancers may have carried a long rope-like or garland-like object suggestive of a serpent. The ritual carrying of a large snake (or a replica of one) in a dance is not without parallel. [Compare the Chinese dragon dance.] As we have noted, the Minoan Cretans seem to have had similar dances; and from them the Delian dance may well have stemmed. As performed by Theseus and his companions in the legend, the geranos is clearly a winding maze or “snake dance.”’

Thus, there appears to be some connection between the ‘crane dance’ and what may be considered the ‘snake dance’. It may also be possible the ‘ropes’ were used in the aforementioned crane dance as well. Naturally, this creates a possible connection to how the hunter of Manohra caught her by using a ‘naga lasso’— a snake/serpent rope, of sorts.

Moreover, the same way the Manohra is associated with the nora shaman-dancers, the hunter Phran Boon is revered in southern Thailand as a local spirit-deity. In the Manohra dance-drama, the role of Phran Boon is a comedic one and the performer playing him traditionally wears a red half-mask. The mask is one of Phran Boon’s sacred symbols, and amulets are commonly made in the shape of the mask. For brevity’s sake, I decided to not explore Phran Boon’s local cult too much, but images of his performers and shrine will be shown below, for those interested.

image of Phran Boon (red mask, left) catching Manohra (right) taken from Twitter

the shrine of Phran Boon, at Wat Yang Yai, image taken from

Betelgeuse and Rigel: Star-Crossed Lovers

Now that we’re on the topic of Orion, I wish to turn our attention towards two fixed stars in the constellation of Orion: Betelgeuse and Rigel. Betelgeuse is a star located on the right arm of Orion, whilst Rigel is a star situated on the left foot of Orion. There exists a traditional Tai Yai folktale that depicts the stars Betelgeuse and Rigel as ill-fated lovers. In this story, Betelgeuse is said to be a woman named Nang Upem, whilst Betelgeuse is a man named Khun Samlaw. For context, Nang is a title used to address women whilst Khun a title used to address men. The following tale is translated by me from Nipatporn Pengkaew’s book titled Tai Baan Doo Dao. To my knowledge, there exists no English translation of this specific version of the folk tale, especially since Pengkaew only acquired the story by interviewing locals about it as the tale is something that is passed on via words of mouth.

The story is as follows:

Khun Samlaw and Nang Upem were married as husbands and wives. However, the mother of Khun Samlaw was disgusted by her daughter-in-law, for she would rather have her son marry a richer woman. Yet, in front of Khun Samlaw, the mother pretended to act kind and amicable towards Nang Upem. It was only behind Khun Samlaw’s back that the mother would treat her daughter-in-law cruelly. Unwittingly, Khun Samlaw decided to leave his wife in the care of his mother, unaware of his mother’s duplicitous nature.

Khun Samlaw had a job as a traveling merchant, selling cattle in distant lands. His business trips would take four to five months at a time. During the time when Khun Samlaw was away on business, Nang Upem realized that she was pregnant. Without the protection of her husband, Nang Upem was helpless against the cruelty of her mother-in-law. There were times when her mother-in-law would secretly place needles in her bowls of rice, so when Nang Upem would wash the rice, her hands would be pricked by the sharp needles. Worse still, the mother-in-law purposely sabotaged the steps on the stairs so when Nang Upem stepped on those steps, she would slip— an act that proved dangerous for the baby she was carrying in her belly.

Unable to endure the torment any longer, Nang Upem decided to flee from her husband and mother-in-law’s house, hoping to travel back to her own home where her father lived. It was during this journey home that she suffered a miscarriage. Distraught, Upem placed her stillborn child on a tree stump and prayed that the stillborn child would find its way to her father. The child thus became a bird, crying for its father. The bird is locally known as the Por Weoy (ป้อเว้ย) bird, with black feathers and long legs and a cry that sounds like the word father (“พ่อเอ้ย”).

In pain and grief, Upem struggled forward until she finally reached her father’s home where she ultimately collapsed and died, bleeding out from the miscarriage. After her passing, Khun Samlaw returned from his business trip only to find his wife missing. His mother refused to tell him what happened, only that Upem had returned to her father’s house to give birth. Hence, Samlaw made his way to Upem’s father who angrily shut the door in his face, refusing to elaborate on what had occurred.

Upem’s father was the leader of his village. Using his status as the village elder, he ordered the villagers to crowd around his house and block Samlaw’s path. Samlaw used his cunning and began to throw away the money he had earned from his travels as a merchant. Upon casting the money aside, the villagers dispersed, eager to collect the coins he had thrown away. With the crowd now gone, Samlaw made his way inside the house and found himself staring at Upem’s corpse. Driven mad by grief, Samlaw unsheathed his sword from his belt, whispered for his wife to wait for him and impaled himself upon his sword. There, next to his wife, he died.

When Samlaw’s mother heard news of what happened, she became furious. According to Tai Yai traditions, if someone dies and another person dies with them shortly after, the second person who died have to be buried first an hour before the body of the first person who died can be buried. The villagers were also adamant that Samlaw must also be buried here in the place where he died as per tradition. Upem’s father also wished that Upem and Samlaw should be buried together, for if they fail to be together in this life then perhaps they may be able to be with each other in the next.

To this, Samlaw’s mother disagreed. She did not wish for her son and Upem to be near each other, not even in death. Hence, she took a bamboo stick (called ไม้คานสามตา in Thai) and placed it in between their two bodies. The Tai Yai people called the bamboo wood Mai Mhong (ไม้หมอง). The stars Mintaka, Alnilum and Alnitak are said to form the length of the stick separating the two lovers. The blood of her miscarriage is why Betelgeuse is a red-colored star, and this is why Betelgeuse and Rigel are positioned opposite one another.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t particularly have a strong reason to include this story in this essay. I merely wish to show that even the stars within constellation of Orion can have tales attached to it. Orion as a whole may be represented by the hunter who hunts Manohra, but the stars within Orion themselves have their own tales to tell too.


In summary, this blog post seeks to explore how the folktale of the Manohra may be in actuality a local interpretation of the Pleaides myth. Likewise, should Manohra be equivalent to one of the Pleaides, then it is logical to assume that the hunter Phran Boon is equivalent to the figure of Orion. With both figures, there appears to be a magical aspect to both Manohra and Phran Boon— Manohra’s shamanism being expressed via the Nora dances, whilst Phran Boon is venerated as a local huntsman spirit-deity. In the end, the key takeaway is that Thai folklore have a richness and depth to it that has yet to be tapped into by many scholars or practitioners interested in the study of fixed stars. It is my hopes that my attempt to explore the various nuances of Thai folklore and folk practices would aid others in deepening their understandings of the constellations and the stars.

As always, feel free to contact me via my Instagram @ivy.crowned or via the comments on this post should you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic further.


Alcyone & Pleiades presentation by Jessica Hart, September 14 2022

Ginsburg, H. (1971) The Sudhana-Manohara tale in Thai: a comparative study based on two texts from the National Library, Bangkok and Wat Machimawat, Songkhla [Preprint].

Jungwiwattanaporn, P. (2006). In Contact with the Dead: Nora Rong Khru Chao Ban Ritual of Thailand. Asian Theatre Journal, 23(2), 374–395.

Pengkaew, N. (2000), Tai Baan Duu Dao (Folk Thais Watching the Stars). Bangkok: Siam Press.

Singer, T., Cashford, J., & Roque, C. (2019). When The Soul Remembers Itself: Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche. Routledge, Taylor et Francis Group. 

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Ivy Senna

occultist, animist and astrolater.

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