I christen the upper-left bead with the symbol of The Queen of the Night. I've never watched Mozart's opera The Magic Flute from start to finish, but I've always been fascinated by the mythic plot, the garish Egyptoid costumes, and the music. The Queen of the Night, who has no other name in the opera, is the big bad villain of the story, though that's not known at the beginning.
(Actually, I told one lie above. In some versions of the libretto, the Queen is referred to as "Astrifiammante," which is (ear-poppingly beautiful) Italian for "star-blazing.")
The opera is almost a protean version of the Princess Bride. There's the triumph of true love, the redemption of pirates and vagabonds, and -- on the way -- plenty of trials, tribulations, and torture. The Queen is portrayed as irredeemably nasty as Chris Sarandon's Prince Humperdinck, and she gets what's coming to her in the end.
But... but... I wonder if she gets a bit of a bum rap. Mozart put in some pretty stark symbolism about the dark night of pre-rational superstition being beaten by the rising sun of Enlightenment-era wisdom. Okay, yes, the Enlightenment was largely a good thing. But the day needs the night. Dreams may be pre-rational and chaotic, but without them (some neuroscientists claim) our mental performance would decline quite rapidly.
And then there are the others with similar names. You might know that the Virgin Mary is sometimes given the title of Queen of Heaven, but did you know that one of the chief goddesses of Tolkien's Middle Earth was Varda, the Queen of the Stars? I also must mention Nuit, the divine personification of Infinite Space in Aleister Crowley's modern religious tradition of Thelema.
That's what I think of when I hear "Queen of the Night." :-)
Links: There's only one bead that connects to this one right now, and it's Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the central spot. Aside of the fact that both of these refer to famous and masterful works of classical music, there are also resonances in Schiller's famous poem. Even though it often name-checks the Christian God, one can't deny that it also comes close to deifying "Joy" as a goddess-like Daughter of Elysium. She entrances us with her magic, she causes the flowers to bud, she hurls stars around the sky... sound familiar?
- "Freude, Freude treibt die Räder
- In der Großen Weltenuhr.
- Blumen lockt sie aus den Keimen,
- Sonnen aus dem Firmament,
- Sphären rollt sie in den Räumen,
- Die des Sehers Rohr nicht kennt."
- ("Joy, joy drives the wheels
- In the great clock of worlds.
- She lures flowers from the buds,
- Suns out of the firmament,
- She rolls spheres in the spaces
- That the seer's telescope does not know.")