Introduction to the Fixed Stars & Constellations
Fixed Stars & Constellations in Traditional Astrology & Astrological Magic
Fixed Star & Constellation Talisman Traditional Sources
Fixed Star & Constellation Talisman Election Examples
Learning the Magic of the Fixed Stars & Constellations
Renaissance Astrology is the premier site for information on and instruction in the practical use of the fixed stars and constellations for traditional astrology and astrological magic. We have devoted over twenty years to research, translation of rare traditional astrological and magical texts, and to the creation of hundreds of authentic fixed star talismans.
Here you can learn the magic of the constellations and fixed stars through links to traditional texts and translations, the Fixed Star, Sign and Constellation Magic book and the Astrological Magic Course. You can also see the Currently Available Fixed Star & Constellation talismans at Renaissance Astrology.
Renaissance astrology used a geocentric (Earth-centered) astronomy based on the concept of planetary spheres. The fastest planet, the Moon had the sphere closest to Earth followed by Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and the slowest and thus highest of the planetary spheres, Saturn. Above the spheres of the planets was the sphere of the fixed stars and the Zodiac, the highest of the celestial spheres. The planets, from the Greek planetos "wanderer" moved relative to the stars of the Zodiacal and extra-Zodiacal constellations while the "fixed" stars moved very slowly relative to each other.
For Renaissance philosophers and astrologers the fixed stars were a key part of the Celestial World, itself the essential link between the Divine World of Ideas and Angels and the Material World. Traditionally each of more than 1,000 visible fixed stars was grouped into one of the 12 Zodiacal constellations or 36 extra-Zodiacal constellations. The fixed stars of the Zodiacal constellations were especially important as they are the origin of the 12 Zodiacal Signs, an essential component of astrology.
The Zodiac is a key component of astrology, a 360 degree circle that allows us to very precisely pinpoint the location of any celestial object. Traditional astrology uses a Tropical Zodiac, which is oriented to the seasons. You can see a detailed explanation of traditional astrology and the Tropical, Sidereal and Constellational or Astronomical Zodiacs. In addition, by using any Zodiac, the fixed star are mapped from their relative location in the three dimensional celestial sphere to the two dimensional plane of the Zodiac. In effect, the Zodiacal longitude of the fixed stars, which is what traditional astrology uses to locate them, represent sensitive points that are connected to the fixed stars.
Another important consideration for the fixed stars is the precession of the equinoxes. This is an approximately 26,000 year cycle, the Great Year, which is the source of the Ages of the Zodiacal signs, like the Age of Aquarius that we are familiar with. As a practical matter the Zodiacal longitude of the fixed stars moves about a degree every 72 years. So traditional astrology uses the fixed stars, mapped to the Tropical Zodiac and precessed to take account of the precession of the equinoxes.
Each constellation and often individual fixed stars in the constellation were sometimes classified as being similar to one or more planets. For example, the fixed star Aldebaran, was considered to be of the nature of Mars. Ptolemy Tetrabiblos Bk. I, Chapter 9 (Loeb, 1940) page 47. Anne Wright has an excellent Fixed Star & Constellation Web Site which gives much useful information on the nature of the various fixed stars.
This classification is a convenient way of understanding the fixed stars and constellations, but it has been misinterpreted as meaning that somehow the planets rule the fixed stars or constellations. As we have seen the sphere of the fixed stars is above the planetary spheres and in fact it is more correct to say that the fixed stars have power over the planets.
Each fixed star was at the top of many individual chains
comprising the Great Chain of Being. The Renaissance philosopher and astrologer
Marsilio Ficino says,
"I have said elsewhere that down from every single star (so to speak Platonically) there hangs its own series of things down to the lowest...Under the celestial Serpent or the entire constellation of the Serpent-bearer, they place Saturn and sometimes Jupiter, afterwards daemons who often take on serpent's form, in addition men of this kind, serpents (the animals), the snake-weed, the stone draconite which originates in the head of a dragon, and the stone commonly called serpentine...By a similar system they think a chain of beings descends by levels from any star of the firmament through any planet under its dominion.
Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life, Bk. III, Chap. 14, p. 311.
Thus each of the things ruled by a particular planet or star share certain qualities, powers and virtues embodied in a celestial form exemplified by their planetary or stellar ruler. You can see the Renaissance mage Cornelius Agrippa's listing of fixed star rulerships. The planet or star, in turn, is the instantiation of one or more Divine Forms or Ideas. Thus everything in the Material World has its origin in the Divine World through the mediation of the celestials.
In traditional horary astrology the fixed stars give useful additional information in delineating questions. Here are some examples of horary delineations using the fixed stars: Curse Example and He Got the Job! Example.
In traditional Electional Astrology they are most often used in situations requiring permanence. John Partridge says that, "In Foundations of Cities in the first place regard the Fixed Stars, then joyn Benevolent Planets with them." Mikropanastron (London, 1679) Electional Aphorism #21, page 266. For building houses, however, Partridge suggests looking to the planets and signs.
The fixed stars are also used as a secondary source of information in traditional natal astrology. William Lilly gives listings of the meanings of the fixed stars in Lilly's Fixed Star Rules for Violent Death and also explains the interpretation of fixed stars in Lilly's Fixed Star Rules for Manners & Character.
In astrological magic the mage or astrological magician makes use of the celestial rulerships to create talismans. We pick a time when the fixed star or constellation is strong and we invoke the angel of the star or constellation asking it to fill the talisman with its power and spirit.
The Renaissance mage Cornelius Agrippa
in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy explains how to make fixed star talismans,
"Now, the manner of making these kinds of rings [& talismans!], is this, viz., when any star ascends fortunately, with the fortunate aspect or conjunction of the Moon, we must take a stone, and herb that is under that star, and fasten it under that star and make a ring of the metal that is suitable to this star, and in it fasten the stone, putting the herb or root under it; not omitting the inscription of images, names and characters, and also the proper suffimigations..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk.I, Chapter 47.
The key traditional source for fixed star talismans is the medieval Hermetic manuscript Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars. The 15 fixed stars in this manuscript, known as the Quindecim Stellis are the most utilized in traditional astrological magic because this manuscript provides their talismanic images, sigils, rulerships and effects.
While my view is that talismans can be made for all fixed stars, we are unfortunately in the dark as to how to invoke them or what their effects are. My hope is that mages will receive this information in dreams, visions or through close association and contact with the celestial spirits and we will begin to invoke more and more spirits of fixed stars and create their talismans.
Another important traditional source for the fixed stars is the Renaissance philosopher and mage Cornelius Agrippa whose Three Books of Occult Philosophy includes fixed star rulerships and fixed star images. Agrippa's source for both these listings was Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars which circulated in a variety of disparate manuscripts. Another interesting rendition of the 15 fixed stars is found in Gower's 15 Fixed Stars from the 14th century English poet John Gower's Confessio Amantis.
Interestingly enough the most important grimoire of astrological magic, the Picatrix has only one use of a fixed star talisman, Alkaid, in the tail of the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear or Big Dipper:
To avenge yourself on an enemy. The ancient sages used to do this working in the proper manner to
the star of vengeance, which is near the pole: that is, Benethnays, which belongs to the constellation
of the [Great] Bear. They made their prayer in the following manner.
When you have an enemy who does evil to you or seeks to do the same, and you wish to send him pain and misery so that he will no longer think of you, so that you may be able to avenge yourself by this working, go into a house that you have constructed for this purpose,and face the part of heaven where Benethnays then is. Cast the suffumigation described below onto the burning coals in the thurible. While the smoke rises toward the world above, say the following...
[Malefic invocation omitted]
When you have said all the preceding in this way, prostrate yourself to the ground, and repeat the same words many times. Do this continually while the smoke rises from the suffumigation, which is made as follows. Take storax, nutmeg, holly, and aloes wood, one ounce each, and spikenard and mastic, three ounces each. Grind it all and mix it with the best wine, and make pills of it. You may set it aside to use whenever you want to work with the polar stars.
Picatrix, Bk III, ch 7, Greer & Warnock trans at 169-170.
Because of the malefic nature of the invocation I have omitted it here, but the complete passage can be found in our translation of the Complete Picatrix.
The most useful source on constellation talismans comes from the great medieval scientist and natural philosopher Albertus Magnus. Here are Constellation Talismans from his De Mineralibus. In addition, there are many traditional sources on the 12 Zodiacal constellations, i.e. the 12 signs. Here is William Lilly on the 12 Signs from his 1647 Christian Astrology. Agrippa devotes a chapter 36 of Book II to the Talismans of the 12 Signs in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy.
Here are a number of examples to how elect, i.e. choose astrologically auspicious times, for fixed star talismans, with actual horoscopes for their creation:
Talisman of the malefic fixed star Algol
Talisman of the Wing of Corvus for protection from spirits
Talisman of Sirius for honor & good will
Talisman of onyx & Kappa Bootes from
the Lapidary of King Alphonso
Talisman of Aldebaran for riches & honor
Talisman of Sirius
Talisman of Antares for Memory &
Protection from Evil Spirits
Talisman of the fixed star
Talisman of Spica for riches & peace
Talisman of Regulus for temperance & favor
Talisman of Regulus for temperance & favor
Talisman of Vega for protection
Talisman of Deneb Algedi for peace
Talisman of the Pleiades for magic and secret knowledge
Talisman of Alkaid for protection
Talisman of Regulus for success and happiness
Talisman of Algol for Protection
Here are a number of examples to how elect, i.e. choose astrologically auspicious times, for fixed star talismans, with actual horoscopes for their creation:ere are a number of examples to how elect auspicious times for constellation talismans, with actual horoscopes for their creation:
Talisman of Cassiopeia for health & tranquility
Talisman of Cetus for good luck, happiness & finding lost things
Talisman of Serpentarius for protection from poison
Talisman of Andromeda for love & reconciliation
The Renaissance Astrology website contains many resources on the fixed stars, including Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars, Agrippa's Fixed Star Rulerships and Agrippa's Fixed Star Images and Albertus Magnus' Constellation Talismans.
You can also learn how to use free online Ascendant rising software to make basic consecration elections for fixed stars and constellations. Here's how to do Fixed Stars Elections with online software.
You can also get a copy of my book Fixed Star, Sign and Constellation Magic, which gives an in depth look at the theory and practice of fixed star, sign and constellation magic, explains how to create fixed star and constellation talismans and provide images for the 15 fixed stars, 17 talismanic constellations and 12 signs.
The best way to learn the magic of the fixed stars, signs and constellations is through my full Astrological Magic Course. One entire lesson of the Astrological Magic Course focuses on the fixed stars and constellations with full instructions, high resolution color and black and white images to create talismans and, with the CD version, a free paperback copy of Fixed Star, Sign and Constellation Magic.
Of course the Astrological Magic Course is excellent if you are interested in the fixed stars, but has so much more. Available on both CD and via download the Astrological Magic Course teaches the theory and practice of traditional astrological magic including planetary, Mansion of the Moon, decan/face, house based and fixed star and constellation talismans. The course is a complete toolkit for traditional astrological magic and the magic of Picatrix. The CD version includes a free copy of the Complete Picatrix.