Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Royal Stars De-throned?

Why were four Fixed Stars considered "Royal"? Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares and Fomalhaut retain their regal status to this day among western astrologers. The tradition stems from Arabic astrology/astronomy, which some see as our modern astrology's closest relation. The astrology of Arabia filtered through to Europe from Persia (today's Iran), thousands of years ago.

These stars were accorded such high stellar office by ancient astrologers and astronomers because it is said that in those days their positions marked the four cardinal points, the equinoxes and solstices. Seen on an astrological chart of the heavens these define the ascendant, midheaven descendant, and nadir, which points are  acknowledged as being the most powerful areas of an astrological chart. Any planet or point near to these angles is thought to play a dominant part in personality or events.

The four stars were also referred to as Watchers of the Heavens, looked on as guardians of the Vernal and Autumnal equinoxes, and the Summer and Winter solstices.

The four bright stars formed a huge astrological cross, long before the cross became a symbol of Christianity. Zodiac signs involved were the four Fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. In tarot cards (right) The Wheel of Fortune and The World, you can see depicted in each corner of the cards a human figure, an eagle, a bull and a lion representing the Fixed signs. While the tarot as we know it, with the Major Arcana, didn't originate in Arabia, the four suits probably did, and the number four's significance reflects the four directions, north, south, east and west, and the four astrological cardinal points. The name "tarot" is thought to derive from the Arab word "turuq", which can be translated as "four ways".

The symbolism of the four Royal Stars in ancient times is thus easy to account for and accept. However, it isn't as easy to accept that any astrological interpretation of these stars should retain the same flavour now - their formerly "Royal" positions all changed some time ago.

Fixed stars, of which these are but four out of billions, are so called in order to to differentiate from the moving bodies we call planets. Fixed stars do move, but very, very slowly because of precession. (Explanation here).

The four Royals are no longer at their original sites. Their approximate position today: Aldebaran has moved from Taurus to Gemini (9.55 degrees in 2010). Regulus moved from Leo to Virgo around 2010/11. Antares has moved from Scorpio to Sagittarius (9.54 degrees in 2010), and finally Formalhaut moved from Aquarius to Pisces (4.00 degrees in 2010). Now, all four Royals reside in four Mutable signs instead of their original four Fixed signs.

Some astrologers still see the four Royal Stars as powerful when they appear in very close major aspect to a planet or sensitive point in a natal or mundane chart. The reason for this, I guess, harks back to the stars' early important status. Perhaps there is a question mark here. As the stars moved on over the centuries, ought they not to have shed their royal reputation? It was their position, not their intrinsic properties, I assume, which had originally defined them as highly significant.

A very good piece on Fixed Stars in general by Rob Tillett, HERE.

Mention of fixed stars always brings to my mind those four gorgeous Arabian horses in Ben Hur, their names were names of Fixed Stars: Altair, Antares, Aldebaran and Rigel. It's a pity the horses weren't named for the four Royal Stars; only two of the four are Royal, but all were known as fortunate. Altair (The Eagle), Antares (Heart of the Scorpion), Aldebaran (Bull's South Eye), Rigel (Orion's Foot). In the Ben Hur story, Judah Ben-Hur meets an Arab sheik who owns a magnificent stable of four Arabian white horses. They will compete in an annual chariot race in Antioch...the rest, as they say... .


mike said...

I don't utilize stars in my astrological interpretations...too much information puts me on overload. There were many stars that the ancient humans considered to be very important. Algol, the red devil star, with its regular dimming-brightening, was thought to be a major malefic. The Pleiades were thought to be the origin and end of our soul's journey. Sirius was thought to be our primary sun.

It's mind-numbing that the stars we can observe from Earth are of a very small section of our own Milky Way Galaxy. There are a number of galaxies within 12 million light years of Earth that were mistaken as individual stars until recent advents of technology.

We view stars, including our own Sun, here on Earth, because they emit light. Does light actually travel through space, therefore time? No, it does not:

Twilight said...

mike ~ I feel much the same about "overload", but I have noticed that Algol can make itself felt in some natal charts when conjunct a personal planet/point, so I keep an eye out for that possibility. Not saying that it always means doom and gloom, but sometimes just an extra dose of intensity of some kind.

I look on the Fixed Stars as more of a curiosity than anything else, and worth investigating as a side issue.

Some astrologers do still give Regulus, in particular, "Royal" status, even in modern charts, which is a bit silly when the star has moved from the position which originally gave it that status.

LB said...

With Fixed Stars Antares and Aldebaran exactly conjunct my natal IC and MC respectively, I admit to being prejudiced in favor of their significance.

They seem to describe my basic nature, which, much like the tarot's Chariot card, is frequently pulled in two different directions. The challenge of how best to unite and channel these opposing forces, seems to be both an internal and external one.

Maybe Fixed Stars, not unlike a lot of other influences, only make themselves felt if choose to answer their call.

LB said...

I forgot to add how Marina at Darkstar Astrology has a lot of great info on the Fixed Stars:

Twilight said...

LB ~ Ah, I didn't mean to imply that because the once Royal Stars have moved on from their Royal positions that they'd maybe no longer have any
significance at all - just that their once regal significance must have dwindled a bit to be more in line with the rest of the Fixed Stars.
Thanks for relating your personal experience of two of them. And for the link - I'll investigate. I took a quick look at the first page and notice that at least one the positions stated is a wee bit out of date: Regulus is now, I think, around 00.1 Virgo - into Virgo anyway. It's hard to find reliable information about exact positions, because of their very slow movement.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Maybe the royal stars are still royal because their significance relates to something that began long ago and which remains essentially unchanged.

Not sure if my comment makes sense or not since it's hard to put my sense of it into words.

Or maybe they're not royal anymore.:)

mike (again) said...

"Regulus Enters Virgo: The Pope Faints!" by Michael Lutin:

Twilight said...

LB ~ Maybe so. It depends what astrology really is and how it "works", which we'll probably never find out - so, as ever: whatever floats our individual boat is what floats our astrological boat. :-)

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Hmmm - a good read - I read it quickly, will read it again in the morn. Ol' Regulus isn't doing so well in Virgo along the lines Lutin mentions so far though, what with SCOTUS/Hobby Lobby, and the anti-abortion crew, etc. etc. - and that's just in the USA - never mind the atrocities going on in Africa and Middle East. Maybe the star needs plenty of time to settle in and get up steam - we'd best not hold our breath though, he's a slow, slow mover.