Fixed stars have a prominent part in traditional astrology: Ptolemy in the first book of Tetrabiblos lists them without giving any meaning, but we have several alternative sources for them, Manilius and Firmicus in the Latin world, Anonymous of 379 and two chapters from Liber Hermetis in the late Antiquity, and in the Middle Age and Renaissance was well known Albumasar’s chapter about paranatellonta .
The following translation – the first the gentle authors have knowledge – comes from Jean Stade’s Fixis Stellis Commentarius (1560), chapters 8, 9 and 10 about fixed stars’ meaning about wealth, dignity, health, qualities of soul and violent death in a birth chart.
Lucia Bellizia, University Classics degree, of Apotelesma largely revised my Latin translation of chapters 9 and 10, translated Greek words which Stade spread in the whole text, and added the translation of the chapter 8. Her Italian version could be found in her site here.
Jean Stade is mostly known for the use of fixed stars in weather forecast (( The whole chapter n.7 about stars in mundane astrology has been translated by Giuseppe Bezza, and it has been published in Arcana Mundi, Storia del Pensiero Astrologico antico and in CieloeTerra site. )): many Latin authors had used parapegmata, i.e. calendars of meteorological forecasts based on the risings and settings of the stars, in their books about agriculture and sciences. Stade on the other hand, used these authors for his observations: he was the son of a farmer, and he told his readers that since he was young he tried to forecast weather with the help of astrology, but his father, who knew the old traditions connected with ancient ways, was always more successful than him: in his book Stade tried to connect the empirical knowledge of his father with Ptolemy’s astrology.
The last part of the chapter is dedicated to the vertical and the horizontal stars, according the arc of the local meridian bounded by the transit point of the star (culmination) and the astronomical horizon.
The vertical stars- for which this angle is 90° – are well known in traditional astrology. Cardano mentions them and Brahe does the same for his stella nova: they can be easily identified because their declination is the same of the latitude of the place which is our point of observation, so all the countries which latitude corresponds with the declination of the stars are under their influence.
About horizontal stars their angle is 0° – Lucia and me cannot find any other example than in Stade; in every case he finds them very important and consider them as the genius of the place.
Both of them are very important for the native which has these stars in some important points of his natal chart, because they vibrate in some harmony with him. Why and who is Stade’s source we don’t know.
The way fixed stars should be judged and the reason why a great and sudden fortune has a ruinous end with a precipitous fall
We should judge what stars promise, which portion and kind, partly by the significator’s nature they join, partly by the promises grant by the houses they occupy. If I would give some examples, Arcturus with Jupiter promises plenty of richness together with some increase in rank; now we should tell from where this plenty is going to arrive. Consider the nature and promises of Jupiter and Arcturus, which is partly of Jupiter and partly of Mars’ nature: judge according their mixture the possibility of good chances, because Jupiter brings ecclesiastic benefits and dignities and increase in authority; with Mars (without considering the rest) magistracies, legal jurisdictions, prefectures, public offices, dictatorship in the army, the friendship and the support of any noble. And if this promise falls in the tenth house, who could deny it will offer dignity together with power, and increase in opportunities (let alone the shadow comrade of the Sun rays )? If it is in the ninth, who does not understand these promises are auspicious for ecclesiastic dignities? If it is in the eighth, for getting a conspicuous legacy, in the second house for industry, and if the Sun rays behold with favourable rays from the tenth house, for princes’ grace. Are you not seeing? We should judge from which things or people or subjects these things are promised, and they partly depend on the significators’nature, partly on their place they had in store in the geniture, according the houses distribution.
Secondly, you should remember considering the benefic or malefic rays of other stars.
In the same way you should judge about unfortunate and ruinous forecasts: so we can foresee which outcome threats will have, if unhappiness will be soothed, or stressed by anger, outrage, and hatred by Saturn, Mars and the Sun; if it could be alleviated by Jupiter or Venus strength mixed with them, or if these planets too will quit the oppressed, won by the malefics’ plot. Mercury will favour which one it is allied with. Because a single fixed star, in an angle heralds an admirable happiness or (like they say in the Centiloquium) ((n. 29: The fixed stars do design immeasurable and admirable preferments, which notwithstanding determine in unusual calamities, unless the planets concur in judgement, or be in conjunction with them.)) immeasurable and unexpected, but if it is not supported by the benefic rays, will threat a tragic outcome: because, as they bestow once and forever with unusual and irrational benevolence what they promise, when they are stimulated by promissors or by the following planets; in the same way when they follow stars with an opposite nature, in the great diversity of fixed stars, and the ones which are following, because the space between them is always the same.
For this reason, they thrown down the ones they have elevated once to a supreme position, beyond the expectations and the rank, with great and pernicious ruin in the middle of the way: for this reason the fortune promised by the stars free of wandering is steadier and surer, because they move here and there and they help each other with mutual support, or they act in agreement casting their rays, confirming and granting their promises; but the fixed stars, or aplanensis, which are pulled in the steady motion and they move together always divided by the same interval and they are not supported neither (as they call) by the direction nor by mutual rays, dispel or waste the power they showed once, as they would lack of energy or it would not flow any more, or because are stimulated by the malefic rays or because they are approaching by body: so we should not wonder about a so high pre-eminence, but without any support, could be recklessly precipitated with a so serious fall.
A vellum manuscript of the commentary of an anonymous but learned author,i n quoting Centiloquium, uses “disproportionate”, while almost all Greek copies say “incommensurate ” was shown to us by the good and honest Johannes Metellus Sequanus and the interpreter believed disproportionate the happiness: surely which authority could be more disproportionate and unmeasurable, the one granted to Seianus, ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sejanus)) wretched and mean man, near to Tiberius, who dared cheating the Prince and abusing of his power?
I’m not implying you should blindly use the same rules for all of them born in the lower class, who supported by the Prince or a patron, suddenly reach the greatest height and without any proportion, before considering if the condition of the client has not been changed in agreement with the Prince, and since then that happiness has arisen by the bond of the souls.
About all these things, I should mention in advance, so the following will be easier stated.
Moreover, the fixed stars near the Zodiac, or because the majesty of their brilliance or because the sublime splendour of their light, and for the effectivity of the events, or because the magnificent and splendid dignities which they grant, royal or Beibenie, ((The “hearts” of the constellations, especially the stars of first magnitude.)) from the older ones, Regulus, Palilicium, (( Used for the whole group of the Hyades, descended as a special designation for Aldebaran through all the catalogues to Flamsteed’s where it is exclusively used. )) Vergiliae, ((Pleiades)) Antares, are listed by Cardano as 15 which we have stressed with a * in our Catalogue.
We should add the vertical stars which we have mentioned in the fourth chapter, but now let’s see the prognostication.
Increase, decrease and excellence of rank
Lyra (( Vega, Alpha Lyrae, is one of the most brilliant stars in the sky )) in the second house or mixed with Jupiter or Venus or the Lot promises immense wealth.
The right shoulder of Orion (( Betelgeuse, alpha Orionis )) or Auriga (( Capella, alpha Aurigae )) with Jupiter, magnificent fortune and increase of resources.
Spica of Virgo with the Part of Fortune or Regulus grant the same as Jupiter, even if in a weaker way.
Arcturus ((Alpha Bootis )) with Jupiter promises affluence of wealth and excellence of dignity.
Spica of Virgo with it, the same, and presages ecclesiastic dignity.
On the other hand:
Saturn with Arcturus dissipation of property; with Spica of Virgo it threatens poverty.
Gorgoneum or Head of Medusa with the Lot, money confiscation or dissipation of resources.
The Head of Medusa culminating with Jupiter gives power of life and death on others. With the Sun, if in agreement with Jupiter, the same.
Sirius or Procyon with the rising Sun, succeeding or culminating with it, in the same way, they will be responsible of the greatest power together with great arrogance.
Regulus rising or culminating with the Sun, Jupiter, Moon or alone, promises an increase in dignity.
Pleiades and Hyades rising with the Moon or the Sun, commanders, imperators, officers, chiefs of knights.
Now we will say more in general, without listing all.
Royal stars mixed with Lights or benefic significators, promise the greatest excellence of rank and glory.
The same when alone, they are occupying the important angles, but if they are not supported by benefics, will end in a very great fall, especially Hyades, Hercules, the Heart of Scorpio, the Southern Scale: about them, now I will talk about fortunes which suddenly emerge, not the ones who received dignity from a long series of legacies.
Those who have Palilicium or the Heart of the Scorpio with the Moon or the Sun, they, with violence and fury and facing many trials, pace after pace will reach honours.
When the Heart of Scorpio rises and in the same time Aldebaran necessarily sets, we saw them oppressed and insulted, but they freed themselves with their fortitude and generosity especially if Jupiter beholds it with a trine.
Let’s mention the rest according the nature of fixed stars:
Jupiterian and Venusian ones in a stellium with the Sun, or doriphory of the Moon, means an accumulation of riches and dignities.
Saturnian ones accompanying the Sun involve in several problems and oppress with a heavy burden .
Saturnian ones leaving the Moon, sick and unhappy natives.
Jupiterian stars corrupted by a transit, the active ones but with no result.
In the same way, with Mars prodigal and spendthrift ones, if Mercury is with them the gamesters, with Venus the adulterers.
If Jupiter will mix with Saturnian ones, the covetous, mean and full of debts; if with Martian or Venusian ones the cheerful and those living day by day.
Fomalhaut, as Cardano says, immortality of name.
Health prognostication from fixed stars
Saturnian stars with the Sun make skinny and invalid natives, doomed to an early death, with the Moon, frail and suffering eyes problems and thin.
Sun with the Orion belt, short-sighted, those with protruding eyes and covered with mucus, and those who cannot see in the daylight.
The Lights with Nebulae, blindness and weak sight.
The Lights in their hairesis and rulers of the time with Pleiades: if Saturn beholds them, squinters; if Mars, cross-eyed.
The Lights in the Milky Way weaken eyesight.
We know several examples of natives struck by exanthem and blind, when Sun is damaged by Mars in the Milky way.
Intelligence and understanding, and relative lack of them according fixed stars
Orion belt rising increases intelligence and make the industrious according Cardano.
The mouth of Capricorn – Cardano says- gives a brilliant intelligence, if Mercury beholds.
Mercury in Taurus, Venus in conjunction or vespertine makes self learned astronomers and astrologers, and the stupid when Venus is not there. About this we know an the example.
The Moon with the stars of Aquarius from the 4th to the 10th degree of Pisces, according Cardano, makes the silly and stupid. We knew many excelling in thoughtlessness and folly when the decreasing and falcate Moon in Pisces was with Saturnian stars.
The Triangle at the Descendant makes cunning and sharp and astute ones.
The head of Ophiucus with the Moon makes the unfaithful, evasive, cunning ones; with Mercury the brilliant and far sighted.
Mercury with the neck of the Lion the stupid and the sluggish ones.
Jupiter with Orion’s shoulder and Mercury, the greatest astrologers, quick brained, autodidacts, divine, and excellent.
The Heart of the Lion with the ruler of the Ascendant, generosity, dignity, propriety in behaviour.
Spica of Virgin, pleasantness of behaviour, industriousness: with Saturn the jealous and the fierce ones, with Mars the stubborn and silly ones.
The heart of Scorpio with the Lord of Geniture, nobility mixed with arrogance and self confidence, hasty impetus, bright eyes.
The heart of Scorpio with Mercury the cruel ones, the murderers, the killers, if Mars is in agreement; if Mercury is in the third house together with Mars, – we have two examples- the killers of brothers.
Palicilium with the ruler of nativity, cruelty, hostility and the military souls.
Aquila, the bold, the strong, the bloody, the winners: if it is culminating with Mars the headstrong, the arrogant ones.
Delphinus with the ruler of nativity, a plain face, a duplex soul, some is in his heart, and other what his words say.
Jupiterian stars with Mars bold and impulsive, with Saturn insane, stupid, lazy ones.
Saturnian and Jupiterian stars with Mercury scholars, learned and hard working men.
The heart of the Scorpio with Venus, musicians or brilliant poets.
Jupiterian and Martian stars with Mercury, illustrious doctors.
Predictions of violent death from fixed stars
Medusa head with the Lights signifies the cut of the head according the sentence n.73 of Centiloquium. (( n.73. Where the Sun is found to be with Caput Algol if then he is neither aspected by a benevolent planet, or that a benign planet doth govern the eighth house, and the disposer of the temporal light shall be in opposition to Mars, or afflicts him with a square aspect, he that then is born shall be beheaded: But if the light shall culminate, or be in the tenth house, his body shall be wounded: If this copulation be in Gemini or Pisces, his hands and feet shall be cut off. ))
Hercules with Mars violence from robbers, with Saturn by arrow or bullet.
Palicilium with Saturn, dangers of drowning, in swimming or accidents.
The same with Mars, shipwrecking and storm.
Mars anareta ascending with the right shoulder of Orion, calamitous end, or stricken by thunderstorm or mortar.
The Heart of the Scorpio with the Lights a bloody death, or a repentine one by venom.
The brilliant of Hydra with the anareta, poison.
The brilliant of the Corona Gnosia ((Alphecca)) with the ruler of the eighth house or in malefic places, promises poisoning.
The Sting of the Scorpio with the Lord of Geniture predicts poisoning.
Pleiades with the Moon, if they are afflicted by Mars, the crushing by the plebs in riots and madness, and in the most of cases they have a poor eyesight.
Suculae ((Hyades)) with Saturn precipitous falls, or covered with stones and ruined together with many others, in a general ruin.
Mars with Canis Maior, anareta, with the right shoulder of Orion, when they are at the Ascendant afflict public happiness, or they cause injuries in tournament or kill with the rod in same way. Henry II Christian King of Frenchmen and other ones are the example we have, as the example of his misfortunes are given in the Astrological Commentary. ((Henry II death during a tournament is well known because it was foreseen by Nostradamus and Luca Gaurico))
Saturn threats the same because of treacherous enemies or repentine attacks: for example the generous hero Ludovicus Brederode, as we have told in our Ephemeris.
In the charts where Dolphin culminates, a life with mixed fortune and impetuous fate, when it sets, promises drowning.
And until this point, we have told this.
We could put together many prognostications like that, but there is a limit in this kind of things, and you should consider that these things could be very effective or very weak, according the doctrine of judgements we can receive from the fixed stars mentioned in the previous chapter 8.
Vertical stars should be judged like that: the temperament and the habits of the regions will be duplicated and will be conveyed in those natives these stars are culminating at the birth, so they are elevated to honours with the public favour and inclination. If they will be besieged by malefic rays, especially by Mars and Moon, those natives will be put down by the inconstancy and rebellion of the mob.
Those for whom, the stars touching the horizon, are seen in the horizon circle, in that region or for this reason, for the decency of the habits, will have an higher rank in offices and honours than those influenced by the usual constitution, so you could call this position of the star, genius of the place, because of the natural influence of the heaven which encloses in this way this region.
Those who had a geniture in which a vertical star is culminating or an horizontal star is passing the inclined meridian, are preys of whatever misfortune of the Region heralded by an eclipse or by a comet, because of sympatheia: the way we should observe this it is shown in the chapter 4, and we will talk more about this in the Astrological Commentaries, the reason is not known by many, but it’s very true.
BIBLIOGRAPHY and FURTHER READINGS:
Johannes Stadius, Tabulae Bergenses aquabilis et apparentis motus orbium coelestium (Colonia Agrippina, 1560).
Richard Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, Dover ed. (New York: Dover Publications, 1963).
Steven Vanden Broecke, The limits of influence: Pico, Louvain, and the crisis of Renaissance astrology (Brill, 2003).
Anton Grigoriev in his blog translated the first 15 lines of the chapter 9.