Algol, women losing their heads

In the previous post we saw as Salome’s story, the story of a woman who asked the head of a prophet in a gold plate in order to satisfy her lust of power can be easily connected with Algol and its representation in Art, especially in Decadent   ((from the famous verse of Paul Verlain (1883) Je suis l’Empire à la fin de la décadence, qui regarde passer les grands Barbares blancs, en composant des acrostiches indolents, d’un style d’or où la langueur du soleil danse. ))  and Symbolism movement, which liked so much witches, sinners and  femmes fatales.

Now it’s time to see some example charts. Unfortunately we cannot take those charts where Algol has the same longitude of the Moon or some other planet because  a fixed star is not always where its longitude is.

Stars are not like planets – in Greek this word means wanderer, planets wander on the ecliptic in fact-   stars are ,on the other  hand FIXED.

For this reason- because they always keep the same distance and proportion between each other, they generate unexpected event, as the pseudo-Ptolemy states:

The fixed stars grant extremely good fortune, unconnected with the understanding; but it is most commonly marked by calamities, unless the planets also agree in the happiness.

This is explained in a very plain way in  Jean  Stade De Stellis Fixis Commentarius (( Johannes Stadius, Tabulae Bergenses aquabilis et apparentis motus orbium coelestium (Colonia Agrippina, 1560). )), translation from latin here in this blog.

Fixed stars  don’t have any other motion than the motion of the sky, so they should be measured according the diurnal motion.

Ptolemy describes their motion  in the Almagest: (( Almagest VIII.4. Claudius Ptolemaeus, Almageste ou Astronomie de Ptolemée. Klaudiu Ptolemaiu Mathēmatikē Syntaxis = Composition mathématique de Claude Ptolémée, ou Astronomie ancienne Trad. … par M. l’Abbé Halma, et (A Paris: Chez Merlin, 1816).  My translation from French.  ))

The aspects of the fixed stars in respect with the earth, are fourfold: somebody call all of  them  “angles” but truly they are, the rising, the culmination, the setting and the  transit at the lower culmination.

So in the same way stars which are not in these angles should be taken with their hourly distance.

This is especially true for stars very far from the ecliptic, because they will rise, culminate and set with a different degree than their longitude; just stars along the ecliptic, like Regulus, can be taken with their longitude.

Let’s see how Algol behave in a couple of charts.

Considering Algol is connected with power and cruelty issues, I searched Algol influence in the chart of Caterina de Medici, the famous Italian wife of Henry II, King of France.

Algol is the red star, 19 Taurus longitude: it seems in the first house, not so far from Venus and Sun.

Solar Fire has an in interesting feature, Planetarium, which gives us some astronomical information about the desired star at a desidered day.

Our star, the day Caterina was born  – 23rd April NS, 13rd April OS – rose at 3:02 AM.

But if Caterina was born at 5:04 and Algol rose at 3:02 how this star should be in the first house? It should be already in the twelfth  house.

At this point -in confusion-  let’s check with an astronomical software:

We can see clearly that Algol, apparently in the first house, is – very distant from the ecliptic (violet line) in twelfth house: it has been  already risen since a couple of hours.

Its hourly distance? 4.83 from MC in fact.

As we see, longitude for Algol has no meaning at all, it is in another point of the sky, it is in a different house and it has crossed the horizon.


Let’see now a different example where Algol unfortunately was VERY active.

This is the chart for Anne Boleyn, the unlucky wife of Henry VIII. The king was married when he met her and he fell deeply in love. Anne refused to become the King’s mistress, so at the end the King divorced from the wife, declared indipendence from Rome !!! 😦 and married Anne, when she was already pregnant of a baby,  later Queen Elisabeth I.

But the King would prefer a boy, and when Anne could not give him a male heir he arrested and condemned  her to death: Henry commuted Anne’s sentence from burning to beheading: still now her ghost- with the head in her hand, it is seen wandering through the London Tower.

The blue star rising at the Ascendant is Regulus, the “little King” – longitude 22 Leo- while the red one, near the Mc is Algol, longitude 19 Taurus.

Regulus and Algol are very different in their behaviour because while Algol is very far from the ecliptic, Regulus is almost on it, so its longitude corresponds with its real position in the sky.

So- as convenient for a Queen- Regulus is rising, there is no doubt .

Let’s see Algol, because we know we should study it a little more carefully.

As we saw for Caterina de Medici, we should calculate its hourly distance, but luckily we know – from Solar Fire or whatever astronomical software, it will culminate at MC at 11.50, some minutes after Anne Boleyn’s birth.

This position gave her both the great power many astrologers mentioned for this star – for Anne the King left the Church- and the awful fate.

Still Algol is not always malefic in its nature, being of Saturn and Jupiter nature, when it is culminating with Jupiter  highlights  Jupiterian qualities and gifts and gives power on others. It was the case of Agostino Chigi, a merchant coming from a small city, who became the Pope’s banker and richest man in the world.

“Cui caput Algol infortunatur, accidit capitis periculum; si fortunabitur, acquiret gladii super homines potestatem”

We should remember Cardano words: “when the head of Medusa is infortuned” – like in the case of Anne Boleyn, mixed with Mars at MC, – danger of beheading, when it is well disposed – like in Agostino’s chart- grants power over men with the sword…..

Written by Margherita Fiorello @ year 2009



Giuseppe Bezza , Commento al Primo Libro della Tetrabiblos di Claudio Tolemeo: con una nuova traduzione e le interpretazioni dei maggiori commentatori (cura Giuseppe Bezza), 2° ed. (Milano: Nuovi Orizzonti, 1992).


4 thoughts on “Algol, women losing their heads

  1. Hello Margherita,

    A very interesting article. Yes, I agree with you, it worthwhile to consider the mundane positions of fixed stars not on the ecliptic. In some situations I also look whether a prominent planet has the same declination. Of course it means taking more trouble with the chart. It is also a good idea if there are planets in a chart that are in conjunction to the longitudinal projection. This might help one understand what the fixed star is really up to!

    best regards,

  2. Dear Margherita,

    I have a question regarding the orbs/minutes for fixed stars and especially the ones that are far from the ecliptic.
    In An Boleyn’s chart, Solar Fire as you say gives 11.50 am for Algol to culminate. Assuming her birth time is reliable, that gives a window of 20 minutes for Algol to act. I am wondering is not this too wide of an orb? The reason I am asking you is because, as far as I know, no author has written on how wide the orbs should be for stars that are far from the ecliptic. Even Anonymous of 379 has not. These ancients just assume that one already has to know this prior to studying their materials.
    As for the moderns, Bernadette Brady’s system is different. She uses 1/2 degree orbs but this does not help me, as her method is not advocated by any tradition.

    In An Boleyn’s chart, even without Algol, her natal promise does contain a violent death: the natural significator of death – Saturn, is conjunct the Ascendant and in addition to this is in his detriment and afflicts Sun who is the Lord of the Ascendant. On top of that, Saturn is the dispositor of the Lot of Death which falls at 15.22 Capricorn. Moreover, the Sun aspects the Lot by a trine and the dispositor of the Lord of the Ascendant is Venus, who is in her detriment and is placed in the House of death.

    Kind regards and keep up the great work!

    P.S. Just checked with Starry Night and it says that Algol culminated in 11.24.27 am. These 5 minutes and 33 seconds are much more like it. What do you think?

  3. Hello, first of all I agree with you about Anna Bolena’s chart. Stars give the excess of something, according Centiloquium, but natal charts can be awful enough without considering them 😦

    About the orb, I don’t use a real orb, ancients were very generous with it, and me too, I don’t have a general rule, 15-20 minutes would be ok for me, because birth time is not always precise, especially for these old charts.

    Thanks for your attention,

  4. Hi ty for ur article.le me share my experience…my dog was kidnapped the horary event chart: second house taurus, moon is on algol and mars on cusp at the end of second astrologer told me the dog was beheaded after a year of kidnapping with violence before the actual killing.if u like to c the chart here is the info 2009 17th july 10:10 pm tehran iran

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