in Renaissance Astrology and Magic
On this page you can find an introduction to the fixed stars and constellations, plus links to translations of medieval and Renaissance astrological and magic texts on the fixed stars and examples of actual fixed star and constellation talismans.
Introduction to the Fixed Stars & Constellations
Fixed Stars & Constellations in Traditional Astrology & Astrological Magic
Fixed Star & Constellation Talisman Traditional Sources
Fixed Star & Constellation Talismans Available at Renaissance Astrology
Fixed Star & Constellation Talisman Elections
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 the fixed stars was part of one of the 12 Zodiacal constellations or 36 extra-Zodiacal constellations. The fixed stars of the Zodiacal constellations were especially important as they comprised the Signs, an essential component of astrology.
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. If, therefore, as I said, you combine at the right time all the Solar things through any level of that order, i.e., men of Solar nature or something belonging to such a man, likewise animals, plants, metals, gems and whatever pertains to these, you will drink in unconditionally the power of the Sun and to some extent the natural powers of the Solar daemons."
Ficino, Three Books on Life, Bk. III, Chap. 14, p. 311.
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.
These are passive uses of the celestial rulerships, where the astrologer merely observes the effects of the chains of correspondence and harmony. 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.
A key traditional sources for fixed star talismans are Agrippa's fixed star images and fixed star rulerships. Another extremely useful text on fixed star talismans is the medieval Hermetic manuscript Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars which was Agrippa's source here translated for Renaissance Astrology by the noted contemporary magician and esoteric author John Michael Greer. 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.
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. Finally, the great medieval scientist and natural philosopher Albertus Magnus gives us some very interesting Sign & Constellation Talismans from his De Mineralibus.
Renaissance Astrology also offers fixed star and constellation talismans made according to authentic Renaissance methods, using images from descriptions in traditional sources and cast in bronze at times precisely chosen to be astrologically auspicious, again following strictly our traditional sources. Here are our Currently Available Talismans.
The complete Astrological Magic Course teaches the full range of traditional astrological magic and astrological talismans and includes complete instructions in the ancient theory and practice of fixed star talismans plus special images to create your own fixed stars talismans.
In order to do a complete fixed star or constellation talisman election you need to be able to read a horoscope or astrological chart. I teach how to do this in my Astrological Magic Course. But I also provideinstructions on how to use online software to make fixed star elections.
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 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
For those that desire to delve deeper into Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans I offer an Astrological Magic Course with an entire lesson devoted to fixed stars and fixed star talismans. If you are interested in discussing and learning about Renaissance Astrology, particulary Astrological Magic, you may wish to subscribe to Spiritus Mundi my e-group devoted to traditional (pre-1700) astrology.
Please Contact me for Assistance with Ordering
Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.
Copyright 2001-2014, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.