Fixed Stars in Renaissance Astrology and Magic
Christopher Warnock, Esq.
The Fixed Stars from Gower's Confessio Amantis

Hermes Trismegistus
Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars
Cornelius Agrippa's Theories
of Astrological Magic
Astrological Talismans
Talisman of Aldebaran
Talisman of the Wing of Corvus
Talisman of Sirius
Talisman of Algol
Cornelius Agrippa's Images
of the Fixed Stars
Electional Astrology
Magical Elections
Web Site Search
Web Site Search
John Gower

Gower on the 15 Fixed Stars



John Gower was a 14th century English poet and contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. He wrote Confessio Amantis "The Lover's Confession" which is a poetic rendition of over 100 separate stories written in Middle English. In Book Seven he discusses astrology and gives a very interesting list of the rulerships of 15 fixed stars.


Book Seven

John Gower

Medieval Image
This book is of the teachings of Nectanbus, who instructed Alexander as a youth in particular concerning the 15 fixed stars and their stones and herbs which assist in the art of natural Magic.

Upon the variety of creation there are a variety of operations some do this and some do that

It is the nature of fire to be hot and burn what he can.

Water restrains the fire and makes other things cold and moist

And we have spoken of how [the elements] work upon the Earth and upon us here

And in the Heavens men may find that the stars there are of various kinds and work many different operations on the things that lie below them

In particular Nectanbus was an astronomer and a great magician and undertook to learn from Alexander of natural magic and to learn something of what certain stars meant

And told of the fifteen [stars] and which herbs and stones belonged to each one whereby men worked many a wonder
T The first star was called Aldebaran whose [stone] is the carbuncle and herb Anabulla To tell it right as he began The first star is Aldebaran The clearest and the greatest of all Men call it by the right name It is of the nature of Mars and the complexion of Venus Carbuncle is his proper stone His herb is named Ananbulla which is proclaimed to be of great virtue
The second star is called Clota or Pleiades, whose stone is Crystal and herb Fennel. The second is not virtueless Clota or else Pleiades Is hot and of the Moon's [nature] He is, and this I find He is of the complexion of Mars and is like that condition The stone appropriate to him is Crystal and also his herb is special virtuous Fennel it is
The third which comes after this, The third star is called Algol, whose stone is Diamond and herb black Hellebore. Is hot, Algol the clear red, which is of Saturn, and he is also of the nature of Jupiter to those below His proper stone is Diamond which accords the most to him The herb that belongs to him is hot Hellebore the black
The fourth star is called Alhaiot, whose stone is Sapphire and herb Horehound. So as it falls out the fourth star is Albaiotte Which is of the nature of Saturn and Jupiter Thereupon Sapphire is his proper stone Mabium is his herb
The fifth star is called the greater Dog Star, whose stone is Beryl and herb Savin. The fifth star is of magic of the nature of Venus as this Astronomer says His proper stone is beryl But to work and fulfill the things which are under this science There is an herb called Savin and whoever gets it will speed him in achieving his goal
The sixth star is called the lesser Dog Star, whose stone is Agate and herb Cowslip. The sixth star is named Canis Minor whose nature is Martial as it is written His complexion is of Mars His stone and herb are said to be Agate and Primrose.
The seventh star is called Arial, whose stone is Gorgonza and herb Celandine. The seventh star is Arial whose diverse nature is understood The stone which is proper to him is Gorgonza and his herb is Celadine fresh and green
The eighth star is called Crow's Wing, whose Stone is onyx and herb Sorrel. The star, the Crow's Wing, on high takes his place as number eight Which of his nature he must perform according to the will of Mars and Saturn Whose herb Sorrel it is good to get His stone is onyx Through which is caused great extravagance
The ninth star is called Alaezel, whose stone is Emerald and herb Sage. The ninth star fair and good whose name is Alaezele Whose nature is appropriate to both Mercury and Venus His stone is green emerald which is highly praised Sage is his herb above all that remain
The tenth star is called Almareth, whose stone is Jasper and herb Plantain. The tenth star is Almareth which throughout life and death is of the nature of Jupiter and Mars and does what is appropriate to him His stone is jasper and he rules over Plantain as his herb
The eleventh star is called Venenas, whose stone is Adamant and herb Chicory. The eleventh star is Venenas whose nature is of Venus and the Moon Adamant is the jewel in which he works his mastery That herb that falls to him is called Chicory in books
The twelfth star is called Alpheta, whose stone is Topaz and herb Rosemary. Alpheta is the twelfth star yet By Scorpio it is governed And is of his nature I have learned And has his virtue in the stone named Topaz His herb is Rosemary
The thirteenth star is called the Scorpion's Heart, whose stone is Sardis and herb Birthwort. Of these stars which I mean Cor Scorpionis is thirteen Whose nature is of Mars and Jupiter His herb is Astrology which follows Astronomy [pun on Latin for Birthwort which is trilogie] The stone of this star is Sardis [cornelian]
The fourteenth star is called Botercadent [the vultur cadent or falling vulture], whose stone is Chrysolite and herb Savory. The star which stands next to last is the Falling Vulture whose nature is of Mercury and Venus His stone is called Chrystolite and his herb Savory so these old books say
The fifteenth star is called the Scorpion's Tail, whose stone is Chalcedony and herb Marjoram. But now the last of all The Tail of Scorpio men call Which is of the nature of Mercury and Saturn After the preparation of the appropriate constellation Chalcedony falls under his power Marjoram is his herb Thus have I told of every star in particular what his herb and stone is As Hermes saw of old witness here what I have told


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