Fixed star:  RIGEL
Constellation:  Beta (β) Orion
Longitude 1900: 15GEM26 Longitude 2000:  16GEM50
Declination 1900:  -08.19' Declination 2000:  -08.12'
Right ascension:  05h 14m Latitude:  -31.07'
Spectral class:  B8 Magnitude:  0.12

The history of the star: Rigel

from p.312 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.
[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage]

Beta (β) Orion, Rigel, is a double star, the 7th brightest star in the sky, 0.3 and 8, both bluish white in the left foot of the Hunter (west foot).

RigelAlgebar and Elgebar are seen in poetry for this star, but it universally is known as Rigel, from Rijl Jauzah al Yusra, the Left Leg of the Jauzah (Jauzah was the Arabic title for Orion), by which extended title the Arabians knew it after the word Jauzah had become a personal title; the modern name first appearing in the Alfonsine Tables of 1521. These say of it, in connection with Eridanus:

"Lucida que est in pede sinistro: et est communis ei et aquae: et dicitur Algebar nominatur etiam Rigel."

The Italian astronomer Riccioli (1598-1671) had Regel; the 17th century German astronomer and ephemeris creator Schickard, Riglon; and English writer on globes John Chilmead (circa 1639), Rigel Algeuze, or Algibbar.

The 10th century Persian astronomical writer Al Sufi gave the earlier popular name Ra'i al Jauzah, the Herdsman of the Jauzah (i.e. this star beta β, Rigel, is the Herdsman), whose camels were the stars alpha (α Betelgeuse), gamma (γ Bellatrix), delta (δ Mintaka), and kappa (κ Saiph); and Al Najid, the Conqueror, which also was given to alpha (α Betelgeuse) and gamma (γ Bellatrix).

The 14th century Greco-Persian astronomer Chrysococca termed it (Greek) Pous didumon, the Foot of — i.e. next to — the Twins (Gemini); and the 17th century German astronomer Bayer, the Hebrew Kesil, of the constellation.

The English astronomer Smyth (1788-1865) wrote that

"independent of the "nautis infestus Orion" character of the constellation, Rigel had one of his own; for it was to the astronomical rising of this "marinus aster" in March, that St. Marinus and St. Aster owe their births in the Romish calendar."

He gave, however, no explanation of this, and these saints certainly are not familiar in any stellar connection. Possibly its "marine" character came from its location at the end of the River Eridanus, and from its being given in the various editions of the Syntaxis and in the Alfonsine Tables as common {p.313} to both constellations (Orion and Eridanus); although the supposed stormy character of the whole group in affecting navigation may have induced the epithet for Orion's greatest star (although figured as beta Rigel is a larger star than alpha; Betelgeuse).

Astrologers said that splendor and honors fell to the lot of those who were born under it.

In the Norsemen's astronomy Rigel marked one of the great toes of Orwandil, the other toe having been broken off by the god Thor when frost-bitten, and thrown to the northern sky, where it became the little Alcor of the Greater Bear (Ursa Major).

[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].


Rigel might be the part of Orion that was stung by the Scorpion. Orion boasted that he would exterminate all the animals on Earth, and was punished for his brazenness by the Goddess of Earth, Gaia, who sent a giant scorpion and ordered it to sting Orion. As mighty as Orion was, after only a brief battle, the scorpion managed to deliver the hunter a deadly sting on the heel, and believed by some to be in the position of this star which is also said to be in the heel: "On the western heel of Orion, the Hunter, rests brilliant Rigel."

The astrological influences of the constellation Orion

Legend: The giant Orion was created out of an ox-hide by the Gods, Jupiter, Neptune and Mercury, at the request of Hyreus who had entertained them. He was blinded by Oenopion (the name means "wine-faced") for having raped Merope, Oenopion's daughter, but recovered his sight by exposing his eyes to the rising sun. In consequence of his boast that he could slay any beast bred upon the earth the scorpion (Scorpius) was brought forth and Orion died from its sting. [Robson*, p.55.]

Influences: According to Ptolemy the bright stars with the exception of Betelgeuze and Bellatrix are like Jupiter and Saturn. It is said to give a strong and dignified nature, self-confidence, inconstancy, arrogance, violence, impiety, prosperity in trade and particularly by voyages or abroad, but danger of treachery and poison. It was thought by the Romans to be very harmful to cattle and productive of storms. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Aleph and the 1st Tarot Trump "The Juggler." [Robson*, p.55.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Orion given by Manilius:

"Near neighbor to the Twins (Gemini), Orion may be seen stretching his arms over a vast expanse of sky and rising to the stars with no less huge a stride. A single light marks each of his shining shoulders, and three aslant trace the downward line of his sword: but three mark Orion's head, which is imbedded in high heaven with his countenance remote. It is Orion who leads the constellations as they speed over the full circuit of heaven." [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD. p.35.]

"Orion will fashion alert minds and agile bodies, souls prompt to respond to duty's call, and hearts which press on with unflagging energy in spite of every trial. A son of Orion's will be worth a multitude and will seem to dwell in every quarter of the city; flying from door to door with the one word of morning greeting, he will enjoy the friendship of all." [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD. p.305.]

The astrological influences of the star Rigel

According to Ptolemy and Lilly it is of the nature of Jupiter and Saturn, but later authors consider it favorable and similar to Jupiter and Mars. Alvidas likens it to Mercury Mars and Jupiter. It gives benevolence, honor, riches, happiness, glory, renown and inventive or mechanical ability. [Robson*, p.197-198.]

If Rigel is conjunct with the Sun, Moon, MC or Ascendant, quick rise in life is promised on account of a strong, inherent will power, love of action, and a lucky hand in enterprise. A continuous battle to retain an acquired position has to be waged. This fight at the same time stimulates an increase in vigor. Even in spite of unhelpful aspects, success and reaching the set aim can be secured by this powerful concentration. If however the native is not cautious or has an attack of weakness, failure and disappointments, a fall from success will follow. Tradition regarding the influence of Rigel is quite contradictory, implying again that the cosmogram must be fully analyzed. After the first world war, at the time of the first transatlantic flights, Elsbeth Ebertin noted a connection of Rigel to the Sun and Moon, in charts of several world record pilots, leading to sudden difficulties in the carrying out of planned enterprises resulting in failures to reach the set target. [Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elsbeth Ebertin, 1928, p.32.]

If Rising: Good fortune, preferment, riches, great and lasting honors. [Robson*, p.198.]

If culminating: Great military or ecclesiastical preferment, anger, vexation, magnanimity, much gain acquired by labor and mental anxiety, lasting honors. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Sun: Bold, courageous, insolent, unruly temper, hasty actions, bloodshed, many enemies, great good fortune, military success. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Moon Much worry and disappointment, injuries to life and fortune, sickness, ill health or death to wife or mother. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Mercury: Scientific, prominent position in connection with Mercurial matters or in science. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Venus: Honors or favors in middle life, good and influential marriage especially if female. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Mars: Unruly, ingenious occupied with mechanical matters, great military preferment. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Jupiter: Great legal or ecclesiastical preferment, many journeys, benefits from foreign affairs, favorable for marriage. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Saturn: Benefits from elderly people, clergy and lawyers, just, discriminative, good for legacy and inheritance, domestic harmony, good health, long life. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Uranus: Scientific, romantic, interested in antiquities, fame through historical or geological discoveries, probably in an unexplored country, friendships formed in a peculiar way abroad, many adventures and narrow escapes, early love disappointment, favorable for marriage after 30, death through some trivial accident abroad. [Robson*, p.198.]

With Neptune: Kind, energetic, scholarly and active mind, position under Government or at the head of some learned institution, cautious, reserved, resourceful, prompt, diplomatic, occult interests, success, public prominence, domestic harmony, natural death. [Robson*, p.199.]

References:

*[Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].