Ras Alhague

Fixed star:  RAS ALHAGUE
Constellation:  Alpha (α) Ophiuchus
Longitude 1900:  21SAG03 Longitude 2000:  22SAG27
Declination 1900:  +12.38′ Declination 2000:  +12.33′
Right ascension:  17h 34m Latitude:  +35.50′
Spectral class:  A5 Magnitude:  2.1

The history of the star: Ras Alhague

from p.300 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.

[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage

Alpha (α) Ophiuchus, Ras Alhague, is a sapphire star on the head of the Snake Charmer.

Ras AlhagueRas alhague, or Rasalague, is from Ras al Hawwa, the Head of the Serpent-charmer, the Moorish El Hauwe, the first being its only title with the 17th century German astronomer Bayer. The Alfonsine Tables of 1521 have Rasalauge, and the original has {301} been variously altered into Ras Alhagas, Ras Alhagus, Rasalange, Ras al Hangue, Rasalangue, Ras Alaghue, Rasalhagh, Alhague, and Alangue

The occasional Azalange has been traced to the Turkish title for the constellation; but "a universal star-name from that nation does not seem probable," and it is more likely that the Turks adopted and altered the Arabic. Ras al Hayro also has been seen for the star; and the Century Cyclopedia mentions Hawwa as rarely used.

The 13th century Persian astronomical writer Al Kazwini cited Al Ra’i, the Shepherd, from the early Arabs, which, although now a title for gamma (γ) Cepheus (Alrai), may have come here from the adjacent Raudah, or Pasture; the near-by alpha (α) Hercules (Ras Algethi), 6° to the west, being Kalb al Ra’i, the Shepherd’s Dog; while neighboring stars, the present Club of Hercules, marked the Flock.

In China alpha (α Ras Alhague) was How, the Duke; and the small surrounding stars, Hwan Chay, a title duplicated at those in the hand.

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

The astrological influences of the constellation Ophiuchus

It is said to give a passionate, blindly good-hearted, wasteful and easily seduced nature, unseen dangers, enmity and slander. Pliny said that it occasioned much mortality by poisoning. This constellation has also been called Aesculapius and held to rule medicines. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Oin and the 16th Tarot Trump "The Lightning Struck Tower". [Robson, p.54.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Ophiuchus given by Manilius:

"When Ophiuchus, encircled by the serpent’s great coils, rises he renders the forms of snakes innocuous to those born under him. They will receive snakes into the folds of their flowing robes, and will exchange kisses with these poisonous monsters and suffer no harm." [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 5,  p.333].

"One called Ophiuchus holds apart the serpent which with its mighty spirals [gyris] and twisted body encircles his own, that so he may untie its knots and back that winds in loops. But, bending its supple neck, the serpent looks back and returns; and the other’s hands slide over the loosened coils. The struggle will last for ever, since they wage it on level terms with equal powers." [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD,  book 1, p.31].

The astrological influences of the star Ras Alhague

According to Ptolemy it is of the nature of Saturn and Venus; and, to Alvidas, of Jupiter and Mercury in sextile to Mars. It gives misfortune through women, perverted tastes and mental depravity. [Robson, p.193.]

It has a Saturn like character, and some of the undesirable Venus qualities are also present. Connected with these are Neptunian tendencies, making the native especially prone to infectious contamination caused by toxins. People thus influenced are easy going in the use of medical drugs, hallucinatory drugs stimulating foodstuffs, too much good living and overindulgence in tobacco and alcohol. There is danger of insect bites, snakebites or assault from infuriated animals or rabies smitten dogs. If conjunct the Moon, Mars, or Neptune, the native is very prone to infections in general and to epidemic infections. Besides the lower emanations, there are supposedly higher influences attributed to this star, ‘though only very few people are able to attune themselves to these influences’. [Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elsbeth Ebertin, 1928, p.72-73.]

With Sun: Reserved, thoughtful, studious, suspicious, solitary, reputation for athletics, little wealth, careless of public opinion. [Robson, p.193.]

With Moon: Public prominence in religious matters, favorable for gain. [Robson, p.193.]

With Mercury: Unpopular attitude and criticism through religion, philosophy or science; difficulties in marriage and quarrels fostered by others, trouble through opposite sex, not very good for gain. [Robson, p.193.]

With Venus: Quick mind, well educated, cautious, secretive, suspicious. [Robson, p.193.]

With Mars: Trouble through writings, public censure in connection with religion, science or philosophy. [Robson, p.193.]

With Jupiter: Diplomatic, religious or legal preferment, but some criticism, favorable for gain. [Robson, p.194.]

With Saturn: Selfish, unpopular, determined, fixed opinions, successful, somewhat dishonest, domestic disharmony through jealousy, marriage partner may be invalid, losses of a Mercurial nature. [Robson, p.194.]

With Uranus: Strong passions, strong nature but changeable, ambitious, occult interests, seeks popularity, easily swayed though outwardly aggressive, reverence for ancestry, benefits through elderly and influential people and public affairs, unfavorable for marriage and children, if any, trouble through opposite sex, sudden death. [Robson, p.194.]

With Neptune: Hypocritical, self-seeking, able speaker or writer, but panders to the public, occult, religious or scientific work, but largely misleading, minor Government position, domestic disharmony, ill-health to marriage partner, disappointment over legacy, peculiar death sometimes through fall but animal and human agency may be suspected. [Robson, p.194.]


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