|Fixed star: SYRMA Al Ghafar|
|Constellation: Iota (ι) Virgo|
|Longitude 1900: 02SCO24||Longitude 2000: 03SCO48|
|Declination 1900: -05.31′||Declination 2000: -05.59′|
|Right ascension: 14h 15m||Latitude: +07.11′|
|Spectral class: F5||Magnitude: 4.2|
The history of the star: Syrma
Iota (ι) Virgo, Syrma, is a star in the train of the Virgin’s dress.
Syrma is from Greek Surma, used by the second-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy to designate this star on the Train of the Virgin’s robe.
Iota (ι Syrma), with kappa (κ) and phi (φ) it was mentioned in the first Arabian translation of the Syntaxis as being in the imar, or “skirt,” of the garment; but the translator of the Latin edition of 1515, missing the point at the first letter, read the word as himar, “an ass,” so that this central one of these three stars strangely appears in that work as in asino. They formed the 13th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Ghafr, the Covering, as the English astronomer Smyth (1788-1865) explains,
“because the beauty of the earth is hidden when they rise on the 18th Tishrin, or 1st of November; others say on account of the shining of the stars being lessened as if covered;”
but the 13th century Persian astronomical writer Al Kazwini,
“because, when they rise, the earth robes herself in her splendour and finery,— her summer robes.”
The Arabic word, however, is analogous to Greek Surma, and so may have been taken from the second-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy; although the Persian astronomer Al Biruni (973-1048 A.D.) quoted from Al Zajjaj Al Ghafar, the Tuft in the Lion’s tail, which it may have marked in the figure of the ancient Asad [Arabs had an enormous Lion, their early Asad, extending over a third of the heavens, of which the stars Arcturus and Spica were the shin-bones; Regulus, the forehead; the heads of Gemini, one of the fore paws; Canis Minor, the other; and Corvus, the hind quarters. Many Arab starnames come from this tradition. Star Names p.97.] Another signification of the word Ghafr is the “Young Ibex.” The Persian astronomer Al Biruni (973-1048 A.D.) also said that the Arabs considered this the most fortunate of their lunar stations, as lying between the evils of the Lion’s teeth and claws on one side and the tail and venom of the Scorpion on the other, and quoted from a Rajaz poet:
“The best night forever Lies between Al Zubanah and Al Asad;”
adding that the horoscope of the Prophet lay here, and that the date of the birth of Moses coincided with it.
As a lunar station these stars were the Sogdian Iranian Sarwa and the Khorasmian (east of Persia) Shushak, the Leader; the Persian Hucru, the Good Goer; and the Coptic people of Egypt Khambalia, Crooked-clawed, lambda (λ Khambalia) being substituted for phi (φ); and it is said that they were the Akkadian Lu Lim, the He Goat, Gazelle, or Stag, the original perhaps also meaning “King,” and employed for delta (δ Auva).
Iota (ι Syrma) alone, according to Hommel, was the Death Star, Mulu Bat
Iota (ι Syrma), kappa (κ), and upsilon (υ) constituted the 13th sieu (Chinese Moon Mansion), Kang, a Man’s Neck, kappa (κ) being the determining star; while, with the preceding station, the united group was Sheu sing, as Edkins writes it, the Star of Old Age; and, with others near, it may have been included in the Tien Mun mentioned at the star eta (η Zaniah).
Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].
The Lunar Mansions
Iota (ι Virgo), Syrma, with kappa (κ) and phi (φ) formed the 13th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Ghafr, the Covering. Another signification of the word Ghafr is the “Young Ibex.” The Persian astronomer Al Biruni (973-1048 A.D.) said that the Arabs considered this the most fortunate of their lunar stations, as lying between the evils of the Lion’s teeth and claws on one side and the tail and venom of the Scorpion on the other, and quoted from a Rajaz poet: “The best night forever Lies between Al Zubanah and Al Asad;”
Influences of the 13th Arabic Moon Mansion Al Ghafr: Favorable for extracting treasures, digging pits, helps divorce, discord, the destruction of houses and enemies, and hinders travelers.
The astrological influences of the constellation Virgo
Legend: This constellation is said to represent Erigone, daughter of Icarius, who hanged herself through grief at the death of her father (Bootes). According to other accounts it is Astraea, daughter of one of the Titans, who sided with the Gods against her own father. [Robson, p.66.]
Influences: Ptolemy makes the following observations; “The stars in the head of Virgo, and that at the top of the southern wing, operate like Mercury and somewhat like Mars: the other bright stars in the same wing, and those about the girdle, resemble Mercury in their influence, and also Venus, moderately . . . those at the points of the feet and at the bottom of the garments are like Mercury, and also Mars, moderately.” By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Gimel and the 3rd Tarot Trump “The Empress.” [Robson, p.66-67.]
The astrological influences of the constellation Virgo given by Manilius:
spicifera est Virgo Cereris” — “The Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres”. [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, p.117]
“Virginis in propriam descendunt ilia sortem“, — “the belly comes down to the Maid as her rightful lot” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, p.119]
“At her rising Erigone (Virgo, who reigned with Justice over a bygone age and fled when it fell into sinful ways, bestows high eminence by bestowing supreme power; she will produce a man to direct the laws of the state and the sacred code; one who will tend with reverence the hallowed temples of the gods.” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, p.265]
“The temperaments of those whose span of life she pronounces at their birth Erigone (Virgo) will direct to study, and she will train their minds in the learned arts. She will give not so much abundance of wealth as the impulse to investigate the causes and effects of things. On them she will confer a tongue which charms, the mastery of words, and that mental vision which can discern all things, however concealed they be by the mysterious workings of nature. From the Virgin will also come the stenographer: his letter represents a word, and by means of his symbols he can keep ahead of utterance and record in novel notation the long speech of a rapid speaker. But with the good there comes a flaw: bashfulness handicaps the early years of such persons, for the Maid, by holding back their great natural gifts, puts a bridle on their lips and restrains them by the curb of authority. And (small wonder in a virgin) her offspring is not fruitful.” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, p.237 and 239]
The astrological influences of the star Syrma
Said to be prominent in the charts of Mohammed and Moses, the Arabs considered this star as the most fortunate of their lunar stations. [Fixed Stars and Judicial Astrology, George Noonan, 1990, p.32.]
Iota Virgo, Syrma, or Surma by its Greek titles, Al Ghafar is the name in in Arabic. Al Ghafar means to cover, to protect and to suppress. The significance of this star and title lies firstly in the heavy personal responsibility which is implicit in the occult questing and acquisition of spiritual power seen in Khambalia (6 Scorpius) and secondly in the Islamic concept of Istighafar. [The Living Stars, Dr. Eric Morse, p.74.]
Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].