Fixed star:  TALITHA
Constellation:  Iota (ι) Ursa Major
Longitude 1900:  01LEO25 Longitude 2000:  02LEO48
Declination 1900:  +48.26′ Declination 2000:  +48.02′
Right ascension:  08h 59m Latitude:  +29.34′
Spectral class:  AM Magnitude:  3.1

The history of the star: Talitha

from p.442 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.

TalithaIota (ι) Ursa Major, Talitha, is a binary, 3.2 and 13, topaz yellow and purple star on the front paw of the Greater Bear.

On this Wikipedia page iota is referred to as Talitha Borealis and a very close neighboring star, kappa, is referred to as Talitha Australis.

The English astronomer Smyth (1788-1865) wrote that

“this star has obtained the name of Talita, the third vertebra, the meaning of which is not quite clear. Ulug Beigh has it Al Phikra al Thalitha, perhaps for AI Kafzah althalithah, the third spring, or leap, of the ghazal;”

but he was not sufficiently comprehensive, for this last title was applied by the Arabs to iota (ι  Talitha,) and kappa (κ El Kophrah) together.

In popular lists this star iota (ι) frequently is given as Talitha. The 17th century English orientalist Thomas Hyde strangely rendered the original words of the 15th century Tartar astronomer Ulug Beg as the Vertebrae of the Greater Bear,— whence probably the English astronomer Smyth (1788-1865)’s statement,— or the Cavity of the Heel, which, from the star’s position in the figure, is a much more likely translation.

In China these two stars were Shang Tae, the High Dignitary.

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


“Talitha” means “Daughter of the assembly”. A star in the right front leg of the Greater Bear. Therein lies an amazing story of the origin of the Bible. In Mark 5:22&23, Jairus one of the rulers of the synagogue (assembly), comes to Jesus and said “my little daughter is at the point of death”. So here we have the “daughter of the assembly”. Jesus goes to the house of the daughter and in Mark 5:41 he takes her hand and says “Talitha Cumi” which means “daughter arise”. So what’s being said? The star in the right rear leg of Ursa and the star in the front leg of Ursa is used as the basis of this story of healing and compassion. It is written in the stars and one must consider, is the power in the stars as well?” http://www.hiddenmeanings.com/hidden.html

The Leaps of the Gazelle: In ancient Arabia, before the Arabs adopted the Greek Astronomical figures for the constellations, they had different configurations in the sky. Many of starnames comes to us from this tradition.

Nu (Alula Borealis) and xi (Alula Australe) marked the right hind foot of the Greater Bear were “the First Leap” of the Gazelle. Lambda (Tania Borealis) and mu (Tania Australis) together, marking the Bear’s left hind foot, were “the Second Leap” of the Gaselle. Iota (this star Talitha) and chi (El Kophrah) marking the Third Leap. Each pair marking one “spring”.

They were collectively designated Kafzah al Thiba’, the Springs of the Gazelle. The Gazelle being imagined from the unformed stars since gathered up as Leo Minor, and the springing from the Pond (Coma Berenice) of the animal being due to its fear of the greater Lion’s tail. [In early Arabia Coma Berenice was Al Haud, the Pond, into which the Gazelle, our Leo Minor, sprang when frightened at the lashing of the Lion’s tail (Coma Berenice is the tuft of the Lion’s tail in the Arabian figure of Leo); although some of the Arabic observers claimed that this Pond lay among the stars of the neck, breast, and knees of the Greater Bear Ursa Major: and Lach substituted it for the Gazelle in our location of Leo Minor. Ideler adopted this from Al Tizini and the Cufic globe at Dresden; while the Borgian globe shows a Gazelle and her Young in the same location. Kazwini, however, described this group as extending over the eyes, eyebrows, ears, and muzzle of the figure of our Ursa Major.] 

The astrological influences of the constellation Ursa Major

Legend: Callisto, daughter of Lycaon, king of Arcadia, of whom Jupiter was enamored, became a follower of Diana on account of her love of hunting. Jupiter sought Callisto by assuming the form of Diana, and Juno (Jupiter’s wife) who discovered the intrigue turned Callisto into a bear. Angry that the bear was placed in heaven, Juno requested her brother Neptune never to let those stars set within his kingdom, and for this reason they are always above the horizon in Europe [never disappear below the horizon, it is always visible in the night sky, all night, every night, throughout the year]. To account for the length of the bear’s tail [because in reality bears don’t have tails], it is said that Jupiter, fearing her teeth, lifted her by the tail, which became stretched because of her weight and the distance from earth to heaven. [Robson, p.65.]

Influences: According to Ptolemy, Ursa Major is like Mars. It is said to give a quiet, prudent, suspicious, mistrustful, self-controlled, patient nature, but an uneasy spirit and great anger and revengefulness when roused. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Zain and the 7th Tarot Trump “The Chariot.” [Robson, p.65.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Ursa Major given by Manilius:

“Now when, after completing a revolution round the pole, the Bear (Ursa Major) with muzzle foremost replaces her unceasing steps in her former tracks, never immersed in Ocean but ever turning in a circle, to those born at such a time wild creatures will show no hostile face, and in their dealings with animals these men will find them submissive to their rule. Such a one will be able to control huge lions with a gesture, to fondle wolves, and to play with captive panthers; so far from shunning the powerful bears that are the kin of the constellation, he will train them to human accomplishments and feats foreign to their nature; he will seat himself on the elephant’s back and with a goad will direct the movements of a beast which disgraces its massive weight by yielding to tiny jabs; he will dispel the fury of the tiger, training it to become a peaceful animal, whilst all the other beasts which molest the earth with their savageness he will join in friendship to himself; keen-scented whelps he will train…” [here the translator notes that eight pages have been lost] [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 5, p.357, 359]

“Now where heaven reaches its culmination in the shining Bears, which from the summit of the sky look down on all the stars and know no setting and, shifting their opposed stations about the same high point, set sky and stars in rotation, from there an insubstantial axis runs down through the wintry air and controls the universe, keeping it pivoted at opposite poles: it forms the middle about which the starry sphere revolves and wheels its heavenly flight, but is itself without motion and, drawn straight through the empty spaces of the great sky to the two Bears and through the very globe of the Earth, stands fixed, since the entire atmosphere ever revolves in a circle, and every part of the whole rotates to the place from which it once began, that which is in the middle, about which all moves, so insubstantial that it cannot turn round upon itself or even submit to motion or spin in circular fashion, this men have called the axis, since, motionless itself, it yet sees everything spinning about it. The top of the axis is occupied by constellations well known to hapless mariners, guiding them over the measureless deep in their search for gain. Helice (Ursa Major), the greater, describes the greater arc; it is marked by seven stars which vie with each other under its guidance the ships of Greece set sail to cross the seas. Cynosura [Ursa Minor] is small and wheels round in a narrow circle, less in brightness as it is in size, but in the judgment of the Tyrians it excels the larger bear. Carthaginians count it the surer-guide when at sea they make for unseen shores. They are not set face to face: each with its muzzle points at the other’s tail and follows one that follows it. Sprawling between them and embracing each the Dragon separates and surrounds them with its glowing stars lest they ever meet or leave their stations.” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 1, p.27, 29].


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