The Fixed Stars in Natal Astrology

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

CHAPTER IV,  pages 92-105.

The influence of the fixed stars differs from that of the planets in being much more dramatic, sudden and violent. As a rule planetary effects are gradual and operate comparatively slowly, one might almost say softly, whereas the stars appear to exercise most of their influence in sudden, hard, vehement bursts, producing tremendous effects for short periods, and, after raising the natives to a great height, dropping them suddenly and bringing a series of dramatic and unexpected disasters. In other words the fixed stars may elevate from poverty to the extreme height of fortune or vice versa, whereas the planets do not do so. It may be taken as a fairly well-established rule that the stars do not operate alone, except perhaps in those cases where they are situated on angles, and that their chief effect is transmitted by the planets. They seem to form an underlying basis upon which the horoscope is built, and if a planet falls upon a star its effect is greatly magnified, giving it a prominence in the life that is quite unwarranted by its mere position and aspects in the map. Cases are known to all astrologers in which a certain planet in a horoscope seems to be emphasized for no apparent reason {p.93}, so that it acts drastically throughout the life, and in a case such as this there is usually afixed star in operation in the background through the planet concerned.

The extent and magnitude of the effects brought about by the stars depend upon several factors, namely, (a) apparent size, (b) celestial position, (c) nature of planet through which they operate, and (d) general nature of the horoscope.

(a) Apparent size: The magnitude of a star bears a definite relationship to its intensity. A 1st magnitude star is of great power, a 2nd magnitude star is appreciably weaker, and so on down the scale, the effect of the stars below the 4th magnitude being very small except in the case of clusters.

(b) Celestial position: The nearer a star may be to the ecliptic the greater is its power, and in the northern hemisphere a star with north declination is more powerful than one with south, the reverse holding good in the southern hemisphere. It has frequently been said that stars with great latitude cannot affect us, but it is very doubtful if this assumption is correct, and experience, particularly in the case of comets, seems to indicate that bodies in all parts of the celestial sphere are capable of exerting an influence upon the earth and its inhabitants.

(c) Nature of planet through which they operate: As already pointed out the fixed stars give strength and energy to the planets and modify their effects but at the same time the nature of the planet exercises a strong controlling influence upon the result. {p.94} The greatest effect is obtained when the star and planet are both of the same nature, and in such cases the influence of the planet is raised to a vehement pitch, though at the same time the malefic effect of the star is diminished. Thus if the planet Mars fall upon a star of its own nature its power is increased; if upon a star of the nature of Jupiter or Venus it is reduced and modified; while if upon one of the nature of Saturn it is greatly changed. In other words if a planet falls upon a star of similar nature to its own it acquires intensity, while if upon one of contrary nature it becomes quiescent or distorted and may give a kind of sodden or dull effect to the character.

(d) The general nature of the horoscope: This is an important consideration and should not be forgotten. The result of the effect of a star upon a planet depends largely upon the strength or weakness of that planet in the horoscope. Thus in a map showing great ability and high position the success attained by the aid of a star will be of a more lasting nature than in one where this is not indicated. Furthermore, in all cases the fixed stars do not contradict the planetary indications. A man will not become a murderer, thief or forger merely through the effect of a star alone, and for this to take place the general nature of the map must be suitable and in harmony with such indications. The chief function of the stars is to emphasize qualities rather than to bestow them, and the exact nature and effect must be sought through the ordinary rules of astrology. Similarly in directions {p.95} the action of the stars is much more potent if a planetary direction of a like nature is in force at the same time.

The fixed stars operate by position and are said to “cast no rays,” or in other words their aspects are said to be ineffective and their influence to be exerted only by conjunction and parallel. As in the case of the planets they are most powerful when in angles and weak when cadent, their effect being very marked when rising, culminating, setting or on the nadir even when alone. In such cases all 1st magnitude stars give honor and preferment, which will be lost or retained with trouble and danger if the star be of the nature of Mars, while if it be like Saturn there will be final disgrace and ruin. The particular angle occupied exerts its own modifying effect, the 10th house influencing the profession, the 7th the wife, the 4th the home, and the 1st the native himself.

The most powerful effect of a star is exercised when it is in conjunction or parallel with a planet, and a great deal of information on this will be found in the next chapter. It is usual to take the conjunction in exactly the same way as a planetary conjunction in a horoscope, that is, by the degree of ecliptic longitude affected by the star, and the parallel by its declination, and these positions are the only orthodox ones to use. It will be found, however, that the opposition is almost as powerful as the conjunction, and that the square has an undeniable influence which it will be unwise to neglect [I am inclined to disagree with him about the squares having effect – Anne Wright]. In the case of the trines and sextiles very {p.96} little effect, if any, is to be discovered, but in all probability this is due to the fact that, with the exception of the square and opposition, the aspects to the body of a star with latitude do not fall in the zodiacal degrees one would expect, as may be seen by the example given in the Appendix under Formula 8. It is a simple matter, however, to calculate the correct places in which such aspects fall and if this is done in a few cases it will soon be possible to arrive at a definite conclusion as to their power. The same difficulty is met with in the rising and setting of stars and a further reference to the Appendix will show that when the ecliptic longitude of a star is rising or setting the actual body of the star itself may be a long way above or below the horizon.

This is particularly important when examining the angular effect of a star which may operate either through its ecliptic longitude or its bodily position, and also in computing primary directions, for in many cases the direction Ascendant conjunction star in mundo is impossible as it neither rises nor sets in the latitude at which the birth took place. Full details will be found in the Appendix enabling the student to determine for any latitude the zodiacal degrees with which a given star rises and sets, but there will be no necessity to calculate these unless he wishes to examine mundane angular influences and mundane primary directions.

One other point arises in connection with the action of stars and that is the “line of Right Ascension.” It bas been suggested that a star may operate through the degree to which its R.A. corresponds. {p.97} Thus Algol now at 26Taurus10has R.A. 45degrees44 (date?),which when converted directly into longitude without latitude corresponds to 18Tau12. Those who wish to experiment with this idea will find the method of converting R.A. into longitude without latitude in Formula 9 of the Appendix.

It will be noticed that all the influences described in the following chapter are expressed in terms of the radical horoscope and no allowance has been made for directions. This is done for the simple reason that the directional influences are exactly the same, the only difference being that they do not persist throughout the life. Therefore in studying the effects of directions the same delineations may be used if it is borne in mind that they are of a transitory nature and not lasting. Either primary or secondary directions may be used and both are calculated in the usual way.

It now remains only to consider the actual natures of the fixed stars and the manner of representing them. The generally accepted method of expressing the kind of influence exerted by any star is in terms of the planets of our Solar System. Thus a certain star may be “of the nature of Mars” for example, and this implies that it possesses characteristics similar to those exhibited in a horoscope by that planet. Frequently, however, two or more planets are mentioned, and in this case that one whose name is mentioned first is considered to represent the chief influence of the star. The second one denotes a kind of modifying influence, so that a star of the nature of Mars and Jupiter for example has {p.98} an influence similar to that of Mars but modified by Jupiter. Thus the purely martial qualities are given an expansiveness by Jupiter, there is more optimism and good luck than would otherwise be the case, and so on. The effect is something like that of a promittor passing to the conjunction of a significator in directional astrology, the former being represented in our example by Jupiter and the latter by Mars. It will follow from this, of course, that the effect of a star of the nature of Jupiter and Mars would be somewhat different for the emphasis would in this case be upon Jupiter, and Mars would add fire and energy to the Jupiterian characteristics.

This method of classifying and describing the exact natures of the stars enables us to gain a good idea of each, and if it is combined with the sign and decanate occupied by the star, together with the planet and house through which the star is acting in any given map, we may refine our judgment of its specific effect considerably, and also estimate the way in which any other little-known star is acting, for its nature may be known from the general character of the constellation to which it belongs.

How these natures were first discovered or fixed we do not know, for Ptolemy, to whom we are indebted for them, gives no rules for their determination That he followed some sort of rule seems certain for otherwise it is difficult to see how the fine shades of influence could be appreciated. According to Agrippa the natures of the fixed stars are known from the similarity of their colors {p.99} to those of the planets, which he describes as follows

Saturn, blue, leaden and shining; Jupiter, citron near to paleness and clear; Mars, red and fiery Sun, yellow, and when rising red, afterwards glittering; Venus, white and shining, white in morning, reddish in evening; Mercury, glittering; Moon, fair: and to these might perhaps be added Uranus, bright and greenish; and Neptune, also greenish but not so bright. This method, however, does not commend itself as a very scientific one, and it is extremely doubtful if it is that used by Ptolemy.

The general effect of the stars of any given nature in terms of natal astrology is as follows:

URANUS: Interest in occultism, electricity, aviation, antiquities; abrupt. If rising, eccentricity gained by learning. If culminating, learned, eminent in arts and sciences, mechanical and inventive ability.

SATURN: Disgrace, ruin, calamity. It rising, grave, thoughtful, melancholy, liable to disgrace, much care and anxiety, connected with building, mines and minerals. If on 7th cusp and Moon afflicted by Saturn ruler of 7th, a slovenly wife. If culminating, trouble through old people, disgrace, trade losses, deceitful associates, rise followed by fall. With the luminaries, lean and infirm, many miseries. If afflicting Mercury, deafness.

JUPITER: If rising, sober, grave, patient, legacies, ecclesiastical preferment. If culminating, honor, glory, preferment, success in trade and in the Church.

{p.100.}MARS: Violent death, ultimate ruin by folly or pride. If rising, wealth, power, courage, generosity, ingenuity, rise to authority, martial success, subject to cuts, wounds, accidents, sores and injuries to the face, pains in the head and fevers. If culminating, martial eminence, success in trade and in occupations of a Mars nature. If afflicting Mercury, deafness.

VENUS: If rising, good fortune, happiness, gifts, fortunate for love and marriage, gain by legacies and inheritance. If culminating, honor and success, dealings with and help through women, success in occupations of a Venus nature.

MERCURY: If rising, honor, intellect, great learning. If culminating, business activity, gain through books and intellectual matters.

SATURN-JUPITER: Dignified, pious, conservative, acquisitive, retentive. Honor and preferment if culminating.

SATURN-MARS: Bold, cruel, heartless, adulterous, criminal, liar, loss of estates, poverty, few friends. if of 1st magnitude, rises by usury or unfair means. If culminating, bad name, rise by trade followed by disgrace and ruin.

SATURN-VENUS: Slovenly, very immoral, shameless, revolting, mean, sorrows in love. If rising, good-tempered, healthy, gain by industry and marriage. If culminating, improved health, fame by help of superiors.

SATURN-MERCURY: Profound liar, thief, blackguard, scandal and slander.

JUPITER-SATURN: Legacies, inheritance, fame, especially {p.101} if rising, but foolish and unfortunate in love affairs. If culminating, honor and preferment.

JUPITER-MARS: High ambition, pride, love of power, grandeur of view, If rising, military honors. If culminating, high ecclesiastical honor, martial preferment, prosperity in business.

JUPITER-VENUS: Contented, happy disposition, honorable, philosophical mind, legal or ecclesiastical preferment, help through women. If rising or culminating, honor and riches.

JUPITER-MERCURY: Religions mind, thoughtful, philosophical, writer on religious or similar subjects.

MARS-SATURN: Malicious, thieving, merciless, fiendish, repulsive, liar, accidents, violent death. If culminating, military preferment but final disgrace.

MARS-JUPITER: Great pride, grandly liberal, commanding, cosmopolitan views. If rising or culminating, military honor and preferment.

MARS-SUN: Heroic, courageous, defiant, intrepid leader, warlike, danger to the eyes, violent death. If rising, preferment to metal workers, soldiers, surgeons, and other Mars people. If culminating, preferment in business and in all martial affairs.

MARS-VENUS: Strong passions, artistic feeling, gain through women and friends, honor and preferment in martial affairs, especially if rising or culminating.

MARS-MERCURY: High enterprise, combative, destructive. If rising, rash, very obstinate, ruined by headstrong and precipitate conduct. If culminating, changeable in business.

{p.102}MARS-MOON: Adventurous, perfidious, insolent, wanton, brutal, danger to eyes. If rising, sore eyes, weak sight, trouble and loss through women. If culminating, disgrace and imprisonment.

SUN-MARS: Fearless, in tolerant, warlike skill, over-confident, fierce, cruel, vindictive, energetic organizer, danger to the eyes, accidents, violent death.

VENUS-SATURN: Cunning, bad morals, mercenary, repulsive habits, perverted tastes, unfortunate love affairs, seduction.

VENUS-JUPITER: Refined, good, high morals, vivacious, sincere, pure, healthy, artistic, fortunate in love and marriage, help through relatives.

VENUS-MARS: Shameless, vain, self-indulgent, abandoned, violent passions, danger of seduction, riotous living but often self-respecting and decent.

VENUS-MERCURY: Idealistic, psychic, handsome, neat, lovable, refined, genteel, intelligent.

MERCURY-SATURN: Subtle, studious, keen and profound mind, often shameless liar, interested in occult or serious subjects.

MERCURY-JUPITER: Optimistic, cheerful, philosophical, broad mind, religious views, success through influential friends or the Church and law.

MERCURY-MARS: Exaggerative, argumentative, unreliable, unscrupulous, given to invective, mechanical ability, very quick mind, great talker.

MERCURY-VENUS: Courteous, affable, orderly, elegant, sweet-tempered, lovable, refined, artistic, honor and riches, If rising, love of poetry, painting and teaching, quick mind. {p.103} If culminating, success in literary and legal professions.

MOON-MARS: Changeable, passionate, wanton, liable to accidents especially when travelling, bad eyes, injuries to face.

NEBULAE AND CLUSTERS: Blindness, disease, accidents, fevers, quarrels, rape, murder, banishment and decapitation.

No difficulty should be experienced in using the fixed stars in natal astrology, but for the benefit of the beginner the following rules may be laid down

I. Note on the map or make a list of the fixed stars that fall in conjunction and parallel with, or in opposition to, the planets, together with their magnitudes and natures. The following orbs may be allowed for conjunction and opposition For a 1st magnitude star, 7degrees 30minutes; for a 2nd magnitude, 5degrees 30minutes; for a 3rd magnitude, 3degrees and 40minutes; and for a 4th magniude star, 1degree and 30minutes. [I totally disagree with these orbs, most people give about 1degree to 1 for fixed stars of 1st magnitude. I would give Sirius a maximum of 2 degrees. Sirius is by far the brightest star. I give a 1st magnitude star about 1degree 15 minutes, gradually decreasing to 15 minutes for a 6th magnitude star. – Anne Wright].

2. Look up the constellation containing the star, its nature as tabulated above, and the combined influence of star and planet.

3. Modify these characteristics by the sign, decanate and house occupied, together with the aspects to the planet and the houses it rules just as would be done in the case of an ordinary planetary conjunction.

4. The magnitude of the star and its angular, succeedent or cadent position will give some idea of the strength likely to be exhibited.

As an example we may take the horoscope of the {p.104} ex-Kaiser, who was born at Berlin on 27 January, 1859, at 3 p.m. The chief positions are as follows; Ascendant conjunction Pollux, M.C. and Neptune conjunction Markab, Mars conjunction Scheat, Uranus conjunction, and Moon opposition, Pleiades, and Mercury conjunction Wega.

The most striking position is Markab, a 2nd magnitude Mars-Mercury star in Pegasus on the M.C. and in conjunction with Neptune and Mars. This star brings disgrace and ruin, and with Neptune gives a romantic, emotional and unbalanced mind, while the constellation Pegasus gives vanity, ambition and bad judgment – a disastrous attempt to find “a place in the Sun” if one may apply the legend literally. The nature of the star is combative, destructive and aggressive, and its particular mode of operation is greatly influenced by Mars conjunction Neptune afflicted by Sun and Saturn, which indicates martial megalomania and downfall. We should, therefore, expect these characteristics to be tremendously emphasized and matters connected with them to end in a crash of a far greater magnitude than Mars conjunction Neptune would indicate alone.

Furthermore, Pollux, a martial star, is rising, indicating imprisonment and honor of short duration, while the Moon is heavily afflicted by Uranus from the Pleiades giving deformity (the ex-Kaiser has a paralyzed arm) and heavy losses at the end of life, together in such a case as this with revolutions and popular outbreaks caused by Uranus falling on a star of the nature of the Moon and Mars.

At the outbreak of the war in 1914, the Kaiser’s {p.105} Sun was separating from Difda (Deneb Kaitos), and Mars from Hamal and the Ascendant was in conjunction with Regulus. The last position is a very significant one indicating military honour and success but ultimate failure. Difda (Deneb Kaitos) also denotes self-destruction by brute-force, while Hamal is a violent and destructive star of the nature of Mars and Saturn, which with Mars gives final disgrace and ruin.

Another interesting study is that of the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, whose life was a succession of disasters, many of which were due to the position of the Sun, Moon and Saturn in conjunction with Alphard in the neck of the Hydra, but examples could be multiplied indefinitely and the student will soon discover for himself that the use of the fixed stars and constellations is indeed a valuable help to the understanding of a horoscope.

  The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson 1923, Ascella Publications, UK, ISBN: 1 898503 50 8.

pages 92 – 105.