Fixed Stars & Astrology

Published: 11th June 2009
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Stars have their significance in Astrology. They form a prominent part of the birthchart & horoscope of a person. What is the exact meaning of "fixed" in fixed stars, since in the universe, everything is in a state of constant move? Actually, it is a wrong wording which is caused by the fact that by the traditional parameters used in astrology, the movements of planets, asteroids, the Sun and the Moon, as well as the division into astrological houses, the stars, which are not part of the solar system, seem almost motionless.

Actually, the fixed stars' position move by a few dozens of seconds of arc per year, 50.2 seconds to be more precise, which means one degree every 72 years, approximately.

The Ancients had rapidly understood that the most important stars, those they could observe, had an influence when they were in tight conjunction - less than 2° of orb, and even better, less than 30' of orb - with planets or angles of the natal chart.

Nowadays, nearly 150 fixed stars and their meanings are listed. In real practice, the few astrologers who use them consider some sixty fixed stars only, and most of the time, only 22 fixed stars of first magnitude (the biggest ones) are taken into account.

Those 22 fixed stars are described below in this column, as well as a few other stars having a significant interest. Astrotheme is currently devising a new option which calculates and displays the position of fixed stars for your natal chart. The programming work should be completed within a couple of weeks.

How are fixed stars interpreted in astrology? Rules are numerous and similar to those applied to the interpretation of planets, except that fixed stars are active only when they are found in tight conjunction with a natal point. For instance, André Boudineau suggests that the following conditions only are to be taken into account:

The size: stars are classified in groups of " brilliance ". Stars of 1st magnitude are the most brilliant ones, twice and a half times more brilliant than the group 2 stars, the latter being themselves twice and a half times more brilliant than the group 3, and so forth. To the naked eye, it is possible to see them up to the group 6 only. As a matter of rule, the more brilliant the star, the more active it is supposed to be in astrology. However, there are exceptions, for instance in the case of nebulas which shine dimly.

The angularity: similarly to planets, the power of a star posited near an angle is highly strengthened. The most potent angles are, in decreasing order, the MC (Midheaven, or the 10th house cusp), the ASC (Ascendant, or the 1st house cusp), the IC (Imum Coeli, or the 4th house cusp), and the DC (Descendant, or the 7th house cusp). It is interesting to note that, owing to their large latitude, contrary to planets, a given star may be located far from the ASC or the MC zodiacal degree, but that it may be on the horizon plane or on the meridian. An additional calculation is needed in order to find out whether the star is really on the horizon plane, regardless of its longitude.

The conjunction to a natal planet, as already indicated earlier: the more brilliant the star, the more powerful its influence, and as a consequence, the wider its orb may be. Orbs depend on the star's magnitude. According to some authors, and for 1st magnitude stars, the orb can range from 1 degree to 6 degrees.

The aspects: Vivian Robson seems to be one of the only astrologers to consider that other aspects should be used in addition to the conjunction. Owing to the lack of systematic statistical research, this matter cannot be settled yet.

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