Category: Astrology Basics
by Julie Gillentine
Zarathustra was a legendary Persian prophet (modern Iran). Historians say his followers honored the agricultural cycles of the year as a religious doctrine. Some scholars place his lifetime as early as 1,500 BC while others believe he lived around 500 AD. His name in Greek is Zoroaster, meaning "star worshiper." It is safe to say that Zarathustra watched the skies and the cyclical patterns which unfolded there. Although these gods were probably legacies of an earlier time, the stories of Zarathustra's Persian pantheon seem to tell the tales what we now call the four Royal Stars of Persia.
Because we have four clearly defined seasonal events, two equinoxes and two solstices, the year is automatically divided into four. Likewise our twenty-four hour day has four quarters of sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight. This quartering of the circle is an ancient and world wide practice. The fourfold division of time seems to lead naturally to a four fold division of space, and the custom over ages has been to denote sunrise and spring to the east where day begins. West is sunset and autumn. North, which most cultures think of as "above" is therefore noon and summer, and south, is "below" the place of midnight and winter.
The Royal Stars of Persia are so named because roughly 5,000 years ago, during the fabled pyramid age of Egypt, these luminaries held tremendous influence. Endowed with almost archangelic power, these legendary stars of antiquity are Aldebaron, Regulus, Antares and Fomalhaut, and in the epoch of 5,000 years ago they were considered to be guardians of the four corners of heaven and watchers of the directions, forming a heavenly cross near the ecliptic.
In this capacity these bright stars marked the seasonal sign posts of the year, the equinoxes and the solstices. Regulus watched the north, Fomalhaut presided over the south, while Antares guarded the west and Aldebaron the east. Each Royal Star also correlates with the "fixed" signs of astrology: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Aldebaron is the alpha star of the constellation of Taurus, Regulus is alpha Leo, Antares is alpha Scorpio, and Fomalhaut is Alpha Piscis Austrinus. The first three correlate with the fixed signs, but Aquarius is missing from the quartet. Fomalhaut is a bright star, shining alone in the fourth arm of the zodiacal fixed cross, and sharing the same celestial longitude, (similar to terrestrial longitude), with Sadalmelik, the alpha star of Aquarius, which is not as major a luminary.
The fixed signs play a powerful role in the theme of precession, Although these Royal Stars once marked the cardinal points of the sky, due to the slow backward march of precession, their seasonal anchoring waxes and wanes. But at certain points in the Grand Year, (a full cycle of precession, lasting roughly 26,000 years), they move to hold the corners again. We are now approaching another of these junctures as Fomalhaut, holding the space for Aquarius, advances to the eastern, or spring, arm of this great cross. A brief review of celestial mechanics might be helpful.
Earth wobbles as she spins and is also inclined on her axis of rotation. This tilt creates the seasons, and the wobble creates the phenomenon astronomers and astrologers alike call precession. Like a slowly spinning top, earth's wobble causes the axis to trace an imaginary circle in the heavens. This imaginary stylus moves at the rate of roughly one degree of arc in seventy-two years. An additional byproduct of this wobble causes the spring equinox sun (in the northern hemisphere) to rise due east against a backdrop of stars which slowly shifts. Because this event occurs on the ecliptic, (the apparent path of the sun through the year), the stellar backdrop is formed by the slowly moving starry curtain of the twelve zodiacal constellations.
The zodiacal constellations are divisions of space which contain stars and deep sky objects within borders outlined by astronomers. Zodiacal constellations are twelve of eighty-eight divisions of space recognized by astronomers since 1930. The zodiacal "signs," on the other hand, are divisions of time, beginning with the spring equinox. The astrological sign of Aries is the symbolic birth of the new year. In the northern hemisphere spring, and zero degrees Aries, begins at the vernal equinox when the balance of light and dark achieves momentary equilibrium, before tilting toward increasing light. Down under the seasons march in the opposite direction.
For roughly two thousand years, spring equinox sunrise has occurred against the stars of Pisces, The Fishes. Soon, as the backward march shifts, the "dawning of the Age of Aquarius" will be heralded as this constellation moves to center stage and defines the new world age. About 3,000 years ago the stars of Aries provided the backdrop for spring equinox sunrise. Before that the stars of Taurus held the distinction, and it was at that time, roughly 5,000 years ago, that the Royal Stars watched the directions and guarded the destinies of kings. As the ages changed sacrifices of bulls shifted when Moses chose the ram as the sacrificial animal of the new age. In our time Jesus was both Lamb of God and Fisher of Men as the sacrificial symbol for the age of Pisces, the Fishes.
5,000 years ago Aquarius held the winter position in the seasons of the Grand Year while the influence of these Royal Stars held maximum sway. Now, due to the gradual movement of precession, Aquarius has advanced to the spring time place in the northern hemisphere. As these famous stars once again move to positions of prominence, their ancient lore may come to the forefront.
Fomalhaut held the southern seasonal anchor in antiquity and is now advancing toward spring equinox. The constellation of Piscis Austrinus, The Southern Fish, is home to this star. This constellation is most often shown as a fish, seeming to swim upstream in the waters of Aquarius. Sometimes called the "Solitary One" Fomalhaut stands like a brilliant but solitary beacon in an otherwise undistinguished region of the sky. This bright star, whose name derives from the Arabic for "mouth of the fish," is depicted on old star charts as drinking the water which flows from the Water Bearer's urn.
The eighteenth brightest, Fomalhaut is a blue white star which culminates at midnight in late August, and has traditionally been a star of navigation. Fomalhaut is in the watery portion of the celestial ocean. Occupants of this area include the Water Carrier, the Sea Goat, the Crane, the Whale, the River, and the Fishes.
One source traces Piscis Austrinus back to Egyptian mythology as the infamous Nile fish who swallowed the phallus of Osiris. Some scholars view this constellation as the parent fish of Pisces, The Fishes. As such, swallowing Osiris's creative appendage may well be a precessional symbol of the shift from the age of Aries to the age of Pisces.
Fomalhaut was equated with the Persian god Zal, and is said to bestow charisma and to engender the test of remaining true to our ideals.
Antares was the ancient watcher of the west and is now shifting to the southern corner. Inhabiting the heart of the scorpion, the name Antares is almost universal for this star and is believed to derive from the Greek, meaning anti Ares, or "rival of Mars." Antares is a red supergiant, four hundred times larger than our sun, culminating in June. According to R. H. Allen in Egyptian astronomy Antares represented the goddess Selkit, the Scorpion goddess, heralding sunrise at her temples at the autumn equinox about 3,700 BC and was also the symbol of Isis in the pyramid ceremonials.
Brady says as a star of an equinox, Antares was considered one of four gateways to the otherworld, a bringer of darkness, for as the Sun entered this constellation, it moved into the southern hemisphere and the dark part of the year.
Antares was equated with the Persian god of the dead, Yima, and is believed to convey passion and the test of addiction to intensity.
Aldebaron was the ancient watcher of the east, now moving to summer. A pale rose beauty, Aldebaron is the "Follower" of the Pleiades because this star rises and sets just after these asterisms, (star groupings within constellations). Aldebaron is a member of the Hyades cluster, marking the red eye of the bull and is probably linked with the term, "hitting the bull's eye." Allen says the name was originally given to the entire group of the Hyades asterism and the Vedic lunar mansion which, as Na'ir al Dabaran, the Bright One of the Follower, our modern star Aldebaron marked. In all astrology Aldebaron has been thought eminently fortunate, portending riches and honor.
The Apis bull of ancient Egypt was an actual creature chosen to serve as the earthly vessel of the spirit of Osiris. The Serapeum at Memphis once housed the mummies of sacred bulls. Aldebaron culminates at midnight in early December.
Aldebaron was equated with the Persian god of light, Ahura Mazda, and is said to endow integrity and to engender the test of honor.
Ancient watcher of the north, now shifting to autumn, Regulus means "little king." This blue white star is the faintest of the first magnitude stars. Regulus forms the Lion's Heart, and culminates in mid April. The Lion's head and mane are formed by an asterism which is known as the Sickle.
Regulus lies on the ecliptic, and according to G. Cornelius, was the leader of the four royal Stars since the Egyptians connected Leo with the heliacal rising of Sirius and the beginning of their new year.
The stars we call Leo were recognized as a lion by the Sumerians, Syrians, Greeks and Romans. The Chinese zodiac saw these stars as a horse, and some scholars believe the Incas saw a springing puma. One theory of how the shape of a lion was seen was because lions cooled themselves on the banks of the Nile during the hottest days of the year. Sky watchers connected them with the constellation through which the sun passed at that time.
Regulus was equated with the mythical Persian king, Feridun, and is said to bestow success, power of position and the test of withholding revenge
As the march of ages measures its slow movement, the four Royal Stars will once again advance to positions aligned with the seasonal quarters. Based on Fomalhaut's celestial longitude, and the projected rate of precession, the perfect equinox alignment won't occur for nearly another millennium, and maybe coinciding with the stellar beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Perhaps by then humanity will have learned our lessons, be able to live in peace, and another golden age might dawn.
But what might be the role of these stars in an individual life? B. Brady assures us that the four Royal Stars of Persia are powerful stars, and each one offers the possibility of glory, success, or happiness, but only if a particular nemesis can be overcome. An accurate astrological birth chart is necessary to determine if your life is linked to a royal star. The rising, culminating and setting positions of these stars are compared with planets or "angles"in your horoscope. If a connection is found, fate may have something special in store for you.
Persia's Royal Stars
This article is reprinted from Atlantis Rising Magazine, Issue #27, May–June, 2001