Behenian Fixed Stars
The Behenian Fixed Stars are a selection of fifteen stars considered especially useful for magical applications in the medieval astrology of Europe and the Arab world. Their name derives from Arabic bahman, "root," as each was considered a source of astrological power for one or more planets. Each is also connected with a gemstone and plant that would be used in rituals meant to draw the star's influence (e.g., into a talisman). When a planet was within six degrees of an associated star, this influence was thought to be particularly strong.
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa discussed them in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Book II, chapters 47 & 52) as the Behenii (singular Behenius), describing their magical workings and kabbalistic symbols. He attributed these to Hermes Trismegistus, as was common with occult traditions in the Middle Ages. Their true origin remains unknown, though Sir Wallis Budge suspects a possible Sumerian source.
The following table uses symbols from a 1531 quarto edition of Agrippa, but other forms exist. Where the name used in old texts differs from the one in use today, the modern form is given first.
Table of Behenian Stars
|Algol||Caput Larvæ||Beta Persei||26 Taurus 10||Saturn & Jupiter||diamond||black hellebore|
|Pleiades||M45 (Taurus)||29 Taurus 58||Moon & Mars||rock crystal||fennel|
|Aldebaran||Aldaboram||Alpha Tauri||9 Gemini 47||Mars & Venus||ruby / garnet||milk thistle|
|Capella||Alhayhoch, Hircus||Alpha Aurigæ||21 Gemini 51||Jupiter & Saturn||sapphire||thyme|
|Sirius||Canis major||Alpha Canis Majoris||14 Cancer 05||Venus||beryl||juniper|
|Procyon||Canis minor||Alpha Canis Minoris||25 Cancer 47||Mercury & Mars||agate||water buttercup|
|Regulus 2||Cor leonis||Alpha Leonis||29 Leo 50||Jupiter & Mars||granite||mugwort|
|Polaris||Cauda Ursæ||Alpha Ursæ Majoris||28 Gemini 34||Venus & Moon||magnet||succory|
|Algorab||Corvi||Delta Corvi||13 Libra 27||Saturn & Mars||onyx||burdock|
|Spica||Alpha Virginis||23 Libra 50||Venus & Mercury||emerald||sage|
|Arcturus||Alchameth||Alpha Boötis||24 Libra 14||Mars & Jupiter||jasper||plantain|
|Alphecca||Elpheia||Alpha Coronæ Borealis||12 Scorpio 18||Venus & Mars||topaz||rosemary|
|Antares||Cor scorpii||Alpha Scorpii||9 Sagittarius 46||Venus & Jupiter||sardonyx||birthwort|
|Vega||Vultur cadens||Alpha Lyræ||15 Capricorn 19||Mercury & Venus||chrysolite||winter savory|
|Deneb Algedi||Cauda capricorni||Delta Capricorni||23 Aquarius 30||Saturn & Mercury||chalcedony||marjoram|
These locations are given in celestial longitude, the relatively fixed reference frame of tropical signs used in astrology and are derived from the measurements listed at Constellations of Words. Due to Precession of the Equinoxes the Fixed Stars appear to drift or move through space at the rate of 1 degree of Arc per 72 years. In order to fix the measurement to a specific date and degree of arc the values published through that scholarly work are utilized for the year 2000. All celestial bodies, including stars and constellations, are measured according to various fixed frameworks, in this instance a geocentric tropical zodiac. Cf. Heliocentric model as a fixed framework and sidereal and tropical astrology to identify the measuring system used here. For example, 26 Taurus 10 means 26 degrees 10 minutes of the tropical sign Taurus. See Ecliptic coordinate system for further information.