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 sigils. 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.

Table of Behenian stars

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.

Name Astronomical designation Longitude
Planet Gemstone Plant Symbol
Algol Caput Larvæ Beta Persei 26 Taurus 26 Saturn & Jupiter diamond black hellebore
Alcyone (or Pleiades) Eta Tauri 00 Gemini 16 Moon & Mars rock crystal fennel
Aldebaran Aldaboram Alpha Tauri 10 Gemini 04 Mars & Venus ruby / garnet milk thistle
Capella Alhayhoch, Hircus Alpha Aurigæ 22 Gemini 08 Jupiter & Saturn sapphire thyme
Sirius Canis major Alpha Canis Majoris 14 Cancer 21 Venus beryl juniper
Procyon Canis minor Alpha Canis Minoris 26 Cancer 03 Mercury & Mars agate water buttercup
Regulus Cor leonis Alpha Leonis 00 Virgo 06 Jupiter & Mars garnet mugwort
Alkaid Tail of the Great Bear Eta Ursae Majoris 27 Virgo 12 Venus & Moon magnet succory
Algorab Corvi Delta Corvi 13 Libra 43 Saturn & Mars onyx burdock
Spica Alpha Virginis 24 Libra 06 Venus & Mercury emerald sage
Arcturus Alchameth Alpha Boötis 24 Libra 30 Mars & Jupiter jasper plantain
Alphecca Elpheia Alpha Coronæ Borealis 12 Scorpio 34 Venus & Mars topaz rosemary
Antares Cor scorpii Alpha Scorpii 10 Sagittarius 01 Venus & Jupiter sardonyx birthwort
Vega Vultur cadens Alpha Lyræ 15 Capricorn 34 Mercury & Venus chrysolite winter savory
Deneb Algedi Cauda capricorni Delta Capricorni 23 Aquarius 48 Saturn & Mercury chalcedony marjoram

See also



  1. ^ These locations are given in celestial longitude, the relatively fixed reference frame of tropical signs used in astrology. Due to the precession of the equinoxes the fixed stars appear to precess 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 are utilized for the year 2020. 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.


Works cited

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