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VMs: The third crowned nymph (in Libra)...?
The brightest star in Libra (which is ruled by Venus, astrologically) is
historically thought to be Zubeneschamali, which I don't believe has been
mentioned on-list before. :-) There's a long-standing tradition that this
star has a greenish tinge: and perhaps it did, several hundred years ago
(though it does seem white today):-
Although Libra is not the most exciting constellation in terms of
"deep-sky wonders" for small telescopes, it contains a curious
star that has been cause for discussion for centuries. The star's
name is Zubeneschamali, or easier to remember, the "Northern Claw".
The debate began with the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes. (He's
the one who made the first almost-dead-on calculation of the
circumference of the Earth in 240 BC or thereabouts.) Eratosthenes
compiled a catalog of some 675 stars in which he measured their
position, and estimated their brightness and color. Zubeneschamali,
said Eratosthenes, was the brightest star in Libra and in Scorpius,
even outshining Antares, which we recognize as the brightest star
in that region today.
A century or so later, another Greek astronomer, Ptolemy, found
the star equal to Antares in brightness. ...
BTW, the way I count the nymphs is innermost circles first, then clockwise
from sunrise (on the left): this makes the Libra crowned nymph roughly the
17th degree of Libra. FWIW, William Lilly associated this degree with the
fixed star Seginus: and perhaps the two "semi-crowned nymphs" side-by-side
in Libra (just below the [left] ascendant on the outer ring) are Spica and
Here's a good site listing astrologically significant fixed stars. Note
that this lists different star positions in 1900 and in 2000: for example,
Seginus is apparently marked as being 16LIB60 in 1900 and 17LIB40 in 2000.
Are there any software apps which calculate the positions of these
(not-so-)fixed stars in history?
FWIW, the entry for Seginus (the left shoulder of Bootes, the ploughman) on
this site says:-
Manilius 1st century AD writes "they will be kings under kings and
ministers of state, and be charged with the guardianship of the
custodianship of great houses and treasures, who confine their
business to the care of another's home so that the wealth of
monarchs and temple finances will be in their keeping".
Any type of occupation that requires planning is influenced by Bootes.
These people are the driving force behind government and large
corporations. They are the planners and designers, the movers and
shakers, who "make the world go round". Bootes symbolizes the
elder, the sage, the wise old man who is interested in principles
and underlying causes, theories, ideologies, and how the past
effects [sic] the future. (Conservative) politicians, economists,
draftsmen, architects, designers of all kinds.
The same site's discussion of Antares links it to the Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse (which links to the recent thread on Strega, where I mentioned
the Four Grigori, or Watchers), mirroring another October 2000 VMs-list
post by Bradley Schaefer:-
[Antares] is one of the four key stars in the heavens, also called
archangel stars. Michael (Aldebaran) watcher of the East. Gabriel
(Fomalhaut) watcher of the South. Raphael (Regulus) Watcher of
the North. Oriel (Antares) Watcher of the West. At one time they
marked the two Equinoxes and two Solstices. Aldebaran marked
the zero Aries point in 3044 BC, Antares marked zero Libra 3052
BC, Fomalhaut marked zero Capricorn, 2582 BC, Regulus marked
zero Cancer 2345 BC. As one of the four Royal stars of Persia it's
name was Satevis; but, as their lunar asterism, it was Gel, the
"Red"; the Sogdians changing this to Maghan sadwis, the "Great
They have been characterized as Horses, reflected both in the famed
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse (Revelations 6) and Chariot Horses
in the Book of Zechariah.
So: overall, the question is this: is the crowned nymph in Libra referring
to Zubeneschamali (Beta Lib), to Antares (which is actually in the
constallation Scorpius), to Seginus, or to something else again?
FWIW, my current opinion (largely from the Regulus/Leo/Sun and
Sirius/Cancer/Moon connection) is that we're probably looking *not* at an
encoded version of the four horsemen of the apocalypse here, but rather at
an encoded star magnitude chart of some sort, one informed more by
astrology than by mythology. But your opinion may differ... :-o
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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