Exploring the Mythical Significance of the Royal Stars
Unearth the mystical power of Royal Stars in astrology, shaping destinies through celestial events. Explore their cosmic influence today!
Around the year 3000 BCE there were four bright stars that marked the turning of the seasons. For the ancient Persians, it was thought that each of these stars was the “watcher” (guardian/chieftain) of that quarter of the sky. The source for the four “chieftain” stars is the text known as Bundahishn, a collection of Zoroastrian cosmogeny and cosmology. Dating from around the 9th century CE, it was thought to be based on more ancient materials that were lost in the conquests of Alexander. The surviving copies date from about the 16th century.
Bundahishn means “primal creation”. The text covers Zoroastrian ideas about the creation of the world and the battle for control over it. It explains that the four stars are commanders in this great battle between the forces of good and evil. There is some controversy as to which specific stars are being referenced, but, since at least the 18th century, the consensus has been that the four “Royal” stars are deemed to be Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares and Fomalhaut. They are all very bright stars, located relatively close to the ecliptic, which form a rough cross in the heavens. This in and of itself is remarkable, and certainly worthy of special note.
The closely opposing pair of Aldebaran and Antares are red in colour, currently located at about 10° of Gemini/Sagittarius tropically. Both are located about 4-5° south of the ecliptic (south latitude). The other opposing pair, Regulus and Fomalhaut, are blue-white in colour and located at 0° Virgo and 4° Pisces, respectively. Regulus is pretty well right on the ecliptic, while Fomalhaut is the furthest removed of the four at 21° south latitude.
I first became aware of the Royal stars through the work of Bernadette Brady in the late 90s, and her work with her partner Darrelyn Gunzberg via the Visual Astrology Newsletter in the 2000s. Brady does a good job of remaining faithful to the Zoroastrian contrast between good and evil by delineating these stars as having both a bright and dark manifestation.
Brady says that each of these stars offers great glory and success, but only if a particular nemesis can be overcome. For Aldebaran, the nemesis is about maintaining integrity and honesty in our contracts. For Fomalhaut, it is about maintaining the purity of our ideals and dreams. For Antares, it is about becoming addicted to intensity and making a life or death struggle out of ordinary things. For Regulus, the nemesis is revenge. Here we can easily see the historical tendency for petty squabbles to be extended generation after generation, with each side accusing the other of horrible crimes and seeking vengeance until the conflict becomes a perpetual cycle of retributions.
We can see a modern version of this tendency unfolding in the events of 1914, leading up to the outbreak of WWI. Mars was conjunct Regulus at the Cancer ingress, and then there was an eclipse conjunct Regulus on August 21. The path of the eclipse went right through Eastern Europe. Classically, these astrological events would have been clearly associated with grave problems for Kings and Princes, both through the fixed star Regulus and the sign of Leo. And as we know, the assassination of the Archduke set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of WWI, and beyond. In the 20th century new technology made for massive conflicts with destruction on a scale never seen before. There are places in France still deemed uninhabitable from WWI, and this led to strong feelings for German compensations. Notably the Regulus story was not yet finished, for we need only a 4° orb for Saturn to be conjunct Regulus in the chart of the Treaty of Versailles. The resultant reparations were of course a motivating factor towards WWII, and it took almost one hundred years before the final reparation’s payment was made in 2010.
It would be nice to think that humanity has learned the lesson of Regulus, however, since the more recent solar eclipse of this star in 2017, the world seems to have once again become obsessed with “revenge politics”, whether in the form of “cancel culture” or never-ending investigations into purported political wrongdoings.
Donald Trump was born with Regulus in conjunction to his ascendant and has become one of the most polarising figures in American politics. Trump is both accused of vengeful politics (such as orchestrating the 6 January United States Capitol attack) and he himself claims to be a victim of them, calling the recent indictments against him a “witch hunt”. No matter your opinion of Trump or any of these issues, it is hard not to see the issue of revenge at play here. Perhaps this should not be surprising, since the 2017 eclipse crossed the United States from sea to shining sea.
The United States has had two Presidents in succession with contacts to the Royal stars. Joe Biden was born with Saturn conjunct Aldebaran and recently became, by far, the oldest President in history.
Brady claims the nemesis of this star is integrity, while the mythology is related to sacred contracts. More generally, bulls are related to commerce and currency. Currently the US finds itself in quite a bind economically. Of course, it is only fair to note that this problem has roots much deeper than anything of Biden’s doing. Nixon, who was the President who took the dollar off the gold standard, also had a connection to the Royals stars, with Venus conjunct Fomalhaut.
The nemesis of Fomalhaut is maintaining a pure connection to one’s ideals. Clearly, departing from the ideal of the gold standard has led to a series of debasements of the dollar. The US has run deficits every year since 2001. In the wake of the pandemic, these deficits ballooned to an average of three trillion for 2020 and 2021. All the money printing done to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic has resulted in a dramatic spike in inflation. The situation is bad enough that the dominance of the dollar as the global reserve currency is being called into question.
However, any potential “de-dollarisation” of the World economy will take time. This brings up the fact that several prominent US Presidents have had outer planet contacts to these stars, which only occurs across long periods. Lincoln, the “great redeemer”, had Neptune conjunct Antares and presided over the intense life and death struggle of the American Civil War. Eisenhower, the general who helped save Europe from Fascism, was born with Neptune and Pluto conjunct Aldebaran. After serving two terms as President, Eisenhower famously went on to warn about the dangers of the hidden influence on public policy from the military industrial complex and a “scientific-technological elite.”
Today, people refer to these hidden influences as the “deep state”, which is rather consistent with the symbolism of Eisenhower’s conjunction of Neptune and Pluto with a Royal star.
The last time an outer planet transited a Royal star was around 2012, which was when the US Senate approved a report on the secret use of torture by the CIA. This is a clear example of “deep state” involvement in the dark departure from ideals.
The next passage of an outer planet over one of these stars will be Uranus over Aldebaran in 2028. This is very significant because the US was born with such a conjunction, and this will be its third Uranus return. Uranus also crosses its North node in Gemini, which means Uranus is intersecting the ecliptic, which is the orbital plane of the Earth.
These transits usually involve some kind of global conflict. In 1776 there was a global conflict between England, France and its colonies. In 1860, the US Civil War also had important global implications. And, we are still operating under the hegemony the US has enjoyed since the end of WWII — though it is increasingly being called into question. Therefore, Uranus’s passage across Aldebaran and its North Node in Gemini could lead to chaotic conflicts and events, which, in hindsight, will probably amount to some kind of “tipping point” leading us into a new global order.
Beyond eclipses and outer planet conjunctions, another phenomenon the Royal stars are subject to is occultation. An occultation is the term for when the Moon passes between the star and the Earth, causing it to disappear and become occult or hidden. Only four bright stars are subject to occultation by the Moon. Three of these are the Royal stars that are closest to the ecliptic (Fomalhaut is beyond the five-degree limit of the Moon’s path). Being
two kinds of darkening, perhaps eclipses and Lunar occultations are more likely to trigger the dark side of these stars to become more obvious or manifest in the collective consciousness.
Because the places where the Moon crosses the ecliptic, its Nodes, have an 18-year cycle, the Moon only crosses near enough to Aldebaran and Antares to occult them every 18 years. This is somewhat similar to the Saros cycle of eclipses, but the Moon stays close enough to occult these stars for multiple years, with many occultations occurring each year during that span. This is followed by a quiet period, with no occultations of that particular star for around a decade. The previous series of occultations of Aldebaran was from 2015 to 2018, and the next series will happen from 2033 to 2037.
The last series of occultation for Antares was from 2007 to 2010, with the next one beginning in 2023 and lasting through 2028. It will be interesting to watch for the themes of the dark side of Antares during this time, which Brady notes is about seeking intensity for its own sake and turning minor conflicts into life-or-death struggles.
Again, like with Regulus, this sounds like a pretty common foible of humans. The specific dates to watch for in 2024 will be: 8 January, 5 February, 3 and 30 March, 26 April, 24 May, 20 June, 17 July, 14 August, 10 September, 7 October, 4 November and 28 December. Given the nature of Antares regarding intense life or death struggles, it seems likely that these occultations could lead to conditions that pave the way for the global conflicts that have accompanied the transits of Uranus across Aldebaran and its North Node in Gemini. In these times of constant polarisation and outrage, being able to keep a cool head and disengage from conflict on a personal level will be important. It seems likely that we will increasingly be asked to choose sides, and the ability to evaluate our choices calmly and rationally will keep us from being manipulated by media, corporate and government influences.
In summary, the four Royal stars that form a cross in the heavens are definitely stars that marked the equinoxes and solstices around the year 3000 BCE. We can imagine that these stars would have been important to astrologers of the time, and they probably were, however the only documented source for this idea comes from a Zoroastrian text whose written form came to us two thousand years later. Nevertheless, since the 18th century these stars have been referred to as the four Royal stars and Bernadette Brady has put together some key concepts for these stars that seem faithful to their supposed ancient Zoroastrian heritage and/or inspiration. To continue learning about them, watch for events like eclipses, outer planet conjunctions and occultations of the four stars to bring out their significations in world events. We can also research nativities that contain close conjunctions to these stars for further clarity about how they show up in people’s lives.