Regulus – Watcher of the North

The Sun (ruler), Leo and lunar mansions – Persia 17th c.

Regulus is perhaps the best-known of the Watchers. He is of the nature of Mars and Jupiter and is Guardian of the North. Regulus provides success if revenge is avoided. The success must be pure. maintaining power without ever resorting to revenge is, of course, a great challenge. Still, there is a gentleness in this powerful lion and it comes as no surprise that the healing angel finds his place, here in the North. Jupiter and Mars can be read as Mercy and Severity, the essential symbols of the Pharaohs as rulers was the crook (heka) and the flail or flabellum (nekhakha). A good King needs to know when to use one or the other for the sake of the Kingdom. I, therefore, find the following passage from Manilius to be exceptionally jaundiced:

“Who can doubt the nature of the monstrous Lion, and the pursuits he prescribes for those born beneath his sign? The lion ever devises fresh fights and fresh warfare on animals and lives on spoil and pillaging of flocks. The sons of the Lion are filled with the urge to adorn their proud portals with pelts and to hang up on their walls the captured prey, to bring the peace of terror to the woods, and to live upon plunder. There are those whose like bent is not checked by the city-gates, but they swagger about in the heart of the capital with droves of beasts; they display mangled limbs at the shop-front, slaughter to meet the demands of luxury, and count it gain to kill. Their temper is equally prone to fitful wrath and ready withdrawal, and guileless are the sentiments of their honest hearts” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, p.237.]

Venant – Raphael The Healing Archangel (Regulus) Watcher of the North.

Nevertheless, Manilius’ list of the pitfalls of avarice, wrath and their fellow demons should be required reading for those who grasp for power. The good King or Queen is a healer – avoiding needless conflict and undue suffering, acting for the greater good.. This is the essence of nobility.

The North as a direction is associated with wisdom as well as achievement. in a wide variety of cultures. These are decidedly 1oth House themes. The ability to excel, to show mercy and possessing of the ability to communicate with and lead others, to recognize the special skill of those around him are all marks of nobility. The royal stars reach lofty heights and falling from them rarely ends well,

The real and imagined qualities of lions led to associations with kingship, in concert with the Sun, from earliest times and this was the case in parts of the world that had no actual lions. The leonine reputation as the king of the jungle combined with a mane evocative of the Sun produced an archetypal image adopted by Kings and Emperors to adopt leonine titles and iconography.


Ancient Persian Talisman – Lion and Sun

Fomalhaut – Watcher of the South

According to Ptolemy, Fomalhaut, in Piscis Australis and Watcher of the South, is of the nature of Venus and Mercury. It is generally a fortunate star and indeed very powerful and yet to cause “malevolence of sublime scope and character, and change from a material to a spiritual form of expression. Cardan stated that together with the stars rising with 12 Gemini it gives an immortal name.” [Robson*, p.165-166.]

The name Fomalhaut comes from the Arabic meaning Fish’s Mouth, which is how Ptolemy described it Fomalhaut is a very bright star among dim ones This makes it easy to see, but the constellation isn’t a great deal of help in finding it. In the heavens, the fish can be seen drinking the water flowing from the jar of Aquarius. Other stories credit the stellar fish swallowing the waters of the great deluge, thus saving the world. The Fish is interpreted as a saviour in several traditions, including Hinduism and one of the main manifestations of Vishnu is as the Cosmic Fish.

According to the brief account of Eratosthenes, the Syrian fertility goddess Derceto (the Greek name for Atargatis) is supposed to have fallen into a lake at Bambyce near the Euphrates river in Syria and was saved by a large fish. Hyginus says, in a repetition of his note on Pisces, that as a result of this the Syrians do not eat fish, but rather they worship the images of fish as gods. See Ian Ridpath Star Tales and my own article on the origins of Pisces entitled “Ikhthus Unchained.”

Canopus, alongside Achernar and Fomalhaut, which are corresponding stars in Eridanus and Piscis Australis, made up the Tre Facelle of Dante’s Purgatory, symbolizing Faith, Hope, and Charity:

“When the Southern Fish rises into the heavens, leaving its native waters for a foreign element, whoever at this hour takes hold of life will spend his years about sea-shore and river-bank he will capture fish as they swim poised in the hidden depths; he will cast his greedy eyes into the midst of the waters, craving to gather pellucid stones (pearls) and, immersed himself, will bring them forth together with the homes of protective shell wherein they lurk. No peril is left for man to brave, profit is sought by means of shipwreck, and the diver who has plunged into the depths becomes, like the booty, the object of recovery. And not always small is the gain to be derived from this dangerous labor (implying that a diver’s life was usually an unenviable one) pearls are worth fortunes, and because of these splendid stones there is scarcely a rich man left. Dwellers on land are burdened with the treasures of the sea. A man born to such a lot plies his skill along the shore; or he purchases at a fixed wage another’s labor and sells for a profit what it has brought him, a pedlar in the many different forms of sea products”. [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 5, p.333.]

To move from the absurd to the sublime, the association of Venus and Mercury is a very apt one. Gabriel is the messenger Archangel and Aquarius is the human face among the four Fixed Signs. An image of Gabriel can often be found in the Southern areas of Churches.

Saint St Archangel Gabriel Christian Russian Handpainted Orthodox Byzantine Icon

Fomalhaut can bring unexpected honours as symbolized in Gabriel’s role in the Annunciation.

The Babylonians are credited with identifying the water-bearer pouring out water to a giant fish. The water-bearer represented their god Ea, and he ruled the period either side of the winter solstice when Babylon was subject to flooding. The Great Fish was supposed to be the parent of the Pisces fishes, in both Babylonian and Greek myth.

The Mercurial nature becomes very clear in nativities that have a close association of Fomalhaut and Mercury. Conjunctions produce strong intellects unless otherwise diminished.

Aldebaran (Tascheter) the Watcher of the East.

Icon of Archangel Michael (detail), Yaroslavl, 1216.

The constellation of Taurus holds the red eye of Aldebaran (Tascheter) the Watcher of the East. He is almost universally considered to the be the Watcher of the Pleiades. The association is with the Spring Equinox when the system was conceived. The Pleiades are associated with rain and even tears. To suffer a dry Spring was considered a bad omen indeed, as crops would fail.

The Pleiades aka The Seven Sisters is probably among the best-known star clusters in the heavens. It is easily visible with the naked eye on a clear night in the winters of the Northern Hemisphere.  It has also been of particular interest since antiquity and to a variety of cultures. There are references to the Pleiades in Hesiod, The Odyssey, The Bible, and the Quran. The asterism is also revered in  Hindu mythology. The Pleiades have always been one of the most studied asterism in our history. Manilus writes: ”

Auroch (Bull No 18) Hall of Bulls Lascaux

“The Bull will dower the countryside with honest farmers and will come as a source of toil into their peaceful lives; it will bestow, not gifts of glory, but the fruits of the earth. It bows its neck amid the stars and of itself demands a yoke for its shoulders. When it carries the sun’s orb on its horns, it bids battle with the soil begin and rouses the fallow land to its former cultivation, itself leading the work, for it neither pauses in the furrows nor relaxes its breast in the dust. The sign of the Bull has produced a Serranus and a Curius, has carried the rods of office through the fields, and has left its plough to become a dictator [eque suo dictator venit aratro]. Its sons have the love of unsung excellence: their hearts and bodies derive strength from a massiveness that is slow to move, whilst in their faces dwells the boy-god Love (Cupido).” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 4, p.233].

The Pleiades (M45) as imaged with the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph from Bifrost Observatory. For complete details about this image, see Pleiades (M45). Photo copyright 2012 by Fred Es[panak of NASA

In the image of the Bull from the Lascaux caves, we find that the astronomical detail is stunning. The Bull is enmeshed in the Hyades, with the Pleiades clearly articulated just above him. You can also see the belt of Orion. That we have such a clear a Neolithic representation of the constellation is a testimony to how long the heavens have held particular meaning for us and also that there has been far less changing in our interpretations than we might reasonably expect. Of course, this begs the question.

The Angel of the East is Michael the Archangel. He is best known as something of an Avenging Angel but is more properly known as a protecting Angel. His sword is always ready.  The East is the place of the Sunrise and the beginning of things.

This is what Vivian Robson says about Alderaban: “It gives honor, intelligence, eloquence, steadfastness, integrity, popularity, courage, ferocity, a tendency to sedition, a responsible position, public honors and gain of power and wealth through others, but its benefits seldom prove lasting and there is also danger of violence and sickness. [Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology.  p.120.] Aldebaran is known as the Eye of God but also associated with blindness. Many of these attributes are the blessings and shortfalls of youth. We are facing the origins of creation.

We can’t forget that this is the element of Earth or that the Hebrew meanings are oxen in the sense of the yoked power of the Bull, Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabets and speaks to powerful potential. The name aleph is originally derived from the West Semitic word for “ox”, and the shape of the letter derives from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph.  It is thought that this glyph was in turn based on Egyptian hieroglyph, however, I find insufficient evidence of the last claim.

The tarot card that embodies this quite consciously is The Fool. The Fool is in a sense outside of the system and has the value of zero and perfect potential. In mosy decks, the Fool is shown with a staff with a sack over his shoulder, which is undeniably associated with virility. the Fool is youth personified: optimistic for no particular reason and most of all, unaware of the potency he carries and is about to walk off a cliff while sniffing a flower.

The name Aldebaran (pronounced /ælˈdɛbərən/) comes from the Arabic word al-dabarān, meaning “the follower.” The name refers to the Pleiades cluster (Messier 45), which the star appears to be following across the sky.

Antares – Watcher of the West

he Temptation of Adam and Eve. 1430s. Harley 2278 f. 1v

Until I started to write this article, I had no idea that there was so much confusion regarding the Watchers and their associations. I read some pieces that were truly bizarre. The situation therefore indicates the need for an introduction regarding the historical origins and essential meaning of the four Royal Star of Persia. Such an introduction is long overdue in any case and will assist in reference to other articles.

These stars are clearly of particular significance and importance Thier significance is cross-cultural, but the most complete explanation is found n Persian sources and it’s entirely possible that the narratives in The Tanakh also owe their Persian origins as demonstrated in The Book of Enoch, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and other books; 

This means that the Book of the Watchers was almost certainly heavily informed by the Persians. The Jews drew heavily on Persian tradition and their knowledge of the heavens. A copy of the complete Book of Enoch can be found here.  

Horoscope from ‘The book of birth of Iskandar (Persia 1411) Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome

Some background history will assist in showing the context and transmission of these Persian, Zoroastrian idea to 3rd century B.C. Jewry. Cyrus the Great – reigned from 550 to 530 B.C.conquered Babylon on October 11, 539 B.C. and set Darius the Mede as “vassal” over Babylon. It was Cyrus the Great that formed the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) as the successor to the Babylonians.

Cyrus is mentioned 23 times in the Bible and is called “the Lord’s anointed” (Isaiah 45:1) and the “My shepherd” (Isaiah 44:27-28). 150 years prior to Cyrus’ birth, Isaiah foretold his birth, his name, and the tasks that God determined Cyrus to accomplish. Only a very few biblical commentators believe that Cyrus was Esther’s husband. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in 1879 and describes the conquest of Babylon and Cyrus’ desire to repatriate to their homelands those who had been exiled. This included the Jewish people held captive in Babylon. The Persian Empire is often called the Achaemenid Empire in honour of a man named Achaemenes, who is considered the patriarch of the Persians, and whose very name means “having a friend’s mind.” See The Persians and the Achaemenid Empire 

Archangel Uriel, Orthodox Icon

Antares The West is associated with the Autumnal Equinox (Watcher of the West) and is also imbued with the symbolism of the setting Sun and the realms beyond the Western horizon. The Western Isles have great symbolic currency in many traditions, including the Druidic-Celtic culture and in fact most Aryan mythology. Scorpius is a very bright constellation and Antares (Satevis) glows orange and bright in the heart of the Scorpion. If you have reasonably clear skies and don’t live in a major city, it’s easy to spot.

Students of The Bible will recall that the Garden of Eden is guarded by an angel to prevent Adam and Eve returning to Paradise: “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the East of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”. (Gen.3:24).  The Angel guarding the entrance to paradise is understood to be Uriel. Innocence cannot be regained, so another way must be found. This is very close to what William Blake means by “Innocence and Experience.” The sword is a virtually universal symbol of truth – one has to cut through illusions. In this respect, Uriel has much in common with Manjushri, who also wields a flaming sword.

Uriel comes from the Hebrew name אוּרִיאֵל (‘Uri’el) which meant “God is my light”. He is mentioned only in the Apocrypha, for example in the Book of Enoch where he warns Noah of the coming flood. For an extensive list of Uriel’s associations, see here.

The Four Directions are associated with the Fixed Astrological Signs: and stars -Aquarius (Fomalhaut), Taurus (Aldebaran), Leo (Regulus) and Scorpio (Antares). I have found a number of articles on the web that place Raphael with the healer, The rationale seems rather weakly connected to Orphiacus. However, the imagery of the Heart of a Scorpion speaks less of healing in the

Manjushri (Jampel Yang)

Manjushri is the embodiment of the wisdom that cuts through illusion to realize enlightenment

ordinary sense and more to do with ‘only by the fire may you be purified.” Uriel is not only the Angel with the flaming sword. He is always shown with a flame that denotes both light and heat. The courage to travel to the Western Isles ultimately becomes an inevitability. Conquering the fear of death is a lesson for the warrior. These are quintessentially Scorpio themes