Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning
So, too, [Regulus] was the leader of the Four Royal Stars of the ancient Persian monarchy, the Four Guardians of Heaven. Dupuis
, referring to this Persian character, said that the four stars marked the cardinal points, assigning Hastorang, as he termed it, to the North; Venant to the South; Tascheter to the East; and Satevis to the West: but did not identify these titles with the individual stars. Flammarion does so, however, with Fomalhaut
, and Aldebaran
for the first three respectively, so that we may consider Satevis as Antares
. This same scheme appeared in India, although the authorities are not agreed as to these assignments and identifications; but, as the right ascensions are about six hours apart, they everywhere probably were used to mark the early equinoctial and solstitial colures, four great circles in the sky, or generally the four quarters of the heavens. At the time that these probably were first thought of, Regulus lay very near to the summer solstice, and so indicated the solstitial colure.
The Origin of All Religious Worship
After the planetary system, the mystagogue presents us with the tableau of the Heaven of the fixed Stars, and with the four Celestial figures, which were placed at the four corners of Heaven, according to the astrological system. These four fignures were the Lion, the Bull, the Waterman and the Eagle, which divided the whole zodiac into four parts, or from three signs to three signs, in the points of the sphere called fixed and solid. The stars, which corresponded to it, were called the four royal stars.
The Secret Doctrine: The Zodiac and its Antiquity
The Persians say that four beautiful stars were placed as guardians at the four corners of the world. Now it so happens that at the commencement of Kali Yug, 3000 or 3100 years before our era, the “Eye of the Bull” and the “Heart of the Scorpion” were exactly at the equinoctial points, while the “Heart of the Lion” and the “Southern Fish” were pretty near the solstitial points. An observation of the rising of the Pleiades in the evening, seven days before the autumnal equinox, also belongs to the year 3000 before our era. This and similar observations collected in Ptolemy’s calendars, though he does not give their authors, these observations, which are older than those of the Chaldeans, may well be the work of the Hindus.
The So-Called Royal Stars of Persia
How did this idea of the "Royal Stars of Persia" originate, and is it based on any historical evidence? What are the "ancient Persian records" referred to by so many writers? The whole matter, of course, can be traced back very easily to several passages in the Bundahish
, a work which, unfortunately, seems to have been consulted by very few astronomical writers. This name, which means "Creation of the Beginning" or "Original Creation," is applied by the Parsees to a Pahlavi work which appears to be a collection of fragments relating to the cosmogony, mythology, and legendary history of the ancient Persians and the worship of Ahura Mazda; and although the work, as we have it, could not have been completed until after the Muhammadan conquest of Persia in 651 A.D., it is possible that some of the myths and legends contained in it are older than Zarathushtra himself. Many passages have the appearance of being translations of an Avestan original, possibly the lost Damdad Nask
, one of the twenty-one books into which the whole of the Zoroastrian scriptures are said to have been divided before the time of Darius (Sacred Books of the East
, hereafter referred as to SBE
, V. xxii, xxiv, xlii, Oxford, 1880. The translation which follows is by E.W. West, the great English Pahlavi Scholar).
Sirius [Tishtar] is the chieftain of the East, Sataves the chieftain of the South, Antares [Vanand] the chieftain of the West, the Seven Bears [Haptoring] the chieftain of the North; the Lord of the throne, Capicornus, whom they call the Lord of Mid-Heaven.
According to Denkard, the 21 nasks (books) mirror the structure of the 21-word-long Ahuna Vairya
prayer: each of the three lines of the prayer consists of seven words. Correspondingly, the nasks are divided into three groups, of seven volumes per group. Originally, each volume had a word of the prayer as its name, which so marked a volume’s position relative to the other volumes. Only about a quarter of the text from the nasks has survived until today.
Date of the Bundahis
But from about 700 B.C. onward the astronomers at Ninevah speak distinctly of determining the date when day and night are of the same length. Hitherto, though there may have been a vague recognition of the fact that the Sun was in the constellation Taurus in springtime, there had been no fiducial point from whence the Sun's precise position could be definitely measured. From 700 B.C., when definite observations began to made, it must have been seen that the equinoctial point was in Aries, and when the division of the ecliptic into the twelve equal Signs was made, the vernal equinox was considered to fall the 8th degree of the Sign Aries; in other words, the bright star Hamal
], the brightest in the Constellation Aries, was taken as pointing out the commencement from whence the Signs were to be reckoned… The Signs therefore corresponded as closely as might be with the constellations from which they were named, but they were not at this period considered to begin from the point of intersection of the equator and ecliptic, nor did they move with that point through the Constellations. For Ki-din-nu
and his fellow Greek and Chaldean astronomers had not recognized that the vernal equinox moved, and was not, from the nature of things, attached to the star Hamal. But when Hipparchus made his catalogue about 129 B.C., the vernal equinox had shifted to the very border of the constellation Aries and he therefore fixed the First Point of Aries, not to an actual star, but to the vernal equinox. As he discovered the fact of precession, it has followed from his day onward that the Signs do not remain in correspondence with the constellations from which they are derived, but move through them with the precession of the equinoxes. We have therefore three great periods in ancient astronomy:— [(i) From B.C. 2700 to B.C. 700: Taurus led the Zodiac; (ii) From B.C. 700 to B.C. 129: Aries led the Zodiac; (iii) From B.C. 129 to Present: Vernal Equinox has been taken as the fiducial point from which the Signs of the Zodiac are reckoned: it is the "First Point of Aries". This fiducial point is fixed as regards the Signs, but moves as regards the Constellation of actual stars.]
The Zoroastrian Star-Champions (Part: i, ii, iii)
[Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad
] says, "the first star is Tîstar." One of the most famous of the Yasts, the Tîr Yast
, is devoted to it. This ascription of praise (for Yast is the Avestan Yesti
, "praise") to Tîstar is certainly older than the Bundahis, but as yet we have no means of knowing how much older it is. [A fight between Teshtar and Apoush in sky
. . .
Those who hold that the "bright and glorious star, Tîstrya," is an actual star, a mere star, generally identify it with Sirius, because this is the brightest star of the heavens… But in the Tîr Yast it is obviously not a mere star that is addressed, but the Angel of the Rains; and now, looking back again at Mkh
, xlix. 6–11, we find the same idea existent there, for Tîstar is there "the star of water germs
" in whose path is "the fertility of the world."
. . .
) The conclusion of the whole matter, in the Tîr Yast, in the Bundahis, and Zad-Sparam is that the function of Tîstar is to make the sea boil and the vapours to rise. In other words, the Rains break.
. . .
The three forms which Tîstar assumed have no astronomical meaning, only an astrological one, for, as the author of the Bundahis says, "the astrologers say that every constellation had three forms." The three forms which astrologers have given to each constellation are its three Decans, and the reference to them in the Tîr Yast enables us to place its composition in the second of the three periods noted in my last paper—that is to say, it must be subsequent to 700 B.C. There is only one heavenly body whose movements in three successive periods of ten days each can be regularly associated with the progress of a particular season, and that body is not Sirius, which Tîstar is usually assumed to be, but the most "bright and glorious star" of all—the Sun. In the fourth month of the Persian year the Sun passes through three decans of the sign Cancer, taking ten days to traverse each decan. [Tishtar Yasht (Hymn to Tishtrya)
| Tîstar's Other Assistant
| The Three-Legged Ass Of The Bundahis
| Yazatas: Tishtyra
The meaning of Haptôk-Rîng is clear. Hapta
is "seven" in Iranian as it is in Greek, and the control of the north is ascribed to this constellation (Bd
XIII, 12). The "Seven Stars" ruling in the north can only be the great northern seven, the Septentriones, the Plough or Charles's Wain. This identification appears clear and natural. But in addition we have, in Bd
XIV. 28, a curious reference to the connection of Haptôk-Rîng with the Dog, no doubt the Dog-Star Sirius
. [Note: Waratah-Blossoms
: Seven are the veils of the dancing-girl in the harem of IT
| Baj of Haptoiringa
| Yazatas: Haptoiringa
Which constellation, then, is it which is pre-eminently the ruler of the south?… In the sky we find that the most southern of all the brilliant stars visible to the inhabitants of the north is Fomalhaut, the "mouth of the fish," the Southern Fish who swims always facing Cetus the Sea-Monster. Into the mouth of this Fish there streams the water from the pitcher of Aquarius, and there seems little reason to doubt that Satavês is the angel presiding over this portion of the heavens. [Yazatas: Satavaesa
The references to Vanand, the chieftain of the west, are few and not very illuminating. His astrological properties, however, appear to connect him with the constellation Scorpio, or with its principal star [Antares]. [Vanant Yasht
| Baj of Vanant
| Yazatas: Vanant
The Persians divided the hours of daylight during the summer months into five watches, which they called gâs
, and the middle gâh
, that of the Sun's culmination, was known as Rapitvin. The fifth star-champion, therefore, is the Angel of the Sun, in its ascendancy, at noon on the day of the spring equinox, and the symbol that sets it forth is the sign of division, of cutting in two—the halving of the year and the halving of the day. [The Sacred Books of the East
: The object of the text seems to be to connect the Rapîtvîn Gâh with some great mid-sky and midday constellation or star, possibly Regulus, which, about B.C. 960, must have been more in the daylight than any other important star during the seven months of summer, the only time that the Rapîtvîn Gâh can be celebrated].
The term yazata is already used in the Gathas
, the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and believed to have been composed by Zoroaster himself. In these hymns, yazata is used as a generic, applied to God as well as to the "divine sparks", that in later tradition are the Amesha Spentas
In later Zoroastrianism some of these yasatas are equivalent to the archangels. The best known among these divine beings represent the three aspects of truth in action; Atar (the life-giving force and consciousness); Sraosha (the awakening voice within); and Ashi (the resulting bliss). The number of Yasatas including the Amesha Spentas is often 33.
Yet another Setup Tool
Yet another Setup Tool (YaST), is an RPM-based operating system setup and configuration tool that is featured in the openSUSE
Linux distribution, as well as Novell's derived commercial distributions. It features tools that can configure many aspects of the system. It is also part of the defunct United Linux. The first SuSE distribution that included YaST was released in May, 1996. YaST is free software that Novell has made available under the GPL.
The Babylonian Zodiac
…the Aldebaran-Antares axis as the fiducial axis for the Babylonian zodiac, with Aldebaran at the middle of the sign of Taurus and Antares at the middle of the sign of Scorpio [Anonymous of the Year 379
Encyclopædia Iranica :: Haftōrang
, Astrology and Astronomy In Iran
, Cautes and Cautopates
, Zamyād Yašt
The famous Orphic hymn on the great periodical cataclysm divulges the whole esotericism of the event. Pluto (in the pit) carries off Eurydice, bitten by the (polar) serpent. Then Leo, the lion, is vanquished. Now, when the Lion is in the pit, or below the south pole, then Virgo, as the next sign, follows him, and when her head, down to the waist, is below the South horizon — she is inverted. On the other hand, the Hyades are the rain or Deluge constellations; and Aldebaran (he who follows, or succeeds the daughters of Atlas, or the Pleiades) looks down from the eye of Taurus.