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 kabbalistic symbols. 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
|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[b]||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|
- 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.
- For the purposes of Behenian fixed stars the star Alpha Leo, also known as Cor Leonis ('Heart of the Lion') or Regulus, should be considered under the auspices of the differences noted in zodiacs as listed above, sidereal versus tropical. In November 2011, through the process of precession, Regulus precessed to 0 Degrees Virgo according to the tropical zodiac, which uses the Vernal Equinox as the primary point of reference. In the sidereal zodiac, Regulus is still considered to be within both the sign and constellation Leo, but in the tropical system, Regulus is no longer in the sign of Leo but instead has precessed into the sign of Virgo.
- Budge, E. A. Wallis (1930). Amulets and Superstitions. London, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0486235734, 978-0486235738
- Robson, Vivian E. (1979). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. Samuel Weiser. ISBN 0877284636, 978-0877284635
- Hermes Trismegistus on the Fifteen Fixed Stars features alternate symbols.