Behenian Stars – The Magical Stars of the Alchemists

The ancient alchemists operated from the awareness that under certain celestial influences magic was more likely to occur, especially when worked with consciously as stated by Cornelius Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy

Magicians affirm that Images,
Seals & Rings Being Opportunely Framed
under a Certain Constellation…
some Wonderful Thing may be Received.
~Cornelius Agrippa Three Books of Occult Philosophy

In European and Arabic medieval astrology the Behenian fixed stars were important in understanding the work of the alchemists. The occult traditions of these stars were presented in Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s work De Occulta Philosophia and were referred to as the Behenii (singular Behenius). Aggippa attributed the mysteries of these stars to Hermes Trismegitus and went into great detail describing their magical properties.

Behenian comes from the Arabic word ‘bahman” meaning “root.” Therefore, the Behenian stars were considered a source or “root” of astrological power that was magnified whenever one or more of the visible planets were within six degrees. Find out more in this audio.

Behenian Stars – 12 minutes

Each Behenian star is connected with a ritual gemstone and plant that was used to help draw upon the star’s influence (e.g., into a talisman) as described in the table below.





10 Gemini 01
Hyades in the Bull Ruby or Garnet Milk Thistle
00 Gemini 13
Bull Rock Crystal Fennel
26 Taurus 24
Perseus Diamond Black Hellebore
22 Gemini 05
Auriga Sapphire Thyme
14 Cancer 18
Canis Major Beryl Juniper
26 Cancer 00
Canis Minor Agate Buttercup
00 Virgo 03
Lion Granite Mugwort
13 Libra 40
Corvus Onyx Burdock
24 Lib 03
Virgin Priestess Emerald Sage
24 Libra 27
Herdsman (Bootes) Jasper Plantain
28 Gem 48
Ursa Minor Magnet Succory
12 Scorpio 31
Corona Borealis Topaz Rosemary
9 Sagittarius 58
Scorpion Sardonyx Birthwort
15 Capricorn 32
Lyra Chrysolite Winter Savory
Deneb Algedi
23 Aquarius 46
The Goat Fish Chalcedony Marjoram

For those interested in plant medicine, when Antares is being activated by a planet passing by, this star has connections with Birthwort (a.k.a  A. Clematitis) a highly regarded medicinal plant  that was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Birthwort can be fatally toxic to humans if too much is taken so if you use this plant be careful.

It is not surprising that Birthwort was used in childbirth to help expel the placenta. The root of the plant (Snakeroot) was used to treat snakebites. Some studies show that snakeroot does have the ability to deactivate certain types of snake venom, but may be limited to certain types of venom, so depending on the type of snakebite it may or may not be effective. Studies show Birthwort increases production and activity of leukocytes (white blood cells), and contains a disinfectant that assists in wound healing.

The theory of the alchemists is that when Planets are near Antares (or any of the other Behenian stars) medicines made at that time are especially effective.


  1. hi Cayelin ! where would i read more about this ? i would love to learn this in more detail.

    does this mean for example that Alderbarran is a ‘root’ of Geminii whenever a planet is within 6 degrees of it ?

    or that Sirius is a ‘root’ of Cancer energy whenever a planet is within 6 degrees of it ?

    does it mean an intensification of the Cancer energy then that would override the energy of the decan ? (sorry if that is a really dumb questions, i’m still learning astrology.)

    thank you for all of your wisdom !

    • Hi Wendy…I am so thrilled you are interested in learning more about this. And thank you so much for your great questions. My sense is that all this is evolving quickly and creating your own connection to these stars is the best place to start. However, finding out what the ancients were doing with this might also be helpful as a reference point for what has been as we engage what is. Here is a place to start

      Shamanic Astrology doesn’t use decans so not sure how to answer that question. Due to procession all the stars will be with all the seasonal signs over 26,000 years so the evolutionary process for both is continually at work, meaning whatever we have known about these energies in the past may not hold true in the present…that is why I suggest creating a living relationship with the stars, planets, and signs to find out how you are relating to them and they are relating to you. Joyful Blessings, Cayelin

      • i just now saw your reply !
        i listened to your Spica recording tonight & loved it very much !
        really fascinating wonderful beautiful information ! 🙂
        thank you very much !
        bright solar, and dreamy lunar, and splendiferoius stellar blessings to you ! <3
        love, Wendy

  2. Thank you for the Behenian Star info…it sure explains why these stars are more well-known than others.

    • I agree…plus they are brighter and easier to spot in the sky and that is why they captured the attention of ancient sky watchers.

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