Seven things that astrologers should know about fixed stars. A short list of seven points to have as part of your astrological knowledge. 

StarLogos >>> 2010 - a recap on the Visual Astrology conference in Santa Fe, NM, USA.

This newsletter is largely devoted to recording the adventure of StarLogos >>> 2010, Santa Fe and we have included pictures and comments from many of the delegates. To us in our journey of reclaiming the sky for astrologers such conferences are milestones in the history of this new but also ancient subject. Every time we gather from around the world new ideas emerge. These ideas will appear on the pages of this newsletter but for this issue we just want to honour the event that was StarLogos >>> 2010.

For Readers from Down Under - Do you know about our 3-day workshops 'Re-Thinking the Heavens, Cosmology, Sky and Chart' - January 7-9, 2011, Adelaide South Australia? See the end of this newsletter for more information.

SPECIAL NOTE: If your email-reading software has trouble reading this newsletter then click here and go to the TOP newsletter in the archive list to read it online.


Seven things astrologers should know  about Fixed Stars
Bernadette Brady M.A.

At the conference I was asked about fixed stars. I  tend to get asked similar questions whenever I am talking to astrologers. So with this in mind I have compiled a list of seven things to know about fixed stars!

1. Why do stars  matter in astrology?
The stars and their patterns in the night sky have been a blackboard for the projection of humanity's stories and mythology for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. Symbolically therefore they are just as vital and rich with meaning for astrology as the planets and the tropical zodiac signs. 

2. Are the brighter stars more important than the dim stars?
The importance of a star in astrological use is not its brightness but rather the amount of mythology linked with the star.

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius at magnitude -1.42 and the dimmest stars that are still active astrologically have a magnitude of around 3.5 to 5. Stars like Acubens, the alpha star in the constellation Cancer, has a magnitude of only 4.25, so it is very dim to our eye but it is 'bright' with mythology. One unit of magnitude is about 2.5 times more light. So if Acubens in Cancer is a 10 watt light bulb then Sirius is a 1000 watt bulb or 100 times brighter than Acubens, yet Acubens is just as 'strong' in charts as Sirius.

3. What was the original way that astrologers worked with stars?
The Egyptian and Mesopotamian manner of linking stars with planets was to observe when a star and planet 'touched the earth' at the same time.

The image of a cross within a circle was and still is a symbol for how the earth touches the divine sky. In religious expression it is used to show how the mortal world can become divine or how it touches the divine, as can be seen in the two ancient crosses given below. In astrology this sacred union is represented by the angles of the chart - Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant, and IC.

If a star and a planet were both on this cross at the same time this is known as a paran relationship, a union of the divine star with the more worldly planet and the very earth itself. 

The Saint Thomas Kottakavu Church at North Paravur, India. This cross is engraved on granite stone believed to have been made around 880 C.E.   Cross in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. The cathedral is dated from the 4th century CE.

This original method slowly fell into disuse because it was impossible to reconstruct the star risings and settings without an astrolabe set for the latitude of a person's birth. Thus by the time of the decline and disuse of the astrolabe in the 17th century, we see the final abandonment of working with parans in astrology. However, with the advent of computers in our current era we are now easily able to return to this original method and sacred concept.

4. How many stars and planet combinations are usual for a person's chart? - Using an orb 2 minutes of time, most people will have 12 to 18 star and planet parans active in their astrology.

5. Why are the stars called 'Fixed'? 
The stars are called 'Fixed' because for a set location a star will rise in the east in the same place on the horizon every single day. It will also set in the same place on the western horizon every single day. This is different to the planets that rise and set at varying places on the line of the horizon, constantly shifting their location of rising or setting. The planets are 'the wanderers' ('planetoi' in Greek) and the stars are fixed.

6. Where do all the star names come from?
Stars names come largely from the Sumerian, Babylonian cultures or the pre-Hellenistic Mediterranean people. Many star names start with the letters 'Al' such as Aldebaran, the great red eye of Taurus the Bull, or Al Rescha the Sacred Knot of Pisces. 'Al' is Arabic for 'The'. Other stars may start with Ras as in Ras Alhague in Ophiuchus or Rastaban in Draco, where the word 'Ras' is from the Arabic for 'head'. The word Deneb, as in Denebola in Leo or Deneb Algedi in Capricorn is the Arabic work for 'tail'.

The oddest-named star in the sky is Sualocin, the alpha star of the constellation Delphinus, which was named by Piazzi Palermo in 1814 after his assistant Nicolaus Venator who helped him after he nearly lost his eye sight. Do you see how Piazzi gave his assistant via his name a permanent place in fixed star history?

7. How many stars are there in the sky? There are about 4000 - 5000 visible stars (magnitude 6 or brighter) but on any one night, with a dark moon and no light pollution, you will be able to see about 1500 stars.

However, with paran fixed star work in astrology we focus on the 'bright' mythological stars and we work with about 64 stars, each of which has shown a consistent pattern of mythological expression in charts.



There and back again…
StarLogos >>>2010 Santa Fe

Darrelyn Gunzburg


Like all conferences StarLogos >>>2010 Santa Fe was several years in the planning and began a year after StarLogos 2007. Because it was a intense teaching conference our limit for registrations was 45 and we reached this a month out and so not all who wanted to come were able to find a place.


And so it began…


We had all met via the Conference Community Forum we had set up on the website, so when finally we met what a joyful meeting was this! Names became faces, old friends were greeted, and the anticipation of what was to come was enormous. The weather, which had been damp and rainy on Wednesday, was now clear and the view across the open landscape of desert scrub, adobe church and bell tower was bright in the high altitude. 


View from the balcony, Santa Fe Community College.

In the classroom...


We opened the conference with The Raising of the Hands ceremony and asked the watchers of the cardinal points and the zenith to open the skies to us that we might learn and understand the sky.


Then this 5-day teaching conference began with a lecture from Bernadette Brady on ‘The Sacred Sky’ and how we had been severed from that ancient connection as we focused more and more on the flat Greek horoscope. This was followed by a lecture from Darby Costello on ‘The Moon’, a beautifully-wrought tour-de-force showing us the changing face and meaning of the Moon. My lecture focused on the sky we would be seeing during the star-viewing night, focusing particularly the Stymphalian Birds (this will be published in the October VAN).


Apart from the Friday evening Star Party, the College’s gourmet chef, Behzad Dayeny, catered all the food at the conference. With a predominance of Moon in Taurus amongst the delegates this served us well. The food was astoundingly good. On this first evening we organized with Behzad to cook us a buffet dinner of Chicken Monterey with roasted vegetables, designed to be eaten as we all made acquaintance with each other and gained our ‘first look’ at Santa Fe skies from the open balcony of the College, the sliver of New Moon dropping behind the trees with Venus brightly visible.

Friday morning began with a teaching session from Bernadette on how stars touch the earth, followed by a session from both of us explaining the nature of parans and how to read their influence in a chart. After morning tea we continued looking more fully at the zodiac and the constellations we would see that evening.


Bernadette Brady and Darrelyn Gunzburg teaching
at Star Logos.


Lunch consisting of a New Mexican buffet with corn tortillas and flour tortillas was followed by a two-hour gathering in the College’s Planetarium, with Juan Alvarez, the director of the Planetarium, taking us on a journey through Egyptian sky mythology and then Bernadette showing delegates how the sky moved. - Wow, what an amazing thing to see the sky moving around us with 24 hours passing in a few minutes.


After this we all returned to our respective casitas and apartments to get ready for the star-viewing evening. The coach picked up us from the Old Santa Fe Inn at 18:00 and meandered the 25-minute journey to VindHestar Ranch.  We went first to the star viewing area and in the pale early evening light, arranged the 50 bales of straw and tarpaulins into a large circle. Then we crossed to the dining area.


Janet Carter and her husband David worked hard to landscape their kitchen garden in time for StarLogos. This they did with splendid achievement, creating an environment of great beauty and tranquility for the Star Party. Three paths meandered through the garden, accompanied by a strip of farolitos lining the paths. Tiny white lights adorned the columns of both dining ramadas, as if anticipating the starry light show we were to see that evening.  As we entered the garden we were gifted with a radiant exquisite Venus bestowing her light and power to the crescent Moon in a golden sky. Close by Mars and Saturn dipped towards the western horizon. Meanwhile Jupiter’s brilliance on the eastern horizon echoed this astounding sight.  Planets and luminaries claiming the sky at sunset and the velvet night.


VindHestar Ranch with the farolitos lining the paths.

StarLogos Star Party... a bright Venus empowering the Crescent Moon.


As this sky story played out, Michelle Roetzer, a teacher in the SFCC's culinary-arts program, and Mark Sciscenti emerged to tell the story of the food we were to eat. Michelle combines her culinary arts skills with political science and the story of the evening’s food underlined her zeal for food politics. We learn of the three levels of heat of chilis, and the stories of the ‘three sisters’ in Native American mythology: squash, corn, and beans. After the meal Mark brings out his Cosmic Cake, a showpiece chocolate cake clothed in white chocolate stars.

Janet Carter and the Star Party at VindHestar Ranch.

Mark Sciscenti and his Cosmic Cake.


Filled with the goodness of the products of the earth, we make our way over to the viewing area, guided by red light sticks, to encounter a sky richly-laden with stars. The work we have done in the classroom pays off as delegates recognize the flights of the three Stymphalian Birds, the coil of Draco, the sweep of Pisces with dazzling Jupiter in the western fish, flying Pegasus connected with receptive Andromeda, and Perseus, the Prince and, as the evening moves on, Hamal rising. And in the west Scorpius with its flashing heart Antares, the Archer Sagittarius, the triangular body of Capricornus, and Sadalsuud and Sadalmelek forming the shoulders of mighty Aquarius, whose urn continued to pour forth its water towards the southern fish Pisces Australis and the Royal Star Fomalhaut. This breath-taking sky was offset by Mark’s supper of hot chocolate, lavender cake and paklava. We fell into the coach late that night, alive with chatter and embracing the sky in our hearts.


Next morning we began late and over coffee and pastries, described our experience of encountering the living sky, who was our Gatekeeper (the constellation that seemed to stand out for any one person) and what effect the sky had upon us. Melanie Schlossberg then presented a work-in-progress lecture ‘Redrawing the Sky’. Melanie has been commissioned by Bernadette and is working closely under her guidance to redraw the constellation images for Starlight v.2. Melanie captivated all of us with her journey and the models she used to shape the ‘new’ images. This was followed by Darby’s lecture ‘Venus over the Ages’. Darby has been researching Venus and working with images of her for many years and indeed in a breath-taking lecture evoked Venus in front of us.


Left: Melanie Schlossberg. Right: Melanie with her image of Ursa Major.

Darby Costello and Venus.


In the teaching session after lunch Bernadette and I presented the planets through Mesopotamian eyes: the roles of Saturn, Mercury, Venus, Mars and the Moon in the Mesopotamian world. The final teaching session of the day was one where we put all the pieces together in anticipation of the practical sessions to follow on Sunday.


Armed with the textbook of the conference Restoring the Heavens to Astrology (Brady and Gunzburg) along with Star and Planet Combinations (Brady), these sessions comprised firstly looking at the skymaps and parans of a ‘mystery chart’ (Isabel Allende) followed by working on each other’s skymaps and parans in groups of three. Each group huddled, connected, poured over and puzzled their way through the techniques of the visual astrologer.


In the session after lunch each group discussed what they had discovered in the practical sessions, what had worked for them and their response to the techniques of visual astrology and fixed stars parans that we had been teaching them over the course of the conference. The sky is so broad and vast that the amount of information contained within it can be overwhelming. However, Bernadette and I know that without the opportunity to put what we had been teaching into practice within the safety of the conference, that these techniques would remain theory only, lovely to encounter but yielding nothing in terms of being of use in the consulting room. Each person’s response was unique, yet underlying every one was the same awe and reverence that comes from encountering the sparkling sky first hand and then ‘seeing’ that same sky reflected in a person’s life.


Stephen Frank talks of his experience doing a visual astrology consultation

Listening ... Gail Byrnes, Marcia Butchart and
Heather Ensworth.


In the teaching session after the tea-break, Bernadette, Darby and I discussed sacred time and Bernadette used Starlight to illustrate the movement and cycles of Pluto as it plowed erratically through the constellations, and the dance of Venus, independent, self-regulating and free.


Sunday night was a free night and many delegates elected to join us at Backroad Pizza for a night of relaxation and camaraderie.

On Monday morning Darby presented a mini-lecture on Mercury, determining whether one was born with a Promethean Mercury (rising before the sun) or an Epimethean Mercury (rising after the sun). This provoked much food for thought. Then as a group the three of us considered the nodes in the chart.


The final session ‘Where To From Here?’ took place after morning coffee, ideas on how delegates could keep working with the sky and keep adding it to their astrology. Then we Closed the Circle, thanking the watchers of the cardinal points and of the zenith for allowing us to learn more of our ancient past and make it contemporary once again.


StarLogos>>>2010 Santa Fe was now complete. We had been there and we had returned, full, satisfied, and in dialogue with the stars.

Viewing Venus on Thursday night...

I can't say/thank you enough for the work you are putting forth.  The astrological community will be forever indebted to you for  your contributions. It has always frustrated me that the planets were not visible enough  on the white page that we use in our daily work.  Now, thanks to this course, they leap off the paper  to become alive in their true  context - among the stars. 



The brilliance and passion that Bernadette and Darrelyn have for the stars is awe-inspiring.  Their joy for introducing others to the night sky is irresistible.

Thank you Bernadette and Darrelyn for an incredibly well-organized and executed conference! Your enthusiasm has inspired me to get to know the characters in the night sky.

Nancy, Miami, FL

Fabulously presented and well organized, Bernadette and Darrelyn offer a program that does not ask one to jettison one's current form of astrology, but instead peers beneath it to find ancient meaning in modern charts. Classroom presentations and a wonderful planetarium visit prepped us for a memorable evening of food and sky viewing in rural Santa Fe, where the fare could not have been better, nor the conditions for learning the stars in naked-eye action.

Stringent academics are de rigueur for this crowd, and all 3 are experienced, organized and engaging presenters.

 Linea in San Francisco

It has been awhile in the rush of the fast-changing times that I have enjoyed such a wonderful exchange between fellow astrologers - and fellow human beings. 

Marguerite Hafeman

My experience of seeing magnificent Sagittarius in the sky was overwhelming and has stayed with me as a touchstone. He is so huge and powerfully beautiful. Strangely and magically I still see him in my mind's eye ..... as bright and radiant stars but in a brilliant daytime blue sky!!

!  am so happy and grateful to have been part of this extraordinary and inspiring event.


Michele, Los Angeles



And happening Down Under!


Visit Astro Logos for more information  or

Esoteric Technologies, the home of Solar Fire for information and registrations


Re-Thinking the Heavens -  
7- 9 January 2011 in Adelaide, South Australia.

Issue No. 69
September, 2010

On related topics

June, 2007

The recap on the StarLogos which was held in South Africa in 2007.


February, 2008

The orbit of Pluto through the heavens.


March, 2010

The Stymphalian Birds. The beginning of the exploration of these three birds and their mythology.


In brief...

Seven things to know about fixed stars.


A recap on StarLogos >>> 2010 Santa Fe.

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visual astrology  sky happenings


Saturn is deep in its period of invisibility. This is a time where the King is in the 'other' place. Saturn will begin to emerge and be visible in the dawn light by mid-to-late October, depending on your latitude. This is a time of planning rather than doing.  

Jupiter continues rising in the evening light. Each night it will be higher in the sky at sunset. This suggest there will be a favouring of the younger person, or the new idea. 

Mars is now struggling to stay visible and is low in the west at sunset. By the end of the month Mars will have moved into a phase of passion as he unites with Venus in the 'other' place as both slide into invisibility.

Venus for most of this month is invisible and will reappear as a Morning Star in mid- November.







Calendar of
forthcoming lectures

25 - 29 October 2010
7th international conference of INSAP - The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena. Bernadette Brady and Darrelyn Gunzburg are both presenting papers at this conference.
More information.


8-10 January, 2011
Adelaide, Australia

Re-Thinking the Heavens :
Cosmology, Sky and Charts

A 3-day specialist conference with Bernadette Brady and Darrelyn Gunzburg.

Bookings have now opened. Early bird books only available till mid October

More information on Astro Logos web site

8, 9, 10 April, 2011
Tiefenbrunnen, Zurich Switzerland

Maps of the Psyche - Astrology and the Path to the Stars
Liz Greene, Nick Campion and Bernadette Brady
This 3-day conference, drawing on ideas from ancient and classical teachings as well as modern psychology, will examine astrological notions of the horoscope as a map, locating humanity within a celestial environment and describing a journey through life and a pathway to the stars.

Please note: Limited places available
Registrations Now Open

13, 14 , 15 May, 2011
ORIGINS, the Egyptian and Mesopotamian contribution to astrology
This event is unique in the USA. For the very first time, the Sophia Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK through Dr Nick Campion and Bernadette Brady will be teaching an intensive, exploring the Babylonian and Egyptian contribution to Western Astrology.

Registrations Now Open

13 - 16 October 2011 - Bristol, UK
Astronomy and Culture
An academic conference being held at The University of Bristol, UK.
Co-convened by Nick Campion and Darrelyn Gunzburg.
90 speakers from all over the world.

More information to come.

If you enjoy Visual Astrology and would like to look at sky maps and also create full fixed star reports for yourself as well as clients, then have a look at Starlight the software that has provided the foundation stone for the development of visual astrology over the last 6 years.
 Visit:  www.Zyntara.com