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Arcana Mystara: The Mystaran Stars and Constellationsby Kit Navarro
The Stars in Ylari Astrology
The stargazing tradition of Ylaruam has its origins from the ancient civilisations of Nithia and Milenia. While the Milenian astronomers accurately calculated the movements of the constellations across the night sky, the Nithian astrologers divined the mystical significance of the stars on the lives of mortals and the events on the Prime Plane.
The Ylari magi have identified hundreds of fixed stars-called "fixed" not because they do not move, but because they maintain regular paths throughout their movements-across the Mystaran skyscape. Of them are the twelve Royal Stars, one in each of the twelve constellations of the Mystaran zodiac, each one of supreme cosmic influence on Mystara and its inhabitants.
The Tradition of Fixed Stars
Ylari astrology is distinguished from other traditions for its heavy use of the Royal Stars and other fixed stars. Unlike the pleasant, optimistic, and all-too-hopeful astrology of the Alphatians, the theme and mood of Ylari astrology is ominous and sinister. The Royal Stars generally represent disasters, calamities, and other dark life events, but these beliefs are not so much pessimistic as coincident with the fatalistic attitudes and beliefs of the Ylaruam before the advent of al-Kalim's religion.
The tradition of the fixed stars is a complicated craft. An astrologer must regard the positions of each fixed star in the sky, taking note if it is rising (moving from the horizon up to the zenith) or falling (moving from the zenith down to the horizon). The astrologer must then note the alignments each star makes with the twelve planets and other celestial bodies-usually over a hundred permutations and never less than fifty-each requiring accurate mathematical and geometric computations. Finally, the astrology must contemplate on the esoteric meanings of these alignments and combinations to form any significant prediction from them.
(Personal forecasts entail more work, as the astrologer must make a birth chart as well as a chart for the present, and compare alignments not only within each chart, but from one chart to the next!)
The first of the Royal Stars in Ylari astrology, Lesath (meaning "the sting") is located at the tip of the tail of the Manticore constellation. The star represents abrupt endings, especially at the beginning of a venture. It may also signify poisons, or injury with knives, swords, and sharp objects.
In conjunction or other unfavourable alignment with Matera or Valerias, Lesath means miscarriage at pregnancy or death of an infant, while with Lesath rising, murder, stabbings, or accidents with poisons become more frequent. When Lesath came into conjunction with Qayjar (Khoronus) in AC 374, a great earthquake destroyed the newly constructed Tower of Hadel, said to be a punishment of the Immortals for the excessive pride of the Alasiyan people.
The Ylari name the star at the junction of Hydra's many necks as 'Unuq al-Shuja' or "Neck of the Serpent." Unukalshuga is a harbinger of foolishness, intellectual weakness, and even mental illness.
Configurations of this star with the planet Tal'ishaa (Alphatia) warns of delusions and theft, particularly with illusion magic and phantasms, while the influence of Matera and Valerias predicts seduction, deception by women, adultery, and infidelity in marriage. Unukalshuga in opposition with Patera or Protius signifies demonic possession or extraplanar influences.
Al-Qaus or "The Bow" of the Centaur constellation foretells of sudden, unexpected events, usually unforeseen risks or hidden dangers. When Kaus comes into alignment with the Sun, it foretells mistakes or failure due to overconfidence and arrogance, enemies made out of jealousy and excessive pride, or rival overlooked by arrogance and egotism. A most precarious configuration would be Alphaks transiting Kaus, signifying violent accidents, bodily harm, sudden loss of limb and life, while a less adverse configuration would be an alignment with Khoronus, meaning the emergence of dangers and risk with time to avoid damage, or at least, minimise loss.
The Royal Star Alterf or At-Tarf refers to "The Glance" of the Basilisk totem. It is located on the left eye of the constellation, and represents misfortunes and tragedies on the physical and earthly realm. Alterf is a portent of earthquakes, landslides, famine across the land, particularly with the malevolent influence of Ordana and Thanatos. Transits of Tarastia foretell loss of wealth, and the destruction of home and property. Conjunctions with Vanya (Rathanos) portend severe bodily injury, amputation of limbs, paralysis, blindness, or other loss of physical capacity.
In AC 1009, a triple conjunction with Matera, Protius, and Alterf heralded the Week with No Magic.
Of all the stars in the constellation of the Chimera, Ra's al-Ma'z or "The Head of the Goat" is the least in size and brightness, but the most powerful in importance and influence. It is believed that Rasalmaaz causes mistakes to be magnified into disaster, mischief to escalate to catastrophe, flaws of character to herald a person's ruin. Ylari astrologers strongly oppose any undertaking starting when Rasalmaaz first appears on the horizon, for as it rises in the sky, any minuscule fault or evil in the endeavour will become increasingly apparent, and will lead to failure and tragedy, often beyond that imaginable from such minute flaws.
The recent ill-advised raid on the Thyatian territory of Biazzan in the winter of AC 1006, was begun when Rathanos (Vanya) was transiting Rasalmaaz. When the transit was over by fall the next year, Ylari forces had to relinquish its position entirely. The brash emir who masterminded the attack lost his life and his family fell into ruin soon after.
The Royal Star at the tip of the horn of the Gorgon constellation is named Al Hecka, and has traditionally been ascribed definite masculine, even phallic, astrological connotations. Al Hecka is a portent for male aggression and physical violence, and on a larger scale, mass combat, slaughter, and war. Al Hecka influenced by Valerias or Rathanos (Vanya) signify excessive sexual desires, rape of women, domestic violence, and murder of women. Transits of Protius herald jihads and religious violence, while alignments with Tarastia and Ordana mark civil strife and political revolutions.
An ominous grand triangle formed by Al Hecka, Patera, and Thanatos in AC 946 warned of the assassination of the Vizier Farid al-Kalim.
Located on the wing of the Griffon constellation, the name Altair comes from the Ylari term At-Ta'ir, which means "The Flying." The influence of this Royal Star is related to flying, flight, travels, and journeys. Ordana or Alphaks transiting Altair is an omen of a sudden departure, usually in haste and to escape danger. The influence of Khoronus marks an overextended journey, or exile to a distant land. Altair is also an omen for danger from flying or winged creatures, particularly when it is falling (moving from the zenith to the horizon).
In AC 1006, the crash of the Great Meteor was foretold by a grand square with Altair, Thanatos, the star Gienah, and the comet Azazel (Hel).
The Royal Star Eltanin or At-Tinnin, meaning "The Great Serpent," is the brightest star in the constellation of the Dragon. Similar to the Dragon totem, Eltanin represents long term dangers, or misfortunes that develop over a period of time. It also signifies the trials of old age, and perils involving magic. Those born with the Sun eclipsing Eltanin are said to live to a very old age, more so if in conjunction with the planet Khoronus or Protius. Periods of solitude and loneliness are marked with Thanatos or Patera transiting this star, while Tarastia opposing Eltanin warns of isolation through incarceration.
Centuries ago, the Return of the Dragonlord of Mystara and the ensuing War with the Dragons, was marked when Rathanos (Vanya) turned retrograde on Eltanin.
According to Ylari astrologers, the constellation of the Salamander actually consists of two salamanders, one fire and one frost. Al-'Uqdah or "The Knot" is the star found in between the two, linking them.
This Royal Star represents twin misfortunes, tragedies that come in twos, or situations that pose opposing dangers. Okda also symbolises death of brothers and sisters, especially twins, and those with close emotional ties. When Okda aligns with Alphatia (Tal'ishaa) or Patera, there is danger in double-talk, verbal deception, half-truths, or hidden secrets. Under the influence of Tarastia, there is dilemma with morality and legality, usually persecution of the innocent by unscrupulous or overzealous authorities. Okda in its fall warns of accidents with ropes and cords or death by hanging or strangulation.
Gienah is commonly known as the "Lucky Star," and is often described as "the most beneficent star of good fortune." It is star located at the wing of the Pegasus constellation, and is connected with lofty associations, such as artistry, music, philosophy, and mysticism, as well as more prosaic ones, such as atmospheric disturbances, dangers from the sky, and even injury from horses. If Gienah has alignments with Matera, Valerias, or even Protius at birth, the child is destined to be talented in music and the arts, or gifted with spiritual powers and mystic visions.
The great prophet al-Kalim was said to have been born with a grand cross of the Sun opposing Thanatos, Protius opposing Rathanos (Vanya), and the Lucky Star Gienah at the centre.
The Royal Star named Shedir or As-Sadr (meaning "The Breast" in Ylari) is located in the centre of the chest of the Warrior constellation. According to Ylari tradition, those with the star Shedir prominent at birth are weak of will and cowardly, or suffer from anxiety and phobia. Alternately, Shedir also represents false bravado or overconfidence, usually in compensation of fears.
For women, this star is a portent of infertility, frigidity, and sexual troubles, especially with an unfavourable alignment with Valerias or Protius. For men, a conjunction of Shedir with Ixion or Rathanos (Vanya) at birth would mean effeminate behaviour, lasciviousness, or problems relating with women.
The last of the Royal Stars is found the final constellation in the zodiac, the Giant, and it represents the culmination of events and life achievements. Algebar comes into view only in winter, and is rarely seen because of the seasonal conditions. Algebar rising promises fame, grand achievements, and renown through history; Algebar in its fall warns of infamy, notoriety, and failure of grand projects, and Ylari war leaders never began battles at this time.
Rumour has it that the Ylari hero Khalid Tale-Teller was born with Algebar as the only star shining through a clouded winter sky, foretelling a life of predestined glory and the touch of Immortality.
The Royal Stars Ylari Name Meaning Constellation Significance
Al-Las'ah The Sting Manticore Early death, abrupt end, miscarriages, poisoning and stabbing
'Unuq al-Shuja' Neck of the Serpent Hydra Delusions, deception, mental illness, madness, demonic possession
Al-Qaus The Bow Centaur Sudden turn of events, unforeseen failure, hidden enemies
At-Tarf "The Glance" of the Basilisk Basilisk Earthquakes, landslides, famine, loss of material property, physical injury
Ra's al-Ma'z Head of the Goat Chimera Exaggeration of errors, minor flaws magnified leading to grave disaster
Al-He'eka The Horn Gorgon Aggression, violence, brutality, battle, war, murder, transgressions by men
At-Ta'ir "The Flying" Griffon Griffon Sudden trips, exodus, exile, danger from flying and flying creatures
At-Tinnin The Great Serpent Dragon Long term perils, misfortune of old age, isolation, loneliness, magical perils
Al-'Uqdah The Knot Salamander Twin misfortunes, opposing dangers, death of siblings, hanging, strangulation
Al-Janah The Wing Pegasus Artistry, philosophy, weather disturbances, danger from horses, danger from the sky
As-Sadr The Breast Warrior Cowardice, overconfidence, false bravado, infertility, sexual problems
Al-Jabbar The Giant Giant Predestined fate, grand achievements, immortality in history, glory or infamy
Said to be "the most unfortunate, violent, dangerous and evil star in the heavens," this fixed star is more famous than any of the Royal Stars. Its dire influence is known not only in Ylari and other Known World traditions, but it is also feared by the Sindhi, and the astrologers of the Savage Coast and the Orient.
Rasalgol derives its name from Ra's al-Ghul (meaning "Head of the Ghoul"), and is found in the constellation of the Giant, which in Ylari mythology depicts a Titan or a giant Immortal servant, wielding a scythe and the decapitated head of an undead creature or a demon. Specifically, Rasalgol is the eye of the decapitated head, earning it another name of 'Ain at-Tanar'ri or "Eye of the Demon." The eerie light from Rasalgol pulsates every 60 or so hours, spookily reminiscent a blinking eye of the demon or ghoul already supposed dead. (Astronomers explain that Rasalgol may actually be twin stars, with the dimmer star occasionally passing over and eclipses the brighter one during its "blink.")
Rasalgol is believed to cause misfortune, failure, violence, decapitation, disease, severe illness, extreme hardships, death, and disastrous endings. Perhaps worst of all, it is believed when Rasalgol is blinked, it prevents true endings and true death and represents lack of closure, undeath, and prolonged suffering.
Ylari astrologers have calculated that the star Rasalgol, the planet Thanatos, and the comet Azazel (Hel) formed a grand triangle in the heavens in BC 500, marking the destruction of ancient Nithia. The same alignment occurred about two thousand five hundred years previously, which ancient historians surmise coincided with the Great Rain of Fire. Astrologers fear what world disaster that the next such alignment in AC 2000 will bring.