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Arcana Mystara: Mystaran Astrologyby Kit Navarro
The ancient systems of astrology, practiced by the Nithians and the Milenians, and later adopted by the Alphatians, use only the seven planets of Ixion, Matera, Valerias, Rathanos (Vanya), Asterius, Tarastia and Khoronus. Classical astrology, popularised by the Thyatian astrologer Hecator, included the three Outer Planets of Ordana, Protius, and Thanatos, planets beyond Khoronus that cannot be seen without the aid of magic.
In Hecator's astrological opus, De Empyrei Caelistibus Luminis, he proposed that the ancient wizards and astrologers believed that the Outer Planets were charged with strange and powerful magic of the Immortals themselves. Ordana has been observed by the elves since ancient times, and they warn that the planet is suffused with wild magic. By Alphatian tradition, the planet Protius holds the secrets of the magic of chronomancy, and legends speak of the necromancers of Blackheart discovering unspeakable and terrible death magic on a stellar journey to Thanatos. As such, Alphatian tradition holds that the true meanings and cosmic forces of the Outer Planets were not meant to known to or trifled with by the mortals on the Prime Plane.
The destruction of the planet Asterius around AC 1000, added the new planets of Alphatia, Alphaks and the belt of Minor Planets (collectively called the "Tears of Asterius") to the Mystaran skyscape, and astrologers were greatly challenged to make sense of such celestial phenomena. Only after the Wrath of the Immortals War were astrologers, mostly from the Karameikan School of Magecraft, able to integrate these events and their cosmic significance into existing traditions.
The invisible moon of Patera was the last planet to be added in modern astrology, since only the Ylari magi and the secretive Glantrian stargazers know of its existence.
The Planets of Astrology
The first and most important planet in astrology is the Sun, named after the Immortal Ixion. Just as Ixion the Sun-Prince, brings light and life to this world, the Planet Ixion represents creation, birth, and new beginnings. As the Planet of Life, it represents a person's health and vitality, as well as expression of self and identity.
It rules over the vigorous sign of Centaur, whose House is on Alphamir, the start of spring and the start of the Alphatian calendar. Ixion is symbolised by the fiery eight-spoke wheel of the sun, and rules over the magic of elemental fire.
In astrology, the moon is also considered a planet, and it is only second in importance after Ixion. Matera is the Planet of Self, and represents an individual's mind, consciousness and spirit. Matera grants intellect, the awareness of our surroundings, as well as the ever-changing moods and emotions-much like the phases of the moon itself.
Matera is said to be related to the magical school of divination, and Alphatian astrologers say that the placement of Matera at birth determines a person's spellcasting ability. Matera rules over the reserved and studious sign of the Gorgon. The glyph is a representation of both the full moon and a crescent moon.
The planet Valerias was named after the lovely Immortal of romance and passion and the generous benefactress of beauty, talents, and material pleasures. It is sometimes called the Golden Planet for it shines with a sparkling yellow-gold light, a gift from the Sun Ixion, according to legends.
The Planet of Love once ruled over both the passionate Basilisk sign, as well as the indulgent and charismatic Chimera, until the latter was ascribed to Patera. Valerias is said to rule over enchantments and charms. Its glyph symbolises a fiery rose with thorns.
Rathanos and Vanya
In ancient astrology, the Red Planet is named after the fiery Immortal Rathanos. The Planet of Ardor epitomises personal aspirations, physical energies, as well as masculine prowess, but also represents anger, belligerence, and chauvinism. Its symbol is said to depict a tongue of flame rising out of a man's head, although less polite astrologers believe they depict the male genitals.
In classical astrology, the same planet is known as Vanya, the Planet of Ventures, after the Immortal Thyatian warrior-woman. Vanya grants drive and the determination to face life and its challenges, but it may also lead us to foolhardiness, aggression, and violence. Its glyph is a double-edged sword that warns of the benefits and the dangers of such ardor and willpower.
This planet rules over the daring Manticore sign, which boldly starts the Thyatian year in Nuwmont, and it once ruled over the efficient and courageous Warrior sign, but has since passed its dominion on to Protius. This planet is believed to influence the magic of invocation and evocation.
The tricky Immortal of messengers, merchants, and thieves lends his name to the silver Planet of Luck, Asterius. The planet itself appears as a tiny silver coin in the sky, running an erratic path, sometimes even moving backwards, reflecting the capricious nature of luck, trade, money, and gambling, over which this planet holds sway. It also rules over travel, communication, and weather, and it is said, when Asterius goes retrograde on its course, all these go haywire.
Before its destruction, Asterius was said to grant resourcefulness and fickleness of mind to the Hydra, as well the enterprising and flighty spirit of the Pegasus. Its symbol is said to be a representation of a man with a whimsical face. The schools of air elementalism, illusions and phantasms were once associated with Asterius, but have since been passed on to other planets.
The Planet of Law is aptly named after the Immortal Patroness of Justice and Revenge. Tarastia brings structure and order into the lives of men, and impartially metes out what one deserves. Tarastia is not a jovial or forgiving judge, but neither is it maleficent or unfair.
Tarastia influences the Salamander sign, known for its impersonal manners and discerning judgment. The House of the Salamander falls on Ambyrmont, the start of autumn and the harvest season, where we reap the benefits our efforts for the year. (The Giant sign, with its cold, impassive, unmoving stubbornness was also ascribed to this planet in ancient astrology.)
Scholars disagree as to the origins of its glyph. Some say it is the double image of the Feather of Maat, an ancient Nithian Immortal who dispensed justice even into the afterlife (identified as Manat the Patroness of Fate to the Ylari). Others say it is a dragon or a salamander with two heads, who see both sides of right and wrong or who dispense both punishment and reward. Still others see a pair of balanced scales, a traditional symbol of impartial justice. Rightfully, the planet Tarastia rules over earth elementalism.
Khoronus is the name of the Planet of Fate. Like the ancient Immortal Patron of Time and History, Khoronus teaches us about time, destiny, and our place in this cosmos. Khoronus resists change and protects from the ravages of time, but it also allows slow and subtle transformation that can only be done through diligence and perseverance over long periods of time.
The symbol of Khoronus is an hourglass. It rules over abjuration magic, as well as the steadfast sign of the Griffon. The sign of the Dragon, known for its long life and long-term perspective on matters, was once ruled by Khoronus, but has been passed on to Ordana.
The ancient Nithians named this planet after the Immortal Ptarh, known as Qayjar in Ylaruam, an artificer and architect whose methodical designs reflected the order of the cosmos and the rhythmic workings of time.
The first of the Greater Planters is called Ordana in Thyatian astrology, and 'Udnan in Ylari tradition. The Immortal Ordana was the Forest Mother, whose far-reaching dreams began with the creation of the earliest of races on Mystara, while 'Udnan was an Immortal who ruled the lofty heavens and the ever-changing skies.
The Planet of Ambition the planet of inventors and visionaries who aspire for a different future or alternative path in life. It represents a change of status quo, especially of a stubborn, long-established one, or a gradual but eventual transformation that takes place over a long time. Astrologers contrast its ambitious and transformative aspects to the conservative and preserving nature of Khoronus, and indeed the two planets are very much related.
From Khoronus, this planet has taken over rulership of the Dragon sign, known for its cold and enduring ambitions, and has influence over the magic school of alteration. The glyph represents an oak leaf or a tree branching out in new directions.
The second Outer Planet is Protius, the Planet of Soul. Just as the Old Man of the Sea guides mariners across the oceans, the planet Protius guides the mortal soul through the vastness and depths of cosmic experience. Protius grants wisdom, insight, and profound courage, and is the planet of clerics, mystics, holy warriors, and seekers of enlightenment. Protius also grants memory and foresight, which transcends boundaries of time and space. And lastly, Protius can stir the soul to churn out its innermost dreams, unfathomable emotions and the most intense passions, much like the tempestuous seas in a violent thunderstorm.
Symbolized by the trident, Protius holds influence over water elementalism. It has been given dominion over the Warrior sign from the Planet Vanya, giving the Warrior a profound sense of wisdom and sacred purpose.
The last and most fearsome of the Outer Planets is Thanatos, the Planet of Death. This planet is named after the Grim Reaper and is represented by the inescapable scythe, which annihilates everything in its destructive path-but without which, nothing can be ever ended, finished, or overcome. Although Thanatos is dead serious, more so than its counterpart Tarastia, astrologers and mystics see it as an essential balancing force in the universe. Thanatos is necessary for destruction (especially of unwanted structures and patterns in life), conclusion of projects, and closure in affairs. Conversely, Thanatos also represents ultimate control and preservation, particularly when the time of death and ending is not yet come. The dark power of necromancy is ascribed to this planet. Like the tall looming Giant, that it rules, Thanatos teaches the ultimate lesson to live life fully.
This new planet circles closest to Ixion, the Planet of Life and Creation, and as such, is believed to awaken creativity, stir the imagination and birth new ideas. Thyatian astrologers name it Alphatia, after the Patroness of the Arts who inspires musician, performers, and artists of all kinds. The astrologers of Ylaruam however ascribe a sinister meaning to the Planet of Ideas. As much as innovation and invention can be for arts and other innocuous pursuits, it is also used by thieves, rogues, charlatans, con artists, and other ne'er-do-wells to bring ruin and downfall to others. As a reminder that the planet was born from the destruction of Asterius, the Ylari call this planet after Tal'ishaa (Talitha to Alphatians), Patroness of Thieves and Lady of Lies.
This planet rules over thoughts and communication as well as treachery and deceit (once the province of Asterius), and has also taken over the flighty Pegasus sign and air elementalism. The planetary symbol is derived from that of Asterius, save that the crooked crisscross is now directed upright and orderly.
This planet was created from the destruction of the planet Asterius after AC 1000. While the larger portion was drawn towards the sun and became the benevolent planet Alphatia, this irregular chunk of rock was jettisoned into space, and has found an orbit amongst the Outer Planets, albeit a very erratic one. (The path is greatly influenced by Thanatos, and sometimes crosses over its course.)
This unruly planet has been called Alphaks, after the destructive Roaring Fiend, and dubbed the Planet of Chance. Alphaks represents the chaos and entropy of daily life and teaches us that spontaneity and risk-taking is sometimes called for to succeed in life. But Alphaks also warns that impulsiveness without foresight and haphazardness without wit and wiles can only lead to danger, loss, and ruin. Alphaks holds influence over adventures, gambling, accidents, political upheavals, and natural disasters, all of which have an element of randomness and chance. Astrologers have noted that these events occur more often-and with the most untoward results-during periods of Alphaks "crossing" the orbit of Thanatos.
Alphaks rules the shrewd and resourceful Hydra sign and the school of conjuration and summoning. The symbol of Alphaks is taken from the glyph of Asterius, with a sinister pair of horns instead of a comical face.
Although never seen clearly in the night sky, legends speak of a second moon orbiting around Mystara. This Dark Moon was identified by the Ylari astrologers (and kept secret by the Glantrians), and was named Patera (derived from Patrah, a variant name of the Immortal Sinbad, a legendary sailor and explorer of mysteries). Modern astrologers have dubbed it the Planet of Secrets. Its glyph is a moon with a vertical bar, indicating the hidden, the occult, and the forbidden.
Patera is said to represent the innermost dreams, the subconscious or the unconscious. It is also said to represent the darker side of the self and of nature. This enigmatic and secretive planet adds a mystique the Chimera sign, as well as the need for boundaries and self-possession. Patera is associated with illusions and phantasms.
Planet Title Glyph Ylari Name Zodiac Totem Magical School Ixion Planet of Life Shams Centaur Fire Elementalism Matera Planet of Self Materah Gorgon Divination Valerias Planet of Love Valtis Basilisk, formerly Chimera Enchantment/Charm Rathanos/Vanya Planet of Ardor/Planet of Ventures Rastam Manticore, formerly Warrior Invocation/Evocation Asterius Planet of Luck Ashtiru formerly Pegasus and Hydra Tarastia Planet of Law Manat Salamander, formerly Giant Earth Elementalism Khoronus Planet of Fate Qayjar Griffon, formerly Dragon Abjuration Ordana Planet of Ambition 'Udnan Dragon Alteration Protius Planet of Soul Farath Warrior Water Elementalism Thanatos Planet of Death Azrael Giant Necromancy Alphatia Planet of Ideas Tal'ishaa Pegasus Air Elementalism Alphaks Planet of Chance Al-Fakish Hydra Conjuration/Summoning Patera Planet of Secrets Patrah Chimera Illusion/Phantasm
The Minor Planets
Astrologers believe that the comet Hel collided with the doomed planet Asterius, and this catastrophic event gave birth to the cluster of heavenly bodies, known collectively as the Tears of Asterius. Amongst these asteroids, the four largest, Razud, Koryis, Tyche, and Turmis, have been discovered and observed, and modern astrologers have only begun to surmise their cosmic significance.
The largest of the Minor Planets was named after the Immortal Razud, Patron of Resourcefulness and Self-Sufficiency. This planet represents a person's talents, natural gifts, and resources, as well as the chances and opportunities he will gain have in his life to better and enrich his life.
The glyph of Razud depicts a man of two minds, to weigh what he has and what he could gain, or to recognise opportunities when they arrive, as well as make his own.
The Immortal Koryis, Patron of Prosperity and Peace, lends his name to this Minor Planet. Koryis embodies wealth and possessions, and the security derived from such prosperity. This planet teaches that prosperity is not merely material, and that contentment and peace can be derived even from the humblest lot in life.
The symbol of Koryis is a two-sided banner of peace, reminding that it is times of peace when we are most prosperous.
If any of the Minor Planets retained the peculiar to-and-fro path of the planet Asterius, it is Planet of Fortune, Tyche. When favourably aligned, Tyche brings unexpected prospects, lucky breaks, windfalls, and sudden gains, even at the riskiest of ventures. But like the fickle Immortal of Luck herself, Tyche also holds sway over missed opportunities, hidden risks and reversals of fortunes.
Similar to the whimsical glyph of Asterius, the glyph of Tyche portrays the capricious wheel of fate.
This Minor Planet has been observed to disappear from its place among the Tears of Asterius, only to unexpectedly appear elsewhere along its path. Astrologers thus named it Turmis, after the Immortal thief and rascal. It is called the Planet of Wealth, but Turmis gives us a warning to take caution with our riches from theft, damage, and sudden losses.
Turmis is represented by a diamond-shaped key that can open any lock.
Since ancient times, comets were known as portents of calamity and grave misfortune. In no case is it truer than with one comet that regularly orbits around Ixion, known as Azazel (the Demoness of Evil and Sin in Ylari mythology), Hel, or Hel's Comet. The ancients named it so because the comet would spin along its course, alternately displaying its bright luminous half, then its dark invisible face, giving it the appearance of blinking out of and later blinking into existence.
The comet Hel heralds death and destruction, but also symbolises rebirth and reversals of fortune. Like the sinister Immortal Hel, the glyph of this planet has only half a face, with the other half hidden in shadow.
Minor Planet Title Glyph Razud Planet of Resource Koryis Planet of Prosperity Tyche Planet of Fortune Turmis Planet of Wealth Hel Planet of Reversals