Astrological Magic: The 8th Sphere and the Behenian Stars
[Here's a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering the 8th Sphere and the Behenian Stars.]
One concept which deserves some attention is that of the nature and role of the Fifteen Root Stars or the Behenii; the sources of the power contained in these rings, each associated with hierarchies of immensely powerful spirits.
In the astral cosmology of Aristotle onward until the modern era, the Earth was believed to lay at the center of about ten invisible spheres, nesting inside one another like Russian dolls. Each revolved around our world at a somewhat regular pace, and in most cases carried along a wandering star called a planet, embedded in the sphere. Planets served as markers or beacons, indirectly revealing the movement of these invisible realms; like a conspicuous chip or flaw in an otherwise perfectly translucent bubble of glass. Today, we can interpret this model as being a map of parts of the astral plane rather than a material cosmology; either way, it is one of many models or maps of the universe which loses some data through necessary compression, but it is quite superior when applied to a particular field of inquiry. The field that this one is especially well suited for is rigorous magical practice.
It was each sphere and its myriad occupants which bestowed their gifts upon all living things at the time of their first intake of breath rather than the star or planet itself; a mere lump of rock or burning gas carried along by massive tides of raw sympathetic attraction emitted by these astral spheres. Each of the seven traditional planets– Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon in descending sequence– impressed their ongoing activities permanently upon the composition of all astral bodies upon birth, from which they derived their substance. Likewise, all animals, plants, groups of people, and even ideas were influenced by the influx of these seven rays at the time of their coming-into-being. Since nothing could truly exist without having some form of presence on the astral plane, that suggested that virtually everything which manifested physically or even mentally had a spiritual component; this was a semi-animistic view that everything in the cosmos was alive, in some sense. It was through this astral medium, a dimension where light, consciousness, desire, time, and existence itself were all one and the same, that magic acted upon. And through.
Above the Seven Spheres of the planets, however, was the Eighth Sphere; the realm of the fixed stars. Normally fixed stars did not overtly influence the destiny nor spirits of people or events, unless an exceptionally powerful star appeared exactly on the Ascendant or Median Coeli (Midheaven) at the moment of birth, intellectual conception, or manifestation. This circumstance was somewhat uncommon, but it was observed that persons or events who had this type of quirky astrological chart were wholly dominated by the influence of that star throughout their lives, in ways that the planets themselves could not.
This is not a huge surprise. It was believed that the further from the material Earth each sphere was placed, the more priority and power each possessed. This being so, the influences of the fixed stars had the potential to override the influences of any or all of the seven planets; though in order for them to do so the conditions had to be quite precise.
Even among the fixed stars, there were a selection of very bright and prominent stars which were of even greater power. These were the Behenian Stars; behen being the distortion of an Arabic word for “root.”
Supposedly, at the precise beginning of the universe, these fifteen stars infused their own power and influences into the Seven Planets, in varying combinations. Much like human beings’ spirit body is initially composed of seven rays of astral light from the planets (or really, planetary spheres,) the planets in turn were infused at the dawn of time by the power of two or more Root Stars. The Behenii are to the planets, what the planets are to us.
That being understood, the Root Stars are best not thought of as routine or typical astrological influences in human lives. They were a part of the scaffolding of the cosmos’ creation, and today form part of the plumbing of reality which makes everything else we normally interact with work. They are hidden behind a wall in the galactic basement where even astrologers and magicians today seldom descend, and then only for quick errands. Working with them isn’t as user-friendly as more familiar forms of magic and astrology; but if our reality is anything like the one depicted in the movie The Matrix, then working with the fixed stars requires much skill in the arcana of hacking machine code. Delving into this can be rather forbidding, and most who try simply give up.
That is not how things used to be, however. Due to the priority given in ancient astrological magic over the reversal of undesirable destinies, and the typical personality makeup of magicians, the magics of the Root Stars were deemed as precious as they were forbidding. They are very powerful. They are also very secret, for good reasons. Yet that kind of danger is very alluring for true practitioners of the arcane.
Working with the Fifteen is not always safe; they are a toolbox of grand cosmic forces that were never designed with humanity in mind. The entities which form the Fifteen Hierarchies are alien in personality, possessing consciousnesses which can only relate to our experiences of time and space as hazy analogies. It is easy to imagine the astrological planets as gods, persons, or even emotions; but this is rarely possible with fixed stars. Sometimes they attempt to help those who invoke them in ways which only make sense to beings whose existences are virtually unchanging, and whose bodies can never die. We are as fragile and transient as mayflies to them. In terms of relative complexity and power, we are bacteria.
None are evil per se, and their most exalted princes are certainly more intelligent than anything we can reasonably conjecture about. But they care about things often quite foreign to us, and usually have absolute disinterest in the affairs of mortals– except in the few matters in our world which hold any meaning for them. These are what the stellar lore speaks of, and what these Rings of Power control.
That is why these rings are often so intensely powerful, and quite possibly why so many magic rings of myth and legend are also believed to be cursed, possessed, or haunted.