Fixed star:  ALDEBARAN  Oculus Tauri
Constellation:  Alpha (α) Taurus
Longitude 1900:  08GEM23 Longitude 2000:  09GEM47
Declination 1900:  +16.18' Declination 2000:  +16.31'
Right ascension:  04h 35m Latitude:  -05.28'
Spectral class:  KM Magnitude:  0.85 Variable

The history of the star: Aldebaran

from p.383 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.

AldebaranAlpha (α) Taurus, Aldebaran, is a pale rose star marking the right eye of the Bull (the star Ain, or epsilon (ε), marks the left eye).

Aldebaran is from Al Dabaran, the Follower, i.e. of the Pleiades (a group of stars in Taurus of which Alcyone is the central one), or, as  the 19th American philologist Professor Whitney's suggested, because it marked the 2nd manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion) that followed the first.

The name, now monopolized by this star, originally was given to the entire group of the Hyades and the lunar mansion which, as Na'ir al Dabaran, the Bright One of the Follower, our star marked; yet there was diversity of opinion as to this, for the first edition of the Alfonsine Tables applied it solely to alpha (α Aldebaran), while that of 1483, and the 10th century Persian astronomical writer Al Sufi, did not recognize alpha (α Aldebaran) as included in the title. The Italian astronomer Riccioli (1598-1671) usually wrote it Aldebara, occasionally {p.384} Aldebaram, adopted in the French edition of Flamsteed's Atlas of 1776; Spenser, in the Faerie Queen wrote Aldeboran, which occasionally still appears; Chaucer, in the Hous of Fame, and even the modern La Lande, had Aldeberan; the 17th century German astronomer and ephemeris creator Schickard gave the word as Addebiris and Debiron; and Costard, in his History of Astronomy, cited Aldebaron.

The Persian astronomer Al Biruni (973-1048 A.D.) quoted, as titles indigenous to Arabia, Al Fanik, the Stallion Camel; Al Fatik, the Fat Camel; and Al Muhdij, the Female Camel,— the smaller adjacent stars of the Hyades (a group of stars on the face of the Bull) being the Little Camels; and it was Tali al Najm and Hadi al Najm, equivalents of the Stella Dominatrix of classical ages, as if driving the Pleiades before it (Pleiades are a group of stars on the shoulders of the Bull). Indeed in the last century Niebuhr heard the synonymous Saik al Thurayya on the Arabian shores of the Persian Gulf. A later name was Ain al Thaur,— which Western astronomers corrupted to Atin and Hain Altor,— identical with Greek Omma Boos, Latin Oculus Tauri, and the early English Bull's Eye, even now a common title. The Italian astronomer Riccioli (1598-1671) gave this more definitely as Oculus australis ("southern eye"), and Aben Ezra as the left Eye [it is on the bull's right eye].

Aldebaran was the divine star in the worship of the tribe Misam, who thought that it brought rain, and that its heliacal rising unattended by showers portended a barren year.

The Hindu Rohini, a Red Deer, used also for the nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) in Scorpio marked by Antares, was unquestionably from the star's ruddy hue, Leonard Digges writing, in his Prognostication for 1555, that it is "ever a meate rodde [red]"; and the Alfonsine Tables had quae trahit ad aerem clarum valdeest ut cerea.

Palilicium [Allen notes: This word is from Palilia, or Parilia, the feast of Pales,— the Latin shepherds' divinity and their feminine form of Pan,— which marked the birthday of Rome the 21st of April, when this star vanished in the twilight], in various orthography, but correctly Parilicium, used for the whole group of the Hyades, descended as a special designation for Aldebaran through all the catalogues to Flamsteed's, where it is exclusively used. Columella called it Sucula as chief of the peasants' Suculae. Ptolemy's Lampadias, Torch-bearer, was Lampauras in Proclus' Paraphrase.

The 1603 and 1720 editions of the 17th century German astronomer Bayer's Uranometria distinctly terminate their lists of Aldebaran's titles with the words Subruffa and Aben Ezra; but the 17th century German astronomer Bayer's star-names are often by no means clear, and here incorrect. The latter of these is merely the name of the famous Jewish commentator to whom he often refers; and the former a designation of the light red color (Subrufa) {p.385} of the star which we all recognize. Some poet has written "red Aldebaran burns"; and William Roscoe Thayer, in his Halid:

"I saw on a minaret's tip Aldebaran like a ruby aflame, then leisurely slip

Into the black horizon's bowl."

In all astrology it has been thought eminently fortunate, portending riches and honor; and was one of the four Royal Stars, or Guardians of the Sky, of Persia, 5000 years ago, when it marked the vernal equinox. As such Flammarion quoted its title Taschter, which Lenormant said signified the Creator Spirit that caused rain and deluge; but a different conception of these Guardian Stars among the Hindus is noted under Argo, and still another is given by Edkins, who makes Aldebaran Sataves, the leader of the western stars.

Flammarion has assigned to it the Hebrew Aleph that we have seen for Taurus, rendering it God's Eye; and Aben Ezra identified it with the biblical Kimah, probably in connection with all the Hyades and as being directly opposed on the sphere to Kesil which he claimed for Antares (this star Aldebaran lies directly across the zodiac from Antares, but Kesil is believed to be Orion).

Sharing everywhere in the prominence given to its constellation, this was especially the case in Babylonian astronomy, where it marked the 5th ecliptic asterism Pidnu-sha-Shame, the Furrow of Heaven, perhaps representing the whole zodiac, and analogous to the Hebrew and Arabic Padan and Fadan, the Furrow. So that, before the Ram had taken the Bull's place as Leader of the Signs, Aldebaran was Ku, I-ku, or I-ku-u, the Leading Star of Stars. Still more anciently it was the Akkadian Gis-da, also rendered the "Furrow of Heaven"; and Dil-gan, the Messenger of Light, — this, as we have seen, being applied to Hamal, Capella, Wega (Vega), and perhaps to other bright stars, as their positions changed with respect to the equinox. In the same way the Syriac word Iyutha, which we have seen for the star Capella, seems to have been used also for Aldebaran.

As marking the lunar station it was the Persian Paha and the Khorasmian (east of Persia)-Sogdian Bahara, signifying the Follower.

The Italian astronomer Riccioli (1598-1671) cited, from Coptic people of Egypt, (Greek) Piorion, (Latin) Statio Hori; and Renouf identified Aldebaran with the indigenous Nile figure Sarit.

An old Bohemian title is Hrusa. The Hervey Islanders associated it as Aumea, with Sirius in their legend of the Pleiades.

The Persian astronomer Al Biruni (973-1048 A.D.) quoted strange Arabic titles for the comparatively vacant space {p.386} westward towards the Pleiades (a group of stars on the shoulders of the Bull),— Al Daika, Growing Small, i.e. from its rapid setting, and Kalb al Dabaran, the Dog of Aldebaran,— asserting that it was considered a place of evil omen. But there seems to have been dispute as to its location, for he added that those authors were wrong who marked this Dog by the 21st and 22d stars of Taurus,— kappa (κ) and nu.

Aldebaran is but slightly south of the ecliptic, and, lying in the moon's path, is frequently occulted, thus often showing the optical illusion of projection. As one of the lunar stars it is much used in navigation. Aldebaran comes to the meridian on the 10th of January. The Taurids of the 20th of November radiate from a point north of, and preceding, this star. These meteors "are slow, and fireballs occasionally appear among them."

[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].

Aldebaran is the Greek Omma Boos, Latin Oculus Tauri, and the early English Bull's Eye. "Bull's-eye" is what we call "the centre of a target, which usually carries the highest score", and "a precise or highly effective achievement"

The great "red giant", war-like Aldebaran is one of the four "Guardians of Heaven" - sentinels watching over other stars. It formed one of the four royal stars of Persia as "Watcher of the East".

These were also called archangel stars;  this star Aldebaran was Michael  - Military Commander of the Heavenly Host. The others were; Gabriel (Fomalhaut) Watcher of the South; Raphael (Regulus) Watcher of the North; Uriel (Antares) Watcher of the West. At one time they marked the two Equinoxes and two Solstices. Aldebaran marked the zero Aries point in 3044 BC, Antares marked zero Libra 3052 BC, Fomalhaut marked zero Capricornus, 2582 BC, Regulus marked zero Cancer 2345 BC. [The angel associations come from Eric Morse, The Living Stars, p.35. Allen's explanation of these four stars on p.256 of Star Names]

These four stars have been characterized as Horses, reflected both in the famed Four Horsemen of Apocalypse (Revelations 6) and Chariot Horses in the Book of Zechariah - [Dr Eric Morse, The Living Stars, p.56.]

The Lunar Mansions

Aldebaran marked the 2nd manzil, or Arabic Moon Mansion, Al Dabaran, The Follower.

Influences of the 2nd Arabic Moon Mansion Al Dabaran: Causes the destruction and hindrances of buildings, fountains, wells, gold mines, the flight of creeping things, and begets discord.

With Moon transiting here: pursue business, travel, marry and take medicine. [Robson*, p.70.]

Aldebaran marked the Hindu Rohini, a Red Deer, used also for the 2nd nakshatra, or Hindu Moon Mansion. Symbol, a Temple or Wagon Regent, Prajapati, the creator.

Influences of the 2nd Hindu Moon Mansion Rohini: Ruled by the Moon. A stable asterism belonging to the Shudra caste (laborers, craftsmen, service professions) and favorable for coronations, expiatory ceremonies, planting of trees, sowing of seeds, building of towns, and matters of a permanent nature when containing the Moon. Those born on the lunar day will be devout, rich, merchants, rulers, drivers, possessed of wealth and cattle. With Moon here at birth native will be truthful, polite, steady, handsome, cleanly and uncovetous. Rules vinegar pots and the forehead. [Robson*, p.76.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Taurus

Legend: Jupiter, assuming the form of a bull, mingled with the herd when Europa, with whom he was infatuated, and her maidens disported themselves on the sea-shore. Encouraged by the tameness of the bull Europa mounted it, whereupon the God rushed into the sea and bore her away to Crete. According to other accounts Taurus represents Io whom Jupiter turned into a cow in order to deceive his wife Juno. [Robson*, p.62-63.]

Influences: Ptolemy makes the following observations: "Those stars in Taurus which are in the abscission of the sign resemble in their temperament the influence of Venus, and in some degree that of Saturn . . . the stars in the head (except Aldebaran) resemble Saturn, and, partly, Mercury; and those at the top of the horns are like Mars." By the Kabalists Taurus is associated with the Hebrew letter Aleph and the 1st Tarot Trump "The Juggler." In all the ancient Zodiacs, Taurus is the beginning sign and marked the Vernal Equinox from about 4,000 to 1,700 B.C. [Robson*, p.63.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Taurus given by Manilius:

"The Bull will dower the countryside with honest farmers and will come as a source of toil into their peaceful lives; it will bestow, not gifts of glory, but the fruits of the earth. It bows its neck amid the stars and of itself demands a yoke for its shoulders. When it carries the sun's orb on its horns, it bids battle with the soil begin and rouses the fallow land to its former cultivation, itself leading the work, for it neither pauses in the furrows nor relaxes its breast in the dust. The sign of the Bull has produced a Serranus and a Curius, has carried the rods of office through the fields, and has left its plough to become a dictator [eque suo dictator venit aratro]. Its sons have the love of unsung excellence: their hearts and bodies derive strength from a massiveness that is slow to move, whilst in their faces dwells the boy-god Love (Cupido)." [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 4, p.233].

The astrological influences of the star Aldebaran

It gives honor, intelligence, eloquence, steadfastness, integrity, popularity, courage, ferocity, a tendency to sedition, a responsible position, public honors and gain of power and wealth through others, but its benefits seldom prove lasting and there is also danger of violence and sickness. [Robson*, p.120.]

Aldebaran has been in the sign Gemini since 1286 AD, just around the height of the Christian Crusades against Islam, an interesting indicator of conflict between two world schools of thought. Antares, for the other side in the conflict, went into religious Sagittarius in 1272 AD and showed its superiority, perhaps, since the Crusaders never did dislodge the Saracens. [The Living Stars, Dr. Eric Morse, p.36.]

Catastrophe by weather conditions, floods, shipwrecks. Acknowledged and leading position, but will make enemies through whom danger will threaten. Extraordinary energy. [Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elsbeth Ebertin, 1928, p.30.]

If Rising, and in conjunction with the Moon, a good fellow, but if in conjunction with both the Lord of the Ascendant and the Moon it denotes a murderer, especially if the lord of the Ascendant is a masculine planet and the Sun is at the same time afflicted. [Robson*, p.120.]

If culminating: Honor, preferment, good fortune and favors from women. [Robson*, p.120.]

With Sun: Great energy and perseverance, high material honors but danger of losing them, danger from quarrels and the law, honor and riches ending in disgrace and ruin, liable to disease, fevers and a violent death. If in conjunction with both Sun and Mars, great liability to pestilential fevers. [Robson*, p.120.]

With Moon: Favorable for business, honor and credit, especially if in the 1st or 10th house, but danger of calamity. Favorable for domestic, public and religious matters; danger of a violent death. If at the same time Mars or Saturn is with Antares (opposite) the native is liable to be hanged or killed by a sword thrust. [Robson*, p.120.]

With Sun or Moon, culminating or rising: Great honor through violence with difficulties and casualties. [Robson*, p.121.]

With Mercury: Affects the health and domestic affairs, prominence through mercurial matters, material gain, and many learned friends. [Robson*, p.121.]

With Venus: Honor through literature, music or art, creative abilities, favorable for health and marriage. [Robson*, p.121.]

Power directed wrongly. Abnormalities in love life. [Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elsbeth Ebertin, 1928, p.30.]

With Mars: Great military preferment but attended by much danger; liable to accidents, fevers and a violent death. If at the same time the Moon is with Antares, especially in an angle, death will come through a stab, blow or fall. [Robson*, p.121.]

With Jupiter: Great ecclesiastical honor and high military preferment. [Robson*, p.121.]

With Saturn: Great afflictions, strange mind, great wickedness, sarcasm, eloquence, good memory, studious and retiring nature, legal abilities, domestic and material success, losses through mercurial friends. If at the same time the Moon is with Antares there will be a violent death, probably by hanging. [Robson*, p.121.]

Danger and loss through floods storms shipwreck or drowning, Saturn if afflicted. [Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elsbeth Ebertin, 1928, p.31.]

With Uranus: Scientific, a nature lover, critical, just, domestic and political success, public honors, fond of occultism but may meet with disfavor through it, lingering death. [Robson*, p.121.]

With Neptune: Connected with science, art, occultism and mediumship, good intellect, loss through fire, electricity or speculation, but gain through metals, military or scientific instruments, especially if Mars is strong; many journeys, obstacles to domestic happiness, unfavorable for children, danger of accidents and sudden death. [Robson*, p.121.]


*[Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].