As I’ve written in my monster article on how to learn about the fixed stars, the first astrology of most cultures was based on the Moon and the fixed stars–including the idea that the planets were wandering stars.
Before we began to notice the planetary cycles, most cultures around the world put a lot more emphasis on Moon cycles and phases, as well as the cycles and phases of stars. This is apparent in many megalithic monuments, burial chambers, sacred sites, temples, and even the pyramids.
Fixed stars were seen as Gods by many cultures, and their mythology is wrapped up in the movement of the stars (this is true in the mythology and cosmology of Ireland, Egypt, various Balkan countries, Australia, Peru, many Native American tribes, and so many more).
The earliest calendars were set to the movement of the Moon and the Stars, and the Egyptians had the first ever measurement of time at night that utilized the Stars.
In the West, particularly the Greek and Roman empires, the stars took a backseat after the discovery and mapping of planetary cycles became the main focus of time keeping and astrological divination. (This was in part because of precession, which is our view of the sky here on earth changing by 1 degree every 72 years due to the wobble and tilt of the earth rotating on its axis.)
Sadly, this loss was deep… As society developed more technology and tools it became less necessary to actually go out and look at the sky, let alone have a working relationship with the sky.
It’s also been a big loss for personal astrology, as even in the Neoplatonic schema of divinity, the fixed stars were the sphere closest to Unity, the most divine principle, and often completely alter a person’s lived experience compared to what they find in their planetary birth chart.
Thankfully there’s been a real renaissance of the Fixed Stars in recent years, which I’ve been honored to be a part of. A reconnection with the night sky beyond a chart that you look at on a screen regrounds you into a sense of place, an embodiment of the celestial influences in your own life, and the enchantment that is an inherent animating force of this world.
With all the information about stars floating around, you may be wondering how to find your star parans chart for yourself?
Below I give a quick photo tutorial using the free tool on Astro.com and then go into basic interpretive principles.
(If you want a VERY basic primer on the difference between parans vs. conjunctions, please head to my Coming Into Relation With the Fixed Stars article.)
FINDING YOUR FIXED STAR PARANS CHART FOR FREE
Go to astro.com and click "Free Horoscopes"
Scroll down, find, and select "All At A Glance"
Select "Extended Chart Selection"
If you do not have an account with Astro.com you will need to enter your personal information and name. Please note that this will not save after you exit the window. If you want it to save, you need to sign up for a free account.
Once your birth information is filled out and you return to the main "Extended Chart Selection" screen, you need to go select the "Special" tab.
In the "Special" tab you need to click on the drop down that says "Transit Calendars"
In the dropdown select "Parans According to Bernadette Brady, PDF" and then click on "Show the Chart," which will generate a PDF.
The first page of the PDF is going to give you the general information of your traditional chart. Ignore that page and scroll down.
The second page of the PDF will give you a list of your fixed star parans, arranged into categories by the phase of the star. These are your natal (birth) star parans.
How do you interpret your fixed star parans?
You’ll notice that your star parans are vastly different than the conjunctions in your chart, and it may even seem like you’re reading a foreign language.
I’m not going to go into the super technical details of how parans are measured (that is an entire class by itself, which is taught by Dr. Bernadette Brady).
Instead I’m going to focus on interpretive principles and the way that I have come to understand reading the stars after reading over 1,400 client charts.
The Heliacal Rising Star is what I call the title of your life’s screenplay. It gives us an overall idea of how you approach the trajectory of your life, much like your rising sign in a traditional astrological chart (which is likely an idea based on the Heliacal Rising Stars the Egyptians were originally very focused on). You embody the attitude and often the attributes of this star.
The Heliacal Setting Star is the overall mission or theme of your life’s screenplay. It’s the wisdom you’ll come to embody as you move through life and gain experience. You’ll especially begin to feel the very loud call of the Heliacal Setting Star after your first Saturn Return, as it will drive your attention to a specific theme/idea.
Some people (not everyone) also have stars that travel with the horizon or meridian, and these will give us an additional note of tone in regards to the way that specific angle is expressed throughout life, as well as a special emphasis on that angle throughout the life.
So to put these three together using a movie as an example… Thor: Ragnorak is the title of a movie that denotes a mythological hero trying to stop the end of the world. Yet, the theme of the movie is someone who must learn that leadership is about more than just being the strongest and most famous/popular person in the room. The tone that the story is told through is the lens of very quirky action-comedy.
The different categories of the parans give us a 3 act screenplay structure with a backstory.
The planets in these relationships are altered by their angular contact with the stars, expressing themselves and carrying out their various responsibilities (as seen in your traditional astrology chart) utilizing the tools as well as the stories of the stars that have domain in that relationship.
For example, Mars in a paran with Sirius may show serious athletic acuity to the point of becoming well known for that physical gift. However, the rapid rise to eminence could cause this person to become emotionally burned from the preferential treatment and attention, as Sirius was known as The Scorcher for a reason. Like the story of Isis and Osiris, this person may need to go through an underworld initiation of losing their direction in life in order to redefine what success means and how it is measured in their life, so that they do not lose themselves in the future.
Rising Stars of Youth are the stars in rising parans, angular relationships to different planets. These stars are the main players in the first act of the play. In more practical terms, these stars are prominently active in your life from the time you are born until your first Saturn Return (between the age of 27 and 31).
Culminating Stars of Prime are in culminating parans, angular relationships to different planets. These stars are the main players in the second act of the play. In more practical terms, these stars are prominently active in your life from after your first Saturn Return (between the age of 27 and 31) until your second Saturn Return (between the age of 56 and 60).
Setting Stars of Latter Years are in descending parans, angular relationships to different planets. These stars are the main players in the third act of the play. In more practical terms, these stars are prominently active in your life from after your second Saturn Return (between the age of 56 and 60) until your third Saturn Return (between the age of 85 and 90).
The Hearthstone Stars of the Lower Culmination are nadir parans, angular relationships to different planets. Most of us will not activate these directly in our lifetime, as we would have to be in our 90s for that to happen. I consider this to be the backstory of your play, the heritage, ancestry, your upbringing and your reaction/response to it that informs a lot of your motivations and inherent approach to certain aspects in life. Therefore, these stars are with you for your entire life, quietly running in the background with their gifts and challenges.
Again, using the example of Mars in a paran with Sirius, the time period of life where this relationship takes precedence will be determined by the phase of the star. So if Sirius were rising, this paran would be most active from the time that someone was born until their first Saturn Return (age 27 to 30). If it were down in the hearthstone area of the chart, this relationship would take precedence their entire life–perhaps even an ancestral gift with the responsibility of learning how to steward so much ability with a tempered approach to success and how one gains self-esteem outside of accomplishment and notoriety.
In addition to the general time periods, stars can also be activated via planetary profections, and become a cameo or guest star for a year. Much like Seinfeld is the main character of the show, we often get a cameo such as the Soup Guy for an episode or two–that is what it is like to have stars become activated temporarily. (If you want to learn about profections, I recommend this article from Kelly Surtees, and this in-depth video from the Astrology Podcast.)
As an example, when you enter a profection year where Mars is the Lord of the Year, all of the parans in your chart that are with Mars (regardless of their general timing period) will become prominent actors in your life for the year.
But... How do I interpret these combinations?
Is this complex? Yes! Especially when you factor in the number of stars (Brady uses 64, but there are many more than that) and their many different combinations with the planets. That’s why there are entire intensive classes to learn this technique!
However, I hope this gives a general idea of how to find your stars and the framework for how to interpret them. It is far beyond the scope of an article to go into how to interpret individual star-planet combinations.
For those who are going to try to use the internet as a resource to learn about individual stars, let me caution:
When researching fixed stars, it's a good idea to take ancient prognostications with a grain of salt, as historically they tend toward the more extreme versions of what the star could do. Also, in astrological magic usually the negative connotations get reversed into assets, such as the Pleiades causing blindness (mundane prognostication) becoming magically supportive for having insights or finding hidden information.
I've written a blog entry with detailed and well-vetted resources to check out: www.empresscraft.com/coming-into-relation/
IF I COULD HAVE ONLY ONE SET OF BOOKS ON STARS, IT WOULD BE THE BOOKS BY DIANA ROSENBERG.
Secrets of the Ancient Skies volumes 1 & 2 are available here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Secrets-of-the-Ancient-Skies-Volumes-1-2-/180895447763
And of course, if you want to have a professional be your guide to the fixed star parans of your chart, interpret the vast mythology of your life, and help you identify the best way to embody, cultivate, and steward the gifts given to you by your celestial heritage, my books are open periodically for consultations!
If you’re a total beginner, I recommend grabbing the Stars of Destiny reading, which gives you a general overview of your stars with particular attention to your Heliacal and Hearthstone stars that are with you for your entire life.