Rumen Kolev is a familiar name in the traditional astrology community. He is the developer of the Placidus and Porphyrius Magus traditional astrology software. As someone who has a mathematical background he is also specialized in the study of primary directions. He is also well known for the restoration of Babylonian astrology.

Maybe not many people know that he is also a translator from Latin and Ancient Greek into Bulgarian and English languages. In 2013 Rumen translated De Stellis Fixis from the Codex Vindobonensis Latinus 3124 into Bulgarian language (I don’t have the English translation of the book, my review here is based on the Bulgarian translation). One thing I like much about his translations is that he gives the transliterated Latin original alongside the translated content. In such a way, it is easier for those who know a bit of Latin to compare passages alongside the translation. His introductions into the material and the history of the critical editions are also on pair with the best translators and editors in the astrological community.

Ego dicam vobis de rebus fortune!
I will tell you about Fortune!” – with these words Hermes Trismegistus begins his introduction into the world of the Fixed Stars – “and you will have great benefit and happiness from that“.

This book is known by the name “Beybenie” that comes from the full title “Liber Hermetis de Stellis Fixis que dicintur Beybenie“. According to Kolev this word comes from the Ancient Greek βεβαιόω (bebaióō) a verb which means “to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure, to fixate”.

Though the Codex Latinus 3124 from which Kolev translates is written in 15th century, Salio da Padova has translated this book in 13th century from Arabic, which was a translation from Pahlavi and this from Ancient Greek. Kolev traces the text to the third Hermes who lived in 9th century B.C.E. in Babylon. This may be far fetched and I suppose we don’t have enough material to prove such a claim at this moment.

When they speak of the social status and the prominence in the chart, many authors in the tradition begin their examination with the fixed stars and analysis of whether the native has some powerful star on the sensitive points in the horoscope.

On the matter that a star can override otherwise middling or unfortunate horoscope, Hermes speaks at the very beginning of his book:

“Indeed, the planets can be badly disposed in the horoscope, but this will not harm the native if these stars are on the five places which I mentioned above (Asc, Mc, Dc, Sun and Moon). Even if the planets are made unfortunate or in cadent houses, but if some of these stars are on the five places [I’ve mentioned], then this means elevation of the native, if God wills, and signifies that the native will rise to such a heights of which no one ever believed or thought about”.

Translation of the quote is of the author of this review from the Latin/Bulgarian edition of the book

The stars Hermes mentions in his book are the following:

Stars of Venus-Mercury nature:
– Spica
– Vega
– Deneb
– Fomalhaut

Stars of Jupiter-Mercury nature:
– Gemma
– Castor
– Zubeneschamali

Stars of Jupiter-Mars nature:
– Regulus
– Antares
– Sirius
– Menkalinan
– Altair

Stars of Jupiter-Saturn nature
– Rigel
– Alnilam
– Algol
– Rukbat
– Capella

Stars of Mars nature:
– Pollux

Stars of Mars-Mercury nature:
– Bellatrix
– Procyon
– Alpheratz
– Betelgeuse
– Shaula
– Scheat
– Zavijava

Stars of Venus-Jupiter nature:
– Acamar
– Arcturus

Stars of Venus-Saturn nature:
– Zosma
– Alphard
– Denebola

Stars of Venus-Mars nature:
– Rigel
– Aldebaran

At the end of the book the translator gives example charts of fixed stars in paranatellonta (stars “rising alongside”) with certain horoscopic degrees arising, culminating or setting, alongside other 5 ecliptic projections using three coordinate systems.

Though the translator may be biased and has strong opinions on some matters, I find it very interesting read. I especially like the astrological significations of the stars which Hermes gives to specific stars or group of stars united under one or two planetary natures.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: “On the Fixed Stars” by Hermes, translated by Rumen Kolev

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