Fixed Stars, Gemstones and Plant Correspondences – a Potted History

In his book The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, first published in 1923 and still in print, Vivian Robson provides a chapter on the correspondences between fixed stars, gemstones and plants. Unfortunately he does not share the origins of this knowledge with his readers, but only mentions that Cornelius Agrippa wrote much about “magical ceremonies”.

In the following I give a summary of the correspondences between fixed stars, gemstones and plants, according to Robson:   

Fixed Star Gemstone Plant
Aldebaran Carbuncle, ruby Milky thistle, “matry-silva”
Algol Diamond Black hellebore, mugwort
Algorab Stones of the colour of black onyx Burr, quadraginus, henbane, comfrey
Alphecca Topaz Rosemary, trefoil, ivy
Antares Sardonyx, amethyst Long aristolochy, saffron,
Arcturus Jasper Plantain
Capella Sapphire Horehound, mint, mugwort, mandrake
Deneb Algedi Chalcedony Marjoram, mugwort, nip, mandrake root
Pleiades Crystal, the stone Diodocus The herb Diacedon, frankincense, fennel
Polaris Loadstone Succory, mugwort, periwinkle flowers
Procyon Achates Flowers of marigold, pennyroyal
Regulus Granite Sallendine, mugwort, mastic
Sirius Beryl Savine, mugwort, dragonwort
Spica Emerald Sage, trefoil, periwinkle, mugwort, mandrake
Wega Chrysolite Succory, fumitary

Following Robson’s hint, a look into Cornelius Agrippa’s books shows that Agrippa has a similar list of correspondences to offer.  Here is a table, listing the correspondences between fixed stars, gemstones and plants after Agrippa in Three Books on Occult Philosophy, first English edition, 1651:

Fixed Star Gemstone Plant
Head of Algol Diamond Black hellebore, mugwort
Pleiades or Seven Stars Crystall, Diodocus Diacedon, frankincense, fennill
Aldeboran Carbuncle, ruby Milky thistle, matry-silva
Goat-Star Saphir Horehound, mint, mugwort, mandrake
Great Dog-Star Berill Savin, mugwort, dragonwort
Lesser Dog-Star Achates Flowers of Marigold, penyroial
Heart of the Lyon Granate Sallendine, mugwort, mastick
Taile of the lesser Bear Loadstone Succory, mugwort, flowers of periwinkle
Wing of the Crow Such stones as are of the Colour of the black Onyx stone Bur, quadraginus, henbane, comfrey
Spica Emerald Sage, trifoile, perwinkle, mugwort, mandrake
Alchamech Jasper Plantain
Elpheia Topaze Rosemary, trifoile, ivy
Heart of the Scorpion Sardonius, amethyst Aristolochy, saffron
Falling Vulture Chrysolite Succory, fumitary
Taile of Capricorn Chalcedone Majoram, mugwort, nip, root of mandrake

Agrippa names his sources as Hermes and Thebit, which leads us to the conclusion that he had access to Thabit ibn Qurra’s De Imaginibus, and the famous Liber Hermetis de xv stellis xv lapidibus xv herbis et xv imaginibus, which only seems to exist in the form of a few Latin manuscripts. Nevertheless we can catch a glimpse of the original set of correspondences. In 1390 John Gower published his Confessio Amantis. In book 7 of his monumental work he lists 15 fixed stars together with stones and herbs. Scholars who studied Gower’s work are convinced that he used various versions of Liber Hermetis in his Confessio Amantis.

The following is a list according to Gower’s Confessio Amantis, book 7:

Fixed Star Gemstone Plant
Aldeboran Carbuncle Anabulla
Clota or Pliades Crystal Fennel
Algol Diamond Black hellebore
Alhaiot Sapphire Horehound
Greater Dog Star Beryl Savin
Lesser Dog Star Agate Cowslip
Arial Gorgonza Celandine
Crow’s Wing Honochinus Sorrel
Alaezel Emerald Sage
Almareth Jasper Plantain
Venenas Adamant Chicory
Alpheta Topaz Rosemary
Scorpion’s Heart Sardis Birthwort
Botercadent Chrysolite Savory
Scorpion’s Tail Chalcedony Marjoram

12 thoughts on “Fixed Stars, Gemstones and Plant Correspondences – a Potted History

  1. Hi Peter,
    I was just doing some research on this idea of gem stones, herbs, and stars and I was wondering if Stones the color of black onyx is just a general term for any and all stones black in color. I am guessing it is but just thought I would ask for your take on that. I was looking for obsidian on the list and couldn’t find it. Thanks annieo11

    • I think you are correct in your assumption that all stones of the colour black could be used.
      Wing of the Crow is, according to Robson, a double star, pale yellow and purple, situated on the right wing of the Crow. From Al Ghirab, the Crow. It is of the nature of Mars and Saturn. It gives destructivness, malevolence, fiendishness, repulsivness and lying, and is connected with scavenging.

      The choice of stone is related to the nature of Saturn, as traditionally all black stones are associated with the Planet Saturn, too.

      Hope this helps,

  2. Peter,
    Thank you for your reply. I had used your page here and looked up Algorab and read a bit about the stars and the crow’s wing. Kind of ominous and dreadful. I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t taking or making an assumption without at least asking. Thanks again annieo11

  3. My Tarot cards are taken from the Pohpul-vu, recent discovery of El Mirador in Guatamala has me very excited. I just read your research on stars, gems & plants. Have you read anything by Coccles or Paracellsus? Thank you for including me in your circle.

  4. Hello Sue,

    thanks for your interest; I have read about the life and work of Paracelsus but I have not read any of his works in the original.
    I have not heard of Coccles before; perhaps you can enlighten me 🙂

    It is a pleasure having you here.



  6. I just want to ditto the previous kudos. I did a quick search for exactly what you have here, as opposed to stuff from who knows where, and you not only had the info, you had already organized it.

    Yyou must have had some planets in the sign of Tidy that day 😉

  7. Pingback: Notice of Astrology and the Authentic Self by Demetra George | Freeman's Reviews

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