Astronomical designation: Sigma Sagittarii



Pelagus is the second brightest star of the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer. It has a favourable association with sailors, sea voyages and shipping, partly coming from its Latin name which means ‘the open sea’. This star usually appears in the star lists under its much older name of Nunki, which comes from Sumerian and Babylonian roots. Nunki refers to Eridu, the ancient city on the Persian Gulf which was sacred to the wise god Enki, who dwelt in the watery depths below. Nunki is a variation on the name of the Babylonian asterism Gusirabba, ‘Yoke of the Sea’, also rendered as ‘Proclamation of the Sea’. In Babylonia and maybe earlier, Pelagus was linked with Ascella, the star which is discussed next.


Pelagus is a powerful star. It is traditionally of good omen, especially in any material concerns. Truthfulness and optimism are skilful expressions here, along with the gifts of a strong mind and success for active efforts. Taking action is the crucial factor: your luck is not passive, but worked for. Pelagus is a masterful star. It bestows a strong will, and this sometimes manifests as a drive to dominate, too, which may or may not receive skilful expression. One useful way of testing the meaning and influence of stars is to look at them not in personal horoscopes but the charts of events or nations. Pelagus is very strong in the chart for the Act of Union which established the United Kingdom in 1801, linked to the Sun, the life force of the event. This began the century which saw Britain consolidate the greatest maritime empire the world has ever known – Britannia ruling the waves. Pelagus is also aligned with the Sun in the chart for one of Britain’s colonial children, Australia. In comparison with Britain and her old empire, Australia has only a small place in world affairs, but still retains some regional clout amongst the island nations of the Pacific Ocean. The urge for conquest is an important theme with this star, and with it a very wide dominion. Despite its belonging to the fiery martial constellation of Sagittarius, Pelagus belongs to the sea, that very ancient symbol for the source of all life, the watery mother or matrix in which the earliest living things evolved. It prompts wide-ranging hopes and ambitions, the willingness to travel to the ends of the earth if necessary to find or gain whatever you want, and it will help you to cast a wide net, or sail into uncharted waters with a good degree of safety. You may find yourself sailing away with this star, either literally or metaphorically. But one way or another, Pelagus takes you very far.


Some expansively successful people had, or have, Iris here: sublimely mystical nun Saint Teresa of Avila; highly cultured influencer of culture Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV of France; hard-headed businessman and highly creative inventor Thomas Edison; and constantly inspired composer and songwriter Cole Porter. Iris aligned with Pelagus on the day Dmitri Mendeleev’s Periodic Table was first presented to the Russian Physico-chemical Society. Yet another example of intuitive Iris empowered by Pelagus is offered by hugely popular syndicated astrologer Jonathan Cainer. He also had yang communications planet Mercury here, and subtle, mysterious Proserpina, taking his readers on journeys to other-worlds and helping them to think about their problems. There is something very open and spacious, thinking big and doing big, about the minds influenced by Pelagus. For contrast and comparison with a yang Mercury mind, there is Jonathan Swift of Gulliver’s Travels fame, though his Mercury kept company with playful, teasing Bacchus and deep, soul-purifying Proserpina. (This is a striking contrast with Jonathan Cainer!) For comparison with Mendeleev, Werner Heisenberg was another scientist working in the realm of the very small: in his case, the infinitesimal quantum realm. Heisenberg had integrating asteroid of the very small Astraea aligned with Pelagus. Walt Disney also had the Astraea link, which helped him to imagine and create many detailed worlds for people to explore. And in the world of art, Henri Matisse sought to bring a new kind of freedom and fluidity to drawing and painting, together with an innovative approach to colour; he was born with the Sun aligned to Pelagus.

This work is Copyrighted: © Kidston, Roderick 2016. Text extracts are from The Magic of the Stars: How the Stars of Astrology Enrich Your Life. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Link to book on Amazon. Note the book does not contain the otherwise unpublished card deck artworks.