Antares: The Heart of the Scorpion

Antares: The Heart of the Scorpion

The fixed star Antares is the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius, it is located in the centre of the body and is therefore known as the Heart of the Scorpion. As one of the Royal Stars of Persia that preside over the four cardinal points, Antares is the watcher of the West. Antares has a long history of magical and mundane astrological significance within the mythologies of ancient cultures the world over. 

In the creation of these Antares Talismans, I looked specifically to Babylonia, as that is where we can find accounts of some of the earliest practises of astrological magic, as well as the Medieval magical tradition in which Antares is recognised as one of the 15 Behenian stars. The astrological election I chose originates from the astro-magical practices of Babylonia, and the talismans I designed in accordance with instruction found in Agrippa’s 3 Books of Occult Philosophy:

Under the Heart of Scorpio they made the Figure of a Scorpion; it giveth understanding and memory, it maketh a good colour, and aideth against evil spirits, and driveth them away, and bindeth them. [1]

Agrippa then goes on to explain that Antares gemstone is Amethyst and it’s plant long Aristolochy. 

The process of making the figure of the Scorpion began with the setting of a taxidermy scorpion, which I then used to create a mould. Taking wax casts of the mould, I sculpted and built upon the wax scorpions to create settings for the amethysts. Aristolochy is the botanical name for birthwort, and as birthwort wasn’t readily available  in my location I divined on a replacement, using motherwort in its place. I cast these talismans in sterling silver, and during the astrologically elected window I  ritually set the Amethysts into each scorpion, placing motherwort under each stone while petitioning Antares, and inviting her to ensoul the talismans. A suffumigation of frankincense resin was used. 

 Agrippa explains that Antares talismans made in this fashion are beneficial for improving memory and intelligence, health and vigour as well as providing spiritual protection. 

Astrological Election

The heliacal rise of Antares was chosen as the astrological election for these talismans. It took place on the 14th of December at 3:45am - 4:45am AEST.  Heliacal risings were particularly important to ancient astrologers, with accounts of it’s significance found in the earliest recorded star lores. The heliacal rise of a star occurs approximately once a year and is marked by the first day a star rises in the morning twilight when the Sun is far enough below the eastern horizon to make it visible. 

The heliacal rise occurs after a period of invisibility that corresponds with the heliacal setting of the star. This period of invisibility was considered to be a span of time in which the star is said to have travelled through the underworld before being born anew.

In mythopoetic observation, when a star appears briefly in the predawn sky after it’s chthonic journey into the underworld it creates a bridge between the heavens and earth. The star is briefly among us, walking upon the earth at the horizon before making their ascent back into the heavens. Crafting talismans in ritual during this significant time, in which the celestial spirit touches the earth, draws upon an ancient form of magic that predates the Medieval tradition. In fact, one of the earliest recorded rituals for the heliacal rise of Antares can be found in the compendium of cuneiform tablets; the MUL.APIN which is dated somewhere between 2400BC and 1000BC:

On the day the Lisi star becomes visible, a man should wake up at night all that is around his house… and he must not sleep; he should pray to the Lisi-god, then he and all that is around his house will experience success. [4]

Antares Mythologies and Talismanic Properties

Both the Bodleian MS and Agrippa indicate that an Antares talisman is beneficial for improved memory, intelligence, health and vigour as well as spiritual protection, but to further learn the character of Antares as well as understand how she can assist us in our lives we need to look to ancient mythologies in conjunction with astrological texts. 

In Babylonia, Antares was known as the Scorpion's Breast and the mother goddess Lisi was its primary regent. Lisi was associated with fire and braziers, one of her epithets being; "she who burns with the fires". [5] This speaks to the fiery nature of Antares. The name Antares (Ant-Ares) derives from the Greek word  Άντάρης, which means “like Mars,” “rival of Mars” or “anti-Mars”. Antares has a heat akin to Mars, but rather than rage in flashes and bangs, she smoulders eternally. We can witness this by looking into the night skies where Antares is consistent in her fiery brilliance, whereas Mars oscillates, appearing “much brighter than Antares for a few months every couple of years, but normally it is either much fainter or about as bright as the star.” [6]

In Greek mythology the story of the constellation of Scorpius is tied with that of Orion:

The giant Orion boasted that he would rid the whole earth of wild beasts and monsters. Apollo went to Mother Earth and repeating Orion’s boast, arranged for a scorpion to pursue him. Orion attacked the scorpion, first with arrows, then with his sword, but, finding that its armour was proof against any mortal weapon, dived into the sea and swam away in the direction of Delos where, he hoped, Eos would protect him. Apollo then called to Artemis: ‘Do you see that black object bobbing about in the sea, far away, close to Ortygia? It is the head of a villain called Candaon, who has just seduced Opos, one of your Hyperborean priestesses. I challenge you to transfix it with an arrow!’ Now, Candaon was Orion’s Boeotian nickname, though Artemis did not know this. She took careful aim, let fly, and, swimming out to retrieve her quarry, found that she had shot Orion through the head. Artemis then set Orion’s image among the stars, eternally pursued by the Scorpion; his ghost had already descended to the Asphodel Fields. Some, however, say that the scorpion stung Orion to death, and that Artemis was vexed with him for having amorously chased her virgin companions, the seven Pleiades, daughters of Atlas and Pleione. [7]

The Scorpion’s tireless eternal pursuit of Orion through the night skies speaks to Astrologer Bernadette Brady’s interpretation of the nature of Antares: “Antares is linked with obsession; intense and probing… and…is suggestive of great success, worldly or otherwise.”[8] As Brady suggests, the fiery intensity of Antares may assist in developing and maintaining the passion and drive required to succeed in one's endeavours, however like all things there is a potential pitfall. Obsession and passion when directed mindfully can lead one to mastery and expertise in one's chosen field or endeavour, however these qualities left untethered can cause undoing. 

The great worldly success that Brady speaks to can be found In ancient Mesopotamia mythologies of the Scorpion constellation which is (in its entirety) associated with the multifaceted goddess Ishara, who was known as a ‘goddess of war and victory’, and held the epithet: ‘victory over the lands’ and was also known as ‘queen of the inhabited world’ [9]

To the Persians, Antares was known as Yima, the god of the dead who impels the generation of success through a cleansing life-and death experience. Brady recognises this as the natural theme of this star. The generation of success through a cleansing life and death experience should be considered metaphorically as a positive transformative experience. This theme can also be found in the poem from ancient Mesopotamia; the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which Gavin White summarises in Babylonian Star-Lore: 

A scorpio-man and woman act as guardians to the mythic mountain beneath which the sun descends every night. They are said to guard the sun at his rising and setting, and because Gilgamesh is a favourite of the sun god, they allow him to travel the path of the sun under the mountain. The Epic describes how Gilgamesh travelled through the tunnel during the night and eventually emerged into a gem-encrusted paradise on his quest to find immortality. [10]

In developing a relationship with Antares and wearing her talisman I would recommend that you have confidently established a level of self discipline so that you are able to direct this energy positively in your life. I recommend this talisman for anyone that has a relationship with Antares, or would like to start one. Especially those with Antares conjoined to one of their personal planets or within their parans. I would also recommend to those that have a difficult Mars placement in their chart and would like to remediate Martial energies. Getting to know Mars through the stellar energy of Antares is a good way to get into a healthier relationship with Mars topics and tasks.

You can view the Antares Talisman offering here

Reference list

1. Henricus Cornelius Agrippa, Tyson, D & Freake, J 1993, Three books of occult philosophy, Llewellyn, Cop, St. Paul, Mn.

2 & 3. Houlding, D 2012, Glossary of Traditional Astrological Terms -Heliacal rising / setting,, viewed 11 January 2022, <>.

4 & 5. White, G 2014a, Babylonian star-lore : an illustrated guide to the stars and constellations of ancient Babylonia, Solaria Publications, September, London, p. 236.

6. Constellation Guide 2014, Antares - Alpha Scorpii | Constellation Guide,, viewed 8 January 2021, <>.

7. Graves, R 2017, The Greek myths, Penguin Books, London, pp. 152–153.

8. Brady, B 2008, Star and planet combinations., Wessex Astrologer Ltd, p. 124.

9 & 10. ― 2014b, Babylonian star-lore : an illustrated guide to the stars and constellations of ancient Babylonia, Solaria Publications, September, London, pp. 233 & 232.

Evans, J 1922, Magical jewels of the middle ages and the Renaissance, particularly in England, by Joan Evans ..., The Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 248.


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