Over the years, some parts of my practice have become staples that I maintain in one form or another regardless of what else I might be doing, but much else I’ve done has been experimental where I try something new or attempt worship or work with some new spirit or spirits. Looking back, with some frequency, some of those experiments are successful enough to make such practices become staples, but more often than not, they don’t. I’m not one to go out of my way to try to establish some “grand unifying practice” where I have to get everything to match up and agree with each other in every possible regard from the get-go, but sometimes things just stick out too much in one sense or another where they just can’t find a proper foothold in the rest of my spiritual life, or where I already have enough going on in other ways that I can’t really accommodate a new practice for long in tandem with everything else. It’s unfortunate, given how excited I can get about some of these experiments and ventures at times, but it is what it is.
One of the things I’ve always wanted to experiment with and dig into more is venerating the northern stars, not just Polaris but the seven stars of Ursa Minor and the seven stars of Ursa Maior more generally. I’ve gone into some depth regarding these before from a PGM standpoint (my Pole Lords and Northern Stars post series from October 2018, part 1, part 2, part 3), but there’s honestly just so much with northern star veneration in so many cultures that it’s honestly astounding. Some of the richest and most fascinating stuff I’ve seen along these lines is how a variety of East Asian cultures and religions developed and incorporated such veneration practices into Taoism, Buddhism, and other indigenous traditions. Once I picked up on a few threads there, this sent me on a round or four of binge-researching to see what I might find (in English, at any rate). A few of the neater things I came across were:
- The Perfected Scripture of the Upmost Profoundly Numinous Northern Dipper that Prolongs Life and Affects Fundamental Destiny (太上玄靈北斗延生本命真經), shortened to The Northern Dipper Scripture or Beidou Jing, a popular Taoist ritual text often recited at large temples that worships the stars of Ursa Maior
- Japanese Buddhist veneration of 妙見 Myōken (later in Shinto contexts as 天之御中主神 Ame-no-Minakanushi) as a deification of Polaris together with the stars of Ursa Maior (as documented on this website)
- A paper, “The Mongolian Big Dipper Sutra” by Johan Elverskog in Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies vol. 29 no. 1 (2006), which analyzes and translates into English a Mongolian translation of a Tibetan sutra that lists seven buddhas associated with the stars of Ursa Maior together with their offerings, Chinese zodiacal animals, amulets, dhāraṇīs, etc.
There’s plenty more along these lines, but I think these three resources give a good start to those who are interested further. This is definitely one of the fields I’d like to experiment with more, since I’ve already done a few things for the northern stars even in my own practice from time to time. I’d love to do more, but it’s sometimes difficult to get it all to correlate in my own practice without just leaving it sorta…hanging there, untethered to much else that I do.
That said, it’s easier to find things related to the stars of Ursa Maior (the Big Dipper) in contexts like this than it is for the stars of Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper), which is somewhat annoying. Even still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t PGM versions of this situation, too; there are plenty of bear charms or other bear-related spells in the PGM (e.g. PGM IV.1257—1322, PGM IV.1323—1330, PGM IV.1331—1389, PGM VII.686—702). As I mentioned in my Pole Lords and Northern Stars post series I mentioned above, we also see a fascinating deification of the stars of Ursa Maior and the stars of Ursa Minor, too, in the famous Mithras Liturgy of PGM IV.475—829, where there are “seven virgins…dressed in linen garments with the faces of asps[;] they are called the Fates of Heaven and wield golden wands” for Ursa Maior and “seven gods who have the faces of black bulls, in linen loincloths, and in possession of seven golden diadems[;] they are the so-called Pole Lords of Heaven” for Ursa Minor, each of which having their own name. It may not be a whole lot in the PGM to develop a full or complete practice of veneration of the northern stars, but there’s certainly enough to consider and get started with.
To that end, I decided to take a somewhat eclectic, syncretic approach to devising my own lengthier invocation of the stars of Ursa Maior. By picking at a combo of Taoist star lore, Buddhist correspondences and veneration, and some of the stuff from the PGM (specifically PGM IV.475—829), I put together the following prayer, “Praise of the Seven Ladies”, which invokes and salutes the seven stars of Ursa Maior using their names from the Mithras Liturgy for their aid and succor in our lives. It’s definitely a hybrid spiritual approach (one might even reasonably call it a mutt of prayers) to these entities as a cluster of deities in their own right, but by grafting on influences from several traditions, it’s something experimental that I hope might one day be useful, at least to get a foothold of my own with more advanced or in-depth northern star veneration practices.
Without further ado, my “Praise of the Seven Ladies”:
I give honor to the sanctity of ΧΡΕΨΕΝΘΑΗΣ!
First amongst the blessed nobles, first among the bright seven,
leading your entourage in the twisted twistings of Fate,
penetrating the most sublime wisdom and light of the mind!
Be kind to me and protect me, o heaven-ruling goddess!
Keep your anger far from me, o insatiable eye of Heaven,
and turn all my enemies’ anger back upon themselves!
I give honor to the sanctity of ΜΕΝΕΣΧΕΗΣ!
Second among the blessed nobles, second among the bright seven,
the gate by which all powers and spirits flow free as you will,
whose voice flashes and shines as jewels with power and sublimity!
Be kind to me and protect me, o pole-ruling goddess!
Grant me your medicine, o stable wall of Heaven,
and let the poisons and plagues of my enemies flood their own homes!
I give honor to the sanctity of ΜΕΧΡΑΝ!
Third among the blessed nobles, third among the bright seven,
the commander and director of light from your blessed abode,
surpassing all glory and beauty to shine light upon the whole cosmos!
Be kind to me and protect me, o highest goddess!
Keep me happy and safe from all disaster, o strong support of Heaven,
and let whatever disasters other plan for me befall those who plan them!
I give honor to the sanctity of ΑΡΑΜΑΧΗΣ!
Fourth among the blessed nobles, fourth among the bright seven,
the supreme balance and assistant between those before and behind,
granter of supreme bliss, bestower of holiest wisdom!
Be kind to me and protect me, o beautiful-shining goddess!
Let me remain whole for the whole of my life, o firm foundation of Heaven,
and turn the blades of my enemies away to cut only themselves!
I give honor to the sanctity of ΕΧΟΜΜΙΗ!
Fifth among the blessed nobles, fifth among the bright seven,
the measure of the cosmos who views all things from your tower,
who breaks obstacles through intelligence, wisdom, and the purest of virtue!
Be kind to me and protect me, o incorruptible goddess!
May I always remain strong with you at my side, o whip and club of Heaven,
but may those who seek to weaken me instead be weakened themselves!
I give honor to the sanctity of ΤΙΧΝΟΝΔΑΗΣ!
Sixth among the blessed nobles, sixth among the bright seven,
the opener of power, of opportunity, of crisis in all things,
who delights in justice, in law, in righteousness in all things!
Be kind to me and protect me, o all-illuminating goddess!
May I live long and free without danger, o modest covering of Heaven,
but may those who seek to endanger me instead be surrounded by danger!
I give honor to the sanctity of ΕΡΟΥ ΡΟΜΒΡΙΗΣ!
Seventh among the blessed nobles, seventh among the bright seven,
the enforcer who ensures our compliance with Necessity,
supreme in the subtleties of health and wholeness from profundity!
Be kind to me and protect me, o goddess holding all things together as one!
May I be kept ordered and right on my way, o leader of the cries of Heaven,
but may those who march against me be broken and defeated!
Hail, o queens of mortals and of gods, o heavenly rulers!
Hail to you, o seven Fates of Heaven, o noble and good virgins!
Hail to you, ΧΡΕΨΕΝΘΑΗΣ!
Hail to you, ΜΕΝΕΣΧΕΗΣ!
Hail to you, ΜΕΧΡΑΝ!
Hail to you, ΑΡΑΜΑΧΗΣ!
Hail to you, ΕΧΟΜΜΙΗ!
Hail to you, ΤΙΧΝΟΝΔΑΗΣ!
Hail to you, ΕΡΟΥ ΡΟΜΒΡΙΗΣ!
For you are the most holy guardians of the four pillars,
the sacred ones and companions of ΜΙΝΙΜΙΡΡΟΦΟΡ,
who rules over the heavens, the stars, and the whole world,
greatest goddess, ruling heaven, reigning over the pole of the stars,
highest, shining beautifully, incorruptible,
all-illuminating bond of the whole cosmos,
who turn all things with a strong hand,
who are appointed to raise and lower all things!
Be kind to me, protect me, and grant me your blessing,
o mistress of water, o founder of earth, o ruler of wind, o lightener of fire!
If you have a veneration practice to the northern stars of your own, feel free to talk about it in the comments! I’d love to hear from you, your experiences and your background and your practices, and the like. If you’d like to give the above prayer a whirl, feel free, and let me know how it works for you!
I think it was René Guénon in the “Symbols of the Sacred Science” or in “The Land of the Sun” that explained how the “seven bears”, the “Sapta Riksha” once were identified with the Great Bear/Big Dipper but later were shifted to the Pleiades or, in some myths, they were married to the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades. Do you think that the prayer to the seven virgins of the Mithras Liturgy could be applied to the veneration of the Pleiades, as the Seven Sisters of greek-roman-hindu lore?
In the Mithras Liturgy, the seven ladies of fate are contrasted with the seven lords of the pole, and these two sets of entities have together consistently been identified with Ursa Maior and Ursa Minor, respectively. In the context from which they came (which is, like as not, *not* Indo-European), this does not appear to be related to the Pleiades. (Check out the linked posts I made about “Pole Lords and Northern Stars” in the post above which digs more into these.)
As a result, I wouldn’t try to apply this to the stars of the Pleiades. The symbolism and references here are very tightly wound up with *specifically* the stars of Ursa Maior, and not really transferable to other stars.
Thank you very much for your reply. I read the articles linked in the post and they are very informative and interesting!
I thought about the Pleiades because I noted a parallel between the “Seven Fates/Seven Lords” and the “Saptamatrikas” or “Seven Mothers” of the Pleiades in the vedic tradition that are married to seven gods (usually considered as linked to the seven stars of Ursa Maior), that is similar to what you wrote in the last article: “but it also makes sense to honor the Pole Lord with its corresponding Fate, almost as a supercelestial King and Queen, or divinity with its consort.” But it was just a hunch and I wanted to ask your opinion about it.
It clearly seems that in the Mithras Liturgy in the PGM the link is between Ursa Maior and Ursa Minor and not between the Pleiades and Ursa Maior! I think you proved that in your posts!
Thank you again!