Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Algol ‘Ghoul’ Binary Star Sacred to Ancients—Secret Eclipses Regular as Clockwork


Eclipsing binary star Algol in constellation Perseus causes larger magnetic star to eclipse its smaller brighter companion every 2.8 days -periodicity repeats three times over two-month span

Dia de Muertos Festival not just for Writing Ghouls in Masqued Gowns November is also NaNoWriMo Month

Perseus stretches over celestial sphere with his Gorgon prize—decapitated head of Medusa β-Persii—whose fixed gaze stilled ocean monster Cetus and saved Andromeda from sea death

November means much to so many people. For Writers, it’s the start of NaNoWriMo—wish you all well on that prickly writing path—yeah NaNos!


First day of the ancient pre-Celtic calendar, Samhainn, revealed by the Thin Veil of what has gone before: Many ancient cultures began again at this time, believing winter will bring return of the Light. Nature will endure. Earth Mother descends into Hades, the Underworld, held captive till spring.

For a full list of the Celtic Calendar months see here.

Others—Arab, Assyrian calculated by the stars. But it’s Egyptian priests we have to thank for tracking the blinking, eclipsing, metamorphosing Star of Darkening, Algol, the ghoul, phantom, Raging One.

Cairo Calendar used Algol to Predict Good and Bad Days

Egyptians were first to record the wobbly nature of Algol, making nightly observations for religious purposes over several generations from approx. 1224B.C. They used its apparently chaotic cycles as markers in annual day reckoning—The Cairo Calendar—of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days. In three thousand years, the orbit/eclipse cycle of Algol has varied from a 2.850 day cycle to 2.867-day—approx. 2days 20hrs49mins. That always ensures ‘good’ for Roman Kalends (first day of cycle) where last (20th day of three decans month) was traditionally not fortunate for any activity.

Excerpt from Cairo Calendar, with July New Year significantly orientated to the heliacal rising of Sirius, believed to cause inundation of Nile, season of abundance, 1st of 3 seasons

Traditionally Day 1 of a new month (three week cycle of ten days) was always GOOD. The twentieth day always UNLUCKY—bad bad bad.

First season: New Year July Akhet, flood or inundation, lasted thru October always began with heliacal rising (first sighting before dawn) of Sirius, Sothis, god clothed as brightest star in Canis Major, dog star following Orion

Second season – winter November-February: Proyet, emergence. Algol at brightest—and dimmest ;)—at zenith in Northern skies, linked to death

Third season – Summer Shomu=low water March to June. Names of its months were Hnsw, Hnt-Htj, Ipt-Hmt, and Wep-Renpet or Opening of Year Harvest celebration and festival for Rebirth of Osiris ensured much feasting

Almagest, Claudius Ptolemy’s Mathematical / Astronomical compendium of apparent planetary & star positions relative to Earth, c. A.D.150 was unsurpassed until 17thC. Fifteen crucial stars form the secret Behenian cluster, sacred to alchemists from antiquity to modern times

Each month consisted of three ten-day’ weeks’ called decades or decans. Although months were individually named, they were commonly referred to by the name of the festivals held in them. The last two days of each decans were considered holidays and ordinary Egyptians didn’t work.

Algol the Inauspicious Ogre

Twentieth day was always a no-go day-—inauspicious, linked to Algol. And on a New Moon day one was forbidden to go outside to see the darkness.

Historically, the binary star had strong associations with bloody violence across a wide variety of ancient cultures. In the Tetrabiblos, the 2nd-century astrological text of the Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy, see above, Algol is referred to as “the Gorgon of Perseus” and associated with death by decapitation: a theme which mirrors the myth of the hero Perseus‘s victory over the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa. Astrologically, Algol is considered one of the unluckiest stars in the sky, and was listed as one of the 15 Behenian stars used by ancient an modern alchemists..

Raging One

Wedjat Eye of Horus

رأس الغول Arabic Raʾs al-ghūl 

The Cairo Calendar describes a repetitive transformation of the Eye of Horus, usually called Wedjat or the Raging One, from a peaceful to a raging personality, with good or bad influence on the lives of men. A legend existed in which the enraged Eye of Horus nearly destroyed all mankind. Ancient Egyptian scribes were in awe of Algol‘s strange behavior and linked it to this prominent legend

As ancient scribes recorded eclipses, it seems odd there are so few texts on Algol from other ancient cultures, bar Arabic, head of the Ghoul, above. The CC crew argue that temple scribes did not speak the sacred name of Algol for religious reasons, but used indirect mythological references. It explains lack of notation on the star itself. Indirect mythological references to Algol in other ancient cultures—Arab and Hebrew—give it ‘untouchable’ status.

Keeping Temple Records Straight—and Counting According to Algol

Temple scribes, professional in astronomy, mathematics & medicine whose duties included measurement of time by day with obelisks & sundials, star charts by night, simultaneously held sacred traditional nightly rituals to protect Ra, the Sun during his journey with Nut, left, goddess of Night, across the Underworld. Timing had to be exact (below left) to appease terrible guardians, who opened a new gate to the Underworld each hour. Ra was reborn at the 12th hour, if rituals went smoothly. Risk that the Sun would never rise again was believed imminent.

Algol’s eclipses always occur exactly at the same modern hour after 57 nights. Ancient Egyptian hours were of relative length, so in winter the day hours were shorter than in summer, and for night hours the reverse. Also measurement of time was not precise. If an eclipse was observed in Deir-El-Medina at the end of the night, the next eclipses would occur after three night intervals, but always about three and a half hours earlier, until they could not be observed during daylight.

Dr. Jaana Toivari-Viitala, CAIRO CALENDAR, Deir El-Medina

Nineteen Night Cycle—Algol’s Good and Bad Days

This sequence of nighttime eclipses repeated every 19 days. The eclipses also returned to the same part of the night after 57 days. That periodicity occurs with modern or ancient hours. Whatever Algol “did” (blinked or not) on D ≈ 1 (always GGG)*, it always also did on D ≈ 20 (always SSS). There are nearly 300 clear nights a year in the Luxor area. Evidence of star clocks, which ancient scribes used to measure time from stars, spans over a millennium from the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2181–2055 B.C.) to the Late Period (664–332 B.C.). For this purpose, they devised star tables to help with time keeping. *GGG= all good day SSS=(schlecht) very bad day.

Algol Binary Interaction Transfers Mass to its Companion

Astronomically, the binary star components of Algol appear to have formed at the same time, with the more massive star evolving much faster than its less massive star companion: the more massive companion Algol Aa1 is still in its main sequence, but the less massive Algol Aa2 is a subgiant star at a later evolutionary stage. The paradox can be solved by mass transfer: when the more massive star became a subgiant, it filled its Roche lobe, and most of the mass was transferred to the other star, which is still in its main sequence of development. In some binaries similar to Algol, a gas flow can be seen. The gas flow between the primary and secondary stars in Algol has been imaged using Doppler Tomography.

The system also emits x-ray and radio wave flares, captured on earth by both types of receiver dish, from Puerto Rico to Hawai’i.

Algol’s—and Our Writerly— Good and Bad Days—thru November

Algol’s 19-night cycle (periodicity) repeats at the same time on November 19th, and according to 3,000 years’ calculation, that’s an auspicious day. The following day—11/20/2020—is NOT. Be forewarned; writers, NaNo-ers and readers all, stay in the cave that day.

Promise we can all come out in time to celebrate the madness of Saturnalia. Auspicious days to come. ©2020 Marian Youngblood

November 4, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, Ascension, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, energy, festivals, history, pre-Christian, ritual, sacred sites, seasonal, sun, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment