Bernadette Brady
January 2007

The Arabs called Algol, Ras al Ghul  – the Head of the Demon – and they considered this female demon to be the wife of the Devil. Ptolemy labelled the star as ‘the bright one of those in the Gorgon’s head’. The Chinese called the star Tseih She meaning Piled-up Corpses. In Talmudic Law she is the first wife of Adam, Lilith, who left him because she refused to be submissive to his needs. Algol thus embodied everything that men feared in the feminine, the wild, raw, frightening face of the outraged feminine which has been labelled as demonic or simply as evil.  Algol is also part of the constellation Perseus and is one member of an ancient sky narrative. This story as reported is about a prince (Perseus), a princess (Andromeda) and her parents, the king (Cepheus) and the queen (Cassiopeia) . In the sky, Perseus, the young warrior and hunter approaches the princess who lies awaiting her lover. He carries a gift to his bride or her parents which is a token of his ability as a hunter and an offering to her household – a fresh kill, or a beast[1].

In our current times we tend to define Algol as the beast, but however we define this much maligned  star in astrology, you can locate it in the sky north of Taurus the Bull – if you are in the northern hemisphere then look higher in the sky about 20 degrees above the Bull – half way towards the North Pole star; if you are in the southern hemisphere then look below Taurus by about 20 degrees (one hand span in the sky). Many astrologers think that Algol is on the ecliptic but as you can see from the above map it is well north of the ecliptic (the pink line in the above map).

[1]Brady, Bernadette (1998) Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Maine, USA:Samuel Weisers pp. 188-191