The planets can clearly be seen to move across the heavens but the stars which form the various constellations appear to be stationary. We know that they are moving, albeit exceptionally slowly, but to the ancients they appeared to be fixed and immutable. This was the sphere of the heavens which was eternal; change only affected the earth. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the zodiacal position and the right ascension of fixed stars will move with time too slowly to be easily observed by the naked eye. This should be born in mind when referring to old charts. They move at 72′ per century.
Fixed stars can add another level of interpretation to astrology but traditional interpretations can tend towards the fatalistic. You can start to understand this when you consider that each star is a separate sun. They are particularly useful when looking at mundane astrology and the natal charts of leaders or those who move in a collective environment. There are considerably more malefic fixed stars than benefic ones. Practically the only benefic star is Spica, currently found at 23 Libra. Looking at the translations of the star names gives us clues. The Chinese refer to Algol as Piles of Bodies; Algol is commonly acknowledged to be a significant malefic.
Another consideration is that many stars are some way from the ecliptic, therefore their ecliptic degree may not be the best position to consider. Stars which rise or set in paran – at the same time – as planets could yield more information; you can see this as bodies rising together across the horizon, the ecliptic is only one point on horizon.
We also need to distinguish between the individual stars and the formations in which they have been grouped, otherwise known as constellations. There will be associations with a particular star i.e. Spica, which will be part of a constellation, in this case Virgo.
The constellations have changed over the years and this is why we have difficulties working out exactly which stars ancient authors were referring to. There were 48 constellations before the seventeenth century. These were “neatened” in recent times and new ones created. Also important to bear in mind are the changes Regiomontanus instigated, which involved using the Celestial Equator as the circle of reference when locating stars rather than the ecliptic. The coordinates given for a particular star would change although, of course, the star had not moved, it was only being referred to by a different system.