BOTICELLI Primavera 1842
“The Rebirth of the Divine Feminine
Asteroids, Archetypes, and Mythology”
For 4000 years there were only 7 planets that were seen in the sky, and all but one, Venus, and the Moon, which is not a planet, were male sky gods. In 1781, William Herschel discovered Uranus, with astonishing accuracy using a mathematical equation calculated in 1771 as Bode’s Law .
Discoveries of new celestial bodies coincide with quantum leaps in human consciousness. There is a direct correlation between the celestial energetic matrix and human consciousness--As Above, So Below. The planets however, do not control us, they merely reflect us. When we gaze up at the sky we are not seeing distance, unrelated objects, we are seeing ourselves. The discovery of Uranus, around the time of the American and French Revolutions, according to its nature as the planet of liberation, revolution, and cultural de-conditioning, blew away the consensus thinking of the time regarding the known order of the planets. Up until the discovery of Uranus, Saturn, and his defining rings was perceived to be the outermost edge of the known universe. Remarkably, Uranus was also observed to be a ringed planet. It was also observed to be spinning on its side... and backwards! First observed during the 18th Century period of revolution, Uranus represents the dynamic in human consciousness that initiates the process of individuation, which awakens the Soul’s deep memory of its connection to reality in a broader collective context.
The map of the heavens has expanded as the consciousness of humanity has expanded. Uranus, the “deal breaker” in its discovery, blew away 4000 years of astronomical understanding. Up until it’s discovery, Saturn with it rings of limitation was the outer boundary of our consciousness. Most unexpectedly, Uranus showed up, not only with rings of its own, but also spinning on its side declaring its fundamental intention to de-condition what we know.
Neptune was discovered in 1846 however Bode’s Law failed to predict its orbit. Neptune was actually observed by Galileo. Although his telescope was powerful enough to resolve Neptune into a small blue disk and show it to be a planet, he did not recognize it at the time, and appropriate to Neptune's nature, Galileo mistook it for a star.
“John Herschel almost discovered Neptune the same way his father, William Herschel had discovered Uranus in 1781, by chance observation. In an 1846 letter to Wilhelm Struve, John Herschel states that he observed Neptune during a sweep of the sky on July 14, 1830. Although his telescope was powerful enough to resolve Neptune into a small blue disk and show it to be a planet, he did not recognize it at the time and mistook it for a star.”1
As the planet of consciousness itself, Neptune awakens and reveals the dimensions of reality that exist outside of Time and Space.
The discovery of Pluto in 1930 was also not found using Bode's law, however it was roughly at the position the law had predicted for Neptune. Pluto came into awareness with the advent of the Atomic Age, the tremendous power of the atom, and the destructive weaponry derived from it.
All of the planets within Saturn’s orbit represent the subjective components of the human psyche, how we think, how we love, how we behave, etc. The planets beyond Saturn are transpersonal, representing both the collective unconscious and individuated unconscious that lie below the surface of our awareness.
It was Johannes Kepler in his Mysterium Cosmographicum, roughly translated as Mysterious Cosmos, who predicted in 1596 “between Mars and Jupiter, I place a planet”.2 In 1801, Giuseppe Piazzi, an Italian astronomer working to correct the star mapping, discovered what we now know as the dwarf planet Ceres, orbiting between Jupiter and Mars... in the exact place that Kepler predicted. Because his observatory was located in the place where legend says that Pluto abducted Persephone, daughter of Ceres, Demeter to the Greeks, Piazzi named the asteroid Ceres. Shortly thereafter Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene were discovered, also in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Each of these new sky goddesses represents a previously unexpressed astrological component of the feminine archetype. They also evidence the ermergence and gradual culturalization of the patriarchy, through the classical ages as the expression of the feminine archetype became fragmented into the multiple goddesses of the Greek and Roman pantheons.
“When a certain celestial body is prominent in the sky at the time of your birth, the mythic biography of that deity contributes a shaping influence upon the course of your life and your destiny”.3
There are in fact over 400,000 known asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Around 15,000 of them have been named and mapped. The most commonly used in astrological consultations are the three sisters of Jupiter-- Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas, the daughter of Zeus who was born parthenogenetically from his forehead. With the publication of Ephemerides of the Asteroids: Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, 1900-2000 by Eleanor Bach and George Climlas in 1973, the application and importance of asteroids came into increasingly widespread usage by the astrological community.
“Once upon a time, the many cultures of this world were all part of the gynocratic age. Paternity had not yet been discovered, and it was thought ... that women bore fruit like trees—when they were ripe. Childbirth was mysterious. It was vital. And it was envied. Women were worshipped because of it, were considered superior because of it Men were on the periphery. The discovery of paternity, of sexual cause and childbirth effect, was cataclysmic for society” —Gloria Steinem4
The earliest known ancient spiritual traditions such as those practiced in Sumer and Babylonia were centered on the sacredness of birth and procreation. The Sumerian and Babylonian goddesses Ishtar, Astarte, and Inanna were expressions of the totality of sensuality and sexuality of the feminine archetype. Sexuality was sacred and there were rites and temples dedicated to it. Childbirth was considered to be the most mysterious and sacred act in human experience. Matriarchy however, did not mean the rule of women. With the recognition that men played a role in the birth process, the practice of a matriarchal tradition was soon overtaken by male dominance and supremacy.
The Greeks and Roman pantheons were polytheistic. Their pantheons included both male and female deities. The patriarch posture of Greeks cosmology fragmented the feminine archetype into separate parts, leading to a gradual dilution of the entire totality of the feminine expression. Ishtar became Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, Juno, and Diana and establishing gradual the ascendancy of the male sky gods Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Mars, and Mercury.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the Church of Rome further subverted the feminine archetype, out of the need to diminish the influence of the sexually exuberant pagan cultures migrating from the north. Doctrines created religious dogma that vilified the libidinous, shamanic traditions inherent in pagan culture, and ecclesiastically separated spirit from flesh. Knowledge was hidden on a scale equal only to the burning of the Library at Alexandria in order to create the new status quo.
We know the Feminine archetype in its un-manifested entirety as the Yin principle-receptive, dark, moist, passive, cold, soft, and yielding. Venus was the manifest form in Roman mythology, Aphrodite to the Greeks. She is the expression of beauty, sexual attraction, magnetism, unconditional love--the pure undistorted essence of femininity. She is the Soul’s desire for relationship, starting with our relationship with our selves in her inner expression as the ruler of Taurus and the 2nd House, and that relationship with self which is then projected into all of our other relationships, lovers, friends, co-workers, and others, through Venus’s outer expression as the ruler of Libra and the 7th House.
Demetra George in the Asteroid Goddesses describes the relationship between the Moon, Venus, and the 4 asteroids, as a mandala.5
Venus Aphrodite is the feminine manifestation of the Moon, and the 4 asteroids, Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene, each representing a component of the entire archetype.
As the expression of the Yin principle, the Moon occupies the entire field of the mandala. Venus as the totality of the manifestation of the feminine occupies the mandala’s center. Ceres represents motherhood, and the parental bond, and occupies the Inum Coeli at the 4th house cusp. Pallas Athene as the daughter, in the place the realized accomplishment, occupies the Medium Coeli and the 10th house cusp. Vesta, the sister, who is bound to no man, but has aspired to a sacred bond with her authentic self, occupies the Ascendant, and Juno, the faithful, committed wife, resides on the Descendant.
It is important to note that these asteroids do not have rulership of these houses. Elementally they are asynchronous with each of those placements. Ceres, Goddess of Agriculture, is related to Earth, Pallas, Warrior Goddess of Wisdom is an Air elemental, Juno is Water, and Vesta, Guardian of the Sacred Fire is a Fire element. Each of these asteroids has significations and keywords, just as the archetypes representing the planets and signs. However, in my work, I have found that the myth itself is the message. Each covers a broad spectrum of expression, like the archetypes, and when the story is retold, the listener hears the message that is intended for them.
“Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.”6
I find that the myth of Ceres is one of the most telling in a chart. All depth psychology modalities agree on the one thing; that our early childhood set the tone of the psychological and emotional framework of each lifetime. How we were nurtured, or not nurtured, and if we were abused, which prescribes the reminder of the current emotional waypoint in our Soul journey. These events are the basis of our relationship with self, and our current egocentric interactions. The Ceres myth originates in Greek mythology, so in the telling, I will use the Greek names in the story.
BOTICELLI Primavera 1842
Demeter (Ceres) and her daughter Persephone were the iconic mother daughter relationship. Demeter was the Goddess of Agriculture and together they roamed thefields spreading the abundance and fertility of nature everywhere they went. Unknown to Demeter, her brother Zeus (Jupiter), who was the King of the Gods, gave Persephone, to their brother Hades (Pluto). Using his helmet of invisibility, Hades came up from his Underworld kingdom, abducted Persephone, raped her, and took her back down to the unseen world. Demeter roamed the Earth ceaselessly, looking for her lost daughter. Finally her brother Helios (Apollo), came to her and told her what happened. She went to her brother Zeus to have him rescind his agreement with Hades, but Zeus refused, so Demeter brought blight to the land, causing all of the crops and fields to wither and die. Faced with the reality that all of Nature had been brought to ruin, Zeus had no choice but to relinquish his agreement and he sent Hermes (Mercury), the only God who could enter the Underworld without harm, to retrieve Persephone.
All during her captivity, Persephone had refused to eat. When Hades told her that she would be released, he offered her a pomegranate seed, which she ate. The seed was a talisman of conjugal union binding, Persephone to Hades for a portion of each year, which created the cycle of the seasons.
The myth has many different meanings. It is about birth and death, loss and grief. It is about nurturing, and the parental bond, attachment and the loss resulting from over-attachment. In a natal chart it provides details about the nature of our relationship to our parents, and to our children as their parent—how we were nurtured… or not nurtured, and how we nurture our children and others. It can indicate the loss of a child, or the loss of someone or something that we have become overly attached to. It can indicate sexual abuse from a family member. It can also show a “green thumb” and the ability to nurture as a farmer or gardener. It can indicate eating disorders.
I would like to refer to a case study of someone who came to me for a consultation. I will call her Sandra. Sandra has her Pluto in Leo in the 8th House conjunct Saturn. Pluto sextiles Neptune in Libra in the 10th House, and both Pluto and Neptune are inconjunct Ceres in Pisces in the 3rd House, forming a Yod, or Finger of God configuration, with Ceres being the focal point of the Yod. Ceres is conjunct the Moon also in Pisces. Her 12th House South Node in Sagittarius is conjunct her Ascendant. Jupiter, its ruler is in Scorpio, is also in the 12th. Jupiter squares the Sun in Pisces 3rd House and Mars in Aquarius 2nd House, trines Mercury in Pisces 3rd.
The Pluto and Neptune combination, in the Yod with her Ceres brought her into a birth family situation where she felt isolated and her emotional nature was repressed and denied. She was born feeling alone and abandoned from birth itself, and her adoptive family continued the lack of parental nurturing and emotional support. In her own words, Sandra describes her early childhood,
“I was adopted at the age of two weeks. My father was an unemotional stern German man …we were like oil and water as I was sensitive and emotional. Showing emotion was a big no-no in the family. My Mom…knew her role as mother…she was passive …and bowed to my Dad’s needs. She was unable to bear children. My Dad arranged through an attorney to adopt two kids…I felt like an alien in the family”
Sandra has been working on the themes her sense of isolation, of having her power taken away, and the recurring traumas of betrayal and abandonment (Pluto Leo 8th square Chiron Scorpio 11th).
She has found the courage to explore her own truth in the world outside her family (Sagittarius SN conjunct Ascendant) though it has been hard to overcome the pain and sensitivity she carries as karmic experience, and to be able to stand in her own power (Jupiter Scorpio square Sun Pisces). She still feels a deep rage against those who betrayed and abused her. (Jupiter Scorpio square Mars Aquarius) Her evolutionary intentions via her Pluto polarity point in Aquarius 2nd House are to develop her own inner resources and strength, to become her own father; to take responsibility for her self in this lifetime. (Capricorn 2nd, Saturn Leo 8th)
We can clearly see how Ceres reflects the Soul’s unfinished business via Sandra’s birth family environment and how it adds depth to the detail of those early years, which set the emotional backdrop of the entire lifetime.
Asteroids provide a richer and fuller meaning to a birth chart. They bring additional insights and depth. Their specific meanings connect with and highlight already identified chart themes and signatures.
Each of the other asteroids has an equally compelling mythology. Pallas Athene being born from her father's crown chakra, brings us not phsycial, but mental progeny. It is the archetype of the civic-minded activist, patron of the arts, androgynous woman who stands in her power, proudly, for all to see. Vesta brings us into sacred union with ourselves. She represents the search for the authentic self, and our commitment to the ideals that define us. Juno as the faithful wife exemplifies our commitment to relationship as well as the emotional roller coaster experience it sometimes brings.
Their archetypes can also be active in a man’s chart as well. Men are fathers and have relationships to their parents and children; they can also have creative inspiration (Pallas), be committed to a connection to their authentic self (Vesta), and desire to be faithfully committed partners (Juno)… or not. According to Jennifer Barker Woolger, in The Goddess Within, the goddess asteroids in a man’s chart can also reveal the type of woman to whom they will be attracted.7
It is important to note, that not all asteroids are significant in every chart. Their significance depends on their prominence by angularity and aspect to other prominent planets and lights, which are the underlying themes in a chart.
Since the discovery of Ceres and her sisters in the late 19th Century, we have witnessed a steady, yet frequently halting unfolding of the re-emergence of the matriarchy into our culture. Here is a time line of some of the significant advances of women in our society:
• The Suffragette movement in the US and in the UK in the late 19th Century was the turning point of the return of the Matriarchy
• 1919 The 19th Amendment was passed granting women the right to vote
• 1923 Margaret Sanger opens the first birth control clinic in New York City.
• 1965, a Supreme Court ruling (Griswold v. Connecticut) legalizes birth control for married couples in the United States.
• 1932 Amelia Earhart makes the first solo flight by a woman across the Atlantic.
• 1955 Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, thus sparking the U.S. civil rights movement.
• 1963 Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique, which galvanizes the women’s rights movement.
• 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race or sex.
• 1973 Roe v. Wade - the Supreme Court upheld legalized abortion
• 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court
• 1984 Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman nominated for vice president by a major party
• 2007 Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
• 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman to become a leading candidate for a presidential nomination
Earlier this year, Senate Republicans blocked -- for the third time -- the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill proposing to close the pay gap between men and women”.
There has been an equally profound effect on the lives on men. We have seen a wider rejection of the macho stereotype. Men are performing traditional female roles as secretaries, nurses, and househusbands. Men are sharing the responsibilities of raising children. Courts are increasingly awarding child custody to men, and many more single male parents are adopting children.
So, what is the state of the “rebirth of the Divine Feminine”?
There is a strong likelihood of a woman becoming POTUS within the next few cycles of elections. However this recently appeared in the web addition of The Huffington Post:
“Despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war. Around the world, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are needlessly high, and women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives.” 8
The rebirth of the Divine Feminine is about the balance of the anima and the animus Transcending Duality to create Unity. It is about the recognition of the sanctity of life, the sacredness of birth, and the mystery of death. It is about our reconnection to the sacredness of the natural world and all living things. It is the desire and intention to find equality and balance in all things.
We do not come into this world with tabula rasa, as the rationalists would have us believe. Our “slate” is richly notated, foot marked and cross-referenced.
“An archetype is like an old watercourse along which the water of life has flowed for centuries, digging a deep channel for itself. The longer it has flowed in this channel the more likely it is that sooner or later the water will return to its old bed.”10
These archetypes live on within us, buried deep in the “underground” of our Uranian individuated unconscious. The circumstances and relationships that our Soul has aligned for us are designed to out those parts of us that we cannot see. Mythology holds the template, the image of those archetypes. The wisdom has been preserved for centuries, hidden by those who would erase it, protected for those who would seek to find it.
1Günther Buttmann. The shadow of the telescope: a biography of John Herschel. James Clarke and Co. p. 162.
2Mysterium Cosmographicum, Johannes Kepler, 1596
3“Myth as a Foundation for Astrology”, http://www.demetrageorge.com/Mythology_Foundation_Astrology.pdf
4Wonder Woman. / Introd. by Gloria Steinem. Interpretive essay by Phyllis Chesler.
5Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George and Douglas Bloch, Nicolas-Hays, Inc., Lake Worth FL, p.28
6Apocalypse, D.H. Lawrence, Penguin Books, London, England, 1931, p.48
7The Goddess Within, A Guide to the Eternal Myths That Shape Women’s Lives, Jennifer Barker Woolger and Roger J. Woolger, Fawcett Columbine, NY, 1987
10Civilization in Transition, Carl Jung, Pantheon Books, 1969, p.189
Chart Data and Sources
“Sandra”, February 22, 1947; 1:40 AM, Chicago, IL, USA (41°N51', 087°W39')
A: Accurate data as quoted by the person