In astrology, the Moon's Nodes are not planets in the strict astronomical sense, but rather sensitive points on the ecliptic, where the Moon crosses from north to south latitude and vice versa. The body of the "energy dragon" is the fourth-dimensional path of the Moon by declination, as she weaves her web around the earth. The nodes are commonly known as the Dragon's Head (Caput Draconis in Latin), the North Node, and Dragon's Tail (Cauda Draconis), the South Node, although in Indian Astrology they are known as Rahu and Ketu. The Dragon's Head, a "shadow planet" exalted in Gemini, is considered benefic (good), whilst the Dragon's Tail, exalted in Sagittarius, is considered malefic (evil) in influence. Their motion is normally retrograde at the rate of roughly one degree every 19 days (compare the 19 year cycle of lunation); periods of direct motion are therefore considered unfortunate. The placement of the Nodes is important, because it illustrates a relationship between the Moon, the Earth and the Sun. Eclipses can be calculated by the movement of the nodal axis.
The Dragon's Head (Moon's North Node):
Aspects to the North Node concern or affect relationships to prevailing trends, attitudes and opportunities. The Dragon's Head represents your karmic objectives in this lifetime. It points the way towards soul growth and evolution. The sign holding your Dragon's Head reveals the flavour of your karma in this lifetime, while its house placement shows the area of life in which you need to develop, or become conscious of this karma. Positive aspects to the Dragon's Head are generally favourable from the benefics (Venus and Jupiter), Sun, Moon and Mercury, whilst sextile or trine from Mars, Uranus, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto also have beneficial effects. Square and opposition from the benefics and conjunction, square and opposition from the malefics are unfortunate, according to the matters signified by house and planet afflicted.
The Dragon's Tail (Moon's South Node):
Aspects to the Dragon's Tail display the results of innate unconscious tendencies and karmic patterns as they emerge in the life. They tend to be separative and destructive. Any aspect to the South Node from any planet is unfortunate for matters to do with the house and planet activated thereby. Past life hangovers are represented by the position and aspects of the Dragon's Tail. The position of the Dragon's Tail is generally indicative of past life connections or commitments in a relationship analysis. Aspects thereto are also most interesting, especially if a pre-natal eclipse falls there, either natally or in conjunction with a progression or major transit.
Chiron, a teacher of heroes and an oracle, was originally a god of healing, but in later mythology survived as one of the centaurs. These wild creatures, half man and half horse, were not noted either for their sensitivity, or their intelligence and represented mankind's attachment to the lower animal passions. Chiron, immortal son of Kronos (Saturn), governs healing and relationships; he teaches us, as he did with Jason, Achilles and Heracles, to fulfil our ultimate potential. Chiron taught his secrets to Asclepios, the divine healer, but in modern astrology he profoundly stands for the deep wounds we have brought into this life to be healed and so to enable us to heal others. His emblem represents holistic understanding. The area of the chart in which Chiron is located is the focus of the karmic healing process, which is often very painful.
Unlike the drunken centaurs, Chiron was wise, with extensive knowledge of the healing arts, astrology, music and medicine. Heracles (Hercules) unintentionally wounded his teacher in the knee, during his battle with the centaurs. Thus his wound was in a sense self-inflicted, for he himself had taught the hero to make the poisoned arrow by dipping it in the blood of the Hydra. The last of his kind, Chiron relinquished immortality so that the titanic rebel Prometheus (who brought the gift of fire—stolen from the gods—to the human race) could be released from his eternal torment. Thus he died so that humanity might live. After his death, he was placed in the firmament as the constellation Sagittarius.
A comet-like planetoid now called Chiron was discovered in 1977. It travels between the courses of Saturn and Uranus in a highly elliptical 51-year orbit, closer at perihelion to the Sun than Saturn and almost as far out at aphelion as Uranus. This has the effect of moving him swiftly through some signs, such as Libra, but very slowly through others, such as Aries. Although neither the first nor the largest of many such minor planets (Centaurs) to be discovered, Chiron still remains the most significant of these in terms of human destiny.
Chiron is a knowledge holder who transmits higher teachings either as an outer teacher (Saturn) or as an inner teacher or spirit guide (Uranus). Embodying the archetype of "the wounded healer", Chiron stresses the importance of going within to find an answer—and then sharing it with others. In education, music and medicine, Chiron unites the body and mind, instinct and intellect. His ancient teachings are now resurfacing through the advent of holistic health and education.
Some asteroids have been found to have astrological value, especially with relation to women's issues and the development of influences more related to the feminine side and the power of the goddess. These tiny planetoids are generally located orbiting the Sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter comprising thousands of cosmic boulders, some as little as a few meters across and some reasonably large: Ceres, for example, measures almost 1000 km in diameter, so it would fit nicely into Texas and is slightly larger than France. Their orbits are variable, with some actually intersecting that of the Earth (most palęontologists believe that a collision with an asteroid 65 million years ago caused the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the cretaceous period). However, as with the Fixed Stars, not all of them are astrologically significant. Those described in this article have been found to be useful in modern astrology. In recent years quite a number of other asteroids have developed an astrological following, but these are still the main four.
Interestingly, Bode's Law predicts that a planet should be found where we now see the asteroid belt and in 1801 Giuseppe Piazzi, following Bode's formula, discovered Ceres—thinking he had found a new planet. Indeed, the first four asteroids to be discovered were classified as planets, though they were later demoted to minor planets, or asteroids, in the 1850's when it had become clear that there were so many of them [see When did the asteroids become minor planets? and the science of Asteroids—offsite]. Speculation has it that the asteroid belt may be made up of the remnants of a disintegrated larger planet; or it might be that these are the pieces from which a planet will one day coalesce. Science is unsure. Chiron, on the other hand, orbits much further out, between Saturn and Uranus, so is not usually called an asteroid because it is not in the "belt" between Mars and Jupiter.
The names of these asteroids are based today on those of the ancient gręco-roman goddesses, but not consistently using the Greek, or the Roman system.
The great mother, or the principle of unconditional love. Ceres (Demeter in the Greek) is the goddess of fertility, of the crops—we get the word "cereal" from Ceres. The myth of Ceres and the loss of her daughter Proserpine (Persephone, a.k.a. Kore) explains the cyclical rhythms of nature—and the deeper mysteries of death and resurrection, the human soul and metempsychosis. Ceres and Pluto thus have a profound connection, as in mythology Pluto, dark Lord of the Underworld, abducted her daughter bright Proserpine, Goddess of Spring, thanks to the spiteful jealousy of Venus! [more on the classical myth of Ceres and Proserpine]. Ceres, daughter of Saturn and Ops (Kronos and Rhea), and sister to Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, was also the sister of Vesta and Juno. Bountiful Ceres, queen of the mysteries, rules the cyclical structure of the natural world and the rhythms of womanhood and fertility, parenting and reproduction. Like all the ancient Olympians, Ceres represents at one level a force of nature. She has two sides, the one blessing humanity with nature's gifts and the other blighting the world by withholding her powers of fecundity. However, she also has a deeply spiritual side. The myth of Ceres and Proserpine (Demeter and Persephone) lay at the heart of Elusinian Mysteries, initiations celebrated for more than two thousand years in the sacred groves and temples of Eleusis, near Athens. The emergence of her influence in recent times has brought a resurgence of interest in the Divine Feminine, adding a dimension of awareness and nourishment. In some ways Ceres can be seen as the saviour of children, for in the myth she refuses to give up on her lost daughter Proserpine until she has been recovered and reclaimed from the Underworld.
The astrological Ceres, largest of the asteroids and the first to be discovered (by Giuseppe Piazzi, on 1 January 1801), has nevertheless a seriously malefic side, especially when afflicted, which anyone can see from examining her position in disaster charts. Even a quick reading of the mythology also reveals that, in her sorrow and grief, she can actually blight the entire world—in order to regain what she has lost. It is true that the placement of Ceres in the chart is a harbinger of loss, but it always holds out the promise of return, or reclamation. It is interesting that Ceres was originally considered a true planet, under the auspices of (the now-discredited, according to science) Bode's Law. In fact, following the success of this law in predicting the position of Uranus, a group of 24 astronomers were actually looking for a proposed planet where the asteroids are now known to flock. Under new astronomical definitions, Ceres, the first discovered of the asteroids, has finally been classed as a "dwarf planet". She has this in common with Pluto also...!
"Astrologically, Ceres describes the ways in which we face the issues of
self-worth and self-esteem, relationships to our parents and children,
attachment, dependency, loss, separation, rejection, grief, sharing, work
and productivity." (62)
The warrior queen, the principle of creative intelligence and wisdom. Athene (Minerva to the Romans) was born from the head of Zeus (Jupiter), thus being the only Olympian to have been born without a mother—although he had actually swallowed her mother, Metis (wisdom), so that she could not bear a son who would supplant him as he had supplanted his father, Kronos (Saturn). Representing divine knowledge, or wisdom, she stands for feminine expression of the divine nous, or perfect understanding. She also rules the relations between fathers and daughters, indeed all incestuous and abusive relationships where an imbalance of power must be righted. It is interesting that Pallas in the natal chart indicates the nature of our abilitiy to recognize and implement patterns, arrangements and rearrangements; notably (though of course, rarely) she is also held to be significant in transgender, intersex and transsexual experience. It's worth noting that in many ancient cultures and tribal societies, a third gender was accepted and found a valued place, for example, as Gallę, the castrated, eunuch priestesses of the goddess Cybele, known in Rome as the Mater Deum Magna, the Great Mother of the Gods—and everything else!
Pallas was the second asteroid to be discovered, by Heinrich Olbers on March 28, 1802. A title for Athene the Greek goddess of wisdom, Pallas means maiden. Pallas, daughter of Triton, was Athene's childhood friend in Libya, home of the Amazons. In a mock battle, Athene accidentally killed her; in her grief she swore to take on her name, placing it ahead of her own. She carved a statue, the Palladium, which Zeus later cast to earth; it was taken up by the Trojans, later to be stolen by Odysseus, removing the protection of the goddess for Troy. She was the goddess of war, wisdom and culture—patroness of the civilized arts: pottery, sculpture, weaving, architecture and animal husbandry. Pallas, the wise, female warrior, gives meaning and direction to the struggles of women to be free from the oppressive domination of the masculine forces. "Astrologically Pallas Athene describes how we face the issues of learning, creativity, the arts, politics, healing, alienation from relationships, competition, and the fears of success." (99)
Peacock, Bird of Juno
The divine consort, or the principle of relatedness. Juno, the wife or rather paredra (sacred sexual partner) of Jupiter, Lord of the Gods, was the protectress of women in Roman times. Although she came to be identified with the Greek Hera, her Roman, Etruscan and Sabine origins show her also as a warrior goddess. Astrologically, she governs wifely relationships, and the role of woman as covenanter and partner. In this way she governs such things as contracts and binding agreements, through her association with marriage. According to Graves and others, Juno's ancient rule was overthrown by the victory of the Indo-European sky father Jupiter, which introduced the custom of marriage and a patriarchial social system.
Juno, worshipped from prehistoric times by the ancient Romans, had several major temples devoted to her in the Eternal City. The first of each month, the kalends, was her sacred day, with a special festivity on February 1, as Juno Sospita (Juno, the Saviour). Her birthday was celebrated on June 1, the kalends of June. She was worshipped under many names serving different functions, for example:
Juno Regina: Juno the Queen, a member of the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva), with a temple on the Aventine Hill.
Juno Moneta: Juno, the Warner, or Exhorter. The sacred geese of Juno warned the Romans when the Gauls tried to take the Capitolium in 390 BCE. The temple of Juno Moneta stood on the Arx Capitolina, one hump of the Capitoline Hill, where the church of S. Maria Aracoeli ("Altar of Heaven") and the Vittoriano now stand. A mint later set in the temple has given us the word moneta, money, coin, the extension of governmental power.
Juno Sospita: Juno the Saviour, the mother goddess and protector of the state. The Temple of Juno Sospita was in the Forum Holitorium in Rome. Her festival was on February 1st.
Juno Curitis (Juno Quiritis): Juno the protector of spearmen. She was the only deity to be worshipped by all 30 curię, the military and administrative units introduced by Romulus, Rome's legendary founder. Her temple was on the Campus Martius.
Juno Lucina: the goddess of light and childbirth, in the sense of "coming to light". A Temple of Juno Lucina was built in the Esquiline Hill 375 BCE.
The third of the asteroids to be discovered (September 1, 1804, by Karl L. Harding), Juno can be fierce, as befits a war goddess (!) and is bound by a sense of duty and social obligation. Her dark side also rules such things as divorce, and separation, infidelity and open conflict between partners. In the natal chart, Juno indicates the true colour of the marital partner that we need—and will get. "Astrologically Juno describes the ways in which we face the issues of compatibility, receptivity to others, mutual sharing, trust, jealousy, possessiveness and power struggles." (168)
The eternal flame, which burns forever in the hearth. Vesta was the goddess of the living flame, the virgin goddess of home and hearth. Sister to Jupiter, Neptune, Ceres, and Juno, as a goddess of fire she was esteemed as a virgin, for as Ovid remarks, "she sends forth no seed, nor receives it, and loves the attendants of virginity". He means that the flame purifies all and is itself pure, the vivifying soul that ensouls matter with a spark of divine spirit. She was considered the calm, central foundation of the Earth, the centre of our visible universe. Her retinue were known as the Vestal Virgins, an ancient, actually prehistoric, sacred order originally filled only by the daughters of the ruling class. In primitive times, the daughters (especially the eldest) were given charge of the precious fire, the mother as head of the household being generally occupied with other tasks. Her sacred animal was the ass.
As the principle of focus and commitment, Vesta was one of the most revered of the goddesses. Her name means "the essence", "the fire", the true nature of things. Although she is little-known today, in ancient times she was widely worshipped as the central goddess in the Roman pantheon—the burning energy at the heart of life, home and society. Her domed, circular temple was set in the centre of Rome and her call to purification is still the rallying cry of truth. It shows us where we can be most dedicated, focusing our energies to achieve the best outcomes.
Vesta was the fourth asteroid to be discovered (by Heinrich Olbers, March 29, 1807, in the constellation Virgo). Under favourable conditions, Vesta, the brightest of the asteroids, can actually be seen with the naked eye. NASA in 2007 sent a spacecraft ("Dawn") on a five billion kilometre journey to investigate Vesta and her sister Ceres; this craft has now come within close reach of Vesta (July/August 2011) and soon will be moving on to contact Ceres in February 2015. It is interesting that due to a proposed collision with another asteroid long ago, a massive chunk of Vesta was splintered off and shattered into many smaller pieces—a number of which have since fallen to Earth as meteorites.
"Astrologically Vesta describes the ways in which we face the issues of personal integration, work, devotion, commitment, sacrifice, alienation from personal relationships, and a range of sexual complexes based on denial and fear of intimacy." (133)
This is the end of the article.
Demetra George (with Douglas Bloch) (1986) Asteroid Goddesses, ACS
Publications, Inc.: San Diego, CA.