When so-called Dwarf Planet Eris was discovered,
the astronomical community essentially rolled a golden ball out to astrologers
and dared them to find meaning in it. What will astrologers decide?
Caltech astronomer Mike Brown should be forgiven for naming his big Dwarf Planet after an evil goddess.
Circumstances obviously drove him to it. Rather than welcoming this new distant world as the fabled 10th Planet, his fellow astronomers choked. "Bigger than Pluto, which we consider a planet? Let's not do the obvious — rather let's overthink this thing. Forget that most everything out there is smaller than Pluto's moon Charon. We’ll create a new kind of object called a Dwarf Planet. Except it isn't a planet, not really. Even with the noun 'planet' in there."
The brouhaha this kicked off was enormous. Right in the thick of it, just after the International Astronomical Union (IAU) members cast the votes that unplaneted Pluto, some wise guy on a blog suggested that the new orb had caused so much strife, it should be called Eris, Goddess of Strife.
Wouldn't you know, that name was available? Thousands of asteroids have female names, including many goddesses, and they missed her? Eris apparently lacks serious fandom.
But what luck for Brown. According to the poet Homer, Eris was Ares' sister, a child of Zeus/Jupiter. Her uncles and siblings all have their own No-Adjective-Needed Planets named after them. Eris was the perfect name for a 10th planet! But while the IAU voted “Aye” for Eris, allowing Feminine Evil to enter the solar system, Eris was classified a lowly Dwarf.
Some argue that goddess Eris isn’t necessarily an evil figure.
There are two Erises, according to Hesiod, one a primordial goddess, born of Darkness, who gave birth to evil spirits that sound like a casting call for inclusion in Pandora’s box: Strife, Toil, Forgetfulness, Starvation, Lawlessness, Pain, Murder, Dispute, to name a few. Warriors appealed to the other Eris during battle as she required homage for victory. Hesiod saw the latter Eris’ role as honorable, the former indiscriminately cruel. One suspects this is still the same Eris, who was more liable to grant favors when praised rather than cursed.
Eris’ most famous myth begins with her causing a stir at a high-profile wedding. At the nuptials of Peleus and Thetis, all the Olympian deities were invited except Eris. As payback, she showed up and rolled a golden apple marked “To the fairest” into the crowd. Athena (Goddess of Wisdom and Warcraft), Aphrodite (Goddess of Love), and Hera (Zeus’s wife and Goddess of Women and Marriage) all laid claim to the glittering gift. No one wanted to tackle the question of who deserved it, however, so Zeus gave that job to Trojan prince Paris. Each goddess offered to richly reward him: Athena promised victory in battle, Hera pledged a profitable marriage, and Aphrodite tantalized him with the world’s most beautiful woman. Little did Paris know when he awarded the apple to Aphrodite, that while she would make good on her promise and bring him Helen (later of Troy), Paris would never peacefully enjoy his prize. Hera and Athena would make sure he was vexed in both marriage (Helen was already married) and warfare (Helen’s husband would raise an army and devastate Paris’s home country).
Astrologers now face a similar trial with planet Eris and its astrological significance. Will astrologers determine Eris’ meaning using her Warrior Goddess myth, which has a flavor similar to the early name given Eris, Xena, and consequently would be like awarding the ball to Athena, the warrior goddess? Or will they pounce on the arrival of a new planet with a female name as the long awaited and desired Female Archetype, which could balance out a solar system dominated by objects named for male gods? A Female Archetype so idealized, she would make Aphrodite look plain?
Or could another idea emerge, maybe less exciting or ideal, which could rein in male power another way? Something not necessarily aggressive or overly romantic is the idea that The Other may be the meaning of this new orb. That would award Hera, powerful Zeus’ consort and adversary, the golden ball, and give Libra (the Partner) a new planetary co-ruler.
These interpretations have come forward in the last few years, on web pages and now in several books. Representing the argument for Eris as Warrior Princess-Goddess, especially focusing on the planet’s early nickname “Xena,” is Henry Seltzer in his book The Tenth Planet: Revelations from the Astrological Eris.1 Offering up an idealized Female Archetype is Laura Walker in Eris: Archetype of Shadows, Crisis, and Awakening at the Completion of the Mayan Calendar.2 Lastly, proponents of Eris as Other are Marina Macario in her essay “Julian Assange and Eris,”3 and this article’s author, Sue Kientz, in her book More Plutos.4
Various supporting astrological data have been used to make these interpretations fit, but is that the right approach? How does one know that a particular Eris configuration is operating specifically to make one a Warrior Goddess, a long-awaited Female Archetype, or a forbidding/misunderstood/conciliatory Other? This article will demonstrate how easy it is to mistake Eris’ influence for other indicators, and then offer more reliable ways that show The Other to be the most viable meaning for astrological Eris.
Eris, Warrior Goddess
In his book The Tenth Planet: Revelations from the Astrological Eris, Henry Seltzer treats Brown’s early nickname of “Xena” for his unnamed Planet X as an echo of the final choice, Eris, and decides their common warrior myth is the key to the planet’s meaning.5 The TV show Xena Warrior Princess
does somewhat resemble Eris’ battlefield story, except that Lucy Lawless’ Xena is far from irredeemably bloodthirsty and evil. Overall, Eris and Xena are simply both female and both dressed for battle. Seltzer should have realized that Mike Brown chose Xena for its “X,” not its Eris similarity, as the latter was only appropriate much later. Instead Henry jumped in with two feet, immediately looking for and finding Eris in the charts of militant feminists.
But there’s a problem with being wholly driven by myth in the hunt for planetary meaning. If the mythological name were that fundamental, would Jupiter’s expansive meaning, its connection with travel and higher learning, be revealed by looking at the charts of people who pitch flaming projectiles off mountains? Would one ever glean Uranus’ relation to science, individualism, and technology by pouring over the birth charts of castrated men? For Saturn, would its staid nature and relation to concrete achievement be grasped if one believed its meaning involved people who ate their children? By this method, Steve Carell should have Neptune prominent, since he famously wielded a trident in the movie
The myth is a starting point. Eris was excluded, her presence considered undesirable. That the goddess rebelled, caused trouble and strife, may not be germane in the final analysis.
You also must make sure that what you think the new planet means isn’t explained by other natal configurations. While Seltzer touted militant feminists and actresses from action films as exemplars of Eris, saying this proved it pugnacious, he didn’t check if Mars or spunky asteroid Pallas might be providing the trait. At least, not right away. On page 140 he admits that, “of the 24 charts of feminists that I have researched ... fully 21 had a strong Pallas as well, many with Eris in combination.” Asteroid Pallas is named for Pallas Athena, that same warrior goddess, and absolutely indicates a combative personality. Osama Bin Laden had Sun (19 Pisces) conj. Pallas (21 Pisces), Hitler had Sun (0 Taurus 48) sext. Pallas (1 Cancer 46), and General George Patton had Sun (19 Scorpio 54) conj. Pallas (20 Scorpio 54). A prominent Pallas doesn’t need Eris for militancy.
Even if we leave the Asteroid Belt out of this, you can’t overlook Mars as an adequate marker for an energetic action star. Seltzer claims Angelina Jolie’s natal Moon (13 Aries 05)/Eris (13 Aries 55) demonstrates her Warrior Princess theme, except that conjunction also includes Mars (10 Aries 42), and Moon/Mars alone explains a strong woman who plays action roles. If you ask how competing theory “Eris the Other” fits into Angelina Jolie’s Moon/Eris combo, recall that several of Jolie’s children were, as infants (Moon), adopted from Other countries and are of Other races, so Moon/Eris well represents her adoptive children.
More Mars misses by Seltzer: Eris must be bloody and violent because David Lynch (director of Blue Velvet) has Moon (5 Virgo 09) inconjunct Eris (5 Aries 21), but that ignores Lynch’s Moon tightly semi-sq. Mars/Saturn (both 20 Cancer 46), which is just as hostile. Quentin Tarantino’s hyper-violent films (Pulp Fiction, the Kill Bill series) must be his Sun (6 Aries 05) conj. Eris (10 Aries 18), but only if you fail to notice Tarantino’s Sun trine Mars (6 Leo 01), or Moon (4 Taurus 11) sq. Mars. These directors’ movies are noteworthy for their depiction of alienated characters from the fringes of society, not the violence alone.
Those aren’t the only pitfalls Seltzer failed to avoid. If arguing that someone is a classic example of Eris, the natal chart should have personal planets in major aspect with Eris. Seltzer spent a great deal of time contending that C.G. Jung had a strong Eris, but his focus was on Eris being conjunct Chiron, which in progression had perfected. That occurred not just for Jung but for many people born that year and the year after. The more significant Eris experience for the famed psychoanalyst came when he developed the concept of the “anima,” the projected Female persona inside everyone, male or female. Jung in effect externalized his inner self, materializing it as Other. His essay, “The Structure of the Unconscious” (1916),6 documented these observations as his progressed Sun (12 Virgo 13) opposed p. Eris (13 Pisces 21).
Henry Seltzer’s book is well researched, knowledgeably written, and employs a vast range of examples from history that is impressive. His case studies are indeed good models of Eris. But just like Sir George Cayley couldn’t give up his idea that to fly meant you had to flap the wings, Seltzer cannot let go of his warrior princess preoccupation, even as he many times hit on what I insist is the core meaning of Eris. He knew it involved militant feminists, and that’s right, because throughout history, Women were considered to be “different” than men and barred from participating in myriad aspects of public life. Eris would be prominent in the charts of women like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Andrea Dworkin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Susan B. Anthony. Women have spent millennia being Other, and if Erisian women are militant, they are using their Mars or Pallas traits to compel society to change.
Angela Davis is a good example of Eris, not because she is militant, but because she is African-American, a group long branded as Other. William Blake the English poet has a lovely Mars/Eris trine, which is apt, as most people believed he was “touched” or “crazy,” assigning him to another group of social outcasts, the mentally disturbed. All too often this includes people not appreciated in their own time. Eris, all.
Lastly, who is more objectified than Albert Einstein, because of his amazing brain? If you insist his Sun/Eris conjunction at 9 degrees applying is too wide, consider his Moon (14 Sagittarius 32) sq. Eris (14 Pisces 51), and how he could not handle his first wife’s need to talk to him because it interfered with his work. When she would not agree in writing to leave him alone, he divorced her and married his cousin, because Elsa made few demands on him, merely cooked, cleaned, and was proud to be Mrs. Einstein. More proof that Moon/Eris meant “Other” for Einstein: his first daughter was given away at birth because she was illegitimate. She was inconvenient, so she had to go. Women (Moon) were not equals with Einstein; they were Others (Eris).
All through The Tenth Planet, echoes of Eris as Other are found, as Seltzer continually points out this person as outcast, that person as a pariah, while he collects all those angry women. Actually I laud Henry for not realizing Women are Other, as he must be a fully conscious and accepting human being with few prejudices and polarized feelings towards the marginalized. Perhaps one way Henry might have tuned into the essential Otherness of Eris is if he had examined some criminals. He seemed set on seeing the positive face of Eris, even as he decreed its operation violent and bloody. Seltzer insisted Eris’ violence and aggression were for good, as compared to Pluto’s selfish machinations. Good luck explaining Charles Manson, Sun (19 Scorpio 49) sesq. Eris (2 Aries 24), and all the other anti-social, racist, and/or women-hating examples of hard-aspected, afflicted Eris that unfortunately are out there.
Eris: Feminine Symbol of Hope, or Something Else
As you might suspect, most offering Eris interpretations appear to yearn for some kind of powerful Feminine figure who will somehow save the world. It’s not just astrologers who can be so enthralled, e.g., Hillary 2016.
In her book-length analysis, Eris: Archetype of Shadows, Laura Walker declares that the discovery of Eris ushers in an important new era in humankind’s experience, a watershed event intimately connected with the mythology of this potent female deity. From there, Walker shows incredible skill as a writer and researcher, engagingly describing her pilgrimage to the mountain where Eris was first spied with human eyes, and then delving deep into the various myths and guises of Eris, which include Inanna, Ereshkigal, Lilith, and Persephone.
By fleshing out the Eris myth with these related traditions, Walker finds a “bright” Eris in Inanna, so that the planetary Eris can offer some positive qualities of rebirth and hope after distress. But this promising beginning takes an unexpected turn after only a few chapters, when she claims that Eris moves so slow, “it is difficult to personalize her themes of balance and rebirth in the natal chart.”7 Laura’s surprising solution is to switch gears and insert a sign-by-sign cookbook of interpretations on Black Moon Lilith — a section nevertheless labeled “Eris through the Signs” in her table of contents.
After this odd topic departure, Walker’s much darker intentions for Eris are revealed. In her “Trojan Horse” chapter, she claims dwarf planet Eris has three birthdays, yet none of them are the 2005 date when Mike Brown and team spotted Eris on photographic images. Walker rather chooses Oct. 21, 2003, when the Palomar photographic plates were exposed (“Eris discovered by computers”), the October 2005 date she mentions at the beginning when astronomy students spotted Eris through a telescope (not a very significant feat, to be frank), and the 2006 date Eris’ name was approved by the IAU. She chooses these dates, rather than the obvious, true discovery date of Brown et. al., because they correspond with other sinister events that suggest Eris’ appearance ushers in a dreaded “New World Order,” a time when conspiracy theorists claim government will take away Americans’ freedoms and rights. Eris’ “rebirth” and “hope” significance is then recast as “creative destruction,” with Eris come to warn us of a great (government-engineered) cataclysm that we must survive — timed to the end of the Mayan calendar in Dec. 2012 – so we may reach a more ideal, “informed” society afterward.
The latter half of Walker’s supposed treatise on dwarf planet Eris then proceeds to detail just about every conspiracy theory of the last two centuries: the 9-11 terror attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government, European leaders conspired with Nazis, global warming is a hoax, secret banking societies are in league with Illuminati in league with Yale’s Skull and Bones fraternity, the mainstream media use Freudian mind control on the masses, and so on. Laura Walker condemns media manipulation techniques that instill fear and attempt to control us, even as she herself uses the advent of planet Eris and the 2012 Mayan calendar end-point to instill fear and credence in conspiratorial beliefs.
The spectacular freefall into paranoia of Walker’s piece is a stunning disappointment, as her early chapters promised a truly positive side for mythologically-dark Eris. As astrologers, we know there must be both positive and negative Eris traits. Why is it so hard for planet Eris’ good side to shine through?
That Other Eris
In 2010, Maria Macario pointed out Julian Assange’s dramatic Sun sq. Eris, and after accounting for his other natal Sun contacts, concluded that his making himself a pariah, his inability to fit in and consequent exclusion from society, might likely be due to that Eris hard aspect. Most of her other comments echo the usual Eris-as-Dark-Goddess interpretation, e.g., she suggests a possible vengeful trait in Assange being due to his Eris placement. Still, she hit on the quality that I theorized in “Eris, The Discomforting Other,” 8 excerpted from my book More Plutos.
Macario could have put the exclamation point on her interpretation if she had checked Assange’s progression. The WikiLeaks domain was purchased on Oct. 9, 2006,9 as Assange’s progressed Sun (14 Leo 18) trined p. Eris (12 Aries 58). Registering that telling name belies planning, so the strong Sun/Eris figure in progression confirms that WikiLeaks, a central accomplishment of Assange’s, had a lot to do with Eris. WikiLeaks revealed government’s insensitive treatment of foreign civilians as well as its own military, and enabled Assange to show how people were being objectified and treated as disposable.
This “return” of the Eris theme at a time of career accomplishment isn’t a fluke; it’s validation. By checking secondary progression, you untangle Eris natal indicators from the operation of other planets. Here are two examples of Eris as Other, confirmed by secondary progression, that don’t involve righteous aggressiveness or feminine influence:
was a contemporary of Darwin, the author of Origin of Species and champion of the idea of “survival of the fittest.” Kropotkin’s scholarship took him in another direction, leading him to propose the “survival of the most cooperative.” Born at Sun (29 Sagittarius) sext. Eris (27 Aquarius), Kropotkin published his magnum opus Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, in October 1902,10 as his p. Sun (29 Aquarius) conj. p. Eris (28 Aquarius). His direct challenge to Darwinism insisted aggression is not the predominant trait for human survival; rather cooperation with Others is more vital.
Emmanuel Lévinas was a Jewish-French philosopher who endured imprisonment by the Nazis during World War II, but emerged afterward to publish his ideas about the powerful experience of L’Autre (The Other). Born at Sun (21 Capricorn) sext. Eris (23 Pisces), Lévinas lectured and produced his mature works as his personal planets interacted one by one with Eris:
- First Colloquium of French-Speaking Jewish Intellectuals met in Versailles, May 24, 1957.11 In debut remarks, Lévinas stated “…the Jew has the feeling that his obligations with respect to the other come before his obligations to God, or more precisely that the other is the voice of high places, even of the sacred....”12 At the time, his progressed Mercury (24 Pisces) conj. p. Eris (24 Pisces).
- Totality and Infinity (1961), considered the flowering of Lévinas’ mature thought, was reviewed on January 19, 1961,13 as his p. Venus (23 Pisces) conj. p. Eris (24 Pisces).
- Four Talmudic Readings (1968), collected from the Talmudic lectures he delivered over the years at the Colloquia founded in 1957, was published as Lévinas’ p. Sun (24 Pisces) conj. p. Eris (24 Pisces).14
- Otherwise Than Being (1974),15 the “sequel” to Totality and Infinity, appeared as transiting Eris (14 Aries) sq. Lévinas’ natal Venus (14 Capricorn).
Naturally, someone with no or few Eris themes connected to their personal planets also experiences Eris in progression, and those cases should reveal the same proposed meaning. When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s p. Sun (16 Gemini) sext. p. Eris (16 Aries) in 2007 (Jan. 1 used), he opened up his social media website — initially restricted to college students — to anyone with an email address. Also that year, he allowed independent software developers to write programs for Facebook.16 There was no bloody fight that yielded this decision; no feminine element led to the change. Simply put, Others formerly excluded could join Facebook, and Other developers could add programs to the popular site.
Eris as Other fits with how we view the solar system.
The Sun is Self, with inner planets/Moon representing “personal” attributes: mind, finances/relations, emotions, sex/energy. Farther out, the gas giants embody the social world. Pluto and other close-by Trans-Neptunians move outside of society, seeking power to fit in, by force or merit. What should come next? Not more warriors; not “Women.” Others in general, the faceless crowd, those disregarded, “different,” alien. We need to fathom this next layer of the Whole.17
Eris in the Scheme of Things
Let’s try another way to confirm Eris’ meaning. If Eris is Pluto’s size, isn’t Eris a “pair” with Pluto, like Uranus and Neptune are a pair, as well as Jupiter-Saturn, Mars-Venus, and Sun-Moon? Eris’ orbit is more than twice as long as Pluto’s, another marker of adversarial twins, since all other pairs in the outer solar system are separated by about twice the orbit of the nearer planet. Shouldn’t this provide a way to determine Eris’ true meaning, in that it should be an opposite of Pluto? We need an interpretation that presents Eris as Pluto’s antidote.
Does the Warrior Princess idea match up? Sounds too much like more Pluto, more aggression and control. Even if Walker had better defended her idea of an idealized female archetype, how would that stand up against Pluto? Her Eris archetype brings “hope” just by her mere presence, an idea somewhat ineffective in real life.
Only the power of Others banded together in a cohesive mass can stand up to the individual who wishes to wield willful power for his or her own perceived good.
This is not saying that a Pluto-themed person is always wrong. Sometimes such persons are right-minded and use their power for good. But when analyzing a planetary pair, the more distant object represents the “solution” to a negative or overbearing dose of the nearer planet. For example, too much Jupiter (as in drinking, laziness, over-generous spending) is “solved” by responsible/thrifty/sober Saturn. Too much Saturn (strict, parsimonious, workaholic) is “solved” by Uranus, which typically rejects structure and goes off on a new path. Neptune solves too much Uranus when it reins in rampant individuality and mercurial behavior by bringing attention to the plight of the community, the eco-system, or Nature in general.
Here are examples of individuals or groups challenged in their negative exhibitions of Pluto traits by Eris individuals:
- George W. Bush — Mercury (9 Leo 49) conj. Pluto (10 Leo 34) — and Dick Cheney — Sun (10 Aquarius 48) opp. Pluto (3 Leo 01) — strove to “protect the U.S.” after 9-11 at the cost of privacy and civil liberties, vs. Julian Assange — Sun (10 Cancer 38) sq. Eris (13 Aries 02) — who exposed their dealings on WikiLeaks. Granted with those hard aspects, neither side offered very good solutions.
- The Taliban (arguably a Pluto organization, trying to control women) vs. Malala Yousafzai — Sun (19 Cancer 50) sq. Eris (19 Aries 13). The latter was shot, yet survived to continue her advocacy for girls’ education, which has gained her worldwide approbation and support.
- Bill Cosby — Sun (19 Cancer 58)/Mercury (25 Cancer 04)/Pluto (28 Cancer 04) — called out by fellow comedian Hannibal Buress — Sun (15 Aquarius) sext. Eris (14 Aries) — on reports that Cosby used drugs to manipulate women to have sex with him. After many alleged victims stepped forward to support each other, the media demanded records of Cosby’s 2005 testimony. On July 6, 2015, the unsealed deposition revealed Cosby admitted to engaging in such behavior,18 as Mercury sextiled Eris and Venus/Jupiter (Jupiter=many/Venus=women) trined Eris (see chart below).
Bill Cosby’s 2005 Deposition Released, at Mercury sextile Eris, Venus/Jupiter trine Eris, and Sun opposite Pluto. (Click to enlarge chart)
- Dylann Roof — Sun (14 Aries)/Eris (18 Aries) sesq. Pluto (28 Scorpio) vs. Clementa Pinckney — Sun (7 Leo) trine Eris (13 Aries). The families of State Senator Rev. Pinckney and others killed at the Charleston AME church forgave Roof, at his initial hearing, even as he admitted to killing in order to kick off a race war. These families were committed to the inclusive, loving message of Christ and to their departed loved ones who also believed in this power of faith in community; their steadfast unity in reaching out to Roof, now a public pariah, epitomizes the victory of Eris over Pluto.
Eris-themed persons exhibit Outsider characteristics naturally or they willingly or inadvertently become social outcasts to challenge Plutonian manipulation and control.
This is not to say there are no negative Eris personalities; witness Roof above. Nearly all the top Nazi leadership had negative Sun/Eris or Mars/Eris, and as mentioned earlier, Charles Manson had Sun sesq. Eris, like many other criminals.19 Such natal figures indicate people liable to turn anti-social if they aren’t careful with their life choices or the company they keep.
The Eris Event
If we grant Pluto-Eris is a pair, that puts Eris level with the other full-fledged astrological beings, so the new planet should arrive in tandem with a corresponding world-changing effect. To recap, Uranus appeared with the American and French revolutions, signaling the rise of the individual, among other things (democracy, science, Industrial Age, machines). Neptune was discovered mid-18th Century as social programs and causes attempted to ameliorate the problems the Uranian era exposed. Rational men who demanded to be free, were now faced with women, black slaves, native Americans, and other disenfranchised people who wanted their liberty and voice in government.
Finally, Pluto arrived in the early 20th Century with the rise of gangster violence, Communism and Fascism in world governments, and the advent of the horrifically powerful atomic bomb. Self-interested Pluto wanted to break away from holistic and inclusive Neptune and have its own way, even if that choice was destructive to itself.
How can Eris show that its discovery comes with a similarly huge, society-changing event? Something that comes to the fore at the recent turn of the century?
Warrior Princess advocates point to terrorism and efforts to combat it, but again, isn't this more 20th Century Plutoism? Walker’s solution reveals a paranoid view of the collective, seen as ineffective participants marching towards an apocalyptic end. Shouldn’t the Universe have a better solution? Isn't there some huge trend we can identify that has banded people together, for good or ill, which might neutralize individual willfulness and violence?
There is, and it’s the Internet. In the mid-1990s, droves of people ventured “online,” buying computers and signing up for email accounts. After the turn of the century, MySpace and LinkedIn debuted in 2003, followed by Facebook in 2004, and what we call Social Media was born. YouTube (2005) and Twitter (2006) allowed people to share videos and short messages with vast audiences, enabling people to “follow” the account holder, who could be a celebrity or an average Joe. Tumblr (2007), Flickr (2008), Pinterest (2009), Instagram (2010), Google+ (2011), and Snapchat (2011) have since emerged to offer other ways to connect, share photos, messages, and interests.
By the mid-2000s, we didn’t need computers to connect as smart phones became the rage, but even before that, cell phones linked us to Others as never before. The fourth 9-11 plane was diverted and its mission thwarted thanks to cell phones. The cameras on our phones now discourage or reveal crimes that otherwise would be difficult to prevent or impossible to prosecute. Still, the added connection the Internet makes possible is key, as the widespread sharing of cell-phone photos and videos is what topples secretive Pluto types. Lone wolf “Servants of Pluto” even unwittingly sabotage themselves by posting online and unveiling their plans to others who report them or who themselves are undercover agents. This surveillance isn’t Big Brother as much as it’s little brothers and sisters and cousins with their mobile Internet devices, able to take on the misguided Individual with the big phallic gun.
A few examples of Pluto facing the Eris power of Social Media:
- Hosni Mubarak — born Sun (13 Taurus 36) sext. Pluto (15 Cancer 14) – became Egypt’s president on October 14, 1981, at transiting Sun (21 Libra) conj. Pluto (24 Libra).20 During the Arab Spring unrest, the world saw what was happening via protestors’ cell-phone videos and tweets. Mubarak resigned on February 11, 2011,21 at transiting Sun (22 Aquarius) sext. Eris (22 Aries) and Sun semi-sq. Pluto (7 Capricorn).
- Bashar Al-Assad — born Sun (18 Virgo) conj. Pluto (16 Virgo) – took over Syria on July 17, 2000,22 at transiting Sun (25 Cancer) sesq. Pluto (10 Sagittarius) and Sun sq. Eris (20 Aries). The Syrian Civil War began March 15,2011,23 as his p. Sun (3 Scorpio) semi-sq. p. Pluto (18 Virgo). World opinion has been against Assad, but one way he keeps the opposition fragmented is by censoring Syria’s Internet access,24 inhibiting the cohesive power of Eris to oust him.
Certainly there’s a danger of overreliance on Social Media. People should not be looking at their phones instead of interacting with dinner partners or family members. The Internet is like anything else, liable to be used or abused. Nevertheless, our connection to Others via the Internet is a 21st-Century event that strongly supports Eris as Other, and our participation in its virtual communities may prove instrumental in dealing with those exhibiting the worst traits of self-involved, self-serving Pluto.
Pluto and Eris have Big Friends
If Pluto and Eris are number one and two in size of the trans-Neptunian planets, Makemake and Haumea are three and four.
In fact, the discovery of Eris wasn’t announced alone, but accompanied by these other two. Do watershed events exist for them, hopefully connected somehow to Eris’s big event?
Makemake appears in the charts of people with remarkable intellect, e.g., Edison, Tesla, Ben Franklin, and Mozart. Its corresponding event could be the vast online knowledge we access so magically on wireless laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Think Google, Wikipedia, and the other countless web pages that offer up free information almost instantly. Makemake’s dark-side event is that misinformation often masquerades as Truth and is also readily available from the nonjudgmental spigot of the Internet.
Haumea, orbiting close to Pluto’s path, is a powerful agent of change. Both Einstein and Hitler were Sun/Haumea, but so were Beamer, Bingham, and Burnett, the three heroes who attempted to wrest control of United Flight 93 from the 9-11 hijackers. The same Internet that connects us with people, enables us to change and affect others and even the world in powerful ways. Those who troll looking for children to sexually abuse, or for disaffected young people to radicalize, exhibit Haumea tendencies. Hackers and creators of viruses who compromise computers, steal passwords, money, or photos for blackmail are similarly Haumea operatives. On the positive side are those who transform people’s lives for good, e.g., via crowd sourcing. This has given rise to sites like Gofundme, Kickstarter, YouCaring, GoForward, Indiegogo, Fundly, and so on.
Epilogue: All We Need Is Us
In this new Erisian age, we may not even need to play active roles to positively influence events. Just the connectivity of great numbers of people might make a difference in what happens in the world.
Take this example of an incredibly risky endeavor that played out on the world stage, and then resolved itself almost miraculously. In 1970, the astronauts of Apollo 13 had a catastrophic failure of a critical system in their spacecraft. The best that could happen is for them to somehow circle the moon and return to Earth as soon as possible. NASA engineers worked frantically to come up with solutions to every issue, but the fact remained that there was a good chance the spacecraft would not hit the atmosphere at the right angle, or the heat shield would fail, or some other unforeseen event might occur, resulting in the fiery death of the crew. People all over the world gathered together and collectively held their breath as the capsule hurled back to Earth.
Were all those people ready for a heartbreak? If we are all watching and invested, then most of the time the outcome should not be heartbreak. Otherwise we must all have some tragic indicator, some weighty transit to our natal charts, corresponding to the emotional hit we would suffer. It’s not just participants that are affected; witnesses are, too. So it may be that the more people involved, the more chance an event will be benign. Indeed, Apollo 13 successfully splashed down and the astronauts lived, despite the incredible odds they faced.
If you counter that the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up with “everyone” watching, in 1986 interest in shuttle launches had waned. There wasn’t a massive audience watching it live. Most people “saw” it by watching the replay. But what if more people were invested, were there cheering on the first teacher in space?
Another example might be when a car chase begins in a city like Los Angeles, and a TV news helicopter starts broadcasting it on live television. Most times we see the person avoiding one accident after another, and rarely does the chase end in a spectacular accident. Usually the fleeing driver gives up or has a minor crash to end the chase. Why would the odds seem against a catastrophic finish? Because if it were going to be a bloody awful disturbing event, and huge numbers of people are watching, they all must be due for that shocking experience.
Granted this theory takes Astrology’s tenets to its logical conclusion — if a shared experience is extremely upsetting, all those involved would show some transiting body affecting their natal Sun or other personal planet. But there’s another argument for a “group effect” being in play. The more people watching, the more people end up helping in ways we may not realize. We know the story of Apollo 13, so we are aware of all the people who tirelessly worked to get those men back home. We know the story of the Challenger Accident, and have heard how people were discouraged from mentioning concerns about the O-rings. In that case, the input of Others was rejected. Perhaps when someone in a speeding vehicle is chased by cops and TV helicopters, the broadcast allows some friend or relative to see what’s happening and call the person in the car, to convince them to give up. The more people involved, the more who care about an outcome, the greater chance for a result that is successful or at least acceptable.
However you explain it, there is power in the Group, an awesome and even mysterious Connected-ness. I say Eris is a worthy symbol and marker of this force, and it’s about time she showed up.
Click to enlarge chart
Our First Look at Pluto arrived at an Eris Moment
Pluto Flyby Day, with Sun opposite Pluto, Sun square Eris.
Some background: On January 28, 1986, NASA’s Voyager 2 scientists planned a final press conference on the historic Uranus flyby, to give the world a close-up look at the planet of Intelligence and Machines, but the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded the same day and stole the headlines. Our machines and big brains failed us at the supreme Uranian moment, why? Shuttle engineers warned of the possibility of a grand failure but were intimidated (Pluto!) by NASA managers to keep quiet. Twenty-nine years or one Saturn-return later, Pluto Flyby Day arrived on July 14, 2015. Again the headlines were grabbed from jubilant space scientists and engineers, but this time it was the Iran Deal. Iran’s Khamenei (Sun conj. Pluto), pressed by a united front of world powers led by the U.S.A. (Sun opp. Eris) and President Barack Obama (Sun trine Eris), was ready to forgo building nuclear weapons. Are we doing better this time? The presence of Eris individuals and enterprises taking the lead gives us hope that we might be on the right track dealing with destructive Pluto.
For more examples of Eris as Other,
check out my Eris Chapter from More Plutos,
Eris, the Discomforting Other
Chart Data and Sources
(in alphabetical order)
Bashar Al-Assad, September 11, 1965; 4:43 p.m. rect.; Damascus, Syria; X: http://www.biography.com/people/bashar-al-assad-20878575
Julian Assange, July 3, 1971; 3 p.m. AEST; Townsville, Australia; B: Biography.
Hannibal Buress, February 4, 1983; 7 a.m. CST used; Chicago, IL: X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannibal_Buress
George W. Bush, July 6, 1946; 7:26 a.m. EDT; New Haven, CT; AA: BC/BR, Biography by Bill Minutaglio.
Dick Cheney, January 30, 1941; 7:30 p.m. CST; Lincoln, NE; AA: BC/BR, Stephen Przybylowski quotes BC, astro.com
Bill Cosby, July 12, 1937; 3 p.m. EDT; Philadelphia, PA; B: Biography by Mark Whitacker.
Albert Einstein, March 14, 1879, 11:30 a.m. LMT; Ulm, Germany; AA: BC/BR: BC in hand from Einstein Archive.
Adolf Hitler, April 20, 1889; 6:30 p.m. LMT; Braunau am Inn, Austria; AA: BC/BR, http://braunau-history.at/w/index.php?title=Datei:Hitler_taufbuch_gesamt.jpg
Angelina Jolie, June 4, 1975; 9:09 p.m. PDT; Los Angeles, CA; AA: BC/BR, Marc Penfield quotes BC.
Carl Gustav Jung, July 26, 1875; 7:29 p.m. LMT; Kesswill, Switzerland; C: rectified from Jung comment.
Pyotr Kropotkin, December 9, 1842 OS; 7 a.m. LMT used; Moscow, Russia; X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kropotkin
Osama Bin Laden, March 10, 1957; 12:01 a.m. LMT used; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; X: 1997 interview.
Emmanuel Lévinas, December 30, 1905 OS; 5 p.m. used; Kaunas, Lithuania; X: http://www.britannica.com/biography/Emmanuel-Levinas.
David Lynch, January 20, 1946; 3 a.m. MST; Missoula, MT; AA: BC/BR, Filipe Ferreira quotes BC, astro.com.
Charles Manson, November 11, 1934; 4:40 p.m. CST; Cincinnati, OH; AA: BC/BR per astro.com
Hosni Mubarak, May 4, 1928; 10:15 a.m. LMT; Kafr el-Zaiyat, Egypt; C: Arab astrologers per astro.com
George Patton, November 11, 1885; 6:38 p.m. PST; San Marino, CA; AA: BC/BR, Ruth Dewey quotes family bible.
Clementa Pinckney, July 30, 1973; 7 a.m. EDT used; Beaufort, SC; X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementa_C._Pinckney
Dylann Roof, April 3, 1994; 9 p.m. EDT rect.; Columbia, SC; X: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dylann_Roof
Quentin Tarantino, March 27, 1963; 7 a.m. EST used; Knoxville, TN; X: http://www.biography.com/people/quentin-tarantino-9502086
Malala Yousafzai, July 12, 1997; 8:30 a.m. R4T; Mingaora, Pakistan; C: Autobiography, rectified.
Mark Zuckerberg, May 14, 1984; 7 a.m. EDT used; White Plains, NY; X: https://www.facebook.com/MarkZuckerberglife/info
References and Notes
(All URLs, here and in the Chart Data above, were accessed in August-September 2015.)
1. Seltzer, Henry, The Tenth Planet: Revelations from the Astrological Eris. Bournemouth: The Wessex Astrologer, 2015
2. Walker, Laura, Eris: Archetype of Shadows, Crisis, and Awakening at the Completion of the Mayan Calendar. Virginia Beach/Austin: Pallas Publishing, 2007; URL: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/530f3fd3e4b00ea7829010d2/t/531f6cdce4b04709d61ca69a/1394568412730/Eris+Archetype+of+Shadows+Crisis+and+Awakening.pdf
3. Macario, Maria, "Assange, Eris, and WikiLeaks," URL: darkstarastrology.com/julian-assange-horoscope-eris, Dec. 5, 2010
4. Kientz, S., More Plutos. Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, 2015.
5. Seltzer, p. 4
6. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/705.html (Jan. 1 used)
7. Walker, p. 41
8. Kientz, Sue, “Eris, the Discomforting Other,” Astrological Journal, September/October 2014, pp. 35-40
10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_Aid:_A_Factor_of_Evolution (Oct. 1 used)
11. Gibbs, Robert, Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas. Princeton: Princeton U Press, 1994, p. 155
12. Malka, Salomon, Emmanuel Levinas: His Life and Legacy. Pittsburgh: Duquesne U Press, 2002, p. 130
13. Malka, p. 308
14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Levinas (July 1 used)
17. Farther out, Sedna is selfless; see Kientz, S. “Sedna: Treasure from the Depths,” The Mountain Astrologer, Feb./March 2015, p. 62-70; Kientz, S., More Plutos. Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, 2015; Online version: Sedna chapter
19. Kientz, More Plutos, pp. 20-23
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