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Astrology of Eris

Sat 9 Oct 2010 by mskala Tags used: ,

A reader sent me this link on "The Astrological Eris" and I thought it was quite interesting both from an astrological and mythological point of view - and it's serious, with not a fnord to be seen. I haven't done much thought or research on the astrological implications of 136199 Eris except to propose the Golden Apple as symbol; as this commentator points out, it has a very long orbit and so will appear in pretty much the same location in the charts of anyone alive today. This is a sign of the times rather than (for most of us) a personal influence. Signs of the times are important too, though, and his thoughts on envy, the connection with Chiron, and allergies, all seem interesting to me. Also, one of the religious groups I'm involved with is planning an event in honour of, among others, Ares the brother of Eris; so it is well to do the homework.

From the article:

One thing, however, that cheers me about Eris is that its difficult associations will force astrologers to take a more cautious view of the new planet's benefits. It's traditional for newly-discovered heavenly bodies to be hailed by the woolier end of the astrological community as symbols of spiritual enlightenment, universal harmony, and other New Age bromides. Even Chiron, who has one of the saddest and most pessimistically pragmatic stories in myth, full of irreversible loss and chronic pain, was seen in some quarters as the astrological poster-boy for 'healing' in the tofu-and-shamanic-drumming sense.

Tell 'em, brother!


But surely there is a difference between the associations of "Eris", the name, and those of Eris the space rock. Sorry to sound like a Popperian old fogey, but I think that a rock's significance in astrology can only be determined empirically and not according to a name bestowed by a committee of astronomical bureaucrats (most of whom are opponents of astrology). This blogger says, as if to explain why Uranus was not named Prometheus, as it should have been, "One only has to read 19th century classical scholarship on Euripides' Bakkhai to get a sense of how very difficult the complex Dionysus archetype was for the average Victorian to grasp." Right.

It wasn't always this way. A.J. Pearce waited until the second edition of his textbook, 32 years after the first, to commit himself as to the nature and effect of Neptune. But wait - he was a Victorian, poor man, so he didn't realize you can construct a discipline around the mythological names that get tossed around. Axel - 2010-10-12 14:01
Oh, pshaw, next you'll be saying persons born on December 1 aren't really born under the star sign Ophiucus!

More seriously, I'm not sure you're entirely being fair to the article - he does discuss the mythological figure Eris a lot, but he also emphasizes that there can often be great discrepancies between what a planet is really about, and what one might guess from its name. The same paragraph you quoted also says "This [inquiry into names] only works sometimes, having proved less than helpful in the case of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto--the mythology of Neptune in particular is of only the vaguest use in understanding its action within the psyche."

I do think it's worth asking what the name of an object means and whether that name has any relevance to what the object itself means. I don't think names are given purely at random. But I'd agree that that's not the *only* form of inquiry that's relevant to figuring out what an object means. It's certainly worth looking at history for what was going on that might correlate with the orbit of this object; and what was going on at the time the object was discovered; and the article discusses both those at least a little.

Anyway, I don't mean to defend it too strenuously. I'm not convinced he's right, and I'm not sure how relevant any object with such a long orbit would be to us on Earth anyway. But I posted the link because I thought it was interesting. Matt - 2010-10-12 14:21
I agree it's interesting. The blogger seems interesting anyways; I look forward to his other articles. But if he writes "the mythology of Neptune in particular is of only the vaguest use in understanding its action within the psyche", one has to wonder why it ever occurred to him or anyone else that it should be of any use whatsoever. I tend to be hard-nosed on this issue and assume the old planets Mercury through Saturn have helpful names because they were named after a respectable period of observation. Anyway I should be commenting there, not here. Axel - 2010-10-12 15:45
It turns out the man's name is Mark Williams and he has just published a monograph, Fiery Shapes: Celestial Portents and Astrology in Ireland and Wales, 700-1700, at Oxford University Press. Axel - 2010-10-12 15:52

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