Astrology and The Dark Goddess:
“If we ever stop to think about the imagery and archetypes in the natal chart, it is no secret that they are primarily masculine. This should come as no surprise to us. Aside from the Moon, (which, as a light, I set aside along with the Sun–more on that later) we have only Venus to embody the feminine. And I suppose this makes sense, too. (I will ignore, for the time being, the influence of cultural stereotyping.) It makes sense because the natal chart reflects the way we interact with the outside world. It is about how we act, how we move forward, how we negotiate our way through the world. Even if we retreat, even if we hide, it is an action. Action is tied up with the masculine archetype.
Venus seduces. That’s her power. She wins by seducing, and she connects. This is traditionally the power of the feminine, to lure, to bait, to receive through attracting. But even this is an action. Where is the feminine in the chart, the true feminine? A clue lies in the word ‘receive’–more on that later.
Traditionally, the stages of the feminine journey are three: Maiden (Venus), Mother (Moon) and Crone/Wise Woman. I don’t know about you, but I feel tradition has its limits. I resent and reject the word Crone with its negative connotations. This traditional triumvirate is missing a massive chunk of the feminine experience. There is a huge chasm between ‘mother’ and ‘crone.’ Most of us, as women, live most of our lives there, and yet there is no astrological correlative to describe the experience. Nothing to mark our path as we grow into our wisdom. And what are we wise about, ultimately? The material world itself. Feminine wisdom is about honoring life itself. Knowing what it can and cannot give us, understanding its cycles, respecting its demands without giving in to its power. Learning and respecting the rhythms of the material world without losing ourselves in the process requires a unique merging of instinct and intellect. We must get beyond ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ in order to embrace a new paradigm that transcends duality consciousness. Far beyond the conflict of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ we are dealing with growth that requires the merging of spirit and matter. And this is where the four major asteroids–Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta–step in to save us. They represent a vision of the mature feminine that delivers us from the mundane world. (The Black Moon Lilith serves as a contrast and a corrective–more on BML later.)
Make no mistake about it–ALL of these goddesses have a terrifying streak to them. When they aren’t honored, when the forces in the natal chart go wrong, well, let’s just say that the students in last year’s The Dark Goddess class started calling them, “The Killers.” (Even the usually sweet Juno has her darker side.) There is a ruthlessness to the energy of these goddesses that must be acknowledged and respected. Ignore them and mistreat them at your peril.
Far from being, “just more asteroids” amidst the seemingly endless number out there, these four are special.
These were the first four asteroids discovered, the Three Musketeers (plus D’Artagnan) of feminine sensibility. All four asteroids were discovered in the period between 1801 and 1807. Their orbits are close: 3.6 years for Vesta , 4.3 for Juno and 4.6 for Ceres and Pallas. They represent the journey between Mars and Jupiter, between our action and our greater wisdom. Whether we simply act, or whether we act with mindful purpose, depends a great deal on our relationship with our four major asteroids.
The elements create our known world. These four goddesses have a relationship to and influence over the elements in the chart. There was some confusion in the beginning, but now most astrologers who work with the asteroids agree that Ceres rules Earth, Vesta rules Fire, Pallas rules Air and Juno rules Water. Each can bring abundance via these elements, and each can be ruthless in her own elemental way. Ceres may suffocate us, Vesta can burn us, Pallas can distort our minds and Juno can drown us. Each goddess has an influence over any planet in her element.
These asteroids, in their inimitable way, help us negotiate the known world. They are not unflinching forces from beyond, like the outer planets. They have to do with real life, real issues in our lives and our charts. According to NASA, they form a bridge between the rocky bodies of the inner solar system and the icy bodies of the outer planets. Between the here and now and the demands of the divine, in astrological terms. Ceres and Vesta are the two most massive residents of the asteroid belt. We have a physical specimen from Vesta–the only other two specimens are from Mars and the Moon. Vesta is rocky, where Ceres, which is now considered a dwarf planet, seems to have ice and minerals beneath her mantle. Ice (water) and minerals are the cocktail that allows life to happen. Astronomically, we know less about Juno and Pallas. Perhaps, when we do, a leap of synchronicity will occur and we will understand more about the complex issue of equality within relationships, and be able to use better the power of perception and patterning.
When the asteroids are working well in the chart, we learn that the universe is receptive. It is responsive to our need for growth, and performs a productive dance with us if we are prepared to leave old patterns and honor the truth of our inner lives. These goddesses are teaching us that action without intention is meaningless. They want us to open our eyes and our hearts, they want us to be aware of the greater patterns in life and find our place within them. They want us to be receptive and act from that newly found wisdom. They want us to embrace life. They want us to be respectful of it. They want us to leave, once and for all, the notion that spirit and matter are in conflict. They want us to experience the profound divinity within our ordinary material existence. They are whispering to us that we must no longer carry the notion of ‘mind over matter,’ but accept the understanding that mind works with and through matter.
When the goddesses go wrong, we have chaos, rigidity, obsession, hunger, ruthlessness, and blindness towards compassion, equality and fairness. They become the harbingers of destruction, Anti-Life. As I said, ignore them at your peril.
Using the four major asteroids correctly will expand your knowledge of the chart ten-fold. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring them on The Inner Wheel.