Eris: Queen of Discord

By C. Marguerite Hafeman © 2005, revised ©2008-09

The discovery of a new planet larger than Pluto was announced in late July of 2005. Its discoverers had informally named it Xena after a pop-culture TV Amazon; however this name was hastily retracted. Then Mike Brown of the discovery team was caught calling the planet “Lila” allegedly after his infant daughter, but this name runs suspiciously close to “Lilith” the infamous mythical goddess-demon of the fertile darkness. An official name was then secretly submitted and learned men quickly sat on committee to resolve the controversy of naming, as it had become quite clear even to the general public that the discovery and naming of a planet also carries recognition of a powerful new archetype advancing to consciousness within the collective mind.

Confusion surrounds the question of exactly when 2003 UB313, now called Eris was discovered. Pictures of the planet were first taken on the night of either October 21 or 31, 2003 at Mt. Palomar Observatory; the date of All Hallows Eve is most likely correct, however who in the scientific world wants to cop to a major astronomical discovery occurring on a day of such arcane significance? The actual time of discovery will probably be established as being when the original photographic data was re-analyzed by computer and the moving object first witnessed. A horoscope cast for this time and place can be examined to see if the archetypal themes burbling up from the astronomical psyche held true in the heavens, at the time of its ascendance into our awareness.

The chart is strikingly cardinal (active, initiating) and mutable (adaptable) in tone1; there is only one planet in Air and that is dissolving, idealistic Neptune in Aquarius; the mood is one of doing first, explaining later. Aries sits on the Ascendant, immediately establishing an individualistic, militant tone. The Sabian symbol for 14° Aries is” A serpent coiling near a man and a woman,” the keyword is Revelation. If positive there is exceptional self-discipline in the continual acquisition of higher knowledge; when negative there is surrender to lower impulse. Authoritative, anciently occult Capricorn sits on the Midheaven of public life and reputation. The Sabian Symbol for 8° Capricorn is “Birds in the house singing happily,” or the descent of spirit into every aspect of every day reality. The keyword is Establishment. Positively, there is an insatiable urge to put everything and every talent to use; when negative there is self-absorbed narcissism.

When discovered, Eris was positioned at 19°Aries 45m, in this chart angular in the First house of instinctual self and near the North Node of future path of growth. It is part of a bucket formation of planets stretching across the public sector of the chart; an afflicted Fourth house Saturn retrograde in Cancer forms the pivotal bucket handle. The new planet participates in a cardinal grand cross symbolic of a feminine warrior spirit (Eris) in dynamic conflict with traditional definitions of relationship (Libra Jupiter in the Seventh house, South Node nearby); also fighting a sickness and distortion in the principle of active feminine creativity (Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, in the Fourth house of the home).

The need to establish an authentic sense of personal feminine authority and wisdom (Capricorn Sun in the Tenth house in both men and women has become a necessity, both to maintain identity grounding within and to better serve the environment we all depend on for survival. Cancer and Capricorn are considered essentially yin and receptive in nature; they also refer to the parents; one could say they represent complimentary nurturing and structuring functions, whether in the home or out in public life.

Another cardinal grand cross hovers nearby, composed of the Moon’s Nodes (the potential for change within society), crossed by Chiron the wounded healer in Capricorn (wounded sense of self-authority, domination by the patriarchy) opposing the Saturn retrograde. Melanie Reinhardt’s observation can be appreciated here, that Chiron opposing Saturn (as it did from September of 2003 through June of 2006) can symbolize the conflict inherent in integrating soul with the material world. As of 2008, never has there been more force eminating from corporate, political and commercial entities to trivialize the spiritual and earthy center of private life. Shopping, virtual reality and other diversions now define the extent of the modern man's identity, aside from the job held to pay for it all.

Expressed negatively, Saturn opposed to Chiron can indicate death of the soul at the expense of materialism. The grand cross in the Eris birth chart could symbolize the struggle societies at large are going through now, caught between institutions of the past and the promise of an uncertain future, as materialism and greed render pointless any attempt to share the planet with the complexity of life other than human and directs our lives to increasingly elaborate exercises in consumerism.

The archetype of the warrior queen who travels freely between the three planes of existence, reinventing herself as she goes is quite amply represented in this birth chart. An adventurous, freedom-loving Sagittarian Venus is located in the Ninth house of higher mind, education, philosophy and travel, conjunct the Galactic Center at 26° Sagittarius 52m, in mutual reception with Jupiter and conjunct the star Aculeus, ”Enduring attacks but bringing success.” The freewheeling Venus is conjunct Mercury and Pluto also in Sagittarius in the Ninth. Who but Hermes/Mercury, god of communication travels freely between the worlds without harm, here joining Venus (Persephone?) hand in hand with the Lord of Transformation and the Underworld himself.

The elevated Sagittarian stellium trines the North Node and sextiles the South Node, operating in harmony with sweeping changes to come in the social fabric of self-determination versus contracts made with others. The stellium is quincunx retrograde Saturn in the Fourth, natural home of Cancer; old security structures and attitudes towards women must be adjusted and adapted to the necessity of freeing the feminine creative for an active embrace with activities born of the higher mind. Home life will never be the same again.

An air of urgency in the wielding of power and the transformation of old genetic inheritances is well expressed by Mars, traditional ruler of the Eighth house of sex, death, joint riches and occult matters, in separating square and packing a quick, explosive charge to Piscean Uranus in the Eleventh house of community, groups, friends and wishes. Uranus here perhaps will encourage the rise of the mystic, speed radicalization of the spiritual within the community. Or it could represent fundamentalist fascists hell bent on repression and control. However the phase of Venus to Mars is new and as yet unformed, in the exploratory stage; both planets rambling in Sagittarius suggest a much more casual, easy-going flavor to sexual relations in general.

A deep, potentially vengeful and brooding Scorpion Moon hovers in the Seventh house of partners and open enemies, in square to the utopian Neptune and humanitarian Part of Fortune also in the Eleventh house. Perhaps this aspect reflects a chaotic, ongoing struggle in civilization between a chthonic need for emotional security through being bonded possessively to others; which will be constantly undermined and uprooted by certain revolutionary and mystical forces, resulting in the shattering of crystallized communal structures. This dangerous Moon is also balsamic, in that part of the phase where the intellect is supposed to be freeing itself from all motives founded upon personal desire, but which may instead choose self-serving isolation and an extreme preoccupation with holding on to one’s perceived entitlements. Is the Scorpionic power of the Mother going to be used to burn away the dross of preoccupation with the baser side of life, or shall it cling resolutely to the will for power over others? Surely the years between 2008 and 2012 will bear the burning ground between where we came from and where we must go to preserve any quality of life on planet Earth.

1 The chart glyph for Eris is my own invention, not an officially sanctioned item.

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