The Asteroids of Creative Temptation, Greed and Worldly Power: Part I

By C. Marguerite Hafeman © 2008

Many asteroids as used in astrology can serve as potent informational indicators for the social or psychological themes implied by their names. Excellent research and discussion on human behavioral association with mythical archetypes has been done for example, on the Centaurs of the Kuiper Belt and the Goddess asteroids Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Juno. In similar spirit and being up for a bit of mischief (the devil made me do it), how about taking a look at the symbolic potential for asteroids who could personify creative temptation, greed and the pursuit of worldly power. The asteroid Lucifer as symbolic for the pitfalls of creative drive mis-applied is offered up here for consideration, along with asteroid Midas standing in for greed and asteroid Apollo present for the pursuit of worldly power.

All three are in orbit within an extensive asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. Note that the characteristics to be discussed below are quite likely necessary to some degree as essential tools for survival and are part of the every day scenery in most levels of social function today. There is no such thing as a human being that operates without some degree of complicity in certain shortcomings of ideal character, short of limits imposed during the processes of childbirth, extreme illness or pending death. The field of potential for the area we are examining is vast; therefore the following delineations for each asteroid are offered, to provide a framework of reference for example charts to be presented in Part II.

Lucifer: The name "Lucifer" was not originally associated with the devil or any other concept of sin. The name is first mentioned in the fourteenth chapter of Old Testament Isaiah, where the reference is not to a fallen angel but rather a fallen Babylonian king who allegedly made life hard on the Israelites. The actual word comes from the Latin lucem ferre, a bringer or bearer of light. Apparently the confusion started with the early church father Jerome, who mistranslated the Hebraic "Day star, son [or daughter?] of the Dawn" as "Lucifer". Subsequent church scholars then apparently felt free to transmute Lucifer the morning star into a rebellious angel, cast out of heaven to tempt mankind and rule in hell. Lucifer eventually became associated with the word "Satan" or wickedness incarnate as recognized by various religious sects; this word was originally used as a term for "political opponent" in old Judea. (1)(2)

"Lucifer" is also an ancient western name for the planet Venus and all that she archetypically implies. Note that the orbital pattern that Venus traces as seen from earth is precisely pentagramatic. Five is traditionally connected to the spiritual universe and is symbolic of the endless creative dance that takes place between spirit and matter. Even more ironic, the ratio of Venus' orbit to the earth's orbit is precisely the Golden mean or phi, the magical number found throughout the very structure of nature. Therefore the pentagram (which is a composition of Golden means unto itself) is the very formula for divine creativity in action, as directed towards manifestation on the physical plane. However " five energy" has not been welcomed by most social structures, except to the extent that the pentagram symbol can be associated with elements of warfare or governing power. (3) It would seem that the mistranslations and slanderings generated by the church on this matter might have something to do with an elaborate cover up and demeaning of an older, stellar based and nature-loving belief system. Ironically, the Bearer of Light has become the Prince of Darkness; and isn't the relative quality of good and evil subject to just such confusion in these times?

For the purposes of this discussion, asteroid Lucifer shall represent a cosmic current of creative intent and urge to action that finds expression in all of us. The interface of interest is where intent wanders into malefic territory. Creativity misaligned shall be defined here as the willfully directed intent to practice deception, hypocrisy, cruelty and/or with holding of information in order to gain advantage. The perceived advantage is commonly reinforced by playing on the greed, fear and/or state of ignorance in others. Natural personal values tend to be reduced to meaningless banality, commonly in the name of a greater good tied to ulterior motives, as when referring to "progress," "obedience to authority" or "sanctity of faith", for example. It would also be that perverted impulse which overrides common sense and limits, promoting indulgence of excess in the venue of choice and directed towards glorification of the ego at the expense of others. The best Luciferian work is done where ever power is in a state of imbalance; as when a parent beats a child without mercy or an elected official can ad hoc declare himself to be above the law.

The negative Luciferian principle would operate precisely where ends need to justify means and where guilt, shame and status comparison can be used for coercion. This dark angel commonly does not want us to see beneath the surface of its pretty face; better that we believe what we hear and see without question, that ultimate satisfaction, security, sanctity and definition of self lies somewhere "out there", outside of self and subject to the judgment of others. Curiously, the Luciferian current can have its best successes amongst those who fear any form of perceived chaos, are disconnected from nature and who tend to associate all things "dark" with evil. It rejoices in the polarized mind, where much of the phenomenon inherent to the physical cycle of existence is feared for its unknown qualities.

Lucifer's premier weapon of choice in the wider world today is the spoken or written word; accompanied by selected images dispersed widely via modern communications systems. Few are spared contact with this daily magical flow of influence; the selective use of words and images fits well with the common collective belief that if a "fact" or "moral principal" is stated by a designated authority or published in written form, it must be true. Lucifer as associated with words and images employs verbal manipulation devices such as the rotated argument, partial truths paraded as "objective" fact, educational information selectively withheld or suppressed, also avalanching the public with meaningless data and propaganda.

Where the asteroid makes aspects to other planets and points in the natal astrology chart can present a study for certain life challenge potentials in the individual's affairs. It could correspond to that area in life where creative temptation is most likely to enter in, certainly not always with conscious intent. Perhaps this place will be where our natural sense of propriety and justice can be perverted, where personal weakness, fear and naivety reside or where early trauma left its mark on a vulnerable psyche. It may take up quiet residence where we pen the sacred cows of our ideals, what we love or what we desire.

Lucifer retrograde could be associated with conscious denial of one's own potential for harboring evil intent; the impulse could then be turned within or perhaps repressed, therefore surfacing through compensating behaviors, obsessions or compulsions. Unfortunately, sometimes the retrograde state in general can be associated with extreme intensification within the more problematic territory of behavioral drives. Lucifer peregrine (not making Polemic aspects to other planets) could again be associated with mischievous activity directed from the unconscious or at the darkest end of the spectrum, dark passions and desires allowed to run rampant relative to a certain area of life. On the bright side, where Lucifer is also represents the divine potential that charges our creative and individuating impulse, that very force without which nothing of originality, artistry or lasting quality can be built into tangible form. Paradoxically, perhaps becoming more consciously aware of this enigmatic area as it is represented in the natal horoscope, can actually lead to redemptive grace and catalysis of personal growth. In line with occult lore, Lucifer could be assigned rulership under the zodiac sign Capricorn, keeping good company with planetary ruler Saturn.

Midas: In Greek myth, Midas was a king of Pessinus, capital of Phrygia in Asia Minor. One day the satyr Silenus became intoxicated and fell asleep in Midas' rose garden. He was brought before the king, who recognized him as the leader of satyrs and teacher of the God Dionysus; therefore the satyr was treated exceedingly well by the royal court. Shortly thereafter, Dionysus came to Midas and was glad to be reunited with his surrogate father, therefore rewarded Midas by granting him one wish. Midas wished that everything he touched would be turned to gold. At first he was quite pleased with his new gift, and turned everything around him into gold. He eventually realized that he was unable to eat or drink, as all food and wine he touched turned to gold. Even his beautiful daughter, whom he loved more than anything else in the world, was turned into gold.

The myth is expressive of the "short-sighted wish", wherein one lets his greed blind him to the future. As the tale of Midas has a Dionysian influence at work, the theme of child sacrifice is also involved. The god Dionysus would punish mortals for their shortsightedness by having them kill their own children. (4) In the natal chart, the placement of asteroid Midas might then represent where the individual can succumb to greediness, where one will stop at nothing to acquire riches, even if it means "killing" or damaging the viability of ones' own offspring. The reference to children could include the progeny of one's own creative efforts, aside from actual reproductive product.

Midas retrograde could represent the greedy urge turned inwards, perhaps expressed as selfishness, self-centeredness or miserly preoccupations. One might operate completely in conscious denial of his own greedy agenda, justifying every competitive or exploitive move made as being necessary for survival, or because one just "knows what is best". Midas peregrine would likely express as out of control desires or unfocused urges towards acquisition, as in attempting to win good fortune through patronizing the racetrack. Midas afflicted could address greed for things besides money, such as sex, control, power, food or vintage cars. Midas in aspect to other planets and points in the natal chart could indicate personal attitudes and drives towards the accumulation of wealth; perhaps what kind of wealth for which one might do anything to attain or conversely, the disavowal of adequate liquidity in favor of aestheticism in lifestyle.

As every archetypal element has both a negative and positive side, the more benign side of Midas would likely be expressed as simple acumen in making money and acquiring assets, or not. The drive to seek abundance is natural; those who by birth, luck or perseverance are led to generate vast fortunes are worthy of notice in this realm, relative to the lot which befalls the average man. Many of those who have excelled in this fashion have also bequeathed great sums to charitable foundations, believing that it is their responsibility as member of the elite, to dedicate some of their good fortune to the benefit of society at large. Midas fits well in rulership under the sign of Taurus, in company with planetary ruler Venus.

Apollo: Known as Apollo to the Greeks and Romans, the beautiful youth was designated in Greek mythology as the god of prophecy, poetry, and music, magic and healing. Actually the knave usurped these gifts from the Goddess religion, when in myth he slew the great python (instinctual knowledge, right brain functions-misrepresented in myth as a monster) at Delphi in Greece and took over the Delphic oracle. His priests used the Delphi oracle to create new patriarchal laws and overturn the rights and laws of the matriarchate. Apollo's most spectacular judicial act was to pardon Orestes for the crime of killing his own mother. The god said it was no crime because in effect, a mother is not a real parent, only a father truly gives life to a child. (5)

Apollo has been considered the western epitome of logic and reason, light and truth; no lie can fall from his lips. He is the viral seducer of many maidens and the lover of many boys. Apollo's knowledge relates to collecting and categorizing data from external reality. He knows about "things" and how they relate to one another. He knows about the power contained in such information- how "things" work, how to encounter things, manage them, invent them and use this knowledge to control people; Apollo is also the god of flocks and herds, therefore is patron of politicians who are also in the business of leading flocks and herds. (6)

Apollo represents the patriarchal, linear-logical preoccupation with "objective" truth, which can easily be mistaken for the whole truth. He is the master of associating words with truth, as in the notion that if someone can call something by name they must be an authority on it or if an authority figure speaks, what is said must be true. The typical Apolloan individual excels at focused concentration and goal-oriented activities directed towards winning. However the Apolloan may have trouble grounding in reality; they tend to split off psyche from conscious right-brain activity and may even fear the wisdom of instinct and intuition, because in that realm no "truth" is set in stone. The asteroid Apollo could be said to stand for the solar hero as is currently worshipped in civilizations both east and west; here is the admired man or woman who defines their position via the yardstick of ideology-based reason, official mandate or scientific method. Here also is one who can also skillfully use the Word in all its manifestations to cloak an agenda in fine-sounding mandates, in order to gain control over others. (7)

For this discussion, the overall function of the Apolloan spirit today shall be defined as the drive to become powerful and influential, to rule at the helm of earthly achievement and to be admired by society at large. The classic Apolloan would also characteristically be interested in reducing the natural world and its phenomenon to a series of "facts" arrived at through allegedly objective observation and "logical" reason. Once in hand of the facts, it can be hard to stop this type of person from gaining an advantage or having their way. Action is then taken commonly in a direction that in some way involves "doing better than nature" or exalting the supremacy of domesticated and conditioned patriarchal society in areas such as art, architecture, banking, literature, law, sciences, philosophy or politics. The position and aspects made by asteroid Apollo in a natal chart could represent how the individual seeks to acquire and exercise power, in addition to providing clues as to the preferred venue of action.

Asteroid Apollo retrograde could represent one who has issues with incentive and motivation, someone who must obtain and maintain power over others or the environment at all costs, while maintaining a conscious denial of the ambition to do so, or someone who unconsciously tends to polarize life into biases of black and white, right and wrong, etc. It could also symbolize one who has difficulty converting ideas and imagery into concepts that can be expressed in terms or forms others will understand. Apollo peregrine could represent the classic loose cannon who doesn't take "no" for an answer or is always on the defensive; or one whose ambitions far outrun the actual reality of the environment or social status. The Apolloan spirit must be given due credit for a heartfelt desire to dispel ignorance and the right use of knowledge; wisdom, however, is gained only through hard experience in the grey zones of life.

A positive perspective on the ambition characteristic of a strongly placed Apollo can start with the observation that by claiming a phenomenal amount of power in the right place and time, some folks have been able to change the world in a big way. Others have done well to order knowledge, ideology or religious inspiration into forms that have benefited and enlightened many, as well as brainwashed and led astray others. The asteroid will not be identified in this essay with music, art, poetry, healing, prophecy or magic, as these gifts were stolen from the Goddess by an uppity male godling invented by solar deity worshippers in the first place. For rulership, surely the zodiac sign Sagittarius aptly contains the realm of Apollo, aligning well with planetary ruler Jupiter.

In Part II of this essay, the astrological placement of the three asteroids discussed above shall be examined in the natal horoscope charts of four famous people. The goal is to identify astrological delineations reflective of how the individual may have expressed certain ever so human tendencies in the course of their lifetime. Any reader interested in locating their own natal positions for the asteroids under discussion and more, can do so at the interactive website http://www.megadelfi.com/~jonathan/eph/ .

Footnotes:

(1) A Pilgrim's Path, Freemasonry and the Religious Right, by John J. Robinson, M. Evans and Company, Inc. 1993, pp 47-48.

(2) The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels, The Penguin Press, New York, NY, 1995.

(3) Quantum Astrology, Essays on The Physics of Metaphysics, by Rick Merlin Levine, Levine and Associates, Redmond, Washington, 1995, pp 39-46.

(4) "Midas", by Anne Baldwin, Encyclopedia Mythica, http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/midas.html.

(5) "Oresteia", Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Oresteia .

(6) "Apollo", by Ron Leadbetter, Encyclopedia Mythica, http://www.pantheon.org/areas/mythology/europe/greek/articles.html .

(7) Apollo's Ignorance, by Dr. J. Bruce Evans, Volume 266, January 2003, http://jbruceevans.com/.(website may be disabled)

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