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The Asteroids in Astrology with Cathy Burroughs

The Asteroid Goddess Gospel:
Illuminating the Feminine
Principle in the Chart


by Cathy H. Burroughs


"At first I thought, 'OH NO. Not more stuff to put in the chart! I'm confused enough already.' But over the years, I have come to value the asteroids as a vital part of chart interpretation."
- Michael Lutin, Vanity Fair astrologer, author, lecturer and very funny guy!

In the mid 70's, a whole new cast of astrological players found themselves appearing on the global astrological stage: four asteroid goddesses and one mystery body, Chiron. The four asteroid goddesses: Ceres, Pallas Athene, Vesta and Juno, together with their comet/planetoid male counterpart Chiron, changed the face of astrology forever.

The pantheon of astrological planets had long since been male dominated. Out of the twelve (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), only two were feminine: Moon and Venus, and the rest mostly archetypes that could swerve toward the less positive male traits: the potentially selfish, cold and withholding nature of Saturn; the Plutonic capacity for ruthlessness, even destruction, and, the excessively over active Sun that can easily veer toward narcissism.

The appearance of four powerful female goddess archetypes: Ceres (mother/the Universal Mother); Juno (partner/Queen of Heaven/ Divine Consort); Vesta (sister, High Priestess) and Pallas Athene (daughter/genius/warrior/Goddess of Wisdom) made a powerful impact on the previously male dominated astrological kingdom. Chiron, too, the newest male planetary body, introduced an entirely new humanitarian and profoundly compassionate mediating male energy.

Discovered in the beginning of the 18th century, from the more than 10,000 asteroids in the sky, located in a belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, that revolves about every four years, the Asteroid Goddesses were popularized by New York based astrologer Eleanor Bach. She has been called "the Mother of the Asteroids" after she published the first Asteroid Ephemeris, twenty-five years ago in 1972, during the height of the Feminist Movement, and three years before the discovery of Chiron.

The years 2000-2002 marked both the Lunar Return (emotional coming of age), and the Saturn Return (coming of age of the life purpose) of the publication of this indispensable ephemeris; so it is no accident that many are interested in just how to practically apply the understanding of these asteroids in both their own natal charts and those of others.

Interpretation of the Asteroid Goddesses


Ceres: the Mother


During a lecture by NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research) Baltimore Chapter VP Mindy Krupp in 1993, I learned for the first time how to simply interpret the Asteroids Goddesses in the chart. I learned, that in a nutshell, Ceres simply represents mother, as well as all aspects of motherhood, from the perspective of both the child, the mother, and the way these impulses get filtered through our own psyches, as individuals*.

In Roman mythology, Ceres, also known in Greek, as Demeter (deriving from da mater or earth mother) was goddess of agriculture and the harvest, as well as being the mother of Persephone.

Persephone Myth

For those who remember the Persephone myth, Persephone was abducted by Pluto and brought to the underworld where he kept her as his wife. Her mother Ceres or Demeter was so heartbroken that she withered up and nearly perished. As Ceres or Demeter was the goddess of the harvest, this affected all living things on the earth which also began to die.

The gods concerned for the well-being of the earth, negotiated with Pluto, and worked out an arrangement whereby Persephone was allowed to emerge from Pluto's lair and live with her mother on the earth for half the year. Her mother was so filled with joy that she recovered, as did all living things. The months of spring and summer are therefore attributed to the return of Persephone to her mother. And autumn and winter, the seasons when Persephone returns, as wife, to Pluto in the underworld. This myth becomes increasingly important as we explore the role of Persephone, and the other Dark Asteroid Goddesses impact in the chart in future articles. Therefore, Ceres, is sometimes found prominently in the charts of those who have lost a child.

Juno, the Partner


Juno, goddess of marriage and guardian of childbirth, represents all aspects of partnership, particularly as spouse, and has a distinctly Scorpionic overtone, due to her tendency towards jealousy and possessiveness. Juno can also be a marriage indicator, particularly in synastry, or chart comparison, when it impacts another's personal planets, such as Sun, Moon, Venus or Mars or through timing by transit, progression or return.

The sign that Juno is in, in your chart, also reveals what you are looking for in any committed sexual or business partnership, as well as any enduring friendship. And, it can also provide insight into recurrent relationship patterns, and may suggest a means of resolving these reoccurring themes, as well.

Despite her husband Zeus or Jupiter's flagrant infidelities and deceptions, Juno always returned to her husband, personifying the vow of marriage: for better or worse, in sickness and in health, 'til death do us part. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to us, that Juno is prominent in the chart of Hilary Rodham Clinton.

In Hilary's chart, Juno is in the 29th degree of Sagittarius (sometimes the sign of lawyers/politicians), right on the cusp of the 7th house of marriage, indicating she is finishing up a major incarnational cycle associated with marriage and partnership. Who better has personified, through example, her adherence to the vows of marriage? Like Hilary Rodham Clinton, long before meeting Jupiter/Zeus, Juno was a great goddess in her own right and very much an equal to Jupiter.

Vesta, the Devoted Sister


Vesta corresponds with the archetype of the sister, both as sibling, and, as a description of one who has taken a vow of celibacy, and joined the nunhood. Like the Vestal Virgins who kept the temple fires burning, she represents egoless devotion and dedication. Vesta placements may also indicate dedication to an excess or workaholism.

This meaning of Vesta came as an epiphany to me, as I, who have throughout my life had periods of extreme workaholism, had never been able to find any planetary indication of this in my natal chart. Suddenly, there was Vesta (representing workaholism) smack dab on my own midheaven exact (representing career or life's work), illuminating this tendency in high relief.

Pallas, the Daughter or Genius


Pallas Athena or Pallas, is as close to a male energy as a female can be, embodying the archetype of both warrior and daughter (think of the first-born daughter, of the daughter of a father who wanted a boy; or the now, somewhat, archaic term of tom boy.). Pallas represents both warrior energy, and, where you have a great genius in the chart, but may doubt yourself.

Due to her brilliance at finding patterns, when she is conflicted by aspect in the chart, we may find learning disabilities, such as dyslexia; difficulty maintaining harmony in relationships, or overly aggressive tendencies that may obscure or impede her natural genius.

Impact in the Natal Chart


In order to understand any new astrological concept, it is always useful to spend some time working with your own natal chart. Noting what sign and house the Asteroids Goddesses are in, and what major aspects are formed to them. Through working with your own themes, this will begin to shed light on how these energies operate for you and what areas of your life they affect.

Today, most astrology software provides the option to elect the inclusion of both the Asteroid Goddesses, and Chiron. I highly recommend you make this selection, and begin to discover your own sacred mysteries and ancient wisdom schools of feminine power and justice. There immersed in your own psyche -- you may find the Goddess inherent in you, male and female alike -- waiting to be unleashed, embraced, better understood, and more potently expressed.

*The mother/daughter challenge of individuation is deeply delved into in Nancy Friday's popular book of the 70's My Mother/Myself.

More about the Asteroid Goddesses....

*Eleanor Bach's Asteroid Ephemeris
*Mark Pottenger's CCRS Asteroid Program (includes over 10,000 asteroids)
*All by Demeter George: Asteroid Goddesses (also by Douglas Bloch)
*Asteroid Goddess Report Writer- Astrolabe (also by Douglas Bloch)
*Finding Our Way Through the Dark: The Astrology of the Dark Goddess Mysteries by Demetra George
*Jacob Schwartz's Asteroid Name Encyclopedia and website: Jacob@asteroids.com
*Lee Lehman's Ultimate Asteroid Book
*Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (orders@springer-ny.com)
*Zip Dobyn's Mutable Dilemna/Asteroid World (www.ccrsdodona.org)
*Roxana Muise's service for calculating asteroid ephemeredes and personal asteroid positions (roxanamuise@comcast.net)