asteroid goddesses: an introduction [#StarsAndSymbols]

last week i ordered 3 astrology books, and one by one they were all delivered. the first one i received was Asteroid Goddesses by Demetra George. it expounds upon the mythology of the 4 main asteroid goddesses [Ceres, Pallas Athene, Vesta, and Juno], how their respective discoveries correlated with collective awakening of different aspects of the divine feminine, and the importance of their astrological incorporation.

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it is intriguing how each asteroid goddess springs forth from the moon’s matrix of the feminine potential, as well as the physically active manifestation of alluring venus, who symbolizes and governs reproductive fertility, to represent a unique facet of feminine principle. the addition of these cosmic bodies to the natal chart adds an insightful dimension and fuller feminine influence that was merely suggested by the presence of the moon and venus, but never explored or specified in depth.

since i believe this is valuable information, i will share briefly what each asteroid goddess signifies…

ceres-with-poppies-and-snakes1

ceres is the earth mother, regarded as a physical delineation of the moon’s nurturing instinct. ceres rules food, clothing, and general sustenance that provides nourishment necessary to keep the children, plants, and animals of the earth alive and well. ceres, goddess of fertility and agriculture, had a beautiful daughter persephone with whom she was inseparable. in ceres’ contentment, the planet was blessed with infinite prosperity and eternal springtime, although many suitors desperately desired to be with the persephone, who [in the grasp of her mother] was rendered impenetrable. one day fateful day, ceres’ precious daughter was abducted by pluto, god of the underworld. ceres, in the paralyzing throes of grief, refused to tend to the crops, thereby not only starving the people, but herself as well. alarmed that there would be no mortals left to worship them, almighty [and praise-hungry] zeus decided reluctantly to strike a deal with pluto so that both he and ceres would receive joint custody of persephone, which would indeed pacify (at least partially) both parties.

during the spring and summer months, ceres is reunited with her daughter and all is well, but when she returns to the underworld, we all experience ceres’ loss in the form of the lifeless winter. attachment, separation, sharing, and custody are ceres themes. to truly comprehend the change of seasons and cyclical nature of time, ancients would be initiated into the mysteries of ceres [life, death, and rebirth]. where we find ceres in the natal chart is the area in which we must foster growth in the most organic sense, but also learn the universal lesson of letting go. as goddess of the grain, our relationship to food [often tied intrinsically to self-esteem] is governed by ceres, so one might also look to ceres in astrology when dealing with malnourishment, emotional eating, and eating disorders in general.

PallasGiustiniani

whereas ceres rules physical fertility and the subsequent birth of the offspring in the most qualitative sense, pallas athene represents mental fertility and the creative intelligence that manifests highly effective forms from tangible ideas. pallas athene was born from father jupiter’s head after he swallowed her mother, signifying the ingestion of feminine wisdom to be filtered through the new patriarchal system. in many ways pallas athene was the archetypal daddy’s girl and comrade of men, but she had to suppress her femininity and sexuality to be taken seriously. a warrior goddess, pallas athene was considered protectress of athens, although she preferred civilized solutions, such as the refinement of diplomacy and peace treaties, to brute force and bloodshed. pallas athene was also a patroness of the arts, and was especially fond of artisans and craftsmen. revered for her ability to recognize patterns, strategize politically, and give life to her visionary thoughts, pallas athene was celebrated for her competence in operating efficiently within the laws of nature.

athene, who had a hand in the demise of her feminine relatives pallas [from whom she derived her name] and medusa [whose blood she used to heal the dead and diseased], represents the recognition that comes as a result of suppressing womanhood in order to be seen as equal in a male-dominated world. the placement of pallas athene in the chart shows us where we have the potential to mentally will the reality within which we wish to exist, but also where we sublimate sexual intimacy so that we can be taken seriously in the professional sphere. because pallas athene thrived as a woman in a masculine environment, pallas in the chart represents our ability to adapt to and excel in foreign contexts; being a minority as it pertains to gender, sexuality, race, and/or class for example.

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out of all the goddesses, the least is known about vesta, the keeper of the eternal flame. as a torch carrier, she represents dedication to a cause. according to mythology, vesta was the first born to saturn and rhea, and so she was worshipped with offerings when new endeavor were initiated. in hellenistic times, her priestesses, known as the vestal virgins, committed 30 years of their lives to celibacy with the duty of keeping the community fire burning. the vestals’ job was strict and deviation was deathly. on the bright side, they were held in high esteem as trustworthy guardians of family and community, with hearth fire altars in every home and societal privileges that lasted past their tenure of service. pre-hellenistic priestesses were “virginal” in that they were whole unto themselves. although they participated in sacred sexual encounters with strangers to bring the fertile lunar energy down to earth for mortals, they belonged to no one man, evidenced by the fact that they would take time out to cleanse and center themselves after their affairs. children born of these sacred sexual unions were revered as divine heirs to the matrilineal throne until the patriarchal forces suppressed the sexual rituals of these women in order to shift society to a masculine system from its feminine rulership.

the patriarchy skewed the meaning of the word “virginity” into synonymity with “chastity”, and associating guilt, shame, and punishment with sex, resulting in a number of psychosexual complexes, hence the vestal virgins. vesta’s placement in the chart is indicative of our capacity to focus and dedicate ourselves wholly and purely to a mission. self-containment and denial in the context of sexual relationships are also themes and are often influenced by our religious beliefs and moral attitudes. with devotion to a belief or an ideal comes isolation, so vesta in the chart is where we may sacrifice intimacy and pleasure for a higher purpose. because vesta is so thoroughly committed, her placement in astrology shows us where we run the risk of burning out if we don’t temper our fanaticism and give ourselves moments to rekindle the flame.

goddess juno

juno takes the concentration of vesta and applies to the art of partnership. after being coerced (or forced) into marriage with her brother jupiter, symbolizing the  subjugation of feminine supremacy as patriarchy came into power, juno chose to commit to her role as wife. despite a lusty honeymoon, the longterm reciprocity she expected as a result of sacrificing her autonomy as a feminine power player to her almighty husband never came, as jupiter publicly humiliated her with his infidelity and the children he fathered by other women. jupiter’s apparent irreverence for his wife incited her wrath, and so she would frequently exact revenge on his lovers and their offspring, and sometimes her husband himself. periodically, she would retreat into solitude, only to return and try to make things work.

thanks to her tenacious fidelity, she was idealized as the perfect wife [her beauty didn’t hurt either]. although she was often unfulfilled, she desired the alchemical transformation of two people united sexually to recreate the magic synergy of universal oneness. juno initiated women into the rites of marriage, but she rules the modern day divorce epidemic by the same token. juno in the chart clues us the qualities we express as partners as well as what we seek to complete us in the realm of committed relationships. juno in astrology is what we need to find marital bliss, but also what brings out feelings of jealousy, rage, and manipulation.

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i recommend asteroid goddesses to all students of astrology, anyone with an interest in mythology, or those who are looking to reconnect with the divine feminine energy that has been banished to the shadows of the collective unconscious mind.

in the process of learning about the placement of the asteroid goddesses in my own birth chart, i have discovered a grand trine! my moon & north node [earliest degrees of aquarius in the 2nd house] trines vesta [28 degrees taurus in the 6th house] and ceres [which forms an exact conjunction with my midheaven/cusp of the 10th house at 27 degrees virgo]. the trine suggests an easy integration of energy between multiple planets. with ceres on my midheaven, i find myself fascinated the most by her story, as the midheaven represents the life’s path and the public reputation we develop as we build our respective careers. what asteroid goddesses do you resonate with and where do they fall in your natal chart?

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