Hi Everyone, I wanted to give you all an overview of the Asteroid Goddesses, the first four asteroid to be named. They are Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta, in that order. They are considered minor planets, but, as Demetra George says, not with major influence. If you’re serious about studying asteroids, start with her book!
The Four Asteroid Goddesses
Each of these asteroid goddesses represents an aspect of the feminine, an aspect of inner relationship to the anima, that is meaningful to both men and women. When strong by house placement, sign or aspect in the chart, greater understanding of relationship needs, women’s needs and men’s, can be revealed.
Though their natural affinity with relationship, sex and ambition varies, Ceres, Juno and Vesta (as Demeter, Hera and Hestia) are all sisters. They are devoured by Saturn\Kronos and later, with the help of Zeus\Jupiter, disgorged.
Ceres and Juno are both mother goddesses; Juno ever faithful to her husband Jupiter and Ceres never surrendering herself to marriage yet still being a powerful image of mother to her daughter Kore/Persephone. Vesta remains virgin in the sense that she also owes allegiance to no man. Originally, the Vestal virgins who represented her were divine harlots.
Pallas Athene, cerebral and cultured, is the only one without a mother herself, being born from the head of her father Zeus. Her passions awaken on the battlefield where she protects heroes and partakes in contests of skill and strategy.
When considering aspects between these asteroids, I like to keep orbs ta little tighter, maybe 8 for conjunction and opposition, 7 for squares and trines, 4 for sextile and the inconjuncts, 1.5 for the minor aspects. Widen these when the asteroids are on angles or conjunct or opposite personal planets.
Plotting Asteroids in the Chart
Go to “Extended Chart Selection” at astro.com and either highlight the “additional objects” you desire, or add them into the form below by their asteroid numbers.
Asteroid 1 Ceres
Found orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres has been elevated to ‘Dwarf Planet’ status, takes 4.6 years to orbit the sun.
Ceres/Demeter is depicted as divine mother without divine spouse. Most of her instances of passion were traumatic or grudging. As in her relationship with Poseidon, Ceres did not welcome the horse-formed god with open arms. She fled his advances and only the slightest hint of reciprocation comes when she sets aside her rage and bathes in the river Ladon. Since Poseidon is associated with all rivers, streams and oceans, the bathing infers she eventually surrendered, briefly.
She also rejected the advances of her brother Zeus who constantly lusted after her. Yet, with a trick of metamorphoses, he changed himself into a bull and raped her unawares. (you can understand her stance on men here). The offspring of this violence was Kore/Persephone. Later Ceres’ beloved daughter was abducted and raped by Hades, with whom she was forced to compromise.
It seems that only when the gods take the form of animals do they find a way in to the goddess Ceres, perhaps reflecting her devotion to all things of the earth. Interestingly, these acts of violence result in creative offspring.
In spite of those difficulties, reports suggest Ceres did experience love with the mortal man, Iasion. They met in the finely tilled fields near Crete and mingled sweet love with passion and desire. Some versions say Zeus, seeing Ceres’ hunger for the mortal, struck Iasion. Other stories describe an enduring relationship between Iasion and Ceres as they explored their romance in every field and meadow on earth. Either way, the child of their passion is Plutus, a charmed traveler that bestows luck and good fortune on those he meets.
Where Ceres is in the chart, we may identify with the earth mother and nurturing side of this planet, with empowered nurturing and protective qualities. In a man’s chart, it can be an allegiance with equal rights, feminism and post feminism. A good example is Phil Donahue, a groundbreaking talk show host who spoke out for women’s rights. Note his Ceres conjunct the Moon and Venus in passionate Scorpio, in the 8th house of penetrating insights.
Asteroid 2 – Pallas
Asteroid 2 Pallas also takes about 4.6 years to orbit the entire zodiac.
Pallas Athene’s brand of love was protective, supportive and reportedly asexual. She also was, at heart, very much her father’s daughter. Leaping from the wound in Zeus’s head after Hephaestus split it with an axe, Athene was born full grown, dressed in golden armor and screaming a war cry. She proceeded to protect heroic men, guard the city of Athens and was worshiped as the goddess of war-craft, strategy, craftsmanship and wisdom.
Unlike other Olympians, Athene was completely trusted by her father Zeus. She even got to use his thunderbolts and aegis. She holds no resentment towards him for swallowing her mother Metis, goddess of wisdom, and seems to reserve her attachments and allegiance to the king of the gods alone.
Born without a mother, Pallas Athene is in some ways a magnificent and beautiful extension of Zeus, representing pure intellect untouched and uncontaminated by the corporeal. His favorite child, Zeus indulges her every wish, even in the face of censure from the other Olympians.
Just as Pluto/Hades may be seen as a phallic representation of the matriarchal principal of death and regeneration, so Athene may embody a female image of the masculine principals of rational thinking, will and intellect. She is a representation of objectivity, fairness and justice. The power of her sword is as keen as the cutting edge of her mind and she was often called to arbitrate disputes, her impartial decisions being final. Athene takes us out of the world of raw instinct and desire, educating us to the realm of objective thought, unbiased choice and organized strategy. Pallas Athene, although regarded as femininely beautiful, is an androgynous figure, a goddess at home in the masculine realm. Athene was also adamantly chaste.
Her avoidance of sexual intimacy with men or gods appears different from other virgin goddesses who, although they aligned themselves with no man, they still enjoyed the passions of lovemaking and rearing the resultant offspring. Athene, by most accounts, never gave birth and had no direct descendant. Although she shunned intimacy, she was loved and pursued by Helios, Hephaestus and some say Hercules. None of these gods or men triumphed and never, it seems, did Eros or Aphrodite cause her to fall in love, at least not in the traditional sense.
Portrayed as sexually celibate, Athene was passionate about her crafts, battles and the heroes she protected. She is reported to have transformed the blood of Medusa into a healing potion and is associated with the medicinal arts. Creative, multi-talented and dedicated, Athene may not lay with man, woman or god, but she does not withdraw from them either. She seeks the company of men and relates to them as their divine counselor, protector and guide.
Gloria Steinem can be seen as a modern day Pallas Athene. A feminist, journalist and activist, she became a powerful spokesperson for the women’s movement. Note asteroid Pallas conjunct her sun and trine Pluto and the Moon. My favorite quote from Ms. Steinem is (when asked her view on marriage) “I don’t breed well in captivity.” Her Juno (committed relationship) is square her Pallas, Sun and Mars – in direct contrast to her purpose, identity and power expression.
Asteroid 3 – Juno
Asteroid 3 Juno takes 4.3 years to orbit the sun.
Juno differs from the other asteroid goddesses in her unwavering desire for marriage: Ceres prefers the company of the earth, her daughter and the occasional lover. A staunch virgin, Pallas Athena seeks the company of men as comrades in arms. Although offered the hand of marriage by Poseidon and Apollo, Vesta prefers to stay sequestered in her temple, content with managing the sacred flame of renewal. She welcomes men only as a consecrated act of divine union.
Yet Juno/Hera wanted Jupiter/Zeus, king of the pantheon of Mt. Olympus, to be her lawfully wedded husband. Originally a virgin sky deity in her own right, Hera’s marriage to Zeus is thought to represents a merging of two cults that were once dissimilar. How ever it came about, the marriage of Zeus and Hera was a rocky one.
As he did most women, Zeus made various attempts to seduce Hera early on, but she would not submit to him until he promised to marry her. His desire must have been great, because he agreed and they were married on Mt. Olympus with all the gods and goddesses in attendance.
Although Hera was faithful to her marriage vows, the mighty Zeus was not. The more furious, vengeful, and jealous Hera became, the more he sought the extramarital company of other goddesses, mortals and youths. Their relationship was volatile and laced with domestic violence, threats and deception. Hera also persecuted the illegitimate offspring of Zeus’ escapades with relentless cruelty. In spite of this, Zeus continued his myriad affairs yet still longed for his wife. They had at least three children together.
Primarily the goddess of marriage and maternity, Hera/Juno rules over all aspects of the feminine. She is the image of the archetypal good wife with long-term committed relationship as her realm.
Hillary Clinton’s chart has Juno in the second house of core values opposite Uranus. In the beginning, she denied any truth to her husband’s infidelity, but, after the evidence of President Clinton’s encounters with Lewinsky became incontrovertible, she issued a public statement reaffirming her commitment to their marriage. Privately though, she was reported to be furious at him and was unsure if she wanted to stay in the marriage. Juno is also square her Moon in Pisces in the 4th. I’m guessing her true feelings may never become public, but full forgiveness could be lifetimes away.
Asteroid 4 – Vesta
Asteroid 4 Vesta takes 3.6 years to orbit through the zodiac.
Vesta, or Hestia as she was known to the ancient Greeks, was the goddess of the hearth, the flame that burned brightly in every family home. She was also goddess of the sacred ceremonial fires that were used for public rituals. There are almost no images of Vesta, and it is thought that the Vestal virgins, the women that attended her flame, were living images of the goddess. Plato referred to Hestia as the living flame itself.
Like Athene, Vesta is worshiped as a virgin, although the original meaning of the word did not imply sexual innocence. A virgin then described a woman who stood on her own, relying on no man for support, identity or companionship. Many of these virgins had lovers and consorts, although they never married or adapted themselves to life with a man.
In Roman times, the Vestal virgins were like nuns, taking a vow of celibacy and devotion to the goddess. Transgressions were punished by a torturous death. It seems that by the time of Pontifex Maximus, the term virgin had taken on its current meaning.
In pre-Hellenic Greece, the Vestal virgins not only tended the sacred flame but performed a primary role of renewal to guaranteed the continuation of the royal line. As divine harlots, they would initiate men who came to the temple in honor of the goddess. This was not an exercise in sexual satisfaction; it was the symbolic consummation of a sacred union. A child born to a vestal was destined for royal succession if the king had no male offspring.
These conflicting images, the virgin as celibate and the virgin as harlot, seem to signify an inherent confusion with those whose natal Vesta is significantly placed. When that Vesta is aspected to personal planets, the contrast grows.
A strong Vesta in the chart (on an angle, in aspect to a personal planet) may bring out the passion and sexual intensity. Something needs to be honored in this case, a cause, a belief a creative pursuit. It may also, depending on the rest of the chart, bring out a measure of guilt and repression. What is being awakened is very powerful and some individuals will find it easier to express or integrate than others.
There can be perceived obstacles between marriage and a single life, career or family, artistic pursuit or practicality, outer adventure or introspective study. The aspect degree, sign and house placements will help indicate how this conflict may manifest.
A woman with Mars conjunct Vesta in Taurus in the tenth house found the struggle sometimes overwhelming. At a young age she nestle herself into the secure surroundings of a family life and had two children. In a few years, she started having clandestine affairs until she broke out and became single again. Later, she remarried and had two more children with the new man, only to find she was compelled to start a career that would keep her far from home for long periods. Eventually, she found ways to keep the family hearth burning, enjoy divine union and release her passions through creative risk taking.
Note Hillary Clinton’s Vesta trine Mercury (her chart ruler) on the Ascendant and her approach to career. It makes her drive and passion more understandable, given the ‘behind the scenes’ Virgo there.
I invite you all to plot these asteroids in your chart and check where they are by transit so we can discuss.