Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Asking About Asteroids


June 24, 3005


Dear Eric,


Please could you tell us all about the asteroids you regularly use in all your charts and why you use them?


Many Thanks




Dear Mary,


This is big territory -- very big. I've devoted quite a few articles to it, some of which I'll include at the bottom of this reply.


At the peak of my asteroid use, late last year, I was working with about 80 bodies in all. These included the major planets, the first four asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta, discovered between 1801 and 1807), a different kind of planet called Chiron (discovered in 1977, not an asteroid), and a variety of named centaur planets (bodies in Chiron's class, discovered 1992 to present). I also used about 8 planets beyond Pluto (called transneptunian objects, or TNOs) and then about 50 asteroids.


Collectively, there are other planets besides the big nine that are called the 'minor planets'. There are many categorizations, mainly used by astronomers, and also by some astrologers.


Each type of body has a different feel, and a different place in human experience and psychology. And while some tend to be deeper or more psychological than others, in truth, any of these planets can offer truly profound insight into the nature of a person or of how their chart works.


In general, the asteroids (such as Pallas Athene, Psyche, Sphinx, and Hidalgo) give detail. They help point to the exact circumstances surrounding the situations of our lives. They can provide stunning clarity and accuracy, if you are patient and allow them to speak. For example, Psyche talks about the sense of oneself as having a 'wound that cannot be healed', usually psychic or a kind of soul wound. It can be healed, of course, but Psyche can represent the sense that it can't be, and the key to finding how to resolve the thought pattern.


J. Lee Lehman, in "The Ultimate Asteroid Book," says that asteroids, 'have few concepts allocated to [each] and their being small and numerous may allow for many, very exact meanings'. Conversely, the planets have many very large, vague meanings, but the asteroids have very precise significance. This statement is only half true; some of the asteroids are exceedingly complex, and at the same time, conventional planets can have highly specific meanings in a given context.


The centaurs (Chiron-like bodies, including Pholus, Nessus, Asbolus, Chariklo, and Hylonome) talk about transformation processes, healing processes, as well as psychological tools we use to get through life. For example, Asbolus talks about how we handle extremes of adversity and danger as children. Nessus talks about abuse patterns in the family of origin, and how they manifest psychologically in adults.


The TNOs (objects in andbeyond Pluto's orbit) talk about where the deep psychological patterns of society meet the deep psychological patterns of an individual. For example, Quaoar talks about the family patterns of our personal lives and how they mirror society. It also addresses our personal creation mythology, including how we came to be who we are.


Now, astrologers who don't use these planets often say, 'The regular planets can give you the same information'. Perhaps, and I try to make a habit of, every time I make an interpretation using minor planets, looking at the chart and asking what a traditional astrologer would see if they did not have the advantage of the minor planets.


However, here's the catch. The minor planets help us define issues, they help us spot specific circumstances, and they tell us a lot about the stories that we live by. They open up our minds to ideas and to ways of looking at the world. It is true that you can tell a lot about someone from their major planets. But when you discover that a person has an asteroid right in their ascendant that speaks volumes to the themes of their life...well, that's another story. When you find out they have an exact conjunction of a centaur to the Moon and another to the Sun, that deepens the chart.


It's neither necessary nor possible to use all the minor planets in a session. There are tens of thousands with names, so that's not going to happen. But the way to work with them is to develop relationships over long periods of time, so that you have some sense of who these critters are when you need them, or when they show up.


The influences of newly discovered minor planets are studied by observing charts (for people or events) when there is a conjunction to a major planet or the ascendant, and then noticing the themes and correlations to 'real life'. The themes are also deduced through the names and mythology of the body, the shape of its orbit, and other astronomical details.


One of the more stunning examples I have ever seen of a minor planet revealing its nature was that during the Scorpio New Moon last year, the Sun and Moon were conjunct the centaur Hylonome. Scorpio is about death, rebirth and transformation. This is a centaur about the healing of grief and that has been given the additional keywords, 'the cry of the people'. The New Moon was, exact to the day and hour, during the funeral of Yasser Arafat.


To give you an idea of what one of my typical minor planet charts looks like, here's an example, partly hand drawn, from my collection -- an eclipse from later in the year:


I've found that the best sources on the minor planets, all in Google, include the "Astrology Encyclopedia" by James R. Lewis, as well as anything by Martha Lang Wescott (very detailed and technically oriented, but excellent keywords), as well as Melanie Reinhart.


Here are two of my articles, the first on the first four asteroids and the second on Chiron, some centaurs and TNOs, and the third on two newer outer planets, from this column, plus extras:


Goddesses of Astrology by Eric


Worlds Beyond Neptune by Eric


Q/A response from this series about Sedna and Quaoar


Chiron homepage on Planet Waves with many articles


Maratha Lang Wescott, awesome author


Melanie Reinhart, another awesome author