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Posts Tagged ‘Eris’

Seeing stars again

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Photo © Steve Alexander

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Centre point of the formation

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Swirled nest in star point

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Swirled nest in star point

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

The different qualities of energy we experienced in each of the 5 stars of this crop formation (see previous post) at Chute Causeway in Hampshire has been nipping at a corner of my mind since we came back like a small dog that wants to play. So I finally got down to working with it.

The formation was discovered on July 26, so it was quite possibly formed the night of July 25. It’s interesting that July 25 was the day designated by Masaru Emoto as the day of giving love and thanks to water, and this formation as a whole is quite reminiscent of Emoto’s water crystal images, as well as evoking a number of watery descriptions from us in our attempts to describe the energies we experienced in it. The majority of Emoto’s water crystal images show 6-fold symmetry though, not 5 as here, so any resonance is likely to be rather more general and thematic than specific. (In the context of what follows, note that water is, of course, equated with emotion.)

The formation appeared as both Venus and the newly-discovered planet Eris were turning retrograde (relative to the Earth’s motion) – Eris turned on July 18, Venus on July 27. A retrograde period is viewed astrologically as a time during which the psychological archetypes represented by the planet in question have an inward focus and call for review and reflection. 5 is a number with strong associations to both Venus and Eris. Note how all the outer stars in the formation are inward-looking – oriented such that they point in toward the centre of the formation.

Venus is associated with love, harmony and proportion, emotional processes and attitudes, and social attitudes and behaviour. But both the Aztecs and Babylonians saw the planet in dual aspect. As the morning star, Venus was regarded as benefic, but as the evening star, malefic, representing what we might now call the Jungian shadow. Interestingly, in medieval astrology the attribution was reversed. The morning star – Lucifer, the light-bringer – came to be seen as malefic and the evening star as heralding good fortune. This crop formation contains 2 pentagons; the outer, larger and darker, with the lighter inner contained within it – the two sides of the same coin? with the larger shadow as yet unseen? – and at their centre the 5-pointed star that represents both Venus’s cycle (below) and the core of the apple in cross section associated with Eris, the goddess of discord.

It was Eris whose golden apple inscribed καλλιστη (kallistei) – “to the fairest” – precipitated a spat between the other Olympian goddesses at the wedding party of Peleus and Thetis. Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed as adjudicator in the dispute, and all 3 goddesses attempted to bribe him to pick them. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite (= Venus) and claimed the most beautiful woman in the world – Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta – as his bribe, precipitating the Trojan War which was waged for 10 years, became one of the most important focal events of Greek mythology, saw the deaths of many heroes including Achilles (the son of Peleus and Thetis) and Ajax, and was eventually ended by the deceptive ruse of the Trojan Horse.

Venus goes into retrograde motion relative to the Earth infrequently and briefly – once every 18 months or so for just a little over a month at a time. Its 584-day cycle completes 5 rounds every 8 years, tracing a 5-pointed star or pentagram around the ecliptic and conforming to the ratio of the Golden Mean. This cycle was known and monitored by both the Mayans and the Babylonians. (See John Major Jenkins’ work here and here.)

Venus relates to how we give value and meaning to life experience. Attempting to attribute value and meaning to a Venusian formation thus becomes a somewhat self-referential and recursive process (Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems anyone?) particularly when the geometry of the formation is itself recursive! That aside, you could either see this formation as a fractalised representation of a single 8-year Venus cycle, or a series of five 8-year cycles totalling 40 years. Perhaps on some level it may represent both.

There are other Venus resonances in this formation. The total of 225 grapeshots equals Venus’s 225-day year. The key angles in the formation of 36° and multiples of 36° (72° and 108°) echo the steps of 36 days or multiples of 36 that feature in each Venus cycle. Maximum brightness occurs 36 days after the inferior conjunction; the next step, maximum elongation, occurs 36 days later; and the superior conjunction occurs 216 days (6 x 36 days) after maximum elongation. In the evening star phase, maximum elongation occurs 216 days after the superior conjunction; maximum brightness takes place 36 days following maximum elongation and 36 days more brings the inferior conjunction. (See article.)

All this appeared highly promising, but I was wondering where the energetic qualities of each star might come into the picture. While thinking of keywords to characterise the different energies, the words ‘cardinal’, ‘mutable’ and ‘fixed’ came into my head. Still without seeing quite where this was going, I figured it might be interesting to see if I could pin the energetic qualities down to the astrological triplicities and quadruplicites and hence to signs and their ruling planets. It was unexpectedly straightforward, though I initially had the two fire signs the other way round (coloured by our starting point in the formation – Aries = beginnings – rather than a more precise appreciation of the exact qualities of the energies). But as soon as I reversed them (the explosiveness of star 4’s energy is far more Martian than solar), it was immediately apparent that the energetic signatures of each of the 5 stars in the formation exactly echoes the pattern, position and order of the signs in the pentagram formed by Venus’s inferior conjunctions over this present 8-year cycle – see below.

The diagram shows the approximate orientation of the formation (within a 10° margin of error – I didn’t have a compass with me). The numbers in the stars are the order in which we walked the lay (see previous post) and the keywords the qualities of energy experienced in each, together with astrological signs (and their ruling planets) that felt appropriate for each of them.

Crop circle at Chute Causeway

Compare this with the pattern of Venus’s inferior conjunctions between 2001 and 2007.

Venus cycle of inferior conjunctions 2001-07

In the context of this pattern and Venus’s current retrograde motion, it was interesting that we unknowingly started our walk of the circle in the star representing the present: the forthcoming inferior conjunction in Leo on August 18, and from there effectively walked back in time in a symbolic repeated ‘rebirthing’ of Venus as Lucifer, the light-bearer.

The juxtaposition of Venus and Eris – harmony and disharmony, accord and discord – and both in retrograde motion and encapsulated in the 5-fold recursive geometry of this formation, emphasise the process of internalisedself-reflection and self-creation.. It’s also interesting to note that the vast majoirty of the posts on the subject of this circle on the Crop Circle Connector forum are not about the circle so much as a squabble between participants. Not particularly unusual for these forums, but an appropriate resonance nevertheless, as was the initial dual posting of information on the formation in the context of the dual aspect of Venus and the connection between Venus and Eris.

It’s worth reiterating perhaps the deeper meaning of Eris, since mere squabbling is a somewhat superficial understanding of the planet’s energies. DIS-CORD (lit. “hearts apart”) is not just about strife. Fundamentally, it’s about dissimilar resonance, and relates to breaking the ties of conditioning – the customs, rules and laws that bind us societally and culturally as well as individually. It’s about the challenge to think for ourselves and to REAL-ise our deeper “truer” natures (which are embedded in chaos to a far greater extent than we take them for). It’s about creating the dissonances in belief systems that shake them at their foundations and wake us up to the full extent of our being and our connection to the entirety of existence. Pure Zen, and just as hilarious, just as anarchic.

With Venus loosely conjunct Saturn (= the customs, rules and laws that bind us societally and culturally as well as individually) for much of this retrograde period and trine Pluto, the planet of transformation, which is stationary over the Galactic Centre, it seems these two intensely creative feminine energies are being chanelled to similar ends. This formation appears to be a very clear heads-up to what we should be paying attention to right now.

Large number of additional images of the formation here.

Lots of articles on Venus retrograde around – just Google.

Astrological extensions

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

“A physician without a knowledge of Astrology has no right to call himself a physician … There is one common flow, one common breathing, all things are in sympathy.”

A new section of the website opens today.

I’ve studied astrology for some years now and the more I learn about it, the more useful it becomes, so it seemed time to allow it some space here.

Like the General Essays section, I’ll be uploading articles on particular topics of interest as and when they get written. The first article in the new section is an exploration beyond the superficially discordant and chaotic appearance of the solar system’s newest member, the (dwarf) planet Eris. The announcement of the planet’s discovery was made in the very early stages of a proving I conducted in 2005 and the planet had a prominent place in the chart of the proving. This article connects aspects of the proving with themes and keywords identified for the planet by other astrologers and explores their deeper meaning in the context of the charts for the discovery, identification, announcement and naming of the planet.

Erisian fields

Sunday, September 17th, 2006


Suggested glyph for Eris

A suggested glyph for Eris

“Quantum physicists at the best institutions agree that the tiniest particles making up matter itself have ceased to behave with the predictability of linear equations. Instead, they jump around in a discontinuous fashion, disappearing, reappearing, suddenly gaining and losing energy.”
Douglas Rushkoff

Finally 2003 UB313 has a name!

Eris, and her moon Dysnomia, were announced to the world by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) on September 13th after an unprecedented 13½ months of discordant deliberation. Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord (Roman equivalent Discordia) and Dysnomia (‘lawlessness’) is one of her many daughters, her name also referring to the condition of being unable to name things. Discoverers Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz, who suggested the names to the IAU, can clearly see the joke! Eris, under her Roman name of Discordia, even appeared in an episode of Xena, Warrior Princess, the more irreverent codename given to the new planet by her discoverers in advance of her official recognition.

As might be expected, astrological circles have been buzzing. Disappointingly, much of the comment seems to be focussing on the apparently malefic aspect of Eris and her Golden Apple of Discord, who are generally blamed for the start of the Trojan War. Yet astrological archetypes are what they are, and of themselves are neither positive nor negative. Whether they manifest as a positive or negative influence has more to do with individual context and how the energies are handled. So it seems pertinent to look at Eris in a more balanced light. And given her place in the outer reaches of the solar system, we can already predict that she will be deep, chaotic, and have to do with far more fundamental aspects of the human psyche than the personal planets close to the Sun.


The following comments are notes of thoughts arising from a closer look at the mythical character of Eris, combined with a direct apprehension of her energies. It should be emphasised that what the dwarf planet signifies in charts has yet to be determined in practice.

The story goes that Eris, alone among the Olympians, was excluded from the forced wedding of Peleus and Thetis because of her troublemaking inclinations. She therefore tossed into the party the Apple of Discord, a golden apple inscribed Kallisti – “For the most beautiful one”, or “To the Prettiest One” – provoking Hera, Athena and Aphrodite to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient. Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the most beautiful. Each of the three goddesses immediately attempted to bribe him to choose her. Hera offered political power; Athena promised skill in battle; and Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris choose to award the apple to Aphrodite, thereby dooming his city, which was destroyed in the war that ensued when the Spartans demanded the return of their queen.

DIS-CORD (lit. hearts apart) is about breaking the ties of conditioning, the ties that bind us societally and culturally as well as individually. It’s about the challenge to think for ourselves and to real-ise our deeper “truer” natures (which are embedded in chaos to a far greater extent than we take them for). It’s about creating the dissonances in belief systems that shake them at their foundations and wake people up. No guru, no teacher, no method stuff, though kind of Zen in many ways.



Appropriate then, that Eris was not invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. The right to self-determination is excluded in a forced marriage. This aspect of Eris also gives us a common theme with her previous incarnation of Xena, the latter now seeming much more of a two-dimensional character – a kind of female Mars/Ares, too ego-based (which Eris is not) in comparison to the vast depth and potential inherent in Eris.

Discord is also the discordant notes which are just so much more dynamic, so much more sublime, than the purest of regular harmonies (think Bruckner, Tavener, Bulgarian folk singers). They’re scrunchy – they rub you up in all sorts of interesting ways and send shivers down your spine – and this is more in the nature of Eris’s discord and strife than our purely dualistic unidimensional conception of man-pitted-against-man, though inevitably there are shades of that too.

Eris might have been instrumental in precipitating the Trojan War, but did she really cause it? What caused the immediate problem was the reaction of the participants to Eris’s apple, reactions for which they were responsible, not Eris. Were it not for the goddesses falling prey to greed, vanity and jealousy – arguably far greater vices than a bit of spoon-stirring – no trouble would have ensued. But ultimately the responsibility could be seen to lie with Zeus and Poseidon who forced the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, because they did not respect the right to self-determination, being interested only in the prophecy that Thetis’ son (Achilles) would become mightier than his father. In this context, Eris begins to look far more like a scapegoat than a prima facie principal cause.

Similarly, discord, differences of opinion, are not of themselves problematic. What creates the problem is the idea that only one person can be “right”, so Eris can be seen to be constantly challenging this perceived need for uniformity of outlook, the hegemony of the established order, and the tyranny and preciousness of the ego along with it. She invites us to go beyond such superficial concerns to a deeper, more fundamental, more authentic level of reality. She invites us into the darkly chaotic.

There is an enormous amount of fun in this energy. It’s very irreverent. Self-confident. Doesn’t give a toss for authority or rules (particularly in the company of Dysnomia). Anarchic. Chaotic. Rooted in paradox. Throws the spotlight on Borges’ “eternal intervals of illogicalness” (left). Loves to disturb people’s cosy illusions and throw them things from way left of field, challenging dogma and habit and undermining serious certitude. A more fundamental cousin of Trickster, with no mentalised clever-cleverness, reasoning or structure. Carpe Diem. Everything’s up for grabs. Messes with people’s fixed perceptions and pulls the rug out from under their feet. Throws a spanner in the works, or perhaps the odd golden apple. Stomps all over delicate sensibilities, particularly the more tyrannical ones, with glee. Shades of John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) “all confusion is confident …”

It’s significant that Eris is in Aries because this process is just beginning. Eris entered Aries on April 28 1923 and will leave it for the last time on March 10 2048. [All dates from Jonathan Dunn’s ephemeris.] In 2012, Eris will be moving to and fro between 21° and 22° degrees Aries. The Sabian symbols (Rudhyar keynotes) for those degrees are respectively “The gate to the garden of all fulfilled desires.” Keynote: Abundance made possible by human togetherness and cooperation, and “A pregnant woman in light summer dress.” Keynote: Fecundity (Fertility/Productive) inner fulfillment. However, the Sabian for 20° Aries, which is where the planet is backing into right now and will enter next Thursday – and will be backing into repeatedly between now and Feb 8 2010 when it finally leaves 20° behind – is “A pugilist enters the ring.” Keynote: The release and glorification of social aggressiveness. Eris’s proximity to 20° Aries on the day of its announcement is highly amusing in view of the predominantly pugilistic interpretation currently being made of its energies!

Eris was also at 20° Aries until August 30 2001, when it backed into 19° Aries, Sabian “A young girl feeding birds in winter.” Keynote: Overcoming crises through compassion. Note that the Sabian for 21° Aries – abundance through togetherness and cooperation – needs to be seen in the sense of a group of individuals all thinking for themselves and cooperating out of a sense of mutual respect and shared goals, NOT in the sense of sharing some dogma and being bound by its rules.

Eris’s number is 5. (An apple sliced crosswise has a 5-pointed star at its core.) She has a strong resonance with 5th house matters – creative self-expression, the senses, pleasure and entertainment, games and play, adventure, exploration, knowledge-seeking – and, in common with the Sun, the hitherto sole ruler of the 5th house, also has to do with self-determination. She is the flip side of the coin that is Geburah, severity, the 5th sephirah within the Qabbalistic Tree of Life. Yet she is also strength, another designation given to Geburah. Note that briga, the old Celtic word for strife, derives from brig, strength, and that brigands were bands of outlaws bringing chaos wherever they went. Eris gets us comfortable with chaos and introduces us to the sheer fun of it all.

A delightfully irreverent expression of Erisian energy is found in Discordianism, a religion founded in the late 1950s and dedicated to Eris. “It has been described as both an elaborate joke disguised as a religion, and as a religion disguised as an elaborate joke. Some of its followers make the claim that it is “a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion” (or “a joke disguised as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as…”). It can be viewed as a simple rejection of reductionism and dualism, even falsifiability – not in concept different from postmodernism or certain trends in the philosophy of mathematics. It has also been described as “Zen for roundeyes,” and converges with some of the more absurdist interpretations of the Rinzai school.”

“GREATER POOP: Is Eris true?
MALACLYPSE THE YOUNGER: Everything is true.
GP: Even false things?
M2: Even false things are true.
GP: How can that be?
M2: I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.”
Discordian koan, from Principia Discordia

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smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard