One thing I’d like to say about Eris: Quit blaming her for strife! She doesn’t bring it, she makes space for it–a huge difference. She connects with another energy by transit; if it’s by soft aspect (sextile, trine) she says, ‘You know, I think you need to let that tension out’ and if it’s by hard aspect (square, opposition, with the conjunction going either way), she prods, dares, irritates, or forces, and the underlying tension appears and is expressed. Since an atmosphere of strife is simply two or more conflicting intentions going at one another, Eris can’t be directly blamed, though the sign she’s transiting at any one time can suggest the attitude that spurs what comes next. For example, in Aries (as she is right now) it might be egos that rise up, while in Gemini it’s words, and in Capricorn it might be attempts to stop others, but when in Scorpio wanting to get vengeance, destroy, or reform might be the match to the fuel. Eris is a catalyst; best to see her as making the upset possible, rather than creating it, and don’t forget that oftentimes such expression is for the good, releasing things that no one needs to carry around.
Neptune’s opposed Hygeia right now (only two minutes off exact), suggesting that health matters might be very difficult to assess–and that it may be a ‘do or die’ moment when living our healthy ideals might be vitally important.
Venus will be square Saturn now through late on the 17th PDT, telling us that relationships and/ or finances might look more limited, unloving, restricted, or even ‘dead’ than they actually are. Venus is in Scorpio, prompting her to dig dig dig and it’s just not the thing to do, right now. Saturn says, ‘Let some time pass.’ It’s an unspoken request for emotional lockdown, an attempt to organize by slowing things down–understandable, a kind of restraint that loving (and demanding) Venus needs to practice, in order not to tear it all down.
Add to the above that Mars has just moved into Libra and will soon trine the North Node. Yes, Libra is one of the signs (Taurus the other) where Mars is in detriment–but that only means that the style of the sign doesn’t come naturally to expression of the planet, and that’s okay. Mars can adapt, but right now, before he gets used to being here, he may push too hard in relationships, which would back up Venus’ current inclinations but run them both into a Saturnian brick wall. So, let that make for a double warning: take it easy with others, especially those close to us; ask, but only if you must–best practice is to be gentle, hang back a bit, and absolutely don’t demand–Eris is square Pluto and Earth will perfect semi-sextile tomorrow (which means the Sun will perfect quincunx), and that suggests that pushing too hard could burn it down, have actual material consequences, and perhaps alter our own Self-image if we indulge in such behavior, forever after (and retro Jupiter is in the mix at the same degree, sprinkling the glitter of exaggeration and overdoing–and you know how hard it is to clean that up!!)
Neptune’s also quincunx Zeus right now, suggesting that any ways in which we’ve been fooling ourselves about the ambition and desire picture are currently causing a nagging feeling of upset or doubt, or are playing out through bewildering responses to our efforts. Just know that this is meant to alert you to a need to come clean and stop pretending: refocus on ideals and the essence (rather than the trappings) of the dream itself. And, Chiron sextile Ceres says we have the chance to heal and/ or use the unique skills if we’ll accept personal responsibility–do it now, before a hard aspect forces consequences of not taking responsibility.
So, I thought after yesterday’s explanation of how I see Eris, an example is in order. The current situation with the sitting governor of the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, involves women speaking up about mistreatment–which seems like an Eris situation, or at least one where she might have something to tell us. How convenient that Cuomo has promised to walk away from the governorship after accusations by at least eleven women of groping, assault, and inappropriate behavior led to a plethora of investigations, a potential impeachment, and (so far) at least one criminal complaint.
As of the 10th’s egregiously Self-serving press conference, the situation has revealed that 1) Cuomo’s made so many enemies during his strong-arm political career that when he needs them he’s without friends, and 2) that in spite of his many excuses, no one’s buying his ‘they moved the line as to what’s acceptable’ reasoning. Touching someone against their Will has always been over the line; Cuomo’s inability to admit he’s wrong is firmly rooted in Self-justification that says, I have the right to do as I please with others–the kind of power statement made by those who both hold power and believe in their own superiority. All his rambling, kitchen-sink speech on resigning the governorship has done is show the world how Cuomo doesn’t grasp that hiding his aggressions behind ‘friendly’ manhandling of both men and women isn’t acceptable–no matter how you characterize it and what you call it.
We have a birth date and place but no time for Cuomo (6 December 1957 ntk Queens New York USA). I drew a noon chart, as this gives us a clear idea of what his Moon situation is–in this case, showing that no matter when he was born, the Moon was in Gemini; this also shows us he was born not long before a Full Moon that will form early hours EST of the following day. No time unfortunately means we have no angles and no Houses, but we can see plenty just from relationships between bodies.
Eris is conjoined Hygeia and Vesta in Aries, and may sextile the Gemini Moon. If the sign in which she sits is any indication (and it is) his Eris may have issues with Will, assertion, and aggression. He may, in a phrase, insist upon himself. This also suggests a focus on ‘Me First’ in areas of health (reasonable) and in what he may commit to and find sacred, the problem with this latter being that, when one believes the decision of what’s sacred, what to respect, is one they are personally granted to make, one doesn’t completely respect anyone or anything else–the viewpoint is instead that they are the final arbiter of every topic and individual’s worth.
Eris’s placement is both a little wide for a quincunx to the North Node, and for a trine to Uranus–only a square to Mercury in Capricorn is in orb, aside from the conjunctions. Mercury in Cap suggests organized, structured, and constructive communications–we saw this in his daily Covid briefings early in the pandemic–but these same briefings also showed a plodding insistence, repetitive expressions, and a notable defensiveness (just think of the nursing home scandals that he managed to, if not bury, certainly dilute their political potency). In square with Eris-Hygeia-Vesta, we see persistent defensiveness over what, and probably how, he communicates, especially in areas of health, commitment, and what should be honored–so with the latter an inclination to reject what the establishment (Cap) thinks is honor-worthy in favor of, again, whatever he decides (Aries).
From what I could find, it appears the press conference began at 11:53 AM EDT 10 August. If that’s even close to accurate, that gives us a Virgo Moon square the natal Sun-Saturn-MC/ Earth-Juno axis, suggesting an emotional point of extreme tension regarding the established professional identity/ reputation and the material empowerment situation, especially the way the fortunes of the material environment ‘turn’, for him, on the empowerment of women. The natal situation with Earth-Juno further suggests that how he treated women he found ‘worthy’ was an integral part of his story–certainly true right now, and perhaps true over and over for him, throughout life.
And what’s transiting Eris doing right now? She’s conjoined his Sedna in Aries, and opposed, only one minute past exact, his natal Jupiter in Libra. aha! Here Eris’s presence may reveal by disturbing the ether, by shaking things up, by seeking justice, as she forces what Cuomo ‘knows but doesn’t know’, his ‘blind spot’ material, out into the open, this only reinforcing the awareness that he really does know what he did was wrong–but that he also allowed himself to continue with this behavior by pretending it wasn’t.
Transiting Eris’s opposition to Jupiter is interesting, if we see it both as his proclivity to push past reasonable boundaries (literally encroaching on others’ personal space) within relationships (Libra), and opportunity, publicity, and popularity, as defined through the public lens. An opposition describes some of what he did in his resignation speech: point the finger of blame at absolutely everyone and everything else, from cultural norms to political enemies to (hold on to your hats for this one) vengeful women.
Currently, transiting Eris is in close semi-sextile to transiting Pallas and square transiting Pluto, suggesting that difficult change, even destruction, stirred up by Eris (remember, she’s a catalyst) contains a certain amount of wisdom. As to the idea that what’s happening is vengeance on the part of the (female) accusers, it’s pretty clear to me it’s not. Transiting Eris is quincunx transiting Venus in this chart, the latter of which was due to be hit by the Moon before it left Virgo, which may at first glance imply this is revenge on the part of the women–but look again: t Eris isn’t contacting his natal Venus, which is at 00 Aquarius, implying a newness for Cuomo in the ‘modern woman’ concept as part of his core perceptions, and t Eris also isn’t in contact with his Ceres at 29 stressful degrees of Cancer, making Ceres a natal out-of-sign opposition to his natal Venus.
That scenario says it was almost inevitable that his reaction to the personal authority and autonomy of women in his life would create problems. Ceres so late in Cancer and under pressure from the modern idea of womanhood (opp to Venus in Aquarius) suggests to me that he’s a bit of a cave man, longing for the days (at least, a time he thinks existed) when women were responsible for nurturing–indeed were required to nurture (and so required to coddle, indulge, and cooperate with) everyone in their sphere. He’s always had trouble treating women Beings as valid in their perceptions and rightfully autonomous as himself; that’s his flaw, not theirs. When we see that transiting Juno is trine his Eris, and transiting Mars is quincunx it, we get the message that it’s his own assertive actions, his own choices, that have put him in this uncomfortable position (the quincunx), and that transiting Juno in Sagittarius has been stirred to speak up for herself, to take her own power back by broadcasting exactly what happened, by getting the facts out into the open.
And to those who say, why didn’t those women speak up sooner? I have to answer: if you’re asking that question, then you’re either oblivious to the system we live in (one in which it’s an uphill battle for women to be taken seriously, to be believed, even after Me Too), or oblivious to the massive power imbalance that made Cuomo, like so many other men, feel it’s their right and privilege to take what they want.
I make a practice of not jumping too quickly into using a body in astrological analysis; normally I watch and wait, until a consistent interpretation picture forms, one that is born out in chart interpretation. That means I may not publicly use all the chart bodies my contemporaries do (and I use a few they typically don’t), but when I do feel comfortable, sure of it’s meaning after long observation, it becomes a part of every chart reading.
One of the things I’ve learned is that asteroids, dwarf planets (with the exception of Pluto), and other minor objects tend to enhance meaning, refining it and making it more specific, that’s carried in broader terms by one of the major astrological bodies or lights. Eris is no exception; my initial inquiry placed her as goddess of discord and chaos, relating her to facets of major bodies Uranus, Mars, Venus, and Pluto, and to the calculated point Black Moon Lilith. That means though she holds some of the same character and characteristics of other entities or points, she brings her own special viewpoint–and our task is to define that the best we can, sharpening her meaning within the chart over time and from experience and observation.
When I started my investigation of Eris, I looked to both the conclusions about meaning some of my contemporaries have come to, and to the myths about her and her character, and one big thing began to bother me: there are an awful lot of minor bodies named for female goddesses or other entities that are described as “vengeful”; in fact, many of them have rage as their defining (and sometimes their only) characteristic. And yet I don’t see male entities ever characterized that way. They may exact revenge, but it’s described as righteous, as appropriate (read ‘manly’) Warrior behavior or a seeking of justice, a righting of wrongs, as noble, or even just as a display of temper that they’re entitled to, while the female taking the same steps is portrayed as petty, acting from ego, vanity, or jealousy. Women are treated as if their anger is personal and toxic, typically coming from some form of rejection (though often that assertion almost has the quality of an afterthought, as if her anger needed a bland, no-questions-asked raison d’etre), while a man’s anger is seen as a reasonable response, a necessary action, as energy mobilized to redress injustice–and yet when they’re essentially the same thing, dressing them up so differently depending on who is taking the action tells us that the way these entities are described is rife with negative assumptions about women, positive assumptions about men, and the belief that these prejudiced lenses are required to understand these actions–and they are, if we’re talking about making those images fit into Western patriarchal culture.
But if we’re talking about making them speak in astrology, a patriarchal lens doesn’t do us any good at all, except to parse out how images may be distorted. Too, it doesn’t help that Eris is more of a personification of particular traits than an actual goddess, often referred to as Strife, and sometimes equated with Enyo, a Greek goddess of war and sister of Ares. A long list of Eris’s ‘children’ includes starvation, murders, lies, and forgetfulness, and Eris, having been snubbed on a wedding invitation, responded by ginning up the Trojan Wars–or so the most famous story about her behavior claims. Interesting side notes name her sister Aneris as representing Order and Non-Being (so does that suggest that chaos and strife are an integral part of being? I vote Yes), and Eris’ Roman equivalent may be Bellona, or Discordia, depending on how you sort things and who you ask.
In my search she struck me as very much a kind of Trickster in that her purpose seemed much more to sow chaos and confusion than to punish–and though I can’t count how many times I saw her referred to as ‘vengeful’ or ‘angry’, I can say that her characterization was paper-thin. Some have valiantly tried to give her more of a personality, to define her in something closer to three dimensions–but the reality is she appears to be more of a construct around a concept–which makes the attribution of vengeance and spite and rage at not being invited to the figurative party all the more puzzling (or more probably projection, or again, succumbing to the ‘enraged woman’ as some kind of short-hand explanation for everything, an explanation that satisfies the misogynist and the unthinking).
So, the more I searched, the less she seemed to be about creating discord, and the more she seemed to simply embody discord–that is, she seems to represent the state of disorder that is a natural part of the Universe. We can’t know order without the absolute of chaos, but there’s an enormous area in between when things aren’t completely chaotic, but they are discordant, not yet harmonious but with all factors searching for order, searching for pattern and rhythm, not through consciousness but through the tendency of dynamic systems to organize by interacting. In that sense Eris may be a catalyst energy, and that’s one of the functions (maybe the main one) I think she performs: her presence brings out the rage, upset, irritation, and, yes, vengeful inclinations, of others. She may set up the circumstances, but like the Devil, she can’t actually make anyone do anything–at least, that’s my hypothesis.
A couple other ideas on this: she definitely carries a ‘Warrior spirit’, but it seems to be one that responds to the unspoken messages in the environment, to what’s conveyed beneath the surface of things–again, like with the Trickster activity, I’m seeing her as linked more and more to Mercury–and that warrior tone isn’t so much that of a fighter but of an assertive quality–which, if you’re someone who expects smiling compliance from a female, you may interpret as aggressive–so in my reading modifying the martial nature of Mars to something less than the stereotypical warrior, to something more along the lines of confident and sure of right and wrong within the situation.
There might also be a difference in how we see this energy in the charts of males and those of females, just as we see with Juno: my thought is that in the female (or anima identified) chart Eris might indicate what issues she’s willing to fight for or about (this differs from Black Moon Lilith’s willingness to fight, in that BML is enraged, typically because of injustice done–in her case, the anger spurs her to fight, while fighting may or may not be part of Eris’s response); in a male (or animus identified) chart, Eris’ contacts may point to areas where he insists on the ‘upset’ nature of things (or just plain insists upon something, drawing chaos or ire by so doing), or possibly projects his own anger into related relationships or circumstances–but within the male chart, Eris always carrying the sense of ‘these aren’t my energies, they’re really out there’.
The fact that Eris is a dwarf planet, bigger by almost 1/3 than legit major body Pluto, suggests to me that her presence, her impact, is far greater than as humans we consciously acknowledge. Entropy is pervasive, and we may be exceptionally uncomfortable with that pervasiveness; I think it may trigger an animal response in us, so aggressively do we reach for order–because order means we have control of (or at least a chance of controlling) our world–and anything less is threatening, a requirement we acknowledge there are things bigger than ourselves in this Universe.
Many may be uneasy not having an explanation for why Eris would behave the way she does. Is enjoying chaos not enough for them? The tendency is to go straight for the idea that she must be angry, and that her anger must come from being told she can’t have something she wants, but I’m going to refuse that idea for now; instead I want to emphasize that she represents natural stesses that are just part of being alive. Her energy may be most comfortable in that space between chaos and order–and she just naturally brings that to anything she touches. Any results from her presence, then, should be read from where she sits in a chart, what rules her, and what she contacts, specifically as those stresses may ‘trigger’ those related or contacted energies that presumably are in their own, less-than-ordered state. It just may be, this is what Eris is meant to point out.
Of course, these theories of Eris’s meaning will be tested and modified over time–and discarded should they prove to be inaccurate. I’ll be back tomorrow with an example in the chart of a current newsmaker–until then!