Why use asteroids? Because in modern astrology, we always did. Long before Pluto was discovered in 1930, Ceres was found on 1st January 1801 – and promptly named a planet. About 50 years later she was reclassified to asteroid. Then in 2006 she was reclassified again, to dwarf planet – along with Pluto himself.
Astrology since 1781 has been based on this premise. When astronomers find and name a new heavenly body, and it fits in with the original Roman/Latin family tree that began with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – we start using it.
We interpret the meaning using the original Italian myth about the god or goddess in question – like Ceres, who had a power struggle with Pluto. Then we see which historic events took place in the year of the discovery. Do they tally with the myth? Is there correlation, correspondence, synchronicity?
If so, we have a hypothesis. Not that this is science! We then apply that to charts. Can we predict the future using that asteroid, dwarf planet or other heavenly body as a symbol? As a new word for the language of astrology? Does it pan out in personal charts? Does it show the personality and life of, say, well-known people with verified birth times?
The family of Venus is very interesting as it was progressively added to in stages, until by 1966 we had her husband, Vulcan, to use in the horoscope.
Using the other heavenly bodies discovered since 1781, helps us understand the originals. You don’t really know Venus as a symbol of passion, desire, vanity, beauty and seduction until you know her husband, her lover and her son – and her long-suffering daughter-in-law.
Meet the family.
CUPID AND VENUS – MOTHER AND SON
Found as Asteroid 763 in 1913, he is a symbol of short-term desire which can often create issues in our lives. He was found when D.H. Lawrence published Sons and Lovers, a novel about the mother-son relationship and its impact on intimacy. Oscar Wilde and his lover Lord Alfred Douglas have shared Cupido aspects. Wilde went to jail for gross indecency in 1895.
Oscar Wilde had Cupido at 29 Virgo. His lover had Minerva at 29 Libra and the Sun at 29 Libra. Wilde had Venus at 7 Libra and Douglas had Cupido at 7 Leo.
PSYCHE AND VENUS – DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AND MOTHER-IN-LAW
Psyche is Asteroid 16. Discovered in 1852 and a symbol of eternity and immortality. She was desired by Cupid, and was married to him ‘forever’ after her jealous mother-in-law Venus subjected her to trials and tests.
VULCAN – HUSBAND OF VENUS
Asteroid 4464 Vulcano (Vulcan) was discovered in 1966, the year that England won the World Cup. He is a symbol of particularly male self-control and power. He was betrayed by Venus who slept with Mars behind his back. A blacksmith, he made a net to catch them, so all the gods could laugh at them.
GREEK EQUIVALENTS AND ROMAN/LATIN/ITALIAN HOROSCOPE FACTORS
Hephaestus is the Greek version of Vulcan, just as Zeus is the Greek version of Jupiter. It’s really common for astrologers starting out to get mixed up about Greeks and Romans! Never use the Greek archetype or symbol (like Pallas Athene, for example) as you will end up with a very confused chart. Pallas became Minerva – the Roman/Italian goddess of wisdom.
Astrology is a consistent system of divination with its own inner logic. Like Tarot or the I-Ching it has a system of symbols, which are interdependent. The Romans would not have known what you were talking about if you tried to squeeze Pallas Athene, Eris, Sedna or anything else into their close-knit family of gods and goddesses.
VULCAN AND YOUR SELF-CONTROL
Asteroid 4464 Vulcano (Vulcan) was discovered in 1966 to remind us that astrology evolves. It grows over time. It has been this way since 1781 when the Herschels found Uranus and he was slowly added to horoscopes. He became a symbol of revolution, rebellion, independence, shock and new invention. Vulcan was the patron of all who worked with iron and metal. Working with ‘fire’ or fiery emotion is typical of this asteroid. You will find Vulcan on the Sheffield City Council Coat of Arms (a proud working class town) and also in the chart of Arthur Scargill, the Miners’ leader in Britain during the Eighties strike. He was born with Vulcan at 29 Libra 06, Saturn at 29 Pisces 47 and Pluto at 29 Cancer 10.
HOW ASTEROIDS TELL US ABOUT VENUS
Venus describes two-way streets and the path that you and he/she both have to walk to stay together, even though you have completely different ways of walking. In mythology, Venus coupled up with her son, her husband and her lover at various times. She never saw herself as an independent individual – she was always tied to someone else – and he was always male. Venus is the powerfully feminine side of your personality who cannot define herself without males.
Venus is nothing without a relationship. She was nothing without her son, her husband and her lover. Venus in your chart shows where you fall into duets, double- acts and partnerships of all kinds. The sign and house will show you where this happens, on a regular basis.
Venus rules the scales in astrology. She rules the scales of Taurus, which weigh the value of gold. That’s the gold of wedding rings. She rules the scales of Libra, which weigh acts of justice in the law court if two people divorce. Venus always raises questions about fairness and unfairness in love and particularly between men and women.
She was unfair to her husband Vulcan when she went behind his back and slept with Mars. She was unfair to her future daughter-in-law Psyche, subjecting her to tests and trials – and even her own son Cupid. She was vain and jealous in myth, and it’s true that Venus by sign and house in your chart shows where vanity and envy surface.
The phrase ‘All’s fair in love and war’ belongs to Venus. The best way to think about her in your chart is – she shows complicated relationships! You can devote an awful lot of time and energy into those relationships, endlessly upsetting the scales, then rebalancing them with people.
Cupid in Your Personal Birth Chart
In your birth chart, you will see Cupid listed as the asteroid Cupido. He is the son of Venus and like his mother, he is all about pairs and couples. Wherever you find Venus in your horoscope by sign and house, you find an area of your life where you pair off. This is where you pursue duets or double-acts. Sometimes they are romantic and sexual, but they may be purely platonic – strictly business. In the case of Cupido, two is also the magic number. We find desire here, right or wrong, between you and another. It goes in bursts. It’s short-term.
Cupid shows longing and tremendous passion, even if it’s temporary. Oscar Wilde was jailed for his sexual preferences. Cupido dominated his chart. Cupido shows all kinds of reasons for togetherness and closeness with people. It may be that you are both the only people speaking English in a strange foreign town. It may be that you have a passion for each other which resembles the famous story of Cupid and Psyche, who became immortal lovers.
Cupido and Venus in your chart both tell a story about how you pair off with people. Venus shows the long-term relationships, like mother and son, wife and husband, wife and long-term lover. Cupido shows us desire which lasts about as long as an arrow wound takes to heal (he aroused longing in people by shooting them with his bow and arrow).
Cupid fell on his own arrow in the myth and became obsessed with Psyche. By sign and house in your chart, Cupid shows where you are vulnerable to longing but also arouse it. Sometimes, people going through a major Cupido cycle will see little Cupid cherubs everywhere, with their famous arrows. That’s synchronicity.
You can see how the asteroids play out with Princess Diana, the United Kingdom and the United States. She had on-off relationships with both nations and they were also in complicated relationships with her!
She had Cupido in Cancer in her Fourth House of home, family and country. Psyche was also in Cancer. She lives forever in the United Kingdom. When you use the Natural House system, Diana’s passionate, complex Cancer/Fourth House placements also turn up in the ‘family and roots’ Fourth House of both countries. Venus is in Taurus. She married into a rich family. Mars was in Virgo. She fought back against that rich family by working hard. And by working out at the gym!
Vulcano and Mars
These two are paired together because Vulcan (who lends his name to Vulcano in your chart) was the husband of Venus and Mars was her lover. Vulcan was the blacksmith who worked with fire and steel. Mars was the warrior. Mars was aggressive. Vulcanus was strong and silent. Mars was violent. Vulcanus restrained himself.
These two ancient symbols of masculine power and strength work more obviously in the horoscopes of old-school men, but of course, women live out their Mars and Vulcanus signs and houses too.
In the first decade after the Second World War, Margaret Hone wrote her classic book, The Modern Textbook of Astrology. Vulcan (Vulcano) was not in it. This powerful asteroid would not be discovered until 1966. That year is important to British astrologers because it’s the year that England won the World Cup and a certain kind of masculinity was enshrined in the culture.
Vulcano in your chart shows your strong, admirable blokey side! In your chart, Mars shows how you let rip – how you attack and defend. It also reveals where you can be brutal sometimes and feel physical rage. Vulcano is about steely self-control. He’s like Mars, but more powerful, because he masters his fury and his desire. He’s the sturdy blacksmith. Mars is the bloody battler.
Vulcano’s greatest moment was finding Venus and Mars in bed together and throwing a net over them, rather than starting a punch-up. If you think about a volcano with all its fire buried deeply below the surface, that explains Vulcano in your chart very nicely. Anger and passion are concealed, far below the surface. Think of him as your ‘muscle’ in the horoscope. Tarzan – Johnny Weissmuller -was born with Vulcano exactly trine Salacia on 2nd June 1904 at 6.00pm in Timisoara, Romania. He was a Romanian Vulcanian.
Psyche and the Venus Family – How She Shows in Your Chart
As we work our way through the Venus story, we come to Psyche. She fell in love with Cupid and enraged Venus. Venus was already angry with Psyche anyway, because she had the nerve to be more beautiful than her. (That’s Venus, always admiring herself in front of the mirror). Psyche shows your beauty, like Venus, but it’s less complicated by vanity or jealousy. By sign and house, Psyche will show what makes you attractive to the world. It also shows why these qualities, traits and assets will immortalise you.
One of the reasons it’s important to use the Roman/Latin named asteroids is that they teach us so much about the old planets. Understanding that Psyche was so beautiful that she filled her future mother-in-law with bitterness, tells us about Venus. Venus is about vanity, female ego and a woman’s insecurity about her looks – as well as her utter reliance on looking fabulous naked in front of her husband and her lovers. Venus in your chart shows how you seduce people and where you rely on what is irresistible and tempting about yourself. We learn about her, from knowing her daughter-in-law!
Psyche could not be more different. By sign and house, she shows what makes you not only powerfully attractive to others, but also immortal. She’s the ‘Live Forever’ asteroid.
After she survived all the tests and trials set her by Venus, Psyche was blessed with immortality. After you pass over, Psyche is what survives of you. It’s very special, symbolised by the butterfly.
The Romans believed that when people passed away, a butterfly, symbolising the soul in flight, would flutter above the lips of the dying. Psyche shows, by sign and house,
what is eternal about you – but also what makes some people envy you, and others love you, too.
Psyche describes your very particular tests and trials in life – yet you will always be helped by fate or other people, just as Psyche was divinely assisted in the myth. The eulogy at your funeral will probably reference your Psyche sign, in terms of the achievements that will outlive you. Carl Jung who made the word ‘Psyche’ part of our culture today, had an exact square from Saturn to Psyche in his birth chart. Muhammad Ali was born with Psyche at 14 Virgo, the North Node (karma) at 14 Virgo and the South Node at 14 Pisces. Remember the butterfly symbolism of Psyche? Ali may have had a bee sting punch but he soared as if he had wings, according to the famous song.
NARROW ORBS AND ASTEROIDS
Using more heavenly bodies in the horoscope also means you can use narrow orbs, using no more than zero through one degree to identify aspects. Try it on your own natal chart and see what happens. You will retain some features and lose others – yet gain a lot more intriguing patterns. Using precise orbs also creates precise sacred geometry in your horoscope – perfect trines or squares. It fits astrology into the world. Sacred geometry – the remarkably symmetrical patterns which occur in nature, and in religious architecture, depends on precise calculations. When you begin adding Roman Asteroids to your horoscopes, the need for large, variable orbs (up to nine degrees) vanishes, along with the rather sloppy look of your chart. Suddenly you will see your horoscope in perfect pyramids or symmetrical squares and watch it come alive in a new way. Amazing shapes like the Vesica Piscis can be found when two horoscopes are read in overlapping form, with matching conjunctions.
PREDICTION WITH ASTEROIDS AND DWARF PLANETS – HOW THE BREXIT FORECAST WAS MADE
Astrology called Brexit, against the odds, because on the day of the vote, as I wrote on this website, “You can’t ignore Uranus conjunct Ceres! Which other planets are at 23 degrees on the 23rd? Mars is stuck there at 23 Scorpio. Mars Retrograde spells anger. Protests. Demonstrations. Riots. This is explosive stuff. Ceres herself is a symbol for deep emotion.”
This prediction would have been impossible without Ceres.
USING ART TO INFORM THE ARCHETYPES
Archetypes, symbols, projections, memes, ideas – call them what you like – they come to us from mythology and art. What follows is a gallery of the Venus family. Spot Venus with her vanity and adultery. Spot Mars with his aggression and passion. Spot the self-control of Vulcan, steeling himself not to punish his wife or her lover. Spot Cupid who was hopelessly in love with Psyche – and Psyche who became immortal, partly because of his love for her. All these images can be found on my Pinterest Astrology board.