Updated: Jun 22
The following article appeared in the first issue of Hexagon Astrology Magazine in summer 2015. Hexagon was a fierce start-up astrology magazine created and published by Matt Savinar. It only lasted a short time, like a shooting star burning through the night's sky, but it made a big impression. Hexagon was sold online and at Barnes and Noble stores across the United States. I'm proud to have been a part of it.
"Ladies of the Zodiac: It's Showtime." in Hexagon Astrology Magazine
Hexagon Astrology Magazine Inaugural Issue - Summer 2015
Hexagon Astrology Magazine Issue #1 Table of Contents
Astrology is a lens through which we can view life on this planet, and this lens reflects back to us certain insights that would be much more difficult to glean without it.
As a reflection of the patriarchal constructs of current human society, we deal in an astrological zodiac that is masculine-heavy, illustrating certain reinforced dynamics on the planet. Seven of the 10 major planets used in astrological analysis are considered masculine (the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) with one (Mercury) considered neutral. Only the Moon and Venus are considered feminine. Important as those bodies are, this is still a whole lot of imbalance.
Women and the feminine influence are far more multi-dimensional and diverse than the loving, pleasing, and supportive mate (Venus), the mothering nurturer (Moon), or the vindictive, vixen/seductress version of the dark feminine.
We pick up some of the slack as far as the feminine influence in the zodiac with the feminine asteroids and dwarf planets.
The four major “secondary” bodies most often used in astrological charts – asteroids Juno, Pallas Athene, and Vesta, along with dwarf planet Ceres - are considered feminine, though these bodies most often play second fiddle to the planets, doing their thing with little recognition or fanfare in mainstream astrology.
An invisible feminine force doing its work from a disempowered position for much less than its due share of recognition, respect, and reward. Sound familiar?
As with the planets, these four bodies have ties to Greek and Roman mythology, which color their themes in astrological analysis.
Unfortunately, the men who created and furthered the mythology that is used in current-day astrology have missed about 50% of the story. They missed the herstory of the history, as they say.
This missing feminine/female influence is apparent in Greek and Roman mythology as well as in much of the standard religious and spiritual imagery of the current day. We're working with partial archetypal truth at best and straight up patriarchy-approved fabrication at worst, and we have to understand how detrimental these power-imbalanced units of cultural transmission can be.
The feminine bodies used in astrology have been saddled with an Old Boys Club mythology. There is widespread sexual violence, control, and misconduct toward women, among many other offenses, in the stories of those old Greek and Roman dudes. Women are most often in secondary roles with their stories told for them by males, through the male lens.
The threads of misogyny in the symbols and myths reflect current-day societies and structures where underlying hatred of and violence against women are woven right into the fabric. They simmer and poison, a little flicker visible here and there, until they are full-on confronted - repeatedly - and made wholly unacceptable by both men and women.
(The feminine force in men is also suppressed, oppressed, and damaged by the dynamics outlined in this article.)
Instead of carrying the half-truth, misogyny, and sexual violence of this mythology forward in astrological symbolism, it's time to consciously address it, working the feminine energy free from the karmic weight of these myths.
By exposing this androcentric mythological misogyny, by adding a stronger and more fully-developed female perspective, and by calling the old "Gods" on their crap, we move beyond the old stories and dynamics, advancing an astrology that is more balanced, humane, just, relevant, and true-to-life.
As Saturn (structure, rules, patriarchy) transits Sagittarius (religion, stories, truth) into December 2017, the time is ripe to open into new truth told through cultural symbols, where the experiences of women and the feminine aren't filtered through a male-dominant lens.
It's time to carve a new path, shedding light on the domination/subjugation dynamics that are wrapped up so neatly in these mythological images.
Spiritual and religious paradigms past and present have whitewashed out much of the female influence, making it invisible and subservient. But as Saturn transits Sagittarius, it’s time to stand up, speak up, and add the full wisdom and knowledge of the feminine to the scene. That wisdom and knowledge doesn't necessarily come in the form of easily-swallowed, non-threatening Glittery Goddesses and Angels and Mermaids and Faerie Nymphs, either. (Much of that was designed to titillate males, anyway.) The feminine wisdom and knowledge to be integrated is white hot and will shake things up considerably. It requires something of people. It makes people uncomfortable at times. It's not about being pretty or demure or seductive.
It demands its rightful place - nothing more, nothing less. Women are used to having to compete with each other for a limited number of spots, for a limited amount of influence.
With Saturn transiting Sagittarius over the next couple years, women will be working their way into full cultural and structural representation - or at the very least, into a full understanding of the detrimental feminine shortfall. As Saturn in Sagittarius builds to a trine to Uranus in Aries in December 2016, we have a chance to unravel these fabricated units of cultural transmission, breaking their spells once and for all. The Goddesses are breaking out of their fairy tale nightmares. They're tearing at the Technicolor blue skies, ripping up carefully-manicured, lime green lawns, tossing matches into the castles. They're standing back as all of creation - the feminine and the masculine - comes spewing forth.
CERES – the Earth Mama dwarf planet
Dwarf planet Ceres relates to agriculture, grains and cereals, the seasons, the harvest, and the fertility of the Earth. Ceres is synonymous with Demeter in Greek mythology. It is a symbol in the astrological chart related to how we nurture others and how we need to be nurtured ourselves.
Ceres is the largest of all bodies in the asteroid belt, which is located between Mars and Jupiter. In fact, when Ceres was discovered in 1801, it was classified as the eighth planet. After about 50 years, it was re-classified as an asteroid. But in 2006, after Eris was discovered, forcing a change in astronomical classifications, both Ceres and “Lord of the Underworld” Pluto were re-classified as dwarf planets.
This was considered a promotion for Ceres and a demotion for Pluto. Because of the re-classification, Ceres is now included in ephemerides – the books astrologers use to follow the movement of the planets through the zodiac.
The struggle remains, however, to create more equal power dynamics and spheres of influence for the feminine dwarf planet, Ceres, and for the masculine dwarf planet, Pluto, in the astrology of the day.
The astronomical re-classifications were a leveling of the masculine/feminine playing field, but the astrological system and the current-day practise of astrology have not yet fully adjusted to this new reality.
Mythologically, Ceres and Pluto have a long and brutal history between them. Going to the mat, hitting where it hurts most, dragging you to hell and back, destroying every single thing you love. Raging, wrathful stuff borne of the type of pain no one wants to experience.
Pluto, tired of being alone, isolated, and stuck in hell, kidnapped Ceres’ (Demeter’s) daughter Persephone and hauled her off to Hades to be his Queen.
When Ceres realized that her daughter had been abducted and dragged off to the Underworld, she became so depressed, so full of rage and anguish, that she made the Earth cold and barren. Nothing could grow there. Ceres literally had the power to destroy life on Earth, and this Mama in anguish for her kidnapped child was about to do just that.
An epic power struggle for the ages: who would give in first?
There are a few different versions of how this stalemate between Pluto and Ceres was finally brought to a head and resolved.
But in all versions, Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds while in Hades, and eating any food while you were in the Underworld meant that you were forced to stay.
A compromise was struck. Based on the number of pomegranate seeds she ate, Persephone had to return to the Underworld for a portion of the year. Ceres again made the Earth cold and barren for the duration of Persephone’s Underworld stay each year, corresponding with the winter season. So Ceres and Pluto are now on astronomical equal footing, despite Ceres being far more downplayed in the astrology of the day.
Their power - both for growth and regeneration as well as for death and destruction - are evenly matched.
The process of equalizing their power in the astrological zodiac, making the influence of Ceres more visible and widely-known, is ongoing.
Even if we go against the feminine wisdom and play by the standard rule of "bigger is better," there is an unjust sharing of power within the astrological zodiac. Ceres is vastly larger than masculine comet Chiron and, unlike Chiron, is a dwarf planet with its own mantle and core. However, the use of “wounded healer” Chiron, like the use of Pluto, is much more widely integrated in today's astrology.
The fact that Ceres relates to agriculture and food and the fact that it is so often an invisible symbol in the astrological chart indicate a broader disconnect between people and the sources of their food.
Highly pertinent issues such as genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), intensive chemical farming, Colony Collapse Disorder, soil degradation, food security, food purity, increasing food allergies and sensitivities, malnutrition, health damage done by food, and the like are all Ceres’ domain.
The importance of Ceres cannot be understated, relating as it does to the ability to sustain life on Earth.
JUNO – the soul mate asteroid
Juno is considered the soul mate asteroid, related to marriage and soul-deep commitments. It is considered an area to which we are “married” in the astrological birth chart, and its symbolism colors the types of “soul mate” relationships we will have. Juno is synonymous with mythological Hera, all-powerful Goddess, though, so don't think the Juno story ends once a ring's on her finger. What Juno knows is this: soul mates are not often like the Hollywood or New Age versions. They're actually very hard work, challenging from many angles. Juno relates not only to marriage and soul mate relationships but also to the difficult emotional experiences and power dynamics those types of commitments can bring with them.
Contrary to what's been drilled into people's heads these days, soul mate relationships are not always meant to be romantic, sexual, or long-term. The term soul mate refers broadly to a person (or animal) brought into our lives to catalyze soul-level work that could not be completed on our own. Interactions are catalysts, but they are not necessarily sexy and spicy. Being connected to someone at a soul level is not always pleasant. In fact, if the person you're connected to isn't responsible with the power of that position, it can be a straight-up nightmare.
Juno (Hera) knows this one firsthand. If Zeus was the King of the Gods, Hera was the Queen of the Goddesses - until, that is, she got roped into "little wifey" territory as Zeus' long-suffering bride. Hera was raped and tricked by Zeus into marrying him and was then dragged through the muck and mire as her loyal husband screwed, philandered, and stuck it in anything in a skirt.
Hera originally spurned Zeus' advances, so he turned himself into an injured bird, playing on her nurturing side. When Hera picked the bird up and began tending to it, Zeus became himself again, took advantage of his position, and raped her. Due to the shame she felt, Hera agreed to marry Zeus. As Zeus' wife, Hera was habitually betrayed, disrespected, and dragged through the muck as he repeated the pattern with woman after woman. The emotional and energetic damage done by Zeus to Hera and to the other women he manipulated and raped through his position of power are not often spoken about - and they definitely don't get any play on Hallmark Valentine's cards. (Valentine’s Day is also known as Juno Day, just to provide a little subtext for that often-painful cultural construct.) Ah, Juno. Anciently worshipped as supremely powerful and multi-talented Goddess in your own right, pre-dating these tiresome, tiresome male egos. Now most often relegated to subjugated second-class citizen as "Zeus' wife," the scorned woman destined to suffer and then suffer some more as he messes with every female who catches his eye. Juno is most often portrayed these days patriarchally as the Crazy Bitch acting out in vengeful and completely insane ways. She's also often portrayed in New Age circles as the Sad Little Wifey stuck in ever-popular "victim consciousness," creating her own reality and bringing it all on herself. If only she could transcend her circumstances and create a positive reality.
Pfft. Hera meted out some strong punishments to the women her husband dallied with, for which she is vilified and condemned in many portrayals. In relative terms, though, Hera's reactions to her husband's chronic philandering were fairly understandable - if misdirected - by mythological standards. Her actions, while difficult to defend in any human morality terms, were certainly no more vicious than what her husband Zeus or many of the other Gods dished out.
Zeus' punishments, often rooted in jealousy or perceived threats to his dominance, are generally considered strong, righteous, and fully within the rights of the all-powerful King of the Gods - even when they involved torture or murder. Hera's punishments, though she was previously considered an equally powerful figure as her husband, are often portrayed as desperate, vicious, and out-of-line - a jealous female who needs to be brought under control. In this way, Hera/Juno is portrayed in a subjugated light as a figure who does not have the same rights or level of power as her husband. Being placed in a subjugated societal position and then having a man take liberties and inflict injury - physical, emotional, sexual, financial, social, energetic - from his position of power and influence often leaves a woman to act from the disempowered place of the “Crazy Bitch.” The injuries inflicted become so commonplace and accepted that they are socially invisible. Because of this, a woman's reaction to the energetic abuse, if a reaction surfaces, is portrayed without context, without root cause, as insane, irrational, jealous, vindictive, hysterical. The Crazy Bitch.
While there is a fine line between a just reaction and a reaction that is dangerously overblown and melodramatic, these reactions are an attempt to draw attention to sick and unjust situations. The reactions are an attempt to draw hidden and detrimental dynamics to surface awareness from an institutionally disempowered and un-validated position. One of the problems with Hera's actions was that her anger was often misdirected. She blamed and took it out on the other women (sound familiar?) when in many cases the women had acquiesced to Zeus because of his position of power over them as King of the Gods – just as she had. It was easier to blame the other woman than to face the sick power dynamics in which she was enmeshed. A common story.
PALLAS ATHENE – the female warrior asteroid
Asteroid Pallas Athene is the female warrior, and this symbol indicates something for which we are willing to fight throughout our lives. It indicates how we fight – but in a less overt and obvious way than the male warrior symbol, Mars. This symbol is about the way the feminine fights, with its very own strategies, skills, and cunning. Pallas Athene indicates battles that go on in the subtler realms and battles that involve strategy. This is also a symbol related to the battle for equality and justice between the sexes.
Pallas Athene was a woman who, according to the mythology, was born from the forehead of her father Zeus wearing a full set of armor. There could be no doubt that she was a born warrior, and her skills in strategy, crafts, and combat were so impressive that she was accepted into the fold by the male warriors.
There was just one hitch: in order to be accepted as an equal, Pallas Athene had to give up her sexuality and remain celibate, something that was not required of the male warriors. The mythology of Pallas Athene involves an element of female sexuality suppressed in order to be accepted amongst the men. There is a theme of women having their sexuality controlled by the established order and of women having to remain celibate in order not to threaten that established order.
The suppression of female sexuality in professions like military or police work is a Pallas Athene theme.
Rape against women in the military, a widespread problem, is another.
A United States Veterans Affairs Administration study found that nearly 1 in 3 female U.S. soldiers is raped during her service, usually by fellow soldiers. This means that nearly 500,000 military women have been raped since the U.S. Armed Forces first began accepting female soldiers in 1948.
According to a study released on April 13, 2012 by the U.S. Department of Defense, 3,200 rapes are reported to the military annually. Since an estimated 80 percent of rapes go unreported, the annual total is closer to 19,000. Of the 3,200 rapes that are reported, only half are deemed worthy of pursuing in military courts, and of that half, only 6 percent result in a conviction. One out of three soldiers convicted of rape is retained by the military, keeping his job and his place on the payroll.
Female soldiers who do come forward with accusations of rape are often harassed by male soldiers and intimidated by their higher-ups, discouraging the reporting of these crimes.
Themes of sexual violence against women as well as the suppression and control of female sexuality run through much of the Greek and Roman mythology, reflecting the violent, patriarchal societies from which the stories came. From Persephone being forcefully dragged off to the Underworld by Pluto to Pallas Athene having to take a vow of celibacy in order to do her work, many of the feminine bodies are connected to mythological themes of control, suppression, violence, and abuse, often along sexual lines.
VESTA – the sacred flame asteroid
Vesta is the second-largest body in the asteroid belt after Ceres, though its status in the astrology of the day is often downplayed or even invisible.
Vesta is the asteroid related to hearth and home. It represents something we hold sacred, something for which we are willing to make sacrifices. It indicates a sacred flame that we are invested in tending and continuing throughout our lives so that others may also light their candles by it.
As with Pallas Athene, there is, within the mythology tied to Vesta, a theme of women having to give up their sexuality in order to hold positions of authority and responsibility for the community. Vesta is connected to the story of the vestal virgins, a group of (mostly) women who were de-sexed in order to be accepted in positions of spiritual authority, as keepers of the hearth and sacred fire.
The vestal virgins were entrusted with the responsibility of keeping a central fire burning for all members of the community, but in order to hold that position, they, too, were required to give up their sexuality, remaining celibate and unmarried. The messages underlying the mythology of both Pallas Athene and Vesta are:
You can be a warrior woman fighting the battles of the established order, but you can't exert yourself in ways that threaten the Boys Club. You can be aggressive in ways that benefit the structures as they exist but not sexually confident or assertive.
You can play a spiritual role in society, but you will have to separate yourself from your sexuality and your desire for love and companionship to maintain it.
You can achieve alongside the guys, but you'd better let them make the rules for you sexually. Women who own their sexuality cannot be respected in positions of authority.
With Saturn soon to be transiting Sagittarius, religious and cultural (Sagittarius) establishments (Saturn) are ripe for re-structuring, and it's the denied feminine perspectives and experiences that most need to be brought to the table – by both men and women.
As Saturn moves back into Sagittarius September 17, 2015 until entering Capricorn December 19, 2017, the old stories and myths are being challenged. We are establishing a new foundation of cultural truth for a new astrological era.
And the feminine has heard just about enough of the male-dominated takes on its life and experiences. It will speak on its own behalf from now on, thank-you-very-much.
Releasing these feminine bodies of the zodiac from the oppression of their standard portrayals and restoring them to their full positions of power and influence are all part of the process.
We're dealing with a feminine force that has been held hostage by these mythological archetypes, exploited and abused while most traipse through the manufactured distractions of their daily lives unaware, walking over the trapdoor that covers her, bound and gagged. A phony, controlled, androcentric version of the feminine has been slotted in in its place - as vacant-eyed model, as mannequin interchangeably in store window or on man's arm, as plastic sex doll with red-lipsticked grin, as pretty, unblinking, emotionless android - and all variations therein.
This artificial and manufactured version of the feminine is considered over-the-hill and used up by age 30. It is a male-created version of the feminine, trading its attractiveness and desirability in at the first Saturn return or at the first signs of grey hair and crowsfeet – whichever comes first. Once this version of the feminine has lost its youthful appeal to men, it has no real value. This version of the feminine is shoved aside as soon as it becomes a mirror of the male’s advancing age, an inconvenient reminder of his mortality – or as soon as it displays a mind and an intellect of its own.
We're dealing with an establishment masculine force that is scared spitless of what the feminine is going to do once it has worked its way out of the shackles. It’s terrified of the power shifts and of what they might mean.
As we move into the thick of the Saturn in Sagittarius transit, in the sign of truth, myth, and story, it's time to re-write many of the stories one woman at a time, with the female/feminine voices - the real ones, not just the easily-swallowed and non-threatening versions - equally strong, equally prevalent, equally important.
It's time to bust out of the word-woven chrysalises of these old men and into our own stories, the real stories.
It's time to call these dudes on their untruths, their half-truths, their bluster, and their blowhard poetic waxings that sound important but don't even come close to the reality of the situation. And this includes the people working the "Enlightened" Boys Clubs of today, furthering patriarchal mythology, symbology, and imagery along with those power dynamics.
It's time to turn these sick myths ass-over-teakettle. It's time to understand how these myths - reinforced by many storytellers of the day - work to keep women in place, pinned down, ensnared in the same old crap, falling into the same old dramas.
So much of the mythological, religious, and spiritual imagery of the day keeps women repeating weighed-down words that are not their own. So much is handed top-down from males on high.
The crystallized imagery and rich, burgundy words blot out the unrepresented voices clamoring to be heard. The addition of ever-more obscure and titillating asteroids into the equation diverts from the fundamental issues being ignored. It all works to eliminate the female/feminine threat to male dominance and to the continued dominance of masculine truth.
So let's now be a threat. Or... If you prefer to be spoken for by these half-truth myths and by the people creating false meaning there, don't expect your freedom. Don't expect your story to matter. Don't expect to be unlocked from the gilded mythological cages. You can choose to be a nameless disciple, an acolyte, a groupie, repeating words that are not your own. You can swallow half-truth interpretations of your story, of our stories.
But don't come complaining to me when they grind your truth under their heels. With Saturn about to re-enter Sagittarius, the musty old myths and miserable archetypes are clashing, crashing, busting open.
As Saturn transits Sagittarius, we are establishing the truth, and in order to do this, the feminine must step up in new ways. It must come to the decision-making table and make itself heard.
Do we have the courage to unfold authentically, or do we stay safe (and stuck) in the old, one-dimensional societal feminine constructs, playing the same games and roles and falling into the same traps? The feminine is working at a bit of a disadvantage now because so much of its previous work and influence have been unrecognized and, therefore, unassisted, left to wither on the vine and to use huge energy reserves fighting for bare survival.
However, the ongoing strengthening of position of the feminine bodies Ceres, Juno, Pallas Athene, and Vesta in the astrology of the day mirrors the unfolding of the true feminine force - in all its glory and all its ugliness.
We can use the old myths to understand the historical context within which we are working, but it's time to advance the stories. It's time to re-tell these tales from the female point-of-view and to stand up to an established order that involves pigeonholed roles for women: as de-sexed; as non-threatening secondary supporters; as convenient sexual object ideal; or as unprotected victims of systemic rape, sexual brutality, and control.
The feminine force will have its redemption, and there's no better time to start than the present.
Yes, ladies of the zodiac: it is most certainly show time.
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