Dwarf planets

Astrology of the Dwarf Planets:
The Galactic Dimension of Creation Mythology

Introduction: Astrology of Transformation and Creation

It is a well-known biblical story that three astrologers coming from the Orient visited the infant Jesus to announce the birth of the Messiah. The belief that celestial constellations correspond to the terrestrial phenomena is worldwide. Modern Western astrologers assume the discovery of a new planet heralds the arrival of a new era for the soul of the world (anima mundi). It represents the birth of a new collective consciousness. Uranus was discovered in 1781 soon after the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776; the French Revolution followed thereafter. The discovery of Uranus in astrology signified the opening advent of the modern politics of liberation, equality, and humanity. Uranus is also to do with innovation and invention by science and technology with all sorts of ideas of progress. At the time of the Uranus's discovery, for example, the West was in the middle of the Industrial Revolution and in transition to new manufacturing engineering systems.

Neptune's discovery in 1846 coincided with the beginning of the psychology of the unconscious as well as the development of photography and moving pictures which ultimately led to the media industry of the twentieth century. In addition, this era included the birth of Marxism and the cultural import of Eastern philosophy. In astrology, while Uranus represents collective ideas and ideology, Neptune is to do with images and fantasy that captures collective feelings and moods.

Pluto was found in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, and in the following years, we saw the rise of the totalitarianism during the Great Depression. Psychoanalysis, existentialism, and quantum physics attempted to clarify the 'unseen' realm of the psyche and nature, and brought the transformation of the consciousness of modern society. Astrological Pluto symbolizes underworld, not as a static memorial space of the dead, but as a trigger of transformation. It is deeply unconscious and hidden from the clear rational mind.

Astrology assigns different levels of meanings to the order of the solar system. The Luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, as well as the inner planets, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are interpreted in terms of the psychology of the personal unconscious. By contrast, the outer planets, those beyond the asteroid belt, are to do with the social, cultural, and collective unconscious. In this respect, Mars is an extension of the personal unconscious stretching out to engage in a confrontational meeting with the socio-cultural collective unconscious. Quite often, one meets a conflict and challenges with Mars. The outer planets beyond Saturn are called trans-Saturn planets relating to the collective unconscious of the cultural change and social transformation of the globe. The psychological astrology of the trans-Saturn planets has been well studied by Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas, Erin Sullivan, Richard Tarnas and many others.

Dane Rudhyar was one of the pioneers who interpreted the trans-Saturn planets in terms of transpersonal astrology. Rudhyar's point of view is that these planets can be symbolically regarded as 'agents' or ambassadors of the galactic dimension of the consciousness that shifts the orientation of mind and the positioning of the world soul from the heliocentric universe to the galactic center. That means the Sun, representing a personal ego in astrology, is decentered and relativized as one of many fixed stars symbolizing the transpersonal self. The galactic dimension of the consciousness reorients the person's ego toward the spiritual self of the collective psyche and conveys messages from transindividual realms of Humanity-as-a-whole. In 1975, Rudhyar prophetically depicted the transition of the globalized world:

When this dimension operates in a sufficient number of human beings, a contagion of transformation spreads and in due time alters the collective foundation of culture and society. We are today witnessing the spread of a contagion of change with its feverish ups and downs and the attendant suffering. It should open the door to an inrush of galactic forces—a "descent" of spiritual, transforming power impregnating the global space of the Earth as well as mankind as a whole. A global civilization may then take form which symbolically would reflect the essential character of the Galaxy as a whole. By then, the Galaxy will have been understood for what it is at its own level of activity, and no longer only according to our present heliocentric perceptions and materialistic concepts. [1]

On January 5, 2005, the group of Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz discovered a new celestial body in the Solar System from the digital photo images taken on October 21, 2003, at Palomar Observatory, California. This celestial body, then known as 2003 UB313, was officially named Eris. Media reports announced the discovery of the tenth planet; however, this expectation was soon overturned by the International Astronomical Union in 2006. The IAU symposium decided to sequester Pluto from the planets' solar family, and deconstructively reclassified it as dwarf planet, together with newly found Eris as well as Ceres, which was, up until then, known as an asteroid. The difference between a planet and a dwarf planet is that the former does not cross the neighboring planet's orbit whereas the latter crosses neighboring planet's orbits. Planets and dwarf planets are both in orbit around the Sun and have sufficient mass to allow them to have a nearly round shape. [2]

A celestial object outside the orbit of Neptune is called trans-Neptunian object. TNOs orbit the Sun and form the Kuiper belt, which is a circumstellar disc much like the asteroid belt, in this case extending from the orbit of Neptune. Currently, in 2019, the Kuiper belt contains three dwarf planets, namely, Pluto, Haumea, and Makemake, officially recognized by the IAU. Adding Eris and Ceres, the IAU at present recognizes a total of five dwarf planets. However, Mike Brown lists far more than one thousand objects in the Solar System as possible dwarf planets. [3]  In January 2016, Brown and Konstantin Batygin predicted the existence of the ninth planet, or so-called Planet Nine from their computer simulation. What does that mean for the astrology of the galactic dimension of consciousness?

The Name of the Stars

Structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss revealed an order operating behind the naming system of tribal societies which can be compared to the taxonomy of natural scientists' newly discovered plants and animals. There is no fundamental difference between the naming order of the tribal society and the rules of the taxonomy of the zoologist or the botanist. They both know exactly what they are doing in their own systems. As Lévi-Strauss mentions, "Any system which treats individuation as classification . . . risks having its structure called into question every time a new member is admitted." [4]  A historical event in astronomy, the declassification of Pluto from the status of planet to dwarf planet took place in such a chaos, generating a new order. The new order sets a boundary between the overworld and the underworld, which acts to sequester Pluto and his associates. The new solar system as we know it today consists of a dual structure. Pluto started a revolution, causing a temporary anarchy in the IAU, declared its own status as a dwarf planet, and deconstructed a totally new solar system. It even snatched an asteroid Ceres from the old system to become part of the new one.

The IAU makes rules for the naming of the astronomical objects. As of January 30, 2017, "Objects, including the dwarf planets, far beyond the orbit of Neptune are expected to be given the name of a deity or figure related to creation," [5] and the satellites of Pluto should take the name of underworld deities. There is a structural isomorphism between new TNOs named by astronomers and mythological symbolism in astrology. The following chapters are an attempt to clarify the astrological meaning of the dwarf planets through exploration of the underworld mythology and the creation mythology as well as astrological chart readings of the dwarf planets in relevant individuals and institutions.

We start from the Greek creation mythology as described in Hesiod's cosmogony. From Chapter 1 to Chapter 3, the astromythology of Pluto in association with Dionysus and Demeter examines the significance of its reclassification. From Chapter 4 to 8, we focus on the astromythology of Eris. In Chapter 4, the two Erides, the dual role of Eris as a goddess of both strife and competition, in association with Pandora, is discussed with reference to the studies of Jane Harrison, Dora and Erwin Panofsky, and Jonathan Zarecki. Chapter 5 and 6 analyze the Eris mythology in terms of Melanie Klein's object relation theory and the philosophical concept of the will to power of Nietzsche and Gilles Deleuze. Chapter 7 applies the findings of the previous chapters to analyze the astrological meanings of Eris. Chapter 8 traces the transit of Eris in each sign along with the fixed stars through analysis of meaningful historical events. Chapter 9 analyzes the creation mythology with emphasis on Haumea, Makemake, Quaoar and Sedna, within a wider structure of the Polynesian and Native American mythology. The astrological interpretation follows in Chapter 10, in which we look at the astrology of Haumea, Makemake, Quaoar and Sedna in terms of their social and organizational manifestations through the relevant horoscopes of the individuals, institutions and events. We also look at their transits through the zodiac and over the fixed stars from the 1950s to the end of the twenty-first century. Throughout the chapters, narratives of Mike Brown are employed as an example of a scientist's mythic imagination. For technical analysis and chart calculations, I consulted Astrolabe's software Solar Fire v9, NASA's HORIZONS Web-Interface, Swiss Ephemeris, and the Astrodienst website.

End Notes

1 Dane Rudhyar, The Galactic Dimension of Astrology: The Sun Is Also a Star (Santa Fe: Aurora, 1975), 33.

2 "Definition of a Planet in the Solar System: Resolutions 5 and 6," International Astronomical Union, last modified April 9, 2008, https://www.iau.org/static/resolutions/Resolution_GA26-5-6.pdf.

3 "How Many Dwarf Planets Are There in the Outer Solar System?," Mike Brown, accessed January 26, 2017, http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/dps.html.

4 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 197.

5 "Naming of Astronomical Objects," International Astronomical Union, accessed January 30, 2017, http://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming/#dwarfplanets.


Source Notes

This article is the Introduction to Astrology of the Dwarf Planets: The Galactic Dimension of Creation Mythology, a book by Hollis Grail, Ph.D (American Federation of Astrologers, Inc., 2022), reprinted with permission. This book may be ordered through Barnes & Noble for US residents, or if you're outside of the US, through your local Amazon.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Astrology of Transformation and Creation

Chapter 1 Mythology of Underworld

Chapter 2 Pluto and Dionysus

Chapter 3 Ceres

Chapter 4 Eris and Pandora

Chapter 5 Melanie Klein

Chapter 6 Eris as the Will to Power

Chapter 7 Astrological Eris

Chapter 8 Eris in the Signs of the Zodiac: The Archetype of War

Chapter 9 Creation Mythology

Chapter 10 Astrology of New World





Hollis Grail, Ph.D. (they/them) is an independent scholar of the mythologies of cultural anthropology of the Pacific region. The research topics cover from archetypal astrology to postmodern philosophy. Hollis learned astrology in England, and then completed their Ph.D. in mythological studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. They are the author of Astrology of the Dwarf Planets: The Galactic Dimension of Creation Mythology.