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The Major Asteroids

I have held a dissenting view of the four major asteroids for a long time. Rather than seeing them as expressions of feminine energy I’ve seen them as representative of levels of reality, human needs, learning and culture. This does not invalidate the predominant view in the least but it does provide a different framework for interpretation and understanding.

Asteroids come in two flavors (could be more) – major and minor. The major asteroids: Ceres, Juno, Pallas, and Vesta are the focus here. I believe the minor asteroids, which count in the thousands, operate entirely differently than the major four. Going forward, then, any reference to the asteroids will be about the four majors.

Central to the ideas presented is the location of the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. Mars is the outermost of the personal planets representing how we project our individual nature into the outer world. Jupiter is the innermost of the collective planets which, together with Saturn, represents that outer world. That outer world is everything that is not you – as small as one person and as large as every sentient being in the universe.

Because the asteroids occupy the space between the personal and collective, they represent the interface where the two meet. You can interpret this interface in any of three ways, none being exclusive of the others. These interpretations are as:

  • Levels of reality or planes of existence

  • Human needs

  • Learning and Culture

Planes of Existence

The base idea is that the asteroids represent four planes of existence and that all human activity plays out on one or more of those planes. The four levels and their equivalents are:

  • Physical – represented by Ceres

  • Emotional – represented by Juno

  • Mental – represented by Pallas

  • Spiritual – represented by Vesta

Each of these levels will have characteristics that define the nature of the field for an individual. Those characteristics provide clues to how that individual expresses life at that level.

Human Needs

The asteroids also describe a hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy is similar to the one proposed by Abraham Maslow and another by Timothy Leary in his 1987 book Info-Psychology. Neither hierarchy is a precise match to this one but the ideas are approximately the same. The hierarchy is:

  • Ceres – the need for nourishment and safety (Survival)

  • Juno – the need to belong (Identity)

  • Pallas – the need to contribute (Esteem or Validation)

  • Vesta – the need for meaning (Purpose)

Like Maslow’s theory, one must be able to meet one need before it can address the next one - but in addressing it, that need reinforces and strengthens the prior one.

Learning and Culture

  • Ceres – capability to sustain and maintain life

  • Juno – the social sphere. Informal hierarchies, practices, rituals, do’s and don’ts

  • Pallas – formal structures, technologies, acknowledged paths to success

  • Vesta – spiritual structures: churches, religions, philosophies, binding myths or goals

A culture is a set of ideas, values, beliefs and practices on which all members of the culture more or less agree. A culture can be as small as two people or as large as an entire continent.

A married couple, for example, is a culture. They have relatively common beliefs, values, and goals. They have rules about what they will and will not do and about what they can and cannot tolerate. The base goal is survival in the world but the ultimate objective is some sort of future happiness with meaning – often involving grandchildren.

Similarly, a global region like North America has a distinct culture based on the same things as a couple’s culture but with much broader and less distinct outlines because it comprises collections of smaller, more specific cultures. The Pacific Northwest and the Deep South are very distinct regional cultures comprised of even smaller local cultures, yet both are part of a larger culture identifiable as American.

Every individual participates in evolving a culture. Their contributions may be dramatic and obvious – as in a couple – or they can be obscure and impossible to identify – as in a global region. Nonetheless, the contribution is there and it is a mutual learning process. If the individual contribution works to advance the health and success of the group, the group feedback is positive and the individual is acknowledged. If the individual contribution is rejected by the group, the individual either adjusts their contribution based on the feedback or faces continued rejection. This interactive feedback loop is how culture evolves and it plays out in the asteroids.

Ceres in a natal chart will show an individual’s capacity to care for themselves and others

Juno in a natal chart will show an individual’s ability to participate within social structures of the society.

Pallas in a natal chart will show an individual’s capacity or willingness to participate in any of the accepted paths of achievement.

Vesta in a natal chart shows the individual’s relative need to seek higher purpose.

Things Asteroids Are Not

Asteroids are not planets.

Ceres is not the Moon. The emotional capacity to nurture another person (Moon) is not the same as the capacity to feed, clothe, and shelter someone (Ceres).

Juno is not Venus. The desire to marry and be a wife (Venus) is not the same thing as how capable one is of carrying out the culture’s view of the role of “wife” (Juno).

Pallas is not Jupiter. Conceiving of the ideas of law and order and justice and describing what they should look like is one thing (Jupiter). Creating structures and roles necessary to execute on those ideas is quite different (Pallas).

Vesta is not Neptune. Neptune is not spiritual. It’s not anything. It’s a blank space to which we project our imaginings and longings. It’s not real. It’s tricky but it is valuable and necessary. Vesta is our need to find meaning and higher purpose, the need to understand or answer the great questions of life, the need to get beyond ourselves. It’s understandable that the two can be confused but they are different.

Asteroids also do not rule any sign. Not every new astral body has to rule something. That idea falls into Cherished Pet territory – another conversation.

Example 1: Joe Biden’s Juno

Joe Biden’s Juno is in Sagittarius. The first things to look at are the ruling planet and the term (bounds) ruler. In both cases the planet is Jupiter, so Jupiter’s relationship to Juno is important to look at. Biden’s Jupiter is in Cancer and is not configured to Juno in any particular way so it does not play a particularly important role. The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are also not configured to Juno either, so they too play no special role.

Saturn, however, is exactly opposite Juno. Further, Juno is relatively close to the Ascendant and the Ascendant is exactly opposite Uranus. Both oppositions are 1st/7th house.

The proximity of the Ascendant suggests that Joe Biden is, indeed, a social animal. That Juno is exactly opposite Saturn indicates that he is very conventional, follows all the cultural norms, and tends to focus on others. He’s genuinely interested in other people and he learns from them.

The presence of Uranus widely opposite shows he is not above challenging the social norms if he feels it is right. The presence of Saturn near Uranus, though, suggests that he is willing to compromise if the situation calls for it.

Example 2: Trump’s Juno

Donald Trump’s Juno is in Libra. It is exactly conjunct Chiron and closely conjunct Jupiter. It is ruled by Venus. Venus is configured (square by sign) in Cancer and Venus is closely conjunct Saturn. Every other body in the chart, save Vesta, is configured to Juno so they all play parts in its expression. This makes Trump’s Juno fairly complex but a couple things stand out.

First is the exact conjunction of Chiron. This is a case where the outsider or maverick view of Chiron applies. Trump has always wanted to belong to New York’s elite but the square configuration of Venus and Saturn in Cancer in the 12th has made this an uphill climb. Influenced by his Jupiter, he sees the solution to the problem through excess – more money, more fame, more glamorous wives, more gilt. Those haven’t worked largely because of his unsubtle, aggressive, and transgressive personality. But Trump has used his outsider status to build a potent political structure using others who also feel like outsiders – rejected by the society at large and who see in him the messiah who will return them to the promised land they feel they have lost.

The second influence is Juno’s bound lord – Jupiter. The bounds are the ground or house rules. Jupiter is the bounds ruler of itself, Chiron, Juno, Venus, and Saturn so they all function under Jupiter rules. In this case Jupiter is stationary and in a poorly situated Libra.

An overlooked quality of Libra is competitiveness – it is, after all, the opposite of Aries. But where Aries plays the game to win, Libra plays the game for the sake of the interaction. It enjoys the game. Because his Jupiter exaggerates, is stationary, and in Libra, the ground rules for his Juno, then, are that all social interactions are competitive and transactional.

Now what?

This is just an outline of the framework. It is fertile ground. There is a lot to write about the asteroids from this perspective and there is always research and more research. I will write more about this in more detail in future posts.

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