Ms M’s Long-Anticipated Rulerships Post

(Bashed out this morning, since the daily vacation headache is on the milder side today.)

Way back when, in the halcyon days when both my kids’ ages were measured in single digits and they did what I told them the first time, the only way I could learn astrology was to ponder it whenever I could. Circumstances precluded writing down notes, book-buying, and leisure hours to study what I already had. (Leisure seconds was more like it, frankly.)

I did a lot of mental gymnastics with the “building blocks” of astrology - element, polarity, modality, and orientation. I also looked at the signs by season (spring, summer, fall, winter), which in the houses we call quadrants; by whether or not the length of the days in the northern hemisphere was increasing (Capricorn through Gemini) or decreasing (Cancer through Sagittarius); and by length of daylight (Aries through Virgo, day > night; Libra through Pisces, day < night).

That probably seems complicated. But I stuck with it. And thanks to my perseverance, I don’t have to run for books or web sites to answer most of your astrological questions.

One way I “played” was to consider the different signs by putting their ruling planets into the different categories. For example, the fire sign rulers are Mars/Aries, Sun/Leo, and Jupiter/Sagittarius. What does that tell us about the fire signs? No fire signs are in winter, either - which is pretty obvious, but it taught me how useful it might be to look at the other seasons in a similar manner.

And, you can take that another way, getting a feel for a planet by thinking about what signs it likes. Mars rules Aries, is exalted in Capricorn, and both co-rules and is the esoteric ruler of Scorpio. No air signs! Nothing in the “summer” quadrant (Cancer, Leo, Virgo)! Which also lacks air signs!

But the most useful mind play came with orientation. This division is fairly new, and splits the Zodiac into three sections:

  • Personal - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer - focused on personal wants and needs; “working on ourselves” (as the adage goes).
  • Interpersonal - Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio - focused on one-to-one relationships; helping other people.

  • Transpersonal - Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces - focused on global and universal issues; making the world a better place.

Let’s look at the planets which rule those signs, now. (By this time, the early 2000s, the arguments about where to put asteroids and centaurs were common, and I’d already tentatively assigned them to Virgo and Libra.)

  • Personal - Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon
  • Interpersonal - Sun, ?Mercury ?Asteroids, ?Venus ?Chiron, Pluto

  • Transpersonal - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

At the time I probably didn’t scream out loud, because that would have awakened the baby, but would you just look at that?!? From the astronomical viewpoint, I mean! The transpersonal planets - all giants, with rings, with millions of moons, and each one is further and further away from the Sun! That has to be important! And the personal planets - the first three get closer and closer to the Sun, and the Moon (from our earthly vantage) is almost the same as the Sun, and all those rulers are chunks of rock!

Over time I worked out the personal planets’ roles:

  • Mars, the drive to be alive in the first place;
  • Venus, the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch);
  • Mercury, the brain/CPU necessary to process sensory input, and recognize it (e.g., it feels cold, I see a cheetah);
  • Moon, the ability to form a response to the output (e.g., put on a jacket, run like hell).

Those four pieces eventually lead us to become our Solar identities - Sun/Leo, the next sign/step after the Moon/Cancer.

The transpersonal planets are more complicated. Of course; it’s intrinsic. They all have rings, which implies that “ring-pass-not” occult theories are involved with each sign’s process: you have tests to undergo. And all those little moons must show various steps, perhaps various lifetimes, in which we’re tested. Right?

The interpersonal planets really stumped me for some time, until I realized that what they all have in common is that ASTRONOMICALLY SPEAKING THEY AREN’T PLANETS. (Neither, of course, is the Moon. I’m still working out that part.) Not until I considered where they are in the solar system - how they’re placed, relative to everything else - did anything begin to make sense to me.

  • The Asteroids are found between Mars and Jupiter. They separate the inner and outer planets.
  • Chiron’s orbit lies between (principally) Saturn and Uranus. It separates the planets we can easily see, and the planets we need a telescope to see.
  • Pluto’s orbit lies (mostly) beyond Neptune’s orbit. It’s the barrier between the entire solar system, and the entire rest of the universe.

Now, one book I did manage to read during this time was Starhawk’s The Earth Path, in which she quotes (snarking) that eminent occult philosopher Donald Rumsfeld: “There are known knowns. These are things that we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

It seemed plain to me that the asteroids represent the “known knowns.” We have our Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Moon skills woven into our unique Solar identities. Having our acts together as fully functioning human beings is the necessary first step toward participating in a greater sphere (the outer planets). It made sense to me that the asteroids “rule” Virgo based also upon astronomy. All those little bitty chunks of rock never quite got their act together to become a real planet - and that’s been a challenge for every Virgo-influenced person I’ve known.

Next, Chiron and the rest of the Centaurs, representing Libra and the “known unknowns.” With our naked eyes we can see Jupiter and Saturn just fine, without aid; the vast majority of us need help to look at Uranus, and Neptune is beyond anyone’s vision. Yay telescopes! Each centaur has an individual orbit, between various outer planets. (Chiron’s orbit is mostly between Saturn and Uranus; Pholus’ orbit is between Saturn and the TNO Orcus, encompassing Uranus and Neptune; that of Nessus, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and TNOs Ixion and Orcus; Asbolus’ orbit gets close to Jupiter’s, and cuts through those of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.) They’re seen astrologically as “ambassadors” between those planets. Libra is the diplomat, remember. What I sense about this is that the centaurs help us use the lessons of Jupiter and Saturn to work through the Uranus and Neptune issues.

Finally, Pluto and the TNOs surround our entire solar system. What the hell else is out there, past them? Unknown unknowns. Things we don’t know that we don’t know. One step beyond! That Pluto occasionally “cuts” Neptune’s orbit shows how these guys sort of “come out of nowhere” to burst upon the scene. Eruptions from the unconscious, say.

I am someone who wants and needs to figure things out completely by and for myself, free of any influence. (There are hints in my chart about this trait; I also find it difficult to trust people.) It has to be all me - I won’t take part in any one else’s agenda. This explains why, after 30-plus years of study, I can’t adhere 100%  to any one astrologer’s cosmology. There’s always something wrong with it. I can be a bit of a magpie, borrowing this or that concept - but it has to make sense to me, first. I have to feel inside that it rings true.

As a result of how I’m “wired,” I also don’t insist that people believe exactly what I do. At the same time, however, “I know the things I know / And do the things I do,” in Dorothy Parker’s words; it works for me, and this is how I’ll proceed.

Eris, the largest of the dwarf planets and its moon Dysnomia.

Some Cool Facts About Dwarf Planets and Centaurs!

There’s a lot of talk about Pluto at the moment on tumblr. A recent debate on whether or not it should be classified as a planet was held and afterwards the audience voted in agreement with the view that it should be. This, however, was just an opinion poll and has no effect on Pluto’s official classification. Here are some facts about dwarf planets which will, hopefully, help you to understand why the IAU won’t be reclassifying Pluto as a planet any time soon.

Pluto is not the only dwarf planet! There are something like two hundred possible dwarf planets in our solar system and Pluto isn’t even the biggest one. That’s Eris, pictured above with its moon Dysnomia. Eris is larger that Pluto and therefore if Pluto is to be considered a planet then Eris should logically also be a planet. However, I’ve yet to see a single tumblr post complaining about Eris’ classification as a dwarf planet. Like Eris, many confirmed and possible dwarf planets have their own moons. Pluto has five moons, the largest of which is named Charon. Here’s a picture of Pluto alongside Charon:

Pluto’s other four moons are much smaller and are named Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx. Pluto also has what is called a quasi-satellite, (15810) 1994 JR1. It has been a quasi-satellite of Pluto for roughly 100,000 years and is likely to remain so for another 250,000 years.

The vast majority of confirmed and possible dwarf planets don’t have official names yet.

This is 2007 OR10

It’s the largest object in the Solar System that doesn’t have an official name yet, but its nickname is “Snow White.”

2007 OR10 is the fourth biggest dwarf planet in the Solar System, being 136km smaller in diameter than the third largest dwarf planet, Makemake. Makemake is notable for having no moons.

Next up is Haumea, which is unique amongst the dwarf planets for having an unusual ellipsoid shape, as seen in this artist’s conception:

Also pictured are Haumea’s two moons, Hiʻiaka and Namaka.

Next come Quaoar, named after the Tongva creator god, and its moon Weyot. Sedna, which takes roughly 11,400 years to orbit the Sun and will be at its closest to the Sun in 2075. And Orcus, which unlike Sedna is accompanied on its journey around the Sun by its moon, Vanth.

Next up is Ceres, which is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, unlike the rest of the dwarf planets Ceres is not a trans-neptunian object but instead is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This means that rather than being a distant object orbiting in the vast coldness at the edge of the Solar System, Ceres instead exists on the fringes of the Sun’s habitable zone. This is made doubly significant because although not as actively discussed as a potential home for extraterrestrial life as Mars or Europa, the presence of water ice has led to speculation that life may exist there, and that hypothesized ejecta could have come from Ceres to Earth.

Of the many other dwarf planets, the ones that currently have official names include Salacia with its moon Actaea, Varuna, Varda and its moon Ilmarë (Tolkien fans should recognise those names), Ixion, Chaos and finally Huya with its as yet unnamed moon.

However, that’s only the start of the interesting story of planetary objects in our Solar Sytem. As well as dwarf planets our Solar System is also home to a number of minor planets known as centaurs. Centaurs are small Solar System bodies with a semi-major axis between those of the outer planets. They have unstable orbits that cross or have crossed the orbits of one or more of the giant planets, and have dynamic lifetimes of a few million years. The centaurs all orbit the Sun in various positions between Jupiter and Neptune.

Known centaurs include Amycus, Bienor, Hylonome, Chariklo, Asbolus, Nessus, Pholus, Chiron and Hidalgo.

So, please, before you write yet another post about why Pluto should be a planet, consider instead the wonders of the many planetary objects within our solar system and Pluto’s place within them. Yes, Pluto is really cool, but so are Eris and Sedna and Ceres and all these other dwarf planets and centaurs and their many moons!