Just eleven days after the essence was made, the day before the summit rock was returned to its rightful place, and in the early stages of its proving phase, the discovery of a new planet was announced, 2003 UB313, code-named 'Xena' after the Warrior Princess TV series (the female sacred warrior archetype). From initial estimates, "Xena" was some 25-50% larger than Pluto and was consequently hailed as our solar system's tenth planet by NASA and much of the media. In numerological terms, there is enormous significance in moving from a 9-planet solar system (9 being the number of completion, the end of a phase) to a 10-planet solar system (1 being the number of unity and new beginnings). However, whether or not 'Xena' was to be officially accorded the designation 'planet' remained under discussion by various committees of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for 13 (!) months before the IAU in conference finally voted to oust both Pluto and "Xena" from the status of planet within our solar system, demoting them to dwarf planets. 3 weeks later, on September 13th 2006, "Xena" was finally given her official name of Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord, and her primary moon, codenamed "Gabrielle", was named for one of Eris's daughters – Dysnomia ('lawlessness', but also meaning an inability to name)!
Eris is the largest of three recently-discovered Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) all announced on the same day by those indefatigable planet-hunters, astronomers Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz who also discovered KBOs Sedna (2003) and Quaoar (2002, without Rabinowitz). A triplicity discovered by a trio? The announcement was unplanned, and was made in a hurried response to a claim of discovery for one of the three KBOs, 2003 EL61, by a Spanish team of astronomers. (There is some dispute about this – once again, all is not quite as it seems.) The name Xena derives from the Greek for 'stranger'. According to John MacAulay, Gaelic historian and folklorist, the old Gaelic term for the Hebrides, "Innis Bhrighde, has long since disappeared from use, having given way to Innse Gall (The Isles of Strangers), a derogatory term from the time of the Norse settlement." (Alastair McIntosh, Soil and Soul) With the planet's official name taking an unprecedented 14 months to be announced, Eris's story echoes some of the characteristics of the summit rock's story. Perhaps it should have been named for Bhrighde ... Interestingly, there are close resonances. Briga is the old Celtic word for strife, akin to brig, strength, from which Bhrighde or Brigid is also derived, and in her guise as patron of warfare, Bhrighde appears to be the closest Celtic equivalent to Eris (although also representing far more than Eris). The day the essence was made was the day Eris turned retrograde at 21° Aries.
Interestingly, all three newly-announced KBOs fit right into the main formations within the essence's chart and are well and tightly aspected. (The new planetary bodies are marked in red on the illustrative graphics below where relevant, and were included for interest because of the synchronicity of their discovery announcement. No interpretation can be made yet since nobody has been able to plot and test the dynamics they might represent.)
General Chart Patterns
The chart has remarkable regularity. It features exceptionally stable patterns in the flow of energy, yet with enormous dynamism juxtaposed to those same stable patterns.
The chart is dominated by two prominent and precise grand trines (equilateral triangles of three 120° aspects) in the fire signs. Once again, the importance of the triangle is emphasised. This double grand trine – one between Venus, Mars and Pluto, the other between Mercury, the Moon and the Moon's North Node – is close enough to be considered as a unit and involves all of the planets believed to feature anorthosite in their geology: the Moon, Venus, Mars and Mercury. The only other planet involved in the grand trines, Pluto, is referenced in the geological term for bodies of magma that solidify underground before they reach the surface of the earth – 'plutons' or 'plutonic suites' – which is applicable to anorthosites and their associated distinctive contemporaneous rock types. Again, the symbolism is perfect.
There are also another 3 triangles in the chart – yods, or 'fingers of fate' – comprising a 60° (sextile) aspect at 150° (quincunx or inconjunct) angles to a third point. Yods "signify crises in which the energies have to be faced directly and specific courses of action taken in order for the energies to work out positively." (Robert Hand p147) These are between Black Moon Lilith sextile Jupiter inconjunct Uranus, between Transneptunians Admetos and Vulcanus, both inconjunct Pluto, and finally between the Transneptunian Apollon and Pluto inconjunct Admetos (though these latter 2 are less 'personal' to the chart; being very slow moving). The Apollon-Vulcanus-Pluto yod shares its apex with one set of points of the double grand trines (the Moon and Pluto) which are also conjunct the chart's Ascendent. This is shadowed by a 4th minor yod between Juno and the asteroid Niobe inconjunct the Moon. There is also a pair of dynamising oppositions to these points (from Hades and Vesta), which overall creates a double kite pattern containing a double yod. This adds a lot of emphasis to that particular subset of the overall pattern, making the Moon-Pluto-Ascendent conjunction effectively the focus of the chart. There are also oppositions to one each of the other 2 points of the grand trines, resulting in an effective grand sextile (a 6-sided figure of 60° aspects).
Prominent two-series aspects feature a multiple T-square between the Sun, Saturn, Vulcanus and the Vertex point at 90° to the Midheaven-Nadir axis which is conjunct an opposition between the Transneptunian Apollon and Mars. There are also another 2 T-squares – one between Neptune opposing Mercury at 90° to Juno, and another between the Moon (conjunct Pluto) opposing Vesta (conjunct Hades) at 90° to 2005 FY9, the third of the trio of newly-discovered Kuiper Belt Objects (including the dwarf planet Eris) announced during the proving of the essence. T-squares are intensely dynamic configurations.
There are also a number of 5-series aspects, including 4/5ths of a grand quintile involving some of the principal planetary groupings.
There is so much going on in this chart that to discuss every planet, point, aspect and pattern in detail would take several thousand words, despite the fact that the focus of the chart is so singular and strong. I've consequently provided a few notes below on the main features only. As pointed out in the description above, the chart has remarkable regularity, with exceptionally stable patterns in the flow of energy juxtaposed to intensely dynamic configurations. Overall this indicates that deeply ingrained and entrenched patterns of being where the energy flows easily have the potential to be overthrown to result in a new way of being and seeing more in line with a fundamentally integrated perception of reality less tied to dualistic conceptualisations and modes of action. This amounts to decapitation – the death of a way of thinking, and hence being, and transfiguration into a unified and integrated reality. There is particular emphasis on the transformation of attitudes towards the feminine and intuitive aspect of our being (see aspects to the Moon below).
I'm only an amateur astrologer, so I asked a couple of experienced professionals if they would help me summarise this chart, not least because the clarity of their perception is something I respect and trust. These are their summaries.
Interpretation from Janis Page
This chart for the Roineabhal essence is remarkable for its integration and complex multilevel dynamic aspect patterns. For all that, there are several essential motifs that emerge: the personal vs transpersonal, issues of security vs freedom, the call and the means for transformation and integration that surpasses those seeming dualities. The Sagittarius Moon and Pluto Rx on the ascendant, both applying toward each other is the pivot point for the chart as the apex of the kites, yods, and double grand trine. As Wendy notes, the ascendant is conjunct the powerful Great Attractor. The Moon and Pluto are both conjunct fixed stars in the constellation of Ophiuchus that often appear in the charts of those on the shamanic path. The Moon rules the 8th house, which Pluto rules in a natural wheel, and where the Sun resides in this chart – this strong Scorpionic 8th house thrust calls for deepening and transformation. Yet with the ascendant, Moon and Pluto in the sign of Sagittarius, natural ruler of the 9th house and with its ruler Jupiter within the 9th house, the call is for deepening and transformation but through freedom, higher mind and spirituality, moving beyond conditioning and limitations.
The Moon has to do with our inner being, our instinctual and habitual self, our emotional being, and also relates to the mother. Pluto is understood to relate to power and the abuse of it, and yet the only thing that really works with this intense and powerful archetypal being is surrender – not surrender in the sense of giving up, but surrender in the sense of letting go of resistance, surrender to Spirit.
We tend to see Pluto as a masculine energy, yet it is my feeling and experience that Pluto is pre-gender split, having a masculine but also a feminine expression. The feminine face of Pluto is the archetype of the Black Madonna. The Black Madonna is black for having gone through the fires of the underworlds of hell and having been transformed by those fires into a being of pure compassion, with a complete absence of need, and nothing to lose. Now there is power! There is also the archetypal being that can bring the patriarchy to its knees.
So here we have the more personal mother of the Moon conjoined with the deeper, chthonic mother of the Plutonian Black Madonna, together in the sign that calls for freedom. Will we heed the call to drop our garment of 'small self', of societal, familial, and cultural conditioning, to move to a core place of purity and authenticity? This call to essential being and authenticity is reinforced by the transneptunian being Hades holding a counterbalancing opposition to Pluto and the Moon. Hades is about core, bone-level authenticity, ancient and deep within and beyond space and time as we know them, and demanding and stripping away any pretense. Hades brings about the disintegration that is the final ending release of all things. These two Lords of the Underworld, Pluto and Hades, will be moving in opposition to each other, and they will bring many changes, especially as they both approach and cross the Universal or Aries axis. Pluto will cross the Aries axis as it moves back and forth into Carpricorn in 2008, and Hades will first cross into Cancer in the autumn of 2010, and move back and forth until the last cross in May of 2012, essentially remaining closely on the Aries axis for that entire duration of time.
A secondary aspect pattern further reinforces this call to break out of old structure, belief and limitations. This is Saturn at zero degrees of Leo in opposition to Chiron at zero degrees of Aquarius. Here we have Saturn, the lord of structure, boundaries and limitations, the Father archetype, the Lord of Karma, the Celestial Schoolmaster, Keeper of the Records, Father Time, and (my personal favorite) the Patron Saint of the Morning After meeting head to head with Chiron, the maverick, the one who holds himself to be the exception, the turning point, and the wounded healer. Chiron is a comet/centaur that flies between Saturn, the outermost of the ancient traditional planets, and Uranus, the first of the transpersonal planets. Here we see that Chiron is a bridgemaker, energetically moving at tremendous speed as if moving from a sound wave to a light wave, to make the leap from the personal to the transpersonal. Chiron is a centaur, half man, half horse. Here we see the bridgemaking transition embodied, with half the spine aligned to the horizontal, material axis, and the other half upright, aligned to the spiritual axis. This oppositional struggle between Saturn and Chiron is creating great havoc, but also great potentiality for breakthrough. On the 90 degree dial, Saturn and Chiron are also aligned with Admetos and Zeus, further underscoring this polarity. Admetos is slow, deep, ponderous. Admetos can make Saturn look perky! Yet there is tremendous power and potentiality to Admetos, though that power may not be readily externally apparent, as it is inwardly directed as compression, another form of transformation. If Admetos were to move quickly, the process of what is slow tempering would instead explode or combust. Then Zeus does relate to exactly those things – explosions, combustion, fire, volatility, seed or sperm, quickening, organization. The Uranian astrology classic "Rules for Planetary Pictures" says this of Zeus-Admetos. "First beginning, the act of originating – genesis. All beginning is difficult. To form, to work on, to shape, to form raw material. Tragedy. Lava, igneous. Interior of the Earth."
This all underscores and reinforces the dynamic we find with Moon-Pluto rising in this chart.
The Roineabhal chart and essence invite us. Are we willing to let go of everything that we think we know, everything that we think we are, and step into the void, into ancient knowing and complete freedom, into our true nature of instant unconditioned presence? The essence beckons us to do so.