[First published in the Federation of Australian Astrologers’ FAA Journal, December 2021]
The Kuiper Belt is an exciting arena of icy planetoids, rather like a farther out Asteroid Belt. Pluto stands at its threshold as ‘King of the Kuiper Belt.’ Since the new millennium, astronomers have been discovering numerous tiny planetesimals in this distant region, some with moons or ‘companion objects’. These Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and TransNeptunian Objects (TNOs), are divided into intriguing sub-categories called plutinos, cubewanos and dwarf planets.
Pantheons beyond the Greco-Roman were called in to mythically inhabit this fertile region. Astronomers have tapped a global roster of indigenous creator gods and goddesses—from India, Hawai”i, Namibia, China and Lithuania, from the Inuit, Etruscan and Rapa Nui, Tongva, Wayu’u and Iroquois peoples—even from J.R.R. Tolkien’s prehistory of Middle Earth! Depth Astrologers have a mouth-watering array of storylines and avenues of research to excite our mythic imagination.
To learn about new celestial discoveries, astrologers consider astronomical characteristics and mythic storylines, look for outstanding examples in birth charts and transits and, profoundly, live and observe our own life experience. Like many on the astrological journey, I have been my own ‘guinea pig’, becoming an enthusiastic proponent of experiential astrology as well as phenomenological and mythopoetic research methodologies. Astrology is an intuitive science; the art is in the interpretation of this language of the stars.
This new realm of discovery is significant and exciting, mirroring the widening horizons and heightening frequencies of our collective consciousness. These creator deities open (or refresh) archetypal dimensions, as if emerging in response to an urgent invitation from Earth herself and, likely, the prayers of traditional peoples who know their primordial power.
I have come to sense that our new celestial neighbors operate from a higher dimension, a quantum level, perhaps, engaging implications of the increasing alignment of science and spirituality.
We are hearing more and more about quantum science, the quantum field, quantum healing, etc. The United States passed the National Quantum Initiative Act on Solstice, December 21, 2018; a government website[i] reports ongoing research in quantum information science and technology applications.
Max Planck, Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, the three founders of Quantum theory, were all awarded the Nobel Prize for this work (in 1918, 1921 and 1922 respectively). Of note here is Bohr’s theory that the mere act of indirectly observing the atomic realm changes the outcome of quantum interactions, suggesting the influence of conscious attention and intention on the manifestation of materiality.
More recently, Nassim Haramein of the Resonance Foundation, has developed mathematical formulae “based on a fundamental geometric quantization of spacetime, formalizing a unification between the quantum scale and cosmological-sized objects, including the universe itself.” [ii] His seminal paper, “Quantum Gravity and the Holographic Mass,” was published in 2013. His work, inspired by the star tetrahedron, shows that the underlying matrix of the universal field mirrors the interwoven geometry of the ‘Flower of Life’ pattern.
Oddly enough, my initial doorway into the realm of KBOs was the 2014 announcement of the discovery of two very fine rings (haloes) around Chariklo, the largest of the centaur bodies, named for Chiron’s wife. The highly elliptical orbits of the Centaurs cross planetary orbits, bridging aspects of consciousness. Chariklo does not cross in front of Saturn into the realm of the manifest, as does Chiron. She reaches deeper toward the subtle realms of Neptune. Her discovery chart on February 15 1997 features a most exquisite planetary pattern with an unusual Aquarian stellium.[iii] With the 1949 Chiron/Chariklo conjunction on my Sagittarius Sun, I feel that this pair ushers me into extraordinary pathways. In 2014 Chariklo was conjunct my Mercury in Sagittarius. I felt (and still feel) those vibrant rings reverberating with nuances that stirred, freshened my intuitive capacity and sparked a more than passing curiosity about the far-out KBOs and their enticing global mythologies. [read more on Chariklo]
Galactic astrologer Philip Sedgwick opened that door wider. In his SkyScraping! Newsletter, [iv] he has been announcing new KBO discoveries and their naming. I was excited to hear about these new discoveries, thrilled for their potential implications for our collective consciousness—especially for the children coming in under these refreshing, now accessible, archetypal energies. Dabbling in early research led to a wild idea to create my Planetary Gods & Goddesses Coloring Book to introduce these re-arising myths. [I share some coloring book images in this article].
This project set me on quite a journey. Who are these new neighbors in our solar system? Let me share with you some my initial adventures with a few of these living archetypes.
136108[v] HAUMEA, HAWAI’IAN GODDESS of CHILDBIRTH
I now think the artistic inspiration also came from Haumea, one of the most popular of the new KBO’s.
“Haumea is the goddess of childbirth and fertility in Hawaiian mythology. Her many children sprang from different parts of her body. She takes many different forms and has experienced many different rebirths. As the goddess of the earth, she represents the element of stone.” [vi]
Astronomical Haumea is a dense egg-shaped rock with an icy surface and an unexpected, faint ring, rotating end over end every four hours—quite exceptional. Her two ice moons are named for two of her daughters—Hi’iaka, the hula goddess, and Namaka, a sea spirit. A complicated trajectory of discovery (birth complications?) involves an initial photographic plate date of March 7, 2003 and official recognition date of December 28th, 2004.
Haumea gives birth to every being— mineral, flora, fauna, human… Her daughters, her moons, reflect different aspects of Haumea’s essence. Hi’iaka moves in the rhythms of Earth, telling the stories of the land and sea. Namaka moves in rhythms of ocean tides and currents, guiding sea creatures and sea-faring people. Her powerful waves dowse Pele’s fiery lava in a cloud of steam, hardening it. Volcanic Pele is also a daughter of Haumea, birthing land by pouring forth mineral-rich magma to fertilize and expand the Earth from the inside out.
Haumea was closely conjunct Pluto in Leo, then Virgo, for most of the 1950s, generating volcanic surges of creativity. Were you born in or on either edge that decade? This intense conjunction gives rise to compelling urges to express and create, sometimes with an overabundance of seeds/ideas/projects wanting to be birthed. Some impulses may be aborted or still-born. After birthing, Haumea takes time to renew, rebirth herself, an essential part of the process, allowing a new impulse to arise naturally in its time.
How does Haumea determine, discern, decide which impulses, seeds or cosmic semen to gestate and cultivate? Haumea has a “magic wand,” the Makalei stick that summons the fish in the sea to come and feed the people, bringing needed sustenance. Such need may be what stimulates her procreativity, yet it may also be impulsed by the sheer erotic joy and ecstasy of generating life from inside herself. Mythically Eros emerges from Chaos with Gaia, inspired by a compelling desire TO BE. In the heart of Chaos (there is a KBO named Chaos) we find the seed of the new paradigm that ultimately unfolds into manifestation. What is your comfort level with chaos?
Now near the end of Libra, Haumea is again engaging Pluto, this time in a dynamic square to Pluto in its final ‘clean up’ in Capricorn. We are experiencing global volatility—both literal volcanic eruptions as well as upheavals in collective consciousness. How are we collectively birthing our way out of this current chaos? What will these birth pangs lead to? How is Haumea weighing and balancing the Scales of Libra in these tumultuous days? What choices are we making? These new KBO archetypes come at a prime time. This is the time to engage intentional consciousness.
[More on Haumea here and here ]
WHERE IS YOUR HAUMEA?
HAUMEA 136108 283 years
Leo 1926-28 — 1958-60
Virgo 1958-60 — 1992-94
Libra 1992-94 — 2022-23
Scorpio 2022-23 — 2050
420356 PRAAMZIUS, LITHUANIAN SKY GOD of DESTINY
It was March 2016— I was heading to the Caribbean for a respite from Vermont’s rugged winter. I had lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a complete nodal cycle; there were friends to visit and tropical turquoise waters to swim in. That winter I was thick into researching my selected list of KBOs, investigating their mythologies and the cultures they came from. Shortly before I left, Philip Sedgwick announced that a KBO discovered on January 23, 2012 had just been officially named: Praamzius.
“Praamzius is the oldest and highest Lithuanian god related to the creation of the world. He is the god of the sky, peace and friendship in Lithuanian mythology.”[vii]
The Small-Body Database browser on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website is a treasure trove of information on KBOs. As per astronomical tradition, new objects are often named by the discoverer, in this case astrophysicist Kasimieras Cernis with astronomer Fr. Richard P. Boyle.
Lithuanian-born Cernis must have some inside cultural information, for I found nothing online to suggest the peace and friendship theme in relation to this original sky god that rules over destiny; nevertheless, such a one had to be added to my list! I found images from Lithuanian culture that included traditional architectural and woven designs. From these keepers of ancient traditions, I came across a photograph of a ceremony held in a large field, concentric circles of women moving around a central fire. Images of Praamzius were scarce, but I found carved wooden figures of goblins, gods and animals found in a forest park called “Hill of Witches.” One majestic figure inspired my first sketch, which I thought to develop while on vacation. Off I went with Praamzius tucked in my folder.
On Palm Sunday, my hostess, Mary, took me to a community celebration on the site of an old ruin of a Danish sugar mill overlooking the sea. Locals call it Peace Hill. Many friends and acquaintances from my two decades of living on the island were there. The following Wednesday was the pre-Easter Full Moon. Mary’s neighbor, Sylvia, had a fire pit around which a circle of folks gathered to welcome the Full Moon.
More friends were there, creating a strong feeling of fellowship. Sylvia’s parents were Lithuanian; her great uncle wrote the Lithuanian National Anthem. She had recently gone to her homeland to visit relatives and showed me photos from her day on the Hill of Witches. Her cousin emailed us the correct pronunciation of the name: Prom’zoos. Did I take Praamzius with me or was it the other way around?
I didn’t take a good look at an ephemeris for Praamzius until two years later in another round of research, when the 281-year orbit of Praamzius brought it around to my Ascendant. Praamzius had been heading my way! During that 2-year transit, I celebrated a decade-marker birthday, with two sets of friends arranging surprise parties in both the Virgin Islands and Vermont!
From 2021-2022, Praamzius is at 19-23 Leo, energized by oppositions from Jupiter and Saturn, those two gas giants that inaugurated a new era on December 2020 Solstice. Where is the Peace and Friendship in your life? Is it time to create and re-create community celebrations, through the heart connection and joy we evoke as we gather together? We seek to connect with co-creative collaborators among our friends, neighbors and colleagues, through the internet and the inner-net. When Praamzius moves into Virgo in 2027-29, perhaps our joint labors in service to the Earth will further bind communities together and bring on seasonal celebrations in accordance with Nature’s rhythm.
WHERE IS YOUR PRAAMZIUS?
PRAAMZIUS 420356 281 years
Taurus 1936-37 — 1958-59
Gemini 1958-59 — 1981-82
Cancer 1981-82 — 2005-06
Leo 2005-06 — 2027-29
120347 SHIMMERING SALACIA, QUEEN of the MERMAIDS
Salacia was one of my first favorite KBOs, a September 22, 2004 discovery, still named in the Greco-Roman classic tradition—perhaps because she is the mythic spouse of Neptune. Her name obviously has ‘salacious’ connotations natural to mermaids, “arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination.”[viii] One of my many Sag sister astrologers[ix] pronounces the name as Sal-LAH’-cya, evoking ripples of cyan seas. I like this musical pronunciation, and the alternate, Sal-ah-SEA’-ah. How would you like to say her name?
Salacia is most delightful. She causes the sunlight to sparkle on the sea. How could Neptune not fall in love with such a light-hearted mermaid? She, however, doubted that the great Sea God could be serious about her. She was not interested in flirtation, so she disappeared to a secluded ocean haven. Neptune sent a dolphin to seek her out and convince her that he truly wanted to marry her. She became his Queen. There is a clear sense of Self-honoring in her story, in addition to her shimmering delightfulness.
Astrologers Zsuzsanna Griga, Sue Kientz and Steve Tuffill write about Neptune’s mythic trouble in locating Salacia in his own oceanic realm.[x] Astrologically it appears to be so. Salacia’s orbit of 271 years is more than twice Neptune’s, so they do not meet up often. Most recently, Salacia has been quite elusive, but a reunion is within the foreseeable future.
Entering Pisces herself in 1993-94, Salacia was pursued by Neptune, following her into his own sign in 2011-12. Over the course of 2016-17, Salacia moved from the Piscean seas across the Aries point. The Sabian Symbol for 1 Aries: “A Woman Rises from the Sea, Embraced by a Seal,” evokes Celtic Seal Woman and mermaid memories, an appropriate welcome for Salacia. It also reminds us of the arising of the Divine Cosmic Feminine that is becoming more alive in our experience.
Neptune entering Aries in 2024-25, crosses that same point. The trident-wielding god comes flirtingly near Salacia in 2031; oh so close in summer 2034; but Salacia eludes him until May 2035-2038 when they begin a long romantic interlude with several conjunctions at 23-28 Aries. Shortly thereafter Neptune heads into Taurus (an intriguing transit to consider!). I don’t have an ephemeris far enough into the future to look for their next rendezvous.
In her 2018 talk for the Sophia Centre, “Reflections of Sunlight on the Sea as an Axis Mundi,” Ilaria Cristofaro showed that Cretan tombs most often open to the east, facing “The Glitter Path,” of the rising Sun across the sea.[xi] It is as if we can walk that pathway leading to the land of the Sun. We also see such a shimmering path made by the setting Sun in the West at sunset— or by the rising or setting Moon. I’ve seen such an inviting path of shining light across the Caribbean Sea made by brilliant, low-hanging Venus and even the star Sirius.
Since tuning in to Salacia, I have seen a subliminal shimmer in the air, like subatomic photons that catch the side of your eye for the briefest instant, in and out of materiality. In winter, I have driven dirt roads at night as snowflakes begin to fall, glinting in the headlights, coating the road and turning it into a “glitter path” homeward.
Astronomers inform us that we are moving through a galactic photon cloud. Our whole solar system is being washed in waves of plasma light, shimmering with higher frequencies, an inrush of cosmic glitter. Perhaps this is Salacia sparkling in the cosmic seas. “As above, so below.” The path from this point forward twinkling more strongly with stardust from the photonic waves, opening a trailblazing portal of consciousness. We are called to follow the Star Trek mission into “Space, the final frontier: To explore strange, new worlds; To seek out new life and new civilizations; To boldly go where no [hu]man has gone before…”
[More on Salacia here ]
WHERE IS YOUR SALACIA?
SALACIA 120347 271 years
Sagittarius 1930 — 1949-50
Capricorn 1949-50 — 1971
Aquarius 1971 — 1994
Pisces 1994 — 2016-17
Aries 2016-17 – 2040-41
174567 VARDA, STAR LADY of the ELVES
The Total Solar Eclipse on December 14, 2020— first act of the grand finale of an intense, bridge-burning year. We surfed the dark tunnel of that eclipse wave onto the shores of December Solstice and a celebratory new era, defined by a rare, star-like conjunction of gas giants Jupiter and Saturn on the doorsill of Aquarius. Accompanying us on that cosmic wave was Star Lady Varda, her radiance shining out of the black hole of the eclipse— Sun, Moon and Varda at 23+ degrees Sagittarius.
Varda was discovered on June 21, 2003 by J.A. Larsen at Kitt Peak. A companion body later discovered was named Ilmare for Varda’s fictional attendant.
“In J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythology, Varda is the queen of the stars, the star-kindler. She is the deity who, prior to the birth of the first humans, created the stars and constellations. She also set the vessels of the Sun and Moon upon their appointed courses above the girdle of the Earth.”[xii]
I conjecture that astronomer Larsen must have been a Tolkien fan for his discovery to carry this name. In The Silmarillion (posthumously published in 1977), Tolkien gives an extensive pre-history of Middle Earth and the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His creation story introduces the One God, Iluvatar, whose ‘thought’ formed a host of angelic beings,
“and they made a great Music before him. In this Music the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song…. And many among them became enamored of its beauty… and entered into the World at the beginning of Time; and it was their task to achieve it, and by their labours to fulfil the vision which they had seen… Then they put on the raiment of Earth and descended into it, and dwelt therein.”[xiii]
Varda was one of the original fourteen archangelic beings, called the Valar, who came into the world. “Too great is her beauty to be declared in the words of Men or Elves; for the light of Iluvatar lives still in her face. In light is her power and her joy…Of all the Great Ones who dwell in this world the Elves hold Varda most in reverence and love. Elbereth they name her, and they call upon her name out of the shadows of Middle-earth, and uplift it in song at the rising of the stars.”[xiv] Varda was also known as Tintalle, the Star Kindler, and Elentari, Queen of Stars.
In the beginning of days, there was a need for light. The Crafts Master wrought two mighty lamps, which Varda filled with light. From ahigh on lofty pillars in the north and south, this light from the lamps flowed out over the Earth in everlasting daylight. Nature began to grow a profusion of plants and animals. This Spring of the Earth came to a close when Tolkien’s ‘dark angel,’ Melkor, sent his evil minions across the world with blight, pollution, sickness, and poison. He struck a blow that destroyed the lamps and sent the world into darkness and tumult. The Valar retreated to the westernmost lands, guarding this realm as their eternal haven, Valinor.
There it was that Yavanna, Mother Nature, sung into being the two storied Trees of Valinor: Telperion, dripping with silver light, and Laurelin, with a radiant rain of glittering gold. These trees lit up in turn, creating a cyclical rhythm of silver and gold light that gave rise to the counting of time. Varda gathered the silver dews and golden rains, collecting them in shining lakes, like wells of water and light.
“She reached into the lake of silver and shaped new, closer, brighter stars and set them as signs in the heavens.”
Melkor struck yet again from the dark realms, wreaking destruction, killing the sacred trees. Earth Mother Yavanna and the Lady of Sorrow sang long over the lifeless trees,not able to bring them back to life. But at long last, Telperion bore one great flower of silver, and Laurelin a single fruit of gold. Vessels were crafted to hold them and preserve their radiance. These vessels were given to Varda, “that they might become lamps of heaven, outshining the ancient stars….and she…set them to voyage upon appointed courses above the girdle of the Earth,”[xv] thus creating the Moon and the Sun.
As do the Elves, we astrologers, too, can deeply appreciate Varda for lighting up the stars. We know how the language of the stars brings light into our own lives and those with whom we speak. With an orbit of 312 years, Varda spends two to three decades in a sign. Now that she has brought her radiant light through the December 2020 eclipse, she moves into alignment with the Galactic Center at 26-27 Sagittarius in 2023-24, gathering light from the Heart of the Milky Way. As she shifts into Capricorn in 2027, perhaps she will spread this light across our planet to rekindle ancient Earth wisdom and the original Song and Vision for our world.
[More on Varda here ]
WHERE IS YOUR VARDA?
VARDA 174567 313 years
Libra 1932-34 —1968-70
Scorpio 1968-70 — 2000-01
Sagittarius 2000-01 — 2026
ENTERING THIS NEW QUANTUM REALM
Some may sigh and say, why add even more to our astrological roster, with endless numbers of asteroids, a tribe of Centaurs, various hypotheticals and invisibles—and now a wide cosmic river of planetesimals, further out than some want to travel. But this emerging quantum dimension of our solar system matches these unprecedented times. Synchronicity strikes again! Who is ready to take it on? I invite you to find even one KBO archetypal that appeals to you, whether by culture of origin, mythic storyline, soul inspiration or by transit. If a KBO was discovered on your birthday, take note!
Astrologers have long been interested in predicting the future. Psychological astrology was a major innovation in 20th century astrology that brought in a new approach. In this new millennium we are heading into quantum consciousness, with immensely creative implications for us all. Neuroscientist Joe Dispenza said in an interview:
“The Newtonian world is all about the predictable. The quantum model of reality is about causing an effect… You become a creator of your world and you start saying, “My thinking and my feeling is changing an outcome in my life.” Now, that’s a whole different game and we start believing more that we’re creators of reality.”[xvi]
In Buddhism and Hinduism, aether is the fifth element out of which the four physical elements arise. Buddhism distinguishes ‘physical aether’ and ‘non-physical aether’. Quantum consciousness engages attention, intention, and other faculties to pull ‘ideal forms’ from the non-material into material manifestation. I consider this a main key to the Kuiper Belt region.
A recent NCGR Geocosmic Journal focused on dwarf planets. Judith Hill wrote in her article, “Sedna, Eris, and the Name Game”:
“I hope that this brief article will provide food for thought, and encourage astrologers to seriously contemplate and, if possible, delay their assignation of influences to newly discovered members of our solar system…The real question is why we are in a hurry to assign meaning at all? Isn’t it more provocative to just wait and see? Let’s open our hands, minds, hearts and psyches in wonderment and patience.”[xvii]
I, too, feel that rushing into interpretation of this new realm of planetoids may be premature— especially if we depend on old models of research. Remember what Niels Bohr said about conscious attention influencing outcomes. The quantum potential arises in the moment, and matches the indigenous creator gods who engage creative intention to pull their vision from the invisible fields into manifestation. We can see what we think is there, or we can envision what we want to experience. This is a different order of consciousness.
In his Letters on Cezanne, written in 1907, R.M. Rilke expressed to his wife how deeply impressed he was by the paintings of Paul Cezanne, recognizing the leading edge artistic paradigm shift occurring in his time, inevitably misunderstood by most.
“When I remember the puzzlement and insecurity of one’s first confrontation with his work…And then for a long time nothing, and suddenly one has the right eyes….
“confident of not getting lost with each approach toward one of nature’s thousand faces; confident, rather of discovering the inexhaustible nature within by seriously and conscientiously studying her manifold presence outside. All of this is very beautiful….
“There are personal inner reasons that make me see certain pictures which, a while ago, I might have passed by with momentary sympathy, but would not have revisited with increased excitement and expectation. It’s not really painting I’m studying…It was the turning point in these paintings which I recognized, because I had just reached it in my own work or had at least come close to it somehow….”[xviii]
And here we are, astronomers and astrologers alike, confronted by a new realm of discovery. Will we pass it by or do we recognize the turning point?
2 https://www.resonancescience.org/ Also see The Connected Universe documentary
[iii] read my Chariklo story at https://heliastar.com/what-best-serves-love-chariklos-story/. Also recommended: Melanie Reinhart’s Chariklo insights
[v] The official astronomical identification numbers can be used to find your KBO placements on astro.com. Also useful for numerology interpretations.
[viii] Merriam-Webster dictionary
[ix] listen to a short Salacia conversation I had with Lalita Karoli at https://heliastar.com/salacia-a-cosmic-mermaids-tale/
[xi] [Presented at the 2018 conference, themed “Mountains, Rivers, Sea and Sky: Materiality of Landscape,” of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology and Culture ad University of Wales conference]
[xiii] Tolkien, J.R.R., edited by Christopher Tolkien, The Silmarillion, London:HarperCollins Publishers, 2013, p15.
[xiv] Ibid., p16.
[xv] Ibid., p.109.
[xvi] Joe Dispenza interview on youtube
[xvii] Judith Hill, “Sedna, Eris, and the Name Game,” NCGR GeoCosmic Journal, Spring 2021, edited by Scott Silverman, p.22.
[xviii] R.M.Rilke, Letters on Cezanne, edited by Clara Rilke, translated by Joel Agee, Fromm International Publishing Corporation, NY, 1952, pp.43, 47, 63.