Anyone studying Astrology may soon realize that there are few feminine planets in our solar system. There is the Moon and Venus. The Moon speaks of our subconscious, emotions, receptivity, imagination and intuition – and Venus of how we experience beauty, the enjoyment of pleasure, aesthetic awareness, love of harmony, sociability, and what we emotionally value. Put more succinctly, this means that the only feminine expressions in our chart are our emotions and love… that’s it!
Enter the Asteroid Goddesses… Even though they were discovered between 1801 and 1807, it is only in the early 1970’s that their first ephemeris (a chart that tracks the positions of a celestial object) was published. This made their astrological interpretation possible, and many astrologers began to study these new arrivals and take them into consideration in their chart readings. It is interesting to note that this coincided with the rise of the women’s rights movement and the resurgence of the feminine principle in Western society… This is another example of the use of new elements in astrology corresponding to the emergence of a new awareness in the collective human psyche.
When we speak of the Asteroid Goddesses, we are referring to Ceres (Demeter), Juno (Hera), Vesta (Hestia) and Pallas (Athene). While not the largest asteroids, they were the first to be discovered and their imprint on human consciousness significantly impacted the collective, consciously or not. There are now over five thousand asteroids that have been identified, many of which can also yield interesting insights into our natal charts (from Psyche and Eros to the entire Egyptian pantheon), but it could be said that the Asteroid Goddesses function as emissaries for the collective energetic signature of the Asteroid Belt, which the ancient Mayans believed to be the remnants of a now-destroyed planet.
Indeed, this location is part of their significance, since the belt is between Mars and Jupiter and represent a bridge between the personal planets – the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Venus – and the social planets that are Jupiter and Saturn. The asteroids then are interpersonal planets that inform us on how we transition from the private sphere to the public one.
Much can be said about these four feminine archetypes but since an image is worth a thousand words, I will introduce them here through their mandala – designed by Demetra George and Douglas Bloch (who have written the best book on the Asteroid Goddesses and you can get it here!) What follows is adapted from their text.
The Asteroid Goddesses Mandala
The large circle in the mandala represents the Moon, the fundamental feminine principle that contains all the potential expressions of the feminine nature and which reflects the light of the Sun with which it is engaged in a perpetual dance of waning and waxing. Their union gives rise to what mystics have described as Oneness.
In the center of the mandala is Venus – the essence of the feminine nature in her activated form – that also contains in its essence the energies of the Moon and the Asteroids.
Venus is surrounded by Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta. Each of the four in its unique way uses the creative sexual energy of Venus to express the various functions and activities of the feminine principle as it operates in both women and men.
(A bit of “astro-speak”): Note that the asteroids are placed at the four cardinal directions of the mandala as each corresponds to one of the four “angles” of the astrological chart: the Ascendant and Descendant to the left and right along the horizon, and the MC/Midheaven and IC/Nadir, at the top and bottom of the vertical meridian line.
The basic symbolism of these four great goddesses is as follows:
Ceres, the archetypal Mother and Goddess of Agriculture, gives birth to the world of physical form, bears children and provides food for their survival. She stands for the principle of unconditional love and nurturing support in both women and men. In the above mandala she is placed at the IC, the very bottom of the horoscope wheel, which in astrology is related to the foundation, the roots, and the family. In a chart, she represents how we receive and give nurturing and support.
Pallas Athene, daughter of Jupiter/Zeus and Goddess of Wisdom, generates mental and artistic creations from her mind. Sprung from the head of her father, she represents the principle of creative intelligence. Her place in the mandala is at the MC, the “head” of the chart, the uppermost point, which symbolizes one’s ambitions and one’s visible, socially useful accomplishments. In a chart, she represents our style of perception through which our creative mind operates, and also how we apply our creative intelligence.
Juno, or Hera, wife of Jupiter/Zeus is the Goddess of Marriage who fosters and sustains union with a partner. More generally, she symbolizes the principle of relatedness and commitment to another over time. In the mandala, she is placed at the Descendant, which in the horoscope wheel is the point that signifies how we relate to others in long-term partnerships, romantic or otherwise. In a chart, she represents our conditional love – all the elements we need in order to function in harmony with others and share our “earth walk” with them.
Vesta, the Goddess of the Hearth and Sacred Flame, was Zeus’ elder sister who never married. The archetypal Temple Priestess, she is a virgin in the original sense of being whole and complete unto herself. She represents the principle of spiritual focus and of devotion to following one’s calling. Placed in the mandala at the Ascendant, Vesta corresponds to the Self and the point of individuation. In a chart, she represents how we can transmute our sexual energy and channel it into our devotional practice or creativity.
It is important to note that as much as they are Goddesses, they play a significant role in the lives of both men and women, the same way that Pluto, Saturn and Neptune are significant to both genders and non-binary folks alike!
If you would like to know more about the Asteroid Goddesses in your own chart, feel free to schedule a reading with me and/or check out Demetra George and Douglas Bloch’s book.