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Why Eris-Pluto synodic cycles are important ?
Dear reader, I must confess feeling slightly worried about the current state of the planet: corona virus, climate change, shortage of resources, global warming… Where are we heading, really ? If you indeed do share my concerns, you are welcome to continue reading my attempt to put things in perspective.
And for that, first I must get you acquainted with Eris, a dwarf planet recently discovered in the Kuiper Belt, the outskirts of our solar system, most of the time further away from the sun than Pluto (Figure 1). As such, Eris takes 559 years to orbit around the sun (compared to the 248 years of Pluto. Eris is slightly smaller than Pluto, but 27% more massive, making it one of the most sizeable object of the Kuiper Belt with Pluto. That’s all great and all but why should we care and what has Eris anything to do with today’s world crisis ?
Well, in astrology, the more a planet is distant from the sun the stronger and more fundamental seem to be its effects… That means that Eris his a heavy hitter, even more so than Pluto, god of the underworld ruling over matters such as life, death, transformation, regeneration and empowerment. In essence, Eris symbolise strife, struggle for survival, cleavage from oneness, discord and disharmony with natural order, and blind wrath of god as a result. If you remember your mythology classes, it turns an apple into a Trojan bloodshed: Eris amplifies and destroys blindly. The year of its discovery coincided with the 2004 tsunami and since then, natural disasters and global warming have consistently made the headline of our newspapers. And noteworthily, in 2020, when the corona virus overflew humanity, Pluto was forming a square aspect with Eris, thus indicating that Pluto and Eris may likely be at the core of today’s concern.
So let’s gain some perspective and see what these two planets are up to… One way to do it is to explore their current synodic cycle: that is, to explore what happened since their last conjunction (which occurred in December 1756), as well as during their subsequent major aspects in order to learn a pattern. Please note that as Eris and Pluto both move very slowly, their effects and translations into world events extend a couple of years before and after the mentioned exact dates of the investigated pattern.
Exploring the current Eris-Pluto synodic cycle.
Let’s start with their last conjunction, the start of the synodic cycle, 266 years ago in December 1756 (Figure 2). According to wikipedia, « The 1750s was a pioneering decade. Waves of settlers flooded the New World (specifically the Americas) in hopes of re-establishing life away from European control, and electricity was a field of novelty that had yet to be merged with the studies of chemistry and engineering. Numerous discoveries of the 1750s forged the basis for contemporary scientific consensus ». We can witness the effect of Pluto conjunct Eris, the beginning of the synodic cycle: empowerment through scientific progress, unravelling secrets of nature, and planting the seed of « possessing and controlling the laws of nature » rather than living in harmony with it. As such, the subsequent destruction of native Americans by gun empowered settlers is a prime manifestation of this seed.
A century later, Pluto was 60° away from Eris, forming a sextile (Aug 1855 – Apr 1859). Again, through wikipedia, « It was a very turbulent decade, as wars such as the Crimean War, shifted and shook European politics, as well as the expansion of colonisation towards the Far East, which also sparked conflicts like the Second Opium War. In the meantime, the United States saw its peak on mass migration to the American West, that particularly made the nation experience an economic boom, as well as a rapidly increasing population. ». Also relevant during this timeframe is the publication of « On the origin of species » by Charles Darwin in 1859 and the meeting of Chief Seattle with U.S. president likely in 1855 and the controversial letter that resulted mentioning how the connection with nature has been lost. Nature is now view as obeying the rule of « survival of the fittest », colonisation was at its peak. In a nutshell, the Eris – Pluto seed planted a century ago has grown. Relevant aspects to Pluto and Eris during this timeframe include Pluto conjunct the North Node (new field of experiences pertaining to power plays) as well as the mean black moon opposing Eris, accentuating perhaps the worldwide impression that « god is dead » and that what’s only left is « survival of the fittest » (Figure 3, left).
Roughly 50 years later, Eris is overcoming Pluto by a square aspect (Sep1907 – May1911; Figure 3). Mass production of the internal combustion engine has started and the militarisation of Europe reaches its peak. Again in wikipedia, « The conservative lifestyles during the first half of the decade, as well as the legacy of military alliances, were forever changed by the assassination, on June 28, 1914, of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The murder triggered a chain of events in which, within 33 days, World War I (WWI) broke out in Europe on August 1, 1914. ». We easily can witness the ingredient of Pluto (murder, transformation), Eris (consumption of natural resources with the car industry, discord, strife and competition between nation, amplification of an assassination event into a global carnage), and the square aspect: tension and rigidities suddenly released, trench warfare. Noteworthily, the Spanish flu outbreak started in 1914. Interestingly, Eris and Pluto square seems to have contributed more to the build-up of WWI (fear of being over-powered leading to militarisation) rather than the actual trigger of events in June 1914 that may have something to do with Ixion conjunct South Node as well as Pluto reaching summer solstice.
Moving on to the first trine aspect. It occurred during Oct. 1940 and Jun. 1943 (Figure 4, left). Hopefully this timeframe needs no detailed reminder: concentration camps, smooth genocide and blind extermination, making of the atomic bomb, WWII…. A prime reminder that a trine is not always a « great » aspect. Yet Pluto and Eris did smoothly collaborate, to say the least. Relevant aspects that occurred during this timeframe are Eris conjunct South Node opposing Ixion conjunct North Node facilitated by Pluto. An essential component of Ixion being not learning of your previous mistakes and repeating the most horrendous behaviours, this configuration fits the events.
Now on to the pivotal half of the synodic cycle. One could argue it started with the first quindecile aspect between Eris and Pluto (Nov 1969 – Aug 1971), followed by their opposition (Nov. 1976 – Aug. 1978; Figure 4, right) and second quindecile aspect (Nov 1983 – Sep 1984). Notable events in these time periods include the first commercial preprocessor (1971), the first petroleum shock (1973). Again, from wikipedia, « historians have increasingly portrayed the 1970s as a “pivot of change” in world history, focusing especially on the economic upheavals[ that followed the end of the postwar economic boom. » … « Industrialised countries experienced an economic recession due to an oil crisis » … « The crisis saw the first instance of stagflation » … « Ecology, decolonisation, concerns for the world ». Not to mention the apogee of the cold war. As for the beginning of the 80s’, these years are notorious for witnessing arguably the largest population growth n human history as well as the emergence of AIDS (discovery of the retrovirus in 1983). Eris and Pluto’s synodic cycle have reached maturity, and is displayed in full force to the world. Concerns arise, de-militarisation and de-colonisation are initiated. Pacific movements clashes with our fear of losing power. Population growth and pandemics, quiet actors at the beginning of the cycle are now starting to take center stage. Noteworthy is Neptune trining Eris and in sextile with Pluto, easing up the Pluto-Eris opposition by creating a longing for more idealised and soul fulfilling humanity.
The second trine between Eris and Pluto occurred within Feb 2003 – Oct 2004 (Figure 5, left): We can see Eris and Pluto again working effortlessly together as in the first trine, this time with some lesson learnt from the previous aspects. The West watches the economic growth of the East with dual concerns: the fear of losing power and the fear of its ecological impact while the East sees it as a rightful privilege after centuries of colonisation. The U.S.A. smoothly invades Iraq with some allies, despite the massive disapprobation of the international community. Climate change reaches a worldwide acceptance status with the help of Al Gore, and ecological concerns skyrocket as one of the biggest tsunami in recorded history decimates 200,000+ people in December 2004. Interestingly, during this timeframe, the existence of Eris was first noticed at the outskirts of our solar system, which eventually caused the destitution of Pluto as a bona-fide planet: Pluto is now classified as a dwarf planet. Yet, through Eris scientific (re-)discovery, humanity is now empowered to collectively integrate Eris’ archetype into its consciousness, one of the means being astrology. Relevant aspects of this area may be the Pluto-Quaoar conjunction prompting us to adopt new global systems (like the Kyoto protocol enforced in early 2005), as well as Eris square Chiron challenging our relationship to nature and its need to heal.
Finally, we are reaching the last major aspect of the current Eris – Pluto synodic cycle that humankind witnessed: the square aspect that took place between Jan 2020 – Oct 2021 (Figure 5, right). A worldwide pandemic challenging us to transform and showing us our shortcomings to react as one unit in the face of adversity. Cleavage and discord tainted our response to a vaccine that transforms us, countries were faced with the seemingly impossible dilemma: economic growth or saving lives. We are now really starting to feel that a change is needed and that a system has reached its limits… We are challenged to take action. The second square of Eris and Pluto is in full swing. It is complemented by a Pluto – Sedna trine, with the opportunity to transform notes of victimhood into self-responsibility by tuning in into our multi-dimensional nature and accepting to serve to greater good.
Understanding what is at stake.
Now that we have linked the cornerstones of the cycle with historical events, combined with the fact that astrological research now provides us with a clear delineation of both Eris and Pluto, we can start to encompass the scope of what is happening. It is evident, both from the symbolism of Eris and Pluto as well as the historical events they are linked to, that humanity has a harsh lesson to learn. That of the consequences of seizing control over nature and transforming the natural order. A lesson of humility.
At the beginning of the cycle, humanity empowered by science, and within the context of competition went all out gun blazing. Those of us not believing in progress were wiped out or submitted. This lead us to a stalemate on the verge of total destruction (the cold war), empowered with the atomic bomb and divided, with natural resources running very scarce. We are now challenged to transform to avoid unprecedented ecological crisis. As astrology suggests, the second half of a cycle is an outward to inward process. So perhaps, we should now seek to transform ourselves, and especially our fears and inner conflicts… Realise that we are one with nature, one with humanity, and that we need to empower people who promote peace, harmony with nature as well as embracing our collective oneness.
Let’s have a look at the chart of the beginning of the synodic cycle between Eris and Pluto (figure 1) to learn more. We notice in 1756 that their conjunction squared the conjunction of Uranus and Sedna, thus suggesting that during this cycle, scientific innovations that benefit mankind (Uranus – Sedna) may be challenged by our will to possess and to control nature, as well as to outlast our neighbour. Eris and Pluto conjunction also trined Orcus and Varuna, perhaps denoting a propensity to alienate and distort (Orcus) intellectual and moral order (Varuna), this naturally fuelling chaos and power urges. Typical examples are statements such as: « if we don’t take it, they will », or « human are on top of the food chain and natural rulers of the planet », or the notion of race, « scientifically » proven at the beginning of 20th century, that justified holocaust and eugenics (still applied to the animal and plant kingdom as of today, by the way).
But perhaps the most telling aspect of the Pluto – Eris conjunction is the quindecile aspect with the mean black moon. The quindecile aspect denotes « the point where we may become separated from reality », and the mean black moon to me indicates the eviction from god’s garden, the loss of our divine inheritance as well as our karmic past experiences. Thus the lesson of the cycle may be read: what happens when we forget about oneness and karma, while taking over nature and other human beings using scientific innovation that are supposed to serve mankind and justifying it with our alienated minds. What happens ? Well, we will find out in 2115 when the cycle ends. Let’s hope we don’t create for ourselves too harsh a lesson.
Book: « Discovering Eris », by Keiron Le Grice
Book: « The book of Pluto », by Steven Forrest
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_millennium for historical events
For those of you curious to know how Eris can impact you as an individual, you can read my next article or book an astrological reading.