Nessus: The Buck Stops Here

Editor’s Note: It seemed that every bar, supermarket, streetcorner and subwoofer in town had Jacko blaring through the city over the weekend. The shockwave of MJ’s passing continues to linger throughout the world, his back catalogue wailing ubiquitously through the streets, honouring and healing. As Eric mentioned previously, Nessus was the most prominent planet (really, a centaur planet) in MJ’s death chart, an energy that relates to patterns of abuse: physical, psychological and sexual. With the Moon currently trine Nessus in mid-Aquarius, below is refresher on Nessus written by Eric Francis, republished from Next World Stories, our 2009 annual edition of Planet Waves.

— Cam Hassard
New York City

Nessus is a Centaur planet that assists with identifying and healing of abuse patterns. But on another level, it reveals the complex interplay of causes and effects; of stated motives, underlying motives and of outcomes. While it can address cycles of karma, the most poignant key concept comes from Melanie Reinhart: the buck stops here, indicating that in some situations it speaks to the conclusion of the karmic cycle involved: the truth revealed, the perpetrator caught, the situation resolved, responsibility taken.

Abduction of Deianira (1617-21). Painting by Guido Reni.
Abduction of Deianira (1617-21). Painting by Guido Reni.

Though it comes with a particularly nasty myth, its effect is not necessarily malefic; it can just as easily help with resolving difficult situations as it can be involved with their creation. Someone with a strong or well-aspected Nessus may have used their own struggle, sense of guilt and deep feeling of personal responsibility to evolve into a position of being truly helpful to others with many of the same issues. While a price was paid for this gift, few would doubt that it was worth it.

Nessus was the third-ever discovered Centaur (discovered in 1993) and was, notably, the first planet named at the recommendation of astrologers. Its orbital period is 122.5 years, and it crosses the orbits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

In mythology, Nessus is part of the cycle involving the deaths of Chiron, Pholus and himself. In this group of connected stories, Chiron, an immortal, was injured accidentally and dies by choice after a long struggle, during which he creates many drugs and remedies.

Pholus was killed instantly due to his idle curiosity, and his death seems to be the pointless consequence of his unconscious actions.

Nessus was killed by Heracles in revenge for having sex with Heracles’ wife Deianeira. He manages to kill Heracles in return using Deianeira as a kind of unwitting contract murderer whom he deceives into ending her husband’s life years later. Of the three, Nessus’ death is the most complex, which is noteworthy because a structural key to understanding the action or meaning of a Centaur planet is how the Centaur dies in the myth. Death, as in the tarot, represents the means of transformation.

Where Nessus is at work, you can look for a complex web of interrelation, a sequence of events where one thing leads to another but the pieces of the story don’t necessarily seem connected. You may have to connect the dots and see the pattern for yourself.

There may be some form of abuse of trust, and it may be subtle — until you see it clearly for what it is. An abuse pattern indicated by Nessus can be psychological, physical or sexual in nature; it can involve �potentially inappropriate’ [but not necessarily inappropriate] contact or behavior; and it can involve revenge. Nessus has themes that feel like the return of karma that may have an extremely long trajectory, like a boomerang that takes the long way around the world.

Actions have consequences, and once you notice those effects, you can almost always discover the source. Nessus is a very helpful diagnostic tool in handling situations with these themes of betrayal, deception, murder, sexual abuse and sexual infidelity. It works just as well to reveal something about where and how we’ve been hurt in the past, and how we’re likely to hurt others — and how we can heal that pattern and its resulting injuries.

Nessus refers to the power dynamics that underly any form of abuse — vitally important themes today in the western world, as we discover we were all abused as kids. Power and abuse dynamics always appear in relationships first, then they appear in one’s inner emotional patterning, and the relationship pattern of that lifetime. Nessus reminds us that physical abuse and psychological abuse work about the same way, and suggests that quite often psychological abuse is more insidious because so often we don’t know it’s happening, and we don’t necessarily think it happened. Nessus can reveal what is invisible in an abuse pattern.

Nessus can point to the circumstances that surround rape, incest, sexually-transmitted diseases and, moreover, the psychological and emotional relationship patterns that create these things. Put two charts together and you can see something about how these dynamics appear between people. Nessus can be used to investigate the lives of our parents and their relationships to others in the family. In most of our charts, Nessus is in a conjunction to another Centaur named Hylonome. This conjunction went on for quite a long time (extending from Taurus into Gemini) and represents the darker side of the 1950s and 1960s in which we were all suffering enormously as kids under the social changes of the era and our parents’ frequent inability to process the lives they were somehow forced to live or not live.

Abuse can be overt. But it can also involve being left unparented for long periods of time when you needed help, love or warmth; it can include being made to sleep in a crib in a separate room from your parents as an infant. It can involve the way you are spoken to, or violence you are exposed to in your environment.

Nessus can point to information, people and circumstances that help lift the veil. These patterns may relate to circumstances and emotions surrounding our mother’s pregnancy (particularly in situations involving adoption), feelings about sex that permeate the family, attitudes toward children, and the general psychological climate of the household.

In between 2005 and 2007, Chiron and Nessus were in a conjunction in Aquarius. The conjunction highlights the intentionally deceptive nature of the news media, particularly broadcast media. Contrary to popular perception, the media is used as a tool to manipulate public perception rather than inform the public, and studying this process at this time would make an interesting study of how Nessus functions, particularly in.

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