The Orius New Moon

Dear Friend and Reader:

This past Monday, the Sagittarius New Moon was conjunct a newly discovered centaur planet called Orius. The Moon-Sun conjunction was to the exact degree, which is usually a good moment to suss out some clues regarding what the new point is about. Technically called (330836) Orius, it was discovered on April 25, 2009, and named only recently.

A centaur is a Chiron-like planet, distinct for being smallish, and with an inclined path that crosses the orbits of other planets. They are much further from the Sun than asteroids, but are still inner Solar System objects, many with orbits going inside Saturn’s realm and only rarely extending beyond Neptune. All centaurs focus or intensify experience, are related to healing processes and bring what Carl Jung called shadow material to the surface. If used consciously, they are some of the best creative fuel available.

Orius was discovered at 3+ Scorpio, exactly opposite the Chiron discovery degree. It has an orbit of just over 100 years, so it has another close resonance with Chiron, whose orbit is just over 50 years. I prefer to publish something about these points before a potentially once-in-a-lifetime event such as a New Moon conjunct the new discovery, but this time I got going on my research the weekend before it happened. [To read an article on how newly-discovered minor planets are delineated, check this PDF.]

I had some excellent help on the project. At one end of Europe, in Wales, Tracy Delaney, the programmer and author of (recently rated the best astrology secret on the web), went to work researching the charts in which this point appears, and helping come up with a delineation. At the other end of Europe, in Finland, Kirsti Melto, a minor planet researcher and Planet Waves blogger, began searching for personal and event charts connected to Orius.

Orius turned up as a prominent influence in the charts of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (who both have it conjunct Eris and the Moon), Pablo Picasso, James Dean, French surrealist poet Arthur Rimbaud, American rock star and surrealist poet Jim Morrison (who said he was the reincarnation of Rimbaud), Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. In many ways their lives have defined eras of history, taking their professional lives to the level of profound cultural contribution.

All of these men are or were unusually influential people — bold innovators, each of whom changed the world in some significant way, all of whom as young men. Note, no women came up on our rapid survey, but that sometimes happens because astrology birth databases often have far fewer women than men. That is an issue that needs to be addressed.

This new centaur planet is also prominent in the life history of Malcolm X, and one of my very favorite Supreme Court decisions, the one that bans politicians from suing newspapers for libel, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Orius seems to have an affinity for top-notch iconoclastic art, social justice and activists who don’t take any bullshit.

Orius also turned up in the chart of Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, who reunified the country after many decades under the Apartheid regime. Orius seems to have an affinity for the Moon and Jupiter in the charts of influential people; in Mandela’s chart Jupiter is opposing it (accurate to a tiny fraction of a degree) and many other planets are in aspect to it.

The forced separation of blacks and whites in South Africa was one of the great blights on the world, and one of the most important political issues of the 1970s and early 1980s. Apartheid was largely brought down by activists who demanded that one institution after the next — banks, universities, corporations, pension funds, cities, towns, states, countries, whatever — divest their funds from anyone doing business with South Africa.

After being enriched for decades by numerous capitalist entities, Apartheid was, under public pressure, finally starved of money and died not a day too soon.

Through all of this, South Africa’s most compelling leader, Nelson Mandela, was in prison, first on Robben Island, then Pollsmoor Prison, then Victor Verster Prison. Under global pressure he was finally released in 1990. He served as president of the African National Congress from 1991 to 1997, and as president of South Africa from May 1994 through June 1999.

It is fair to say that he has become one of the most respected men of our extended era of history, for his contribution to peace, for his wisdom and compassion and for his willingness to endure hardship and oppression. First arrested in 1962, he served nearly a third of his long life in prison, much of it doing hard labor and in solitary confinement. While at Robben Island, he was permitted one letter and one visitor every six months.

Throughout that time, he and his fellow inmates took part in work and hunger strikes as part of the anti-Apartheid struggle.

Planet Waves copy editor and horoscope coordinator Jessica Keet grew up in South Africa until she was 23. “I for sure knew nothing of the apartheid struggle or not in depth anyway,” she said Thursday — something I had not considered, that young caucasian people were not told what was going on around them.

But still as a schoolgirl she remembers writing FREE MANDELA on her pencil case. She admired Mandela in part because “he came out of 27 years in jail with no trace of bitterness whatsoever.”

“In a way I had never quite comprehended before, I realized the role I could play in court and the possibilities before me as a defendant,” he said in 1994, describing how he handled his trial.

“I was the symbol of justice in the court of the oppressor, the representative of the great ideals of freedom, fairness and democracy in a society that dishonoured those virtues. I realized then and there that I could carry on the fight even in the fortress of the enemy.”

In his inaugural speech the same year, he said, “The task at hand will not be easy. But you have mandated us to change South Africa from a country in which the majority lived with little hope, to one in which they can live and work with dignity, with a sense of self-esteem and confidence in the future.”

Nelson Mandela’s natal chart is noteworthy mostly for its sensitivity. He was born with the Sun in Cancer, the Moon in Scorpio and Eris in late Pisces. There are not a lot of people left on the planet who have Eris in Pisces (nearly everyone has it in Aries, where it still is today).

Also in Cancer is a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto, one of my favorite pairings, which I call the Golden Thread aspect. It gives a thirst for social justice as well as the ability to translate fluently among and between any spiritual or religious paths. Jupiter and Pluto were opposed by Orius, which distinguished Mandela as an innovator. Mars in Libra square that alignment illustrates a fighting spirit, but done in a beautiful way, in the spirit of Libra.

In the mix (also in Libra, very closely square Jupiter and Orius) is one of the first-discovered centaurs, called Asbolus, which I describe as the survivor. Its name means carbon dust, and people with strong Asbolus in their charts seem able to withstand very nearly any adversity, dust themselves off and get on with their lives.

Nelson Mandela, with his wife, Winnie, walks to freedom after 27 years in prison on Feb. 11, 1990, in Cape Town.

This arrangement, finally, is squared by a Chiron-Nessus conjunction, in Aries, right near the Aries Point. Mandela had a lot of centaurs working with his Mars, Jupiter and Pluto. No wonder he was a powerhouse, and one who seemed to understand everyone and everything.

He also has clusters of planets in Gemini and Leo, which describe how articulate, self-aware and strong he was — and which hint that his wisdom was coming from someplace long ago and far away.

We might say that the world has lost a beautiful soul in Nelson Mandela, though it’s more appropriate to say that such a person came here, and was not afraid to do his bit.

At some point in the 1990s, a quotation from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love was incorrectly attributed to Mandela, supposedly as part of his inaugural address. Williamson has said she has no idea where the story came from, though in the end, these words always seem to evoke the spirit of Nelson Mandela and I think they always will.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So be it.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, #978 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You are experiencing far too much anxiety for your own good. Worrying will not get the job done, besides which, you cannot rightly expect anything much to resolve itself with the planets in their current state. So please stop worrying. You are only wasting precious energy you could be allocating to sitting under a tree or hiding in the back of your favorite cafe scribbling in your notebook. I can assure you that as the next four weeks progress, each issue you are dealing with will resolve itself one by one. This will not be by magic, but miracles that arise from love, not fear.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Ideas, revelations, solutions and numerous projects are flying circles around your head like jetliners around LAX. I suggest you let them land one at a time. No matter what you feel, you can’t actually do more than one thing at once. But you can do one thing at a time extremely effectively, and you can do it with a level of mastery quite beyond your years or experience. In fact the current moment is an opportunity to do some of the best work of your life. So keep burning the midnight oil.


Gemini (May 20-June 21) — When my grandfather was working as a letter carrier in New York City, he was approached by a colleague with an idea: each would put up about $50 and they would have a pushcart where they would sell bagels with cream cheese, filled with crushed nuts. My grandfather thought it was too risky to get involved. The business became Chock Full o’ Nuts, and unfortunately, I am not one of its heirs. There really is no telling what’s a potentially lucrative venture in our time in history, but for your part, it needs to be more than a good idea. You must set out to make your fortunes not just in something you think will work, but in what you know will serve the community in a vital way that depends on your unique constellation of talents. You know it’s possible.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — There are two potent influences working in your solar chart this week. One is giving you a profound sense of certainty; the other, a troubling sense of doubt. You may wonder how these two factors can coexist simultaneously. You may wonder which to listen to; indeed, which is the truth. But I suggest you not rush or push for an answer. You need to look at the alternatives you face. Moreover, you need to understand the source of your doubts about yourself. When you catch a glimpse of that factor, a lot of things will make a lot more sense.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — A relationship is looking for some extra space within your household or living space. This may account for the pressure you’re feeling. It’s not enough to clear things up on the mental or emotional levels; the physical plane needs a lot of attention these days, and in your life right now that means freeing up a room or finding a space to spend time where there is enough room to have some freedom and uninterrupted time. The emotional challenges still persist — but will be easier in a clean, well-lighted place.


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — In Western culture only rarely do we seem to get beyond the equation “you are what you do.” But how far from the truth is that? Yes, doing can exist on several levels, for example, as affirmation of what you know, or denial of it. You seem intent to make your reputation in the world and you are poised to succeed in a very big way. You have likely heard hints or seen glimpses of what is possible, and you may be wondering whether you deserve the recognition, the privilege and the authority that you feel coming. There is no question here. Remember what you’ve endured, stay close to the raw emotional vulnerability that unleashed your potential, and remember that you’ve managed to keep your faith up till the moment it needs you most.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There are certain people who when some worldly power is vested in them immediately strive to establish their position and make all kinds of changes. That would be ill advised right now. I suggest you take an approach that combines “wait and see” with the kind of leadership that stays focused on maintaining some continuity for a while. As recent events have demonstrated you don’t know everything and people are not going to tell you everything. Eventually you’ll find out everything you need to know but the operative word is eventually. So take your time to find out who your real allies are and solve important problems as they arise.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Mercury recently making its way across Scorpio while so much else was currently happening in that sign is offering you a chance to learn quite a lot about the people closest to you, and to serve a function in their healing process. But healing is always a mutual experience, and a mutual reward. The law of grace demonstrates (among other things) that we can actually give what we don’t have, and yet it’s always a good idea to receive that very gift while we’re passing it on. What you have to offer these days is a measure of solidity, clarity and fullness that may have proven elusive in recent days. You’re in a great position to learn something from yourself.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Imagine you’re standing between two mirrors. You want to see the front of you and the back of you at the same time. But you’re in the way, no matter how you do it, and you’re starting to get frustrated. What would happen if you got out of the way and allowed the mirrors to reflect one another? That would open up a seemingly infinite space, into which you could see in two distinct directions. Now, observe that this is all a metaphor. The ‘body’ is your ego consciousness; your sense of ‘I’. The mirrors may be two philosophies, two situations, two people, or most likely of all, your ongoing confrontation between the past and the future. If you get out of the way, they can have an authentic dialog. You’ll be able to make subtle adjustments and see their perspectives accurately. You’ll be able to feel your way down the two time tunnels, and sense which is the most authentically you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — When the rewards for all your hard work the past couple of years arrive they’re unlikely to be quite what you were expecting. Often the personal benefit of being in service is the opportunity to be of even greater service. So get used to it. Is this not exactly what you’ve been asking the universe for? What’s worth noting is that you’re being called upon to help in ways that only you can. You’ve built a reputation to a great extent on this fact alone. Success is no longer a matter of whether you fit in; it’s a matter of being entirely willing to play your precise role on the great stage of life. As such you can indulge fully in the experience; you can take every advantage that comes to you; you can afford to take a few risks.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Aquarians share a reputation, whether deserved or not, for being some of the most revolutionary people in the world, though also some of the most practical. I would encourage you not to compromise and think you have to be one way or the other right now. It turns out that the most innovative choice you can make or idea you can create has enormous practical value that will only increase with time. Yet it’s true that you need to cast aside all your brittle beliefs about what is possible or impossible, and go straight for what you know you want, or better still, what you know must be. Then, make it so.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — People are watching, and noticing. Let’s just say that invisible is the last word I would use to describe your condition right now. So make your comments, your actions and your decisions count. The main risk you face is burning out on your own energy, so pace yourself, and before you do anything, ask if it really needs to be done, and what else might be more important. It may well be impossible to balance what seem to be personal needs against professional ones, but at the moment, professional is very, very personal.

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