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From tenth planet to dwarf planet, Eris upsets the apple cart

Eris and its moon. Surface details are fictional. The moon may be too small to be spherical. The Sun would be about magnitude -16.7 as seen from Eris during aphelion. (NASA)

• BY JULIE LOAR “Truly, Eris is a goddess to fear.” Euripides, Phoenician Women


luto was discovered in 1930 and was considered to be a planet for seventy-six years. Then, along came Eris. At first, she was heralded as the tenth planet, since she is larger than Pluto. But the net result was Pluto’s demotion, the IAU defining a planet for the first time, and the creation of a whole new category of objects in our Solar System—dwarf planets. Astronomers suspect that at least another forty known objects in the Solar System are dwarf planets, and estimate that another 200 dwarf planets may be found as the Kuiper Belt is explored. Eris is the largest known dwarf planet beyond Neptune and the ninth-largest body known to orbit the Sun directly. Eris was first identified in January 2005 by a Palomar Observatory based team led by astronomer Mike Brown. For awhile she was dubbed Xena, the warrior princess. Eris is also a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) native to a region of space beyond the Kuiper Belt known as the Scattered Disk. Eris and her moon Dysnomia are currently the most distant known objects in the Solar System apart from long-period comets and space probes. Unlike the eight official planets, whose orbits are fairly circular and lie roughly in the same plane as the Earth’s, Eris orbits above and below the other planets. Like

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Pluto, she can range from being a great distance from the Sun, to being almost as close to Sun as Neptune. The reason she had not been noticed before is most searches for large outer Solar System objects have concentrated on the ecliptic plane. In myth, Eris, pronounced Ee-ris, is a Greek goddess who was the personification of discord or strife. Sometimes she is the daughter of the powerful Olympians Zeus and Hera, and brother to Ares (Roman Mars), the god of war. Her name was translated into Latin as Discordia. Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia. Homer equated her with the violent war-goddess Enyo, but I believe this is misleading and misrepresents the true nature of Eris. The Greek poet Hesiod describes two very different goddesses named Eris, or strife, in his Works and Days. “So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her. But the other is blameworthy, and they are wholly different in nature.” The archaic definition of strife was earnest endeavor, which seems more like honest striving and healthy competition. It is also like the friction which promotes growth. Seen in this way, the principle of discord, or strife, is the motive force of growth which yields the pearl in the oyster. Eris appears with a different lineage in Hesiod's Theogony as the daughter of Nyx, “night,” where she and some of her siblings

were born without a father. There is a much richer mythic trail to follow here. Nyx, Nox in Roman translation, was the primordial goddess of the night, “a veil of dark mist drawn forth from the underworld which blotted out the shining light of the upper atmosphere.” A shadowy and primeval figure of great beauty and power, Nyx stood at the beginning of creation, making her one of the first beings to emerge from the void. In several fragmentary poems attributed to Orpheus, it is Nyx, rather than Chaos, who is the first principle of creation. In ancient art Nyx was portrayed as either a winged goddess, or charioteer, sometimes crowned with an aureole of dark mist. In the cosmogony of Hesiod she mated with Darkness Erebos and produced Light Aither and Day Hemera, which were the first components of the primeval universe. Alone, she gave birth to the three Fates, Sleep, Death, Strife (Eris), and Pain. The goddess Eris, daughter of Nyx, is depicted in art with black wings and was thought to haunt battle fields. Eris shares iconography with winged goddesses from other cultures. In Egypt, the vulture goddess Nekbet was one of the deities on the uraeus headdress of the pharaoh. The Celtic goddess Morrigan could take the form of a raven, a fierce war bird. Morrigan played a key role in the downfall of the hero Culcannon because he rejected her in her Crone aspect, revealing a lack of respect for feminine wisdom. The Celtic Branwen could assume the form of a white raven. The Norse goddess Freya either Subscribe or Order Books, DVDs and Much More!

Zeus appointed Paris, Prince of Troy, to judge. Hera offered him political power; Athena promised skill in battle; and Aphrodite tempted him with Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world; who was already married to Menelaus of Sparta. Paris chose to award the Golden apple apple to Aphrodite, One of Eris’s artifacts is the thereby dooming his brilliant, and fatally attractive, Eris, Greek goddess of discord Golden Apple of Discord. Athenian painting, ca. 575-525 BC city, and triggering the Trojan War. Anyone who saw the shining It is telling that the story is called The orb desired it. It’s not clear from mythic fragments how she obtained this priceless arti- Judgment of Paris. A human man is asked to fact, but in old stories around the world it choose the most “beautiful” from three powas always a goddess who conferred immor- tent feminine archetypes. In the older stories, it is mortals who must prove themtality, usually by virtue of an apple. Eris is best known for her role, in a plan selves, and magical gifts are bestowed by the hatched by Zeus, at the wedding of Peleus gods to those who are deemed worthy. Since and Thetus, who became parents of the hero Euripides, this story concerns a choice Achilles. Eris tossed her apple, marked “For among the gifts that each goddess embodies. the most beautiful one,” into the celebration. The subtext of their bribery of Paris was Kalliste is the ancient Greek word that was added later. Do we simply believe that the goddesses inscribed on the Golden Apple of Discord. In Greek, the word means “beautiful.” Natu- were vain and quarrelsome, or is there a rally, three mighty goddesses each thought deeper lesson contained in this myth? What they deserved the golden fruit: Aphrodite, are the intrinsic qualities of beauty, strength goddess of love; Hera, Queen of the Olym- and wisdom which these goddesses characpians; and Athena, grey-eyed goddess of terize? And, what is the cost of looking only at surface appearances? Most importantly, wisdom and war. wore a cloak of falcon feathers, enabling her to fly, or assumed the form of a falcon. The Greek Harpy was once a beautiful maiden called Virgin Eagle. Eris also bears a similarity to one of the oldest goddess archetypes. Six thousand years ago in Sumeria, Inanna was the goddess of love and gifts, but also of war.

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how does the emergence of Eris into our collective psyche impact how we look at feminine archetypes? The classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, made famous by Disney, was partly inspired by Eris’s role at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. In the Disney version, there are three good fairies, representing the three Fates, and one “bad” fairy who wasn’t invited to the christening. The fairy named Malificent cursed the princess, but the curse was altered from death to a sleep of one hundred years after she pricked her finger on a spinning wheel. The Fates were also daughters of Nyx and were the spinners and weavers, always the domain of the elder Crone. Eris in Astrology The orbital plane of Eris is so inclined that her journey around the Sun takes her above and below the orbits of the other planets, so she doesn’t actually move through all of the zodiacal constellations on the ecliptic plane. Symbolically, therefore, she moves beyond the realm of linear time. However, because the signs of the zodiac are measures of time and not space, corresponding to degrees of Celestial Longitude, Eris does visit each of them in turn, spending decades in each sign. Eris is 27% larger than Pluto, and filled with potent meaning, so it seems she deserves to be considered in the tool box of astrological interpretation. Eris, like Uranus,

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Number 80 • ATLANTIS


AIRSHIP Continued from Page 47

in locale? If the craft was built and flown in California, how does it end up being seen over the Midwest a few months later? I always found it especially interesting that there was a two-month break between the California sightings in 1896 and the sightings in the Midwest that following spring. Isn’t it possible that after initial test flights were completed, the inventor was ready to unveil his new airship in the most spectacular fashion imaginable by over-flying America? Of course, he couldn’t have flown it over the Rocky Mountains, especially in winter, but couldn’t he have had the craft dismantled, transported by train over the treacherous Rocky Mountains, and then reassembled in Nebraska to continue its mission of over-flying the country? Consider how the growing attention of the public would have made acquiring new investors simple once the craft landed on the east coast in front of a stunned media. If that’s the case, then what happened? Why no landing in New York or Washington to demonstrate to the entire world that the age of the airship had arrived? It’s uncertain. Perhaps the craft came to an ignoble end or

West Coast in the 1890’s? While at first this appears to be a valid consideration, it becomes less inexplicable once we consider the circumstances. The last half of the nineteenth century was a time not only of remarkable technological advances, but of tremendous competition as well, especially among inventors. The drive to be the first to the patent office was almost cutthroat in nature, with stolen ideas and even sabotage not unheard of. Additionally, they had to deal with pressure from investors eager to see a quick return on their money and, finally, they had the press—which could always be counted on to prematurely proclaim each new gadget a success or failure— to deal with. Considering that a single crash could easily scare away the necessary capital needed to continue working, it is understandable why this consortium would have wanted to work in secret. And if that was the case, then California would have been the perfect place to work: it was still remote enough to guarantee privacy and yet it was near enough to rail lines and a major seaport to make it ideal. Further, in that San Francisco boasted the largest number of millionaires of any city west of the Mississippi at the time, it was also a perfect locale from which to secure investors. As such, it isn’t difficult to Author’s conjecture of the airship’s possible design imagine that a reclusive and possibly even eccentric inventor might have been able not only to find the re- was struck by tragedy. A Kalamazoo paper quired investment capital to build and op- did, after all, report in an April, 1897, edition erate an airship, but also secure locales that the craft was seen to explode nearby; where the necessary facilities could be con- and since it was likely filled with highly flamstructed and operated in secrecy. Certainly, mable hydrogen, such a possibility cannot be doing so should have been no more difficult ruled out. to accomplish than it would have been for In any case, whatever became of the reBell or Edison—contemporaries of the era. It markable craft and its crew remain an unwas simply a matter of having the necessary solvable mystery, but it should, however, be equipment shipped from the east coast to enough to demonstrate that our knowledge San Francisco, where it could be assembled of the past may be less complete than we asin privacy and hidden from the general sume. Perhaps there are many such failures public and the media among the barren hills strewn across the sands of time of which we of central California. are unaware, and in that may be the most inBut if this mysterious inventor wished to triguing part of the entire mystery. And who work in secret, why then compromise that knows, perhaps one day, one of them will be secrecy by flying over the largest cities in accidentally discovered to demonstrate to California and appearing to thousands of wit- the world that technological genius is not nesses? Simple: the craft not only needed to confined to our era, but may have been a be test flown over long distances—making constant in humanity’s march toward the the chances of it being seen by multiple wit- stars; and that we once may have had our nesses almost guaranteed—but its appear- very own Archimedes under our very ance could have been intended to send a noses—or, in this case, over our very message to the vessel’s investor(s) that the heads—but we just failed to notice him. ship was coming along quite nicely. Clearly, J. Allan Danelek is an author from Lakeat some point the craft was going to need to wood, Colorado, who has been writing on be unveiled to the general public; perhaps the sightings of November and December of various paranormal and speculative science subjects since 2005. He can be contacted 1896 then were just a sneak preview. But then how do we account for the shift through his website at www.ourcurious SeeSee OurOur Great Great 8-page 8-page Catalog Catalog Beginning Beginning on on Page Page 74 74

ASTROLOGY Continued from Page 49 shakes up the status quo and seems to upset existing structures. She challenges us to look at issues that have been ignored. Eris represents what I think might be called the unpleasant truth. She forces our denial out into the open, pointing out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. Paris, the mortal in the myth, contemplated the powers of goddesses and chose physical beauty for his own selfish purposes. We are called to look beneath surface appearances and to find inner beauty, strength, and wisdom. This may require disturbing the delicate balance of a long-held illusion. Therefore, in a natal chart, the house Eris occupies may reveal our hidden gifts, which are brought into expression through “strife” or friction, creating a pearl. The orbit of Eris is long, twice as long as Pluto. Therefore, her influence by transit is multi-generational. Eris is currently at the furthest point from the Sun in her 557-year orbit, roughly three times farther than Pluto, so it’s likely our awareness of her will grow as she heads back around. Eris entered the astrological sign of Aries (not the constellation), early in 1927, in the midst of the Roaring Twenties. At present, Eris occupies 21 degrees of Aries and will remain in Aries until spring of 2048. Aries, ruled by Mars, is a good place for a goddess who likes to disrupt the status quo. In 1929, after a long battle, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution extended voting rights to women. (In 1948 women’s right to vote was introduced into international law by the UN.) Eris may in fact represent the Women’s Movement in modern times. Eris has changed the order of things in the solar system, and she is poised to ask some hard questions. The gods have placed us in the role of Paris. What systemic order needs to be deconstructed in our lives and nations? Where do we bring the hard questions to a conscious level? How do we come to praise the strife which Eris represents, as Hesiod has suggested? I believe the symbolism of Eris corresponds to the deeper meaning of Sleeping Beauty. The Divine Feminine has slumbered for thousands of years. Until the advent of the asteroid goddesses, there has been an imbalance of planetary gender. Only Venus and the Moon represented the feminine. But this is changing, and as Eris passes through Aries, her apples of discord will likely facilitate a chain reaction as feminine energy is once again arising. If I am correct, and Eris in Aries has helped to facilitate a reawakening of the feminine, then we have two more generations of this influence to experience, observe, and integrate. Hopefully, the human race will become more balanced, conscious, and humane. Number 80 • ATLANTIS


Atlantis Rising, Julie Loar article  
Atlantis Rising, Julie Loar article  

Julie Loar article in Atlantis Rising, March/April 2010. Eris in Aries