In 1986 astrologer Demetra George published a book on Asteroid Goddesses and how to work with them in birth charts. Demetra George later became a worldwide known astrologer, not only because of her work on asteroids and mythology, but mostly because of her tremendous attributions in the work of translating ancient Greek texts on astrology and bringing back knowledge that was forgotten. Every astrologer working with ancient techniques and/or asteroids is able to do so because of her. Astrology has always been of interest to me. However, it was only after attending an online workshop of Demetra George that I knew I had found a calling. This woman is amazing and she is of tremendous inspiration to me.
Back to the book. Asteroid Goddesses. It was published in the eighties. Nowadays most astrologers are female, but that’s only since the last few decades. For thousands of years astrology was practiced mostly by men. And it also were mostly men that visited astrologers. This changed in the eighteenth century when more women started to visit astrologers, and in the twentieth century when more women started to practice astrology.
So, astrology has been dominated by men for thousands of years. And that’s clearly visible, in several ways. I won’t name all of them. But the most prominent one must be the fact that out of the ten planetary bodies that most astrologers work with, only two are feminine and the other eight are masculine. Even when we discount the later discovered modern planetary bodies (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), and we only focus on the bodies that are visible to the naked eye and have been used in ancient times, the masculine is still far more prominent. The Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are considered masculine. Mercury is sometimes to be considered neutral (or in this day maybe queer); only in energetic ways though, because Mercury was associated with the God Mercury (Roman) and Hermes (Greek) and in the end a masculine archetype. These masculine planetary bodies are associated with Gods and archetypes in different ways. The Sun is the Wise and bringer of Life, Mercury the Messenger and Merchant, Mars the Soldier or God of War, Jupiter the Sage and bringer of Luck, and Saturn the Father or Lord of Karma and Time. There are only two planetary bodies left: The Moon and Venus. These are the feminine bodies. The Moon is seen as the Mother. Venus is associated with Aphrodite and is the Lover. So, we can clearly see what qualities and archetypes have been associated with different genders throughout the ages. Wisdom, strength, power, trades, ruling; these were given to men. Even in the heavens above, women could only choose from two roles: the one of the mother and the one of the mistress.
For thousands of years astrologers have worked with the seven planetary bodies that were visible to the naked eye. With the development of the telescope, in 1781 Uranus was discovered. Not long after that Neptune was discovered and about a century later Pluto. These three planetary bodies were named after Gods. Apparently no astronomer felt the urge to balance the scales a bit. Between 1800 and 1808 four asteroids were discovered and they were named after Goddesses. But well, the asteroids were considered to be ‘only rocks and dust’. More than two centuries later we now know of the existence of thousands of asteroids. All these asteroids probably were one single planet that somehow got scattered into bigger and smaller parts. (Fun fact, in 2006 the asteroid Ceres got promoted to dwarf planet by astronomers. While Pluto got demoted from planet to dwarf planet. Which is also interesting if you now about their intertwined mythological stories…)
The first asteroid that was discovered is named Ceres. Ceres is one of the most important Goddesses of ancient Roman times. Ceres is a Mother Goddess and she is strongly connected to the earth and agriculture. She is the older sister of Jupiter/Zeus. Together with him she had a daughter (Proserpine). I find it amazing that the most important female astrologer of our times who revived so many ancient Greek texts that were lost since the renaissance and who played a major role in introducing the asteroids into astrology is named Demetra; because the Greek equivalent of the Roman Ceres is named Demeter. The second asteroid that was discovered was named Pallas; the Goddess better known as Athene and in ancient Rome as Minerva. Athene is known for her wisdom. She remained a virgin throughout her life; claiming a role equal to men instead of as their mistress. She wanted to be seen for her knowledge, not for her looks. And then there are Vesta and Juno. Vesta also known as Hestia is the Goddess of and guardian of the sacred fire. She is the Goddess of the priestesses that in ancient times guarded the fires in temples. She was called upon in ritualistic and sacrificial practices. Juno or Hera is the wife of Jupiter/Zeus. Juno is a queen, protector of women and children and advisor. Juno is fierce and didn’t easily accept Jupiters misbehavior cheating on her. By patriarchy she became depicted as a bitter angry woman, though in early days she was known as an inspiration and powerful queen standing up for herself.
After the discovery of these four major asteroids, many more smaller asteroids have been discovered. We have Goddesses from ancient Greek and Roman times like Artemis / Diana that we can now connect with in our birth charts. We also find ancient Egyptian Goddesses like Isis, Hathor and Nephthys in the heavens above. I was also very happy to learn that not only Goddesses from the west are part of the asteroids, but Goddesses from the east too; like Lakshmi for example.
We can work with the asteroids in birth charts. I won’t go too much into the details in this article because then this would become a rather technical article. The point is, the four major asteroids are given great importance by Demetra George and other astrologers. They don’t hold a similar position as the planetary bodies, but can be of great influence. The minor asteroids are only taken into account in readings when their placement is significant and highly unique (one degree range conjunctions or oppositions for example, which is unlikely to occur as the wheel holds 360 degrees). My passion for studying the asteroids greatly sparked when I discovered that Pallas is exactly conjunct my MC (my career), Isis is exactly conjunct my IC (my roots) and Kali is exactly conjunct my Sun (how I’m supposed to shine) which is placed in the house of religion and spirituality. As a teenager I have had countless of dreams of Isis, scorpions (protectors of Isis and those on her side) and ancient Egypt. The dreams stopped when my parents separated and my violent father moved out of the house. When I visited Philae Temple (one of the most important and best preserved temples of Isis) in my twenties in Egypt it felt like coming home. Only since I started practicing yoga I’ve become more interested in the mythologies rooted in India. The first time I saw an image of Kali I felt great love because of the beauty and power she radiates, not knowing anything about her. Since then I’ve been seeking connection with her through meditation and ritual. Only much later I discovered the conjunction in my chart. I feel love for all deities, feminine and masculine, as they all tell our stories. But I have to say that some hold dear places in my heart. And that is especially true for Isis and Kali. Isis has great magical powers. She was able to claim and sustain a position equal and at times higher to men in the Egyptian heavens. Known as the partner of Osiris, bringing him back from the dead. She’s known for her healing powers. And she’s known as a force not the mess with, not afraid to bring suffering if one deserves it. Isis is one of the very few Goddesses of ancient Egypt that was still secretly honored in the Middle Ages. Kali is to most known as the Goddess of death and destruction. I would say she’s a Goddess of discrimination and wisdom: she holds up mirrors and shows you who you are. No need to be afraid if you are honest. She’s very loving. She’s Mother Nature. Both Isis and Kali are Mothers to me and they are in fact Mother Goddesses both in their own ways. Lastly, I identify with Pallas in many ways. When it comes to Greek mythology Athene and Artemis always were my favorite Goddesses because of their independence and chosen virginity. Both were protectors of women in their own ways. Artemis was closely connected to nature. Athene to wisdom and healing practices. I’m not a virgin and don’t wish to be celibate; after all I’m Taurus rising so pleasing my senses is vital to me, being ruled by Venus I love sex too much. But I do identify with Athene in that I don’t like to approached as a lust object and that I do want to be acknowledged for my knowledge and capabilities. I do not easily jump between the sheets with someone and have no issue being on my own. All this is also something I want to strive for in a more transpersonal way. All women are more than mothers or lovers. Women are equally smart as they are beautiful. Their beauty, and yes also nudity, is allowed to be celebrated without turning it into porn. Their wisdom is allowed to be celebrated without turning them into old single hags. Apparently the Pallas archetype has something to to with my career, or maybe future career. I’m not completely sure yet exactly how the stories of the three Goddesses Isis, Kali and Pallas play out or will play out in my life.
So the asteroids were discovered and named after Goddesses. It makes me a little angry that planets were given to Gods and asteroids to Goddesses. However, the feminine can work in subtle and brilliant ways; ‘us women don’t need giant planets’. The asteroids are highly capable in executing their power. The discovery of the asteroids coincided with the upraise of the first feminist movements. And when we now look back at the birth charts of leaders of these movements we see that the asteroids are significantly placed in their charts. We also see it in current times, in the charts of women and men fighting for equality. Somehow, these asteroids mostly seem to pop up in significant ways in the charts of feminists, people working on women’s health, but also in charts of people suffering from gender inequality or even abuse and such. I think it’s no coincidence that the asteroids were discovered when women reclaimed their voices in the beginning of the nineteenth century. It’s certainly no coincidence that female hippie astrologers started working with them in the late seventies and eighties. And from that point on, certainly with the publishing of Demetra’s book, the feminist movement in astrology started.
The Goddesses now have voices in our charts. We don’t solely have to identify with the Mother and the Lover anymore. There is also the Warrior, The Priestess, the Wise, etc. The stories of the Goddesses help us to place ourselves in the larger schemes of things, by recognizing ourselves in the stories of the asteroid Goddesses that have a prominent position in our chart. When these Goddesses are significantly placed, the details of our own stories often correlate with their mythic dramas.
I plan on writing more in depth articles on the major asteroid Goddesses (Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and Juno) and maybe also some articles on other Goddesses; and want to give examples on how they are visible in birth charts and correlate to life stories here on earth. So keep checking in with me if you are curious. All the information on the history of the asteroids and the four major asteroids in this article comes from Demetra’s workshops, books and podcasts. I also highly recommend checking out her work if you want to learn more on the asteroid Goddesses.