Dwarf Planets – Eris, Haumea, and Makemake
Introduction to the Astrological meanings of Eris, Haumea, and Makemake
With the publication of this article, June Solstice 2016 – Dwarf Planets Ceres and Eris are conjunct at 23 Aries, next to Uranus, and opposing Haumea at 22 Libra. Perhaps, this an opportune time to further discuss the presence of these mysterious bodies and stimulate interest for further research.
An important Note:
With most of the Dwarf Planets and contenders being only recently discovered (Haumea, Eris, Sedna and Makemake in 2003 – 2005), and given their extreme distance and slow motion around the Sun (with Eris taking more than 560 years to complete a full cycle around the zodiac), a lot more time is required to research and validate their astrological significance and influence. We can rely on the myth stories related to their names as an initial point of reference, but we should be careful asserting decisive definitions when so much remains to be revealed. We hope however, that you will feel inspired to place them in your charts and spend time researching them.They certainly emerged into our consciousness at the dawn of this new millennia for important evolutionary reasons.
We know the Dwarfs mark an important turning point already, for aside from Eris, the newly discovered bodies were not named after Roman Gods as it was tradition, but after Gods from indigenous cultures around the Pacific – Haumea, a Hawaiian Goddess, mother of Pele the volcano Goddess, Makemake after the Creation God of the egg from the Rapa Nui culture of Easter Islands, and Dwarf contender Sedna, after the Inuit Goddess living at the bottom of the Arctic ocean. While there may be more to these planets than their associated myth, we know that there are no coincidences, and must pay attention to this twist of event.
Enjoy these facts, reflections, and stories about the Dwarf Planets.
A Dwarf Planet is a relatively new definition, dating August 24, 2006, describing a a spherical celestial body revolving about the sun, similar to a planet but not large enough to gravitationally clear its orbital region of mostor all other celestial bodies.
The list of established Dwarf Planets
- Ceres ⚳
- Pluto ♇
2,326 km (diameter)
560.9 years (orbit)
(Scattered Disk, beyond Kuiper belt)
discovered on January 5, 2005. Called the “tenth planet” in media reports. Accepted by the IAU as a dwarf planet on September 13, 2006.
950 km (diameter)
4.6 years (Orbit)
(Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter)
discovered on January 1, 1801. Considered a planet for half a century before reclassification as an asteroid (1860). Accepted as a dwarf planet by the IAU on September 13, 2006.
2,372 km (diameter)
246.0 years (orbit)
(Kuiper belt beyond Neptune)
discovered on February 18, 1930. Classified as a planet for 76 years. Reclassified as a dwarf planet by the IAU on August 24, 2006.
1,960 km (equatorial Diameter – Haumea is egg shaped)
283.3 years (orbit)
(Kuiper belt beyond Neptune)
Discovered on December 28, 2004. Accepted by the IAU as a dwarf planet on September 17, 2008.
1,434 km (diameter)
309.9 years (orbit)
(Kuiper belt beyond Neptune)
Discovered on March 31, 2005. Accepted by the IAU as a dwarf planet on July 11, 2008.
11408 years (orbit)
Sedna’s orbit is highly elliptical: it will stay 43 years in Gemini (from 2023 to 2066), but had been about 1420 years in Sagittarius (from 1439 BC to 021 BC). Sedna was discovered on Nov 14, 2003.
In comparison, the Moon diameter is 3474 km (2159 miles).
ERIS’s demotion Plan of Pluto a Success
Upon discovering Eris in January 2005, astronomers initially thought it to be a body larger in diameter than Pluto, and this stirred a debate about the real definition of a planet. The conclusion of this debate led to the new term Dwarf Planet, causing the subsequent demotion of Pluto from Planet to Dwarf Planet. For Eris, named after the Greek Goddess of discord, it was mission accomplished.
Eris in her mythological identity was no stranger to demoting and demystifying “sacred cows.”
The most famous tale of Eris recounts her initiating the Trojan War by causing the Judgement of Paris. The goddesses Hera (Juno), Athena and Aphrodite (Venus) had been invited along with the rest of Olympus to the forced wedding of Peleus and Thetis, but Eris had been snubbed because of her troublemaking inclinations.
She therefore tossed into the party the Apple of Discord inscribed – “For the most beautiful one”, or “To the Fairest One” – provoking the ‘saintly’ goddesses to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient. The hapless Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the fairest by Zeus. The goddesses stripped naked to try to win Paris’ decision, and also attempted to bribe him. Hera (Juno) offered political power; Athena promised infinite wisdom; and Aphrodite (Venus) tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite (Venus), thereby dooming his city, which was destroyed in the war that ensued.
This story clearly describes the unsettling nature of Eris – but what can we learn from this? Is Eris exposing an unsettling side of ourselves we did not even know existed? Did Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite know they could go so low as to strip naked and use bribery to “deserve” the title of the Fairest and most Beautiful? Eris exposed these beautiful goddesses in quite an unflattering light.
And so it was, when Eris entered our consciousness – stirring the pot and getting Pluto dwarfed on August 24, 2006, it was later revealed that perhaps it wasn’t larger in size than Pluto after all. But the ‘damage’ was done, Pluto remained dwarfed; notwithstanding, if size matters, of all midgets, Pluto is the largest of them in diameter.
Eris is extremely slow moving and will spend more than a century in Aries (due to its elliptic orbit). She entered the sign of Aries (adding yet more spice to a hot meal) in 1923, and will exit into Taurus in 2044.
In June 2016, Eris will be joined by Uranus at 23 Aries, as it now opposes Haumea at 23 Libra for numerous years. Eris will be squared by Pluto by 2019-2020, just in time for the dramatic Pluto/Saturn cycle in Capricorn.
and her Daughter PELE, the Fire Goddess
What is in a name? and what is in an astronomer naming a distant body found in what seems to be an infinite distance away? Apparently more than we can imagine.
Haumea, the mother goddess who birthed the islands of Hawaii, and all of Hawaii’s Gods, has a well-deserved stellar designation given that one of the most sophisticated telescopes in the world – the Gemini Observatory – sits on the sacred peak of Hawaii, Mt Mauna Kea, taking advantage of some of the clearest atmospheric skies on the planet. The Gemini Observatory captures the difficult marriage between science and religion as indigenous Hawaiians barely tolerate what they refer to as the technological high-jacking of their most sacred mountain.
I have personally been introduced to Haumea and her famed and tempestuous daughter Pele in auspicious, and sometimes dramatic ways.
My first calling to set foot in Hawaii came in October 2007 when I first organized an Astrology themed workshop on the Big Island, home to the volcano Goddess Pele. Upon looking back, I realized that I landed on the most remote lands on the planet during a New Moon in Libra tightly conjunct the planet Haumea, at 14 Libra. Interestingly, this was exactly conjunct my 4th house Uranus positioned at 15 Libra (and ruling my North Node). 3 years later, November 25, 2010, I moved to the Big Island on the slopes of the active volcano Kiluea, home of Pele.
Given Haumea’s slow motion, by the time I moved, she was still hovering around my 4th house Uranus, but this time in conjunction with Saturn in the mid degrees of Libra. Two months later, I organized the first River of Stars Astrology conference on the island. This was an incredible spiritual experience, bringing astrology, spirituality, community, and heart-centeredness to a celebratory high. Sadly, days after the conference program completed, I was called two continents away to the death bed of my mother who transitioned from this world the morning after my landing. I found a new motherland, and yet was orphaned simultaneously—certainly Saturn trotting my 4th house has to do with such timing, but Haumea and Pele were no stranger to death and birth.
I personally find it difficult to separate the myths or Pele (Haumea’s daughter) from the astrological influences of Haumea. And so it was that 3 years later May 2014, I launched a new promotional campaign for the 2nd River of Stars conference, to take place March 2015. I felt it was time, as the Gods seem to prompt me in this direction.
In the thick of the promotional campaign, August 2014, a violent hurricane pounded that particular area of the Big Island causing considerable damage to the infrastructure. As soon as residents recovered from days and some even weeks without power and the chaos of tree carcasses, the news hit that the Lava flow, which normally continuously flows from the crater to the ocean, had deviated from its usual course, and was now approaching within close distance to our town Pahoa.
The slow but persistent flow was swallowing everything in its course, heading straight toward the town, and threatening to cross major highway arteries that would completely isolate this part of the island, not to mention the damage it would cause and the toxic smoke of lava and whatever it consumes in its course.
The threat became critical and alarming in September 2014—a time when Haumea was exactly conjunct the North Node in the sky at 20 degrees Libra.
The September 8th headline stirred emergency and panic: “The lava flow could reach the government road in Pāhoa within 16-18 days.”
Hawaiians have absolute respect for the goddess Pele, and the lava was not to be perceived as a random natural phenomenon, but a divine force with clear intentions—they made it clear that no human intervention to divert the lava was to be attempted, but only evacuation when necessary.
The lava took its time and extended the suspense. It crossed the first fields of town, narrowly missing homes, and crossed the first peripheral road and encircled a wasted processing station by November. Serpenting its way through back yards and inflating with the heat, these were the days of scorched earth policy, turning a lush rainforest area into a barren black lunar landscape.
Business closed, people stored cans and gas supplies, with smoke almost constant; evacuation strategies were well studied by everyone. Pele was not to be messed with, but gave us resident ample prep time.
Prayers and rituals were organized, school children wrote private messages to plead with the Goddess in attempt to appease her anger. But the first D-day was eminent; Pele was about to cross the main town road, and then the adjacent main highway. Residents gathered within safe distance to view the daunting spectacle – but that day, she did not cross, only got closer. The next day, nor the following week, the same. Pele stalled just by the road, sparing us on the threshold of a catastrophe.
It took another month for additional lava fingers to stop stall again, short of minimal distance from major infrastructure. By the end of December, residents began to gain confidence that albeit fire was still surrounding town, they could begin to breathe fresh air again. At that time, Haumea and the North Node were distancing themselves from each other, now within 7 degrees of orb. The goddess made her point and yet heeded the prayers – unbelievably, with lava crossing this rural town, it only burned one house down.
The River of Stars conference prevailed with participants flocking from all directions, eager for an infusion of vitamin D and star knowledge. And yet, the first day of the conference was challenged again by a forceful wind storm that knocked power down for a few hours. But on that same evening, a powerful hula dance performance was taking place in honor of Pele, led by a great Kumu (teacher) who gave a blessing for the conference, and that completely turned the tide, propelling the conference to an absolute success. The Hula performance opened with Dwarf Planet Haumea rising.
Haumea seems prominent in the charts of important events associated with Hawaii. As it is, Hawaii became the 50th state of the America on August 21, 1959 with the Sun tightly conjunct Haumea at 29 Leo.
The Egg of Creation, and the Threat of Extinction – A Warning from MAKEMAKE
The Rapa Nui Polynesian culture from the Easter Islands worshipped Makemake (pronounced makei makei), the bird God, and their story is entrenched with the existential polarity of new life, sustainability, and termination.
As part of this tradition, an important rite of passage consisted of having young men coming of age fetch an egg from bird nests on tall and sharp cliffs; they had to swim back and forth through shark infested waters and carry back the egg in their mouth and deliver it unbroken to their patron. The first to succeed in this mission would be recognized as man of valor and worthy leader for the year.
Interestingly, the remote Pacific island was named Easter Island by the first recorded European to access the island, Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who happened to arrive on the island on Easter (egg) day 1722. The Dwarf Planet Makemake was discovered shortly after Eastern Sunday 2005.
With such a symbol of fertility and the nesting of new life, it is noteworthy that a tragic fate awaited the Rapa Nui population and the Easter Island; an industrious culture, living on fertile land with a rich and yet precarious ecosystem, they ended up overpopulating the island, causing massive deforestation and their subsequent demise.
21 species of trees and all species of land birds became extinct through some combination of overharvesting/overhunting, rat predation, and climate change. The island was largely deforested, and it did not have any trees more than 3 metres (10 feet) tall. Loss of large trees meant that residents were no longer able to build seaworthy vessels, significantly diminishing their fishing abilities. Deforestation also affected agricultural production on Rapa Nui. At first, the native tropical forests provided ideal shade cover for soil. But with many of the native forest being destroyed, the topsoil became eroded causing a sharp decline in agricultural production. This was further exacerbated by the loss of land birds and the collapse in seabird populations as a potential source of food.
Sounds familiar? Easter Island may reflect a microcosm of our current day ecological crisis on a planetary scale –the discovery of Makemake at this time may be significant with regards to questions of personal and collective survival and sustainability.
An interesting illustration of this theme: the transit chart for Leonardo DiCaprio speaking for the first time at the UN about the urgency of climate change – Transiting Sun at 0 Libra is exactly on Makemake, hovering over his Ascendant.