Image: Tyler Spangler
The Asteroids of Pain, Loss, and Abuse
There are a few asteroids I always check when I’m reading a client’s chart for the first time: the asteroids of pain, loss, and abuse. Though I’m never happy when I find them, they provide incredible insight to a chart.
Some of these asteroids do not show up in normal asteroid searches online, so you’ll need to copy and paste the numbers into your chart. Enjoy!
Here’s an example to get you started: the asteroid Nemesis (128) means ‘enemy’ or ‘downfall’. I’ve found one client who had Nemesis on the Ascendant, and was ‘her own worst enemy’; another client had Nemesis conjunct her Chiron (wounding) in Gemini (among other things, the mind) – the client’s mind was her enemy.
The Asteroids of Pain, Loss, and Abuse
Sorted Numerically; Ctrl+F to search this page for keywords.
Staying until the bitter end. While this may show someone with perseverance, the asteroid Astraea more often indicates someone who stays in a bad job/relationship/friendship far too long or doesn’t know when to let go.
While asteroid Hebe normally indicates service-oriented work, such as clerks, waiters or administrative assistants, I’ve also known Hebe to show up in relationship readings where one of the partners was a slave to the other.
Grief, loss, mourning. Next to any of the love asteroids (Amor, Eros, Psyche) this can make for disastrous or painful love affairs, and can even indicate death or loss of a partner.
Bellona was the Roman Goddess of War. While not necessarily bad (it can stand for an assertive, power-house type of personality, particularly in women), Bellona strongly placed in charts can be extremely confrontational or willing to fight.
Pandora is both an asteroid as well as a Moon to Saturn, here we only speak about the asteroid Pandora. Many of are familiar with ‘Pandora’s Box’; this asteroid is named after the very same lady who famously released evil energy into the world by opening a box sent to her by the Gods. Similar to the Christian myth, Pandora was the original woman, fashioned out of water and earth, and of course, everything wrong with humanity is her fault (eye roll).
Pandora’s themes include curiosity, especially curiosity that ‘kills the cat’, initiating change through curiosity, unintended consequences, caught off-guard, restlessness, rebelliousness, meddling troublemaker.
Melete is connected to the Greek word for anxiety, and as such, can indicate anxiety disorders, panic attacks and other forms of mental anguish.
Echo was the fairy-like creäture that fell in love with Narcissus but was ignored and held in disdain by him. Eventually, she became such a shell of a being that all that was left of her was her echo.
When poorly afflicted, Echo individuals do not believe in themselves, copy others, have little original thought, have no self-esteem or self-worth or have a hard time valuing/defending them against narcissistic partners.
Grief, sorrows. Niobe loses her entire family.
Jealousy especially acts driven by jealousy that end poorly, a tattle-tale, a gossip. Desperate, senseless romances. Being in love but being ignored.
Klytia was in love Apollo (or Helios, the Sun God), but he had another lover. Dejected, Klytia told Apollo’s potential father-in-law, who killed his own daughter as a punishment for her actions. With Apollo’s love gone, Klytia hope’s to be snatched up by her paramour – but he once again ignores her, and she withers away on a rock, staring at him until she dies.
Asteroid Klio is commonly associated with history, storytelling, and writing, so is not a ‘bad’ asteroid per se. However, when asteroid Klio is poorly aspected in the chart, there can be an attachment to ‘history’ or to the story that keeps running in one’s mind, which leads to a type of neuroses about the event, person or situation.
Goddess of blind folly, rashness, infatuation, and mischief. Ate was said to be behind the curse that started the Trojan War. Ate may show where one is likely to respond to real or imagined threats in an exaggerated fashion.
Nemesis, enemy, downfall, revenge.
Abuse, violation of physical boundaries, sexual abuse. I have seen asteroid Dejanaira come up time and time again as a reliable indicator of childhood abuse, especially sexual abuse.
See also: Nyctimene (2150)
Although asteroid Ophelia has many themes, many astrologers have noticed a link between this asteroid and accidental drownings.
“Weeping”, tears, grief, sadness.
“Who does not flee”; “the inescapable one”. Asteroid Adrastaeia can show those who do not leave abusive situations, or, can show moments and traumas where we were unable to escape, as in the case of abusive childhoods. This asteroid can also talk about areas of wounding we cannot escape, such as alcoholism or drug abuse.
Grief at losing a child, sterility, sleeplessness, trauma, PTSD, intense jealousy from other women, ‘vampires’ (Lameia sucks the ‘lifeblood’ out of young men).
Lameia had affairs with Zeus and had many children from him. Hera killed all of her children as a punishment. She became overcome with grief, unable to sleep, and thereafter alternated between sucking the life out of young men or murdering other people’s children.
Asteroid Atropos is one part of the “Moira” fates (in addition to Klotho & Lachesis). Atropos as a theme has a relationship to endings of all kinds: relationships, business, death, accidents, and illness.
Tyche was the Greek Goddess of Fortune, so when afflicted can show poor fortune or luck.
Can indicate incest, sexual abuse or sexual relationships that go against ‘natural law’ (bestiality, incest, et. al.).
Persephone’s story is one of the great myths of Greece. I say great, but as we’ll see, it quickly turns into not so great.
Persephone (aka Proserpina) is attached to her mother Ceres – they are the best of friends and completely inseparable. Persephone is well-known for her beauty but constantly rebuffs marriage proposals to stay as a companion to her mother. One day Persephone is out picking flowers when the God of the Underworld Pluto (aka Hades) kidnaps her; he makes her the Queen of the Underworld. Nice having a title and all, but surely not one’s first choice. To protest, Persephone stopped eating when she was in the Underworld. Eventually, her mother finds her and negotiates a life where she will live above ground 6 months of the year, and below the other 6.
Persephone and Proserpina’s themes are separation anxiety, separation from the parents, rape, retreating into fantasy after a trauma, loss of innocence, being ‘pulled into the underworld’, PTSD, addictions, abduction, food complexes and/or anorexia, relationships with ‘Plutonian’ partners.
Nota Bene: it’s possible this myth has been twisted, and many people note that in some versions of the myth Persephone willingly went into the Underworld with the dark and sexy Pluto.
Also look at (26) Proserpina.
Weaving, woven items, weaving things together, jealousy of god-given talents, talents that lead to pain or persecution, arrogance, boastfulness.
Arachne was an incredibly talented weaver and compared herself to the Gods (and actually, said she was better than them!). She unknowingly challenged a disguised Athena, Goddess of weaving, to a weaving duel. In the end, Arachne can’t go without diminishing the Gods, therefore royally pissing of Athena, who as punishment turns her into a spider.
“Hubris”, excessive pride, arrogance or foolishness that leads to an inevitable downfall. Over-confidence. Any behaviors that challenge the “gods” of your life (parents, partners, bosses).
The asteroid Achilles is one of my key tools, alongside (3811) Karma and (2060) Chiron. Achilles is incredible for highlighting potential areas of deep wounding, or the ‘achilles heel’ of the chart when prominently placed in the natal chart.
Moira is derived from the Greek word ‘the fates’. Moira’s location by sign and house can indicate an area of life that is governed by fate or karma. Moira may show ‘negative’ karma in a chart or a very fated life.
Asteroid Ara is only bad, per se, when poorly positioned or afflicted within a natal chart. Normally, asteroid Ara would show where and how one is likely to give aid or be aided by others. When opposed or squared by natal planets, Ara can stand for a lack of aid, care or support.
Secrets, hidden things, mysteries. Bill Clinton had the asteroid Sphinx next to the asteroids ‘Paul’ and ‘Monica’. Need I say more?
Asteroid Lysistrata refers to the heroine of an infamous Greek comedy of the same name. The women of Greece, led by Lysistrata, led a protest of sexual abstinence against all men until they stopped the perpetual wars.
When badly afflicted, Lysistrata can talk about someone that uses sex as a tool of manipulation or power.
Related to the mythical, lost kingdom of Atlantis, asteroid Atlantis can also talk about excessive pride or hubris that leads to a downfall, as well as extinction, cultural snobbery, a sense of imminent doom, expiation; use of karma to rationalize events.
Pains, suffering. Can indicate illness and agony.
Named after Attila the Hun, the famous barbarian warrior. When afflicted, this asteroid can indicate a kind of ruthless, all-or-nothing brutality to winning or victory.
Accidents, excessive risk, gambles that don’t pay off, moving too fast, driving too fast, games of speed/risk. Muhammad Ali had Icarus next to his Sun – talk about speed! 🙂
Aggression, strength, and power. Not bad unless afflicted in the chart. I don’t like it when Toro crops up around a personal planet like Venus, as it can sometimes indicate violent or intense and aggressive relationships.
Overreaching, fatal crashes, being disabled or ‘crippled’ in some way.
Unending suffering and struggle. Being forced to do the same thing over and over. Draining monotony. Stuck in a vicious cycle of rebuilding.
Sisyphus was punished by being forced to roll a boulder up a mountain every day, only to awaken the next morning and find himself again at the bottom of the mountain. Groundhog Day, for Greeks. He was later freed by Heracles.
Just like it says on the tin: Beer is commonly found in strong positions in the chart of heavy drinkers, or those who have or have had issues with alcohol.
Anubis is named after the jackal-headed Egyptian God of the Dead. Often, Anubis strongly placed in a chart means that death is more than a passing issue; death may become the focus or a recurrent theme in the individual’s life.
‘Tantalus’ is closely related to our modern word, ‘tantalize’. Themes here include: always out of reach, never getting what you want, testing others, taunting others, nearly having it, temptation without satisfaction.
The myth of Tantalus is pretty full-on. Originally known for having stolen ambrosia from Mount Olympus and taking it down to humans (therefore revealing the secrets of the Gods to humans), he then served up his dead son’s body parts to the Gods of Olympus. As punishment, he was kept in a pool of water with branches of fruit above him. Whenever he was thirsty and tried to drink the water, it would evade him; when he felt hungry and reached for a piece of fruit, the branches would lift out of reach.
Chiron was the first centaur discovered and equally the most well-known of the mythical centaurs; arguably Chiron is the most important of all the centaurs. He was the son of Saturn and a sea-nymph. Early on, he is abandoned by his mother (his first ‘wounding’), who is horrified at his half-man, half-human form; he is soon taken to the Sun god Apollo, who teaches Chiron everything he knows about the healing arts. Chiron is later wounded by an arrow from Hercules. The wound never heals despite his healing knowledge, which explains Chiron’s well-known nickname as the “Wounded Healer”.
Chiron’s themes include the “wounded healer” archetype, learning through suffering, compassion for others’ suffering, resistance to pain, “liminal” reality, pre-birth influences, ancestral influences, exile, healing, transformation.
Nyctimene is a particularly painful asteroid. Nyctimene was the daughter of a prominent man, who is seduced by her father. She hides away in the forest out of shame and is turned into an owl by Athena (note, that of course, owls are a nocturnal bird).
Nyctimene in a birth chart closely aspecting the Sun, Moon, Venus, or strongly placed in the 5th or 8th Houses has on several occasions indicated issues of incest, rape, and abuse by the father or father figure.
This asteroid is named after the Hopi tribe of North America. Hope has an Astrological connection with ambush, attacks, prejudice, territorial disputes, Native Americans, minority experiences. Ambushes can be psychological as well as physical.
Phaethon is generally associated with out of control, dangerous behaviour, people that get carried away, car crashes and accidents.
Phaethon was the son of the Sun God, Helios. He asked his father if he could drive the chariot of the sun – but when he took the reins things span out of control rather quickly. The Sun chariot ended up scorching Africa, accounting for it’s desert areas; eventually, Zeus struck him off the chariot to save the world and Phaethon died.
Karma, like Achilles and Atropos, is one of my absolute go-to asteroids. Asteroid Karma stands for exactly what it should: Karmic connections, relationships, pain or circumstances that go back lifetimes. Sometimes in life we may feel that certain events were ‘fated’ or pre-told. Asteroid Karma is a great indicator of such energy within a birth chart.
Grieve, grief, mourning, sorrow.
“The sword of Damocles” is quite well known as an expression: in short, it encapsulates the danger that rulers/leaders live with as a by-product of their power. Said another way – with great power comes great responsibility.
Generally in chart readings, I see Damocles in the chart of very powerful and successful people (investment bankers, military generals). On the other hand, their jobs/success/position stifle their ability to have a relationship, spend time with family, or have true friends. This is where asteroid Damocles can come in.
Skepticus means skeptical, skepticism, doubting or discerning. This doesn’t have to be a bad asteroid whatsoever, as I’ve seen it prominently placed in the charts of journalists and researchers, as an example. However, when Skepticus is placed very near to asteroids like the Moon or Venus, the ‘skepticism’ carries over to emotions and/or love, creating an impossible situation.
Lie, cheat, fraud, steal. Swindle has got it ALL. Would it surprise you if Swindle shows up prominently in the chart of the Donald?
No, no it would not.
Lies, liars, lying. Not much more to say than that – when you find this little dude in close aspect to someone, run. Especially potent when used to look at charts for business transactions and mergers.
I’m sure according to Narcissus, I’ve saved the best for last. 🙂 Narcissus is naturally named after the infamous Narccissus, who loved himself so much that he became transfixed with his own image and committed suicide when he could not have the object of his desire.
Narcissus obviously talks about grandiose consideration for one’s self, disapproval or disinterest in others, self-obsession and the anger that comes from being spoiled, or not getting what you want.
Other Minor Planets & Centaurs about pain, loss and abuse:
Nessus, Pholus, Ixion, Hylonome are Centaurs that you can read about here.
Admetos, Zeus and Vulkanus are hypothetical Trans-Neptunian Planets you can read about here.