Asteroid Goddesses & Jung's Transcendent Function

Asteroid Greek asteroeides "star-like," from aster "star" (see astro-) + -eidos "form, shape" (see -oid)

When I give astrology readings to clients I often include many asteroids in the chart to confuse people. Just kidding (kind of), I love adding asteroids because to me they expand upon an understanding of someone’s experience and important themes that can be more individual than even the personal planets. In traditional astrology the planets were named by men after men and the feminine was relegated to either mother (Moon) or lover (Venus) or virgin (moon) and whore (Venus). This is the same dilemma and split women and men continue to face today in understanding archetypes of the feminine. However, the four main asteroids (called “Asteroid Goddesses” by astrologer Demetra George) are named after women and to me add a complexity of themes not found in the planets for analyzing a chart (natal or other). 

Astronomically, the majority of asteroids are located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.  Currently, there are 12,000 named, and around 1.2 million total in our solar system. The difference between comets/meteoroids versus asteroids is that they are larger and have a difference composition (mineral and rock versus comets are mostly dust/ice). There are also Trojan asteroids that share the same orbits as a planet, though I have not yet learned enough about these to write about them or even pretend to be a know-it-all.;) 

Historically, Ceres, the largest asteroid, was the first discovered in 1801, 129 years before Pluto was discovered in 1930. A few years ago Ceres had a mysterious shining spot on it, so I think it may be ready to be seen. Vesta is the second largest asteroid, but the brightest, which fits her name that comes from Sanskrit vas meaning “shining.”

Astrologically, the asteroids to me represent the bridge between the personal and social/communal as they are between the personal planets (Sun through Mars) and the social planets (Jupiter and Saturn). The mythologies of the goddesses, in particular, are stories linking the individual to a community orientation. Though for me, the asteroids really light up in synastry or the comparison of two charts as the bridge between the personal and communal realms of experience. There are so many of them and they move very quickly so I look for when an asteroid touches a luminary (the sun/moon) or near a major house cusp such as rising, midheaven, nadir, or descendant. These positions hold a significance to me in terms of how they present in someone’s experience as well as a possible unintegrated identity with them.

For astrologer Demetra George the main four asteroid goddesses were all different threads of Venus, and while I am not sure I agree, as I like them having their own identity. I do appreciate the idea of this being an access point to understanding our own consciousness and how we can relate to them in our evolution into our next phase of understanding. I want to be clear that I think all planets and asteroids are not necessarily masculine or feminine, our current understanding and consciousness there still exists a split between the two and that is why I think Venus does represent the feminine currently, but will not in the future as I think the context and consciousness will be different with this archetype and the others.

Here are the asteroids I add to charts {please note I do not include Chiron as an asteroid as there is disagreement on its categorization among scientists and I prefer the mystery of this celestial body as neither planetoid, asteroid, nor meteor}:
•    Ceres
•    Vesta
•    Juno
•    Pallas Athena
•    Astraea
•    Hygiea

To me the asteroids are future archetypes in some way, bridging our current understanding with that which is still unconscious. In psychology, this tension between conscious and unconscious in attempting union. I am utterly fascinated by this psychic process as to me it speaks to the evolutionary process itself of a transition between states and attitudes. It is also a self-regulated process and "irrational life process" as Jung describes it as our consciousness integrates in its own time without a formula or prediction of when something becomes aware. While this idea is still developing in my own consciousness and I don't really understand it on an intellectual level, the tension of integrating new ways of being and attitudes has been a series of moments that I can notice when something goes from an idea to an experience. At this point several of the asteroids are ideas, but others I have a felt sense of their impact on my consciousness. 

Other terms Jung uses to describe the Transcendent Function (quoted from Jeffrey Miller's book on the Transcendent Function":  “the union of opposites,”“a total and integral event," “the aim of our analysis of the unconscious," “the collaboration of conscious and unconscious data,” a “transition to a new attitude,” “a quality of conjoined opposites."

To me, astrology is a form of creating a bridge between opposites, where each planet offers a spectrum of shadow and light. For whatever reason, as the asteroids are not as studied they seem to remain more to me as qualities of the unconscious more so than the planets themselves. The speak more to an awareness we haven't yet integrated or really examined in most cases, and hold this tension in their discovery. Even though Ceres was "discovered" before Pluto, the process of transformation and the shadow needed to be more fully explored before the union is possible.  Astrology as a tool for self-awareness makes use of the Transcendent Functions as people become aware of themes within themselves particular to their own soul. This, of course, is also the gift of psychotherapy as a healing of this tension of conscious and unconsciousness. This tension is also the driving force of evolution for the universe to become aware of itself through human awareness and the quest of philosophers since the time of Hermeticism. 

Here are the themes and paradox, psychological splits, and complexes I believe each asteroid is attempting to bridge in our psyche:

Keywords/Themes: Nurturing self and other, self-parenting, antidote to loss – what feeds/sustains me? Ceres and Persephone, mother-child attachment, mal-nourishment,  Great Mother
•    Elevated Expressions: Self-parenting
•    Detrimental/Shadow Expressions: Intense attachment to mother
•    Related Psychological Complexes/Concepts: Individuation process as separation from mother/roots, rejection issues expressing as attachment to people, Mother-child complexes
•    Placement: Understanding Ceres placement can unveil our deepest needs that we didn’t even know we needed, or reinforce our self-care priorities.
•    Sign/Polarity Rulership: Taurus-Scorpio polarity of above and on Earth
•    Tension: Self as parent

•    Keywords/Themes: Sister, ritual, sacred, hearth, sacred prostitute, spiritual path, eternal femininity of empowerment and love, Tantra practices
•    Elevated Expressions: Making things sacred through ritual
•    Detrimental/Shadow Expressions: Prostitute archetype, unrealized sexual potential
•    Related Psychological Complexes/Concepts: Virgin V. Whore complex
•    Placement: Understanding Vesta where devoted to spiritual path or how use sexual energy, what we ritualize or want to make sacred
•    Sign/Polarity Rulership: ?
•    Tension: Sacred and profane

Keywords/Themes: Daughter, blend of intuition with strategy, pattern recognition, wisdom, creative intelligence, father’s daughter, Duality of heart/mind or intuition/strategy
•    Elevated Expressions: Wisdom
•    Detrimental/Shadow Expressions: identification with intellect, father
•    Related Psychological Complexes/Concepts: Daddy’s Girl, Electra Complex, Puella, “Armored Amazon”, disassociated/rejected feminine
•    Placement: Understanding Pallas Athene shows us where we have intuitive gifts, where we lack integration
•    Sign/Polarity Rulership: Gemini
•    House Rulership: 3rd
•    Tension: Bridging paradox itself of opposing sides of thinking into unity

•    Keywords/Themes: Identity as wife, committed partnerships, power struggles in relationship, attachment avoidant v. anxious, desire for balance and fairness in relationship, cosmic connection to another, motivations for partnership
•    Elevated Expressions: Balanced partnership with own purpose
•    Detrimental/Shadow Expressions: Trophy wife
•    Related Psychological Complexes/Concepts: Attachment styles
•    Placement: Understanding what motivates us to be in partnership
•    Sign/Polarity Rulership: Libra and Aries
•    House Rulership: None
•    Tension: what we want in others, is what we need to own for ourselves

Keywords/Themes: Preventive care, hygiene, purity of body, body as temple, caduceus, health, cleanliness
•    Elevated Expressions: Physical health
•    Detrimental/Shadow Expressions: Ill health, dis-ease
•    Related Psychological Complexes/Concepts: Hypochondria (also with Neptune)
•    Placement: Understanding what energies we need to prevent illness
•    Sign/Polarity Rulership: Virgo and Pisces
•    House Rulership: None
•    Tension: Body as sacred and vehicle

•    Keywords/Themes: balance, harmony, bridge heaven and earth, letting go, transcendental/Platonic ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness, justice, fairness, star maiden
•    Elevated Expressions: Commitment to a justice
•    Detrimental/Shadow Expressions: Where have difficulty letting go
•    Related Psychological Complexes/Concepts: Attachment, commitment
•    Placement: Duality of heaven and Earth to embody/disembody
•    Sign/Polarity Rulership: Libra
•    House Rulership: 7th
•    Tension: Humans as both Earth and Ether

While my understanding of the Transcendent Function is still integrating, I love and appreciate the asteroid goddesses for their subtly and important impact in the natal chart and synastry. 

For those of your more auditorily inclined, here is a presentation on the asteroids I did several years ago at my graduate school: