(Astrology Explored) One of the recently discovered dwarf planets is Eris. As the goddess of Discord, her story is complex. In Greek mythology, she is the pathogenically produced daughter of the goddess Night. Night birthed in primordial unisex Chaos leaving Eris with no male heritage.
Eris, like her mother, could produce children without the aid of a consort. She was whole unto herself, not needing the male principle to complete her.
Except for Ares, the god of war, the Olympians ignored her. Called the Queen of Battle, and supposedly delighting in the bloodletting of war, she and Ares hung out on the battlefield. Was she excluded because of her unwomanly pursuits? Or was it that as goddess whose provenance was more ancient than that of the King of the Gods, (being the great, great, great grand aunt to Zeus); she had little appreciation of the pretensions of Zeus’s extended family?
Her battle buddy, Ares, was invited to Peleus and Thetis’ wedding, but she was not. Not to be ignored, Eris crashed the party. In the middle of the celebrating deities, she rolled an invaluable gold apple with the inscription “To the fairest.” Hera, the wife of Zeus and the goddess of marriage, Venus (Aphrodite), the goddess of sexual love and Athena, the goddess of wisdom, vie with one another for the prize. This competition set in motion the events that prefaced the Trojan War. This act of Eris’ earned her the reputation as the Goddess of Discord.
All goddesses are representations of parts of the ancient Sumarian goddess, Innana. She morphed through time into Isis, and then splite by patriarchal culture into the Greek goddesses. The goddesses inherited a manageable and non-threatening portion of Innana’s great power. But Eris, with her martial career, did not fit male paradigms of femininity, and sidelined then reviled as the Goddess of Discord.
But is there another way to look at her role?
…the other [side of Eris] [is that] . . .she stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbor, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbor vies with his neighbor as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men.”
In other words, another form of the word strife is “striving.” Competition creates conditions where individuals . . . strive to improve their life.”
But while it is expected that men to compete with one another it still is not culturally acceptable for women to compete. For example, a scholarly study illustrates that women who negotiate for higher salaries suffer a heavy price.
Eris illustrates a feminine principle that is whole, not needing the male principle for completion, ready and willing to take on even the God of Olympus to illustrate a point. Her “discord” is being at odds with the patriarchal culture and the fragmented view of femininity that pervades our culture to this day.10 Billion miles from the Sun, Eris takes 560 years to complete its highly elliptical orbit around the sun. All the people alive today are born with either Eris in Pisces or Eris in Aries. The discovery of Eris while in the sign of her traditional companion Aries shows us that we are ready to remember the experience of the feminine as whole and complete without the male principle for completion.
Eve with her apple kicked us out of paradise. Eris with hers may help us to get it back.
Next: Eris In The Houses
Note: This post is a revised edition of my previously published article from the shuttered 451Press edition of Astrology Explored.
Image published under a Creative Commons license as issued by Flickr user Bill Glover