A letter from Susan Miller of Astrology Zone:
Sedna, the New Planet in Our Solar System.
Dear Astrology Zone reader,
Recently headline news was made when NASA announced the agency might have discovered a new planet in our solar system. Not since Pluto was found in 1930 has as much excitement been whipped up in astrological communities.
Almost immediately after news was announced, my phone began to ring off the hook. Reporters had questions, perhaps similar to ones you might have, and so today I thought I would do an entire newsletter on Sedna. This new body was first discovered sometime in November 2003 and officially confirmed in the press on March 15, 2004.
Before I go into my discussion about Sedna, I want to remind you to pick up your April forecast on Astrology Zone if you have not already done so. The URL is http://astrologyzone.com.
This month Mercury will be retrograde and won't regulate its orbit until April 30. In the meantime we will all need to have lots of patience while delays and glitches crop up. Be sure to back up your computer and try extra hard to double check facts and figures.
The new moon solar eclipse fell in Aries on April 19 and may have stirred up some rather dramatic events in your life.
The April 19 eclipse, in Aries, was to be the first eclipse of 2004, and another eclipse will follow, in Scorpio, on May 4. You can be part of our intense "eclipse watch" on Astrology Zone as we go through this period-I have done a thorough analysis of the April 19 eclipse and will do so for the one due on May 4 as well. Keep in mind that some eclipses deliver their news one month to the day later, plus or minus four days.
To prepare for the upcoming May 4 eclipse in Scorpio, think back to changes that occurred in your life six months ago, near November 8, 2003-the May 4 eclipse will tied to that one, and will surely advance talks you had back then further.
Eclipses mark key points of change in any given year and often bring on sudden news. The eclipse this month should be unusually positive and friendly. I cannot see everything in your chart, so I need to qualify that remark by saying MOST readers will enjoy the developments.
If you are find you were not pleased by the events triggered by the April 19 eclipse-say, if you lost your job or broke up with your sweetheart-keep an open mind. With friendly planets surrounding the April 19 eclipse, things could take a surprising turn in your favor. An eclipse will rarely deliver its complete message all at once-there is always a second act. I explain more in your forecast, so do check it on Astrology Zone now, to be fully briefed. (http://astrologyzone.com)
This is the first eclipse in Aries to come by in almost a decade and there will be more in this sign and its opposite sign of Libra in months to come. After May 4, the next pair of eclipses will arrive in October. At that time I will ask you to took back to April and early May to see what happened, so you may want to keep a few notes on what happens now.
New moon eclipses tend to emphasize facts rather than emotions, another reason I think you will take well to the April 19 eclipse. (The reverse will be true of the May 4 lunar eclipse, a full moon in Scorpio, which would be much more feelings oriented.)
Now, let's turn our attention back to Sedna, the so-called tenth planet of our solar system.
What Happens Astrologically When a Planet is Discovered?
We still don't know if the scientific community will deem Sedna a genuine planet or an icy body. While NASA works on that question, we need to be patient. In astrology, planets are the major players of a horoscope. Icy bodies and asteroids have far less influence in a chart.
Recently the Hayden Planetarium in New York City announced a controversial decision when it reversed itself and deemed Pluto nothing more than an icy body. The rest of the scientific community disagreed with the Hayden Planetarium scientists and have kept Pluto categorized as a planet---and so have astrologers.
Astrologically we have a good notion of the areas that Pluto rules in a chart and how it operates, but many astrological scholars are doing additional study to this day. Astrological research is never done, especially in regard to a newly discovered planet. (Pluto was discovered in 1930.)
One reporter asked me if Sedna were deemed a planet, would it mean that our natal charts are all wrong? No, not at all. I explained to the journalist that by adding a planet astrologers would simply add more information to a chart. A new planet would increase insight, not negate what is already there.
When a new planet is discovered, astrologers look to world events to glean the meaning of that planet. We do this because we feel that a planet is born in our consciousness at a certain time in history for a reason-it is not accidental. We believe we were ready to understand and accept the message of the planet at that time, so there is significance to the date of its discovery. The world events surrounding that discovery can give us clues to the planet's meaning.
When Pluto was discovered in 1930, the world was emerging crippled from World War I with the knowledge and images of disturbing and brutal forms of warfare that wreaked havoc unlike any seen before. Humankind as a whole was suffering the very Plutonian revelation of power, destruction and the transformation of good over evil. Pluto covers terrorism, so the new planet would not cover an area already ruled by Pluto.
If NASA officially deems Sedna a planet, at that time astrological scholars will carefully put forth white papers about the areas of life Sedna might govern. As a community, astrologers will have a long period to study the various viewpoints and chose the ones that feel right. First, many charts would be drawn up to study the possible meanings suggested. The astrological community would have to come up to a consensus on Sedna's meanings, and of course, that will take time.
Astrology is based on mathematics, so astrologers can look backward and forward in time to test various theories. (That is why an astrologer can know what your life was like for you at ten years old, and what life might be like for you when you reach sixty. Studying the mathematical geometry of the planets allows astrologers to go backwards and forwards in time.)
As you might imagine, deciding on what a planet will rule is a long and exhaustive process, so it could very well be years before the astrological community can put forth a unified view on the interpretation of Sedna. Until then, if it is indeed classified as a planet, we can be sure we will see many articles and speculative books on what this icy planet might portend for astrology and civilization.
What do we know about Sedna scientifically?
Sedna is approximately 10 billion km from Earth and has a temperature that does not rise above 400 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. This planet resides in the Kuiper Belt, a distant ring of icy planetoid bodies that orbit beyond Neptune. Its erratic orbit is approximately 10,500 years long. The last time Sedna was this close to the Sun, the Earth was thawing out from the Ice Age. According to NASA and CalTech, Sedna will become brighter over the next 72 years before her orbit brings her back the outer reaches of space.
The Mystery and Magic of Names
Astrologers also believe that the name a planet is given by the scientific community may give us clues to the planet's meaning.
In that regard, let's digress for a moment. To test out this theory, look closely at the names of people around you and of people you read about in the news. See if you can find a link between the name and the kind of work that person does for a living. Or, find a link between the person's reputation and their name. Once you start to pay attention to names, it will be amazing how closely you will find the meanings linked.
I have an example in my own life. As you know my last name is Miller, meaning "one who mills the grain." When I took Astrology Zone off Disney servers when their Internet site, GO.com closed its doors, Disney could not give me back the HTML code for the site. It needed to be written again, a strenuous, time consuming, and expensive chore. I had not anticipated this obstacle and it through me into a crisis. Back in the summer of 2001 I was looking into an abyss where I realized the sudden end of Astrology Zone could be near.
I spoke to many engineers but I wasn't finding a workable solution. The site is big-500 screens---and the problems of getting the code written quickly with all the hyperlinks that were imbedded deep within the site, was extensive. I was very depressed. Then, I received a recommendation from top-level executive at Barnes & Noble who suggested I see Tom Warmbrodt of Tom Warmbrodt Consulting in Austin, Texas.
When I met Tom, he told me he could write new code for our 500-screen site within the impossibly tight time deadlines we would have to meet. In so doing, Tom Warmbrodt became Head of IT for Astrology Zone and saved Astrology Zone in 2001.
"Warmbrodt" literally means warm bread. I have always felt that Tom was able to take Miller's grain (my written words) and baked those words into bread, serving it up piping hot to you, dear reader.
Warm bread also suggests a substance that has a very short shelf life, which would accurately describe the topical material I write on Astrology Zone. Readers would never be able to see ("digest") my words without Tom Warmbrodt's expertise.
I feel this is a perfect example of how names can give you clues to what is underlying truths. When you begin to pay attention to the power of words and names, a whole new mystical world will open up to you.
In this spirit, let's now look at the myth of Sedna to start you thinking about what role this planet (if it is later confirmed to be a planet) might govern. If a name can give us clues to meaning, a myth can provide even more clues.
The mythology of Sedna is not a kind one, and some speculate that within the discovery of this planetoid lies a message for the world to acknowledge. As with many myths, this one has several different versions. The version I will recount here is an amalgamation of the many that I found. In certain versions of the myth, Sedna lies at the bottom of the ocean, one of the most feared and vengeful spirits and deities of the artic world. It is said that all of the sins against nature collect on Sedna's body and render her sad and mournful. The common thread that runs throughout the many versions of the myth of Sedna is betrayal at the hands of the father. Here is the myth:
The Myth of Sedna
Sedna was a very beautiful maiden who lived with her widowed father in the arctic north. When Sedna came of age, her father, a hunter, wanted very badly to marry her off to an eligible suitor. Being stubborn, Sedna refused every man that asked for her hand in marriage. Slowly, her father became weary and frustrated with his daughter's refusals. In his anger, Sedna's father Anguta (meaning "man with something to cut" in Inuit) told her that she was only good enough to marry his dog because of her disobedience. During that night, in secret, the dog visited Sedna and made her his wife.
When the father woke the next morning, he realized that Sedna was pregnant with the children of his dog. Enraged, Anguta isolated his daughter on an island so that she could not shame him any more. The father's dog was very much in love with Sedna and visited her frequently with packs of food and clothing. After some time, Sedna gave birth to her children - a mixture of dog and human children. When he heard about his grandchildren, Anguta became furious and, unknowing that it was his dog who was feeding Sedna, filled a bag with heavy stones to be taken to his daughter. The dog took the pack on his back, but because of the weight of the bag and the rough seas, the dog could not stay afloat and drowned.
Feeling great sadness and remorse, the father sent for his daughter to come home. Fearing a reprisal, Sedna prayed and put all of her dog children into one of her boots and all of her human children into the other and sent them out onto the ocean. Her children became the ancestors of both the Native Americans and white men.
Upon returning home, Sedna was approached by a mysterious stranger who asked for her hand in marriage. Seduced by promises of warm furs, a beautiful tent and delicious fish, Sedna got into his kayak and went to be his wife.
Upon arriving at her husband's home, she was greeted with a barren landscape with no furs or tent in sight. Instead, there were a few scraps of fur and no food to be seen anywhere. She turned to her husband to protest and, in horror, recoiled when he threw back his hood and revealed himself as a raven man. She realized that she had made a terrible mistake. She began to wail, and every day, her screams and cries of unhappiness grew louder and louder. Her father heard her lament and, after awhile, decided to go rescue her from her terrible raven husband. He got into his kayak and set off for Sedna's island.
When Sedna saw her father approaching, she ran towards the kayak and jumped in as her husband was not there and she could escape without his knowing. The father set off back towards his home with Sedna safely in the boat. As soon as they reached the deep waters, Sedna's raven husband returned home to find her gone. In a fury, he set off in hot pursuit of the kayak. His screams reached the kayak before he did and the father was struck with fear at the sight of his daughter's furious husband.
The force of his wings whipped up the sea into a frothy tempest that pitched the kayak between the waves like a feather. In his fright, Sedna's father threw his daughter overboard so as to save himself. Sedna, gripped by fear, screamed for her father and clutched onto the side of the boat. With the raven approaching, Sedna's father cut off the tips of Sedna's fingers so that she would let go. It was clear her father wanted to save himself.
Her severed fingertips fell into the ocean and turned into seals. Determined not to let go, Sedna continued to clutch the side of the boat, her body frozen from the frigid artic waters. Her father was determined to rid himself of his daughter, so he cut off her entire fingers, which fell into the ocean and became whales.
Sedna could no longer hold on and she sank to the bottom of the sea, where she remains today, as a kind of Mermaid figure, and is the mother of the seals and whales. Modern day shamans take vision quests and journeys down to soothe and calm Sedna's rages by combing her tangled hair and comforting her. Some may see similarities between the mythologies of Sedna and the Sumerian goddess Ereshkigal - the rageful goddess of the underworld.
The myth of Sedna seems to suggest certain sensitivity to the needs of the earth (only heightened by the presence of so much water), as well as the responsibility to guard it and care for it.
Similarity to St. Francis of Assisi
Sedna's closeness to the fish and to the oceans of the world reminds me of the stories of the saint, St. Francis of Assisi that I loved as a child and to this day. To Catholics, St. Francis is considered the patron saint of small animals and a great protector of the earth and the environment.
As the story goes, St. Francis completely rejected the wealth of his father and embraced a life of extreme poverty. (If you recall, Sedna also had problems with her father.) St. Francis started the Franciscan order of monks, an order that is highly regarded by the Catholic Church.
St. Francis roamed the countryside to care for the little animals he so dearly loved. In similar fashion, Sedna became the mistress of the sea and took on the care of the fish. Both St. Francis and Sedna had to separate from their fathers to find their calling, a frequent theme of myths and legends.
To see a short version of the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of small animals, see this URL:
Uranus, Now in Pisces, Will Focus Us on the Sea
Uranus, the planet of discovery, has recently entered Pisces for the first time in 84 years, so the emphasis on sea life and the waters of the Earth in the Sedna myth seems appropriate to our times. Scientists have been warning us that mankind is not caring properly for the environment, and that we will suffer for our neglect unless this trend is reversed.
The astrological community already has a planet in charge of social justice and humanitarian concepts, and that planet is Uranus. Neptune rules all bodies of water, including the oceans, as well as fish. While it is unlikely Sedna would usurp those positions, it is possible there is another correlation to the Earth that I have not thought of yet that might fit.
What Do You Think, Dear Reader?
I would like to hear your thoughts, so if you have any ideas, please send them on. We will publish parts of your letter with your first name (only) and city on the site in a special section I will create. It may be a long time until we know if Sedna is deemed a planet by NASA, but it certainly would be interesting to speculate about its meaning should this occur.
If you are an astrologer and would like to do a chart for the day the news story broke about Sedna, the correct date is March 15, 2004, time unknown. The Sun and Uranus were in Pisces, a sign that rules the sea, and the moon was in Capricorn, a sign ruling artifacts, antiques and historical information. It is interesting to note that the moon was in heavenly ("trine") angle to Jupiter, planet of happiness, good fortune and expansion. Jupiter is traveling in Virgo, the sign that exalts service to others. Virgo also known to be associated with medical healing. Virgo also rules small animals and pets.
Venus in Taurus was in a lovely angle to the moon and also to Jupiter, forming a golden triangle, a lovely image. Both the moon and Venus register as "woman" or "female" and the myth does center on a female as its star. I don't want to analyze the chart just yet, because, as said, it's premature-we don't know if Sedna is a planet. I hope I have piqued your interest and shown you how the astrological community assimilates new planets into a horoscope. It's interesting, isn't it?
I thought you would like to hear Sedna's myth and look forward to what you have to say!