by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pholus: A Little Nasty

 Looking towards the entrance of
Chile's Milodon cave
(photo credit Remi Jouan, April 2006)

Every once in a while a client presents me with a list of personal points they’re working with which includes something I haven't used much.

This happened to me just recently. But then when I got an email on the same point not but four or five days later, it was like getting a universal hint.

So I decided to write about Pholus. And once I began paying attention to Pholus, the reasons it's a good conversation to have became abundantly clear.

We're living through a very Pholus time.

So let's start with the myth. The Pholus of Greek mythology is a centaur, and centaurs are a combination of man and animal which specifically connect the human genitalia to the horse’s heart.

Is this about how people can act like animals when it comes to sex - or when our 'animalistic' passions get triggered (whether by love or anything else)?

Is this about how being human either allows us to 'rise above' our more 'animalistic' state or the need to do so?

Is this about how strong instinct really is? Is this about how easy it is for instinct and animalistic strength to be so strong as to ‘run away’ with us, overriding our ability to think...or maybe running us ragged so we can’t get ‘thoughtful control’ of the situation?

Is this about the concerted effort we need to make to combine human intelligence and raw ‘animal’ strength or native courage in facing some situation?

Probably all of the above.

That there's a bit of a problem here in the sense that there's often a failure to think enough (let's just call it that) comes from the fact that centaurs - as a race - descend from Ixion's defiling of Zeus' (aka Jupiter's) hospitality.

If you haven't read the whole story, here's the LINK to the astroPPM article on Ixion. This particular Ixion transgression however, happens as Zeus/Jupiter is offering Ixion forgiveness for past transgressions. As part of this 'purification' process, Ixion is invited to Olympus...he approaches the realm of divinity and immortality...only to fall prey to lust for Zeus' wife, Hera.

This occurring in a time when hospitality and the honoring of one's host was held higher than high, for Ixion to covet Zeus' wife is bad enough. It's ungrateful, it's disrespectful, it's not what a person does to another person and its certainly not what a person is supposed to do to the Olympian head honcho.

Being no immortal fool, Zeus (Jupiter) summons up a cloud and shapes that to emulate Hera.

The cloud's is named Nephele. And when Ixion does the dirty with the cloud, from that union comes Centaurus, the first of the centaurs.

Thus we know that the astrological centaurs represent places in our chart (or situations in society) where succumbing to emotional provocation...or when our emotions get provoked...that's when we tend to get a little cloudy (Nephele) on what mastery (Jupiter) of ourselves and the situation really is.

And thus do we trip ourselves up or run away from the point (or the opportunity to make real progress) or end up undermining ourselves.

As for Pholus as an individual centaur, he's one of only two centaurs generally spoken of as peaceful and thoughtful. At least generally thoughtful.

That merely tells us that the astrological Pholus is a point which tests our ability to be thoughtful. 

The other 'thoughtful centaur' being Chiron, we have something to learn from. Chiron is, after all, a point which has become rather commonly known in  astrology.

The story of Chiron is about a centaur who studies healing with that little ol’ god of Greek enlightenment (and truth), Apollo. Thus in the chart, Chiron represents some area of life which we need to become 'enlightened' about in order to ‘heal’ some vulnerability in our life.

Yet since Chiron is a centaur, there's a bit of a big challenged involved. It's not that Chiron doesn't learn a lot from Apollo - he does. But because of his centaur passions, while he's good at applying this knowledge to others, he has has trouble applying it (specifically) to himself.

This suggests that anywhere where we lack perspective is where we are likely to fall into that centaur habit of indulging what feels good instead of sticking to the problem, thinking it through and learning how something really works (ending/'healing' the problem once and for all). 

That wherever we see Chiron in the chart is an area where we're practically an 'expert' in knowing how others could fix their problems but not so good at facing same in our own life? That's classic.

And how do we fix Chiron problems? But insisting of ourselves that we learn through doing. Chiron placements are all about the hapless helplessness we feel, the feeling at some lack until we solve (heal) our Chiron problem.

And if we don't heal it? Then our weakness in that area  remains, and about the time we roll into our Chiron return at 50.74 years of age we recognize that nobody is going to fix such glitches for us.

Pholus has a longer orbital period than Chiron - a fact which has some interesting implications we'll get to in a bit. Meanwhile, the myth of Pholus is an interesting one, and one which should probably be considered in light of the Pholus discovery chart.

 When discovered on January 9, 1992
Pholus was at 0 Leo - and not really
all that far from (though not conjunct
to) the centaur 'big brother' Chiron

Put simply, Pholus was at 0 Leo when discovered. And any point at zero of degrees of any sign is about starting out - or starting to learn - or discovering. In this case, both because the Pholus most important to us is our Pholus and because centaurs seem to be excellent in projection (or when operated with perspective)...once we bring all of this to Leo, Pholus would seem to acquire a 'how do I do that?' quality.

Leo is, after all, all about the things we create, our ability to create (or be creative) and our mastering of the idea that creativity isn't just about personal enjoyment, but  about how to apply what we can learn to the furthering of our creation.

In other words, having the child is exciting and fun. Being a great parent and raising that child as a person with a perspective on and awareness of the world around us? That's a whole lot harder.

The same applies to athletics. Or being an artist. Or anything else which requires taking a risk. Risk-taking requires some understanding of what could happen.

Adding in the Sabian Symbol for 0 Leo here (BLOOD RUSHES TO A MAN’S HEAD AS HIS VITAL ENERGIES ARE MOBILIZED UNDER THE SPUR OF AMBITION) we get a very pointed comment that in being discovered at 0 Leo Pholus is about learning to mobilize our ambitions and all that we may encounter through that mobilization - good and bad.

And this would seem to apply to the Pholus story rather directly, as in said story Pholus is buddies with Hercules. (You know, he of the long list of labors?)

So Hercules comes to visit Pholus (in his cave) while on his way to dealing with an unruly Erymanthian Boar.

(I’m guessing he didn’t need to learn to spell 'Erymanthian' first.)

Being the thoughtful centaur in the herd, Pholus had been entrusted with a cask of very strong wine which belonged to all the centaurs. (Telling us that Pholus has something to do with our ability to be trustworthy.) And while hanging around the cave, Hercules notices the wine and asks to have some.

This wine was not only property of all the centaurs but evidently only to be drunk on ceremonial occasions. And that Pholus gives in and share the wine without asking his fellow centaurs, without having it be some sort of holiday - that tells us that Pholus is a point which can represent 'squandering' of resources and a problem with sworn responsibilities to others.

As I sit here thinking I know a few people who should have their Pholus framed (and how that's another matter) it also occurs to me that Pholus may be where we use our ability to be irresponsible or (in essence) disrespectful of others to get rid of them. Certainly in the fracas which arises when the other centaurs smell the wine and get galloping angry that Pholus has broken his word comes the concept that Pholus is not a 'solitary' point.

Evidently when you 'do' a Pholus thing, others are likely to notice. Yet when all the dust settles, Pholus is still there in his cave. He's unscathed, Hercules has gone off to get his boar and the rest of the centaurs are off doing what centaurs do.

 Herakles (Hercules) and the Erymanthian Boar
 as rendered on an Etruscan amphora from around
 525 BCE (Louve Museum)
(photo Bibi Saint-Pol, June 2007


Pholus is now either 'alone' or has been 'left alone' - as in 'having some peace and quiet' - depending on how you think of it. In real time/real life, which of these two is most likely to occur is probably best told by delineating the natal position of Pholus by house, sign and aspect to natal planets.

But most importantly, this is the point at which Pholus picks up one of the poisoned arrows left behind during the fray. And big giant centaur that he is, Pholus is sitting in his (probably rather dim) cave and perhaps because he's a bit drunk. Or maybe he's simply not paying attention (you know, that lack of follow-through attentiveness thing again).

in any case, he's not of clear mind and focus as he sits wondering about how such a small thing can be so very deadly when he - yes - cuts himself.

This note makes the Pholus story sound a bit like Sleeping Beauty. Except that Pholus actually dies. And that tells us that where Pholus is concerned, some facet of life, maybe a relationship, maybe a hope, many some delusion...some part of us dies.

And it dies as the consequences become plain.

That's a pretty fair warning to us all about how wrong we can be...indeed how harmful it can be to not take things seriously or to justify something thinking ‘it will never get me.’

How often do we end up 'killing' our efforts - and some part of our innocence - because we do such things?

Probably way too often.

Can Pholus represent corporeal death? Maybe. But plainly by itself, Pholus isn't any indicator of death.  However, just for interest's sake, I looked up the Pholus of a handful of well-known criminals. In such charts, Pholus seems connected to not that they commit their crimes but how and where they seem to commit them.

For example, here's Ted Bundy's chart:

Ted Bundy
November 24, 1946 - Burlington, VT - 10:35pm
(Placidus houses, main points only)

...And here's a close-up detail of where Pholus falls in Ted Bundy's chart.

 Ted Bundy - Natal Chart (detail)

What we see is Pholus not in conjunction with, but near enough to other points as to give us a sense, a coloration of the person and their acts. This fits with the idea that natal asteroids represent 'facets' or 'factors' in a person's life and personality, and that transiting asteroids represent things we meet up with in life.

Here we have Pholus positioned between Icarus (impulsiveness) and Hidalgo (manners, protocols) with all three points in Capricorn and the 6th house.

First of all, Capricorn on the 6th house carries a strong essence pointing to the effort to become something. So it's not surprising to review Bundy's life and find that though he got into law school, he wasn't able to hack it. And when that happened, apparently that 'bent' his thinking with regards to those who were able to master such courses of study.

Bundy's own inability to master law school 'killed' his hope and that one 'little thing' made his regard of those who could master such studies poisonous.

It killed his regard for morality, in other words - and morality is very strongly a 6th house precept which, with Capricorn being the signature, would indicate the 'rules in this world.'

Considering that the 6th house is also the house of health care and civil servants, it's also not surprising that Bundy impersonated a police officer in the course of stalking his victims and that many of those victims were nurses.

Another killer: Jeffrey Dahmer.

(I have a point here...stick with me.)

 Jeffrey Dahmer
May 21 1960  - 4:34 p.m. CDT - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
(Placidus houses, main points only)

With the needed detail...

 Jeffrey Dahmer - natal chart detail

Here we have Pholus positioned between Hidalgo and Damocles - and yes, I note that in both charts Ceres (in blue, here at 26 Aquarius) isn't that far away.

Ceres is always about the ability to plan. One shudders to think what that means in these cases.

More to the point I'm trying to make here however, if Damocles is that concept that something can look easy when someone else does it (and prove to be a whole lot harder when you do it), there's a seriously disturbing and rather obvious quality to Hidalgo (means and method), Pholus and Damocles as that pertains to Dahmer's claim that he wasn't trying to kill his victims - he only wanted to turn them into zombies so they couldn't/wouldn't leave him.

The startling quality of the bizarreness here is highly Aquarian, as is (unfortunately!) Dahmer's ability to (Ceres) plan out how to experiment on his victims at least far enough to have all the tools on hand.

It's truly to shudder at.

The most useful thing to note here however, is that this Aquarian Pholus (et al) is in Dahmer's natal 4th house. And with the 4th being the center of 'house and home,' that echoes the story of Pholus sitting in his cave.

Personally I wonder if in years to come Pholus will become associate with the 10/4 axis and thus Capricorn and Cancer, wherever they fall in the chart.

Yet since the astrological door always (always!) swings both ways, Pholus can't simply be a negative or some sort of 'demise.' While it may be our tendency to undermine ourselves and ruin our chances to have what we want, there should also be any number of ways to embrace the Pholus question and use it to the positive.

And evidently there is. Dr. Phil McGraw has an 11th house Pholus/Industria in late Capricorn.

 Dr Phil McGraw
September 1, 1950 - 7:15 p.m. CST - Vinta, OK
(B rating - Placidus wheel)

Dr. Phil McGraw - natal chart detail

There's no question that Dr. Phil has had a good career and helped people by making his (Capricorn) career all about working (Industria) at getting others to do the (Industria) work to heal their own (Pholus) wounds.

Pictured in the 11th house of income, society and the mass market, so long as Dr. Phil has stuck to the 11th house concept that it's about fitting into and being useful as a member of the group he's done well. There are many, however, who feel that Dr. Phil went off the rails in that 'jumping the shark' 'reading his own press' sort of manner.

This would be instead of working at ...being worked upon by the alternative Capricorn concept: social status and achievement.

So even those of us who have a well placed Pholus have to keep focused. There's always that 'centaur' quality of intellect against animal instinct with Pholus, to which we add the need to honor and uphold agreements with others and with-or-within our realm of Self as to who we are, who others are, and that both sides of that equation deserve equal respect, especially when 'strong influence' (Hercules) attempt to sway us.

So lest we forget, just when you think the 'worst of it' is over, while it may be may not be over. We are evidently perfectly capable of doing deadly damage to our Self at the 'cave' (mental) level even once the storm has passed.

And maybe especially once the storm has passed?

With an orbit 91.385 years in length, Pholus' cycle is rather wildly erratic. Doing the math, we could divide 91.385 by twelve (signs in the zodiac) and come up with 7.615 (years) and think that this is more or less the amount of time Pholus spends in any given sign.

And we would be wrong if we thought that!

To show you what I mean, here's a chart of Pholus’ last round through the zodiac (in reverse order). This chart starts and ends with Sagittarius simply because that’s the sign Pholus is at the moment - and in case you're wondering, the only way I could get this chart to size up to where you could read it here on the blog was by breaking it into pieces.

(Don't ask. It was a painful little formatting escapade...)



One thing this chart makes apparent is that the 'shape' and timing of Pholus' passage through our chart is highly individual.

Let's take (for instance) the question of Pholus opposition Pholus. If you just divide 91.385 (years) in half - that being theoretically the 'half way' point - you'd get 45.69 years. And by definition, an astrological opposition is six signs from the starting point.

But for someone born in (say,) May 1980, it only takes about twenty-five years for Pholus to move six signs where for someone born back in 1929 (at the start of the Great Depression) with Pholus in Capricorn, it would have taken around sixty-eight years for Pholus to reach the oppositional area in Cancer.

How wonky, right?

And it isn't even all that regular within generations - generations seeming to be marked by Pluto. If you're an early Baby Boomers (born between 1939 and 1942), you would have arrived at your Pholus opposition around age fifty-six. But for late Baby Boomers (referring to those born in the late 1950s) the opposition would have been reached when you were thirty-eight.

(And I remember my Pholus opposition so well. I caved to the opinions of others and trust me, it wasn't pretty!)

With this particular (Baby Boomer) example there's one other thing also worth noting: the difference in birth years (being close to 20 years) is the difference in the age at which the Pholus opposition is experienced. In other words, both ends of the Baby Boomer generation ended up experiencing their Pholus oppositions at about the same time...even though they were distinctly different ages at that time.

But that doesn't hold true for everybody. The Pluto in Taurus generation begins in 1984 and ends in 1996. Those born at the beginning of this generation are born with Pholus in Taurus. They will have encountered their Pholus oppositions around age 21-23 (or so) - call it somewhere around five years ago.

Those born in 1996 however, will be born with Pholus in Capricorn. They'll be in their 70s before they encounter the Pholus opposition.

Will such a difference in life experience cause a rift inside a given generation? It could. Most likely this will be felt most acutely where friends or partner pairings have one person at either end of the generation and there's a big gap in awareness of what nastiness life can hold.

Otherwise, the opposition of Pholus to its natal position (in your chart) would mean...what? Like all such things, it would have variations - and certainly a Pholus of someone born with Pholus in (say) Aries is going to differ from someone born with Pholus in some other sign. The area of life which tends to 'cave in' or cause a 'cave in' in our lives will be denoted by the house and sign Pholus is in natally...and any planets in aspect. (Also to look at the planet ruling the sign on the cusp of the natal Pholus house.)

But in general, transiting Pholus is likely to be about what causes our plans to go awry by dynamic:  oppositions tend to be confrontations or confrontational, squares are not taking something into account, trines speak to ongoing situations which we tend to take more or less for granted. And this, at some strange level suggests a trine by Pholus may be easier to fall 'prey' to than the square or opposition, both of the latter being energetics which tend to get our attention.

Except, of course, that Pholus may indicate exactly that - the cost of NOT paying attention!    

But back to Pholus in the signs...the fact that Pholus does have such differences in terms of how long it remains resident in various signs brings us to a rather intriguing question. What is that question? Namely  what it means (metaphysically) to have an object which like Pholus spends a relatively small amount of time in the first eight signs (Aries through Scorpio) then a whole lot of time in Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces (heavy on the Capricorn, please)?

Ordinarily I would simply say that in theory, those areas of the zodiac an asteroid (or planet) lingers longest in (vis-a-vis orbital time) are representative of areas where we have more to learn or experience in terms of that asteroid or planet. 

With Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces emphasized here, we know a couple of things. These are the last four signs of the zodiac. They thus represent consequences and outcomes. They're also each and every one the most 'worldly' sign in each of the zodiacal elements (Sagittarius/fire, Capricorn/earth, Aquarius/air and Pisces/water). On one hand this assures us we can meet up with Pholus effects anywhere in life (oh, yippee - NOT!). It also tends to say that our Pholus temptations to slip up, to make decisions which compromise that which isn't ours...that Pholus tempts us to bend rules, come up with excuses and self-justification for just about any reason at all: emotional (water), financial (earth), in order to win the debate (fire) or simply because we like our idea best (air).

And maybe even more to the point, we are probably more likely to trip over our Pholus where others (or the world) is concerned than merely with/within our Self. There seems to be a strain of wanting to be liked, to be popular, to be accepted, to not be seen as un-wantable or 'not up to snuff' which seem part of our overall Pholus lesson(s).

 Centaurs and Centauresses Exercising by Shooting
with the Bow by Eugene Fromentin (1820-1876)

Maybe all will best come into focus as we think about how Pholus is currently traversing Sagittarius.

It is at least, what we probably care about most at the moment!

Sagittarius is a sign all about 'finding what works'...which is where (frankly) a lot of us mess up on understanding how to steer our Sagittarian boat. Sag isn't "right" per se, it's about what will work in practice and learning what that is, and why that is. Thus we have the difference between the codification, ritual and doctrine of religion (Sagittarius) and faith or spirituality (Pisces). Or legal theory and legal debate (Sagittarius) and legal consequences (Capricorn). Sag is about education because in Sagittarius we learn what works and maybe learn better. Some will learn to YELL REALLY LOUD to daunt people and some will learn they're just idiotically dead-on wrong!

Right away, having Pholus in Sagittarius sounds like a dicey time. After all, if Pholus is that place where we tend to do ourselves (deadly) wrong out of giving in to public (peer, family, religious, political, image, media, educational, etc.) pressure, in Sagittarius that tendency is going to really be a problem!

Considering that, then let's think...both the Great Stock Market Crash (of 1929) and that worldwide depression and the latest stock market crumble and the resulting recession(s) have occurred with Pholus in Sagittarius. At once the phrase 'good money after bad' comes to mind. Then again, there's also the idea that the periods preceding both money crunches were...well, call it a bit giddy, perhaps? Ideas which might have sounded morally (or at least moralistically) sound like the U.S. "experiment" with Prohibition (1920-1933) happened under Pholus in Sagittarius, and far from improving things, Prohibition became a major cash source for underground crime.

So maybe that Pholus 'giving in to pressure' thing may work both ways? In other words, while it may say we give in where we know we shouldn't, maybe Pholus also represents where we 'kill ourselves' (or our chances or relationships or whatnot) because we refuse to accept some simple human truths?

If you think about it, there does seem to be a lot of that going around. In fact, since Pholus entered Sagittarius this time around (back in 2005) there has seemed to be a lot of people at various points in our world spectrum who seem to be living in some la-la land of theories which truly can't work in practice.

That may well be the hallmark of Pholus in Sagittarius. There are certainly enough folks saying 'this is killing us' without being heard - and that 'us' part comes from the idea that Pholus will work not just in individual charts, but of those of rulers, politicians and nations.

Gosh, oh golly gee...ouch!

Another observation from looking at the date chart is that there seem to be more wars the longer Pholus stays in a sign. By this I don't mean that there are 'x' number of wars in any given swath of years - that would be a big 'duh!'. No, what I'm saying is that the longer Pholus stays in the sign the more conflicts seem to get bestirred - as if the energetic is cumulative.

In terms of movement, Pholus rocks back and forth in its progress through the zodiac. It’s pattern is pretty much 'four degrees forward, three degrees back'which leads to some degrees getting more worked over than others, as in the following two diagrams.

Pattern #1…

And Pattern #2…

In practice, Pattern #2 seems to be the one which gets seen more often...and it's all about degrees and minutes. 

But when we consider the ‘prickly’ and ‘toxic’ effects of Pholus? Yes, this can make for some ugly times.

Another item - the Pholus orbit:

Pholus - orbital diagram
(credit: JPL database)

The image above is (if you look at the little date in the lower right hand corner) an image summoned up for June 5, 2012.

Why June 5th?

June 5th is because Pholus made its closest approach to Earth during the period of June 2-5, 2012.

So right away there's reason to heave at least one big sigh or relief - there's hope that the 'lack of realism' spate we've all seen of late will be letting up soon.

Not soon enough, maybe, but soon!

Also...remember that Lunar Eclipse on June 4th at 14 Sagittarius? Pholus was at 17 Sagittarius on that date (proving to me the impossibility of discussing everything possible about any celestial event) Pholus was on the "Moon's side" of the Sun-opposition-Moon lunar eclipse.

I have heard more than several stories from people about how that lunar eclipse revealed to them things which have been ruining ("killing") their life. Or their ability to be productive. Or their relationships. And in almost every case, the 'revelation' came as realizing how they had been 'pressured' or 'injured' (had their hopes "killed") at some time in their past so as to create an aversion to facing something....and that aversion was what was causing their current problems - the current 'killing of their peace,' as it were.

That Ixion (repetition of one's errors) and Nemesis ("I told you so!" or "I told you to...") are sitting with Pholus at this time gives us a pretty little picture (or rather, an un-pretty little picture) of this whole tendency to cave to pressures early on in life which don't play out so well.

And that may - in the end - be another factor linked to Pholus, if one referenced a bit obliquely through the Chiron 'brother' factor. What I mean here is that Pholus may be a point which points to family conditioning. Or maybe it's just 'conditioning' which in Sagittarius gets tested through all sorts of standard Sagittarian 'works/doesn't work' means.

Speaking of Chiron, here's another diagram:

 (Note: nothing here is drawn to scale)

What the above shows is how Pholus - at it's farthest from the Sun (aka its aphelion point) is just beyond Neptune. And when it's closest to the Sun (at its perihelion, Pholus is just inside the orbit of Saturn (represented by the green line).

Meanwhile, ‘brother’ centaur Chiron’s orbit is more contained. It starts just beyond Uranus and orbits just inside of Saturn.

The inner orbital (perihelion) points are as follows: Chiron at 8.511 AU and Pholus at 8.73 AU. ('AU' stands for astronomical units, one AU being the mean distance between the Sun and the Earth.)

The net, in other words, is that Chiron comes just inside the orbit of Pholus, which on the metaphysical level is an interesting sort of psychological note which would tend to say that what we are 'enlightened' by (Chiron) we continue to use/capitalize on until we learn that it's to our (Pholus) detriment.

That's a concept which applies very much across the board in life, don't you think?

Yet beyond the theoretical, there may be some very real astrological lessons to be learned here. (And how Pholus is that?) IF a natal chart - be it the chart of a person, product, company, nation, law, pet, marriage...whatever...IF that chart features Pholus in any way, then Pholus is a critical player.

Beyond that: IF the natal Pholus is transited (or hit by something like an eclipse) when other major transits are in process, then the situation would seem to be ripe for Pholus 'conditions' or 'conditioning' to be "installed," operated or revealed.

We live a complicated life.

But let's be real here. Over the months (now years) of blogging together (I type, you read) the solar system has sorted itself out along the lines of rather standard astrological theory. In other words, all objects 'out to Saturn' are those we consciously "operate." Beyond Saturn, that Saturn-to-Neptune zone seems to be all about things which exist in our world which we know 'about' but which we may not personally be in charge of - hence the term 'transpersonal' for this zone.

Neptune? Neptune is always the question it part of the transpersonal zone? Is it a fence electrified by forces beyond which, in belonging to the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud regions represent forces which can 'come to us' or evoke in us things we didn't think possible or "couldn't imagine experiencing" until we experience them?
Identifying Neptune, I leave to another day. Neptune is whatever you make it and never what you make it and that's the Neptune theorem.

We have enough (Pholus) problems, so let's not complicate things. But the Pholus-Chiron difference does become clearer in light of the above. Chiron links the personal and transpersonal; it operates within the realm of that we know and know about, even if we don't want to have to do anything about it. Pholus comes from that realm of all we can't really imagine (in reality) until it happens to us - in reality.

The whole 'toxicity' side of the Pholus story would seem to link it to health (and thus, perhaps the Virgo/Pisces or 6th house/12th house axis in a chart). But that 'health' seems to be...according to the orbits...mostly about what we 'know' (or mental processes, perhaps) except when/if the 'thing unimaginable' brings toxicity and poisonous circumstances to us, thereby teaching us some giant life lesson. Moreover, given the Pholus myth we know that Pholus (and therefore Pholean experiences) will...or are 'supposed' to evoke or be about some level of pain in our life, in the moment or in times past - or in how times past have affected our present.

A couple of last Pholus factoids, vague though their  implications may be...

First, Pholus has not come within one astronomical unit of any planet since 764 BCE. It will also not approach any planet until 5290 CE – so that’s no current concern.

However, Pholus did come to its perihelion point not all that long ago - in 1991.

 Pholus reached it's perihelion (closest approach to the Sun)
point during the period September 11, 1991 through October 10, 1991

And what degree was Pholus at when at its perihelion? If you remember the initial data for Pholus' discovery as I ask that question you get a gold star. Because yes, Pholus was at 0 Leo at its perihelion point.

That it was officially 'discovered' in early 1992 and was at that point still (or again) at 0 Leo is a matter of that 'Pholus pattern' thing. And yes, it makes total sense that a centaur like Pholus would get discovered when at its perihelion point.

But astrologically? This emphasis on 0 Leo shouldn't be ignored. 0 Leo is about our 'beginnings' in the sense of personal autonomy, identity and the willingness to take on the good, bad and responsibility which goes with that autonomy, giving us the classic sort of dichotomy between the immature, the self-indulgent and the brats who want privilege without responsibility or consequence...and those willing to accept the effort, responsibility and risk of failure which goes with owning our truest and most potent creative potentials.

That Pholus has repercussions in how others receive or regard us is noted in another note about this perihelion point: at the time, Pholus was at 0 Leo and throughout this almost month-long period, Saturn was at 0 Aquarius.

Even more poignant is the astrological image of the Full Moon for that perihelion period, which includes a Grand Cross.

 Full Moon of September 23, 1991 (10:40 p.m. UT/+0)

Put simply, Saturn being in Aquarius and conjunct Kalypso says that our success depends on considering the opinions, needs and rights of others. That the 'cross-bars' of this Full Moon are 0 Aries and 0 Libra is a clarified picture of how we feel about ourselves and the success with which we present ourselves to others.

It's a Grand Cross. And thus a challenge we all face, and which we all will face.

That said, Pholus is going to be playing footsie for Ixion for quite some time, so issues which at their heart pertain to 'committing the same mistake over and over again' are going to be with us, and part of our personal lives for some time to come. The years 2013 and 2014 have Ixion and Pholus conjunct. This is either a great time to rid yourself of personal and/or psychic baggage or a time when you may embody the famous Rhett Butler ‘frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’ attitude in all the most unpleasant and unsubtle ways.

Come 2015, Pholus will begin to move ahead of Ixion.

Then as 2019 rolls around, Pholus moves into Capricorn as Ixion moves over the Galactic Center.

On one hand, this doesn’t sound like peaches and cream. On the other, since the Galactic Center speaks to the necessity to make a contribution in this world and the perils we run when we think first and last of ourselves (or 'our group') this may spell the height of ills and the 'coming to light' of a necessity to change our ways.

Then again, maybe not. Pholus spends a good long time in Capricorn and as noted, Pholus lingering in a sign seems to spell times when we most want to influence that other sucker into the ground if they don't agree with us.

It's probably worth remembering that Capricorn is also the sign of regulation, laws, governments and the business of commerce, too.

Yet maybe awareness will count for something. If so, maybe the fact that you're learning about Pholus and how these cycles work will help you do better where your own life is concerned.

Plus you never know - if enough people come to understand the concept, maybe enough of us will figure out that the pressure without which triggers the pressure within is about our tendency to feel pressured, and deal with matters from that perspective.

A better perspective, we might say?
Orbital mechanics being quirky things, Ixion will continue trailing Pholus for a while. But Ixion will catch up. And that it does with both points in Capricorn is fair warning to us now in an era where we are experiencing the Pluto shift from Pluto's residence in the receptive/reactive signs to its evolutionary transit through worldly-if-personal proactive signs.

Once Pholus gets in front of Ixion (as of 2015), with all this still flowing through the Sagittarian lens we are likely to see the cost but have a harder time seeing our own fine hand in the cause. Passive or participant, this combination of Pholus and Ixion is big on wanting to see things our own way.

Then 2019 rolls around. Pholus hits the Capricorn ingress ‘reality’ quotient as Ixion passes over the Galactic Center (the Galactic Center being the black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy).

Let me put it this way: in the realm of theoretical celestial one-upmanship, while Ixion is 'closer' to us (i.e., more "native" to our sense of individual life and wanting what we want), there's no question but when the fight is billed as Galactic Center (Black Hole) versus Ixion, Ixion loses.

One assumes that those most 'Ixion-ish' (who do what they want or what will benefit them without regard for morals, morays, laws or ethics) will find someone lighting a fire under their tails about then.

We don't know who (or what) will be striking this match. But since the mythic Ixion ends up tied to a rotating, flaming wheel for all eternity for having ignored the opportunity to learn better...these stories do seem intertwined.

And intertwined in our time. So we'll all do well to remember that where there's a difference between what we want to be true and what works in the greater reality, our wants don't win, no matter how many times we try to make them win.

Ixion continues tagging along behind Pholus until 2035, when they will again be perfectly conjunct - this time at 22 Capricorn, a degree pictured as A SOLDIER RECEIVING TWO AWARDS FOR BRAVERY IN COMBAT in Sabian terms.

Last time Pholus was in Capricorn we had WWII. And while you may think 'enough said!' the real lesson is more about duality here and the fact that this degree belongs to Capricorn's 3rd decanate.

It's thus about commerce, peace, and the courage to go beyond the conviction that 'if I don't control this it won't be okay.' Pluto will be in Aquarius by this time, so the emotional stakes are huge.

But those stakes are entirely about our ability to accept that we are all part of a greater puzzle, not owner of the puzzle.

Ixion and Pholus don’t part company (by orb) until the year 2043. One assumes by then we will have figured out that a lack of care or regard for self and/or others isn’t good.

Science is moving faster than astrologers can. So there's certainly more to learn about Pholus. (About everything!) But hey...we're making a start, right?

Better to attempt to understand, than to not think things through - or to be in denial. That would seem to be a good part of the Pholus lesson and now within our grasp.

Now if we can just hold on...


  1. Amazing. Brilliant. Scary. Forewarned is forearmed, so to speak. Hopefully.

    1. The more I work with Pholus, the more it seems most active as an issue we have with ourselves - the shrinking away from what we could do but choose not to. And yes, I agree...the more we know, the better our chances to take the most constructive path.

      - Boots

  2. Boots, YOU are AMAZING! <3 Thank you for this. Learning all the time. Looking for more info about Pholus in each sign. Your writing and understanding is so great. I really appreciate you! .... :-)

    Love Always, Andrea in Florida

  3. thank you for this

  4. You are amazing. Pholus does relate to family conditioning. The lesson pholus brought to me is not something that I am careless about or not pay due attention to. My solar Pholus conjunct my solar asc and just few days ago I transferred my parents's house which is under my name to my sister while my parents insisted this way. I thought I wanted this unconsciously and felt released when the decision was done because I never cherish "the wine" unconsciously and was disrespectful to the wine and its owners.