by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, July 22, 2013

Deucalion: Freeing Our Will

Scene of Deluge
by Joseph Desire Court
(1827, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, France)

TNO Deucalion was discovered on April 18, 1999 – just as everyone on Earth was getting all excited about the new millennium, though I suspect Earth itself didn’t give a fig. That would be left to the Adam and Eve crowd – you know, all us human types who from Fig Newtons to fig leaves seem to be into-fig-gering.
When discovered, Deucalion was classed by astronomers as a TNO (Trans Neptunian Object) and a Cubewano, which is to say one of an entire class of orbiting objects which may sound like a Cuban sandwich (seriously, that’s always what I think when I hear that term) but which really means that the object orbits beyond Neptune and within the ‘district’ where Neptune’s astonishingly potent magnetic resonance controls a whole group of other objects (including Pluto, Ixion, Orcus, Huya and others) – but not Deucalion.

Hence the Cuban sandwich ‘Cubewano’ designation.

Astrologically, that Neptunian ‘resonance effect’ translates as all such ‘Plutino’ objects being ‘subject’ to some of the Neptunian qualities of idealizing against illusion where we are tested about whether we know the ‘boundaries’ on fantasy against our willingness to accept and face real feelings about life’s realities in realistic form and real time. So to have an object (Deucalion) which orbits within this Neptune ‘fantasy-versus-reality’ realm without being ‘colored’ by Neptunian effects tells us that Deucalion is either an object which helps us differentiate between such foggy questions or a notion – information, call it – which comes to us ‘in the midst of the confusion’ where we aren’t sure what is real and what is not real.

So if Neptune is the classic ‘blind spot’ in our chart (which it tends to be, alas) Deucalion represents one of the (Cubewano) ways we can see – or attempt to guide ourselves through or past our own various forms of blindness to…whatever. (That whatever being described in your chart by aspects to natal Neptune and the house and sign where Neptune is positioned.)

Then we get to the myth, which is something of a Greek version of the Noah story, which differs from the Noah tale in several important ways. For one, the ancient Greek concept of deity isn’t singular (monotheism) – its more about seeing life in facets, with a god (which modernists would see as a ‘part’ of the One God concept OR a facet of personality or human evolution/development) in charge of each.

All of which is a touch moot in the Deucalion tale as it isn’t God (or some ‘unknown quotient’ as in being ‘visited’ by a particular god) telling him to build a boat.

Yes, there is a flood. And yes, Deucalion is asked to build a boat. But it’s his dad (Prometheus) who is telling Deucalion to build the boat – which in strictly human terms makes the whole boat building thing not only an interesting version of parental (read: internal) discipline, but an interesting commentary on how the father who stole fire (and who in Greek myth molded mankind from clay) then has to ask his son to save this race of beings he’s created.

Deucalion: Why should I build some giant boat?

Prometheus: Because I told you to! And let's remember, I’m not only your father, I created the rest of mankind! And yes, then you. So you owe me a boatload!

Deucalion: Very’d think you were some freakin’ demi-god, the way you go on, dad! What, if I don’t built the boat? Are you going to fire me or something?

Prometheus: FIRE, is it? I’ll have you know I went to a lot of trouble to steal fire for mankind.

Deucalion: Great galloping Greeks - not THAT story!  Again, dad? Must you?

Prometheus: Maybe I must. But this time I won't, even though heavens to Hades, son, you give me a pain in my liver! Just build the boat and stop pre-pitting my olives! And by the by - I’m NOT a demi-god, I’m a titan. Very primal and all that. I don't know about your generation...but your mother sure appreciates me. At least she did last time I asked.

Deucalion: Like she's going to insult you? Look, I really don’t want to know what kind of a ‘titan’ you are with mom, okay? All I know is that building this boat of yours is going to be one titan-ic pain.

Yes, it is my theory that teenagers were always teenagers. There’s nothing in the history of mankind to suggest otherwise. So the boat got built, got stocked with animals and kin, and thus Titan father (Prometheus) passed to his son the need for not just self preservation, but the preservation of that which is both near and dear to us and necessary to survive.

The one we like…the other we need.

Being positioned beyond the orbit of Neptune, the TNO Deucalion thus represents the understanding that in the midst of whatever confusion, delight or despair (or anything between)…in spite of that lack of clarity (good or bad) we still have to survive.

And if we do…if we take the task on, that helps us to survive whatever flood comes upon us.
As for floods, seeing that any metaphysical reference to water always means emotions or emotionality, between the Cubewano quality and the boat thing, this suggests Deucalion is all about learning how to ‘rise above an overwhelming emotional tide.’ Principally, this ‘tide’ is ours. It may be the fact we’re being swept along by some ‘current’ event, or the Deucalion need may arise through our being provoked or confronted by life.

Whatever the dynamic is, it would seem that the  Deucalion of our natal charts…by sign, by house, by degree, by aspects…represents both the possible venue of challenge to us or the means by which we rise above some flood and thus avoid ‘drowning’ in confusion or through the consequences of some ill-fated choice. But Deucalion is more than that. In being the son of titan Prometheus, Deucalion is ‘born of’ some basic (titan) instinct, which in the case is imaged by Prometheus.

There doesn’t seem to be any Olympian objection to Prometheus having ‘molded mankind out of clay.’ But when Prometheus stole fire and gave it to mankind, all holy Olympian havoc broke out. Mercury and Vulcan were sent out to haul Prometheus’ titanic self off to the top of a mountain where Vulcan chained Prometheus to the rocks so that an eagle could come by every day and peck at his liver.

by Nicolas-Sébastien Adam (Louvre Museum, Paris)

Esoteric traditions regard the liver as more than the physical organ, though there may be some semblance in functionality. To have a ‘good’ liver meant that you are able to function freely - that your body is unencumbered by ‘toxic’ emotionality which in turn causes us to stagnate or become imbedded in, or poisoned by, the inability to ‘process’ life’s (qi) at either a physical, spiritual or emotional level.

That an eagle is sent to peck at Prometheus’ liver suggests imagery of the Olympians (our greater mind or mindful self) feeling a need to keep this liver quality rationed or limited in scope. And when we think of this as specifically focused through  Prometheus’ ‘theft’ of fire – the giving of enlightenment to mankind, titan Prometheus’ punishment would seem to be about ‘knowing too much’ in a manner which is separate from the eternal need for ‘overseeing’ guidance.

There is the temptation to think of this ‘eternal’ concept in modern terms – as in deity. But Greek myth is all about what it means to be human, what it takes to be decent as a human and what humans face as challenges along the way. So this ‘eternal oversight’ would seem to be ours – not from some omnipotent force. And that leads us to think that TNO Deucalion either calls on our awareness of what we do not know or that which we may know about, but need to be careful about, or limit unrestricted use of. Deucalion is not about ‘sin’ as in ‘being sinful’ in the Christian sense. There’s no damnation involved…though if you’re going to talk about a flood it might have been good to have been given a dam as opposed to giving a damn.

No, Deucalion seems to be more about the discovering of better ways which allow us to function freely, but with a consciousness of the penalty to be paid if we overindulge (so to speak) emotionally – and that would be too much emotion or too much constraint on our emotions.

Moderation…finding the balance…rising above the emotional flood…that’s the Deucalion theme.  

Prometheus’ parting ways with Zeus’ ‘this is how the world is’ in giving fire to humans is another way of saying that we have and must have a say in our own fate – that thing we call Free Will. That Mercury is sent with Vulcan to chain Prometheus implies that there is a choice to be made in all things – most of all the Free Will choice whether to face our most titanic and instinctual Self.

What will we each do with our Free Will in finding our way in spite of (Neptunian) allures which, whether positive or awful, are all about tempting us to  abandon our focus on reality?

As son of Prometheus, Deucalion is all about this question of ‘embodying’ Free Will, an idea which when though of in the astronomical sense of a Cubewano (an object which functions free of Neptunian influence) seems sincerely apt. The fact that Deucalion ‘travels’ through this “Neptune zone” suggests it’s purpose and meaning in the horoscope is all about ‘independent’ perspectives – the need to have them and the need to know how to use them. Plutinos (Pluto, Ixion, Huya, etc.) re all about being subject to the allure of that which may or may not be real – the Neptunian sway. Cubewanos like Deucalion are not subject to Neptunian allure and thus represent a different ‘outlook’ on such issues.

And yes, life. And our emotional responses to life.

Discovered in 1999, TNO Deucalion has an orbit of just over 295 years long. It entered Libra (i.e., it left the zodiac’s most personal and introspective signs for the more worldly realm) back in July of 1980 – pretty much as the face of society began shifting into technological mode. Ever since then we’ve been dealing with escalating questions about the use of our mind, whether it’s how children learn in school to whether technology burdens or frees us – and whether that, in and of itself, is a good or bad thing.

Going back to that flood thing again, unlike the biblical flood, the Greek one isn’t caused by rain but rather by that Greek god of oceans himself, Neptune.

(Funny how these Greek gods get around, isn’t it?)

At Zeus’ command, Neptune raises the ocean’s level and floods everything - an interesting comment of late seeing as how we humans are discussing ocean levels now in connection with global warming. The term ‘global warming’ evidently dates back to 1975 (and an article in a publication called Science) which was then ‘popularized’ in 1979 – shortly before Deucalion moved into Libra. And whether you agree or don’t agree with the concept of ‘global warming’ (with its implication that changing temperatures are due to something humans are doing) or whether you’re more of a ‘climate change’ person who thinks Earth simply has patterns of climate and we’re moving into a planetary hot seat period, we’ve been discussing (a typically Libran activity) ever since.

And then the Kyoto Protocol (an international agreement dealing with this question) ended on March 15, 1999 - a scant month before Deucalion’s discovery.


So what happens during this Greek flood idea being floated in this story?

(Yes, I said that.)

Remembering that water is not only emotionalism but everything and anything which evokes those emotions of ours prime and primal (sex, family, money, death, birth, war, finance-credit-debt, threat, control, manipulation, fear, etc.), Deucalion having appeared in our collective metaphysical consciousness with Deucalion at 24 Libra, a degree which focuses on our ability…and our willingness to ‘own’ where and how we do or can affect others, leading to the positives and negatives which result. That this was (and to date, remains) the position of Earth’s current pole star Arcturus (leadership) underscores 24 Libra’s meaning while also suggesting that to utilize Deucalion is to ‘discover’ your power to direct others, or in a greater sense, your life – and through that (thinking of Libra as the cause-effect mechanism), others.

That as Deucalion shifted into Scorpio on October 28, 2003 (UT/+0) our world moved into a time of red-line stress seems (painfully) apt. But maybe that’s apt as the myth tells us that Prometheus’ instructions to his son were about building an ark in which to ride out a storm meant to wash away all forms of evil…the ‘ills’ which would plague mankind.

And in our very mortal life, knowing what is an ill takes a perspective. It’s not just what we don’t like. Nor is voting for the ‘tried and true,’ whether that’s a tradition or way of living, going to work. Thinking that any of us know ‘the way’ for everyone is probably a mistake in a life where a ‘standard’ thing such as a horoscope is sufficiently individual to only repeat once every 26,000 years or so (the length of Earth’s precessional ‘pole’ cycle)…and that’s only if we take just the objects in our own solar system into account.

At some level metaphysics seems to always come back to that which is truly an eternal reality – the fact that while its vital and important to understand ourselves as individuals, we cannot succeed (nor can our world) without everyone taking into account everyone and everything around them.

The ancient call of the Hermeticists – ‘As above, so below’ probably needs updating as by now we think of life as being more about the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ world, the ‘me and mine’ versus ‘them and all the rest of it.’
But it all means the same thing. And what do we need in order to balance the seemingly endless offsets and diametric oppositions of our individuality against the world and that ‘personal world’ we live in?

Perspective. Dispassionate perspective.

You know, that Deucalion ‘morality’ which is not so much about some ‘rule’ imposed upon us, but that which we know is right, honest and realistic. That which will allow us to have a decent, productive and reasonably fruitful life.

In the myth, the oceans rise and Deucalion and his family ‘rise above the flood’ until finally the waters recede. Depending on which version of the story you read, the ark ‘lands’ (so to speak) in either in Greece or Italy, whereupon Deucalion goes to have a chat with an oracle of Themis.

(Don’t ask me why  no one’s left on Earth but Deucalion, the wife and one oracle. I don’t write these myths, I just report on them.)

And what does the oracle say? Proving that oracles of every age are oblique, this one tells Deucalion to ‘cover your head and throw the bones of your mother behind your shoulder.’

Probably resisting a reply to the effect of “NOW you tell me I should have brought along the bones of my mother?” Deucalion has a moment of thinking through the fact that Themis is a primal sort of god whose name translates literally as ‘law of nature’ (a reference to ‘mother’ and hence Mother Earth or Gaia). And once he gets that far he understands that Earth’s ‘bones’ are rocks and stones. So Deucalion and Pyrrha do as instructed to, and by doing so (re)create the human race. The rocks thrown by Pyrrha become women and those thrown by Deucalion become men.

Pyrrha and Deucalion
by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1655, oil on canvas)

In this process, Themis not only empowers the repopulating of Earth after it is cleansed by an emotional flood, but reminds Deucalion of the interconnectedness of all life and what it means to be a human being replete with all the privileges, obligations, gifts and responsibilities which having the power of creation implies. In this, the ‘covering of the head’ is a metaphor for not over-thinking things – which in the astrological sense seems reasonable with Deucalion as to ‘overthink’ would be to invite the kind of second-guessing which would tempt us to be confused and lead us away from Cubewano independence and more into the magnetic resonance of Neptunian sway.

Deucalion is now in Scorpio and will remain in Scorpio until November 19, 2026 – when at 6:01 in the morning (UT/+0 time) it will move on into Sagittarius, having spent the last couple of months of its Scorpio transit in the company of Typhon (another titan) and fixed star Toliman.

This is likely to be a trying time as Typhon symbolizes life’s most basic needs: sleep, food, air, water, sex…against which Toliman a star representing the foot of a centaur (theoretically Chiron). Thus is raised the general question regarding centaurs, that being whether we are able to integrate our conscious and unconscious natures and balance impulse against conscious control. Will we ‘rise above’ our animalistic nature, abandon reason to animal instincts or marry them in a mélange of potency which in this case speaks to the gift given Chiron by Apollo.

And what was that gift?

Enlightenment. Specifically, the curative power to heal…which sadly enough speaks to the ongoing propensity we have for injuring ourselves.

Half a Deucalion cycle before now, Tolstoy was drafting War and Peace and Abraham Lincoln was beginning to fight the Civil War. Both of these are substantial examples of men grappling with the need to gain and understand perspective not only on their life, but the life on a greater plain – and with a greater purpose. Lincoln would ultimately write the following: “The will of God prevails — In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is somewhat different from the purpose of either party — and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect this.”

At the time, Deucalion was in Taurus. Seeing as Taurus is ultimately a sign about learning that satisfaction comes only from harnessing our talents and resources in such a way as to earn the respect of others whether we succeed fully in our efforts or not, this may be good news for us. Both Tolstoy and Lincoln confronting man’s least humane aspects (war, a decidedly Scorpio thing), and to do that they risked all they had – their resources of talent and their time on this Earth.

So if those men achieved their lasting satisfaction and the security of knowing they had done what they were born to do through the trials of the sign in polarity to that Deucalion was traversing, that means that now, as Deucalion transits Scorpio the risk is more about our physical, material security. To feel emotionally safe and ‘above water’ (Deucalion in Scorpio) we probably need to be willing to share. We need to be able to risk our ego in having less, or being ‘less in charge’ so that we're able to do…and know we’ve done more.

Which yes, takes a very 'freed will' to accomplish.


  1. Isn't it weird that you make all these great posts (better than any other astrologer) but no one every responds to them? You should get a better looking website bro

    1. You're not the first person to comment on how often people don't stop to chat - but I'll thank you that you did! (Thanks also on the nice words about the astrology too.) Maybe if enough people like you stop to wonder others will join in? Tell a friend, dude!