by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ixion: Our Conflict of Self

 Ixion being consigned to Tartarus
by Jusepe de Ribera

When Pluto was “demoted” from planet to dwarf planet status, astrologers shrugged. Why? Because if everything counts, why bother with what any given celestial body is called?

As it turns out, there are not only a few astrological reasons to care about labels as the larger the object, the more energetics it tends to stir up. But beyond that, there's are a few facts an consequences which are both interesting and education about this 'demotion' from the astrological point of view.

Part one: when Pluto is dropped from the list of "true" planets, that puts big blue Neptune in the position of cosmic gatekeeper to that which lies beyond that we know innately (the personal planets: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars), that we can learn about through personal effort and which we all get confronted by facets of eventually (generational symbols Jupiter and Saturn) and all of those things we know can happen but which we don't control...and do have some concept of how to deal with (Uranus and Neptune).

Thus Neptune becomes the gateway to our dreams and ideals, our inspirations, expectations, faith, dread and illusions. Anywhere in life where where what we can know comes up against that we can't be quite certain of is our Neptune quotient. Things Neptunian exist to enchant...and yes, occasionally enfold us in disappointment.

And through such measures we learn...hopefully and eventually...the difference between reality and the image we substitute for reality - and the price to be paid for doing so. That this is such a powerful process in our lives is reflected well in Neptune's 'controlling' effects on objects in space orbiting beyond it in the Kuiper Belt - a process called magnetic resonance.

Kuiper Belt Objects are represented by green dots -
a great belt of objects which orbits beyond the
realm of Neptune.

It's rather an amazing thought...Neptune can be on one side of the solar system and its planetary effects can be controlling objects on the other side of the zodiac. Of those objects, the first one known to us was dwarf planet Pluto, an astrological symbol which embodies our ability to be drawn by inordinate allure even at peril to everything else we know, even if we know the cooler, more 'logical' or sensible choice is best.

It's the allure which undermines us. All things Neptune ask that we accept the reality and enjoy the allure.

Unfortunately with the Plutinos - each of which has it's own process - the allure tends to win.

And when it does, we undermine ourselves. This isn't a mandated 'eventuality' - that much we can draw from the fact that Plutinos are but one form of KBO (Kuiper Belt Object) which orbits in the cold beyond Neptune's milky blue. There are objects orbiting through that same section of space which have failed to be what astrologers would think of as 'drawn in' by Neptune's infamously famous magnetism.

Known as Cubewanos, these objects go about their orbital business without Neptune having any appreciable effect on them, making a Cubewano like Chaos, Varuna or Deucalion the metaphysical marker of independent influences which, though beyond our control, simply get dealt with as they present themselves.

With Plutinos, there's always drama. It may not get shown to others, but it's there - disrupting our clarity, shaking dust from our souls...even sometimes getting us to feel that lump in the back of our throat.

Or more precisely, why that lump is there - if we even know that much. 

As outcome symbol of Pisces, Neptune symbolizes what results from how we deal with the premier Jupiter question posed in Piscean situations.

In its fire sign rulership of Sagittarius, Jupiter is the idea of knowledge. But when we get to the universal vastness of deep-water Jungian emotionalism astrology calls Pisces, there Jupiter represents the question of how well we understand emotions - ours and those of others.

And whether we are even willing to feel those feelings. Or deal with their reality.

Or our lack of reality.

With retrograde moon Triton in the foreground, Voyager 2 catches the
near-ghostly images of planet Neptune emerging from its shadows.
Or are those shadows ours?
 (photo credit: NASA-JPL, August 1989)

As for the mythological Ixion, one of the important things to know about him is that he is said to have 'descended from' war god Ares (the Roman version of Mars). This tells us that our 'Ixion issues'...whether in life or in our own personal life...are about 'conflicts' which come up at least in part because of where we "come from."

Just on the philosophical face of it, this is a useful (if probably painful) way to view our Ixion quotient. And beyond have Neptune brought in on the astronomical side and Mars/Ares on the mythic places Ixion in a very special realm where the choice to do what we willfully do - is by Neptunian definition somewhat clouded.

by Hendrick Gottzius (1558-1617)

The Ixion story starts with young adult Ixion already enthroned as king of his own realm. His position isn't something he's fought for or earned, it's simply given him because 'fate' (what life hands us) has put him in the position of being the former king's son.

From the start, Ixion is headstrong and prone to acting with what modernists call 'entitlement.' Yes, he's king. But in mythic terms, being 'king' is merely another way of saying 'you've been handed power...what are you going to do with it?'

We all know that saying about power, right? Absolute power corrupts absolutely. you rule your Ixion issues or do they rule you?

And what's the difference, exactly?

The next thing we hear about is when Ixion decides to take a bride. This being ancient times, an appropriate female is located, a negotiated 'bride price' is struck and the young lady is duly delivered to the festivities for wedding and all which comes thereafter.

Then her father shows up. Ixion has now married his daughter and now daddy-in-law would like the king to pay the agreed-on price.

And this is where we find out who Ixion really is. This young king, who we can imagine as filled with that invincibility so many of us feel early on before we find out what the word 'consequence' really means...he announced his intent, got the girl and has had his kingly fun.

But not all in life is all that easy. Wherever we see Ixion in the horoscope, that's where we know we will tend to think things are going to be easy. And maybe they will be...right up until the time that something (or someone) challenges us.

Instead of fulfilling his obligations, Ixion opts for a trap which tumbles his father-in-law into a pit of burning coals - which isn't just about avoiding a debt but also about choosing to break one's oaths while betraying, torturing and killing off something you don't think you necessarily have to deal with.

That's not just entitlement, that's sociopathic narcissism of a rather dramatically type, to which we add the idea of family and blood bonds as the venue in which - or from which we act or react.

Remember...Ixion is descended from the god of war. In the vast and intricate body of Greek mythology this is the first human to shed kindred blood, recalling the story of Cain and Able. 

The Ixion issue is primal - and the conflict is ours. But with Ixion we are rather likely to use our (kingly) powers to try and get someone else to pay the price. Or our price. If we can just willfully do away with the problem, our issue, our conflict, we will.

And if someone else gets hurt in the process...?

Before we continue, let’s remember: every chart has an Ixion. So we all act on, embody and attract Ixion situations. By sign and house placement we can see the areas of life these issues will surface in and what type of person we will attract to trigger our Ixion.

No, we don't want to face Ixion issues - at least not initially. The mythic Ixion was none too keen to own his own moral, ethical and personal failings...and neither are we.

In the story, since the citizens of Ixion’s native land were living a life under the king's law, they couldn't convict Ixion - just as we are sometimes compromised by our own more base or basic instincts.

Still, Ixion's subjects weren't any collective bunch of fools. Now aware that their 'ruling entity' (Ixion) was dangerously willing to harm others, they banded together and as a collective force booted Ixion’s kingly self from the realm, dethroning and exiling him in one - just as our human tendency is often to spot a problem and simply decide to 'get rid of it' without asking where it 'came from' or what reason it had for being in your life.

Unbeknownst to us, the universe is unfolding as it should. Everything happens for a reason. All happens when it should for there is no way for time to manifest incorrectly.

Where and how Ixion appears in any chart pictures where that person (or relationship or company or anything else) will meet up with and be taught lessons about others. As over time Ixion is activated by transit, eclipse or return, again and again we confront our conflicts with/about rules or people or problems which seem to 'rule' us.

Which takes us back to Neptune. One of the qualities found in all Plutinos is the Neptunian image of 'perfect' as we individually define or imagine perfection to be -  whether or not we'd be happy with that ideal if every dream and wish we've ever had came true.

The issue is not the reality. It's our desire to substitute some 'fantasy' for reality in the face of obligations we are all for having the rewards of, but not so keen on earning.

Or even deserving.

This is where Ixion serves to send us wandering. The personal myth is about 'them' - those many which our Ixion will tend to feel rejected by.

Except this is astrology. So 'them' is us. WE have rejected some facet of our Self in the exercising of Ixion preferences. The source of that is likely to be traced astrologically through an examination of aspects, asteroids and the ruler of the sign in which Ixion is positioned plus the ruler of house in which Ixion is placed. But until we understand and are able to get some sort of grasp on how to cope with, own or properly and usefully harness the worldly aspect of our Mars (i.e., that which doesn't apply to us alone), Ixion will return to plague us.

On Ixion's period of exile, limited information survives. So we aren't told if Ixion was repentant and philosophic during this period or self-pitying, whiny, angry, morose and bent on kingly revenge.

With Ixion, much functions out of sight if within our mind.

What we do know is that at some point Zeus (Jupiter) takes pity on Ixion and decides to forgive him. This 'decision' is less likely to be Sagittarian and thoughtful than Pisces and merciful if simply because Ixion is a Pluto - it's 'ruled' by Neptune.

Thus we face a slightly different question: do we really know and can we deal with the reality of our feelings? 

Newly purged of guilt, Ixion arrives in Mount Olympus ready to accept Jupiter's invitation to hang around the eternal palace for a interesting note on Jupiter as a sign of learning.

Then again, in Sagittarius Jupiter's 'expansion' principle works through increased understandings which lead to application where in Pisces, the process is emotional or having to do with anything (or anyone) capable of affecting or triggering our emotionality. Associated with the highest of highs and equally depressed depths of despair Pisces is the sign of elation, denial, guilt, sensuality and rapture...and all those who would either live in such a non-reality - including (if applicable) ourselves. Gurus, famous artists, hermits, addicts, prisoners and saviors are as classic a Piscean guise as devotion, rejection and dishonesty are its tools.

With Pisces, the question is not what you do but why you do it. At any end of the Pisces spectrum acceptance rubs shoulders with our complete inability to cope or respond to needs (our own or those of others) with anything close to perspective.

But that's the issue - and in all likelihood, part of our Ixion dynamic - Pisces isn't about perspective. It's about immersion in the commonality of our oh-so mortal existence. In Sagittarius Jupiter teaches how much we need to know. In Pisces Jupiter teaches that knowing comes at some cost - the first payment of which will be tendered by us, through our emotions as we deal with things we hadn't wanted to deal with as part of our reality.

Ixion energetics come to us from beyond Neptune. We can't know what Ixion is about or how what it triggers is going to operate. The more we think we understand our Ixion the more likely we are to try and 'rule' or 'regulate' our life...and the less control we will likely have.

Ultimately this suggests that we can only rely on - and thus stand or fall - by who we really are in every moment.

Back on Mount Olympus, Jupiter has given Ixion a fresh new start. And what does Ixion do?

Theoretically cleansed of all 'mortal wickedry' (and remorse, had he felt any) Ixion no sooner settles into life on Olympus than he falls in serious lust with Juno, (Jupiter’s) wife - another curious image considering that the astrological Juno is a symbol of self-regulation or self-discipline.

But then...opposites do attract, they say. 

Being chief god of knowledge (and Mount Olympus) Jupiter was no fool. He saw what was going on, and in an unusually metaphysical display of what it takes to grow theoretical (Sagittarian) knowledge when that enters the (Pisces) emotional realm the story actually tells us that Jupiter didn't want to believe that Ixion could be so seriously disrespectful to his host (not to mention the god who just forgave him) as to have designs on said god's wife...a perfect image of Jupiter as the power of knowledge/understanding being willfully deluded by that exact Piscean longing which so often has us wanting everything to 'just be okay' so we not only don't have to figure it out (the Sagittarian approach) but can also avoid having to feel ourselves conflicted by our (Juno)  responsibilities in this world, in our mind and for our life.

Like Pisces, the sign of two fish going in opposite directions forever bound by a golden thread of truth, Ixion inevitably causes us to tug, pull and avoid. We're just not fighting someone else: our Ixion wars are with and against our Self.

As for Jupiter, in spite of his emotional desire not to have been betrayed by his own choice to have mercy (proving that even Olympians have Piscean doubts and Ixion issues), Jupiter designs his own trap...which is a very what you put out comes back to you sort of quality which happens frequently (and unexpectedly) when it comes to Ixion. The thing we (Jupiter) know, or know we know how to do is never the Ixion question. That we're trying to shortcut or cut corners in our own mind about it - and why we would do that?

That's far, far closer to the underlying drives which we see through Ixion. Where we care not enough to assure our own progress, where we think we can get away with something which exists in a given form because that's what works and works best...that is our Ixion nature acting as the 'elitist king' over all that which we want to simply 'do away with' as we go for the rewards we want without paying the cost - whatever that 'cost' may be.

As for Jupiter's ploy, that involves a cloud: an image which evokes the whole Neptunian quality of fogginess and our inability to (Jupiter) know whether what we feel is being revealed to us is a blessed miracle or corrupting mirage.

Out of this cloud, Jupiter creates an image of divine consort Juno. It's a 'cloudy fake' of sorts, but Ixion goes for it, showing himself willing to betray that which has so recently redeemed him...and which is indeed still in the process of trying to support him.

And in doing this deed, in utterly and willingly sullying his own redemption Ixion also ends up fathering a monster. Originally known as Centaurus, this figure has come to us converted into the centaur Nessus, a creature so driven by passion that even once killed the echoes of the poison live on. From jealousy to fear, from bad life lessons to terrible experiences which turn us to a fight against our Self appears to be the origin of Centaurus - a monster born of personal entitlement bent on coveting an illusion.

Unlike the citizens who merely exiled Ixion from their realm (pushing the problem away without fixing it), that which knowledge (Jupiter) knows as fact must be dealt with. That which will damage at will must be confined, and so Ixion is irrevocably affixed to a winged wheel alive with searing fire. Forever suspended, Ixion's fate is to be tortured by the heat of his passions as all which could be and could have been eternally engulf him in the pain of recognition.

Unable to get his bearings as the wheel continues to tumble like some maniacal gyroscope gone berserk, Ixion reminds us that in each of our lives there is something beyond fixing and redemption. To think that not true is to think ourselves not mortal - which is an ultimate Neptunian folly.

Disorientation and a firm hand to 'tie down' our Ixion issues would seem the way to limit them, though that is easier said than done. All of the Plutinos appear to bring their 'burdens' (challenges) to Neptune's gateway, and when we admit them into our lives without a modicum of reality and realism, they wreak havoc.

The Ixion of mythic description will never again have any semblance of (fixed) human bearing. Reduced to an existence beyond option/operative status, Ixion reminds us how ultimately not all is fixable. But if we truly believe everything has its purpose, then though helplessly stripped of all humanity and any ability to choose the idea that Ixion is unceasingly compelled to cry out exhorting us to show gratitude to our benefactors asks that we be thankful towards those who secure us as well as our Self when at long, long last we emerge from our own Neptunian fogs and accept life on reality's terms alone.

Discovered on May 22, 2001 at 5 Sagittarius (a sign Ixion will continue to transit until November 6, 2021) Ixion has an orbital period of 249.95 years. When discovered, Ixion was conjunct Pallas in Jupiter’s sign of Sagittarius, a suggestion that a repeated skewing of perspective (whether creative/destructive) with both objects in opposition to asteroid Medusa.

Part one: considering how Medusa is said to be born of Ixion's 'clouded' copulation with the 'other half' of Jupiter (knowledge), namely his wife Hera. This suggests that Medusa can manifest as things which scare us terribly which are entirely natural, such as the fears first-time parents might experience about whether they'll 'know' how to be parents.

They're not scared of the child, they're scared of their own reaction to having a child. That's a Medusa fear: something you cannot solve without facing it. And Ixion was discovered 'facing off' against Medusa - which is an image of how our life will (or won't) 'repeat' cycles and types of situational dynamics until we understand it isn't 'them,' it's us.

Yes, it's us. Despite Ixion's having 'mated' with a cloud created by the very hand of Jupiter, that eternally knowledgeable Olympian, Medusa is born mortal.

In Ixion we find that which shatters not our dreams, but which tests our sense of invincibility. At it's best, Ixion encourages us to be just manifests as situations which tempt the very worse in us in the process.

You know...our most 'mortal' points of conduct. Whether your tests and temptations are mental, spiritual, emotional, financial or physical, those would be described by natal element, house, degree and aspect. How and where life reveals the Ixion games we play with ourselves...that's Ixion by transit, or being transited to over the course of our days and lifetime.

Another thought on Pallas being in Sagittarius as part of Ixion's discovery: the scariest thing of all over time may just be facing our Self. Through Ixion's Plutino association with Neptune, it seems part of life's plan that we need a certain amount of 'not caring' to get along, get through our days and be who we need to be...and it's when we (as they say) begin to believe our own press that we get in trouble - and that would be the press (as in media) or those messages and little voices in our head which constitute our internalized 'press.' The Ixion habit is to defend a limited perspective most of all because of fears which in true Neptunian style may be real...or maybe simply a veil of fear which amounts to nothing - just a fog...a bad dream...a cloud.

Facing our Self when the Neptunian veil is burned away can be shocking. Facing the fact that Neptune has prevented us from knowing what or who we truly are is also difficult.

Either one may come with real world consequences. After all, in the end the Neptune Precept is all about our ability to know real from fantasy - and the proper use of each.

Facts, on the other hand - those are Sagittarian. Whether we choose to learn what the facts are and whether we choose to think things through as part of the process of making choices which work in a global (not simply personal) sense - that's the Sagittarian/Gemini polarity.

This astrologers opinion is that future study may well reveal connections between Jupiter and Ixion in many a life...the synodic cycle between these two points and how that operates in any given chart being the place I'd look first. The reason this sort of relationship would seem so likely is not only Jupiter's importance in the Ixion myth but because Jupiter is considered the astrological ruler of both all that which can be theoretically known or understood (Sagittarius) and as the 'in' door to Pisces, the realm of life experiences and decisions which challenge us at a soul-abyss level where all the pluses and minuses concern how very human we all are...and will always be.

It is between these two Jupiterian functionalities that things get...cloudy.

That switch from Jupiter in fiery Sagittarius to Jupiter in the unbounded realm of watery Pisces where 'knowledge + emotional experience = wisdom' is a life lesson plan seemingly designed to confront us with the difference between what could be and what should be.

And that's our Ixion. Ixion asks whether we respect our Self - and whether we perhaps 'respect' our Self a little too much, holding ourselves above others on a pedestal the forces of Neptunian ego denial will surely wash away at some point.

Ixion is not what we can or cannot do...or even should or should not do - it's what we should or shouldn't do in any given moment. In other words, it's not the 'thing' - it's the quality of clear-minded humility we either do or don't bring to our decision, whatever it may be.

As for Ixion's fellow Plutino Pluto, Pluto came to its perihelion (its closest approach to the Sun) in 1989 with Neptune was at 9 Capricorn. Many of today's national, economic and systemic issues trace back to power issues of that day which were taken to be good in the moment...but which now, decades later, appear to be nothing more than kings grabbing what they want, regardless of consequences. Ixion's perihelion won't  occur until 2070.

But when it gets there, Neptune will be at 9 Cancer - in direct opposition to its Pluto/perihelion point. So some piper is likely to need paying about then. If we grapple with matters honestly...factually...realistically, all can be contained. If, however, we insist on 'clouding the issue' or self-serving choices we are likely to create some terrible monster - one which will be all the more terrible for not being anything we can really fight against.

Whatever its position and whether active by transit or placement in a return chart, Ixion appears to be as active as we are aware. That makes grappling with Ixion challenging - even frightening at times.

But what's our option - denial?

Ixion is a point which ends up saying much about whether we are willing to choose to be conscious. Those who reject its premises often succeed in a worldly sense, but at what cost to their - and our - humanity?


  1. This was a much needed article; it was both cunning and forthright, I am stunned. Thank you.

  2. sounds like my new living situation will be an extremely challenging opportunity for awareness
    Feeling fear

  3. ASTROLOGER'S NOTE: Ixion is not problematic once we understand where we are either unwilling to take responsibility for having standards...or where we choose to do what we want instead of that we should do. As exhibited by the myth, there is a definite quality of interaction which seems part of the Ixion process - so this point isn't as likely to spark challenges as much as it's likely to be set off in or through relationships where for whatever reason we are unable or unwilling to acknowledge who the other person really is.

    Ixion projects or is promoted through our habit or desire to 'assign' our solutions (project them) onto others, asking something or someone outside of our Self to 'fix' us. This is typical of Plutinos, all of which carry the Neptune-controlling 'vibe' of "wanting salvation" and for life to be "ideal." That desire (or inability) to understand and accept reality - complete with benefits and limitations - is where we tend to set ourselves up for all Plutino lessons, be they through Ixion, Pluto, Huya or any of the others (and need I remind us all that there are a handful of Plutinos yet to be named?).

    The Ixion precept IS active at the moment because of Ixion's position - which happens to be conjunct fixed star Ras Alhague, an energetic scheduled to be posted on this February 20th.


  4. Dear Boots,
    That was enlightening. Thank you for sharing. It would be very interesting to read more about Ixion's effects on the angles, houses, and interaction with planets. For example, would Ixion on the ascendent reveal a sociopathic narcissist, and is that placement from consequences from a past life? What if Ixion was joined by Neptune in the first house? Would that exacerbate or ameliorate the problem? When a planet passes Ixion in a house, is that when the issues related to that house transform the person into a sociopath, or would the square or opposition pull it out?

    1. Ixion can certainly be involved in the indication of narcissism in a chart, but I would not look to it as a sole indicator as narcissism (as opposed to narcissistic traits) is generally indicated by a stellium of circumstances in a chart, not just one thing.

      Beyond that, Ixion as a point in our natal chart tends to indicate where we will get our Self into trouble WITH our Self, not necessarily with others. In other words, Ixion often indicates something we 'spoil' for ourselves without any external force having to punish or convict us of something.

      To your question about Ixion changing its nature by being aspected by transit, that depends on the object (of course) and the nature of our natal Ixion challenge. Often times a transit will simply act as a 'trigger' which causes us to experience our 'Ixion Factor' without changing a thing, as that's Ixion's nature. This being a relatively new point to astrological study, there are likely to be quirks found in the study of Ixion transits (and transits to Ixion) yet to come. However, in my estimation it is far more likely that we will change the 'focus' of our Ixion "issues" rather than eliminate Ixion as a theme. So if (for instance) you have Ixion in the 1st house, it may manifest as some bad physical habit, or some habit you have which isn't good for you physically. But even if you learn that lesson, there are other 1st house arenas for Ixion to play out in, and as it's going to be in your natal 1st house for the whole of your life, it will tend to continue testing various aspects of your (1st house) awareness for the whole of your life.

      As for Neptune, Neptune conjunct Ixion (in any house)is likely to make understanding your own Ixion issues either more difficult (or) something you will tend not to focus on for whatever reason. Or it may indicate some sort of compulsion which causes you to take on difficulties or to undermine your Self or personal aims. It could also indicate someone who does something (or continues to work towards something) regardless of the difficulty or threat to one's self - - or because they simply have an inability to accept the possible danger.

      Regarding 'transforming someone into a sociopath,' that is unlikely to occur under any transit. Why? Because people who have sociopathic (or narcissist, etc.) mentalities have them for the whole of their lives, though they may not be 'active' at some points and often go unnoticed by others. So if you are talking about someone who 'becomes' a sociopath under a given transit, the chances are they were always a sociopath, but those tendencies were not recognized or discovered until the transit came along to 'uncover' or expose something to someone else.

      The bottom line here is that no one point defines a chart and that a psychological issue is not read from a single point. Ixion is problematic, yes. But Ixion is in every chart of every person and creature alive and not everyone is a terrible person, though we probably all have terrible moments when we have to confront something about ourselves, whether we accept it - or are forced to deal with it - or not.

      - Boots

  5. I would LOVE to pick your brain and ask you a very specific question regarding a theme on my chart. First off, I have Mars (7° Cancer) square Pluto (13° Libra) conjunct NN (15° Libra). I have Neptune in my 1st house Sag (13°) conjunct Medusa. It's been told that Medusa was raped by Neptune.

    Now interestingly enough, my Ixion sits just inside my 12th H, at 10° Scorpio. It's conjunct both Uranus (9°) and Quaoar (8°) in Scorpio but in the 11th H. It exactly opposes Kassandra at 10° Taurus. Story tells of an amazing psychic who refuted Apollo's advances (didn't allow herself to be raped?) and was thereby "punished" by having all disbelieve her.

    How would you read this opposition? I don't see Kassandra in charts at pivotal points (outside of typical aspects with personal planets) enough to get a good read, and I imagine Neptune is blurring my thoughts. I'd be so grateful for any thoughts you may have on this subject.


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