Asteroid Files: Heracles

Helios says:

You guys, lets not beat around the bush- Shit is TOUGH right now. Our challenges loom large on the horizon, threatening to swallow us whole. I wont lie to you- it IS more than we can do alone. We need help to overcome these obstacles.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a hero.

The Astronomy: 5143 Heracles is an Apollo asteroid, Mercury grazer, Mars crosser and near-Earth object discovered on November 7, 1991 by Shoemaker, C. S. at Palomar Observatory. It was discovered to be a binary asteroid by Arecibo Observatory in December 2011. Heracles has an insanely erratic orbit (Not as bad as Damocles) of 2 years and 175 days, but can go from 3.24 AU to 0.41 AU! It spends the majority of its 2.48 year orbit in the signs Aquarius, Pisces, Aries and Taurus, and then goes through the remaining eight signs in less than a year. Sometimes it retrogrades back through as many as four signs before it turns direct. But, amazingly, not once in these 200 years is it retrograde in the signs Cancer through Sagittarius! In other words, in its present orbit, it never goes retrograde throughout one-half of the zodiac. (wikipedia and Zane Stein)

The Mythology: Come on, this isn’t exactly one of my obscure ones, we’re all at least vaguely familiar with Heracles, right? Heracles was named for the Greek god of strength, a son of Zeus and Alkmene, a mortal princess of Thebes who is better known as Hercules. Persecuted by Hera throughout his life for being Zeus’ illegitimate offspring and endangered at times by his arrogance and ungovernable passions, Hercules performed numerous astonishing feats of physical strength, like his epic Twelve Labors, which he did to expiate the murder of his wife Megara and his children in a fit of madness brought on by Hera. He shot the centaur Nessus for molesting his second wife Deianira and Nessus, as he lay dying, told Deianira that a shirt dipped in his blood would restore Hercules’ faithfulness should he ever stray from his vows. When he did, Deianira sent him the shirt, which stuck to his flesh and caused him to immolate himself on a pyre to escape his agony, after which he ascended to Olympus and was made a god.

The Astrology: Heracles in mythology is a gigantic figure- his myths abound! So lets break it down- Obviously there is his strength and courage, not to mention his sexual appetites, matched only by his father! But what else is there? Digging deeper, we see abandonment, having to succeed on one’s own. Wild passions that are both a cause of strength and a source of self-undoing, if improperly channeled. Achieving greatly, but only after enduring more hardship than is reasonable. A grand quest to prove to one’s own self that you are worthy. A life in service to others, never allowed to truly break free and find happiness for yourself. Not being in control of one’s own destiny. To me, Heracles is a decidedly tragic figure, which is fitting regarding his connection to the Centaurs. I really like Mark Andrew Holmes’ take, giving the keywords of contending or struggling with something, damaged or destroyed by one’s own strength, passion barely in or out of control, prodigious feats, exaltation after death. Clearly he is a greatly flawed figure, but only by facing his flaws, and not running from the challenges that he was set. I can think of no greater role model and source of strength for us right now than the great Heracles!

To find out where he shows up in your chart, go to astro.com, put in your birth details and in the extended options, all the way at the bottom there will be a menu of additional objects. Under that is a blank space where you can enter the number 5143, for Heracles. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Heracles affect your life?