Asteroid Files: Orpheus

Helios Says:

You know, we have been way too stuck in the underworld lately. Im not a fan. I think its about time to bust out of this cage, dont you? Luckily I know just the man for the job…

The Astronomy: 3361 Orpheus is an Apollo asteroid that was discovered on April 24, 1982 by Carlos Torres at Cerro El Roble Astronomical Station. Its eccentric orbit crosses that of Mars and Earth, and approaches Venus as well. From 1900 to 2100 it passes closer than 30 Gm to Venus 11, Earth 33, and Mars 14 times. It passed by Earth at a distance of about 40 lunar distances on December 7, 2013. 3361 Orpheus is a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) because its minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) is less than 0.05 AU and its diameter is greater than 150 meters. The Earth-MOID is 0.0139 AU (2,080,000 km; 1,290,000 mi). Its orbit is well-determined for the next several hundred years.The orbital solution includes non-gravitational forces.

The Myth: Orpheus  was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydike, from the underworld, and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music. As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, film, opera, music, and painting. For the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called “Orphic” mysteries. He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which only two have survived. The most famous story in which Orpheus figures is that of his wife Eurydice (sometimes referred to as Euridice and also known as Argiope). While walking among her people, the Cicones, in tall grass at her wedding, Eurydice was set upon by a satyr. In her efforts to escape the satyr, Eurydice fell into a nest of vipers and suffered a fatal bite on her heel. Her body was discovered by Orpheus who, overcome with grief, played such sad and mournful songs that all the nymphs and gods wept. On their advice, Orpheus traveled to the underworld. By his music he softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone (he was the only person ever to do so), who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth on one condition: he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. He set off with Eurydice following, and, in his anxiety, as soon as he reached the upper world, he turned to look at her, forgetting that both needed to be in the upper world, and she vanished for the second time, but now forever. Other ancient writers, however, speak of Orpheus’ visit to the underworld in a more negative light; according to Phaedrus the infernal gods only “presented an apparition” of Eurydice to him. Ovid says that Eurydice’s death was not caused by fleeing from Aristaeus but by dancing with naiads on her wedding day. In fact, Plato’s representation of Orpheus is that of a coward, as instead of choosing to die in order to be with the one he loved, he instead mocked the gods by trying to go to Hades to bring her back alive. Since his love was not “true”—he did not want to die for love—he was actually punished by the gods, first by giving him only the apparition of his former wife in the underworld, and then by being killed by women. After returning from the underworld, Orpheus never took another wife, instead only taking the company of young boys from that point on. The women of the area, feeling spurned, went into a Dionystic frenzy and ripped him limb from limb- Even as Orpheus tried to calm them with his music, they could not hear it. And so he died.

The Astrology: Okay, so- it doesn’t take an astrologer to see just how absolutely contrived this story is. Seriously, i’ve seen comics with less convoluted plots (actually that’s a lie- Ive never actually picked up a comic in my life). Orpheus was history’s first rockstar. Unfortunately for him (and his adoring fans) he had some… different tastes than the culture of the time was used to. The Eurydike story was made up as a cover for this fact. Now in terms of the astrology itself, some astrologers link this asteroid as the long sought-after indicator of homosexuality (possibly sharing this with Ganymed), but I would go straight for the kill and call it more likely to be an indicator of pedophilliac tendencies, at its most extreme. Obviously more study would need to be done, but that would be my take on it. However, drawing solely from its myth (regardless of how contrived it is) Orpheus should indicate musical talent, a love of being in the spotlight, tragedy in relationships, going to the ends of the earth for the ones they love, drama, and a direct link from the world of the gods to the world of man.The greatest message that Orpheus tell us however, is that if you nuture your gifts, and use the skills that you are given, you can move even the will of heaven and hell.

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 3361, for Orpheus. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Orpheus affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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