Asteroid Files: Pandora

Ah, I do love the New Year! My favorite time of year! Well, Solar New Year that is- Gregorian is lame, who wants to celebrate in January? Dull, grey and cold- No thanks! Chinese is all right though- Now that’s a party! But for me, I will always wait to really celebrate til late March- And the best part of any New Year is all the possibilities that the next 365(ish) days have to offer! Which leads me to our TNO…

The Astronomy: 55 Pandora is a fairly large and very bright asteroid in the asteroid belt. Pandora was discovered by American astronomer and catholic priest George Mary Searle on September 10, 1858 from the Dudley Observatory near Albany, NY. It was his first and only asteroid discovery. It is named after Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology, who unwisely opened a box that released evil into the world. The name was apparently chosen by Blandina Dudley, widow of the founder of the Dudley Observatory, who had been involved in an acrimonious dispute with astronomer B. A. Gould. Gould felt that the name had an “apt significance”. [Shaaaaaaaaaaade] The asteroid shares its name with Pandora, a moon of Saturn. Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Rozhen Observatory in Bulgaria during 2010 gave a light curve with a period of 4.7992 hours and a brightness variation of Δm=0.22 mag. This is consistent with a period of 4.804 hours and an amplitude of 0.24 obtained during a 1977 study.

The Mythology: Okay, settle in because this one is a doozy and incredibly convoluted. Sure, we all know her box (giggity), is a trope that’s been done to death. The story goes like this: Prometheus creates (or discovers) the race of Man, only men- no women. He runs out of all the good stuff that he and his brother Epimethus used on creating other stuff like snakes and the platypus, so he steals fire from Olympos and Zeus. This was the final straw in Zeus and Prometheus’ epic rivalry/prank war, and it earns the Titan a lovely rock to get chained to, allowing better access for the eagle to peck out his liver every day. He got off easy- His brother, Epimethus, got the far more devastating and creative punishment: A woman. See, up until this point, humanity was comprised only of men- Deathless, hardworking, and obedient to the gods. Zeus decided that the price for fire (advancement) was death and a loss of paradise. He called the gods together and had Hephaestus make a woman (which, if he could do, brings into question the whole Aphrodite story arc of his, but hey), and all the gods gave her gifts to help make her a more appealing prize: Aphrodite gave her beauty unparalleled, Athene gave her useful skills, and Hermes gave her a brilliant mind, cunning, boldness, a deceitful nature, and got to name her: “All-endowed”, while the other female gods (including The Fates!) dressed her up and gave her sparkly things to wear. At this point a theme should be emerging for you. She was sent off to her new husband with a big ol’ jar (not actually a box. I want to stress that) with all of life’s ills inside and a note not to ever open it. Epimethus was warned by his brother never to accept any gifts from the colossal bag of dicks that was Zeus, but as Epimethus wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the old Titan hierarchy (his name meant Afterthought, for chrissakes…) he gladly accepted the wonderfully packaged doom that was hand-delivered to him. Temptation to open the jar is abated for a while, but soon one of their curiosities gets the better of them and they open it, unleashing all the worst things humanity has ever dealt with, but they manage to shut it with one thing left inside: Hope. Which is the insanely interesting part- Why would hope, one of the most valued human traits, be at the bottom of a jar containing nothing but the worst things imaginable? Why would Zeus, trying to punish us, give us hope? Did he feel bad unleashing the rest of it on us, and wanted to leave us something to get us through our now-miserable lives? Or is it possible that hope is its own form of torment, and owning to its placement in the jar, truly the most painful and insidious? Anyway she goes on to live a crappy life, despised by everyone, and then has a daughter (further hurting her cause) who ends up saving humanity after Zeus gets pissy at us again.
Why She Matters: God, I love her. She’s amazing. She is a slightly lighter version of Eris or Lilith, but she is still absolutely hell on high heels. She is the living embodiment of the idea that “Bitches get shit done”. Every single person who has been shut out of the patriarchal white straight boys club has a hero in Pandora. She was given gifts, and they were promptly ignored by everyone, most of all her creators, just because she was a woman! Astrologically, she refuses to take it. Wherever she shows up in your chart is where you refuse to allow it to happen, whether to you or anyone else. You stand up and be counted. Pandora takes no shit, that’s for sure. She’s no good little housewife who stays quiet with a martini glass waiting for husband to come home from work, she is every bit his better! More often than not that is the case in real life as well. Pandora impels you to do for yourself and help those who are marginalized make their voices heard. Its also a point where you will find the world reject you, and you will have an uphill battle to get the recognition you want and deserve. But you probably already knew this.

To locate asteroid 55 Pandora in your natal chart, head over to astro.com and input the number 55 in the ‘additional objects’ section. Keep your aspects major – conjunction, square, opposition and your orbs within 1 degree. Where does Pandora show up in your life?