Asteroid Files: Damocles

Originally posted on Astrogeek’s Skywatch

Helios– Alright guys, this is one of my favorite Asteroids. Its seriously weird, and makes less sense than Sedna (the gold standard for nonsense in Astronomy [yes, you read that right]).

The Astronomy- 5335 Damocles is the namesake of the Damocloid group, a collection of long term comets belonging to the Halley group. At its closest approach to the Sun, it comes in just at the aphelion of Mars, and its outer edge crosses out beyond the orbit of Uranus. It is speculated that over time, its orbit will take it into Earth’s orbit. It’s orbit is highly eccentric.

The Myth- Damocles’ myth is actually the story of a real (as in, we can verify his existence) figure from history, who lived around the 4th century BC. He was a staple in the court of Dionysus I, and was a rampant flatterer. Eventually Dionysus got tired of this, so he decided to teach Damocles a lesson. At a banquet in honor of the king, Damocles was invited, and started up with his usual flattery and how wonderful it must be to be king, etc. Dionysus directed his attention up to the ceiling, where there was a peculiar party favor- above his head, there hung a sword, suspended by a single hair; to demonstrate how tenuous his position was, and the constant danger that came with being King.

Really sets the mood, amiright?

Why He Matters- Okay so this guy is seriously cool. It has a cycle of about 41 years, and for about 32 of those years, it spends its time in Aquarius. The further breakdown goes like this: Capricorn- 2 years, Pisces-4 years, Aries through Sagittarius-2/12 years. A major part of Damocles’ influence is thought to be on politics, and tends to also bleed into the political changes that take place, especially on a global scale. So there is a serious Aquarian vibe here. Taking that, and the flanking signs’ influence as well, we start to see a clearer picture.

Here’s the thing about Damocles- He represents a clear and present danger, hanging right over our heads, and asks us: “Well, what are you going to DO about it?” Are you going to get off the throne and let someone else sit there, making the hard choices and risking their own neck, as it were? Or are you brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to risk it all for the chance to make a difference? Or maybe you’re an insane Scorpio/Uranian type that just loves the rush of adrenaline you get when you’re in danger.

Damocles forces you to take the leap beyond what you know and what you think you know and asks you these hard questions. It brings you face to face with what you think you want, the ideal of it, and shows you the true reality; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Personally, I have Damocles in Gemini, conjunct my Sun. It reminds me to watch what I say, and helps me to keep my ego in check (well, sometimes anyway. 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 of the next page, there will be a menu of additional objects. Under that is a blank space where you can enter the number 5335, for Damocles. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Damocles affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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