Centaur Spotlight: Echeclus

Helios- Imagine you were lost, and far from home. Every step taking you farther from where you started and where it is that you want to return more than anything. Imagine that you were falling forever and would never hit the ground. Imagine that you had forgotten how long that you had even been falling! Put yourself in today’s Centaur’s shoes.

The Astronomy
: 60558 Echeclus is a centaur in the outer Solar System. It was discovered by Spacewatch in 2000. Research in 2001 by Rousselot and Petit at the Besançon observatory in France showed no evidence of cometary activity, but in late December 2005 a cometary coma was detected. In early 2006 the Committee on Small Bodies Nomenclature (CSBN) gave it the cometary designation 174P/Echeclus. 60558 Echeclus is only the second comet (after Chiron) that was named as a minor planet, rather than after the name of its discoverer. Chiron is also a centaur and other centaurs are being observed for signs of a cometary coma. Echeclus came to perihelion in April 2015. Centaurs have short dynamical lives due to strong interactions with the giant planets. Echeclus is estimated to have an orbital half-life of about 610,000 years.

The Myth: In Greek mythology, the centaur Echeclus was killed by Ampyx in the battle with the Lapiths at the wedding of Pirithous. “Echeclus was killed by being rammed in the face by a spear that had lost its point.If the spear would not had lost its point, the death would had been definitive and quick. Instead, Echeclus’ death was by repeated strokes. His name may be related to glutinous, that is like glue.

Why He Matters: Echeclus is not at all well known in mythology, but the common consensus is that he has something to do with Time. Whether it is an increased awareness of it, time travel, or something else entirely (like Dark Matter) is unclear. I would take that further: He is not travelling through time, he is falling through it. Echeclus feels very similar to Phaethon, in that he feels extremely chaotic and out of control. He is being hurled through the dimensions and cannot stop the ride. Interestingly, I don’t sense the same wildness and chaos coming from this centaur as the rest of his brothers. Rather, he is swept up in the hubbub and suffers for it. Random, seemingly disparate events that end up being a roundabout process of cause and effect are Echeclus in action, and a good way to tell his influence is by transit.

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 60558, for Echeclus. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Echeclus affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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