Asteroid Files: Patroclus

Are you good enough? Do you let yourself be? Who told you that you weren’t? Well, today’s asteroid is here to help you figure it out….

The Astronomy: 617 Patroclus is a binary minor planet made up of two objects of similar size orbiting their barycenter. It is a Jupiter trojan. It was discovered in 1906 by August Kopff, and was the second trojan to be discovered. Its binary nature was discovered in 2001; the name Patroclus now refers to the larger of the two components, whereas its slightly smaller companion body has been named Menoetius. Recent evidence suggests that the objects are icy like comets, rather than rocky like most asteroids.

The Myth: In Greek mythology, as recorded in Homer’s Iliad, Patroclus (Patroklos “glory of the father”) was the son of Menoetius, grandson of Actor, King of Opus, and Achilles’ beloved comrade and brother-in-arms. During his childhood, Patroclus had killed another child in anger over a game. Menoetius gave Patroclus to Achilles’ father, who named Patroclus one of Achilles’ “henchmen” as Patroclus and Achilles grew up together. Patroclus acted as a male role model for Achilles, as he was both older than Achilles and wise regarding counsel.

According to the Iliad, when the tide of war had turned against the Greeks and the Trojans were threatening their ships, Patroclus convinced Achilles to let him lead the Myrmidons into combat. Achilles consented, giving Patroclus the armor Achilles had received from his father, in order for Patroclus to impersonate Achilles. Achilles then told Patroclus to return after beating the Trojans back from their ships. Patroclus defied Achilles’ order and pursued the Trojans back to the gates of Troy. Patroclus killed many Trojans, including a son of Zeus, Sarpedon. While battling, Patroclus’ wits were removed by Apollo, after which Patroclus was hit with the spear of Euphorbos. Hector then killed Patroclus by stabbing him in the stomach with a spear. Achilles retrieved the body, which had been stripped of armor by Hector and protected on the battlefield by Menelaus and Ajax. Achilles did not allow for the burial of Patroclus’ body until the ghost of Patroclus appeared and demanded burial in order to pass into Hades. Patroclus was then cremated on a funeral pyre, which was covered in the hair of his sorrowful companions. As the cutting of hair was a sign of grief while also acting as a sign of the separation of the living and the dead, this points to how well-liked Patroclus had been. The ashes of Achilles were said to have been buried in a golden urn along with those of Patroclus by the Hellespont.

Why He Matters: Okay, so there are a lot of complex forces at work in this asteroid. For one, there are MAJOR daddy issues. Hell, Patroclus’ name even is “The glory of the Father”- Not his own glory, he is viewed as nothing but a tool for another. That seems to be a recurring theme for him, passed around from one male role model to another, and then being eclipsed by Achilles and his fame. So there is clearly some issues of insecurity and never feeling like you amount to enough. Where he is you are always looking for recognition from another. He also represents the straw that breaks the camels back, the last straw. This is somewhat more in transit than in natal positions, but anything going over your natal Patroclus would do this too. Mark Andrew Holmes says that Patroclus “indicates vengefulness, rage, lashing out in pain and anger, need to differentiate justice from vengeance and do what serves your interests rather than your rage; dealing with grief, loss and pain; also, friendship, loyalty, support, and possibly same-sex partnerships.” Yes, Patroclus is one of the many, many asteroids that indicate homosexuality. He is also involved with the idea of pederasty. Typically this asteroid has to do with protecting of lovers, family and those who are close to their heart. Patroclus is a warrior of love, and he will defend his charges to his last breath.

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

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