TNO Watch: Varda

Helios: This world has gone mad. No matter who you are or what you believe, we can all agree that our current situation is bleak, to say the least. None of us want to give up, not really, but how do we keep going, even knowing that we might be taking a slow march to our end? How do we keep going? Who can inspire us and lead us out of this ever-growing pit of despair?

The Astronomy: 174567 Varda is a trans-Neptunian object with an absolute magnitude of 3.5. It is highly likely to be a dwarf planet. Varda was discovered in March, 2006. It is currently 47.5 AU from the Sun, and will come to perihelion around November 2096. It has been observed 68 times over 14 oppositions with precovery images back to 1980. Varda has at least one satellite, Ilmarë. It is estimated to be about 320–360 km in diameter (about 50% that of its primary). As of 2015 two mirror orbital solutions are possible with slightly different parameters.

The Myth: Like 66652 Borasisi, Varda does not come from traditional myth, but she is a literary invention. To fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, however, this might as well be established myth! She comes from The Silmarillion, and is the Queen of the Valar, the Gods in the legendarium. She is one of the greatest of the Valar, being associated with light she is central to the dualism of light and darkness in Tolkien’s cosmology. With dew from the vats of Telperion, Varda made the brightest stars in the heavens, most significantly the Valacirca, The Sickle of the Valar (The Big Dipper) and Menelmacar (Orion).

She resided with her husband Manwë (I’ll be doing him this year as well!), with whom she shared a complementary power. When they were together, Manwë “sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea” and Varda “hears more clearly than all other ears the sound of voices that cry from east to west”.When the evil Valar Melkor first began to create his discord, Varda saw his true nature and rejected him. Melkor feared and hated Varda the most out of the Valar because he greatly desired to possess light. Like most of the legendarium’s characters, Varda has a different name in each of Tolkien’s invented languages. Her Quenya name Varda means “sublime” or “lofty”. When invoked by Elves, she is more commonly addressed by epithets reflecting her role in making the stars, as “Star-queen” and “Star-kindler”. Another Sindarin epithet is Fanuilos “Ever-white”.

Why She Matters: Okay, so I couldn’t NOT do her for Aqua. She represents some of the best expressions of the sign. Plus my dad is a huge Tolkien fan and He is also an Aqua. Varda represents creation, the connection to the divine that we all crave, being able to reach beyond what we are to become something more. Her most useful expression in the chart is by far the ability to sniff out bullshit from light-years away and not have any part of it. Of course, her connection to Manwë cannot be ignored, and I can take a leap and say that she represents the way a great relationship brings out the best in each partner. One more thing I find is that this dwarf planet seems unusually kind, proving that even in the dark reaches of the wild unknown you will find more than just cold indifference to us. This is backed up by a quote “Elves love and revere her most of all the Valar, and they call upon her in their hours of deepest darkness.” In just about every depiction there is of elves in recent high fantasy (from Tolkien to now, especially in regards to my favorite fantasy author Terry Brooks) elves are cold, intellectual and arrogant- they never doubt themselves or their ability to solve any problem, even when they should. They are a force to be reckoned with. So when the situations arise that make THEM scared, and finally admit that they need help, she is the one they call, and they only call on her in their most dire moments. They know better than to waste this fearsome Queen’s time or try her patience. Yet… I get a sense that she is waiting to be called forth. There is a strong undercurrent of service and devotion to her, and she wants to help those who need it. As we face a more uncertain future every day, Varda lends us the hope we need not to crumble before our fears or give into the despair that seeks to grip us and drag us down.

To find out where she 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 174567, for Varda. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Varda affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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