24
Feb

TNO Watch: Arawn

Helios– Ladies and gentlemen, we have a brand new player on the cosmic scene! Let me introduce him to you

The Astronomy: 15810 Arawn is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) from the inner regions of the Kuiper belt, approximately 83 mi in diameter. It belongs to the plutinos, the largest class of resonant TNOs. It was named after Arawn, the ruler of the Celtic underworld, and discovered on 12 May 1994. Arawn is unique in that it has been observed at a much closer distance than most Kuiper belt objects, by the New Horizons spacecraft, which imaged it a distance of 111 million km (69 million mi; 0.74 AU) in April 2016; this and its other observations have allowed its rotation period to be determined. Arawn is moving in a very stable orbit, likely as stable as Pluto’s. This suggests that it may be a primordial plutino formed around the same time Pluto itself and Charon came into existence. It is unlikely to be relatively recent debris originated in collisions within Pluto’s system or a captured object.

The Myth: In Welsh mythology, Arawn was the king of the otherworld realm of Annwn, appearing prominently in the first branch, and alluded to in the fourth. In the First Branch of the Mabinogi, Pwyll mistakenly stumbles into the realm of Annwn and finds white hounds with red ears feeding on a stag. Pwyll chases the hounds off, only to learn that the hounds belonged to Arawn, ruler of Annwn. To pay for the misdeed, Arawn asks Pwyll to trade places with him for a year and a day and defeat Hafgan, Arawn’s rival, at the end of this time, something Arawn has attempted but has been unable to do. Arawn, meanwhile, takes Pwyll’s place as lord of Dyfed. Arawn and Pwyll become good friends because when Pwyll wore Arawn’s shape, he slept chastely with Arawn’s wife.

In Welsh folklore, the Cŵn Annwn or “Hounds of Annwn” ride through the skies in autumn, winter, and early spring. The baying of the hounds was identified with the crying of wild geese as they migrate and the quarry of the hounds as wandering spirits, being chased to Annwn. However, Arawn himself is not referred to in these traditions. Later the myth was Christianised to describe the “capturing of human souls and the chasing of damned souls to Annwn”, and Annwn was equated with the “Hell” of Christian tradition.

Some writers have written of an incident in which Amaethon steals a dog, lapwing and a white roebuck from Arawn, leading to the Cad Goddeu (Battle of the Trees), which Arawn lost to Amaethon and his brother, Gwydion. The standard text of ‘Cad Goddeu’ in the Book of Taliesin makes no mention of this, but the Welsh Triads records the Battle of Goddeu as one of the “Three Futile Battles of the Island of Britain…it was brought about by the cause of the bitch, together with the roebuck and the plover, while Lady Charlotte Guest notes in her Mabinogion an account in the Myvyrian Archaeology that the battle “was on account of a white roebuck and a whelp; and they came from Hell, and Amathaon ab Don brought them. And therefore Amathaon ab Don, and Arawn, King of Annwn (Hell), fought. And there was a man in that battle, unless his name were known he could not be overcome; and there was on the other side a woman called Achren, and unless her name were known her party could not be overcome. And Gwydion ab Don guessed the name of the man”.

Why He Matters: Okay, we have a lot to go through here, and its complicated and contradictory, BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I’M SO EXCITED! This guy was just given a name last month, and that is a big deal in the minor planet astrology world. I already feel strongly engaged with him, just like I did with Orius. Now, as a Plutino he is an underworld figure, but it is clear that he is very intimately connected to the big guy, due to his proximity and mimicry of Pluto’s orbit. In fact, astronomers originally postulated that Arawn was a quasi-satellite of Pluto, but that was debunked by New Horizons (god I love that little guy).

So, what does he mean for us? Well, early guesses are to equate him to the sublime ecstasy of death, aka heaven. He is not quite an underworld god, but more of an “Otherworld” feel, meaning an altered state of consciousness. Other astrologers like Zane Stein go so far as to liken him to the “Land of the Lotus-Eaters” from the Odyssey, with that kind of transcendental state. He is not a punisher, rather he rewards us. Honor is a big thing for him, but not in the severe and ruthless way it is for Orcus– he seems to be more like a masculine version of Vesta. He knows the way things are meant to be done; He follows the rules, and enforces them so that everyone else will too. He is also a master of magic and trickery, and keeps many secrets, specifically the arcane secret that knowing one’s true name gives power over them. Negatively he could be indicative of escapist and addictive behavior patterns, avoidance of reality and the truth, liars, tricksters and con men. Positively, he could relate to those who ease our suffering in this life, a call to aid the less fortunate; Doctors Without Borders, charity workers- any kind of humanitarian goal falls under his umbrella.

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 15810, for Arawn. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Arawn affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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