Helios– Fair warning, these guys are not going to be for everyone. Some of the ideas I present may be shocking to you, and you probably won’t realize why. That is all right, and totally normal. That being said, lets get into the fascinating binary of Mors-Somnus
The Astronomy– 341520 Mors–Somnus is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) that resides in the Kuiper belt and was discovered on October 14, 2007. It is classified as a plutino, which means that it is in the 3:2 mean motion resonance with Neptune. Mors–Somnus was named on June 2, 2015 after the mythological Roman gods of death (Mors) and sleep (Somnus). Mors–Somnus is a small double plutino occupying the 3:2 mean motion resonance with Neptune. The object is a wide optically resolved binary with the following orbital parameters.
The Mythology– Okay, lets take them at each of their parts.
- Mors: In ancient Roman myth and literature, Mors is the personification of death equivalent to the Greek Thánatos. The Latin noun for “death”, mors, genitive mortis, is of feminine gender, but ancient Roman art is not known to depict Death as a woman. Latin poets, however, are bound by the grammatical gender of the word. Horace writes of pallida Mors, “pale Death,” who kicks her way into the hovels of the poor and the towers of kings equally. Seneca, for whom Mors is also pale, describes her “eager teeth.” Tibullus pictures Mors as black or dark.Mors is often represented allegorically in later Western literature and art, particularly during the Middle Ages. Depictions of the Crucifixion of Christ sometimes show Mors standing at the foot of the cross. Mors’ antithesis is personified as Vita, aka Life. Mors is the offspring of Nox (Night), and sibling to the personification of sleep, Somnus. Mors is often connected to Mars, the Roman god of war; Pluto, the god of the underworld; and Orcus, god of death and punisher of perjurers. In one story, Hercules fought Mors in order to save his friend’s wife. In other stories, Mors is shown as a servant to Pluto, ending the life of a person after the thread of their life has been cut by the Parcae, and of Mercury, messenger to the gods, escorting the dead person`s soul, or shade, down to the underworld’s gate.
- Hypnos: In Greek mythology, Hypnos is the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent is known as Somnus. Hypnos is the son of Nyx and Erebus. His brother is Thanatos, and both siblings live in Hades or in Erebus, another valley of the Greek underworld. According to rumors, Hypnos lives in a big cave, which the river Lethe (“Forgetfulness”) comes from and where night and day meet. His bed is made of ebony, on the entrance of the cave grow a number of poppies and other hypnotic plants. No light and no sound would ever enter his grotto. According to Homer, he lives on the island Lemnos, which later on has been claimed to be his very own dream-island. His children Morpheus (“Shape”), Phobetor (“Fear”) and Phantasos (“Imagination, Phantasy”) are the gods of the dream. It is claimed that he has many more children, which are also Oneiroi. He is said to be a calm and gentle god, as he helps humans in need and, due to their sleep, owns half of their lives. His wife, Pasithea VII, was one of the youngest of the Graces and was promised to him by Hera, who is the goddess of marriage and birth. Pasithea is the deity of hallucination or relaxation.
Why They Matter– Yes, I know- Another death god! Blame the IAU, the people who decided that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore; They make these rules. Anyway, these guys fascinate me. Drawing on the myths you would get one idea of them- a harsh and cruel death god, like Orcus, but that isn’t quite the case. They seem to be one of the gentlest TNOs there are, even more than 1992 QB1!
What if all of our fears about Death were wrong? What if instead of the end, it was a sublime experience without end? What if it didn’t have to be scary? Mors-Somnus represents this- the peaceful death, slipping away from this life in bed, surrounded by loved ones. No pain, no struggle, just… a good death. Harry Potter fans would relate to them being the idea of meeting Death as an old friend, at the end of a long, long journey. They are an equalizer, as Death comes to us all. Mors-Somnus is also the concept of not having to fear or fight death, just accepting it as the meaning of life. They call to us, not with a shout or demand, but rather as the friend who comes up to you and takes your hand. Of course, they have the hypnotic and mesmeric side of Hypnos, so it could all just be an act- a clever ruse to hide a monster beneath, but I don’t think that is the case. They specifically rule death experiences you experience while still alive, like LSD or Ayahuasca trips; Ethenogens are a perfect way to connect to these guys.
The reality is that for a certain part of our population, life is constant agony. For those people, life is a burden, and in such a case Death would be a gift. The tragically sick who would rather not suffer, Mors-Somnus aids, without judgement or prejudice. In fact, no matter who you are, what you did or how you died, Mors-Somnus greets you in Death lovingly. Mors-Somnus also represents the mystery of the veil between worlds, only atoms thin yet completely impenetrable. They also represent a point of great surrender and trust in an unkowable power; with all our works and all of our faiths, Death is still the one mystery that we will never truly unravel. For that, it will always hold a certain mystique and power, making our too-short lives all the more precious. There was a popular comic strip that went around, saying that “Life and Death have been in love for longer than we have words to describe. Life sends countless gifts to Death, and Death keeps them forever“. How beautiful an existence where love is at the heart of all things, but most importantly we find the greatest love at the end of our journey! With Mors-Somnus, we are born into cold and fear, but die to Love.
To find out where they show 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 341520, for Mors-Somnus. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Mors-Somnus affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!