Asteroid Files: Minos

Helios on Minos
– Have you ever thought about what it would like to be a judge? To hold the fate and future of  men’s lives in your hands? Well, this week’s asteroid is the grandpappy of all judges; the first, the original! And he’s the hardest to win over.

The Astronomy– 6239 Minos is an Apollo asteroid classified as a PHA discovered on August 31, 1989, by Carolyn S. Shoemaker and Eugene Merle Shoemaker at Palomar. The asteroid makes frequent close approaches to Mars, Earth, and Venus. It has a period of 1 years, 86 days.

The Myth– In Greek mythology, Minos was the first King of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa, along with his brothers Sarpedon and Rhadamanthus. According to the Odyssey, he spoke with Zeus every nine years or for nine years. He got his laws straight from Zeus himself. When Minos’ son Androgeos had won the Panathenaic Games the king, Aegeus, sent him to Marathon to fight a bull, resulting in the death of Androgeos. Outraged, Minos went to Athens to avenge his son, and on the way, he camped at Megara where Nisos lived. Learning that Nisos’ strength came from his hair, Minos gained the love of Scylla and her aid in cutting off her father’s hair so that he could conquer the city. After his triumph, he punished Scylla for her treachery against her father by tying her to a boat and dragging her until she drowned. On arriving in Attica, he asked Zeus to punish the city, and the god struck it with plague and hunger. An oracle told the Athenians to meet any of Minos’ demands if they wanted to escape the punishment.

Minos justified his accession as king and prayed to Poseidon for a sign. Poseidon sent a giant white bull out of the sea.Minos was committed to sacrificing the bull to Poseidon but then decided to substitute a different bull. In rage, Poseidon cursed Pasiphaë, Minos’ wife, with zoophilia. Daedalus built her a wooden cow, which she hid inside. The bull mated with the wooden cow and Pasiphaë was impregnated by the bull, giving birth to a horrible monster, again named Asterius, the Minotaur, half man half bull. Daedalus then built a complicated “chamber that with its tangled windings perplexed the outward way” called the Labyrinth, and Minos put the Minotaur in it. To make sure no one would ever know the secret of who the Minotaur was and how to get out of the Labyrinth (Daedalus knew both of these things), Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son, Icarus, along with the monster. Daedalus and Icarus flew away on wings Daedalus invented, but Icarus’ wings melted because he flew too close to the sun. Icarus fell in the sea and drowned. Minos then asked Athens to send seven boys and seven girls to Crete every nine years to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. The Minotaur was defeated by the hero Theseus with the help of Minos’ daughter Ariadne.

After being deposed, Minos searched for Daedalus by traveling from city to city asking a riddle; he presented a spiral seashell and asked for it to be strung all the way through. When he reached Camicus, Sicily, King Cocalus, knowing Daedalus would be able to solve the riddle, fetched the old man. He tied the string to an ant, which walked through the seashell, stringing it all the way through. Minos then knew Daedalus was in the court of King Cocalus and demanded he be handed over. Cocalus managed to convince him to take a bath first; then Cocalus’ daughters and Daedalus, with Minos trapped in the bath, scalded him to death with boiling water.

After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades together with Aeacus and Rhadamanthus. Rhadamanthus judged the souls of Asians, Aeacus judged Europeans, and Minos had the deciding vote. In the Aeneid of Virgil, Minos was the judge of those who had been given the death penalty on a false charge – Minos sits with a gigantic urn, and decides whether a soul should go to Elysium or Tartarus with the help of a silent jury. Rhadamanthus decides upon suitable punishments for sinners there.

Why He Matters– So Minos is a GIGANTIC figure in Greek antiquity. He is the driving force for the story of Theseus and the Minotaur and lends his name to an entire civilization, and after he died, he was given an exalted position in the underworld. As far as Demigods go, the only one I can think of who does more is Heracles (and maybe Achilles, if you count him as a demigod). Unlike Heracles, Minos is a backstage player, more of a set piece than a protagonist (or even an antagonist). In contrast to Heracles who got raised up to Olympus and given a goddess as a wife, Minos descends into the underworld to keep working- never really resting or getting to move on to his reward and rest. That is telling in and of itself- Minos as a necessary evil. In doing so, he gains power while Heracles does not; Minos is the first test you get after dying, he literally decides the fate of your soul and is your ONLY chance to get into paradise- Heracles just gets shoved into a corner to appease and shut him up.

In the chart, Minos represents the very concept of judgment and discernment. Natally, this will be where you judge and discern situations and people, for better or for worse. Minos is extremely no nonsense, and wants the bare bones, the facts, and doesn’t much care for silver-tongued rogues who try to charm their way out of trouble. In transit, this can be where you are judged, for better or for worse. There is also a connotation with betrayal (Pasiphaë and Daedalus) so that must be recognized as well. This will most likely only come out in transit. Minos is concerned with the work that must be done, but no one will actually do, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it”. This can manifest as being forced into situations and decisions that you do not want to deal with, i.e. making a choice with a gun to your head: This is the afflicted version or bad transit of Minos. Mark Andrew Holmes adds in that Minos indicates being ‘“in jail,” imprisoned, escaping from jail, justice, retribution, dealing with bad behavior in the family or one’s environment.’

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 6239, for Minos. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Crantor affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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