Asteroid Files: Eurydike

Helios on Eurydike– Who here has ever had a love that… didn’t quite work out? One that was just like two ships passing in the night, but felt like it could have been so much more, if only you had the chance to go further? Well, since that answer is all of us, let’s explore the asteroid who rules that, shall we?

The Astronomy– 75 Eurydike is a main-belt asteroid. It has an M-type spectrum and a relatively high albedo and may be rich in nickel-iron. Eurydike was discovered on September 22, 1862 and is named after Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus. Eurydike has an orbital period of 1597 days (4.37 years) and an eccentricity of 0.305

The Myth– In Greek mythology, Eurydice was an oak nymph or one of the daughters of Apollo. She was the wife of Orpheus, who tried to bring her back from the dead with his enchanting music. Eurydice was to be the wife of Orpheus, who loved her dearly; on their wedding day, he played joyful songs as his bride danced through the meadow. One day, Aristaeus saw and pursued Eurydice, who stepped on a viper, was bitten, and died instantly. Distraught, Orpheus played and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and deities wept and told him to travel to the Underworld to retrieve her, which he gladly did. After his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, his singing so sweet that even the Erinyes wept, he was allowed to take her back to the world of the living. In another version, Orpheus played his lyre to put Cerberus to sleep, after which Eurydice was allowed to return with Orpheus to the world of the living. Either way, the condition was attached that he must walk in front of her and not look back until both had reached the upper world. Soon he began to doubt that she was there, and that Hades had deceived him. Just as he reached the portals of Hades and daylight, he turned around to gaze on her face, and because Eurydice had not yet crossed the threshold, she vanished back into the Underworld. When Orpheus later was killed by the Maenads at the orders of Dionysus, his soul ended up in the Underworld where he was reunited with Eurydice.

The story in this form belongs to the time of Virgil, who first introduces the name of Aristaeus and the tragic outcome. Other ancient writers, however, speak of Orpheus’s visit to the underworld in a more negative light; according to Phaedrus in Plato’s Symposium, the infernal deities only “presented an apparition” of Eurydice to him. Ovid says that Eurydice’s death was not caused by fleeing from Aristaeus, but by dancing with naiads on her wedding day. In fact, Plato’s representation of Orpheus is that of a coward; instead of choosing to die in order to be with the one he loved, he mocked the deities by trying to go to Hades to get her back alive. Since his love was not “true”—meaning he was not willing to die for it—he was punished by the deities, first by giving him only the apparition of his former wife in the underworld and then by being killed by women. The story of Eurydice may be a late addition to the Orpheus myths. In particular, the name Eurudike (“she whose justice extends widely”) recalls cult-titles attached to Persephone. The myth may have been derived from another Orpheus legend in which he travels to Tartarus and charms the goddess Hecate.

Why She Matters– Okay so poor Eurydike is hella problematic. Firstly, there is the question of if she ever existed at all, or if she was just Orpheus’ beard. Secondly, there are more conflicting accounts of her than there are of Neptune. Is she another name for Persephone or Hecate? Is she a vision, like Nephele? Is she a blank slate, for whatever we need her to be, more ideal than reality? I would wager that the answer to those question is a resounding “Yes, and…”

In the chart, the easy highlight will be for everyone out there who has tried to play off a “Canadian Girlfriend” or any gay person who tried to emulate Orpheus with a “beard”. Lying in love, acting, muddying the waters of truth, performance… it all seems to come together with this girl. Also, notice how this romance was never consummated, so Orpheus can wallow in his tragedy while sharing his bed with his preferred choice of companion. Orpheus’ failure to save his “love” is his freedom in life. It’s honestly a pretty great scheme if you think about it.

Not to keep her completely stuck in the past, there is one part of the modern dating world that Eurydike absolutely rules- catfishing. Anyone who has hidden behind the mask of someone else to get what they want in love is playing in Eurydike’s sandbox. Illusions are her game, and she always wins. In transit, you can see Eurydike play out as a one-sided love that never truly comes into fruition, like a flight attendant or pilot who is in town for a night, and who you infatuated with, so you add them on social media even though it was just a one night stand, and keep in contact to share dirty messages and keep the romance alive but never gets to go any further, even if your face lights up like a christmas tree when they respond to you three days after you message them.

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

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