Asteroid Files: Circe

Helios on Circe– You know, heroes and Kings are good and all, but you know, its still Pisces season, and we need to soften our image. How about we look at a Queen that you have all been requesting since I started doing these? That’s right- It’s time to dive into Circe!

The Astronomy– 34 Circe is a large, very dark main-belt asteroid. It was discovered on April 6, 1855, and named after Circe, a goddess in Greek mythology. It has an orbital period of 4.40 years (1607.332 d) and an eccentricity of  0.1045

The Myth– Circe is a goddess of magic or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress or sorceress in Greek mythology. By most accounts, she was the daughter of the sun titan Helios (ayyyyyyyyye), and Perse, one of the three thousand Oceanid nymphs. Her brothers were Aeetes, keeper of the Golden Fleece, and Perses. Her sister was Pasiphaë, the wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur. Other accounts make her the daughter of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft (who was also the daughter of Helios, making Circe his granddaughter). She was often confused with Calypso, due to her shifts in behavior and personality, and the association that both of them had with Odysseus.

Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of these and a magic wand or staff, she transformed her enemies or those who offended her, into wild beasts. Some say she was exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her subjects and her father Helios for killing her husband, the prince of Colchis. Later traditions tell of her leaving or even destroying the island and moving to Italy, where she was identified with Cape Circeo

In Homer’s Odyssey, Circe is described as living in a mansion that stands in the middle of a clearing in a dense wood. Around the house prowled strangely docile lions and wolves, the drugged victims of her sorcery; they were not dangerous and fawned on all newcomers. Circe worked at a huge loom. She invited Odysseus’ crew to a feast of familiar food, a pottage of cheese and meal, sweetened with honey and laced with wine, but also laced with one of her magical potions and drunk from an enchanted cup. Thus so she turned them all into swine with her magic wand or staff after they gorged themselves on it. Only drunken Eurylochus, suspecting treachery from the outset, escaped to warn Odysseus and the others who had stayed behind at the ship. Odysseus set out to rescue his men but was intercepted by the messenger god, Hermes, who had been sent by Athena. Hermes told Odysseus to use the herb moly to protect himself from Circe’s wizardry and, having resisted it, to draw his sword and act as if he were going to attack her. From there, Circe would ask him to bed, but Hermes advised caution, for even there the goddess would be treacherous. She would take his manhood unless he had her swear by the names of the gods that she would not.

Odysseus followed Hermes’ advice, freeing his men and then remained on the island for one year, feasting and drinking wine. According to Homer, Circe suggested two alternative routes to Odysseus to return to Ithaca: toward Planctae, the “Wandering Rocks”, or passing between the dangerous Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, conventionally identified with the Strait of Messina. She also advised Odysseus to go to the Underworld and gave him directions.

Why She Matters– So there is a lot to like with Circe, but a lot that was distasteful to the men who wrote her stories. First of all, she is a woman who is independent, educated in her own method, empowered and a landowner, of all things! I mean, can you imagine such a thing? The absurdity of women being independent from men! It boggles the mind.

So what does she mean in the chart? Well, the great thing about Circe is that she takes literally no shit, from anyone, ever. Some rowdy, grimy sailors land on your island and start causing a ruckus? Turn their asses into animals with your magic potions. Their leader tries to attack you? Seduce him and try to cut his dick off, and laugh while he bleeds out. That doesn’t work? Well… try marrying the bastard and see if you can annoy him to death. Circe knows how to win fights that she cant win through force of arms, and its usually through plotting, conniving, and trickery. Which brings us to her modern namesake, who truly embodies Circe- Cersei Lannister.

The current Queen of the Seven Kingdoms has clawed her way to the throne through seduction, plotting, and manipulation. Some might call this the darker side, or negative aspect of Circe but I wholeheartedly disagree. Circe here has used every tool at her disposal, demanding that the world take notice of her and bend to her will, in a world where women are completely discounted and ignored. In her world, all that most consider is brute strength, but she runs everything, after sticking with her plans.

Independence, Manipulation, Feminism, Dick-Chopping and Magic; Circe is a complicated woman, but you sure are going to want to know how she plays out in your life. 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 34, for Circe. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Circe affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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