Asteroid Files: Askalaphus

Helios on Askalaphus– So, who here has ever made a gaffe or said something stupid that you either got in trouble for or never lived down? Show of hands, guys- Oh, its everyone. Right, thats because sometimes we are dumb. But why does this happen? Well, maybe this week’s asteroid can shed some light on the issue!

The Astronomy– 4946 Askalaphus is a Jupiter trojan in Jupiter’s Greek camp, approximately 57 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 21 January 1988. Photometric observations of this asteroid during 1992 were used to build a light curve showing a rotation period of 22.731 ± 0.018 hours with a brightness variation of 0.40 ± 0.01 magnitude. It has an orbital period of 12.27 years (4481.37 days) and an eccentricity of  0.050665.

The Myth– Askalaphus was a son of the river-god Acheron and Gorgyra and denizen of the underworld and was also the custodian of the orchard of Tartaros. When Hades abducted Persephone, her mother Demeter searched for her in vain, until Helios and Hekate told her of the kidnapping. Demeter went to Zeus and demanded the return of her daughter, who decreed that, so long as Persephone had eaten none of the food of the dead, she could be freed. Persephone had been disconsolate in her enforced sojourn in the underworld and refused all nourishment. But one day, when walking in the gardens, she had plucked a pomegranate, broken it open, and eaten six seeds. Askalaphus, in his capacity as a gardener, had witnessed this, and he told Zeus that Persephone had eaten pomegranate seeds in the Underworld. Because she had tasted food in the underworld, Persephone was obliged to return to the Underworld and spend four months (in later versions six months) there every year.

Demeter was so angry because of this that she buried Askalaphus beneath a heavy rock in the Underworld. When Heracles went to the underworld, he rolled the stone away and released him from his prison but then Demeter transformed Askalaphus into an owl. According to another myth, Persephone herself changed him into an owl by sprinkling him with water of the river Phlegethon. Ovid mentions: “So he became the vilest bird; a messenger of grief; the lazy owl; sad omen to mankind.” As an owl, he became the familiar bird of Hades, god of the underworld.

Why He Matters– Man, remind me to never piss off Ceres! But this isn’t her post, it’s for Askalaphus! Now, Askalaphus is one of those asteroids that is super specific and is easy to interpret. So, he represents getting in trouble for what you say, even if it’s the truth (as you might see it). Now in this here year of our Lord 2018 where expressing any opinion on social media becomes a rallying cry or opportunity for ridicule (unless you happen to be orange, subsisting on a diet of big macs and have a terrible combover I guess), speaking your mind or being willing to tackle difficult subjects can be a death wish. Askalaphus can have even the noblest ideas spoken by paragons shouted down by the rabble, attacking them for grammar or something trivial and trumped-up.

This is also true in the obverse, and Askalaphus is empowering those who have… controversial outlooks on the world, the people in it, how they live their lives, how they speak their minds and what they do with their time. Askalaphus emboldens the racists, fascists, supremacists, and bigots to speak out and demand the world bow to them. It is important to know that this is how they see the world- This is their truth. It is despicable and deplorable (not to mention disgusting) but it is the way their minds work. This is the negative side of Askalaphus. Typically, this side does self-correct, as we saw most recently with the comedian Roseanne Barr, who went on a racist Twitter tirade and lost the super-conservative reboot of her show. That, and her old show got pulled from all syndication, so this hurts her right where it hurts- the wallet. During her tirade, she had Askalaphus right on her Pholus (small things that lead to giant repercussions), quincunx her Part of Fortune (the public), square Uranus and sextile Mercury (expression). From there we see how this all came together in a perfect storm to have her cut herself off at the throat.

Askalaphus is most potent in transit, but you should be aware of where yours is, as it becomes a very sensitive point. If Mercury Retro passes over your Askalaphus, I would lock yourself in a bunker and leave your communication devices outside, especially if Phaethon is in the mix! Watch out with this one.

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 4946, for Askalaphus. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Askalaphus affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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