Helios on Dejanira– Fuck. I hate this asteroid so much. I really, honestly do. It’s trash and it is representative of all of the worst aspects of asteroid astrology.
There’s no clever joke here.
The Astronomy– 157 Dejanira is a main-belt asteroid that was discovered December 1, 1875, and named after the warlike princess Deianira in Greek mythology. The Dejanira family of asteroids is named after it. Photometric observations of this asteroid were made in early 2009 and the resulting light curve shows a synodic rotation period of 15.825 ± 0.001 hours. It has an eccentricity of 0.19507 and an orbital period of 4.15 years (1515.1 days)
The Myth– Dejanira is a figure in Greek mythology whose name translates as “man-destroyer” or “destroyer of her husband”. The name Deianira refers to two separate characters in Greek mythology. The better-known Deianira was a wife of Heracles and, in late Classical accounts, his unwitting murderer, killing him with the poisoned Shirt of Nessus. The less well-known Deianira was an Amazon, killed by Heracles during his quest for the girdle of Hippolyta (H: Man, Hippolyta is so cool. Why can’t you all cling to her archetype instead?).
In Sophocles’ account of Deianira’s marriage, she was courted by the river god Achelous but saved from having to marry him by Heracles, who defeated Achelous in a wrestling contest for her hand in marriage. In another version of her tale, Heracles rapes her and promises to come back and marry her. While he is away, the centaur Eurytion appears, demanding her as his wife. Her father, being afraid, agrees. Heracles returns before the marriage and slays the centaur, claiming his bride. Deianira was associated with combat, and is described as someone who “drove a chariot and practiced the art of war.”
The central story about Deianira concerns the Tunic of Nessus. A wild centaur named Nessus attempted to kidnap or rape Deianira as he was ferrying her across the river Euenos, but she was rescued by Heracles, who shot the centaur with a poisoned arrow. As he lay dying, Nessus persuaded Deianira to take a sample of his blood, telling her that a potion of it mixed with olive oil would ensure that Heracles would never again be unfaithful.
Deianira believed his words and kept a little of the potion by her. Heracles fathered illegitimate children all across Greece and then fell in love with Iole. When Deianira thus feared that her husband would leave her forever, she smeared some of the blood on Heracles’ famous lionskin shirt. Heracles’ servant, Lichas, brought him the shirt and he put it on. The centaur’s toxic blood burned Heracles terribly, and eventually, he threw himself into a funeral pyre. In despair, Deianira committed suicide by hanging herself or with a sword.
Why She Matters- Ugh. Okay, so let’s tackle the lion in the room- Heracles, despite being one of my heroes, was not a great guy. He murdered his family and committed some terrible atrocities, not to mention the rampant infidelity. As we explored in his article, the man had a LOT of demons and was not great at working through them in a healthy way. That being said… The story of Dejanira is inextricably intertwined with the stories of Heracles and Nessus. You can’t look at her without tackling them, and therefore she only exists in their long shadows. She is a foil, and unfortunately nothing more- and it really is unfortunate, because the REAL Dejanira is actually a badass. A warrior woman able to keep up with Heracles and give as good as she got? That’s incredible! Unfortunately, that’s not the archetype we get with her.
The reason I hate this asteroid is because there is a prevailing idea that She represents the concept of victimhood and atrocities committed at the hands of terrible men- specifically, rape. This has spun into any and all forms of abusive relationships or encounters falling under her purview. This view was popularized primarily by the plagiarist hack Ami Manning who wouldn’t know real astrology if it took a giant steaming shit on her long-ass horse face. Her influence on this has translated into a lot of vulnerable people looking to this asteroid to warn or explain terrible things happening to them- and the thing is, with this asteroid it tends to go the way of “If you look for it, you will find it”. The more you work with asteroid archetypes, the more you invite that particular energy into your life and personality- in short, you begin to identify with it. So let that be a warning to all of you who go around putting this asteroid in every damn chart you cast.
I want you to examine the myth above- really, really look at what it is saying. In it, Dejanira is not a victim- She has agency and chooses not only to believe a literal monster that was trying to rape her who tells her he is magically the answer to her problems, and then to actually put his lies to the test, with the side effect of her husband burning alive. She. Made. The. Choices. Now, this is not me being a victim-blamer- Rape is a truly awful thing that happens to hundreds of thousands of women AND men every year. Those who commit it are monsters. Personally, I would assign this poor girl to naivete and desperation, love that has unfortunate consequences. That is, if I had gotten to it first. Unfortunately, I didn’t, and she is saddled with the meaning that prevails; victimhood, rape, and abuse.
For many that come to Asteroid Astrology, she is the first one they really get to know, and its a shame it couldn’t be a better representative. Dejanira, you really deserve better, and I’m sorry. Thanks for ruining this one, Ami Manning, living human trash. Die in a fire, like Heracles.
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 157, for Dejanira. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Dejanira affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!