Eris, the dwarf planet way out beyond Pluto (and bigger than him) was named and classified about 4 years ago now. She is the mischievous, catalytic sister of Mars, and her first act was to have Pluto demoted to the status of dwarf planet. What a thing to do to the Lord of the Underworld! Pluto has had his revenge, however, for since the initial flurry of interest on the part of astrologers, she has been largely forgotten. Eris has been abducted!
Being way out beyond Pluto, Eris’ movement is very slow: about one degree every few years. She isn’t a personal planet, though as with the other outer planets, the house position is personal (the sign isn’t personal because everyone born at that time has Eris in the same place.) She is currently at 22 Aries, and during August was opposed by Mars. This happens every 2 years, and would seem to me to the sort of time, more than most, when we see the catalytic events she is associated with. The last opposition was in Sept 08, when the financial system began to crack up.
We can’t always have events of that magnitude going on, but how about the Chilean miners, who have been stuck underground since the beginning of August? It has become a huge event in Chile, and major news around the world. Eris, if you like, catalyses an initiation into another realm or another phase. In this case, it is Pluto’s realm: they have been entombed, abducted even (which Pluto is fond of) and will remain so for some months. These men are in an underground (Pluto) prison (Capricorn.) In late October Ceres (whose daughter was abducted by Pluto) will join Pluto and the North Node in early Capricorn. So this story is not going to go away: it is going to gather momentum and significance. The Pluto-Node conjunction will not be exact until late November, around the time that the men are expected to be freed. Or not: it could go either way, astrologically.
Ceres is on the approach to a conjunction with Pluto, and just today the papers announced the publication of the full story of Natascha Kampusch, who was abducted as a young girl in Austria and kept underground for many years by her captor until she finally escaped.
The classic mythological abduction story is of Pluto and Persephone, daughter of Ceres/Demeter. Pluto brought her to his lair, and raped/married her. Ceres, a nature goddess, was distraught, not knowing where her daughter was, and the land turned to winter. Eventually she found her, but the deal was that Persephone would only return for 6 months of the year. She would spend the other 6 months with Pluto. Thus arose the seasons of summer and winter respectively, expressive of Ceres’ joy at Persephone’s return, and sorrow at her loss.
In the process Persephone grows up, and so does Ceres as a mother. The idyllic world of childhood is over for both of them, forced on them by the reality principle of Pluto. And this reflects 2 ways we can see Ceres in the chart: the nature of the nurture we received as children and then later, as Ceres grows up, our capacity to nurture others.
A friend pointed out recently that you could see the English boarding school system (of which I am a product) as an abduction by Pluto. As in the myth, you get to spend part of the time at home, and part of it in Pluto’s realm, the boarding school.
Pluto’s function in the myth is transformative, evolutionary, to take you from one stage of life to the next. Persephone was ready for this shift, whether or not she knew it, being at the end of girlhood. And the function of boarding schools is the same: to move you to the adult world, in this case a very particular one based around the achievement of wealth and status. So that twists the myth. What twists it further is that the abduction takes place often around the age of 8, years before the children are ready to leave the world of family. (I have an unaspected Ceres, and Moon conjunct Saturn!)
If there is going to be an abduction, I think it needs to be around the age of 14-15, when the first Saturn opposition takes place. Saturn introduces us to learning about the demands of the world: about discipline, responsibility, money, about becoming good at what you do, and about being measured against others. The first Saturn opposition takes place around the time that the first progressed Moon opposition takes place, which is a neat coincidence, or not: the beginning of the end of childhood (prog Moon cycle) coinciding with the beginning of demands from the adult world (Saturn cycle.)