The Rise of Eris
(Please note this is a working edit of a longer document that will delve into this topic much further – ideas are scattered, but there’s a trail… of sorts.)
In 2005 Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet. The reasoning was less because of his actual size (size doesn’t matter after all), but more because of the discovery of other smaller sized planets (aka Trans-Neptunians or TNOs), including Eris.
Mythologically Eris is known as the Goddess of Discord, which is rather harsh and not entirely fair characterization, but kind of important in understanding how to work with her in our lives. Her whole story involves stirring some shit at a wedding because she wasn’t invited. She wasn’t invited cause she’s kind of a shit-stirrer, but whatever. It really becomes a whole chicken/egg kind of deal.
Traditionally speaking, before the invention of telescopes, we deferred to the visible 7 planets as rulers (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn), with all but the Sun & Moon performing double duty and ruling 2 signs. With the discovery of Uranus, Neptune & Pluto we modified our rulerships and reduced the burden on Mars, Jupiter & Saturn, but not Mercury and Venus.
Many modern astrologers have yet to take Chiron or Eris into consideration when thinking about rulerships, but if we apply Chiron to Virgo and Eris to Libra we begin to understand both planets and signs in a similar light. We also relieve the extra burden on both Mercury and Venus. While Chiron is interesting, we’re going to gloss over him for now and focus on Eris alone.
Libra is the sign we first encounter when we cross over the horizon line and start to look away from our own individual purpose and consider how to behave when dealing with external factors (partners).
The primary function of Eris in our lives is to bring the issue of fairness within partnership (romantic or business) to the fore. This brings her whole story back into the spotlight and now forces us to ask, why she wasn’t included in the first place, shit-stirrer or not.
One of the best ways to understand how an outer planet affects (aka rules) our lives is to look at the times they shift from one sign into the next, effectively switching our perceptions and behaviors. Eris is a slow girl, she takes roughly 560 years to orbit the Sun, so her shift from one sign into the next is a slow, drawn out process that can take a decade to finalize.
We didn’t discover her until 2005, so really, no one was thinking about her prior to this, but if we look back we’ll see that she shifted from Pisces, the sign of dreams, ideals, drugs and alcohol, into Aries, the intrepid, individually-minded sign that wants to start new pursuits that promote the self, between 1922 to 1928. Two of the most notable 1920’s movements include the Prohibition of alcohol (Pisces) and women’s right to vote (Aries).
In more contemporary terms we can also consider the rise of divorce, gay rights, and basically anyone who isn’t treated fairly or is discarded because those in power just don’t want them there (i.e. not invited to the wedding) as part of this Eris through Aries journey. Eris won’t leave Aries until 2044 when she moves into more grounded, stubborn Taurus.
To further understand why Eris gets such a bad rap we need to understand the concept of dignity/detriment and the astrological structure in which everything exists. As previously mentioned each planet rules a sign, and when the planet transits (travels through) its own sign, we consider it in its dignity. It’s during this time the planetary expressions are more readily flowing and tend to gain more favor. When the planet is transiting its opposite sign (the sign that is 180 degrees away) its expressions are blocked, stilted or less amenable.
Eris, as ruler of Libra, would be in her detriment in Aries. Again, consider how a planet that is focused on fairness, partnership and needing to be loved would behave when she’s in a spot that is least concerned with those interests. All of us born since the 1920s have Eris in Aries, so humanity as a whole is less inclined to want to put up with other people’s needs and lay favor to pursue our own individual growth. It’s not to say that we cannot partner (obvs) but partnering within humanity is less encouraged in this century than in those previous – it’s not just a millennials thing. ;)
The philosophy behind introducing new planets into astrology is (not surprisingly) nebulous (aka Neptunian). The skinny of it is this – we learn of things when we’re ready to deal with their reality.
For example, Uranus, discovered in 1781, is named such because of our discovery of uranium shortly after his discovery. Uranus is linked to blowing shit up, or doing things in a non-conventional manner, which, lo and behold, is quite Aquarian. (see rulership chart)
The discovery of Eris, while in her detriment of Aries, is pertinent to humanity because it draws our attention to the much-needed redressing of how we handle the feminine in the world – both externally, but also how we handle the feminine/masculine balance within us – we need balance, not a prominence of one or the other.
Eris is about to get a comeuppance in the world over the next two years as Pluto & Saturn conjoin and travel together towards 23° Capricorn, squaring Eris at 23° Aries. It's very much in play now, and will only continue to escalate over the next couple years, but continually we will see the old patriarchy and old way of controlling/consolidating our power (Pluto) diminish against the will of Eris as she demands her own seat at the table and speaks out for her (our) own needs.