Monday is the Libra New Moon — the Sun and Moon making their monthly conjunction in the sign of Libra. What’s distinctive about this Libra New Moon is that it is opposite the minor planet Eris. The discovery of Eris informed everyone that the minor planets exist, and was, in part, responsible for the demotion of Pluto (when it became minor planet  Pluto). The number in brackets is the minor planet catalog number, stated in formal notation.
Nobody doubts that Pluto is just as potent as ever, despite being a “minor” planet; now it’s time to consider a more recent discovery — (136199) Eris, a body about the size of Pluto, with an orbit more than twice as long. At this point, Eris is so far from the Sun that it will be spending more than a century in Aries, a factor that is feeding the sense of identity chaos so prevalent in our phase of history.
In an article in the current issue of TMA, I describe the process of deciphering what new planets mean and how they work. I give numerous examples of what I call “proving moments” — significant news or personal events, at which times the newly discovered point is involved in something like a New Moon or a Full Moon, especially when there is an unusually tight alignment, say, two degrees or less. When this happens, it’s possible to witness the expression of the newly discovered point as it reveals itself. (By newly, I mean within the past 20 years or so.)
We are about to have just such a proving moment with Eris. What we witness over the next few days will be expressive of the nature of Eris. In fact, what we’ve been witnessing in the past week is offering some insight, although an asteroid called Psyche has been very active as well. Psyche brings an atmosphere of healing crisis in personal relationships, deep self-doubts, and the quest for authentic faith in one another and ourselves.
I’m proposing that the Sun-Moon conjunction in Libra represents an idealized view of relationships. Libra is one of the signs that most vividly describes relating to others (it’s the sign opposite Aries, which is about self-focus). At this time, we’re noticing that prefab views of relationships are not working well; people are behaving differently than the rules say they should. In fact, the rules seem to be a cover-up of actual behavior.
All of this is coming under special focus now. Eris in Aries is a factor that stirs up chaos within the psyche. There is a sense that “I don’t know who I am, this is all so confusing, what do I want.” One typical way to resolve this kind of dilemma is to shift one’s identity into a relationship and ‘find oneself’ there.
We invest so much energy in relationships, often with persistent disappointments. We can learn something about this from Libra. This is an unusual sign, having two very different planets associated with it: Venus (its ruler) and Saturn (in its exaltation there). Libra at its best is a perfect morph of both: the attractiveness, emotional affinity, and creativity of Venus, melded with the structure, firmness, and respect of Saturn. We need both of these in relationships.
Most of the time, we fake it — often in support of maintaining an image, or in a struggle to handle intimacy. Now, these appearances are being challenged by forces emerging from deep in the psyche.
Named for the Greek goddess of discord and chaos, Eris often does have this quality when you study it in news charts. It can also represent the sly move, subterfuge, or the covert long-term plan for domination (whether political or within the politics of love). Its motto in such cases is “by any means necessary,” regardless of whether the goal itself is legitimate or necessary.
In personal charts, Eris seems to be related to the identity chaos that we’re experiencing here in the postmodern world (the modern world, with the rug pulled out from underneath logic). We spend much time wondering who we are these days — going through identity crises, transforming ourselves, and collecting business cards for the various things with which we might identify ourselves. We’ve all met the person who is the bank vice president, the Reiki master, the doll clothing designer, and, simultaneously the house organizer. That’s a reminder that Eris is in Aries.
Yet Eris is saying that we have to be ourselves, and that it’s not possible to use a relationship to substitute for that. The usual chameleon-like attempts to be the person you think your partner wants you to be are not going to work under the stress of this opposition, and you may even begin to realize that they never did. Within this context, we might call Eris “the thin line beyond which we can’t fake it.”
However, when this method suddenly stops working, we can feel like we don’t know who we are — perhaps with the sensation of vertigo, or our world crumbling. The sense of not knowing can be profoundly unsettling and disorienting. Removing the false foundation can lead directly to feeling as though we don’t have any foundation at all.
In my view, this is part of the reason why many people stay in relationships that don’t support their growth. At least they feel supported on the level of ego identity, even if it comes at the expense of personal independence and freedom. Notably, it also saves many of us from the responsibilities that come with true independence and freedom. Many have spent their lives going from relationship to relationship, trying to establish stability there, yet at the expense of their growth and evolution.
Things can get very weird when one person or the other reaches the point where they can no longer remain static. If one person’s identity is “founded” on that of the other, both people can become unstable when one of them starts to grow. Often there’s a reaction to suppress this new growth. Eventually, it is likely to fail, and there may be a collapse, drama, or crisis. That crisis might involve jealousy, which is one of the ultimate threats to a relationship when it has been a substitute for having a life.
And it looks to me like this particular pattern is coming into focus with Monday’s Libra New Moon opposite Eris in Aries. I said earlier that this is a proving moment, when we get to observe what’s happening to us personally, as well as to watch the world around us for information about Eris and what it represents. I’ve made a few observations here that I trust you can take into consideration and still study yourself and your environment for more information.
One last thing about today’s astrology: there is a square between Mars and Chiron, which is about working through sexual and creative blocks — the perfect assistance for today’s Libra New Moon. I cover that in greater detail in Sunday’s edition of my own blog.