Dwarf planet Eris* was only discovered in 2005, but her astrology seems like it has been with us forever. Eris is the uber dark goddess, and as such shares similar astrological traits as Black Moon Lilith, which I have already studied in depth. But what makes Eris unique in her own right? What makes her more than just a female version of Pluto or an outer planet version of Lilith?
In myth Eris is the Greek goddess of discord, but there are two Eris’s. The first Eris is the daughter of Nyx who gave birth to a litter of nasties including Algos (pain & sorrows) and Dysnomia (lawlessness). The second Eris is the sister of bloodthirsty Ares. So first impressions then are melancholia and sorrow mixed with bloody, raging anger.
The Eris Myths
Eris as daughter of Nyx unleashes her strife-bearing children when anyone lies under oath. Eris is simply doing her job of dishing out fate. As a dark goddess she is only balancing the books and keeping the natural order. This Eris is about tough love and brings rough justice. The side of Eris which is the sister of Ares shows up in the next myth.
Eris was not invited to a wedding so she chucked an apple marked “To the fairest” into party for the vainest goddesses to fight over. Her rage at rejection and the need for vindication is what is blamed for the Trojan war. The side of her that is like Lilith is the fact that she was the uninvited guest, the disowned and exiled, the 13th fairy that cursed sleeping beauty. Finally Eris, like Lilith in the garden of Eden caused a hell of a lot of trouble with just one apple! But we must look further than the myths.
New 10th Planet?
Even the discovery of Eris was controversial. When Uranus was discovered it shattered the perfectly constructed Hellenistic version of the solar system. Uranus showed there was another dimension…It broke the mold.
Eris was quite a different story, she was discovered when it was getting quite apparent that there was now just too much out there. The solar system was getting unruly with new discoveries every week, so with Eris all the new bodies were boxed and categorised.
Just before Eris was about to be honoured by the status of being the 10 planet, the astronomers called an end to the madness and decided to demote Pluto and promote Ceres. Along with Eris, the gang of three become known as dwarf plants. Neptune is the end of the line now according to schoolbooks. Because of Eris the expanding solar system has paradoxically shrunk!
Like Uranus then, part of Eris’s character can be gleaned from her discovery story. Eris opened up a big scary can of Centaurs, Plutinos, Cubewanos and TNO’s. A Goddess as an outer planet?! Time to contain and control.. Eris is left out of the party once more. This time though she has taken down mighty Pluto too, infact Eris will take everyone down with her if she feels she has been treated unfairly or disrespected. She exposes hypocrisy and takes and eye for an eye.
Eris is the perfect whistle blower, but there is a touch of the joker in Batman to her. When she eventually dishes out her revenge she does it with such style! Eris is about poetic justice, the scene in the Godfather when the gangster wakes up in bed with the head of his favourite racehorse seems so very Eris to me.
The similarities of Eris with Ereshkigal do not go unnoticed, in fact Lilith was Ereshkigal’s handmaiden. Eris a flamboyant militant and activist, but most of all she is the warrior Queen. Think Boudicca crossed with Julian Assange…
Eris was provisionally named Xenia after the famous TV warrior princess, played by Lucy Lawless no less! It was known that Mike Brown the discoverer wanted to call her Persephone, but an asteroid already took that name. Eris retains Persephone characteristics though, being the Queen of the Underworld/Darkness/Night and that fact that her orbit is very Persephone like.
Eris’s orbit is tilted and elliptical, where all the other planets are on a level plane with each other as you can see in the diagram. She appears to spend half of the time above the plane and the half the time below, just like Persephone divided her time equally between the earth and the underworld. Eris is certainly eccentric, her orbit veers way out past the Kuiper belt, but comes in as far as Neptune The orbital period is achingly slow, 557 years around the Sun.
In Part 2 MEMBERs I look at Eris’s discovery chart, Eris & the shadow and Eris as Persephone.
*UPDATE 2017. This article was originally written 5 years ago. Since then I have researched Eris a great deal, using her in client readings and seeing her strong connection with Lilith and Persephone themes. Here is also an updated article on Eris “Dark Goddess as Ruler” written back in 2011 where I proposed Eris should be the modern ruler of Libra (I still use the traditional rulers in practice, but modern rulership is important symbolically to help us understand the outer planet more). My updated Black Moon Lilith post and Ceres posts contain more depth of the Eris/Persephone archetype. Here is another post on Eris. Re-Divining The Feminine.
Find Eris in Your Chart
1. Create your chart HERE.
2. Choose “Extended Chart Selection”.
3. Select Eris in the “Additional objects” box.