INTRODUCTIONDue to the eccentricity of their respective orbits, there has been only one exact conjunction between Pluto and our Eris in the past 300 years, and that was on December 16, 1756 (at 18 Sagittarius 33.)
Allowing for the fact that these two bodies would have been in orb of conjunction for the few years around that date, one would assume this conjunction was reflected in the general events of 1755-1758. Look at the titles of a few of the major books published then:
- Edmund Burke - A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
- David Hume - The Natural History of Religion
- Richard Price - Review of the Principal Questions in Morals
But if this conjunction is significant, it should also be reflected in lives of significant figures born during that period. One such figure was the Author/Poet/Artist, William Blake.
WHO WAS WILLIAM BLAKE?Jonathan Jones (who writes for the British newspaper, The Guardian), wrote: "[Blake] is far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced." He said that "the greatest painters have stood on more metaphysical ground. They have speculated on life and death, angels and devils.....The extremes of existence, the contrary states of the human soul - good and evil. "Blake was perplexed by the things that should perplex people - moral absolutes, the limits of perception, the tragic duplicities by which we live."
Wikipedia sums up Blake thusly: "Viewing Blake's accomplishments in either poetry or in the visual arts separately is to do him a disservice; Blake himself saw these two disciplines as being companions in a unified spiritual endeavour, and they are inseparable in a proper appreciation of his work. His life is, perhaps, summed up by his statement that "The imagination is not a State: it is the Human existence itself"; though this alone may not do justice to his thought."
Blake was a strong libertarian, with a deep hatred of the tyranny that was rife during his lifetime. He hated slavery of any kind, and believed in racial and sexual equality.
His belief that humanity could overcome the limitations of its five senses is perhaps one of Blake's greatest legacies. His words, "If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite" have influenced many, may writers and philosophers over the centuries. Aldous Huxley got the idea for the title of his book, "The Doors of Perception", from this quote. Blake is also quoted as saying, "In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors." Jim Morrison got the name for his rock group, "The Doors", from these quotes.
You may have some some of his artwork. He illustrated Robert Blair's "The Grave", Milton's "Paradise Lost", and had just finished some of the drawing's for Dante's "Inferno" when he passed away. All definitely focusing on life and death, and the extremes of good and evil.
Or you may have read some of his writing. One of Blakes most quoted works was a volume he called, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell."
Some other William Blake quotes of note:
- "Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence."
- "I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's."
- "It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend."
- "Those who control their passions do so because their passions are weak enough to be controlled."
- "You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough."
- "Every harlot was a virgin once."
PLUTO, ERIS, MYTHOLOGY....AND BLAKEPluto haD been the Ninth Planet since it was discovered in 1930. Among its many attributes are included such things as death and rebirth, intensity of focus (including intense passions), power of all types, but especially absolute power and control. Where Pluto is, one can often find a person going to the extremes in one way or another....or being taken there sometimes whether they wish to go or not.
In mythology, Pluto (or Hades), has many stories, but one of the most frequently told is the one involving Persephone (also known as Kore, or Proserpina).
Persephone was born as a result of the union between Zeus (Jupiter) and Demeter (Ceres). Thus, she was a goddess in her own right. Very attractive, she was wooed at various times by Apollo, Hermes (Mercury), Ares (Mars) and even Hephaistos (Vulcan), but her mother rejected all of the suitors, and kept her quite hidden in a very peaceful place, teaching her daughter the art of creation and nurturing life. In fact, she was considered a primary Creation goddess. (More on that in a bit.)
However, this idyllic, almost heavenly existence was not to last. One day, Persephone was out picking flowers, when there was an earthquake, and as the ground trembled, Hades burst through the crack, abducted her, and took him down to his kingdom below, where he ruled with over all of those who had died.
Demeter (goddess of the Earth) went looking for her daughter later (not knowing about the abduction), and was devastated when she could find no sign anywhere. Growth stopped around the earth...winter set in....as she mourned the loss of her beloved child. Imagine her rage when she finally found out!
Zeus at first did nothing. Afterall, Hades was his brother, and a kingdom ruler as well. But after hearing the cries of hungry people on other, and complaints from other gods as well, Zeus decreed that Persephone should be returned to her mother, if she had not eaten of any food while with Hades. But before she was released to Hermes, (who had been sent to retrieve her), Hades tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds,(4 or 6, depending upon which version of the myth). As a result, Zeus decreed that she had to return to Hades for four (or six) months each year, having eaten the fruits Hades gave her. Thus, every year, there is a time when Demeter is happy. Persephone is with her, and the earth is full of growth and bounty. But when Persephone returns to the underworld, the earth once again becomes a barren realm of darkness. And in fact, Persephone becomes known also as the Queen of the Underworld.
The body past Pluto, (which for a short time was called the Tenth Planet) has been officially named Eris. However, the main discoverer, Michael Brown, originally would have liked to have named it Persephone. He said that the name would have been perfect, except that it was already taken by an asteroid. Still, the intention was there.....and I feel that in at least some ways, this body carries the meanings of Persephone myth.
William Blake has the conjunction of these two planets in his Fifth House, which is the house of creativity and self-expression. It shows how we create, and also, what our creations are like.
Blake focused on life and death issues, issues of good versus evil. The very title of his book, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" could be a reference to the union between the Creation Goddess, and the Lord of the Dead. The "Doors" between "things known" and "things unknown" become wide open when there is a direct connection between the ruler of the underworld (Pluto) and the goddess of creation (Persephone.) And throughout Blake's works, you can find the ideas of damnation, and salvation, hell and heaven.
Jeffrey Wolf Green has suggested that Pluto is "soul intent", perhaps what one's soul, from the deepest part of our psyche, seeks while incarnated in this world. If that is true, perhaps Eris respresents the longing of our soul for its other half, the soul's completion, even the soulmate? This would make sense, then, as Blake was a true believer in sexual equality, when the world around him was not convinced of this idea.
Or, if Pluto is "soul intent", perhaps Eris is something even deeper, more encompassing, such as "race intent", or the intent of the whole culture, or the whole society? Then Blake's purpose (with a conjunction of Pluto and Eris), was to bring about changes in the basic focus and intent of the society itself. Some of his ideas were seen as bizarre at the time he wrote them, but are now accepted as part of our modern cultural definitions.
An excellent treatise on Blake's chart (without Eris, of course), can be found at Albion Rising, so I won't attempt to look at the whole chart here. But the conjunction of these two planets adds a depth to his chart that is unmistakable.
The trine to Mars could only add to his passion here. Mars trine Pluto shows a person who can strongly focus, strongly dedicate himself to whatever causes he identifies with, and as who wants very much to be effective at solving problems, often understanding them well because of his own deep spiritual convictions. Add the Eris here, and you get a focus that is much, much bigger than just a personal cause, but a cause that is for all society, perhaps all humanity.
People with Uranus square Pluto are born at a time when there is a strong urge to shake up structures anyway, be they governmental, or church structure, or any ruling party type influence. With Uranus in the 9th, it is no wonder he focused on philosophical and religious ideas. What is Uranus square Eris? Perhaps the urge to shake up mankind's structures for all time, long long after he himself had passed away.