Vesta Illustr. by M. Lohmann
Vesta
and the
Planetoid Belt

Hans-Hinrich Taeger

Doing without purpose,
 being busy
 without making a business of it,
 finding the big in the small,
 and the many in  the few,
 returning friendliness for hurt,
 fulfilling difficult things
 as long as they are still easy,
 and fulfilling great things in their beginning:
 this is the way of the Tao.

Laotse
In modern astrology there is no consensus about one certain planetary correspondence with Virgo-energy. The medieval bipartition of the planet Mercury, which is supposed to be associated equally with Gemini in its so-called nightside, and with Virgo in its so-called dayside, is no longer convincing. Like all other energies of the zodiac (the Earth-Taurus analogy included) Virgo has to have its own planetary manifestation in our zodiac-system. The most obvious but at the same time most problematical association with Virgo is the vast belt of minor planets or planetoids between Mars and Jupiter, which consists of more than 50,000 miniplanets, of which only a bare 2,000 are recorded regularly. The minute planets, curiously deformed pieces of rock, free-floating in the universe, with diameters between 2,526,216 feet (Ceres) and 4,921 feet (Hermes), have a solar revolution period of four and a half years on average. The theories concerning the formatian of the minor planet belt are very diverse. One of these states that in former times a planet collided with a meteor or another celestial body, and burst into thousands of fragments, which were in turn forced into orbit by the force-fields from Jupiter, Mars and the Sun. Other theories are based on the assumption that the planetoid belt consists of remnants from an exploded Jupiter-Moon.

The symbol for the planetoid  Vesta. It describes the demarcating protection (quadrangle) of the pure inner fire (the V-shaped flame arising out of the empty quadrangle).

Whatever the truth is, the planetoid-area symbolizes to us in its spiritual interpretation the Virgo-qualities of fragmentation, specification, bringing order within chaos (the 50,000 minor planets are moving in complex structures courses  there are no collisions). In its function as mediator between the two planetary energies Jupiter and Mars (both belonging to the element fire). The planetoid belt also symbolises a synthesis between the initiating and spontaneous enthusiasm of Mars, and the more mature ideals  - the aged wisdom-   of Jupiter-Zeus. In astrological interpretation it may be said that the planetoids, and also Virgo, represent a neutralizing filter or touchstone between the quick decisiveness and reforming zeal of Mars, the god of war, and the spiritual (philosophical and religious) perfection of Jupiter, the father of the gods. The filtering criteria are reason and critical intelligence, acting as a damper on exuberant aspirations. They systematically elucidate hidden backgrounds and motivations, thereby preventing new and possibly crucial karmic entanglements.

Even if the theory that the belt of minor planets embodies the remnants of a once solid Virgo-planet seems convincing, considerable problems do arise in practice, since every sign of the zodiac is occupied by thousands of planetoids, which (view from the earth) are like a thin filtering layer on all twelve cosmic energies. Because of the multitude of those filtering planets an individual interpretation is impossible. From this the generalized inference might be drawn that the disintegrated Virgo-planet, by being very finely dispersed throughout the whole zodiac, exerts an all-comprehending influence, similar to its opponent Neptune, who represents the all-transcending mystical permeation. With reference to humankind, this means we are challenged to recognise and distinguish all twelve energies of the zodiac and their planetary manifestations, i.e. the underlying conditions of our individual state of being, and thereby gain confidence in and devotion to the outer and inner world. This transindividual influence of a diffuse Virgo-planet would correspond with the socially and collectively mutable character of this sign.

Nevertheless there lies a challenge in giving those interested in an individual interpretation a specific highly energized point within the planetoid belt, where, proved by practice, the Virgo-qualities, which are known by the traditional description of this energy, can be located. In this context the four biggest planetoids have been observcd above all: Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta, for whom ephemerides exist since 1973 (Bach, Climlas: 'Ephemerides of the asteroids'). Up to now the planetoid Vesta has turned out the most likely to evoke effects within individual triggerings that are in accordance with Virgo. The German astrologer H. Chr. MEIER-PARM (*5.4.1905, 15h 08m MET, Hamburg/D - Sept.1987) analysed the radiating quality of this minor planet during a period of nearly fifteen years. He discerned principles of distance and separation, of neutrality towards value, of order, structure, ideology as well as of the exoteric and esoteric sciences. Vesta, the brightest, just visible planetoid, has a diameter of 1,428,867 feet, and stood at the time of its discovery the the amateur-astronomer Heinrich Olbers (11.10.1758 - 2.3.1840) in Bremen on 29th March, 1807 at 20 degrees Virgo. In its rhythm there are correspondences with the Saturn-cycle (about 29 years), because it moves round the Sun precisely eight times within a full Saturn-revolution. As the only planetoid Vesta's structure is of pure granite which explains its strong albedo and the only one with a core. So Vesta is absolutly unique among all the 60,000 other planetoids and should be revalued as a planet (-like Pluto's unique position amongst the thousands of planetoids of the Kuyper-belt between Saturn and Pluto which just has been discoverered e.g. Chiron, Pholus). Assuming that the naming by Olbers was not pure chance, we have to come to an understanding of the nature of the Roman Vesta-cult. Vesta is the goddess who keeps and guards the hearthfire, the everlasting and holy fire of spiritual development, of transformation, purification and enlightenment. For this she develops selfless vigilance and a responsible and ethical solicitude. She serves the maintenance of life without partaking in life itself. Parm sees in Vesta a divine energy, whom he evaluates as neither male nor female, neither active nor passive, and who represents a prerequisite for being and non-being (see Parm: 'The Planetoid Vesta'). Even if in mythology she is paraphrased as predominantly female energy, what is meant is not the instinctive, sexual or magic aspect, but the more androgynous state of purity, chastity and virtue of altruistically shared responsibility. Thus the priestesses of the Vesta-cult had to be chaste and immaculate virgins. They wore plain and simple white garments; an offence against the vow of chastity was equated with a national disaster, the seduced priestess was entombed alive. The vestal virgins were considered as highest arbitral authority, and enjoyed the highest privileges of state. Inside the temple they tended the eternal fire, which they had to renew once a year, on 1st of March. The annual inflammation of the fire was subject to a strict ritual. The flame might not be taken from another hearthfire. It had to arise, so to speak, virginally by rubbing two pieces of wood together until they caught fire. In their rites the priestesses were never allowed to use stagnant water. It had to be carried in earthenware jars from certain holy springs and rivers to the place of consecration.

All descriptions of the Vesta-cult, which bears resemblances to the cults of Isis, Hestia and Maria, show a clear analogy to the zodiac-archetype Virgo. Presupposing that the goddess Vesta has an astro-energetic symbol-mirroring by the planetoid Vesta, we could reach via Vesta the pre-existentially inherent cosmic primordeal conditions, the fine-structurings and regularities traceable within all parts of being. Vesta leads us into polarizing differentiation, which exists beyond personally motivated intentions, wishes, and drives, and enables us to transform our knowledge into certainty, so that with care and circumspection we can preserve our energy or flame of life. Vesta tends the light of certainty. She always reacts upon our doing against our purified and refined knowledge, for which we cannot truly take responsibility from this higher point of view. Probably Vesta is very strongly connected with the so-called conscience, in the neutral and not the religious sense of the word. She preserves the timeless values and laws to which both micro- and macrocosm comply  the conditionality of creation, the divine plan. Here she develops qualities such as imperturbability, patience, accuracy in detail, conscientiousness, and a high degree of altruistic virtue. Many of the Vesta-qualities mentioned above are in accordance with the traditional descriptions of the Virgo Mercury. In his association with the Virgo-archetype he has been given a saturnine character, i.e. earnest, realistic, critical, and broody, and in that way has been split from his inherent uranian core of being. Indeed empirical results do confirm that Mercury gets changed in his mode of effectiveness during his stay in Virgo or the other two earth-signs, Taurus and Capricorn. At these times he develops more scepticism, endurance, fidelity to principles, and responsibility towards the outward and inward reality. But this is no sufficient evidence for Mercury showing his second, concealed face, since all other planets (from Sun to Pluto) become modulated in like manner during their stays in earth-signs and undergo a saturnine and earth-related alignment. Rather, it has been the case that for want of a more comprehensive astronomical knowledge, no other planet has been at hand to embody the Virgo-qualities, and astrologers have rested content equivalent to Virgo would have to have,  has  none-the-less been well known by intuition and experience. These are, among others: striving for neutrality and objectivity, development of a strict analytic and profound way of thinking with the elimination of drives, emotions and personal intentions, a spirit of research, detailed knowledge, ethical evaluation, intellectual scrutiny. It is remarkable that these qualities very much resemble those of Saturn. But they differ from those of Saturn (-ruler of a cardinal sign) in their degree of refinement, more subtle structurings, a more differentiated capacity for deduction, and consequently, capacity for tolerance and a more profound thoroughness. If the highest symbol of Saturn is the diamond, then analogously the planetoid belt would have as an emblem a treasure chest filled with various precious stones.

As a planetary energy in alternate play with the mysterious planet of mystic intuition, Neptune, Vesta tries, like a scientist and anonymous observer, to grasp and to delineate in an abstract manner the Neptunian, which can only be experienced sensuously. Vice versa she endeavours to comprehend the unintentional and pure sense of mystic performance by most subtle derivations from outward reality. Just as Neptune's powers of illusion spring from a being out of non-being, so the connections found via the planetary Virgo-correspondence lead in final consequence to a perpetual extension of knowledge and relativity, to a 'doing in non-doing'. That way she approaches the Neptunian qualities of dissolution, transcending, and never-ending expansion. Thus of specification based on knowledge. We can observe this process in the esoteric as well as the exoteric sciences. Exoteric and esoteric are not in contradiction but describe the same 'reality' starting from differing axioms. Nevertheless, the virgin planetoid belt or an as yet undiscovered Virgo-correspondence has, in its correspondence to Pisces and Neptune, more to do with the esoteric or mystic sciences than the natural sciences. In its thinking function it develops the critically verifiable presuppositions which belong to philosophy, esoterics or religion, but as well to the ethical norms of the exoteric sciences.

Other astrologers have suggested further planetary associations with Virgo. This spectrum ranges from (-at present) still fictitious Transpluto, who is calculated mathematically, but has not yet been discovered (-alterations of the orbits of the outer planets can now be better explained with the Kuyper-belt planetoids), past the fixed star Spica to Earth itself (-to whom astro-energetics attributes the zodiac-energy Taurus, however). Yet it still remains likely that Virgo cannot be localized in one centric point. Even if a great part of her characteristics are showing in Vesta, she cannot be postulated as Virgo's sole representative. And why should not the Virgo-energy, being of such esoteric importance, have her puzzle or enigma! Perhaps her chastity, purity, and neutrality render a clear material fixation impossible.

During the the last 20 years I had the opportunity for intense research on Vesta, in the course of which I observed the effects of Vesta-transits as well as of Vesta in individual natal horoscopes of persons well known to me. In doing so I was well aware of the responsibility of introducing and making known a 'new' astrological factor of interpretation, and therefore I attacked Vesta rather critically, which was relatively easy for me with Vesta, Jupiter, Moon, Chiron, Ceres, and Pallas in my own karmagramm's Virgo. During this period Vesta progressed nearly four times through all zodiac signs, so that I felt the whole range of all her possible aspects myself, and that way could develop a feeling for her mode of effect. Here I would like to anticipate that this feeling was by no means of always a pleasant nature (above all in combination with Pluto-, Mars-, or Uranus-aspects), since Vesta activates a rather susceptible sensitivity in the nerves, an tends to react to overstraining with hysterical overexcitement, which might be intensified to almost a furore if multiple-levelled demands are coming to a head. It seems impossible for Vesta to tackle various problems simultaneously. This renders her obstinate, angry, and in communication with other people unfair, self-righteous, and negative in thinking. There is a danger of internally running amok. Instead of working busily, people grow stiff with aversion to work and apathy; they become nagging, petty - simply unbearable for themselves and their associates. It is like being under internal hightension without any possibility of discharge. This electric charge is felt even bodily within the regions of fingers, head and feet. It is as if some chakra-channels are blocked, so that kundalini is arrested within the extremities of the body. As far as physiognomy is concerned, the eyeballs appear to protrude more than usually, and the corners of the mouth are drawn sulkily downwards. Not a pleasant sight for one's friends (-as an organ analogy I would give Vesta the thyroid gland as well as the digestive system). In addition, tense Vesta-triggers have a tendency to affect other people around, and to put others into a similarly charged vibration. This always happens when someone has taken on too much, when old things demand clearing up, or when under pressure because of time-limits or stress. For example, I can imagine that even heart-attacks or circulatory diseases could well be in connection with a Vesta-blockade. This might be an interesting topic for further investigations.

Vesta is able to behave in an absolutely different manner, if a decision has been taken for one single work-project, which is being realized step by step without time pressure and interruptions from outside. In this case she displays all her balance and enormous ability to concentrate. She then activates one in a sort of maternal care for the matter, and lifts one out of the sphere of the personal self and its problems, whereby objectivity, reason, clearsightedness, and seltf-criticism can evolve. A companionable openness towards impartial criticism from without is developed as well, in the course of which others are readily included within the own process of working (teamwork). But one has to take care not to get endlessly entangled in particulars by Vesta, and one should consciously counteract her with stop signals or red lights, which she will accept of acknowledged as sensible. Vesta bears the disposition to perfection as well as to perseverance. Genuine Vesta people are never content with what they have achieved. They constantly struggle for greater clarity, accuracy, and greatest possible relevancy, and do not strive for personal advantage through their work. They are ambitious scholars and workers. What matters to them is work for the sake of the subject itself, and  -on a more stupid level-  even work for work's sake. In the extreme, praise looks suspicious to them. What they are looking for, however, is true criticism - free of personal sympathies or antipathies.

A further trait in Vesta is a certain fussiness and obstinacy in matters. Flexibility or adaptation are not her strong points. Here other planetary energies have to come to aid. She can render someone stubborn as a mule, if a once chosen way of thinking is to be abandoned. In this sense she is rather conservative, and does not easily take advice, but this does also mean - to put it assertively-  that she sticks persistently to perceptions once regarded as right and put to the test, and hence ensures a certain mental and spiritual steadfastness. Vesta urges one to retard one's working pace for the sake of the importance of a (each) matter. But this delay in time is compensated for by continuity and persistence.

According to my own feeling and understanding (-and in contrast to Meier-Parm) Vesta is a female energy -  not female in the sense of lunar emotional caring, but a sort of de-sexualized femaleness, perhaps in the sense of an austere governess -  to  sum  up: of a Vesta priestess -  of an austere guardian of relevant virtues -  to sum up: of a Vestal priestess.

Annotation:  Observations of other major planetoids, such as Juno, Ceres, or Pallas, did not lead to unequivocaI empiric results. I do not want to deny them any effects at all, but an entirely secondary signification in comparison with Vesta's immense activity of radiation, which everybody can examine easily by means of observations on their own.

- Translation into English: Kevin Volans, Thomas Siegfried.
Copyrights ©: Hans Taeger.  Reprints are welcome. Just drop us a note and send a sample resp. the URL.
Email: taeger@iol.ie


 
updated July 99
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