By Edward Snow
On the day former President Bill Clinton was born in Hope, Ark., a harbinger of things to come was eerily projected in the alignment of several relatively large space rocks (asteroids) that were orbiting the sun more than 186 million miles away in the region of space known as the asteroid belt.
Asteroids come in various shapes and sizes and are believed to be the left-over remains from the dawn of our solar system. Astronomers have found, named or numbered thousands of these space rocks, most of which are observed circling the sun between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. There also are the so- called near-earth asteroids that apparently have broken out of the asteroid belt and follow an erratic orbit that infrequently finds them whizzing by the earth – and occasionally running into it. In the past, scientist tell us that cataclysmic event s like this have wiped out most living things on the planet.
But the dramatized images of huge boulders hurtling through space in a tight and menacing formation – a vision that comes to us from the science fiction industry – clearly presents the wrong idea. The asteroid belt itself is about 40 million miles wider than the space that accommodates the orbits of Mercury, Venus, the earth and Mars combined. And the asteroids buzzing around in all this space are relatively small, accounting all together for about the same amount of mass as the earth’s moon.
Some asteroids are small as a pebble. The largest, Ceres, is 600 miles in diameter and was recently elevated to dwarf planet status. But even this spherically-shaped object is relatively small by solar system standards – about 500 Ceres-size objects could fit inside the earth.
The asteroid belt objects closest to us are about 186 million miles from the sun with a solar orbit of three earth years, At the other extreme, the most distant asteroids are about 370 million miles from the sun and need twice as many earth years to orbit the sun. What this scale tells us: if we were sitting on an asteroid anywhere in the asteroid belt we’d probably need a telescope to see our nearest asteroid neighbor.
Technology to the Rescue
Ceres was first seen through an earth-bound telescope in 1801 and the discoveries of three smaller asteroids – Juno, Vesta and Pallas – followed in quick succession. With more sophisticated imaging technologies at their disposal – including orbiting telescopes and satellite flybys, astronomers today are discovering new asteroid belt objects on an almost daily basis.
It’s up to the astronomers who find them to name, plot the orbits and document where their discoveries can be found in the heavens at any given time. At first, astronomers followed tradition and chose mythological names for their discoveries. However, when they became overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, astronomers began naming the space rocks for world leaders, historical characters, religious icons, celebrities and famous people of all kinds, including scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, physicists, historians, writers, actors, dancers and so forth.
In an article published on the Cosmic Patterns website, the late Jacob Schwarz, an astrologer, wrote that asteroids have also been named for loved ones, children and even family pets. There are asteroids named for countries, states, schools, colleges, mountains, rivers, plants, trees or whatever else inspired their discoverers at the time.
Names and tracking information for known asteroids are publicly recorded in official ephemerides. This is how we know that on the day President Clinton was born asteroids that included the names Monica, Paula and Williams were clumped together in a tight stellium or grouping that positional astronomers and astrologers call a conjunction. Although millions of miles may separate the asteroids in their solar orbits, on earth the trio appears to be occupying the same or nearly the same zodiacal degree on a two-dimensional astrological map.
Astrologers read conjunctions as powerful unifying or intensifying aspects that are made more purposeful when aligned with other celestial objects. For example, on President Clinton’s birth date, the asteroids Hillary and Gingrich were also conjoined and aligned with Monica, Paula and Williams in a stressful 180-degree angular aspect astrologers call an opposition – for good reason. Invariably involved with oppositions are conflicts with others that must be resolved in some way.
A coincidence? The odds that asteroids conflicted in the President’s birth map would so significantly match up with real life people and conflicts during the Clinton Presidency are so long they defy calculation.
When dealing with asteroids, getting the names close is sometimes as good as it gets. When George W. Bush was elected President in 2000 and again in 2004 the transiting asteroid Busch conjoined the asteroid Washingtonia. When Germany, Italy and Japan formed the Axis nations before World War II, representative asteroids Germania, Italia and Nipponia were participating in mutually harmonious astrological aspects. All three were discovered and named decades before the war.
Timing is Critical
Gainesville, Fla., astrologer Michelle Gould says timing is critical when working with asteroids. In the Clinton example, the dynamic situation indicated in the President’s birth chart didn’t play out fully until years later when he was living in the White House.
Gould says she has observed a number of similar examples in the lives of ordinary people who come to her for astrological advice. When a young woman showed up for a consultation the astrologer noticed that the asteroid Buda was prominently positioned in her birth chart. Additionally, there were a number of other connections with the ancient religion and its shrines, including the strongly placed asteroids Tara, Lhasa and Mahakala, all tied to Tibetan Buddhism.
“At the time she came to my office the woman had just left her job to become a teacher of Green Tara practices, but had not been on this path for long. Had she come to me for a consultation a few years earlier her response to this information would most likely have been different. However, the way the timing worked, astrology was able to provide an enormous confirmation for her,” Gould said.
She says asteroids provide meaningful information in every birth chart she reads. Among the important connections in her own life, the asteroid named for evolutionary biologist Stephen Gould is prominently placed at the angle in her birth chart associated with marriage and partnerships. Her first husband’s first name was Stephen and her current husband’s last name is Stephenson. And she continues to use the surname (Gould) she was born with.
She thinks asteroid placements can provide a level of specificity not found elsewhere in the birth chart. In her work she finds them to be especially helpful as a story-telling tool that enables clients to access their own stories and better understand themselves. She attributes this approach to her mentor, astrologer and classicist Demetra George, who has written and taught extensively on the subject.
. Is there an asteroid with your name on it? With more than 17,000 asteroids orbiting the earth and astrologically connecting in various ways that’s a distinct possibility. A huge and growing free list of asteroid names can be found on the astrosoftware.com website.
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