This is the inside cover
of the world's first
as well as the first
publication of a symbol
for this Centaur.
A special thanks to
Al H. Morrison
for being my publisher,
and my friend.
THE MYTHOLOGY OF PHOLUS
One day Hercules was on the way to one of his 12 labors, the capture of a wild boar that was wrecking havoc around Mount Erymanthus in Arcadia. This same area was home to the tribe known as the Centaurs.
On his way to the mountain, Hercules stopped in to see a friend of his named Pholus. Like Chiron, Pholus was an unusual centaur. Unlike the majority, Pholus was fair, gentle and wise. Anyway, Pholus played the good host and entertained Hercules.
For this next part of the story, I have found three different versions. In one, Hercules is thirsty, but Pholus refuses to give him any wine, saying it was not his, but the property of the whole Centaur tribe. Hercules, however, has a powerful thirst, so he takes the cask, breaks it open, and guzzles it down. A second version has Hercules talking Pholus into giving him the wine. And in the third, Pholus plays the excellent host and offers the wine to Hercules.
In one story, by the way, Pholus was given the wine as a present. He was asked to resolve an argument between Dionysus (god of wine, ecstacy) and Hephaestus (also known as Vulcan (god of the forge, metallurgical arts.) Guess which one Pholus sided with? Well, let me give you another hint.....Pholus' dad was often pictured as Silenus, who was almost always pictured being drunk; Silenus was said to be the son of Pan, as well as the tutor of Dionysus.
Anyway, from this point on the stories all agree. The smell of the wine pervaded the area, and the whole tribe of Centaurs became intoxicated by the smell, rushing to the scene, creating havoc, demanding their wine. Pholus tried to calm them down. Chiron came too, and tried. But to no avail. So Hercules began shooting at them, using poisoned arrows. The ones he didn't kill turned and ran. But Chiron was wounded (some say in the knee, others in the heel). Chiron was immortal, so he might have suffered pain for all eternity, if Zeus hadn't allowed him to trade his life for Prometheus' freedom. (That's another story.)
And Pholus tried to remove the poisoned arrow from a fellow Centaur, and was pricked by the same arrow. Since he was not immortal, this killed him. In some versions, Pholus tried to save the fallen centaur. In others, he removed the arrow out of a strange fascination that so small a thing could kill so great a beast.
There are a number of Neptunian overtones to this story. The wine, for example. Pholus' self-sacrifice, in one version. Pholus stepping outside of the safe and secure to investigate the unknown mystery of the arrow. Perhaps these relate to the fact that Pholus orbits between Saturn and Neptune....and links them up in much the same way that Chiron links Saturn and Uranus.
We haven't had very long to study Pholus, so not much of his astrological nature has been verified. But there does seem to be an element of selflessness in his actions...of involving the self in something to the point of losing the self in the process. Much more study is needed, though.
Pholus, as it moves between perihelia and aphelia, actually crosses the orbits of three planets, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune. Here are the most recent of these significant dates:
Check out Juan's site for other Pholus orbit crossings
There may be something to be gleaned from the Pholus discovery chart, as well. Pholus was 0 Leo 36 R in the 9th, in close quincunx to Mercury (29 Sagittarius 01), Mars (29 Sagittarius 59) and Ceres (0 Capricorn 56) in the 2nd. The quincunx IS an aspect of adjustment, and can be one of sacrifice, even of death & transformation.
AT THE TIME OF ITS DISCOVERY
When a new body is discovered, we can learn some of its nature by looking at what is going on in the world at that time, and Pholus is no exception. Here are a few of these:
When I first began studying Pholus, shortly after its discovery in 1992, I meditated on a symbol for it, and the above glyph entered my mind. After I had published a few articles on this new Centaur, Marianne Alexander wrote to tell me that my symbol was remarkably similar to a particular virus known as a T-4 Bacteriophage.....so called because it attacks bacterium by poking a hole into one and inserting its own DNA inside.
Well, looking over pictures of T-4's, (and other viruses in the same class), I was amazed at the similarities! Here is the outline of a typical T-4:
More on these viruses shortly.
What makes this connection even more intriguing are some of Marianne's initial findings on Pholus, which she published in her book, "The Centaur Pholus", in June 1996:
Marianne, too, looked at world events at the time of Pholus' discovery. Here are a few of the headlines she mentions:
(Her book, delineating her preliminary research, can be ordered from: Pandora Publishing, P.O. Box 641294, Kenner, LA 70064-1294, USA. Each book is $25.00 in the US, $29.00 in US Funds if ordered outside of the USA. Tell her you saw mention of it here! She also has available an ephemeris for several thousand asteroids for the year 1999. If you would like to see where all of them will be transiting your chart during the year ahead, contact her to find out how to order this ephemeris. You can e-mail her at: Pandorapub@msn.com)
Back to the Bacteriophage. Let's look a little more at what the real virus looks like. Turn to this university site for several images, both drawn and photographed:
In one of them, you can actually watch a mock-up of a T-4 attacking a bacteria, poking through its cell wall, and plunging its DNA inside. What happens next? The DNA disables the bacteria's DNA, sets up a little factory to replicate itself, and eventually destroys the whole cell, sending thousands of new T-4's out to attack other bacterium.
Marianne said that this is reminiscent of a mosquito. I can see what she means....the way it inserts it's probe into its victim, and inserts the chemical that will keep the wound open while it does it's drinking. And of course the Malaria mosquito also inserts the parasite it carries.
There is also something reminiscent of how Pholus himself died...getting jabbed by the poison on the tip of the arrow which he had removed from the fallen Centaur.
Bacteriophage's may be a key to saving millions of lives. Scientists are now working on genetic splicing to create viruses which do their bidding, going to specific disease bacteria and destroying them completely. Similar efforts are in the works to destroy cancer cells, yet not harm any other part of the body.
Robert sent me some tentative keywords for Pholus transits:
- borderline(-situations, in double sense)
- the unconscious takes control
- freeing, release
- facing lacks, undeveloped aspects
- euphoric feelings
- unstable and new (sometimes dangerous) situations, difficult to deal with
- intensity, intensifier
- to be spurred on
- to "stumble" in new situations
Robert and Dieter published an article on Pholus in The Mountain Astrologer. They wrote that "the discovery of Pholus marked the beginning of important progress in the field of astronomy. It held answers to many questions that Chiron had raised." And, "Translated into astrological terms, this means that Chiron brings long and helpless waiting, while Pholus, on the other hand, brings immediate progress."
Nick Campion quotes Robert as saying of Pholus that "He intensifies very strong, brings you to your limits, raises a strong urge for growing (but often very spontaneously and unconscious), when at the same time you feel a lack of inner possibilities to grow in that specific area. Therefore you live in a very unstable 'borderline' situation, where you tend to do things impulsive (to cross the border) or you don't do anything at all, because you feel an inner blockade."On Amable's blog, Transneptunian Astrology, there are some interesting observations about Pholus:
PHOLUS AND CELEBRITIESOne way to explore the meaning of a body is to explore its aspects in the charts of celebrities. If you'd like to see who has Pholus conjunct their Sun, or square their Mars, please go to www.zanestein.com/celeb.htm.
Click here, Pholus, to find out how to discover where your Pholus is.Back to Chiron's Friends