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© by Zane B. Stein
Glyph for Nessus



To understand Nessus' mythology, we need to re-introduce Heracles (Hercules.) (Hercules figures into the stories of just about every centaur, it seems.)

In one story, Heracles was very attracted to a young virgin by the name of Deianera, and so he slept with her....and then agreed to marry her. In another story (which may not conflict with the former story at all,) Heracles married Deianera because, while he was in the underworld, he promised Deianera's dead brother that he would. Anyway, Eurytion (another Centaur...possibly one of the as yet unamed ones) asked for Deianera's hand in marriage, and her father consented (perhaps he was afraid of saying no to a Centaur?) Well, Heracles found out, burst angrily into the wedding celebration, killed Eurytion, and took Deianera to be his bride.

I am not sure if Heracles was on his honeymoon or not, but he and his new wife had to cross a river that was overflowing. Nessus, according to the myth, offered to ferry Heracles' wife across a river.....and when he reached the other side, tried to rape her. Heracles, quite naturally enraged, shot Nessus with a poison arrow. As Nessus lay dying, he told Heracles' wife that, should Heracles ever be unfaithful, she could bring him back to her by placing the blood-soaked cloak (now on Nessus' back) over Heracles' shoulders. (In some of the more graphic stories, though, it was a mixture of his blood and semen that Nessus told Deianera to scoop up....and to put on a cloak one day should Heracles stray in his affections.) Years later, she remembered Nessus' words, and did precisely that. But Nessus lied....on his death bed, he wanted revenge. The cloak caused Heracles to burn up with flames of magic, and he was in terrible pain. Hera finally relented, allowed his physical body to die on earth, and translated him to Mount Olympus where he was made one of the gods for all time. (Something to was Nessus' poisonous act that, in actuality, healed the feud between Hera and Heracles.)

It is interesting that, many years earlier, Zeus had told Heracles that he would be killed by a dead enemy!

Robert von Heeren just added this additional information he found about Nessus' mythology:

"Pausanias 10.38.2 [paus. 10.38.2]
"[10.38.2] Others believe that Nessus, ferrying on the Evenus, was wounded by Heracles, but not killed on the spot, making his escape to this country; when he died his body rotted unburied, imparting a foul stench to the atmosphere of the place. The third story says that the exhalations from a certain river, and its very water, have a peculiar smell; the fourth, that asphodel grows in great abundance and when in flower...because of the smell.


Nessus links up the orbits of Saturn and Pluto. Once upon a time, Saturn was thought to be the last planet out, and was equated with endings, and even with death. These two certainly have a lot in common, don't they? We have just begun to explore the implications of this, so we can certainly use your feedback!

On its way outward from perihelion to aphelion, Nessus crosses first Uranus' and then Neptune's orbit, and on its way back inward, it again crosses them. Here are the most recent such dates in its orbit:

Nessus reaches Perihelion March 7, 1870
Crossing Uranus on the way out Nov 14, 1881
Crossing Neptune on the way out Sept 22, 1899
Nessus reaches Aphelion Dec 30, 1930
Crossing Neptune on the way inward Apr 8, 1961
Crossing Uranus on the way inward Nov 3, 1979
Nessus reaches Perihelion Jan 28, 1992

Juan Antonio Revilla offers pages on all the Centaurs' orbit crossings as well as their perihelia & aphelia


Let me relate two brief stories from my own experience.

When Nessus was transiting my eighth house, it reached opposition to my natal Nessus. At that time, I was living with Sandra, and she was pregnant with our child. When the opposition was exact, it also was only minutes away from exact conjunction to Sandra's Neptune. At this time, we received the news that the baby had extra set of chromosomes......and that most babies with this condition died in the womb, sometimes jeopardizing the life of the mother. Of the few that survived, not one lived more than five months, and all had to stay on life support. We had to make the decision to induce labor, and have the baby born early, stillborn. It was just about the most painful decision either of ever had to make.

When Nessus was stationary over my ninth house Moon, the woman I loved left the United States to go spend a month living with a man in another country....a man she was considering moving in with. I was so full of hurt/anger, especially at the other man, and wanted more than anything to lash out at him, even if only verbally.

Both of these events changed my life, and both forced me to reach down deep within myself. There was a lot of pain in both situations, but in another way, they both were a catharsis, which helped me know myself better, and to accept that there were thoughts/feelings I had which I had previously tried to repress as 'bad'.

On Amable's blog, Transneptunian Astrology, there are some interesting observations about Nessus: According to dynamical systems theory, all centaurs are chaotic, but Nessus has one of the lowest Lyapunov exponent, because Saturn and the Kuiper belt are both limit cicle atractors, and the diferences are only between the personal or material and the transpersonal or spiritual dimensions.
Integration of scientist and spy
By the time of the discovery of Nessus, a few years after the end of the cold war (1990-1991), began a collaboration between scientists (Saturn) and spies (Kuiper belt), as the militar satellites began to be used partially for scientific purposes, studing nature and ecosystems. They are antagonistic, because science requires the publication of the sources for replication of the investigation, something not allowed by the clandestinely of spies. At that time, also started the TV serie "X-Files" (1992), where Fox Malder and Dana Scully, from the scientific police, are the investigators of the X-Files (unsolved cases, usually involving paranormal phenomena) and many times they come to meet with the CIA matters.
United aganist racism
In the TV serie "X-Files" (1992), inicially Dana Scully was asigned to the x-files with the objective of refute Fox Mulder's theories, but once she gets in the investigation and the truth of the evidence, she turns in upholding Mulder infront of their cheifs.
Nessus has the ability to perform the Higher-Self will in an inmutable way. No matter what are doing the rest of people, Nessus does what He thinks is correct, like in the movie "Schindler's List" (1993), "Philadelphia" (1993) and "Red Corner" (1997).
Military activity
Nessus combines the 'high artificial intelligence' of the Kuiper belt with the 'physical intelligence' of Saturn. This combination is typical of activities were physical action requires complex thinking processes, especially the teamwork coordination, like the cyborg Motoko Kusanagui as the especial forces in the movie "Ghost in the Shell" (1995).
Nessus actions are performed without emotional interference, like the crushing crystal in the face for family revenge in the movie "Perdita Durango" (1997). The will of Nessus is very strong, once the decision is made, there is no turning back, like in the movie "Perdita Durango" (1997), or at the end of the movie "Sommersby" (1993), where the protagonist stands for his personal sentence.

Juan Antonio Revilla, one of the members of my "Chiron and Friends" list, has written some remarkably perceptive essays on the Centaurs. In "The Redemption Of Nessus" he writes:

"What are the dynamics of Nessus that manifests in a monstrous, poisonous way? The vulnerability of Deianira, Nessus lust, and Heracles rawness are part of the same cruel story. If I take Heracles as "raw" humanity, then the "bad blood" associated with Nessus is the consequence or continuation of the cruelty and violence that Heracles represents. What Nessus does is leave Heracles violence and cruelty naked, which means he could be the cure, for example, not only the disease. Like an homeopathic remedy or a vaccine, the disease has to come out in order to heal it..."

Josh Payne is another very perceptive astrologer. In one of Josh's posts, he talked of the connection between Nessus and the Frankenstein monster:

"though he may be a hideous monster, Nessus has a heart, has fragility. Frankenstein just wants to be accepted and loved (especially by his creator)..."
and that the Frankenstein story was
" extremely touching portrayal of the plight of the deformed outcast, especially the scene in which he is talking to the blind man... The words he utters (I don't remember exactly), "people are afraid... because I am so.... ugly" express such a tremendous pain, which embodies how hard it is for us to say something like 'I am so ugly'."

Juan writes, in response to Josh's words:

"These very few words of Josh are the best I have ever read about Nessus." "Frankenstein longed for love and sympathy, but he became something dark and destructive, inspiring only horror and loathing. Nevertheless he had a human heart, he was our creation, a part of ourselves that is socially despised. His creator (which is his mirror-image), trespassed the boundaries of life, death, and social morality."

One other thing before I leave the subject of Nessus. Perhaps we can learn something from this quote from Carl Jung, from "Concerning Rebirth": "Every calling or profession has its own characteristic persona. It is easy to study these things nowadays, when the photographs of public personalities so frequently appear in the press. A certain kind of behaviour is forced on them by the world, and professional people endeavour to come up to these expectations. Only, the danger is that they become identical with their personas-the professor with his text-book, the tenor with his voice. Then the damage is done; henceforth he lives exclusively against the background of his own biography. . . . The garment of Deianeira has grown fast to his skin, and a desperate decision like that of Heracles is needed if he is to tear this Nessus shirt from his body and step into the consuming fire of the flame of immortality, in order to transform himself into what he really is. One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is."

What do you think?

Benjamin Adamah has written an interesting blog on Nessus in astrology


One 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 Nessus conjunct their Sun, or square their Mars, please go to

Click here Nessus, to find out how to discover where your Nessus is.

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