I had planned to discuss Urania as the new asteroid for this issue, since it seemed to be another Uranus in the limited attention I have given it to date. I had regarded Psyche as rather like Dembowska a few months ago; as an enigma with several possible meanings but no clear picture. But in the past week, I have found Psyche prominent in charts where it was totally unanticipated: in the horoscopes of countries involved in the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East.
Astrology is a pragmatic art, based on observation of the parallels between the patterns in the sky and the events on earth. When a planet appears in high focus, conjunct chart angles or major planets, in either natal or progressed charts, we are assured that the meaning of the planet can contribute to our understanding of the subject of the chart, whether person or country. Since the suggested meanings of Psyche—psychic ability, desire for psychological insight, and romantic love—hardly seemed appropriate for the critical events occurring in Lebanon, I felt impelled to search for some deeper understanding of this little planet.
I am not alone in my increased interest in Psyche, though I may be alone in my suggested amplification of its meaning in astrology. A summer 1982 astrology conference in Seattle Washington featured two speakers who have been working with Psyche, and they support it as a key to romantic love, according to a local friend who attended the conference. Capel McCutcheon lectured on Psyche at the A.F.A. conference in late August, and he supports Psyche as a key to psychic ability and desire for psychological insight. He finds it prominent in psychics and psychologists.
Perhaps where Psyche is prominent we should be loving or empathic or insightful, but I was left with a profound unease about that being the whole story when I found Psyche conjunct the Ascendant in one chart for Lebanon (the end of the French Mandate) and conjunct the IC in the chart for full independence which occurred about two years later. Furthermore, progressed Psyche is retrograding over the Ascendant of the 1941 Lebanese chart as this current horror story is unfolding in that country. Progressed Psyche was opposite a tenth house Saturn during the destructive civil war in 1975 in the 1943 chart of Lebanon, and progressed Moon was on natal Psyche and South Node of the Moon in the Israel chart during the massacre of unarmed old men, women and children in the PLO camps in mid September, 1982. If Judith Gee’s chart of Israel is accurate, the progressed Ascendant has been conjunct progressed Psyche for the past couple of years for a further emphatic statement. Moon Moore’s book of World Horoscopes gives a later time for Israel, but Judith writes a column of predictions based on a chart with Neptune exactly on the Ascendant. An alternate chart set for twenty minutes later puts Israel’s progressed Ascendant on natal Psyche for all of 1982. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon passed the U.N. observation post with Psyche conjunct the chart Ascendant.
Up to the point of discovering Psyche’s prominence in mundane charts of countries that seemed to demonstrate very little love and empathy for their fellow humans, I had not explored mythology to see whether it might throw more light on the situation. As I have stated repeatedly in the past, we cannot assume that the asteroids were properly named or that the mythology is totally accurate, but it can offer preliminary hypotheses to be tested by observation. Michael Grant’s book, Myths of the Greeks and Romans, proved to be a treasure trove with a whole section devoted to a discussion of the myth of Psyche. I knew that the word in Greek could be translated as “soul” though psychology had appropriated and used it for the mind. I had a vague recollection of a love story involving Psyche and Cupid which ended happily after various tribulations. But there was much more to the drama, according to Grant, who quotes the ancient writer Apuleius as the source of the most complete version of the myth.
Psyche was the youngest and most beautiful of three daughters of a King, so admired that people neglected their offerings to Venus who sent her son, Cupid, to make Psyche fall in love with some degraded creature. Instead, Cupid succumbed, leaving Venus even more angry. The gist of the story includes many themes from fairy tales: the youngest child as fairest, the invisible lover, the persecuting mother-in-law, etc. Grant writes that it is not known how much was created by Apuleius who was a master story teller, but it remains as our most complete statement about Psyche, a human who was permitted to become a goddess in order to marry Cupid (equated to Eros or love).
However, the “happy” ending and the drama of the tale do not alter the reality that Psyche is portrayed as physically beautiful but also incredibly naive, gullible, stupid, “other-directed,” dependent, emotional, irrational, self-absorbed and incompetent. If she epitomizes any principle, it is the danger of emotion devoid of reason or intellect. She is always saved by others, including a tower which is more intelligent than she, and which talks her out of suicide. She lies, deliberately or because she forgets her own previous lies. She ignores advice in her desire for even more beauty though already described as a rival to Venus. Throughout the story, she appears as almost totally devoid of intelligence, insight into others, or awareness of the feelings of others, and shows few signs of love in her absorption with her own needs. In short, she is a shining example of the prototypical dependent female whose only asset is physical beauty. Phyllis Schlafley has Psyche in her ninth house of ultimate values.
Since I do not believe that any astrological factor is inherently negative or positive, after reading Grant’s account, I came back to my mundane charts with new awareness. I am suggesting at this point (subject to further revision in the future), that a prominent Psyche can symbolize the positive potential for understanding, empathizing with, and loving others, or (as in the story by Apuleius) the lack of these capacities when people (or countries) are too insecure, self-centered and emotional and fail to cultivate intelligence and use reason. If any readers are working with Psyche, let me know of your results.
Since mundane (world) charts initiated this effort, I put Psyche in all the charts of countries in Moore’s book that were founded in the 20th Century; 126 in all. I did not have time to re-run the charts, so have only the ten planets, nodes of the Moon, and MC and Ascendant. I limited aspects to 3 degree orb except for 5 degrees for conjunctions. Much remains to be done, but even the preliminary work is fascinating. I discovered that ten countries in Africa became independent during August 1960, all with Psyche conjunct Mars in Gemini and quincunx Neptune (among other aspects). Two of the ten also had Psyche and Mars on the Ascendant, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. The Mediterranean island, Cypress, was also given a new start in the same month. Two additional countries in Africa had their new start close together in 1966, both with Psyche conjunct Mars in Leo, Botswana and Lesotho. Papua New Guinea, started in 1975, has Psyche back in Gemini conjunct Mars again, and North Korea has Psyche conjunct Mars in Scorpio.
An interesting list of countries have Psyche conjunct the South Node of the Moon, including Israel, Australia, Japan, Mongolia, Morocco, Qator, Sao Tome & Principe, and South Korea. Cuba and the Philippines have Psyche conjunct Saturn. Depending on the whole chart and other aspects, we might suspect that these countries have something to learn about love and empathy and intelligence. With Saturn and the South Node, we first have something to learn, and then something to give.
A large number of these countries lack a time, so that we have no houses or definite position for the Moon; a serious drawback. But even though I consider signs to be the least important of our “big four” (planets, aspects, houses, signs) the sign distribution was interesting. Even if we omit the big emphasis on Gemini due to the birth of so many countries in August 1960, Gemini remains next highest in number with 21 countries favoring that sign; 31 if we add the 1960 group. 23 countries have Psyche in Scorpio; 16 have it in Virgo; 14 have it in Aquarius. Fixed and mutable signs are far ahead of cardinal; 53 fixed, 56 mutable, and 18 cardinal. I also looked to see if any particular degree was favored and there was a slight emphasis on the 9th and the 13th degrees, but our sample is too small to really take results seriously. I also checked to see if some of the degrees being hit repeatedly by eclipses in this century were the ones occupied by Psyche. 15 countries have Psyche on or within one degree of those being hit by four eclipses this century. 11 additional countries have Psyche in or one degree from a degree being hit by three eclipses during this century. So much more remains to be done, but at this point, I think we need to consider the possibility that this little planet could indicate a principle of importance to the world today.