Eris is a small planet which was discovered in 2003. Her Roman name was Discordia – she is the goddess who, when not invited to a wedding, began the Trojan War by throwing a golden apple marked “for the fairest” into a circle of goddesses, beginning a dispute that threw Greece into turmoil for ten years. (Read more about the mythology of Eris here.) Eris moves very slowly – its orbital cycle is 560 years which is more than twice as long as Pluto’s orbit – so its influence appears to coincide with small, seemingly minor, events which create great chaos and disrupt the status quo.
The symbolism of Eris as the goddess who became angry when she didn’t receive a wedding invitation and retaliated by starting the Trojan War was eerily reflected in the fact that the discovery of Eris correlated to the time when a hanging chad changed the fate of US history and ushered in 20 years of war. You can see that she’s a wild character under which seemingly random incidents change the course of history.
Uranus in Aries conjoined Eris between 2015 and 2017, and I wrote about that here before Trump was elected. Uranus and Eris are both disruptors, but where Uranus seeks to disrupt our lives where we have become stuck, Eris seems to disrupt just for the sake of shaking things up to see where everything will land afterwards. At the time I wrote:
Under this influence (until early 2017), the very fabric of our lives is being shaken and stirred and it will be ever more necessary to find ways to adapt. The world is changing – we are at the cusp of a new age in Aquarius, and the past is falling away at an ever-increasing pace.
The election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency is about the most Uranus conjunct Eris thing that I can imagine. No matter how you feel about him it can’t be denied that the disruption and discord that his presidency has brought has changed the political landscape around the world.
Beginning in January, Pluto began a challenging square (90 degree) cycle to Eris. Pluto, the planet of destruction and transformation, has been pretty powerful ever since it moved into Capricorn in 2008. The challenging square from Uranus to Pluto lasted for seven years, between 2010 and 2017, and in itself created some powerful socioeconomic shift. The conjunction in Capricorn (societal structures) of Saturn to Pluto in January coincided with the eruption of the Covid-19 virus and was followed shortly afterwards by the square first from Saturn to Eris, and then from Pluto to Eris at the end of January. With both Saturn (tests and challenges) and Pluto (destruction that paves the way for transformation) in conflict with Eris (discord and chaos), we would not have expected those days to be smooth sailing. And in fact, there were not.
The Covid-19 virus itself seems to embody the discordant nature of Eris. It doesn’t follow any rules. It can’t be predicted in any way. It affects every patient differently. There are a myriad of symptoms that seem disconnected. It erupted, seemingly out of nowhere, quite suddenly and has spread like wildfire. Just as the golden apple of Eris began the Trojan War and transformed the political landscape of Europe and Asia, Covid-19 will likely create long-lasting transformation to global society. Since we are in the doorway to the Age of Aquarius, it seems likely that the destruction and transformation caused by the spread of this virus will pave the way for the shift in ages. The sudden advent of electronic contact tracing and robots in shops and hospitals are one sign of this doorway to Aquarius, with its focus on science and technology as well as the tendency to control the masses in order to achieve an ideal civilization. Aquarius, the opposite of Leo which is all about the individual, tends to be willing to sacrifice the individual for the sake of the collectively.
Meanwhile, there’s so much going on astrologically right now it can be difficult to say what’s what. Is this the conjunction of Jupiter to Pluto? Or the fact that Saturn is involved? And what part does Eris play?
The synchronicity between the mythology of the planets and the astrological significance is always fascinating to me. The envy of Eris with being left out of the wedding party seems to resonate with the oppression of minorities in today’s world who have been left out of the ongoing economic boom that has made many people wealthy beyond imagining. With Covid-19 spreading around the world, many have already died (Pluto) and many more will die. Still more will experience economic devastation. But history tells us that pandemics are nearly always associated with significant societal transformation. The Black Death of the 14th century resulted in higher wages for workers and greater equality among the classes as the nobility could no longer afford the massive numbers of serfs to work their properties. The current uprising against racism that is taking place around the world could transform the global landscape in ways we cannot imagine.
One important thing to remember about Pluto: the transformation it brings is rarely easy, but we nearly always look back and can see that the creative destruction wrought by Pluto paved the way for positive change.