Centaur Asbolus: Burning Clarity

Asbolus is a centaur we encounter at pivotal moments in the Centaur Cycle of Greek mythology. Presently, the shadowy seer of omens is near the spotlight, astrologically: conjunct our Moon’s North Node, or Dragon’s Head. This places him in mid-Gemini, where a crew of planetary bodies transmit solar light to several layers of the solar system at once – all along the nodal axis of Uranus. The groove carved into cosmic space by the Nodes of Uranus run deep: his long orbit traces cycles of our transformation from trauma into enlightenment. At Uranus’ heliocentric North Node, we now have an unusual connection between that crossing and our Moon’s own Node.

Something in the collective is tuning in to a larger process of introspection, purification, and understanding. Asbolus is joined by asteroid Psyche (a large metallic body) and Trans-Neptunian Object Altjira, all in mid-Gemini for many months: from September 2020 through this month of March 2021, when they are joined and activated by Mars. Altjira (Austro-aboriginal god of timelessness) and Psyche each have their own band of consciousness-raising to do, which I hope to explore elsewhere.

Despite being known as one of the “wise centaurs”, Asbolus has only recently entered my vision as a centaur healer. I noticed that this year’s New Moon of Lunar New Year (Tibetan and Chinese) fell in exact trine to the mysterious planet. As I tuned in and welcomed this centaur into awareness, I began to feel a distinct vibration. Then a large mass of snow slipped from my roof in a minor avalanche. Since the Greek word asbolos refers to soot or ash, I felt this to be a welcome sign of his arrival, in purified form as snow. Asbolus the centaur planet was discovered on April 5, 1995 at 7° Libra 46 (8° Libra): “Secretly a torch burns for thousands of years in the ruins of an ancient city.” This Pleiadian Degree symbol, as usual, cuts right to the heart of a centaur’s discovery degree: the mythos of a name blends into its first entrance into our sight. Asbolus then holds the Centaurs’ torch, keeping their light safe through the millennia ’til now.

Benjamin Adamah, one of the few astrologers who has addressed this centaur, writes that asteroid #8405 was named for Asbolos after “its dark surface,” which itself is due to a “large impact crater”. He notes “Asbolos was seer, whose correct warnings not to fight the Lapiths were ignored.” This resulted in a violent battle, recounted by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, in which many centaurs were killed by Theseus. This moment in mythic time (Centauromachy) is crucial as it followed the death of King Ixion, who had fathered those brutish centaurs including Nessus, and was also King of the Lapiths, who fought off their king’s interloping offspring to retain sovereignty over their land.

While he tried to prevent that first massacre, it was Asbolos, conversely, who then “provoked a bloodbath in which the centaurs Chiron and Pholus met their deaths at Heracles’ hands. Asbolos was crucified by the demigod who shot arrows through his limbs.” The Centaur Cycle met its climax at Pholus’ cave, when the immortal centaur Chiron is wounded and begins his healing crisis by way of Prometheus’ liver and Zeus’ begrudging grace.

Adamah analyzed six levels of this centaur in a chart. In sum, he writes that “Asbolus is a heavyweight in the horoscope; sombre, pessimistic, with a lot of depth – but tangled in a vortex-like manner of information processing.” Asbolos (spelled with an o to denote the mythic character, modernized as Asbolus for the planet) was known by Hesiod as “an augurist from bird flight” – that is, one who read signs from the birds. Pholos divined from entrails, Okyrhoe received prophetic visions. Asbolus then completes a Centauric Triad of visionaries.

Nick Anthony Fiorenza’s diagram of Centaur Orbits. Note how Asbolus links us from Jupiter to Neptune

Synchronistic with Asbolus’ entry into my sights, a book I had been perusing since last year (Bottoming Out The Universe by Richard Grossinger) turned up a fascinating case study, one that becomes clear when seen in the light of Asbolus. As usual with these planets of grace, when we plug the right centaur into the equation, all kinds of mysteries are solved. Grossinger recounts the well-known story (new to me) of one James Leininger, a young American man who is (convincingly) believed to be the reincarnation of another James, one killed in action in World War II at Iwo Jima. This story is proper to Asbolus as it deals with ancestral healing and reincarnation (themes of all the male-archetype Centaurs) but moreover, because of this planet’s specific motif of ashes and fire.

Born on April 10, 1998 to Christian parents in San Francisco, James Leininger was an ordinary boy until he started to have increasingly vicious nightmares as a toddler. In May 2000 his mother woke to screams of “Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can’t get out!” Mr. Leininger eventually tracked down the identity of the “little man”, and the young James would shake hands with his surviving squadron, and befriend his remaining family.

James Huston, Jr. was killed on March 3, 1945 when his plane was shot down, the only member of his squadron to die in that battle – tragically it would have been his final mission anyway, as they were scheduled to go home. The 21-year old fighter pilot would apparently reincarnate 53 years after falling to the sea. We thus have the astrological data needed to compare death with rebirth, rare in a modern context.

It is most notable that at this time of research, Asbolus, with its 76.5 year cycle (near to an average human life expectancy) is in exact return to its place at Huston’s death (Gemini 21° 52 in 1945, and Gemini 21° 36 at present).

Activations to young James’ natal chart

  • Asbolus in James L’s Nightmares, May 1 2000:
  • transiting Asbolus to natal Pluto: a fiery vision of death is seen
  • transiting Pholus to Asbolus (applying 1.25°): a visionary explosion leading to deep ancestral healing & knowledge
  • transiting Mercury and Venus opposite natal Asbolus: (fine-tuning the timing of a slower centaur transit)
  • transiting Okyrhoe to natal Mercury, applying 2°: visionary ability to communicate
  • transiting Jupiter-Saturn opposite natal Chiron: healing events began which led to his father’s quest for truth leading to grappling with own religious tolerance of reincarnation, etc.
James L and his first nightmares as transit to natal, no time

Transit: death of JH to “re-birth” as JL

Transit chart as Iwo Jima inside, James L natal outside. No time given, no houses, Moon approx.

Inner: Outer (death chart receiving transits of rebirth)

  • Mars: Uranus: catalyzing an inspiring life from a battle’s death
  • Mars: opposite Chariklo: from war, a spiritual rebirth – Chariklo holds space for reincarnation
  • Pluto: Chariklo: the soul’s literal rebirth into a new body
  • Uranus: opposite Pluto: the traumatic sudden death finds its trajectory of ensoulment
  • Thus a Mars-Pluto opposition receiving a Chariklo-Pluto opposition by transit. Clearly an axis of war being transited by an axis of astral travel and reincarnation, signifying redemption of the former in the latter.
  • Pluto opposite Uranus: with a 4° orb, there is a reciprocal transit of Uranus and Pluto (Pluto-Uranus opposition, Uranus-Pluto opposition, linking signifiers of generational trauma and spiritual embodiment.
  • Chariklo: Asbolus: from this fiery melee, the astral body travels through the purifying flames of Asbolus – a phoenix into rebirth
  • Asbolus: opposite Nessus: the centaurs of ancestral healing aligning – a fiery emissary of future love, as Nessus connects with the funeral pyre of Heracles the wounded hero, Asbolus is the purified ashes that remain.

Here is just an overview of basic Centaur alignments at play in the dramatic story of one James taking rebirth as another. Asbolus has much to teach us about the mysteries of life and death it seems. There is also a new film out this year called Surviving Death that includes James’ story, which I haven’t yet watched! Shall I tell Netflix they released it on the Asbolus return of the original protagonist?

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