A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality
Richard Dagan

Studies Index...

Centaur Connections and Direction

19-22 August 2013

In her brief article entitled Being Multiple in a Singleton World, Lisa Featherston presents a concise description of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and describes her experience with it. Familiar with the literature on the subject, my own experience is sensible in several respects with regard to the conceptual schema of dissociative identity, but not the clinically defined condition.

"I" find myself in "gestalt", an association of multiple principals operating under aegis of Self. Arising from this ground, from these principals and Self, "I" am a "function" facilitating egalitarian participation and communication within the group, focused on self-awareness, harmony, and creative expression.

While it is possible that this gestalt evolved in response to childhood traumata, and in the presence of significant dissociative capacity, "alters" did not present as discrete "alternative" personalities. The principals "I" perceive are not "alternative" personalities so much as personal/transpersonal agencies of fuzzy boundary, with characteristics strongly individualized and apprehensible in certain contexts.  They present in the course psychospiritual development under Self. "I" am of the Self, yet arise from and in response to these principals.

Communication in gestalt may be vocal (inner "voice", discrete thoughts), visual ("visions", images, sequences of action), visceral ("feelings", physical sensations), or all of these at once.  Sometimes I engage, other times one or more engage me. The experience is often much more immediately "real" than my experience of the "outer" world, relative to which derealization, or at least the incontrovertible sense that that another reality encompasses the outer, is a frequent occurrence. Inner and outer usually are discernible, separable, but both seem to me a function of consciousness — not completely, but something along the lines recently explored by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman, in Biocentrism (2009).

Various tools help elucidate the path. Writing and art, for example, deep trance, ritual and magick. Astrology proves most useful in facilitating my description, interpretation, and integration of these experiences.  It serves as a cognitive map.

Consider the problem of recurrent identity buildup and breakdown directly related to achievement in the outer world. Pluto in the Ist House, square Sun, Mercury Rx, Moon, Lilith in the Xth generates periodic melancholic cathartic episodes directly related to inner growth. As Alan Oken's (1974:132) describes the significance of its locus in the Ist: "Pluto rising marks a loner, someone who is constantly undergoing a process of transformation which is tested through sporadic attempts at social interaction". With squares to the stellium in the Xth, there occurs a problem with social contribution — a tendency, in my case, to possess ("Hades Moon"), know in a primal-instinctual sense (manipulate), control and be recognized, succeed, in the outer world, those efforts meeting with consistent failure because they represent a needful burning away of egoic dross.

But the radix makes evident that success is achieved internally, by an entirely different measure, in terms of inner communication, analysis, collaborative creative action, harmonization and transcendence.  The Ist to Xth squares serve to drive the process.

In my awareness, the principals in gestalt present in different number over time, sometimes more, sometimes fewer, and various schemata have been applied to work with them in the creative process, in studies of identity and gestalt psychodynamics.  At this writing, in this time of transition, there is a feeling of tremendous activity beneath the surface. The transiting T-square continues to apply, now with Transiting Jupiter in Cancer square Venus in Aries.. I have felt a strong and supportive sense of Self, with small signs of direction but no overt manifestation of principals or clear sign of direction. These are trying times for many in context of Transiting Jupiter in Cancer square transiting Uranus Rx in Aries square transiting Pluto Rx in Capricorn.

Modern bronze copy of the type of the Young Centaur, Malmaison. Clicgauche, 2009. Wikipedia.

So the Centaur exercise above, evolving as it did during the full moon, was exhilarating inasmuch as we were introduced to 16 "centaurs", liminal beings, archetypal patterns going to just that combination of "untamed" and "ordered" reality I am experiencing at the moment. The charting brought them into focus, as vibrant energic themes to correlate with more familiar features of the radix.

Several of the centaurs connect with known dynamics, but one of particular importance in Asbolus, closely conjunct Uranus and thus, sharing with the latter its squares with MC/IC and the Mean Nodes. Asbolus is a "seer" who, as Nick Anthony Fiorenza writes, "with a strong sense of 'right use of will' [...] and without hesitation, will enter into a scenario where psychic-emotional confusion or manipulation exists [...] to stop such violation or disorder".

Asbolus, declares Philip Sedgwick, who believes that every Centaur bears a gift of healing, "insists that one always, always must follow their intuition. [...] Studying intuition and psychic development feed the protocol of Asbolus. Learning augury or reading the omens and totems of life restore Asbolus-like guidance."  Alas, relying on one's intuition also means making mistakes, and that what there is to study, working through those, analyzing, remediating, reformulating, restructuring...

The Asbolus orbit is between those of Jupiter and Neptune. It cuts through the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, and, Fiorenza writes, "with its perihelion close to that of Jupiter, suggests a radical nature able to cut through or penetrate structure and form with a mobilizing force to break up that which may be stagnant or in stasis".

As Bristol School of Astrology co-founder Lis Seddon tells us:

In astrology, the centaurs partake of the energy of the planets they orbit. Asbolus orbits between Jupiter and Neptune, both rulers of Pisces. Jupiter is about expansion of all kinds, such as religion and philosophy, over-reaching the self, and arrogance. Neptune's influence is about compassion and altruism, deception and denial. As rulers of Pisces both bodies have an other-worldly connection and anyone with a strong Jupiter/Neptune/Pisces influence in the chart could be predisposed to these influences. It follows then that the position of Asbolus in the chart could indicate where we are likely to be open to influences from 'another world'. [...] It could indicate where a person has the ability to get in touch with their intuitive side for the benefit of others (Jupiter/Neptune/Libra), but not until they have confronted and acknowledged their own dark side.

"Stations of Asbolus," writes Mark Andrew Holmes, "seem to me to have more to do with the drive for some sort of accomplishment than anything else."  I'm not sure from whence Holmes' derives the following descriptors for Asbolus, but they merit review:

Emphasis added.
Asbolus is serious, intense, humorless, dedicated, strident, motivated, fearful, unsettling, bitter, caustic, foggy, and acerbic, and brings about ordeals and pessimism; it signifies conspiracy, mystery and oppression, the drive for accomplishment, the need for reputation and acclaim, for self-realization because of deeds done; on the one hand, impeccability in action, solidness and consistency, the ability to take compliments; on the other, reckless regard for reputation, lack of integrity, inability to take compliments. Asbolus takes life and itself very seriously, and wants to be taken seriously.
Asbolus 8405, Artist's Conception. NASA. Wikipedia.

Asbolus appears to have a large impact crater, which some interpret as a centaurean "wound". In this context Holmes adduces "Chiron, Pholus, Nessus, and Hylonome — respectively, the wound that caused great pain and prompted sacrifice to redeem others; the wound incurred inadvertently in the act of helping another; the death-wound from which vengeance arose; and the wound that ended an emotionally untenable existence and brought about reunion with a departed object of love and devotion."  Each of these Centaurs is prominent in the radix.

As may be seen in the chart, Asbolus is closely conjunct XIIth House Uranus (orb: 28'), which forms one wing of a kite formation focused on VIIIth House Jupiter, very closely conjunct Deneb Adige (orb: 11'). Apex of the kite is IInd House Thuban/Saturn. The Saturn-Jupiter opposition works out through Uranus, bringing us back to the Asbolus theme of clear vision, clear hearing, and the matter of accomplishment...

As Zane Stein writes,

In mythology, Asbolus was a seer, or augur, with a reputation for accurately predicting the future. He foresaw the Centaurs' battle against the Lapiths at Pirithous' wedding, and how much of a calamity it would be for the Centaurs, but tried in vain to persuade them from fighting. And yet this Centaur is also said to have led the pack of Centaurs that rampaged toward Pholus' cave in an attempt to get the wine. And for this, Heracles is said to have crucified Asbolus with his arrows. The smell of the wine pervading the air, apparently, deadened Asbolus' abilities as a seer.

My problem with prediction, with matters of "psychic" development and intuitive pronouncements in general, is that my focus is in the moment:  I cannot "see" very far ahead in my own experience, and it doesn't seem to me farseeing into someone else's would prove useful, let alone communicable, given the lack of meaningful context. I perceive much more than I can say, often beyond my capacity to frame, and I frequently reassure. But I do make mistakes. What might be correct at some level is not at another. What I have to say is not heard. Analysis sometimes works better, informing the empathy, making the irrational less of a threat or challenge for the other, reducing the pressure and discomfort I feel. Contact may prove problematic at times, and I avoid it. Protean, I prefer solitude. There is much work to be done...

Asbolus dynamics.

Source: Brady's Book of Fixed Stars
Bernadette Brady. York Beach, ME: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. (1998:128-9)

Deneb adige is a very subtle star associated with the strength and hostility of the swan, but at the same time holding within its symbolism the mystic, transcendental qualities of shamanistic legends of the creation of the world egg. A very good example of this curious blend is Mother Teresa, the nun who worked in India with the poor, who gained world acclaim as a very strong speaker against any form of birth control and as a living saint. So this majestic swan and its symbolism is connected both to how we see Mother Teresa (the Sun) and to the belief system and feelings (the Moon) she lived by. Another example is the artist Vincent van Gogh, who had Deneb adige on the Nadir as his Mercury set. The star in such a position will express itself at the end of life or even after death [...] Deneb adige [...] seems to have a duality about it which is equally the strong fighting bird and the swan-god, the willingness to take the hero's journey, to undertake the journey of self-awareness.