THE REDEMPTION OF NESSUS

   1- Introduction

   In the very little time since its discovery in 1993, Nessus has been associated with bad and ugly things, primarily coming from the mythological association it has with poison and death, and the proximity of its orbit to Pluto. This associations have been confirmed by observation, but have precluded an understanding of the process involved. This happens when mythology is used too literally.

   Take the story of Deianira, for example; isn't it also a part of the Nessus dynamics? Heracles, Nessus and Deianira are a triangle, a unity, like three aspects of the same thing. Heracles is a very violent and primitive "raw" type, hardly an archetype for humanity... it is more an archetype of what is raw in us, like a mythological counterpart of the centaurs. His ways are violently cruel and deadly like the creatures he kills.

   We must see the whole process involved and not only the negative part. What is the dynamics of Nessus that manifests itself 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...

   History and the past, from a psychological point of view, are alive, not dead, and will "come to hunt us" as if from the future or from "destiny", but it is really the unredeemed past transformed into something that seems to poison us. However, we are the poison, we created it. Nessus "beast" is our creation, and he will do what he was programmed to do. Our dark and raw past is not that bad. Inside of it, in its heart, is the vulnerability of Deianira, our inner child...
 

2- Wild Nature

   Josh Payne, of "Chiron and Friends", once associated Nessus with the image of "the beast", coming from Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" and "Predator" films. This image is probably a very fit description of Nessus, which, with its very diminutive size, paradoxically appears as Godzilla to my imagination.

   Wild beasts may be an excellent example of our relationship with Nessus. The beast is in all of us; but it is this beast that teach us the beauty and the harmony of life. For example: when you have a very intense and prolonged (physical or emotional) pain you are in hell, and would like to die, but when it goes away you are able to feel the beauty and the immensity of the most simple things of life.

   We can learn to respect the wild, as we learn to respect darkness, and death. I can be eaten all right, but what "eats me" is also me. I would like to think that we are not those Christians thrown to the lions anymore, the lion being modern man's darkness. Maybe it is more like "The Beauty and the Beast" story. The "wild beasts" of nature can kill me, but they can also expand almost to the infinite my love of life. This is the process: when life expands it touches death and goes beyond it, so that death matters no more and becomes the completion of life.

   Our worst fears and venoms inside are our own creation, like Frankenstein. There is communion and real intimacy with the wolf: we live with him everyday inside ourselves, our house, our family. The idea of "venom" is something that is inoculated, either from the outside or by your own chemistry inside, like an "attack". Maybe the evil in the beast lies is this way of thinking, which is mechanical and rigid.

   It is an unquestioned, culturally and historically conditioned way of thinking about disease, about the relationship between health and sickness. It is not the facts themselves, but how we interpret them. This mechanical/chemical view of health and disease is wrong and misleading... but I'm afraid we are doing the same thing when we think of Nessus as "venom".

   We outcast Cain, so that he wanders homeless, "outside". But he is very much part of us, inside.
 

3- Frankenstein

   Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the second wife of the English poet, published "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus" in 1818, when she was 21. She was born August 30, 1797, in London. Zodiacal Zephyr's "Celebrity Data" gives 11:20 PM, and it says "source = mother". We have:

   Sun = 7,57 Virgo
   Neptune = 8,25 Scorpio
   Nessus = 7,32 Aries R.

   Nessus is the "Finger of God" in this powerful Yod. This is kind of telling. The Sun/Neptune sextile gives her a vision that transcends the limits of life, while Nessus is the star that breaks those limits going beyond death and being human, as Frankenstein did.

Pluto also enters the picture:

   Pluto = 29,10 Aquarius R.
   New Moon before birth = 29,33 Leo

   At the middle of 1818, she was having a progressed New Moon:

   progressed New Moon = 28,04 Virgo
   natal Mercury = 28,44 Virgo
   natal Pallas = 27,43 Virgo
   natal Vesta = 27,50 Aquarius R.
   M.C. = 27,14 Aquarius

   So she finished writing "Frankenstein" when the progressed Sun and Moon were in conjunction with radical Pallas and Mercury. But her "vision" depends on the Sun, which carries with it the Yod configuration. It is as if her mission in life was to "catapult" this vision of Nessus. I think "Frankenstein" is a good archetype of Nessus. And the most important point here is that Frankenstein-Nessus had a heart. I'm going to quote Josh Payne, of "Quiron and Friends", who wrote:

"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 later describes the Frankenstein story as
"...an 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'."
   These very few words of Josh is the best I have ever read about Nessus. They bring to my memory a Spanish movie called "The Spirit of the Beehive", directed by Victor Erice, which contains a nightly scene where a small child, lost in the forest, meets Frankenstein and speaks with him... Frankenstein is mute and quiet, like the night; the child is not afraid of him, as if the "monster" is an aspect of the child's psyche and is seen without malevolence or fear. 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 morality.
 

   4- The Elephant Man

   Remember the true story of John Merrick, The Elephant Man? He was born August 5, 1862, in Leicester. His Sun is (at 12 GMT) in 12,45 Leo, Nessus is in 10,56 Leo, Pluto in 11,23 Taurus. David Lynch made an Academy-nominated film of it, and it is so painfully human and dreadfully grim at the same time, far beyond words... 

   First Frankenstein, then this, maybe we are getting into Nessus vulnerability at last!

   It is very intriguing to find that Lynch, born January 20, 1946, has Pluto in 10,53 Leo, the exact place where John Merrick had Nessus in 10,56 Leo;  Lynch also has the Sun at 29,50 Capricorn (12 GMT), John Merrick has Pholus in 0,34 Aquarius, while John Hurt, the actor who played John Merrick, born January 22 1940, has the Sun in 1,20 Aquarius (at 12h GMT) and Pluto in 1,47 Leo.

   John Hurt has the same Sun-Nessus-Pluto configuration that John Merrick; reduced to the sidereal zodiac to account for the precession in making the comparisons, we have:

   John Merrick Nessus = 18,08 Cancer
   John Merrick Pholus = 7,45 Capricorn

   David Lynch Pluto = 16,54 Cancer
   David Lynch Sun = 5,52 Capricorn

   John Hurt Sun = 7,25 Capricorn
   Jon Hurt Pluto = 7,53 Capricorn
   John Hurt Nessus = 5,16 Aries

   This Pholus connection is interesting, since David Lynch seems to be very Pholus-influenced. His Pholus is at Capricorn 23,32. The midpoint with the Sun (29,50 Cap) is 26,41 Cap, which is where Venus is, at 26,56. This makes him a Pholus man through Venus, or art. (23--26--29)

   "The Elephant Man" was issued in 1980, when transiting Nessus was in opposition to his Pholus and transiting Pholus was in sextile to his natal Sun. The film was based on Frederic Treeves' memoirs, the doctor that "saved" John Merrick. He was born February 15, 1853. He has:

   Sun = 26,52 Aquarius
   Mars = 22,25 Aquarius
   midpoint = 24,38
   Nessus = 24,21 Gemini

   He was a surgeon (Sun/Mars), and the exact trine to the midpoint of the comjunction suggests a more positive and creative side of Nessus. When John Merrick died, April 11, 1890, Nessus had travelled up to 23,31 Aquarius, over this Sun/Mars conjunction of Dr. Treeves. (it was stationary retrograde at the exact midpoint at the end of May that same year). The death of John Merrick "seeded" Dr. Treeves Sun/Mars with Nessus.

   Dr. Treeves has Uranus in 4,59 Taurus, in exact conjunction (when precession corrected) with David Lynch's Nessus in 5,55 Taurus. Whe John Merrick, died, Venus was here, in 4,38 Taurus (precession-corrected to David Lynch's chart it is 5,25 Taurus, 30' from his Nessus). And from the movie, one can see how venusianly David Lynch saw John Merrick, especially at his death.

   The end of the movie is the redemption of Nessus. It is all Venus. The dreadful Beast of horror is gone, now he is a man, not an animal, nor an elephant to be shown at the circus to make people scream out of his ugliness, but a man that is loved and respected. Hi finishes his miniature model of the London Cathedral, whose tower he sees from the window, and signs it with his name: "John Merrick". He watches a picture at the wall near his bed of a man in quiet sleep, and prepares to go to bed. At his bedside he has a picture of his long-dead mother, and of the woman that gave him so much affection, and prepares himself to sleep like a decent person for the first time since he can remember: lying in bed, like everybody does, which for him means death by suffocation. He puts his pile of pillows aside and lies, being quietly received by his mother's face that calls him from the stars in the luminous night.
 

   5- Dracula

   Bram Stoker was born November 8, 1847. He had natal Nessus in 13,38 Gemini. "Dracula" was published in June, 1897, when transiting Pluto was exactly in 13 Gemini. Christopher Lee's Moon is in 16,07 Gemini, only 1,36 from Bram Stoker's Nessus when corrected for precession.

   When "Dracula" was published in June, 1897, Saturn was in 25,27 Scorpio conjunct Uranus in 25,52 Scorpio. This conjunction was in exact quincux with Bram Stoker's natal Pluto in 25,34 Aries. Nessus was in 9,25 Pisces (calc. for 16 June), in conjunction with the position of Chiron at his death (April 20, 1912) in 9,49 Pisces.

   When Bela Lugosi died, August 16, 1956, Saturn was in 26,24 Scorpio, making its second return to its conjunction with Uranus after the publication of Dracula. Following his expressed wishes, he was buried wearing the long black cloak he used in the 1931 movie. Venus was then in 8,47 Cancer, which is the position of Mars when Bram Stoker died (8,15 Cancer) and of Christopher Lee's Pluto (8,43 Cancer).

   These are all significant relationships, but I have a "feeling" that Dracula and its kingdon of darkness is not Nessus but some transneptunian asteroid. Personally, I don't see Nessus as evil, but as hurt. However, some of this data suggests there is a "draculesque" aspect of Nessus when it is associated with Pluto, as in John Merrick, which I think has nothing to do with evil but with "horror".
 

   6- Pornography

   There are many "trespassings" in life that become monstrous, sexuality being at the center of most of them. Nessus, like all centaurs, has an obvious relationship with the breaking of tabus regarding sexuality.

   The whole subject of sexuality as it is related to the centaurs deserves separate treatment, but, concomitant with "Dracula", we can note how sexuality is clearly involved in the dynamics of Nessus. We can take Larry Flynt, for example, who was born November 1st, 1942, at 9:10 PM CWT:

   Nessus = 3,40 Taurus
   Venus = 5,26 Scorpio
   Pluto = 7,15 Leo
   Sun = 9,02 Scorpio

   There is a progression 3 - 5 - 7 - 9, from Nessus in the "lower region" to the Sun, passing through Venus and Pluto. Pluto is only 54' from the exact midpoint of the Sun/Nessus opposition. This is very descriptive, and makes evident an obvious connection of Nessus with pornography.

   And Hugh Hefner? He was born April 9, 1926, at 16:20 CST. The positions are:

   Pluto = 12,37 Cancer
   Nessus = 15,57 Aries
   Sun = 19,18 Aries

   Here we have a progression again, 12-15-19, and again with the same planets, with the exception of Venus. This is interesting, because keeping Venus away from "draculesque" debasement characterizes his publication. Venus keeps her integrity by not being involved.
 

   7- "Communion"

   Whitley Strieber was born June 13th, 1945, at 4:45 a.m. CWT (+5h) in San Antonio Texas. The data is from Louis Rodden and it appears in Richard Nolle's Web site. He is well known as a popularizer of a series of nightly and intimate experiences that in the past would have been classified as "demoniac", much like classic succubi and incubi, and which are part of the lives of many people today that wouldn't talk about them except to their therapists. Today, these experiences belong to the literarature of ufos and alien abductions.

   If the chart is drawn with the regular planets, they all appear between 1 Taurus and 3 Libra, less than half of the zodiac. If we add the four main asteroids, the situation doesn't change. "Lilith" is the mythological figure more clearly associated with these nightly "erotic" demons: asteroid 1182 Lilith is in 4,31 Libra, in conjunction with Neptune in 3,39 Libra, but this is far from the very intimate and terrifying experience that Strieber narrates in his book, "Communion". The same with the lunar apogee, or "Black Moon", which, if defined as the mean apogee, we find in Libra 23,40, in conjunction with Ceres in 24,49 Libra. The "true" apogee falls in 2,37 Scorpio, and has a better chance of being related to Strieber's experience: it is in opposition to Mars in 1,25 Taurus (12th house), and defines the "rim" of the bowl-type planetary pattern. Nevertheless, this is still not a good description of Strieber's story.

   But if we begin to put the centaurs in the chart, the situation appears clearly: Nessus is in 7,54 Taurus, in conjunction with Venus in 6,50 Taurus, in the 12th house. This fits to perfection. It is also in square with Pluto in 8,31 Leo, conjunct the I.C. in 6,42 Leo. The Venus/Pluto very exact square, joined by the Moon in 3,33 Leo in applying conjunction to Pluto, could account for the erotic disfunction and appalling emotional charge coming from the Venus-in-the-12th type experience, but it doesn't tell us anything about the nature of the creature with whom he has such intimacy, nor Mars, being close by in 1,25 Taurus. All we would know from this is that there is something dark, hidden in the unconscious, in the past. But Nessus comes to clarify and confirm the story. (Incidentally, the position of Juno in 7,48 Leo adds further confirmation as to the "femaleness" of his companion and abductor.)

   Pholus is apart from all the other 15 or so factors, making the chart a bucket and becoming its handle. No wonder, Pholus is such a wolf after all. That would be enough... but there is something more. Strieber's Sun is in 22,00 Gemini (2nd house), applying to a conjunction with 1995GO (8405 Aphareus? Teleboas?) in 24,49 Gemini, so that his destiny and production become "centaurean".

   Coming from the Pluto regions, from the unknown, the centaurs are a good symbol for these ghastly visitors, with whom more and more people seem to have been in "communion". The film "Close Encounters" portrays this with a soft, childish, more digestable tone. The reality is very difficult to digest, more centaurean, like the wounds of rape. I don't pretend to give an explanation of them here. But it is no surprise to see how well the centaurs reflect the inner and outer phenomena associated with them.
 

   8- Nightly Visitors

   Centaurs such as Nessus are like owls. They are nocturnal hunters, big birds that watch at night. Like promiscuous and nocturnal thoughts: theirs is an intimate, secret and dangerous flight. The owl is like a majestic, powerful and inconfessable secret. She is the bird of clear and serene nights, like a wandering spirit or a sleeping soul. The intimate and invisible tabu, the nocturnal witness, the daring vigilant, guardian of secrets, witness of the mystery, in the danger and protection of the night.

   Close encounters are often associated with wolves and owls by the unconscious mind:

<<I remember it was then that I told a story, which has remained in the back of my mind for years, of hearing a wolf howling and seeing one on the roadside. Even as I told that story I remember being a little confused. Since then it has lingered, the image of the wolf in the clearing and the sound of its voice echoing through the night. From that image there has flowed an intense life-long interest in wolves, which has grown into love for this wonderful species.
<<The image was central to "The Wolfen" and "Wolf of Shadows", and appears again in "The Wild", a novel I have written but had not yet published. <<I knew even as I spoke that we hadn't really seen a wolf, or heard one howl. Why then was I saying it? Where had it come from? Was it one of the screen memories which were so common with experiences with the visitors? My memory of the December 26 incident was at first blocked by the recollection of the owl. I saw an owl once before, too, during the events of 1968.
<<...
<<Perhaps visitors would naturally seek to the center of the soul and enter its reality, being too experienced to be interested in any but the deepest essence of our beings. Then they might well seem to be part of our mythology, part of the basis of being human.>>
(from Whitley Strieber, "Communion. A True Story", 1987) 
 

 9. Conclusion.

   The most wonderful image about Nessus comes to me each time I read Josh Payne's words on how Frankenstein wanted to be loved by his creator. That sole image went beyond everything that has been said about Nessus, because it is human and alive, beyond the ugly monster of rationality trying to explain the depths of life, and it reached the infinite, taking me with it. Now I understand the process behind Nessus, and I don't reject it anymore. Now I can meet this guardian at the threshold, and see what it will say to me, about myself.

   These are words by Peter T. Young (June 8, 1945 - June 19, 1998):

Did you hear him? Listen...
I hear an Angel deep off in the brush....
Howling at the moon...
The Wolf...
Did you ever think...
Of the Wolf as an Angel?
God sends Angels of every form...
Protecting all that lives...
And the Wolf...
He is an Angel too....
Standing tall and stern upon the rocky cliff...
Singing with his roaring voice...
To the Heavens...
Making a call....
To God...
This Wolf...
He is an Angel...
Do not fear him...
Listen to the beast speak...
Frightening...
Alarming...
But tame in spirit...
Fighting to survive...
Among all that threatens his being...
No harm to you...
No harm to me...
The Wolf.....fighting to be set free...

(PETER T. YOUNG)
( http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula/4157/silverwings3.html)




Juan Antonio Revilla
San Jose, Costa Rica, February 23, 1999.
 


 
 

return to index page