Distant ‘Dwarf’ Planet is Telling Us a Story

Most likely, a new Super Earth planet will be found orbiting the sun from somewhere deep in the Kuiper Belt or even father out as some astronomers say. But until further notice, the dwarf planet Sedna remains the most distant solar system object astronomers have been able to actually observe doing its slow-motion, widely elliptical space crawl at thrice the distance from the Sun than former planet Pluto. Because it is so far away –about 8 billion miles or so – it’s hard for astronomers to make out Sedna’s surface features. But one thing they have been able to identify is its distinct reddish color; in 2004 Sedna was described as the second reddest-colored object in the solar system after Mars.

Arguably, astrologers have learned a great deal more about Sedna in the same amount of time. In The Mountain Astrologer magazine the late Barbara Schermer suggested that Sedna “represents a new and powerful voice calling us to a balanced and sustainable relationship with nature.” Research astrologers don’t just make up stuff like this. Schermer’s research began when Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, one of three astronomers in on the discovery, graciously shared with her the exact time the distant dwarf planet first was spotted by the team. Armed with this information she was able to cast an accurate birth chart for the event, an important first step. The honor of naming a new planetary object traditionally goes to those who discover it. Brown and his team embraced the traditional idea of naming celestial bodies after mythological entities because, he said, this practice gives the celestial body “a story.”

Astrologers heartily agree.

Named for Inuit Goddess

When Brown submitted the discovery to the International Astronomical Union he explained that the dwarf planet resides “in the coldest, most distant place known in the solar system. We felt it appropriate to name it in honor of Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea who is thought by to live at the bottom of the frigid Arctic Ocean,” he said. According to Schermer, as planetary entities are named and their stories located in myth astrologers pick up on the narrative. Astrological ephemerides are generated and published and astrologers begin to unpack the meanings of the symbols generated and study the many stories created by the myth. “Astrologers may empirically research the planet’s transits through their own lives or observe cultural and historic events in apparent synchrony with the planet’s positions. Or we may analyze the charts of individuals who have that planet prominent in their own birth chart,” she wrote.

Schermer believed her research showed that, over the past 140 years, Sedna “has presented a consistent ecological or environmental message.” In addition to Sedna’s birth chart (horoscope) the astrologer analyzed the birth charts of individuals with a known passion for protecting the environment, such as Jacques Cousteau and Rachel Carson. She also studied the birth maps of organizations like the Sierra Club, and release dates for films like Whale Rider. Because he is a member of the Sierra Club, Mike Brown’s birth chart was included in the data pool as well. Schermer found Sedna was prominently placed in each of the charts she analyzed and concluded the dwarf planet’s mission “is to promote interdependence, balance, beauty, transcendence, humility, prosperity, ethical purpose, hope and the resolve to renew the Earth and all its creatures in light of these values.” Although discovered only a relatively short time ago, Schermer believed the frigid dwarf planet “has been speaking for generations through history, traditional wisdom, prophetic declamation, climatic spasm, scientific discovery, spiritual insight and dawning social awareness.”