Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Centaurs by definition originate in the Kuiper Belt, whose orbits come inside the outer planets. More specifically, a Centaur possesses a perihelion distance greater than the mean orbital distance of Jupiter from the Sun (5.2026 astronomical units [AU]) and a semi-major less than that of Neptune. (Several Centaurs exceed the semi-major axis of Neptune. Recent astrological consensus implies that if the semi-major axis is less than or about that of Pluto—39.537 AU—then the object could still be considered a Centaur). The Kuiper Belt consists of a yet undetermined number of objects made up of frozen gas and dust that orbit in the general vicinity of Pluto and Neptune. Astronomer Gerald Kuiper initially speculated about the existence of the Kuiper Belt in the 1950s.

Loosely known also as the Oort Cloud, a collection of gas and dust known to spawn comets and named for astronomer Jan Oort, the Kuiper Belt may contain thousands of objects. When the objects gain enough mass and become gravitationally perturbed by larger influences such as Neptune and Jupiter, they may be pulled inside the orbital realm of the outer planets. Technically, Pluto and Neptune’s moon Triton are Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) or Trans-Neptunians (TNOs, not to be confused with the theoretical planets used in cosmobiology). Chiron, now known to be a comet, is a Centaur having its roots in the Kuiper Belt.

To date, the following Centaurs exist: Chiron, Pholus, Nessus, Asbolus, Chariklo, Hylonome, 31824, 32532, 1994TA, 1995SN555, 1996AR20, 1996RX33, 1998QM107, 1998SG35, 1998TF35, 1999HD12, 1999JV127, 1999XX143, 2000104, 2000EC98, 2000FZ53, 2000GM137, 2000QC243, 2000SN331, 2001BL41, 2001KF77, 2001SQ73, 2001XA255, 2002CA249, 2002CB249, 2002DH5, 2002FY36, 2002GB10, and 2002GZ32. Ultimately, each of these unnumbered objects will receive a minor planet number followed by a name, but only after astronomers are relatively sure of the orbital parameters.

The KBO names refer to the year of discovery, followed by a letter to designate a two-week interval of the year, then another letter indicating order of discovery and, if necessary, a number to add final order clarification. For instance, 1995DW2 appeared before astronomical observers in the fourth interval (D = letter 4) of the year 1995, the 23rd object in that interval.

Astrologer Melanie Reinhart speculated that Centaur 1993HA2 deserved the name Nessus only to find out that a short time before it had been so named by the discovering astronomer(s). More astrological research will set the stage for appropriate name considerations. Recently 1995DW2 was upgraded to minor planet number 10370 and was finally named Hylonome, largely at the suggestion of astrologer Zane Stein and others in communication with Dr. Brian Mardsen of the Minor Planet Center.

Centaur loosely translates to “those who round up Bulls.” These half-human, half-horse creatures bore a well-deserved reputation for wildness, lechery, lewdness, wanton ways, and an uncontrollable fondness for wine. Mavericks and sexual profligates in behavior, two notable exceptions to the debased tendencies existed.

The more evolved Centaurs were Chiron, of whom astrologers have become appreciative, and Pholus (pholis means “scale like,” as in snake). Pholus maintained a reputation for being more skilled in augury than any of the other Centaurs. Versed in divination and noted for his wisdom, Pholus also kept the sacred wine left in his possession by Dionysus. One day Hercules came to visit and, after a feast of cooked meat (though Pholus ate his raw), he persuaded Pholus to uncork the good wine in honor of his visit. The aroma of the wine filled the air and attracted all the Centaurs. They came armed with trees and objects of destruction, demanding wine. Hercules drove them off with his arrows, killing many, though a good number fled. During this incident, according to some accounts, one arrow in this battle passed through the arm of Elatus and struck Chiron in the knee (thigh/hip). Pholus emerged from his cave to witness the aftermath. Fascinated by the power of the Herculean arrows he picked one up to examine. Excited, he dropped the arrow on his foot and died immediately—like Chiron, also wounded from an arrow of Hercules. Unlike Chiron, Pholus experienced immediate death and endured no long-term suffering.

Symbolically, this Centaur refers to relinquishing the need for penance concerning an act of wrongdoing. Though the opening of the wine was not a well-thought act, no long-term punishment was required. The concept of euthanasia fits with this Centaur. The act of ending pain and suffering, no matter how it occurs, stands as a Pholus metaphor. This image could suggest the consultation of an oracle for mental and emotional relief. The process of medical intervention for physical relief or even the ending of life falls under the auspice of Pholus. Regardless, the concept of maintaining an attachment to sin and wrongdoing must fall by the wayside.

Silenius, father of Pholus, tutor of Dionysis, a part horse figure that rode an ass, often told drunken stories of far away Utopian cities. Though he generally did not tell the truth, he spoke of two streams meeting near a whirlpool. On one side trees withered and died; on the other side, everything flourished, and people reversed in age until they achieved nonexistence.

Combined with the snake derivation of his name and the metaphorical maelstrom, Pholus represents timelessness. This reversal of time suggests the ability to, within consciousness—altered or otherwise—return to a primal sense of self and restore purity of soul and reclaim innocence. Given that Centaurs at large contain bulls, they herd the beast (within), control negative urges, and bear a responsibility to the symbolic bull’s-eye. This marksmanship returns to the concept of original sin, missing the mark, also denoting distance from God. Pholus implies the restoration of innocence, self-forgiveness of sin, release of infatuation with power and destruction, and pure, primal activation of the coiled serpent (Kundalini). Pholus, incidently, along with Asbolus, remain two of the reddest colored objects in the solar system.

Pholus maintains an intrinsic implication of the shedding of skin, a transformation metaphor. The exfoliation stands to signify important points of demarcation within the awareness of one’s personal power. This awareness seeks a higher, well-intended use, lest it be self-damaging through unwitting self-destruction. In its worst case, ego posturing, over-embellishment of personal attributes and strength, prevails. In optimum, Pholus notes one’s need to help others through similar growth intervals. Given the serpent reference of scales, the methods of homeopathy remain particularly strong as Pholus healing tools. The nature of Pholus possesses the capacity for attack of adversaries, and Pholus seeks at all cost to avoid personal conflict of a negative nature. Pholus would rather retreat, than confront. However, if cornered, Pholus will attack and attack swiftly and potently. Here it is best not to provoke the transformation of another prior to his or her willingness to accept the evolutionary process.

Pholus, in client studies, strongly indicates the effort to reduce or altogether stop consuming alcohol or caffeine. In many cases involving Neptune transits to Pholus and another personal object, especially the Moon, individuals made marked progress in recovering from alcohol misuse or abuse.

Nessus, on the other hand, did not exemplify the state of evolved consciousness of Chiron or Pholus. After the Pholus/Hercules debacle, Nessus fled to the river Evenus and became its ferryman. Nessus was approached by Hercules and his wife, Deianira, seeking safe passage. Hercules went on his own way while assigning Nessus to carry Deianira across the river. Overcome with lust, Nessus violated Deianira. Hercules turned about to witness the deed and struck Nessus with one of his arrows, poisoned with a concoction created by Chiron. Nessus, mortally wounded, gave his blood and semen to Deianira, assuring her it would guarantee Hercules’s faithfulness to her. One day, as Hercules departed for a tournament, Deianira gave him a cloak anointed with Nessus’s fluids. When Hercules donned the article, he experienced excruciating pain and suffering, agonizing to his death. He raged through the land destroying everything in his path. He begged to die in dignity on a pyre of oak and olive branches. Elevated to Olympus, he was cared for by Hera, who had at his birth sought to kill him with serpents.

Melanie Reinhart, in her book To the Edge and Beyond, notes a Saturn-Pluto relationship with Nessus. Hercules died at the hand of Chiron and his own action of retaliation in defense of the honor of his wife—a Saturn-to-Pluto image. In the Nessus myth clearly emerges sexually transmitted disease (STD), AIDS, and those diseases transmitted by blood, like hepatitis in all its grades. Importantly, the dignity of an AIDS death must be preserved under the influence of Nessus’s demise.

Asbolus became the next named Centaur. A seer, he foretold of the massacre of the Centaurs in the battle against the Lapiths during the wedding of Pirithous. Asbolus attempted in vain to dissuade his colleagues not to engage in the battle.

Like Pholus, a peaceful effort extends into the implications of Asbolus. His attempts to prevent conflict and save lives reflect a somewhat noble concern for fellow Centaurs (humans). Possibly a Centaur of negotiation, arbitration, and conflict resolution, Asbolus deserves initial recognition as a peacemaker.

The North Node and Perihelion points of Asbolus render the following possibilities: the need for self-realization because of deeds done; desire for reputation and acclaim. Negative: Reckless regard for reputation, lack of integrity, impulse driven without sense of consequence; inability to take compliments. Positive: impeccability in action; known as solid and consistent; accepting of praise with humility.

Chariklo, the next named Centaur, was not a Centaur at all but the mermaid wife of Chiron. Together they had a son, Karystos, of whom little is written. Also they had two daughters, Melanippe (black mare, also called Euippe, or good mare) and Endeis or Thetis, depending upon which mythological family tree is consulted. Melanippe had an illegal love affair with Poseidon and elected to no longer live among mortals as a consequence. Like her father, she appealed to the gods and was set into the night sky as a star.

Chariklo shows up in very few references of note. Once she attended Athene (Pallas Athena) with her bath when Teiresias, who hunted with his dogs, happened upon them. Teiresias saw the breasts and legs of Athene. The goddess placed her hands over the young man’s eyes and blinded him. Chariklo, full of remorse, appealed to Athene to show mercy. Athene declared Teiresias a prophet and cleansed his ears so he could hear and understand the voices of the birds. She also gave him a staff of cornel wood so he could walk as if he had sight.

Chariklo, like Pholus and Asbolus, demonstrated compassion and a love of fairness and peacefulness. She appealed to her goddess with goodness, mercy, and fairness as tools. The justness or equality of punishment to transgression seeks balance in her delineation.

The orbital contacts (Node and Perihelion) for Chariklo offer the following: the need for definition between intimacy and personal space; seeking definition of human interaction and boundaries; desire to help without codependent interference. Negative: invasive, manipulative, and solicitous without intent to respond, aloof. Positive: a shoulder to cry upon, well-defined relating agenda, counselor of independence vs. intimacy.

Hylonome, one of the rare female centaurs, was the wife of the Centaur Cyllarus. Cyllarus was killed by a javelin thrown by an unknown warrior at the debacle of the wedding of Pirithous. Distraught with her loss, Hylonome thrust herself onto the javelin that killed her husband, thus ending her grief and pain.

Intrinsic in this Centaur is the distinction of ego and self separate from relationship. Value of self as a function of love, relating, or interaction becomes confused in the interest of regaining a clear perception of the value of self.

The processes of ending pain and grief—a consistent Centaur theme—clearly reside here. Zane Stein and his colleagues suggest that their research implies Hylonome to be significant in charts of suicide. This does not imply that transits to or from Hylonome increase the danger of self-destruction. Actually, such patterns seek resolution of what ever causes pain in life because of loss of self-esteem or loss of love. Healing of previous loves no longer present also come to the table of resolution.

The following are key point delineations for the yet-unnamed Centaurs.

31824: Expression of self and ego through word and writing. Positive: excellent communication, articulate, precise. Negative: verbose, boastful, shallow in conversation.

32532: Relational and professional attitudes based upon one another. I am what I am because of my career status or relationship ornament. Positive: balance between relationship and work, money and sexuality. Negative: object oriented, status seeking, mercenary in work ethics, stunned by glamour and beauty of partner.

1994TA: The need to assert one’s accomplishments (generally professional) in the interest of recognition. Negative: solicitousness, bragging, indiscriminate flirting. Positive: sense of self-accomplishment, legacy oriented, a mentor.

1995SN55: Urge to establish self-value regardless of relationship status. Positive: warm, supportive, nurturing in one-to-one relationship. Negative: needy, self-centered to a fault, showcase relationships.

1996AR20: The urge to understand unresolved questions and mysteries through discussion. Positive: highly insightful ability to ask questions. Negative: incessant questioning and banal fixations.

1996RX33: A balance of individuality for the purpose of soul fulfillment, regardless of ego. Positive: confident and self-assured in expressing uniqueness and ingenuity. Negative: cranky, weird, contentious, highly rebellious.

1998QM107: Balancing emotions and ego as a function of professional status. Positive: giving, nurturing, and sharing to and with coworkers with extraordinary capacities. Negative: demanding, infantile in work relationships, flaunts social status as a result of accomplishments, showcases with past laurels.

1998SG35: Need and ability to heal the ego by overcoming criticisms, both self-imposed and external. Positive: clarity, impeccability, and loyalty to personal and emotional needs, praising, complimentary. Negative: critical, judgmental, condemning both of others and self, defaming, blasphemous, solicitous.

1998TF35: Sense of value, self-worth, economic freedom with spiritual emphasis. Positive: wealthy eccentric, affluent, humanistic, generous, spiritual involved. Negative: selfish, demanding, greedy. Manipulates with karma or projected spiritual status.

1999HD12: Acceptance of whole and pure nurturing. Positive: acceptance of support and responsive to praise. Negative: rejecting of those attempting to help. Constant complaining about the lack of fundamental care in life.

1999JV 127: Primal sense of self. Developing a healthy self-referential attitude. Positive: confidence in raw talents. Self-assured nurturing instincts. Negative: overly subconscious in motivations. Subjective and projective. Extremely protective.

1999XX143: Maintaining a balance of individuality and others within the domestic environment. Positive: feeling accepted by family and close friends. Negative: portraying black sheep image. Isolated and sullen at home. Doing it for family to the extreme.

2000CO104: Emotional intensity, passionate creativity, inspirational capacity. Positive: uplifting, stimulating, infinitely artistic and creative. Negative: addicted to emotional drama, emotionally controlling and manipulative.

2000EC98: Cosmic picture vs. detail orientation. Abstract logic vs. linear logic. Positive: balanced perspective of overviews combined with essential detail. Negative: Picky, judgmental, cantankerously weird, ungrounded.

2000FZ53: Acute relationship awareness. Ability to negotiate relationship conflicts. Positive: clarity in relationship communication. Honest, direct, self-assured in interactions. Negative: clingy, dependent, holds back on communication based upon perceived reactions.

2000GM 137: Extreme inquisitiveness and cat-like curiosity. Relationship communication clarity. Positive: questioning and open-minded. Negative: overly scrutinizing, specializing in Pandora’s box scenarios.

2000QC243: Use of complete compassion and forgiveness toward others. Positive: understanding, compassionate, forgiving, tolerant. Negative: full of guilt and shame that is projected onto others.

2000SN331: Highly questioning nature. Asks surface-level questions seeking the greatest depth in the answer. Positive: seeking, questioning unafraid of shadows. Negative: diverting, avoiding, asks questions to answer a question.

2001BL41: Perceptions of an abundant universe. Positive: generous, available, and sharing. Negative: greedy, hostile regarding work position and money earned. Desperately competitive.

2001KF77: Claiming of soul urge. Development of pure confidence and self-assuredness. Positive: strong, inspired, noncompetitive, motivated. Negative: possessive, insecure, ego proclaiming, pouting, fearful.

2001 SQ 73: Quest for ultimate individuality. Confident in all aspects of self. Positive: iron will and certainty of healthy eccentricity and imaginative ability. Negative: weird just to be contentious. Overbearing ego. Sense of intellectual superiority.

2001XA255: Seeking fulfilling nurturing. Receptive to what feeds the spirit. Positive: receptive, integrating, responsive, proactive in the pursuit of emotional, physical needs. Negative: whiny, projects victimization by life, asks for support then rejects it.

2001 XZ255: The quest for pure self-expression. Positive: clear, articulate, assertive, confident. Negative: accusatory, meddlesome, laborious in conversation.

2002 CA249: Complete, uninhibited self-expression. Positive: innovative, confident, inspired, pleasantly odd. Negative: narcissistic, self-absorbed, strange for shock value.

2002 CB249: Integrated spirituality within worldly awareness. Positive: comprehends parts/wholes theory, uses crisis/chaos to the good. Finds upside in all things. Negative: victim consciousness, resentful, critical.

2002DH5: Perfection seeking, looking for divine order. Positive: accepting, tolerant, and compassionate. Negative: scrutinizing to a fault, viciously critical, intolerant, mean-spirited practical jokes.

2002FY36: Seeking understanding of sacred and profane in balance. Positive: unique blend of linear and abstract minds. Negative: mentally biased and opinionated with no tractability.

2002GO9: Need for relational support without reservation. Positive: renders and receives in relationship in healthy balance. Negative: codependent, turns intimate relationships into parent-child scenarios.

2002GB10: Balance of emotional/nurturing give and take. Positive: encouraging, nurturing, responsive. Negative: whining, needy, clinging. Emotionally manipulates closeness, then withdraws from it.

2002GZ32: Seeking kinship with those of great self-reliance. Positive: confident, giving, and supportive. Strong sense of bond with those of similar spirit. Negative: sullen, withdrawn, but emotionally aggressive.

Many stories about clouds prevail in Centaur mythology. The air again gains significance with these creatures. The scent of wine traveling through the air caused a major Centaur incident, as did words traversing the air. Similarly, myths involving the contamination of water exist. Overall, an environmental impact begins to form in Centaurian symbolism. Can the emphasis of the bull—money, real estate, greed—be tamed? Or will developments, population, and over-building polish off what’s left of the purity of earth? Earth’s air and water fall to industry and toxins. The ozone collapses, exposing earth to more dangerous radiations from space. The Centaurs declare the need to care for the earth and reverse the effects of toxic contamination.

What about the concern with sexuality, drinking, drugs, and morality? Since 1992, with the discovery of the Centaurs, and the issues of sexuality and morality being raised in that year’s U.S. presidential elections, the restoration of values was called to return. A philosophical bent to Centaurs originates in the knowledge of Chiron and Pholus. The Centaurian evolution implies reestablishing clear thinking as a criteria for deciding about personal or moral situations.

Many difficult questions now face humanity. The Centaurs scratch the iceberg of these considerations. Can the animal instincts alive in human nature be controlled? Or should we go capture our own bear? Are we obsessed with the power of weaponry? Can we overcome alcoholism and drug addiction as the Centaurs demand? What about the issue of sexual harassment? Is it out of control or is balance being achieved? And these bodies contribute to our healing of relationship conflicts and physical healing and offer sanction for the difficult process of grieving.

The Centaurs hold the keys of knowledge required to transcend the human struggles. Each individual’s Centaur placement works with Jupiter and Neptune (those planets bracketing Centaur orbits) to establish a clear sense of personal morality and choice independent of collective pressures. The prevailing Centaur positions relate the focus of people at large and cause reassessment of beliefs and convictions, whether original beliefs are restored or new ones chosen.

Many questions arise from the depths of space near the origins of the illusive Neptune and probing Pluto. The Centaurs point out the areas of difficulty. And as is known from augury, within the question lies the answer.

—Philip Sedgwick

The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in ancient Greek mythology, forest or mountain spirits that are half-man, half-horse, with a passion for wine; companions of Dionysus.

According to a variant of the myth, the centaurs originally lived in the mountainous areas of Thessaly. At the wedding of Pirithous, leader of the Lapiths, the drunken centaurs tried to carry off his bride and other women. A fierce battle ensued. The surviving defeated centaurs were driven from Thessaly and settled in other mountainous regions of Greece. Another popular myth dealt with the battle between Heracles and the centaurs.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This act, states Diogenes, of being charmed by Delusion, can produce "nothing useful or serviceable...but only strange irrational creations that resemble the centaurs" (Dio.
Centaurs are balls of ice and dust with an unstable orbit that begins beyond Neptune.
The fifth member of this haloed group is Chariklo, one of a class of minor planets called centaurs: small, rocky bodies that possess qualities of both asteroids and comets.
Until now, astronomers were not certain whether centaurs are asteroids flung out from the inner solar system or comets traveling in toward the sun from afar.
The island of Zakynthos in Ancient Greece is the home of a family of Centaurs. One day a baby human girl with a tattoo on her forehead and around her neck an amulet a tiny golden owl is washed ashore in a turtle shell and rescued, then cared for by the Centaurs.
This has produced the likes of the Centaurs, Striker and Trooper, both major winners in 2007.
Many Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) are binary, but 2002 C[R.sub.46] is the first known binary Centaur. Centaurs, icy bodies in highly unstable orbits, routinely cross paths with giant planets, whose superior gravity should split apart binaries (last month's issue, page 18).
For his effrontery, Ixion was tied to an endlessly revolving wheel in the infernal regions of Tartarus, but not before he had sired a race of creatures called Centaurs, who had the head, arms and torso of a man, joined to the body of a horse.
His centaurs usually resemble farmers in lederhosen; his naiads, dirndled blonds from the Ratskeller next door; and his unicorns, revelers at a costume party in an Alpine barnyard.
At the marriage of Pirithous, king of the Lapiths, the centaurs (creatures part man and part horse), who were guests, attacked the bride and other women.
He notes that another class of solar system bodies, known as Centaurs, may be the missing link between residents of the Kuiper belt and comets that have journeyed to the inner solar system.