The Astronomy of Terpsichore
Terpsichore is a very dark main-belt asteroid that was discovered on September 30th, 1864, by German astronomer Ernst Wilhelm Tempel. Taking just over four and a half years to travel through all signs of the zodiac as it orbits the Sun, she spends around three and half months in each sign, ( retrograde and orbit dependent).
The Mythology of Terpsichore
In Greek Mythology Terpsichore is one of The Sun God’s Nine Muses, more famously known as Apollo’s Muses. She has most generally been labeled the Goddess of Choral Song and Dance. The daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory, Terpsichore is referenced as the wife of Akheloios, God of Rivers, to whom she bore three daughters, Thelxieoeia, Peisinoe, and Ligeia, also known as the Sirens.
Her daughters are described as bird like sea nymphs and were also the handmaidens for Persephone, princess of the underworld who was abducted by God of underworld, Pluto, or Hades. In astrology, Persephone is well-known for being the daughter of Demeter or Ceres, the largest goddess asteroid in astrology.
I believe Terpsichore is most appropriately named ‘Mother of the Sirens’. Although she is associated with the celebration of dance and song, her genuine power, like that of her daughters, seems dark, erotic, and mysterious. Terpsichore is best known for announcing the cries of the Sirens who eventually led seamen to both ecstasy and death.
Latin Terpsichorē, from Greek Terpsikhorē, from feminine of terpsikhoros, dance- loving : terpein, to delight + khoros, dance.
The Experience of Terpsichore
It seems there has been little research on Terpsichore’s astrological influence. Through my own experience, curiosity, and study however, I have found Terpsichore’s influence extraordinarily fascinating. For example, when analyzing charts, I have noticed Terpsichore as one of the few asteroids that consistently (well over 50%), shows up as being out of bounds, meaning an out of the ordinary distance/ or declination of 23S27’00 or 23N27’00, north or south of the equator’s position in the horoscope.
This tells me there is natural volatility associated with her expression…as if it she is much more comfortable being off shore, ‘out of bounds’, in the depths of the sea~ most likely her natural dwelling. Terpsichore is particularly prominent in the charts of famous singers and dancers.
Cher and Justin Timberlake both have Terpsichore married to their Midheaven, the ‘peak’ or ‘spotlight’ of the chart. Justin’s Terpsichore is in earthy, sensual Taurus, the sign associated most with beautiful singing ability . Cher (Taurus Sun), has her Terpsichore in musical Pisces, at 22 degrees, the same degree of her Midheaven. Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Terpsichore is in the perfectionist sign of Virgo at 5 degrees, the same degree of his Mars, the planet of physical passion, athleticism and strength. Olympic MegaChampion Michael Phelps has his Terpsichore in Taurus in the 6th house of fitness and physical well-being, tightly conjunct his North Node, which represents our spiritual destiny.
As astrology evolves, I’m sure more connections and revelations will surface. There are literally hundreds of asteroids whose truths are yet to be discovered and shared! Being a dancer and dance enthusiast, I am particularly interested in what I call ‘The Dancing Asteroids”. Although Terpsichore is most likely the most significant asteroid associated with dance, she is not the only one! Other notable asteroids are: Ulanova, Asteroid # 5421, Plisetskaya, Asteroid #4626, Graham, Asteroid #3541 and Dunham, Asteroid #3123.
In general, the naming of the asteroids are synchronistic events in their purest form. The majority of astronomers and asteroid discoverer’s are not astrologers. They are not familiar with and/or do not adhere to the language and practice of astrology. The magic lies in the experience. Consciousness of the essence and potential of the asteroid’s symbolic and energetic expression unfolds as one begins to “see” in the way mystical student and writer Carlos Castaneda had learned from Don Juan, the infamous Shaman…to choose a path free from fear and ambition…to have courage to bathe one’s self in vulnerability and stillness.
‘ Knowledge comes to a warrior, floating, like specks of gold dust, the same dust that covers the wings of moths. So for a warrior, knowledge is like taking a shower, or being rained on by specks of dark gold dust’.
This I believe, is how we must proceed in experiencing the magic of the asteroids.