Asteroid Astrology: Personal Named Asteroids (PNAs)

What’s in a name? Well, if your name has a celestial referent in the stars, it can potentially mean a great deal.

Consider – Bill Clinton has asteroid Monica opposed asteroid Hillary (with asteroids Lie and Lust also prominent); Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head with asteroids Gabriella and Gifford in tight square to transit Mars; asteroid Wil conjunct Royal Star Regulus was closely opposed asteroid Kate exactly on Neptune at the April 2011 nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton; asteroids Osamu and George are together on the Ascendant of the chart for the first plane crash at WTC 1 on 9/11, with asteroid Busch conjunct Uranus and forming a Grand Trine with the Moon and asteroid America. Asteroids James, Holmes and Aurora form eerily prominent patterns in the sky when James Holmes opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, killing 12 and wounding 58.

We’ll explore more examples of celestial nomenclature synchronicity shortly, but first a few words about Personal-Named Asteroids in general. Of an estimated 1.9 million minor bodies in the solar system, about a quarter of these have been registered, some 108,000 have been numbered and their orbits computed, and over 17,000 named. When asteroids first began to be discovered, in the early 1800s, astronomers followed planetary tradition and asteroids were named for deities, usually of Greek or Roman mythic derivation, but as their numbers increased, this convention was dropped, and now pretty much anything goes. There are asteroids named Beer, Storm, Fireman and Petunia, among many other such commonplace entries, as well as a host of proper nouns, names of people and places. Asteroids are named by their discoverer, with the approval of the International Astronomers Union (IAU).

Even with this abundance of choices, when searching for asteroid names applicable to a life history or world event, often suitable substitutes will need to be made. Traditionally, asteroids were given female names, and these still far outweigh their male counterparts, so often a feminine form of a masculine name will have to be used, as Josefa for Joseph, or Patricia for Patrick. But the cosmos is very obliging. Cognates, homophones, even close matches will often work. So, too, will words with alternate meanings, such as Lie, Lust, Bilk, and Pecker, all of which are surnames in various languages which have been designated to asteroids, but which function quite well with their English meanings, even euphemisms.

To begin with a simple example, my uncle, David Miller, passed away on March 14th, 2011. On that date, asteroids Davida (#511) and Miller (#1826) were exactly conjunct transit Pluto (representing death) at 7 Capricorn. Yes, sometimes it’s really that stark!

Determining which asteroids might apply to you personally is a relatively simple exercise. Just scroll through the alphabetical listings of names at the Minor Planet Center ( to search for suitable matches for yourself, family members, friends and colleagues (even pets!). Remember to look for similar spellings, homophones, gender variants, and also foreign homonyms.

To expand upon the names listed above, let’s look more closely at Lust and Bilk. Lust is properly pronounced “loost”, as it is named for German astronomer Reimar Lust. But it functions perfectly in its English language usage of “strong physical desire for sexual contact” and “great eagerness or enthusiasm for something”. Lust is squared to Saturn in Hugh Heffner’s birth chart, suggesting the business empire the Playboy originator formed, in catering to others’ sexual urges. Fellow porn promoter Larry Flynt, of Hustler magazine fame, also has Lust prominent, in a T-Square with opposition to Jupiter and squares to a Mercury/Mars conjunction. Mars’ connection here yields a more hard-core product than Heffner’s soft-core nudity, and the connection to publishing (as well as various judicial disputes) is seen in the contact with Jupiter.

Cultural sex icons with Lust prominent include Theda Bara (known as “the Vamp”, with Lust squared the Sun), Rudolph Valentino (conjunct Jupiter and Mars), Marilyn Monroe (squared the Sun), Jayne Mansfield (conjunct Sun and Venus), and Brigitte Bardot (conjunct Mars).

Bilk is named for a place, the town of Bilk, in Germany, which has one of the earliest private observatories, built in the 1840s. The town has now become incorporated into the larger metropolis of Dusseldorf. But again, Bilk works very well in its English cognate’s definition of “to cheat someone, especially via a financial swindle.” One of the most famous swindlers of all time was Charles Ponzi, an Italian-born American immigrant who lent his name to the “Ponzi Scheme” (AKA “pyramid scheme”), a financial fraud whereby investors are promised huge returns on their investment, but in reality, dividends are paid to early investors, not from actual earnings, but from monies acquired from later investors, with the organizer of the fraud reaping the major benefit. Ponzi had Bilk in a T-Square with his Sun/Venus conjunction and Uranus. Ponzi’s spiritual heir, Bernie Madoff, who “made off” with some $65 million of his investors’ money, the largest private investment fraud committed by a single individual, has Bilk conjunct Saturn and Mercury, and squared Pluto.

Additional famed con men with Bilk on prominent display include Joseph “Yellow Kid” Weil (Bilk opposed the Sun), Victor Lustig, who once “sold” the Eifel Tower to scrap metal dealers (conjunct Sun, Venus and Jupiter), Michael Milken, the “Junk Bond King” (conjunct Saturn) and Frank Abagnale (opposed Mars and trine Venus/Uranus), the con artist-turned FBI consultant whose life story is portrayed in “Catch Me If You Can”.

In addition to Lust, there are a dizzying variety of choices which potentially depict sexual matters, most of them euphemisms for penis. These include Dick (#17458, named for German astronomer Wolfgang Dick), Dong (#150520), Pecker (#1629, named for Jean-Claude Pecker, French astronomer) and Wiener (#18182, named for American mathematician Norbert Wiener), as well as Fanny (#821), Nymphe (#875) and Batchelor (#23248).

To illustrate with just a few examples, Bill Clinton (whose Lust is also very prominent on the Ascendant) has Pecker in square to Chiron, illustrating the frequent wounds he’s received over his repeated inability to keep it zipped, with transit Pecker exactly conjunct his Ascendant when the Lewinsky affair was initiated; former Representative Anthony Weiner, whose sexual troubles began with a sexting scandal, has Wiener opposed Antonia in a T-Square with Jupiter (fame for Anthony via a sexual matter), with transit Photographica conjunct natal Wiener and a transit Sun/Wiener conjunction when the sexting story broke; and former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, with natal Pecker squared a Mars/Pluto conjunction, who resigned after a gay sex scandal, with a T-Square of transit Pecker squared a transit Uranus/Lust conjunction and transit Mercury.

The above examples indicate just how pervasive PNA emphasis can be in its commonplace linguistic usages, but the impact of these eponymous powerhouses as celestial stand-ins for actual places and people is truly astounding.

We began this introduction with reference to some well-known events. I’d like to flesh out one of these in particular, to show the impact of PNAs in the news. Let’s take a closer look at the Aurora, Colorado movie shootings on July 20, 2012, when James Holmes killed 12 and wounded 58 in a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” As it happens, among the named asteroids we find Aurora, James and Holmes, and their celestial potions when this tragedy unfolded have a remarkable take to tell.

Aurora’s asteroid namesake was cresting the Midheaven, the most elevated, visible point of the sky, like the sun at noon, when James Holmes began his spree. It is a position which guarantees public attention and notoriety, the zenith of the moment. The first 911 calls came in at 12:39 AM MDT, and show asteroid Aurora at 17 Capricorn, just four degrees off the actual midheaven at 21 Capricorn, meaning it had met that topmost angle within the previous 15 minutes or so, as James Holmes made the final preparations which would skyrocket Aurora, Colorado to international attention.

Asteroid James was even more tightly tapped in to the other celestial energies. At 3 Virgo, it formed a Grand Cross, one of the most stressful major configurations, with an opposition to Neptune at 2 Pisces and squares to the North and South Nodes at 2 Sagittarius and Gemini. A more Neptunian scene can hardly be imagined—the movie theater setting; the dramatic, theatrical presentation embraced by the clearly unbalanced James Holmes; the chemical bombs and booby traps later found at his home; the bleeding of the fantasy and real worlds, to the extent that initially, movie patrons thought his acts were just part of the show. The activation of the nodal axis suggests a karmic situation, something not perhaps predestined in its specifics, but based in long-term or habitual patterns very difficult to deny or escape—the ineluctable bonds of cause and effect.

Asteroid Holmes makes the most stunning appearance. At 9 Libra it is an exact match for Mars in the sky, the planet of attacks, guns, conflict and violent death. That Mars had just activated the dynamic Uranus/Pluto square over the past few days, with asteroid Holmes in tow, bringing along his human counterpart for the ride, creating a very personal vessel for all the rage, volatility and destruction of which Mars/Uranus/Pluto is capable. Filling the missing leg of that T-Square and forming a full-fledged Grand Cross was asteroid Tantalus at 11 Cancer, a mythic figure noted for heinous, unspeakable crimes.

But it’s not just the transit placements of these points which apply to the story – their positions in James Holmes’ birth chart are significant as well. Born 13 December 1987, perhaps the most evocative point is natal asteroid Aurora, which at 8 Libra is just a degree past the exact combination of Mars and asteroid Holmes for the shooting. Thus Aurora was the geographic recipient of the current Uranus/Pluto square energies in James Holmes’ psyche, identifying the city which became the venue for his crimes. The coming together of violence-ruling Mars with an asteroid matching Holmes’ surname atop another matching the city in which he resided, provided the release point for the stress and tension of the square between volatile Uranus and deadly, destructive Pluto.

Natally, Aurora’s placement is not especially prominent, but something drew San Diego native James Holmes to the asteroid’s terrestrial namesake in Colorado a year before, in time to capitalize on the influx of violence and devastation as Uranus and Pluto formed their predestined pattern. Into this maelstrom strode Mars and asteroid Holmes, almost willy-nilly, at just the right time, concretizing a potential which had lain dormant for decades, and might have remained so if James Holmes had never made that fateful move from California.

Asteroid James also plays its part. At 6 Scorpio it is joined by natal Pluto and Mars at 11 and 12 Scorpio, reiterating the themes present in the sky under the Mars/Pluto square and personalizing this seed point of violent death and destruction to James Holmes directly. Natal James is also conjoined the Descendant of the shooting at 7 Scorpio within a degree, marking the moment as crucial to Holmes personally, as well as conjunct asteroid Requiem, defining the relationship between Holmes (James) and others (Descendant) as one marked by death (Requiem).

Each of the 12 people James Holmes murdered in that theater have asteroid referents which represent them, and all form significant patterns on the day, and in Holmes’ chart. Most astounding of these is asteroid Alex. Three of the victims shared that name, fully one quarter of the total dead, a mind-boggling statistic. What are the chances that in a random mass shooting event of this type, that Alex Sullivan, Alex Teves, and Alexander “AJ” Boik would all lose their lives? Actually, the chances are pretty good, with asteroid Alex then at 6 Capricorn, just a degree away from Pluto, modern ruler of death, at 7 Capricorn.

Many of the stories I have covered over the last few years betray these qualities of celestial precision and accuracy, but this is among the most compelling. I keep going back to the synchronicity that brought James Holmes onto the geographic setting which was fertile ground for his mental aberration, in time to be activated by the transit sky, and the deadly aim of those random bullets amid the pandemonium of a panicked sold-out movie crowd in a darkened, fogged theater, mercilessly targeting the holders of names that fit seamlessly into the day’s heavens. If that doesn’t spell fate, nothing does.

And fate, as opposed to free will, is just what PNA placements portray.

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