The astrological feelers are still out on everything Eris means in a birth chart, but before you can even begin to understand how to interpret Eris, you must know something about her. Some of what Eris represents can be gleaned from her discovery story, how she was named, her place in the solar system, her myths, and her history.
Eris and Xena
Eris was discovered in 2005 from photographs taken in 2003. Scientists first nicknamed their discovery Xena in honor of the warrior princess of television fame. In 2005 it was announced that Xena had a tiny moon which they dubbed Gabriella, after Xena's sidekick.
Officially Named Eris
In September 2006, it was announced that Xena's official name would be Eris, after the Greek goddess of discord and strife, and her moon, Gabriella would be named Dysnomia, the goddess of lawlessness and the daughter on Eris. When Eris was officially discovered and named, she created chaos by upsetting the known order of the solar system, unseating Pluto as a planet, and in the end created a new class of "dwarf planets."
Eris is one of the largest known dwarf planets and is about the same size as Pluto but about three times further from the Sun. It takes about 557 years for Eris to orbit the Sun. Unlike the eight planets, whose orbits around the Sun are almost circular and lie roughly in the same plane as the Earth's, Eris orbits above and below the other planets, and like Pluto, her orbit can range from being a considerable distance from the Sun to being almost as close to Sun as Neptune.
Because Eris' journey around the Sun takes her above and below the orbits of the other planets, she doesn't move through all the zodiacal constellations on the ecliptic plane. However, because the signs of the zodiac and the constellations are not the same, Eris does visit each of sign in turn and spends decades in each sign.
More than a Generational Planet
Because of Eris' slow movement around the Sun, multiple generations are affected when Eris is in each sign. Eris entered Aries in 1926 and will not exit until 2048. Which means astrologers don't have more than world history to study to determine how she manifests in the other astrological signs. But they do know that the longer it takes a planet to move through a sign the more friction it creates, and the more profound and permanent the change in society will be.
Eris in Myth
According to Hesiod's Theogony, Eris is the daughter of Nyx, the goddess of the Night, and one several siblings who were born without a father. As the daughter of Nyx, Eris is depicted in art with black wings and was thought to haunt battlefields.
Eris shares this iconography with winged goddesses from other cultures:
- Six thousand years ago in Sumeria, Inanna was the winged goddess of love and gifts, but also war.
- In Egypt, the vulture goddess Nekbet was one of the deities on the uraeus headdress of the pharaoh.
- The Celtic goddess, Morrigan, could take the form of a raven, a fierce warbird.
- The Celtic goddess, Branwen, could assume the form of a white raven.
- The Norse goddess, Freya, either wore a cloak of falcon feathers, enabling her to fly or assumed the form of a falcon.
- The Greek Harpy who in some myths is described as the female monster in the form of a bird with a human face and in others as the spirits of sudden, sharp gusts of wind.
The Rise of Eris: The Warrior Woman
Eris entered Aries in 1926 amid the "Roaring Twenties." It was during the "Roaring Twenties" that a "new" woman was born. These new, politically forward women were very controversial and created discord by defying society's standards of what women were supposed to do, say, wear, act like, and be.
They gained political power when they won the right to vote in 1920 and by the middle of the 1920s women:
- Had broken out of their domestic shell
- Began wearing shorter skirts, pants, more dramatic makeup, and cut their hair
- Weren't shy about flaunting their sexuality
- Drank, smoked, and danced in clubs
Eris, the "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman" Planet
Eris' visual discovery and her naming began the process of merging the "warrior woman" archetype into the collective consciousness. Eris won't exit Aries until 2048. Which means the almost everyone alive today has witnessed or participated in the rise of the "warrior woman." Since 2006 there has been incredible progress in the fight towards achieving gender equality.
Eris and the 2017 "Woman's March"
Uranus the planet of radical change and Eris the warrior woman were side by side (conjunct) in the heavens from about June 2016 to March 2017. On January 21, 2017, the tension had built to the point that suddenly and unexpectedly an estimated 3,300,000 to 4,600,000 people in the United States and up to 5 million worldwide stepped forward to participate in a march for women's rights.
Finding Eris in Your Birth Chart
There are several symbols or glyphs used for Eris, but the one most commonly used is a combination of the glyphs for Pluto, the planet Venus, and the planet Mars; a circle with an arrow pointing down. Different free chart calculators online use various symbols, and some don't allow you to locate Eris. However, the tool on astro.com allows you to both find Eris and spells Eris out, which will make her easier for you to locate.
- Create your chart at Astro.com
- Enter Birth Data and select continue
- Choose "Extended Chart Selection"
- Select Eris in the "Additional objects" box
- Create your chart
Eris in Your Birth Chart
Unless you were born before 1926, you have Eris in the sign of Aries. This makes her position by aspect and astrological house in a birth chart significant. However it takes many years for astrologers to come to an understanding of how a new planet should be interpreted in a birth chart, and Eris has only been studied since 2006. However, it seems clear that wherever Eris is in your chart, an "angelic warrior" is at work creating discord and strife.
Possible Key Phrases for Eris
Listed below are some key phrases you can play with that might help you interpret what Eris means in your birth chart. Note: Keep in mind that men also have a feminine warrior within.
The house Eris occupies may be where you:
- Must overcome crises through compassion
- Strive the hardest to grow
- Where you can no longer be in denial
- Fight to the end
- Shake up the status quo
- Liberate yourself from tradition
- Do things in your way
- Apply all of your resourcefulness
- Have a general sense of being forsaken, condemned, or abandoned
The Feminine Fights Back
Few astrologers use Eris in their day-to-day consulting, which isn't surprising since it took 30 years for many to use Pluto after its discovery. However, Eris is important because she's related to your fight for existence and to standing up and fighting for what you believe in, even if violence is involved. Eris, at her most basic, is the fighting strength of the feminine that's exemplified by the feminist struggle for rights in a patriarchal society.