Ahhhhh Nessus! The centaur in mythology generally gets dubbed as the “abuser” asteroid in astrology. While, yes, I do think that Nessus can tie to abuse (and the propensity to abuse), this feels like a more extreme way that this asteroid can play out. Before getting into WHAT this asteroid can signify in a chart, let’s talk a little bit about his mythology.
Also, just for reference: Nessus is asteroid no.7066 in the asteroid databank.
Who the fuck was Nessus? He was a centaur who was the son of Centauros (and Centauros was the son of Ixon and the nymph Nephele). In some versions of the mythology, it is mentioned that he is the son of Ixon and Nephele (so I’m really not sure who the fuck his parents were hahaha and it probably doesn’t matter for the purposes of this post….I just like trying to nail down the family tree). Like most of the centaurs (sans Chiron), Nessus was rowdy and debaucherous – always down for fucking and fighting, especially once a little wine or whatever entered the system. He was also one of the surviving centaurs at “The Centauromachy,” the wedding of Pirithous & Hippodameia, which was a battle where a bunch of centaurs died (the post that I did on the centaur Hylonome explored this event).
What Nessus is probably the most known for is his story with Hercules and Dejanira (also spelled Deianira). After the Centauromachy, Nessus fled to the river Euenos and became a ferryman taking people across the river. One day, Hercules and his partner Dejanira needed to cross the river, so Nessus ferried Dejanira across while Hercules went across on his own. Why the hell Hercules didn’t take his partner across is a mystery lol. Anywho, Nessus is taking Dejanira across and becomes overwhelmed with uncontrollable desire or some bullshit and decides to rape her (some versions of the mythology say that he just attempted this, and some versions say that he actually did rape her – either way, it’s fucking gross). Hercules sees this and is obviously pissed, so he shoots an arrow at Nessus that has hydra blood on it. The arrow contacts Nessus and kills him. Before Nessus dies, though, he tells Dejanira to essentially save some of his blood to use on Hercules should Hercules ever fall out of love with her. He claims that his blood will cause Hercules to fall back in love with her. Then he dies.
Cut to a few years down the line – Hercules has started to fall out of love with Dejanira (or she suspects that he is falling out of love with her). To keep Hercules loving her, she decides to use the blood of Nessus on him. She put the blood of Nessus on a robe that belongs to Hercules, he puts the robe on and instead of the blood causing him to fall back in love with Dejanira….it kills him.
Now, from just this quick and dirty version of Nessus’ mythology, we can see a few different themes that exist, and these themes play into how this asteroid can be read in a natal chart.
1. Nessus in the chart feels like a place where we might not be able to control ourselves (or want to control ourselves)
-In his mythology, he appeared to lack a bunch of self-control. This isn’t entirely unique to him; most of the centaurs lacked self-control. Specifically with Nessus though, and the mythology that he shares with Dejanira, it seems that he really lacked self-control. Is it really that he LACKED self-control, or did he just not give a shit? It could be a little bit of both in the case of Nessus, and I think BOTH could be the case where Nessus falls in the chart.
-Clearly, this little fucker was a trickster with his tricking of Dejanira (telling her that his blood would keep Hercules from straying from her).
–Why did Dejanira believe Nessus in the first place? Who the hell knows.
-Since Nessus couldn’t have his way (or completely have his way) with Dejanira, Nessus tricked Dejanira about his blood being a sort of love potion. This allowed him to get his revenge on BOTH her and Hercules (who is the one who killed him). Nessus in the chart could point to where (by house) and how (by sign) that the person might be inclined to get revenge (or handle things like revenge).
4. The notion of “Bad Blood”
i. This could be having “bad blood” with someone else (or the possibility of that) in synastry. For instance, someone’s Nessus conjunct your Sun could point towards a possibility of having “bad blood” with them eventually. Obviously, this doesn’t have to happen, but it could.
ii. Actual blood issues that the native might have.
5. Abuse & Abusing
-This feels like the most extreme way that Nessus could come out in a natal chart (and it’s not always my go-to way to read this asteroid). We ALL have the propensity to play the role of the abuser and the abused – this is just human nature. Can Nessus signify the possibility of being abusive, though? Yes.
Along with Nessus, you can also pull Dejanira in a natal chart (her asteroid is no. 157). From the mythology, there are a few ways that I think Dejanira can manifest:
1. Dejanira in the chart could show where (by house) and how (by sign) that a person might be kind of “dumb.” Maybe “naïve” is a nicer way to put that. Keep in mind that I’m not ragging on anyone in particular – we all have Dejanira somewhere in our charts so that propensity to be “dumb” or “naïve” exists in all of us.
**That might sound pretty harsh – I’m sorry. It does make sense within her mythology, though.
2. Dejanira in the chart could also show where we have the propensity to be tricked or hoodwinked. She was definitely tricked by Nessus, which is why this is another way to read her.
3. Dejanira in the chart, in her most extreme manifestation, could show the propensity to be abused. Where this happens would depend on the house that Dejanira falls in the chart, and how this could manifest is figured out by sign.
Do I always read these two asteroids in a chart? No. Do I always pull them in synastry? No. I will definitely pull them if requested, though (and if I personally feel called to pull them for some reason). If you find out that you have a prominent Nessus and/or Dejanira in your chart, the themes mentioned above might be ones to be aware of (or aware of their propensity to come about more often in your own life). They don’t have to manifest themselves in the most extreme examples, though.
**In my opinion, a “prominent” Nessus and/or Dejanira would be either of these asteroids conjunct a planet, an angle, the north or south nodes, etc. within an orb of 3-degrees or less applying and separating.