THE ASTEROID CRUITHNE: EARTH’S "SECOND MOON"
© Malvin Artley
What’s this!? Earth has a second moon!? Well, not really, but there is an asteroid that shares Earth’s orbit, and it has been called ‘Earth’s second moon’. I refer here, of course, to the planetoid or asteroid 3753 Cruithne (pronounced croo EE nya).
Discovery: Cruithne (pictured) was discovered on 10 Oct 1986 by a Scotsman named Duncan Waldron who was working at the Royal Observatory in Glasgow, Scotland at the time. His job there was creating high-quality reproductions of astronomical plates and objects for the observatory. The photographic plate that bore the discovery, however, was taken at the Siding Spring Observatory on Coonabarabran, NSW. So, we could perhaps claim this as ‘one of ours’ here in Australia. What does this have to do with astrology, one might ask? It gives a hint into and describes a stream of consciousness around its discovery, and that has a lot to do with how a planet or planetoid works in a horoscope, as we will see.
Asteroid Classifications: Cruithne is in a class of asteroids called ‘Earth/Mars Crossers’. It is also classified as a Near-Earth Object itself. As a point of interest, there are at least three dozen main groups or types of asteroids and planetoids orbiting the Sun. Centaurs, Greeks, Trojans, Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), Kuiper Belt Objects, Apollo Asteroids, Amor Asteroids, Plutinos, Outer Grazers, Arjuna Asteroids – all these groups and the rest have their particular and fascinating statements to stamp on any horoscope. Further, every asteroid in a given group carries the energy of that group as well as its own unique signature. Further still, even the composition of asteroids and groups affects how they work in a chart. And finally, one would think that with so many asteroids that they would all be represented in a chart, but that is far from the truth. What we find instead are usually only a couple of groups that stand out in any particular chart, and what those groups are and the members represented have a lot to say about the underlying psyche and expression of any horoscope, person or event, which leads us into the consideration of our ‘second moon’, Cruithne.
Discovery Chart: In the Cruithne discovery chart the Sun was in an applying sextile with Uranus (science, pioneering efforts, technological prowess) and there were more than a couple of quintiles in the chart, alluding to the creative work that was involved in the discovery process and the consciousness of the individual (creative/artistic). Jupiter was square to Uranus (visionary, expansive, radically advanced, but impractical), but the Moon squared the Sun (drive, force, quickness of mind, objectified desires, perceptive power) at the bendings of the nodes (‘Moon wobble’). The Sun was conjunct the south node in Libra indicating a past or past-life connection, and that conjunction can give clear and deep insight.
Naming of Cruithne: Cruithne was named after the first Celtic racio-tribal group to inhabit the British Isles, the group having arrived there from the European continent, ca. 800-500 BCE. They were a matrilineal group in the pagan era and worshipped the mother-goddess of fertility. In northern Scotland they came to be known as the Picts, the original Albans, who were an equestrian warrior aristocracy, and they lived north of the Firth of Forth. It is most likely this group after which 3753 Cruithne was named, rather than the Celts of Ireland of the same name, although they all supposedly share the same racio-tribal heritage from the European continent. As we will see, the equestrian warrior/pioneering streak will be borne out through 3753 Cruithne’s astrology.
Earth Trojans: Physically, Cruithne is locked in a synchronous orbit with the Earth, making it an Earth Trojan. Its orbital period is 364.01 days, its rotational period is 27.44 hrs, and its diameter is ~5km. So, it is a small body and is not visible to the naked eye. It makes its closest approach to the Earth every year in early November at a distance of roughly ½ AU, so we are in no danger of a collision with it, at least for the next few million years, if at all. Cruithne has a very complex horseshoe or kidney-bean-shaped orbit (viewed from Earth) which crosses the orbit of Venus and comes close to the orbit of Mars and which takes some 380-390 years to circumscribe.
Earth/Mars Crossers: As an Earth/Mars Crosser Cruithne belongs in a group of asteroids that figure strongly in the charts of major world events that are of a volatile or calamitous sort. However, it is also a Venus Crosser as well and it also figures in event charts of a different and less violent nature, yet its own signature remains the same – pioneering and aristocratic - always at the forefront. As a Near-Earth Object, though, it is locked in with major events on this planet and it thus has specific things to say about our history and the events that shape our destiny, which brings us to the astrology of our ‘second moon’.
Cruithne in Mundane Charts: Having looked at quite a number of various mundane charts, Cruithne features in a great many of them. If we follow it by sign the indications are clear enough. Cruithne in Aries stands as a herald to the new or shows where events occur because of militaristic tendencies, carelessness or recklessness. It was at or very close to 0º Aries when the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs were dropped on Japan and it was in Aries at the first nuclear detonation (the Trinity Test), thus ushering in the nuclear age. It features in earth-based events when in Taurus, such as earthquakes (Tunguska, the San Francisco and Whittier Narrows Quakes in California). In Gemini it often figures in storms (Hurricanes Katrina and Ike). With events on or in the water it is often in Pisces (Deepwater Horizon, Texas City Explosions). Interestingly, Cruithne in Pisces is sometimes found with nuclear blasts (‘Smiling Buddha’ test and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster), probably because of the esoteric connection of Pluto with that sign. In Aquarius it heralds new orders and is found at the start of major conflicts (both World Wars), but also in accidents (Three Mile Island, Pittsburg Gasometer Explosion) and planned explosions (‘Tsar Bomba’ and ‘Ivy Mike’ thermonuclear tests), as one would expect from Aquarius.
There is not the space here to go through Cruithne in all the signs, but from the preceding we can see that its delineation follows the standard interpretations of the signs. In every case, however, Cruithne stands for something quite particular, as do all the asteroids in their respective interpretations.
In the case of Cruithne there is either a pioneering effort being made, a statement by a nation, group or individual about superiority or about a fall from grace and a warning about giving in to warlike attitudes. If there has been some sort of slip-up leading to the event, the sign placement of Cruithne in the chart shows where corrections need to be made and the aspects it makes to planets or angles in the chart will show how the corrections need to be done or the direction from where they need to come.
To look at a couple of examples in Australian history, let’s begin with the Japanese attack on Broome (3 Mar 1942, ~9:20 AM AWDT). Aries was rising. Cruithne was within a few degrees of the ascendant of the chart and in Aries. There is no mistaking what Cruithne heralded in that chart – militarism and a show of Japanese air superiority. There was a Mars/Saturn/Uranus conjunction in Taurus. It was a surprise attack with the loss of 88 lives. In the Granville Rail Disaster (18 Jan 1977, 8:10 AM AEDT, Sydney) Cruithne was in Aquarius, square to Uranus and in a wide opposition to Saturn. The primary cause of the disaster was put down to a lack of track maintenance (negligence) as indicated by the Saturn opposition and the suddenness of it indicated by the square to Uranus. In addition, Cruithne was in the 12th House of the event chart, indicating conditions working against the public welfare, losses, and institutionalization of the injured, as well as a further indication of negligence, which could be read as ‘the unfinished business of maintenance’. As a result greater funds for track maintenance were legislated and The Granville Memorial Trust was established in order to campaign for greater rail safety.
Cruithne in Nativities: In terms of people, Cruithne can signify world-renowned icons. Kylie Minogue has natal Cruithne at 0 Aries in the 9th House. She is indeed world-renowned, well-traveled and has certainly made an impact on the world through her music. Her life is not unmarked by difficulty, though, having had a bout with breast cancer. John Howard, ‘The Man of Steel’, also has natal Cruithne at 0 Aries, but in the 10th House. He is one of Australia’s longest-serving prime ministers and is known as a very canny politician, is certainly an icon for the Liberal Party in Australia, and has won many honours for his work. Ian Thorpe has his Cruithne opposite his Sun/Venus conjunction, also in Aries and in the 4th House, and is one of Australia’s most celebrated swimmers. Even with these three examples we see that Cruithne in Aries (considering the signs) speaks of one who will push boundaries, stay the course and succeed against the odds. All three of these people have had their trials by fire to get where they wanted.
In looking at the charts of other famous and/or influential people, the ones who have made major discoveries or have broken the mold, so-to-speak, often have Cruithne conjunct an Aries point or on one of the angles of their chart. Cases in point are the likes of Napoleon, Charles Lindbergh, Enrico Fermi, Johannes Kepler, Van Gogh, Neil F. Michelson, Aleister Crowley, Isaac Newton and Franklin D. Roosevelt, to name a few. These people were all explorers in their own way, or they had to lead people in a course that was often difficult or fraught, much like the original racial Cruithne did when they came from Europe and settled the British Isles. Clearly, if the rest of the chart shows drive and success, in a way Cruithne puts its stamp of excellence or standing on the nativity. At the very least it shows where one should exhibit a fighting spirit with regard to environing conditions. All of the preceding examples could be considered the ‘upper crust’ of their chosen line, either in a sterling way or otherwise.
Concluding Remarks: Little did the early settlers of what would come to be known as Britain know of their eventual impact on the world, which is that ‘The Sun would never set on their empire’. Yet, the British have always been known as great explorers, settlers, rulers and pioneers. The Celtic legacy is a long and proud one in many ways, though there have been many stumbles to be sure. Always, though, the stiff upper lip, creativity and resolve of the people of the British Isles has led to so much that has been contributed to the world, especially in the areas of art, politics, science and industry. In that same manner, 3753 Cruithne marks an area of a chart where those same attributes can be found or are or should be expressed by an individual or through an event: adventurousness, prevailing against the odds, creative enterprise and pride in and of achievement or, on the other side, a complete lack thereof if Cruithne is under stressful aspects. Such is the legacy of the Earth/Mars crosser asteroids: great achievements or spectacular failures.
Data for charts, discovery and historical background are from Wikipedia. Data for people’s charts are from Solar Fire astrology software. Data for world events were obtained from Wikipedia.