Asteroid 71 Niobe is quite a large asteroid in the main asteroid, discovered on August 13th, 1861 by German astronomer, Robert Luther. She takes four and a half years to orbit the Sun, spending just under four months in each sign.
In Ancient Greek mythology, Niobe symbolizes eternal grieving. As a young mother of fourteen children, seven boys and seven girls, she was the wife of Amphion, and the daughter of Tantalus. It is said that at a grand ceremony of God/Goddess worship of Leto, Apollo and Artemis – Niobe stood before the crowd, questioning the worship of Leto. She went on to boast about her own heritage, her own standing within the present society of Thebes and the fact that she was the mother of fourteen children, compared to that of Leto, who had only two. This moment of arrogance was dealt with swiftly and harshly by the Gods, with Apollo killing the seven boys and Artemis killing the seven girls. However, rumour does have it that a few of the girls were shown some remorse by Artemis and survived. Amphion, the children’s father, either then committed suicide or was killed by Apollo for threatening revenge against the heinous slaying of his offspring. This left Niobe, who had her entire world wiped out in seconds. Fleeing to Mount Siplylus, either alone or with one of her surviving daughters, Niobe was turned to stone on her mountain refuge by the Gods, where, to this day, she still weeps.
To locate Niobe in your natal chart, head over serennu.com or astro.com, and input the number 71. Keep your aspects tight, within 1-2 degrees and your aspects major – square, conjunction, and opposition.
In your chart, Niobe symbolizes where you will question the people that you are meant to ‘worship’ in your life. Let’s face it, some parents demand it, as do a lot of relationship partners and friends. But to question their domineering expectations and to stand up to their ‘rule’, results in harsh and negative consequences..
Niobe also symbolizes your personal arrogance, areas of your life where you see yourself as higher than others. It is where you will feel pride and a point of personal battle where you feel the need to gloat when you deem an attack is taking place. This is a classic, but I have achieved this, what have you achieved? Or, look at what I own, what do you own? – sort of an influence. You teeter on the edge with Niobe and the end result of expressing your arrogance can be complete loss, or hubris, where you are forced to feel shame and humiliation by those in power positions. Basically, expect to put well and truly in your place.
In parenting, Niobe can symbolize the arrogant parent who demands complete respect without returning it in kind. She can also represent the parent who boasts about her children’s achievements as if they are her own, placing undue pressure on her offspring in the process.
It is not all negative with Niobe, even though the consequences of her tale are the harshest imaginable. The element of questioning demanded worship is to be praised. In a time when the Gods and Goddesses had free and hypocritical reign, she desired to put her faith in something with substance and reality. Something ’she’ believed in, rather than what was expected of her. Here, your questioning and ultimately ‘clash’ with a firm belief system, helps you to gain independence from something or someone that was forcing you to live a reality that is unsuited to your personal moral and faith system. From this disconnection, you then move on to create your own environment.
The lesson to be learned with Niobe is to choose your battles wisely. It is appreciation that facing the challenge will bring loss and knowing full well that when you start this battle, that there will be no turning back. It is not about acting out arrogance on pride alone, or creating a flat-line situation where you lose everything and everyone over something minor and trivial. It is striking that balance with a life changing thought process and gaining honest appreciation that if you make that move, if you speak out, the end result will create so much pain that part of you will turn to stone.
Keywords:- hubris, questioning faith, rebellion against authority, pride, arrogance, boastful behaviour, parental expectation, living life through the children, loss of children, loss of family, black sheep of the family, ostracised, atheist, agnostic
Artwork – Anicet Charles-Gabriel Lemonnier
© Karen Piscitelli