THE ENERGY of Varuna is that which is too large to comprehend, but which somehow touches us personally. Varuna contains some response to the question, “If God is so powerful why should s/he care about me”?

In this respect, it has some attributes of the 12th house — the house of overwhelming or incomprehensible aspects of life that act out of sight or in the deep background; but the 12th house makes direct contact with the 1st house, which contains the most basic attributes of who we are. Varuna helps us explore the relationship between the vast world and that of the individual. In this respect he bears some resemblance to the Aries Point, another symbol bearing resemblance to the ascendant.

Varuna is named for a supreme pre-Vedic creation deity who was demoted to the lord of waters by subsequent kingdoms. He then took up residence as a cult figure rather than a top-level creation deity. There is no way to actually demote a god, but we can pretend that something is less important than it is. His name evokes reverence in some people even today.

My keywords for Varuna include the great equalizer. Though it may not seem reassuring, he is often depicted carrying a noose. He warns us that life and death are under the purview of God, and we need to respect that and act ethically while we are on Earth. One of Varuna’s themes, both astrological and mythological, is the punishment of liars and those who do not honor contracts.

This being said, Varuna does not seem to be patriarchal or even domineering, but rather something that works on our own level and responds in a direct way to real human needs. I think of Varuna as a force that we invoke personally; we ask for the help of this seemingly invisible energy, and it responds.

Varuna was discovered in 2000 and has an orbital period of 280.5 years. Varuna qualifies for classification as a Dwarf Planet but is currently considered a trans-Neptunian object (TNO). It bears a special place among the ‘firsts’ of the planets beyond Pluto — being the first one to be named (bearing an honorary place in the Minor Planet Catalogue — number 20,000). 1992 QB1 was the first one discovered, and Eris was the first one recognized as a planet, and the first larger than Pluto.

Varuna for someone who was once a vastly important god of the ancient Vedic world, he was demoted by invading Aryan conquerors to a god of rivers and waters. In earlier times, mortals who did not keep their word would meet his version of justice and could be killed. He could bestow immortality as well. Questions of the gain and loss of reputation, and the issue of immortality through fame, seem inevitable with this planet.

Astrological associations include the impersonal laws of nature (as opposed to human nature) and the incomprehensible cosmic order (as opposed to the order of society). It would seem he mediates between these two orders of reality.

Earlier article to integrate (from 2003 annual)

Varuna was the first planet beyond Neptune to receive a name. At the time, it was the largest and considered an important discovery. Hence it was given minor planet number 20,000.

Varuna was at one time one of the most important gods of the ancient Hindu world. One thing about all these planets being discovered and named is that we’re learning a whole lot about theology and mythology. writes that “Varuna, the god of oceans, is shown as a fair complexioned man riding a monster fish called Makara, which has the head and legs of an antelope. He may have two or four hands and in one of his right hands he carries a noose.

“Varuna lost his importance even during the Vedic times. Of his former character of a celestial deity, he retains only the title of the regent of the Western quarter of the compass. The mythological explanation of this great conflict occurred between gods and demons and when it was over each of the gods was assigned a clearly defined sphere of influence to avoid further conflicts.

“From this time onwards Indra remained the god of atmosphere while Varuna was ousted from the guardianship of the heavens and was given the over lordship of the oceans. Here he kept watch over the various demons of the ocean. Varuna sits with his wife Varuni, on a throne of diamonds and the gods and goddesses of the different rivers, lakes and springs form his court.”

Tracy Delaney, whom I sent scurrying around the network looking for information on Varuna, recently wrote to me, “There is plenty of stuff about Varuna as a higher remote power which is beyond question or understanding, and this divine power being allowed to manifest through individuals (like the Pope or a Supreme Court Judge), also emerging in charts as arrogance or dogma (with square aspects).

“Juan [Revilla] suggests an avenue of inquiry. He points out that Varuna was exactly conjunct the Sun in Cancer at the birth of Islam (’16th July 622 at Sunset in Mecca, sunset occurred at 16h05m38s’), and that this should cause self-expression to become like the conjunct planet, which ‘looses its independence and becomes too absorbing, too central and excessive’. Thus the nature of Islam may give some clues about the nature of Varuna.”

Interesting, then, that Varuna is back in Cancer and making an exact conjunction to the natal Sun of Mr. Bush Jr., who, to put it politely, is acting a little Islamic these days.

When the Chiron-Saturn opposition happens, Varuna will be involved; the aspect will be Saturn conjunct Varuna opposite Chiron. Dubya’s Sun is right there. We are going to learn something about him, and, I dare say, about ourselves. For more details about the Bush chart in 2002, please see that article.

One thing we can reasonably say about Varuna is that he exists on a very large scale and has the feeling of being so far beyond the human realm that he might as well be a deity-alien in a different dimension. But he’s not; we know his name, we can see him in our charts, and we can get a feeling for where we are bringing that quality of totally-beyond energy into manifestation in our lives.

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