Asteroid Pandora was discovered on the 10th September 1858 by astronomer George Mary Searle. Pandora is one of the larger asteroids, bright and part of the main asteroid belt which orbits between Mars and Jupiter. Her orbital period is around 4.58 years.
Pandora was named by the widow of the founder of the observatory. At the time, the widow was involved in a heated dispute with another astronomer there which eventually resulted in him being physically thrown out by hired men. Upon hearing that the asteroid was named Pandora, the astronomer in question commented on how apt it was. So there at the beginning, Pandora was connected to controversy.
The Myth of Pandora
After Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, Zeus was furious so he charged master craftsman Hephaestus to create a woman (Pandora) to bring great misery to the human race. Misery was the price to pay for fire. Pandora was gifted by various Gods and Goddesses with every attribute a woman (and man!) could desire – beauty, eloquence, talent and more. Zeus gave Hermes the task of taking Pandora down to Earth as a gift to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Prometheus means forethought. Epimetheus means afterthought. Pandora was also given a sealed jar and told not to open it under any circumstances. Mercury, up to his usual tricks, whispered in Pandora’s ear on the way down to Earth, giving her the ‘gift’ of insatiable curiosity along with her many other talents.
Prometheus had the foresight to know that the Gods were angry and had warned his brother not to accept any gifts from Zeus. Epimetheus however was far too blinded by love or lust so went ahead and took in his bride. Pandora could not resist the urge to peak into the jar. Upon lifting the lid, all the ills of the world flew out to plague humankind. Only hope remained in the jar.
As a aside, the ‘box’ that most people are familiar with was actually a mistranslation of the Greek word for ‘jar’ and this was then set in stone with Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s painting. I will use the word ‘box’ from now on as not only are people more familiar with it, it also carries connotations of its own which I think are relevant.
There are several threads here that are interesting to follow. Firstly, there seems to be a relationship here between Pandora as ‘first woman’ with Eve and possibly Lilith too. Certainly we see a continuing story of the divine feminine and woman in general being the ’cause’ of the ills of the world. Even the misinterpretation leading to the word ‘box’ which then also became a slang term for a woman’s vulva seems part and parcel of this story.
Essentially, Pandora was created to resolve a testosterone contest between the boys – men and Gods, all male, all fighting to get one over on each other. Prometheus stole fire. Zeus punished them. Pandora was the pawn in the mix.
Whilst we don’t have a time for the discovery chart itself, the aspects and placements in the chart are quite fascinating. Firstly Pandora herself is in Aries – the first of the fire signs so this falls back on fire, the acquisition of spiritual enlightenment and vision being her genesis.
The Sabian symbol of Pandora is An Unexploded Bomb Reveals An Unsuccessful Social Protest. This symbol is in keeping with the original intention of Zeus for Pandora to be a punishment to mankind. Pandora herself is the ‘unexploded bomb’. It’s as though Pandora is charged with unreleased potential. There is a sense of force behind her yet it can be unused, dissipated, defused – or perhaps twisted to a different purpose. There’s a feeling that it is only through exploding the bomb or opening the box that Pandora’s true potential is realised.
Jupiter opposite Pandora’s ruler Mars shows the ‘righteous anger’ of Zeus. The asteroid belt where Pandora resides lies between these two planets. There’s something here about personal action verses social action. There’s a need to be aware of one’s personal desires and the effect that has on the population as a whole. Perhaps Pandora then could be said to be connected to ‘right action’ or social activism. This aspect also relates back to the idea of ‘social protest’ in Pandora’s Sabian symbol.
Mercury opposite Neptune wonderfully captures the role of Hermes whispering into Pandora’s ear. This is the box of delights, truth and lies. It’s Epimetheus making bad decisions through clouded thinking, under the spell of the promise of something wonderful. It’s Pandora utterly enchanted by what might be in the box. With the Sun also opposite Neptune, there is clearly magic at work within Pandora.
Saturn opposite Chiron links in to the ills of the world being released. But there’s something here too about not taking responsibility and putting the blame onto someone else. Pandora was used as a scapegoat.
Uranus is square the Nodes showing a shock to the system which can go either way. Releasing the truth can propel things into revolutionary change or trigger instability – maybe both. It also demonstrates Pandora’s rebellious act of opening the box despite being told not to do it.
The Moon and Venus are opposite Pluto. This carries the theme of women being used to start a war, the fall and domination of woman and the divine feminine. It also captures a sense of Pandora’s irresistible charm as well as her own compulsive desire to open the box. There’s an obsessive edge to Pandora which draws us inevitably to face our demons. The ‘fate’ is inescapable. Once our curiosity has been triggered, it’s insatiable. She is the ultimate femme fatal.
There are several threads worthy of investigation with Pandora but the most prominent manifestation of her energy seems to be related to the typical idea of opening the box and blowing the thing wide open. She seems prominent in the charts of whistleblowers and activists. On a personal level, where she is in close aspect to one of the main planets or points in a chart, she may represent a powerful pull to face your demons, a need to open a can of worms, regardless of consequences. Some part of you senses that beneath the horror lies something far more valuable. Negatively manifested, she can be where you take the blame, where you refuse to listen and where you act first and think later. There is a great deal of energy in this asteroid that can be directed for good or ill.
Keywords and Phrases
Things aren’t as they seem; beware of things that seem too good to be true; curiosity killed the cat; opening a can of worms; getting more than you bargained for; whistle-blower; letting the cat out of the bag; causing a stir; rocking the boat; a set-up; not doing what you’re told; act first, think later; social activism; unexpected consequences; be careful what you wish for; a gift wrapped up in a curse – and vice versa!
Pandora Celebrity Examples
Karen Silkwood – Whistle-blower who was (possibly) killed for revealing dangerous working conditions. Pandora is exactly on her Descendant and opposite Chiron which lies on the Ascendant. She became the ultimate scapegoat after opening up about what was really going on. Pandora is also exactly square to Saturn which is conjunct the Midheaven. Interestingly, Meryl Streep who immortalised the story in the movie ‘Silkwood’ has Pandora in the 6th exactly semi-sextile Chiron in the 5th.
Edward Snowden – Famous for revealing excessive government surveillance. Whilst a little wider in orb than I would normally use, I can’t ignore Pandora in the 1st house conjunct the Sun.
Julian Assange – Famous for setting up Wikileaks to expose information the public should know. Pandora is in the 11th house exactly trine the North Node in the 3rd House.
To find Pandora in your chart, enter Asteroid number 55 in the ‘additional objects’ field at astro.com
Alternatively, you can locate the position of Pandora using the ephemeris at Serennu.com
If you are interested in knowing the asteroids that play a part in your story, I offer readings and consultations.
This morning I received an email from a dear aunt about hope and the myth of Pandora. I guess we must all be channeling some feminine unrest these days. I myself had what I would like to call a ‘Lilith meltdown’ on Monday, so there you go. 🙂
Hi Maria – Gosh it’s so strange, several people have told me that Pandora has been figuring strongly around them in the last few days! I agree, it seems restless energy but strong too, perhaps just waiting to be channelled. Hope your Lilith meltdown helped to clear the way. I’ve had a few of those myself 😀
My moon is 12 Aries and Sun is 13 Aries. Time of Pandora discovery. I am a major whistleblower since 2006 for all kinds of corruption on high levels of City of Philadelphia. I finally got out last year as their their efforts to off me increased. Hope I’m safe. Working on a book about it. Got ptsd from all the crimes against me. Weird that you named all those whistleblowers. My story is not over. I’m just a bit safer now.
My Natal Pandora is 12 Aquarius . My Asc is 7 Aquarius conj Iris. Magdalena is at 10 Aquarius. YEP. I’m telling all in my book.
Ha ha ha! I definitely had a pandora moment, aka the social activist and after I do I go, “oh no! I’ve done it again” because it always rattles a few people. I’m still laughing though so that must be good. I so love Lillith as challenging as she is. 🙂
Hi Caritz – Lol, yes if you are still laughing then all is well in the world 😀 Sometimes those can of worms have to be opened!
Hi Margaret, wow yes I can see how that Pandora energy is working for you. I love that Iris is there too giving you hope.
Hi Margaret – Yes it seems that Pandora does have a strong connection with whistle-blowing. I’m glad to hear you are safer now you have moved. Good luck with your book!
Thank you for your words about the discovery and meaning of the astrologic Pandora.! It seems to me, Pandora is on the Aries12th degree at the discovery chart? Am I reading correctly? If so, I´m sure you have noticed, that arround 28th of this February there will be a major conjunction with this “native” Pandora degree with the transits of South Node Moon, Uranus, Mars and Venus. All arround the 12th Aires… I really would apreciate your opinion, about a possible reading of this moment, in ours commons destinies. Maybe it will be a kea time to reveal a importante face from our common Pandora, isn´t it?… Thank you, so much for your attention! May Pandora “lights the Light”?!…
Hi Carlos – Yes, Pandora is at 12 Aries in the discovery chart. I shall take a look at this when I do my weekly update for that week – well spotted 🙂
Hi Leah! I have pandora 4H square my ascendant in my progressed chart now, how do this aspect play out? thank you x
I have Pandora conjunct ASC 24 Cancer & Psyche conjunct Sun at 28 cancer…
These articles have really given meinsight
What do you think about BML conjunct Pandora in a grand trine with Sun conjunct Mercury in the 8th, and asteriod Hades?
Pandora is conjunct my North node at the penultimate degree of Leo in my 10th house, inconjunct Saturn at penultimate, degree of Capricorn 3rd house, sextile 0 Cancer sun, thus a yod with Saturn at the apex… publicly working through the contents of the jar, like taking a shower with only glass blocks between myself and others, communicating with general public as to the healing ways I have found through understanding the wisdom gained through said experience, ultimately to inspire others to keep hope alive, defeat not possible while hope remains…all coming clear to me now, thank you, your writing on this asteroid makes so much sense. There has been alot of seemingly fated events in my life, several times illness threatening my life as well and I had assumed it all to be due to Hekate in Aries opposite my 12th house Libra moon, this however makes more sense. Again, thank you and Bless
Oh and Pandora currently conjunct BML in Leo 10th while BML conjunct my Libra Ascendant, not being a “bitch” yet only allowing the truth to come out naturally am I able to help more, so may be seen as one by at least a few, hopefully they know me better than that now, interesting times, so grateful to gave read this, as once again a sense of fate, yet hoping for good.
I noticed an incredible connection with Pandora’s Sabian symbol and the bombing September 17th, 2016 in Manhattan two days ago – the Moon was almost exactly transiting 12 degrees Aries!
‘An Unexploded Bomb Reveals An Unsuccessful Social Protest’
Several unexploded bombs were found in New Jersey, and although there were minor injuries in the NYC blast, no one died, and they captured the suspect today.
I have Pandora exactly conjunct my Mercury at 11 Scorpio, and use it regularly in my charts. Thanks for your asteroid articles, very well written.
Hi Greg – wow, that is a very interesting synchronicity, thanks for your comment. I love how Pandora really ‘speaks’ to you given that she is conjunct your natal Mercury.
Pandora was in Virgo, 11th house, in my natal chart. It is sitting directly on my natal Neptune in Scorpio in my 1st house (transitting.) Feeling as if something is about to pop!
Interesting to note that Venus has just stationed retrograde these last couple of days on the degree 13 Aries as she appears in the “discovery” chart (near enough, within one degree, of a conjunction, and timely enough NOT to be a coincidence, methinks)
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