Circe #34 and Relationship Magic

By Mythical Astrologer and Gene Keys Guide Alison Dhuanna (www.alisondhuanna.com)

I was first drawn to Circe after a mystical encounter with Nimue, a Celtic sorceress who appears in the Holy Grail Mysteries. I became interested in exploring the similarities and differences between these two archetypes. Let me share first how Nimue arrived in my life in a powerful way in the summer of 2023.

I went on a holiday to Wales with my new lover where I started to perceive us in some way embodying the archetypes of Merlin and Nimue. He is older than me with a real wizard like beard and ways, and I in my way am a sorceress – though priestess is how I would normally identify myself.

At the time I was re-reading a wonderful book called ‘The Ladies of the Lake’ by Caitlin and John Mathews and Nimue was the first ‘lady’ who drew my attention in the text. On our travels we visited two special places I have previously been many times, but not knowing they have a strong Merlin connection, which on this visit revealed itself.

The first is a place very dear to me called Dinas Emrys, where I have been to swim in a sacred waterfall over a number of years. It is a foothill of Snowdon mountain in Wales where I had heard of a legend of two dragons and had become acquainted with them as part of a big ley line configuration I was exploring across Britain. What I didn’t know until this trip was that Merlin is said to have come here as a child and freed the dragons from beneath the hill.

The second part of our journey took us to Aberdaron and Bardsey Island. I discovered through something that popped up on the web that Nimue is said to have entrapped Merlin in a glass tower on Bardsey Island. Due to bad weather we didn’t actually make it to the island, but instead discovered the most beautiful and luscious well of St Mary, a spring emerging from the cliff rocks at sea level. Difficult to find and reach, it was a marvel to drink its pure waters completely engulfed and hidden at high tides. I felt this diversion from our planned journey was important, that I was being pointed towards the divine feminine through the well, rather than the island itself.

John and Caitlin Mathews give a rich and refreshing take on many of these Grail Ladies, often misunderstood and demonised. The story with Nimue goes that Merlin was sexually harrassing her and she let him to gain all his wisdom – then she locked him in a Glass Tower forever more. The authors however explore the texts discussing her as an ‘Initiator’ of Merlin and a guardian while he undergoes a period of restrained sleeping. This feels to me like a Saturn transit where commitment and restraint of immature behaviours are required for spiritual growth. The glass is interesting too and suggests to me a need for transparency, and therefore the release of fear and dishonesty.

Key attributes of Nimue are that she is a sorceress hungry for knowledge, and she feels the intrusion of Merlin into her space (if we agree he was sexually harrassing her). Perhaps we could see this as sexually immature behaviour and not respectful of her boundaries. Nimue is known to have worked with spells, plants and potions the same as Circe. One of the key aspects I see as similar in Nimue and Circe is as Initiators of the Masculine. Also they both experience sexual harrassment from the immature male.

Another important similarity is they are both seers and weavers. As well as actually perceiving the future they also have the capacity to create it through intense focus. At the time of writing this in late 2023 the mutation energies feel incredibly strong – as predicted astrologically many of our systems collectively and in our personal lives are in chaos and breaking down. The biological pressure is also immense and many will struggle to stay healthy in these times. The old coding is running down, but as it does fear escalates and polarisation can be intense. The Israeli/Palestinian situation feels to be the bursting point of the oppressive energies at play. Trying to keep ourselves safe through oppression, violence and wall building doesn’t work. It never has, but now it is writ large for all to see. Becoming open hearted and compassionate as humans is a much more reliable pathway to security.

The weaver aspect of this journey has been fascinating because Squirrel has come as my teacher. Nimue gave me a powerful vision and it is one that keeps re-appearing in my imagination and I trust it. The vision is of mine and my beloved’s hands bound together with flowers. It is a symbol of the completion of the alchemical marriage of male and female. This is of course firstly an inner process then reflected to the outside – and it feels at the heart of the much talked about Twin Flame phenomena.

Some time later I heard the story of how squirrels often fall out of trees and when they do they find with their eyes the best place to land. Now they must not doubt and look around, or they will crash- land. Instead they keep their eyes on the target landing space (the completion of the Alchemical Marriage in this case) and all their limbs, tail, ear, fur will move towards ensuring that is where they will land without injury.

In the Gene Keys squirrel is the Dream Arc creature for the 36th Gene Key moving from Turbulence to Humanity to Compassion. This is also where Neptune is transiting in 2023 assisting these higher qualities of compassion to break through.

Circe – Embracing Aloneness

Turning to Circe, I felt drawn to her and was then part of a group contemplation studying asteroids, gaining a sense of my own and other women’s experience of her. The way in which I have learnt about Asteroids in the past is that they have manifested as particular emotional states, and what is happening at the time can illuminate certain issues.

The emotional state I was mostly experiencing at the time was loneliness in relation to my partner and all through our time together a deep longing for the recognition and love of the masculine. This period of contemplation of Circe also coincided with the death of my Father which really opened these wounds up in a very raw way and helped me to get clarity about this ongoing and relentless insecurity inside me. The wound feels both very old, but also new in that it seems particularly powerful in the chemistry of this relationship.

I put together a class on Soul Tribe Online (a platform where I offer astrology classes) and I wanted to explore Circe in a very visual way through art. (links to these classes may be found at the end of the text) There are many depictions of Circe that can be found online, and what moved me in my imagination was her living alone on this beautiful island surrounded by animals. At the time I was also co-hosting a Gene Keys Dream Arc Retreat pod calls merging in our consciousness with Gaia and the animals, and I felt Circe to be embodying this kind of wisdom on her island.

Circe was renowned for turning men into pigs who visited her island and didn’t respect her. I wondered immediately if this an indication of possible ‘initiation’ that Circe offers the masculine as an archetype? The book Circe by Madeleine Miller says she turned many sailors who turned up on her shores seeking help into pigs. They ate her food, drank her wine and then tried to rape her as she was alone. The pig was the animal sacred to Demeter/Ceres and associated with the Goddess. So was this a form of initiation, rather than her just being an evil enchantress as she is often depicted?

Secondly I was drawn to images of her with powerful cats such as the lion, tiger and leopard. Clearly in these artists’ imagination Circe had this incredible connection with the animals and this illuminated for me her sovereignty. Her familiar animal is a lion.

On tuning into her, I could literally feel the longing for masculine love taking me outside of my body to a painful place, and her presence returning me to my centre. I could use her presence in myself to come back to my own power, and to know my intrinsic value. Staying in this place I then do receive the love and respect of the masculine in a way I desire it. Not having to use manipulation or begging to receive it or to live cut off from my heart in dishonest compromised way without it.

Through this exploration of art I became quite fascinated by the Art of John William Waterhouse who painted Circe four times. He was clearly very interested in her and saw her also as highly intelligent – in the below depiction of her as The Sorceress she has mathematical images alongside her potions used to transform Odysseus’ men.

I decided to look up Waterhouse’s chart to see where his Circe was and was amazed to find he was born 6th April 1849, and Circe was discovered by a French Astronomer on the 6th April 1855. For those familiar with Human Design and Gene Keys, this means both events have the same ‘Incarnation Cross’. Here is a quote about this cross and what it shouts out to me is of initiation

“The Right Angle Cross of Penetration 2 (53/54 | 51/57)

Your Cross carries the energy of starting or initiating something new. You will always have an ambition to change things or begin anew. With opportunities that come to you, you will much prefer to get in on the ground floor than go with something old and established. You are here to be an initiating force with penetrating energy and be recognized for your contribution. You will want to see that what you are working on is done in a big way. This ability to initiate will be most successful if you follow your Human Design type and strategy. You are here to be involved from the beginning of whatever you are passionate about.“

Ref:  https://humandesign.tools/incarnation-crosses/the-right-angle-cross-of-penetration-2

How fascinating to discover this in common with Circe Asteroid and John William Waterhouse.

Astrological information

For the birth of Waterhouse, Circe was at 11 Taurus 11’ 44 which is Gene Key 24.4 leading from Addiction to Invention to Silence. Circe was conjunct Vesta the Priestess archetype at 8 Taurus 10’ and I perceive Circe to be a important part of the overall Vesta archetype. Waterhouse’s fascination with these Greek goddesses and especially Circe, are an expression of the strong’priestess’ archetype within him.

Another theme unfolding for me at this time was the return of old addiction patterns. While my father was dying I allowed myself to go back to smoking and drinking – both coping mechanisms I had taken up in my early teens. I have for the most part broken these addictive patterns, so it was interesting to notice in this moment of intense stress as Dad was dying how strongly they returned. Also to notice how tobacco especially enables me to be alone and feel OK.

Witnessing the addicted parts of myself with compassion, and especially the traumatised 11 year old inside myself, I found I was starting to see deeper into the addiction patterns. Firstly my addiction to the story of being exiled in my family, not worthy of love and feeling shocked and abandoned.

Interesting this feeling of shock I would associate with the 51st Gene Key moving from Agitation to Initiative to Awakening where the Sun was when Waterhouse was born and Circe discovered. In the months leading up to Dad’s death I had been triggered a few times by interactions with my partner into fears of abandonment, resulting in disassociation sometimes for a number of days and powerful electrical currents of shock around my heart.

One of the things my partner and I share is that we were both given to other people just after we were born while our parents went on holiday. In our conversations we have talked about this perhaps having been an appeasement of the father. Both our mothers went out of their way to let us know that father was number one and the children came second. It is possible that going on holiday leaving the baby was a way of saying, “see nothing is going to change”.

We both share the same EQ 59 leading from Dishonesty to Intimacy to Transparency and also the same Core Wound the 52 leading from Stress to Restraint to Stillness. So our chemistry is very strong in bringing all the shadow material out and the similarities with our childhood conditioning and traumas (as they would now be acknowledged from an attachment perspective) are fascinating. The raw emotional stuff that relationship alchemy is made of!

I was feeling the archetype of Circe being one to work with these deep rooted issues. Gazing even deeper into the skrying bowl of my addiction seeing the longing itself for Father/masculine love itself as an addiction. The longing for something outside oneself to come to the rescue, the deeply entrenched victimhood patterns of the feminine in relation to the masculine. “I can only be okay when he loves and notices me” – most of us reading this will know how utterly painful that can be! Also the intense shock felt in the heart at the threat of abandonment.

Self-love and sovereignty feel to be the only way forward, and the precursor to a successful and equal relationship between a man and a woman (in all its gender fluid ways).

In the discovery chart of Circe she was discovered at 25 Libra 34’ which is Gene Key 32.6. The 32nd Gene Key moves from Failure to Preservation to Veneration, with the word Veneration being derived from Venus. Though the word is used to describe the veneration of special individuals in many religions, I feel it has a particular resonance with the preservation of the Venus mysteries and the Goddess through time and space. Circe therefore feels to be a vast and important part of the Goddess transmission, and to reclaim her is to reclaim our magical, creative power as the feminine.

Circe as the ‘God’ particle in humans

Circe has a liking and longing for humans, and especially male contact, and this makes her an unusual goddess. She is the daughter of the Sun god Helios and her mother was a water nymph called Perses. A number of children were born from this union including Pasiphae and Aeetes, later discovering they all have magical powers like Circe.

In her youthful years, Circe is present at the first whipping of Prometheus after he gives fire to the humans, and she is greatly influenced by his compassion for humanity. Being a god he knew exactly what would befall him if he gave humanity fire, but he did it anyway. Most gods and goddesses in the Greek and Roman pantheon are pretty indifferent to humans so this is something special that marks Prometheus and Circe out. They are archetypes that want to increase our HUMAN powers. This feels very Aquarian to me.

In our religious cultures over millennia we are taught that spiritual power is outside ourselves, and whether we are talking about the Greek/Roman pantheons or the major religions this is the case. It usually follows that the pathway to God is through a male priest of some kind, and is highly controlled and of course the gods greatly benefit from this hierarchical belief system in which humans are victims of circumstance.

Circe challenges this, and as her myth unfolds we see that she intuitively begins to use powerful places and plants (pharmika) to bring about her desired wishes. For example she turns Glaucos, the human fisherman she is in love with, into a god hoping he will marry her. Unfortunately this all goes dreadfully wrong, and Glaucos falls in love with another water nymph Scylla. Circe then once again uses plant magic to bring the ugliness in Scylla to the surface out of jealousy, and turns her into a deadly Sea Monster.

This is I feel an important point in understanding Circe because she is generating intention and magic through the realm of the Earth and plants, and NOT through gods. She is greatly frowned upon for this as are her siblings. She is exiled to an island on her own for admitting what she did to Glaucos and Scylla and her own power. Her brother Aeetes whom she is very close to also has the same powers, but tells his father Helios and Zeus he used them by mistake, and gets off scot free. Following this discovery of the magical powers of all Perses children with Helios, their mating is discontinued as the gods of Mount Olympus have no wish to bring any more sorcerers who can potentially match their own powers into the world.

Circe therefore feels to me to be an important part of the recognition and owning of human based powers – rituals at special powers places, our connection with animals and the use of plants for healing and transformation.

Circe and Sexual Magic

Circe has much to learn about the misuse of sexual magic. Her longing for love and recognition is set up in her early years as her parents completely ignore her existence, and see her unusual yellow eyes and human quality voice as embarrassing. Circe is named by one of her aunts, her name meaning ‘Hawk’. This I feel is significant, as during my contemplation of Circe I had three separate close encounters with the Merlin bird which is a small hawk and with obvious connections to the beginning of this story with Nimue and Merlin. Hawk as an animal has powerful vision and superb hunting abilities.

Circe has a longing for love that is not fulfilled by her parents, and for a while she takes care of her younger brother Aeetes raising him like her own child. He eventually leaves her to set up his own kingdom at his fathers request which causes her much sorrow.

When Glaucos lands as a fisherman upon her shore, it is not surprising that she befriends him. The two grow closer and of course Circe wants a marriage with him, but the only way this could happen is if he was also a god. Circe finds out about some special plants in a powerful place. She takes Glaucos there and while he is sleeping she transforms him – though she doesn’t admit to that so he thinks the Fates have changed him. Now introduced to all the other immortal beings and water nymphs it is not long before Glaucos is drawn into relationships with others such as Scylla.

What Circe did to Scylla, turning her into a sea monster, continues to resonate through her life. When she goes to help her sister Pasiphae gives birth, the boat has to go past Scylla’s lethal whirlpool where she has to face the responsibility she has for the deaths of hundreds of sailors. They only just make it themselves past Scylla through Circe’s sorcery.

When Odysseus lands on her island with his men and she falls in love with him, she is once again confronted with the very difficult decision whether or not to use magic or not to keep him there. In Madeleine Miller’s version of events, which feels very true to me, Odysseus himself decides he will stay over the winter repairing his craft and resting until the spring. He and Circe become lovers and the more time goes on they become closer. Will he stay or will he go? A challenging question because she will be left all alone on her island of exile once more.

As is always the case with these goddesses, I have been feeling in a very raw way these dilemmas myself. Having moved to the far south western tip of England to be with my beloved, I often feel very alone. I am slowly making friends here and finding a sense of belonging to place, but in the meantime I find daily bouts of anxiety snaking through my solar plexus and being confronted with a deep sense of uneasiness. These actually reduced greatly over the time working with Circe and the healing she brought me.

Circe has been the archetype all along taking me closer and closer to breakthrough. My own inner freedom will come, and I see this with clarity, when I can be alone without fear.

Circe and motherhood

While I had expected to find resonance with the mythical figure of Circe in her purification of intention around magic, I was surprised to find, at least in Madeleine Millers account of her story in her book ‘Circe’, that her story around motherhood really hit home too. This is the only account of Circe’s myth I have read in depth and draw on this in my astrological interpretation here.

In my late thirties I adopted a boy child of 5 years old with my then husband with severe trauma and attachment issues. His behaviours reflected this, being an reckless boy who put himself and others almost constantly in danger, and it is in this regard that he is much like Telegonis, Circe’s child..

As a young woman Circe had been charged with taking care of her younger brother Aeetes, and in her lonely existence without the recognition and love of her parents, she grew very attached to him. He then was sent off to govern an island by their father Helios, leaving Circe alone once more and heart broken. Her brother became cruel, taking on that mantle of the gods that care little for human beings and suffering.

It is perhaps not surprising then that she uses her plant wisdom to avoid getting pregnant with Hermes, her long time lover who would come and go from her island.

When Odysseus lands upon her shore Circe discovers he is not like the other men who have come to her island; for example he talks fondly of his wife Penelope and does not attempt to sexually assault her once he finds she is alone. All other sailors have and Circe turns them into pigs for their trouble, and she does this too with Odysseus rowdy and uncouth crew. She does break the spell on them at the request of Odysseus, but it is his respectful behaviour that facilitates this.

Once Circe knows Odysseus will be leaving her island she allows herself to become pregnant. Unbeknown to her though there is a prophecy that the child Telegonus will in the future kill his father, and because of this Athena from the start is doing all she can to destroy the child, though she cannot kill him directly.

Circe has a horrendous pregnancy and birth thank to Athena’s interference, eventually having to cut herself open to get her baby out. She had some experience of this already, when she assisted her sister Pasiphae give birth to the Minotaur where she had to cut her open. As goddesses this did not kill them as their skin healed back, but you can imagine it would be pretty traumatic and unpleasant for mother and child.

Circe then learns from Athena who comes to steal the child that she is intent on destroying him, though she doesn’t know about the prophecy until much later. Circe thereafter spends all her days and nights creating plant spells and magic to keep Athena at bay and keep her son safe. It is in this I see myself and my adopted son. I spent days and nights for seven years figuring out how best to protect my son, driven by a mother’s desperate love. The stress of those years in hindsight was incredible: always waiting for the school to ring to go and collect him as he had hurt someone or smashed a window or switched off the computer so the teacher lost all her day’s work. Also he was always on the edge of danger in play and would hurt himself often. Arnica was my great friend in those days and still is.

Even so when he was 11 years old, he wanted to leave and go off into the world, and he orchestrated the events that enabled him to do that.

Telegonus , whose name means ‘born afar’, is always looking at the horizon and hankers after leaving the island. Eventually he is able to do this and go in search of his father. Circe has put a good light on the stories she told Telegonus about his father, omitting the fact of his extreme ruthlessness in war. She arms Telegonus with a spear tipped with a highly lethal poison from a sea monster to protect himself from anything Athena might put in his path on the sea journey. It is with this spear that he accidentally kills Oddysseus, who not knowing who he is brashly accuses Telegonus of coming to plunder his island Ithaca and attacks him. Thus the prophecy is fulfilled and he kills his father.

Circe finds her true love

In an extraordinary turn of events Penelope and her son by Odysseus Telemachus, return to Circe’s island with Telegonus. As the story unfolds it seems Odysseus did not go straight home, he stopped off at Calypso’s island spending some 7 years more there becoming her lover. Once he did return to to Ithaca he was restless and his violent nature, suppressed in Circe’s presence, took hold once more. Bored of home life, he neglected Penelope and was cruel to his son Telemachus, meaning that both were not too sorry he was dead. Telemachus’s name means ‘far from battle’.

Astrologically this for me signals a merging of two archetypes in consciousness – the abandoned and neglected wife Penelope and the wise lover Circe. I say wise, because we see in Circe how much she has transformed from her early jealousy around one of her first lovers Glaucos when she turned Scylla into a sea monster many years before. As Scylla has now killed hundreds of sailors, this weighs heavy on Circe’s heart. She paid a high price for her jealousy and misuse of magic and many suffered as a result. This shows the humanity of Circe and the move away from the cold heartedness of the gods and goddesses generally of that pantheon towards humans.

The fact she so often chose mortal men as her lovers shows this to be her key evolutionary path – to be the loving goddess who assists humanity. I believe she represents the tender side of the dark goddess archetypes and how beneficial they can be to the masculine.

Both Circe and Penelope are renowned weavers, and Penelope is invited to use the beautiful loom gifted to Circe many years previously by her lover Daedalus. This is a special invitation when one woman allows another to use her sacred loom. The weaving feels important, and it connects us back to the Arthurian goddess Nimue who too was a weaver. It points towards these goddesses being behind the events playing out in the world and not just passive observers, weaving a new story.

Its always so fascinating to me how these archetypes play out through our lives, as this integration of Penelope and Circe is taking place within myself. Its a very personal and delicate weaving and I’m not feeling ready to commit it to paper yet – but it feels very magical. A learning to love and become one with the ‘other woman’ and therefore mature.

In another extraordinary turn of events Circe and Telemachus become lovers with Penelope’s blessing. Athena comes to demand Telemachus become a ruler of an island but he refuses. He is not at all war like in character and chooses to stay with Circe – who of course does not age because she is immortal. Telemachus though he is young, becomes the mature male ready to be with the powerful goddess Circe. Thus they travel by boat together and take on the dangerous business of killing Scylla and ending her reign of terror in her whirlpool. Both courageous and gentle souls, I feel within them the achievement of the alchemical marriage of male and female. The killing of Scylla symbolises their facing down of the most profoud fears in order to achieve this.

Telegonus, with the restlessness of his father, takes Telemachus’s place instead heartily as ruler of a distant island, so Circe does finally lose her son, but he is now protected by Athena. While it is usal to see Odysseus as the hero, for me Telemachus wins the prize for nobility hands down.

As I complete my first draft of this exploration of Circe in astrology I went outside and a Hawk went soaring by, the bird for which she is named. I am complete in so many mysterious ways thanks to Asteroid Circe.

You can check out where

Asteroid Circe #34 is in you chart at www.taraka.io

Asteroid Vesta #3 may give you a broader perspective on the Vesta Priestess archetype that I feel Circe to be an important part of.

Taraka gives you both the zodiac and HD/Gene Keys position and is easy to use. Asteroids are in numeric order

You can also check out some of Circe’s mythical counterparts on astro.com

Click on the Extended Chart box and manually enter these numbers of Asteroids below and generate a new chart:

Telemachus #15913 I am intrigued by Telemachus and have posted a class below Sacred Love: The Aquarian Codes: Circe and Telemachus

Scylla #155 The inner monster coming out, jealousy, manipulation of the masculine

Prometheus #1809 One of a small number of gods and goddesses in this pantheon who want to empower humans

Medea #212 Circe’s neice has similar struggles with the mortal masculine and as a result kills her children. We see the issue of jealousy and insecurity playing out in a similar fashion through Medea’s life and the harsh lessons she has to learn.

Odysseus #1143 – the hero who visits Circe’s island. Circe falls in love with him but a year later allows him to leave and return to his wife Penelope – though he spends another 7 years on route with Calypso. For me in this contenxt he represents the ‘old’ male hero coding which is trannscended by Telemachus. Restless, wondering and violent in nature, Circe does bring out the best in him, but according to Penelope and Telemachus he is both cruel and neglectful of his family.

Penelope #201 – in my own journey I experienced Penelope as an important part of the story of the deep wounding of women, the threat of the ‘other’ woman. In Margaret Miller’s book ‘Circe’, Circe and Penelope become friends and Circe lends Penelope her loom which is a sign of great honour. I feel Penelope represents both faithfulness and patience, she also mastered being alone as a single parent but also this quality of the wound of seperation – particuarly as it plays out between women .

Some essential key words for Circe in the birth chart:

Initiation

Aloneness and loneliness

Self exile from the biological family

Circe as a portal to ‘Dream Arc’ consciousness, being at one with Gaia and the animals

Sovereignty and giving away female power

Longing to be loved and noticed by the Father/masculine

Isolation balanced with connection with others

Cat like sexual energy (as I experience it)

Feeling scorned, abandoned or tricked or being a Trickster

Initiating and softening the masculine energies

Increased abundance through the activation of intention

A challenging motherhood experience

Finding true love through maturity

You Tube classes on Circe #34

Circe: Reclaiming the Magic of the Earth Part 1 https://youtu.be/rIsm3wPfcpE?si=qJcmYwW5-JCp2UgV

The Goddess and the Lion: Part 2 https://youtu.be/E_RI-oL4AIE?si=EYRPynIk_YD_BxV7

Circe and Telemachus: Part 3: https://youtu.be/qEOb08JuLhw

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