Dwarf Planet Eris is the 10th largest planet in our Solar System.  But have you ever heard of it?  No?  Well, that’s part of the Eris myth.

Eris cops some bad press.   She’s known as the Goddess of Discord, and her moon Dysnomia is the Goddess of Lawlessness. Not surprisingly, astrologer Philip Sedgwick finds her strongly represented in the chart of Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena. And, intriguingly, in the chart of Joan of Arc.

Even though Eris is the largest dwarf planet after Pluto she is often ignored. And this is part of her story. In her mythology, Eris wasn’t invited to the party. That’s why she decided to create a bit of mischief.   Eris represents a place in our chart where we can get caught up in strife and discord, and where we can find the power to take control over a troubling area of our life.

But Eris has some wonderful gifts to add to our soulful toolbox.  While she represents the times we go it alone rather than work together with others, our tendency to isolate, she only does this to protect her true sense of self.  Eris also shows us how to join together with others without losing our own essence.  She is our point of contact with others, and our capacity to do that cleanly, to hold to a clear sense of the positive possibilities.

Eris shows us how to join together with others without losing our own essenceClick to Tweet

She represents our choice for either entropy of centropy in all our connections. Do we want to create or destroy the possibility for connection?

The Mythology of Eris

Eris is most famous for not being invited to a big wedding.  To make herself feel better she carves ‘For the Fairest’ into golden apple and tosses it into the middle of the celebration.  Aphrodite, Athena and Hera fight over the apple, at which point Paris is asked to choose. Of course it would have been no surprise to anyone that Paris, a hot blooded young man, picked the beautiful and desirable Helen, offered by Aphrodite, over the gifts of the warrior Athena or the matron Hera.

Eris was blamed for all this, and for the ensuing Trojan War as well. And herein lies a very important aspect of Eris in the design. It shows a place where we tend to blame or accept blame where it should be more equitably spread amongst the parties involved.  After all, it was the scheming Zeus who asked Paris to make the choice. Aphrodite made Helen fall in love with Paris, and Paris himself made off with the married Helen.

It also indicates confusion around cause and effect.  Without realising quite why, we are plunged into battle, seemingly with little choice on the part of anyone involved. Eris shows where we can begin to unravel this drama in our own lives, to disengage from the complex group matrix and find our own way.

Eris’s action created a competition. Joan of Arc certainly highlights this aspect of Eris – her desire to go to battle for some aspect that has been ignored, held down, disenfranchised.

A key component in the Eris-ian makeup could be a wake up call to let go of the idea of scarcity.  It causes strife, it makes us believe in the possibility of being left out and it prevents us from finding what is truly valuable for us on an individual level when we consider any particularly difficult situation in our lives.

 The Tenth Planet

While scanning the skies for objects beyond Neptune, Mike Brown at the Palomar Observatory near Los Angeles, aided by Chad Tradjilo and David Rabinowitz, found three planets in quick succession – Haumea, Eris and Makemake.  Eris was discovered on 5th January 2005, from images taken on 21st October 2003.  Initially she was thought to be bigger than Pluto, but later observations and calculations showed that she is probably slightly smaller.

Her orbit is around 560 years, compared to Pluto’s orbit of 248 years.

Her discovery point was 19 Aries 45 retrograde.  When the initial images were taken she was at 20

Aries 0 retrograde.  She has been in Aries ever since.

Eris in Human Design

On the day she was discovered, Eris was in Gate 51 line 5 retrograde.  Her position when the photos were taken was Gate 51 line 6 retrograde.

Gate 51 is about how we deal with shock.  It’s about sorting out what will change, and what is stable through the shock and will therefore continue.  It’s about working out what’s important.  It’s about learning to understand the greater forces of change in our lives.

Heaven speaks through thunder, and this is an omen that the human world is to be brought back into harmony.  Abruptly your world is not working as you expect.  The solid ground shifts under your feet, security slips away and mental constructs shatter.  Living reality has spoken.

Hilary Barrett on the Gate of Shock

It’s fascinating that three planets – Haumea, Eris and Makemake – were discovered one after the other, since Eris’ discovery position talks about shock coming in wave after wave.  Things will never be the same again.  These discoveries expanded our solar system far beyond it’s previous boundaries, shattering our world view.

You may also remember that the discovery of Eris led to the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet, a shocking event for astronomers, astrologers and lovers of Pluto the world over.  There were further shocks as the discovery of Haumea was claimed by two different teams of astronomers.  Mike Brown describes this time as the most turbulent in the astronomical community in over 400 years.

Discovery Chart for Eris

The Sun and Earth were in gates that typically involve struggle – Gate 38, Opposition, and Gate 39, Obstruction.  In line 6, they indicate a need to see past opposition and struggle to something more useful.

Perhaps assuming you need to defend yourself against all comers keeps you from seeing difference as harmful and threatening (38).

Perhaps we shouldn’t be rushing to battle with anything that opposes us, but wait patiently for a broader and more mature picture of the situation to reveal itself (39).

Remember that Eris is drawing us towards the potential for a new kind of relating, one that is based on building positive and creative outcomes.  Look at Venus in the Gate of Peace, where heaven and earth meet.  The Venus activation in Eris’ discovery chart reads:

If you try to pull up a single stem of thatch grass you find it’s connected to a dense continuous web of roots below the surface.  Here at the entry into Flow, acting on one point in the web can set it all in motion.  Sustained effort in small things will create synergy and momentum.  A single choice has more connections and consequences than you can imagine.

taken from Hilary Barrett’s I Ching 

Where is Eris in My Human Design Chart?

For a general idea, here’s the approximate times that Eris has shifted gates.  Please be aware that this is not exact due to retrogrades, for example Eris moved between Gate 17 and Gate 21 a few times in the period from 1955 to 1960.

1917 – Gate 25

1924 – moved into Aries (still in Gate 25)

1939 – Gate 17

1955 – Gate 21

1982 – Gate 51

2008 – Gate 42

2029 – Gate 3

You can find Eris and other Minor Planets in your Human Design at

 In my work with people I have found that even though Eris is an extremely slow moving planet – she has an orbital period of 557 years compared to Pluto’s orbit of 248 years – her influence is strong.   If we look simply at the idea of being blamed for everything that’s going on, we can extrapolate the lowest level of Eris as something like:

Gate 25  – I get blamed when I try to express my innocence

Gate 17 – I get blamed when I express my opinions

Gate 21 – I get blamed when I organise my life the way I want to

Gate 51 – I get blamed when I express fear and alarm about what is happening

Eris also indicates the ability to point out the ridiculous, and to take an independent stand on something.  People with strong Eris activations tend to support the collective energies through a strong individual effort.  Thing Xena and Joan of Arc.

Eris, Economics and Culture

With her orbit in Gate 42 extending from 2008 to 2029, I have observed Eris as having a powerful effect on our notion of the possibility of unlimited growth.  We are learning that if we want to continue in the natural human desire to grow and expand we must all take responsibility for our own lives and how we relate to the collective.  Eris in Gate 42 will not stay quiet while all the Earth’s resources are exhausted without proper recognition of where the ‘benefit’ is going. Certainly not to the collective!

You can find Eris and other Minor Planets in your Human Design at


Some of the material on Eris comes from the Centaurs Yahoo Group.