Updated: Oct 8, 2021
Ixion is a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt, just beyond Neptune. It is classified as a Plutino because, like Pluto, it has an orbit which is inclined to the ecliptic of all the other planets and which is in a 2:3 resonance with the orbit of Neptune, so for every three Neptune orbits of the Sun, Ixion completes two.
Initially I tend to use a mix of physical characteristics and the myth behind the name to understand the astrological meaning of the new dwarf planets. Then I do a deep dive into my transits, leafing through my old diaries to understand the action in my personal life. What I found was a fascinating insight into the central part Ixion has played in my life.
Let’s start with the orbital characteristics. Ixion’s orbit is elongated and inclined to the ecliptic like Pluto, however Ixion has a slightly higher inclination of 19 degrees, to Pluto’s 17.
As a result of their inclination they both spend part of each orbit in the underworld and part above, however they are oriented differently, with Pluto’s perihelion - the point in the orbit closest to the Sun - above the ecliptic and Ixion’s below, meaning Pluto spends more time in the underworld than Ixion.
Just as Pluto cut’s inside Neptune at one point in his orbit, the inclination of Ixion’s orbit means that he also cuts inside the orbits of both Pluto and Neptune at one point in his cycle, strengthening his influence in that period. We’re coming up to the start of the next one in 2034 as he swings inside Pluto’s orbit.
Ixion’s orbital period is 251 years, which is 3 years longer than Pluto and, like Pluto, Ixion is in a 2:3 orbital resonance with Neptune, so although their orbits cross, they never actually come close to one another.
So from these orbital characteristics we can see that Ixion has a Plutonian energy, one which cuts through existing systems even more than Pluto, but which works more out in the open and less in the underworld. And, like Pluto, the resonance to Neptune lends a spiritual nature to Ixion’s energy.
When Ixion got married he promised his father-in-law a valuable present, but he never delivered on this promise, so his father-in-law stole some of his horses in retaliation. In response Ixion invited him to a feast and, when he arrived, pushed him onto a bed of burning coals, killing him. Guilt over this drove Ixion mad and the princes of the neighboring kingdoms refused him catharsis to cleanse his guilt because they were so offended by his violation of their strict code of guest-host relations. So he lived as an outlaw and was shunned.
However the king of the gods, Zeus, took pity on him and brought him to Olympus and introduced him to the other gods. Showing no appreciation, Ixion grew lustful for Zeus’s wife, wasting this second chance at rehabilitation and further violating guest-host relations. Zeus got wind of it and substituted a cloud in the shape of his wife, with whom Ixion mated and through this act fathered the Centaurs, who are half-horse and half-human. For this he was expelled and bound to a burning wheel and sent spinning across the heavens for all eternity.
Alright, so another pretty heavy myth which needs interpretation and these outer planets must be interpreted differently at the unconscious level, or if we are on the spiritual path, or at a spiritually evolved level.
At the unconscious level the myth suggests the action of this dwarf planet will involve broken promises and retribution leading to an outcast, outlaw status. And there is the danger that second chances will be wasted through the arousal of base passions.
Once we’re on the spiritual path however, Ixion represents a passionate spiritual mission, which may involve a violation of existing customs and a resulting catharsis, followed by opportunities for a second chance.
And at the spiritually evolved level he offers us the opportunity to define our own rules and live life on our own terms, while respecting the implicit agreements in our relationships and transmuting our base emotions.
Joseph Campbell’s adage ‘follow your bliss’ has always been important to me. And it’s only in doing the Ixion research on my transits that I realised that in following my bliss, I was actually following Ixion. So I suggest follow your bliss is a good catch phrase for the planet and from the myth we can see that the primary keyword must be lawless.
IXION 101 at the Dwarf Planet University
The classes each year at the Uni start with IXION 101 in February, because he is close enough and Plutonian enough to be very evident in our lives, and he gives us the passion to 'follow our bliss', which is a great way to start studying the transpersonal planets.
These new planets speak of aspects of consciousness that are coming available to us in the years since their discovery and what students are loving on the classes is the community sharing through blog-posted assignments and Zoom Q&As, because they give a really good picture of how these new planets act similarly, and yet diversely, in each of our lives.
Ixion is always asking: 'Are the rules we are playing by the right ones?' And he does this by taking advantage and asking for forgiveness afterwards, rather than permission before. He teaches us to be sensitive to the implicit agreements in our relationships and to learn from experience. And at the highest level he gives us the opportunity to live life on our own terms, conscious of what is possible at each moment and where we can push the envelope to grow.
10th House Case Study - Clown
I’ve been conscious of Ixion sitting in my 10th House in Libra natally for some time and many of you will know that I worked extensively earlier in my life as a clown and a clown teacher.
I’m just going to explode the stereotypes upfront to state that clown is an emotional art form which works on a psychic level to release blocks and tension in the audience. It is a very hard thing to teach because there are no rules, making it essentially a lawless art form.
For quite a while I’ve been thankful of finding the clown work in my early 20s, particularly when I looked at my 10th House Ixion placement, because clown is probably one of the best ways to be lawless in society... indeed many of the other ways are likely to bring more grief than joy... But it was only when I started looking at my Ixion transits that I realised the full significance of it all.
I have a Sun Saturn conjunction in Scorpio in the 11th House, which is a bit of a judgemental combination which can stifle action through fear, particularly when it is square Mars. However in clown I found a great freedom from judgement, because it is an art form where mistakes are treasures to be explored and where there is no such thing as failure.
And it was only when I began researching Ixion that I realised that - having had no previous contact with, or interest in clown - I went to clown school in Sweden precisely as Ixion first transited conjunct my Saturn and by the last hit on my Sun, six years later, I was teaching my own clown school in New Zealand.
I had been working on my first novel about a clown called Moontan for some years and I have Venus in Scorpio in the 11th House, square Pluto in Leo in the 8th. As Ixion came up to conjunct my Venus I spent some time submitting the manuscript to publishers and getting rejected, and then finally a New Zealand publisher received a good report from one of his reader’s and I flew over from Australia for a meeting. Publishers don’t read new manuscripts themselves, they hire readers they trust to do that. So I was thrilled to hear that he had got a good report and I turned up at the meeting to be told: “This is not your first book.” “Yes,” I protested, “it is my first book.” I knew I hadn’t written one before. “No,” he repeated “this is not your first.” Apparently while the first reader’s report had sung the praises of my book, he had sent out for a second report to be on the safe side, and the second had said ‘Don’t take this one, encourage him to write another and look at that’.
Fortunately Short-Run-Printing had just come in, meaning you could print just a thousand books and still make a profit selling them at market rates. These were the days after the monopoly of the big publishers being the only ones who could afford to print in large enough numbers to make money and before Print-on-Demand like we have today.
So as Ixion transited conjunct my Venus, quintile my Mars, and trine my Jupiter and Uranus, and the Sun transited square my natal Ixion, I submitted the files to self publish the book.
I established Playspace Studio, a circus and physical theatre studio in Sydney in the late 90s and, as I rented the studio, transiting Ixion was sextile my MC, semi-square my ASC, and semi-square its natal position and, at the same time, transiting Saturn was opposite my natal Ixion.
In the following five years as Ixion transited sextile my MC and then semi-sextile my North Node, the studio gained an international recognition for the physical theatre training I was offering.
Angels Can Fly
In 2005 I put out a clown textbook, Angels Can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide, which I started writing in the last year of Playspace and then finalised over the next two years of touring and teaching clown masterclasses internationally. During this period Ixion was semi-sextile my North Node and trine Eris, the planet of consciousness through discord.
Angels Can Fly was an innovative book which included a mix of theory on the nature of clown, anecdotes from some 20 international clowns, exercises for classes and workshops, and fictional stories following the adventures of 10 street clowns. The book has become an industry standard. If you are interested you can check it out here.
It was launched at a physical theatre industry conference in April, when Ixion was exactly sextile my Mars and transiting Saturn was square my natal Ixion. At the official launch at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival in September, I had the final touches of Ixion transiting semi-sextile my North Node and trine Eris and, at the same time, transiting Jupiter was conjunct my natal Ixion, transiting Pluto was sextile my Ixion and transiting Saturn was quintile my Ixion.
In 2012 I wrote the screenplay for a romantic comedy Courting Chaos, about a Beverly Hills girl who falls for a Venice Beach street clown called Chaos and she must overcome her inhibitions and become a clown herself for the relationship to survive. I produced and directed this low budget film the following year, which was shot and edited at Venice Beach in Los Angeles in a record breaking 6 weeks from the first day of shoot to the final day of postproduction, complete with composed soundtrack. To achieve this the editor was working on set as we shot the film and sending draft senes through to the composer each night.
During the development and shoot of the film transiting Ixion was sextile my natal Ixion and semi-sextile my ASC.
The following year as transiting Ixion was square my Moon, bi-quintile Uranus and bi-quintile Jupiter, the film won the Best Comedy Award at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and Best Romantic Comedy Award at Worldfest in Houston, which is the oldest independent film festival in the world.
You can check out the trailer on YouTube
And watch the full film for free at TubiTV
We might imagine from the previous case study examples that Ixion is all about clown, which is far from the truth. That is how this lawless passionate energy has manifested most in my life, but now let’s look at the transits for the most recent period during my work with Sedna.
Sedna has nothing to do with clown - although one of the key phrases I use for Sedna at the spiritual path level is ‘nurturing our sense of humour’ - and yet we find Ixion hard at work in my life during this period, transiting exactly trine to my natal Sedna, bi-quintile my Jupiter and semi-square my Mars during the research and writing of the book.
When the files were submitted to the publisher and the book was launched at the UAC in Chicago in 2018, Ixion was sextile my natal Mercury, sextile my Neptune and semi-sextile my Venus. Transiting Jupiter was also semi-sextile my natal Ixion. And, during this whole period, transiting Pluto was square my natal Ixion.