Mark Andrew Holmes

Asteroid 20461, Dioretsa, was discovered on June 8, 1999 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Project (LINEAR) at Socorro, New Mexico. It has a period of 115 years, 307 days. Its name ("asteroid" spelled backwards) comes from the fact that it is the first known numbered asteroid to have a retrograde orbit (an orbit like that of Venus, Uranus and Pluto, going in the opposite direction from most bodies that orbit the Sun).

Dioretsa’s highly eccentric orbit means it’s classified, like Damocles, as a damocloid; its orbital eccentricity is about 0.9 on a scale in which 0.0 is a perfect circle and 1.0 a straight line, and its orbit takes it from about twice Earth’s distance from the Sun (about 2.3 astronomical units) at perihelion to about 46 astronomical units at aphelion. Dioretsa is believed to come from the Oort Cloud, the vast cloud of cometary material at the edge of the solar system. What struck me about its name first was the “retsa” part of its name, suggesting retsina, the Greek wine flavored with pine resin which is said to have been drunk by the devotees of Dionysus, the Hellenic god of wine, people noted for their wild, lawless, even crazy behavior (as described in Euripides’ play The Bacchae). (By the way: There is an asteroid named Retsina [#2303] which was named, according to Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, "in honor of the resined wine of Greece," but Dioretsa would have an association to that name and its meanings as well.) Resin, a sticky substance, is used to generate friction (that is, to reduce slipperiness).

Astrologically, Dioretsa seems to indicate unfitness, incompetence, ineptitude, impairment, getting rid of something, "chickens coming home to roost," that is, dealing with the consequences of one's actions.

Some Examples

Gun-loving, right-wing rocker and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent (born December 13, 1948, in Detroit, time unknown), has cultivated a cartoonish caveman persona and is nicknamed the Motor City Madman. He has Dioretsa at 9 Aries 15 (retrograde), quincunx Vesta. (Here, where no birth time is given, noon is assumed.)

Donald Regan, Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff, wrote a tell-all book, after being forced out through Nancy Reagan’s influence, that revealed she used astrology to plan her husband’s schedule. Born December 21, 1918, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, time unknown, he had Dioretsa at 21 Aries 21, trine Mercury.

Roseanne Barr, known for her loudmouthed blue-collar public persona, alienated her parents by publicly accusing them of sexually abusing her and once sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a shrill, unpleasant voice at a San Diego Padres game and capped the unattractive, boo-evoking performance by grabbing her crotch and spitting on the ground. Born November 3, 1952 at 1:21 P.M. MST in Salt Lake City, she has Dioretsa at 8 Aries 15 (retrograde) in the 2nd house, sextile the Ascendant, square Chiron and sesquiquadrate Pluto.

Jimmy Swaggart was a Louisiana televangelist who liked to inveigh against sexual immorality and then was caught patronizing prostitutes. Born March 15, 1935, at 1:35 A.M. CST in Ferriday, Louisiana, he has Dioretsa at 15 Aries 18 in the 3rd house, tightly opposite the Midheaven (tightly conjunct the IC).

Former Vermont governor and presidential candidate and current Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean is noted for his imprecise and controversial statements and his sometimes eccentric rabble-rousing, as well as his innovative use of the Internet in campaigning and fund-raising. Born November 17, 1948 at 7:21 P.M. EST in New York, he has Dioretsa at 9 Aries 35 (retrograde) in the 10th house, sextile the Moon and Pallas, square the Ascendant and sesquiquadrate the Sun.

Warren G. Harding, 29th president of the United States, was a wealthy newspaper owner who went far in politics through his distinguished looks, money (some of which he married), connections, and gift for public speaking, as well as a dedicated ability to avoid making important people mad. He was not really up to the task of being president; furthermore, he didn’t get along with his wife, and consequently he became legendary for his extramarital affairs (real and alleged) and his administration’s political scandals. He was the first president to be elected after women got the vote, the first president whose election was covered by radio, and the first president to invite Mormon legislators to White House social functions. Born November 2, 1865 at 2 P.M. in Blooming Grove, Ohio, he had Dioretsa at 19 Pisces 44 (retrograde) in the 1st house, square Pallas, trine Mercury and sesquiquadrate Saturn and Ceres.

Abdurrahman Wahid, a blind Indonesian Muslim cleric, was chosen as president of Indonesia as a compromise candidate in 1999 after powerful Muslim clerics balked at allowing Megawati Sukarnoputri, who won that year’s presidential election, to take office because she was a woman. Megawati became vice president and then president two years later after Wahid was impeached and removed from office as a result of serious illness and allegations of corruption. Born August 4, 1940 in Jombang, Jawa Timur, Indonesia, time unknown, Wahid has Dioretsa at 14 Aries 57 (retrograde), square Vesta.


Ted Nugent, Warren Harding: Steinbrecher Data Collection (www.astrocye.com).

Donald Regan: his Wikipedia entry and the Britannica Student Encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Regan http://www.britannica.com/ebi/print_toc?tocId=9334342

Astrodatabank also gives his birthdate as December 21, 1918.

Jimmy Swaggart, Roseanne Barr: The Clifford Data Compendium, version 2 (comes with SolarFire 5).

Howard Dean: Astrodatabank


Abdurrahman Wahid: his official web site


Jombang is in SolarFire5's built-in atlas, but Denanyar isn't; apparently, it's a submunicipality of Jombang. So I used Jombang.

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