Asteroid Icarus

Asteroid IcarusThe astrology of asteroid Icarus is a wonderful example of how everything is linked. The naming of the asteroid itself, the mythology, the psychological and astrological interpretations, they all tie together beautifully in the discovery chart.

I will attempt to piece the story together chronologically, starting with the ancient mythology and ending up with the discovery chart, which I believe has never been written about before now.

The Mythology of Icarus

Although Icarus is a character from Greek mythology, probably the best version of the story comes from the Roman poet Ovid. Icarus was the son of the master craftsman Daedalus of Athens. King Minos of Crete commissioned Daedalus to built a Labyrinth near his palace at Knossos to imprison the Minotaur.

Things went pear-shaped and both Daedalus and young Icarus were imprisoned in the Labyrinth. Crafty Daedalus invented some wings from beeswax and feathers for himself and Icarus, he then said to the boy:

Let me warn you, Icarus, to take the middle way, in case the moisture weighs down your wings, if you fly too low, or if you go too high, the sun scorches them. Travel between the extremes. And I order you not to aim towards Bootes, the Herdsman, or Helice, the Great Bear, or towards the drawn sword of Orion: take the course I show you!” [Metamorphoses (viii.183–235), Publius Ovidius Naso, 8 AD]

Unfortunately, a mixture of adrenalin and curiosity drove Icarus toward the Sun, melting the beeswax. The wings fell off, he fell into the Icarian Sea and drowned.

The Psychology of Icarus

Early 20th century writers studied the mythology of Icarus from a psychological and psychiatric perspective. They coined the term Icarus complex, which involves the “structure and consequence of personal over-ambition“, likening it to the extreme ups and downs of  bi-polar disorder.

The Icarus complex is symptomatic of a “mania where a person is fond of heights, fascinated by both fire and water, narcissistic and observed with fantastical or far-fetched-imaginary cognition“. [Icarus Interpretation, Wikipedia]

The Discovery of Asteroid Icarus

Asteroid Icarus was discovered in 1949, by Walter Baade. It is conventional for asteroids to be named after mythological characters, but this naming was not random. Asteroid 1566 Icarus is a near-Earth asteroid, coming closer to the Sun than Mercury.

Up until the year 2000, it held the record for the asteroid which came closest to the Sun. In 1967, it was feared that asteroid Icarus may hit the earth. This led to Project Icarus at a cost of $1.6 billion. The project inspired the 1979 film Meteor, starring Sean Connery and Natalie Wood, which lost $8 million.

Asteroid Icarus Astrology

Asteroid Icarus Astrology

Low tolerance to restrictions, the line of least resistance, ignoring both his own better judgment and the advice of others, learning self-control once free of the restriction, keeping your ears open to advice.” [Icarus, Chiron and Friends, Zane B. Stein]

Freedom, expansion, liberation, an attempt to escape intolerable situations, vivid inspiration.” [Icarus and Tolerations, The 11th House, Kim Falconer]

Icarus by sign can show which qualities we should develop in our risk-taking ventures and those traits that might lead to our downfall…Icarus by house can show where should you take a risk, where are you likely to fail by flying too high. Where do you need to balance the urge for freedom with a healthy respect for advice and self-discipline?” [Icarus in the Birth Chart, AstroFix]

Asteroid Icarus HoroscopeAsteroid Icarus Horoscope

Asteroid Icarus was discovered on June 26, 1949, by Walter Baade at the Palomar Observatory [Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us, Donald K. Yeomans, p.148.]. Wikipedia and the NASA website list the discovery date as June 27, based on Universal Time. So with California time being 8 hours behind UT, Icarus must have been discovered between 4 pm and midnight at the observatory. I have opted for 11 pm but won’t look at time-sensitive points like the Ascendant.

Straight away we find a link between mythology, psychology, project Icarus, and astrology. Mercury conjunct Mars is rash decisions, impulsive actions, risk-taking, intolerance, danger in travel. This abrasive conjunction is directly opposite (bi-polar) asteroid Icarus.

We can see the vivid inspiration Kim mentioned, with asteroid Icarus sextile Neptune. This also reveals the first link to the flight theme too. Neptune is in constellation Corvus, the Crow. The fixed star Algorab is associated with the wrong handling of matters, accidents and injuries.

Saturn sextile Uranus is the “learning self-control once free of the restriction” that Zane talked about. This lesson becomes critical and the major theme in this chart because both planets are quincunx Jupiter. The resulting Yod aspect pattern is focused on exuberant and excessive Jupiter. This is the “Travel between the extremes” that Daedalus advised. It is the Icarus complex of “personal over-ambition” in the psychology. It is the over-estimating and over-budget Project Icarus. And it is everything that astrologers have been saying about asteroid Icarus.

Jupiter is on the brightest star in constellation Aquila, the Eagle. “The Eagle, soars to the heights… He is a law unto himself, and rushes violently wherever his fancy takes him“. [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 5, p.341.]

Asteroid Icarus Celebrities

Icarus conjunct Ascendant: Burt Bacherach (11′), Vincent Price (11′), Eleanor Roosevelt (46′), Shelley Ackerman (66′)

Icarus conjunct Midheaven: Stephen Arroyo (02′), Michael Caine (11′), Matthew Newton (21′), Mia Farrow (46′), Deborah Houlding (59′)

Icarus conjunct Sun: Danny Divito (08′), Helmut Kohl (09′), Neil Diamond (11′), Nancy Spungen (33′), Gertrude Stein (43′), Andy Gibb (64′), Axel Harvey (65′), Augusta Foss Heindel (78′), Michael Hutchens (83′)

Icarus conjunct Moon: Prince Albert (08′), Jeffrey Dahmer (60′), Jessica Adams (63′), Donna Summer (78′)

Icarus conjunct Mercury: Christine Keeler (69′), Kenny Everet (73′), Vanessa Redgrave (78′)

Icarus conjunct Venus: Christopher Reeve (19′), Kylie Minogue (75′)

Icarus conjunct Mars: Montogmery Clift (04′), Heidi Fleiss (15′), Steven Forrest (54′), Lucciano Pavarotti (54′), Queen Elizabeth II (56′)

Icarus Conjunct Jupiter: Johnny Weissmuller (09′), Kim Farnell (26′), Stonewall Jackson (29′), Al Pacino (31′), Peter Gabriel (37′), Queen Elizabeth II (43′), Cybil Shepherd (55′)

Icarus conjunct Saturn: Julian Lennon (15′), Nina Simone (23′), Otto von Bismark (25′), Barbara Walters (56′)

Find Asteroid Icarus in your Chart
  1. Create your chart HERE.
  2. Choose “Extended Chart Selection”.
  3. In “additional asteroids or hypothetical planets”, add 1566.

19 thoughts on “Asteroid Icarus

  1. Thanks Jamie for a great asteroid study.I have found asteroids to be an integral aspect and has had incredibly synchronistic significant additions to my chart study & self exploration.As i read i knew this asteroid would have a significant placement,and effect on my cardinal cross,though not directly aspecting the cross.As transiting Icarus conjuncts transiting Venus,they are approaching the natal conjunction of Icarus & Mercury Cap 23*4th(2 mins).


    • Ha, hah! I just sent your chart to you before I looked at the comments, because I also knew Icarus must be smack dab in the meat of your chart. This astrology is kismet !

  2. Thanks Michael. I actually decided to write this post when I was researching Venus retrograde for next month. Venus stations retrograde conjunct asteroid Icarus.

    • Amazing synchronicity going on here for me, Jamie. Icarus is only 3 minutes of arc from my natal 12th house Venus in Scorpio! I’ll be very interested in their upcoming conjunction at Venus’ stationary point. Like Mikael, I have also been learning about asteroids and their impact on my natal chart, in synastry with my GF, and their transits. Thanks for bringing Icarus to my attention; there isn’t a lot written about it.

      • I realized after posting this that Venus and Icarus were exactly conjunct at 16° 40′ Capricorn! Of course, you might have known that already, Jamie, but Carl Jung strikes again: Synchronicity Rules! 🙂

  3. Amazing timing, Jamie. Icarus makes only one close aspect in my natal: sextile Libran NNode, inconjunct Aries SNode. I note that the discovery chart nodes are Aries NNode, Libra SNode. As soon as I saw this I knew it would be a significant asteroid to both Michael’s and my own chart. Like Greg, Michael and I have been studying asteroids together, in much mirth at the synchronicities when we discover them. Michael’s NNode is also Aries.

    I’ve been dredging through a prolonged period of “fleeing the nest”, which at this point will be more like falling through it into deep waters when it finally disintegrates around me. Significantly, Chiron as been transiting to and fro in Pisces, and is right now exactly opposite the natal Icarus at 9 Virgo. The Saturn and NNode transits in Scorpio have been sextiling n-Icarus, while trining transiting Chiron.

    The key theme for me has been patience, and concentration on keeping my balance and focus, despite the sensation that the floor of my nest is constantly tilting, like a boat in a stormy sea.

  4. Ooops! I seemed to have clicked an UN-FOLLOW BOX and cant reverse it.So i’m posting to see if this reverses,if not,can you fix that Jamie?

  5. Jamie ~ I’ve got a little thread on Atlantis going at the AD forum. I was impressed with Icarus’ placement in the Atlantis chart, which mirrors the themes of ascension and fall; and by it’s transit to a cardinal grand grand cross in the Atlantis natal now.

    Here’s a link to the current discussion on Icarus over there.

    Thanks for the new insights ~ Moira

  6. If an orb of just under 2′ is allowed- I have Icarus conjunct natal sun – house 1

    It is conjunct asteroid Psyche by less than one degree- house 1

    How might this be interpreted ?


    • It’s OK to use up to 2 degrees with asteroid Icarus conjunct Sun. You could read the wiki pages on those celebrities I listed with Icarus conjunct Sun to get more of an idea. I mentioned asteroid Psyche in the Venus retrograde post:

      “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess called Psyche. She was so adorable, that people thought she was the second coming of the goddess of Love, Venus. In fact they worshiped Psyche as a symbol of love, instead of Venus herself. Venus got jealous and made her fall in love with Cupid, only to have him leave her heart-broken. Some keywords for asteroid Psyche from Leah Whitehorse: “The fragility of love; the trials of love; the path of true love never runs smooth“. “

      • Uncanny how that fits..

        Sabian for my Icarus

        0-1 deg Leo

        Blood Rushes To A Man’s Head As His Vital Energies Are Mobilized Under The Spur Of Ambition

        I came across this site quite by accident & I’m glad I did

        I’m off to search for your ‘Psyche’ information



  7. Is it just me or is anyone else having difficulty following the continuity of the comments?

  8. I’m surprised I didn’t see this post before. Another excellent analysis Jamie! Reading his story, the comments from other astrology sites, and yours with the chart, I was rather convinced he would be in my chart rather strongly. Aspects my north node, loosely conjunct sun/venus, and (like in his discovery chart) my Icarus is also sextile Neptune by 0º27′. Mirroring my saturn mars conjunction on antares, learning self-control has been a theme of my life. 😉

  9. Icarus is conjunct my natal north node – not sure whether I should take this as a warning – do I need to go where Icarus went or should I learn from this? I have always been fairly risk-averse, and this myth made a pretty strong impression on me as a child. And of course the “middle way” is also the path recommended by the I Ching.

  10. It is said that every element in Astrology has a positive side. What would be the positive side of Icarus? How can one develop Icarus positively?

  11. Lucky me. I have Icarus in Sagittarius, and:
    Conjunct fixed star Acumen (orb ’21)
    Conjunct asteroids Moira (14′), Fortuna, and Drakonia
    Square Sun (orb 5′)
    Quindecile Prometheus
    Quindecile Ascendant (orb 13′)
    Opposite Hel (1′),Byron (orb 6′), Helio, Leviathan, Polaris, (29′) Betelgeuse (18′)

    Kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? Icarus really seems to be going over the top. But then he’s an over the top kind of guy.

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