Astraea: Ancient Goddess of Justice by Julie Loar
Astraea was the ancient Libyan goddess of holy law who held the scales of justice that weighed the claims of opposing parties in disputes. Her key quality is balance. In Greek myth, she was generally said to be the daughter of Zeus and the goddess Themis, who was also an embodiment of the principle of justice. Compared to her mother, Astraea was seen to have a quality of purity and innocence. She was also called Star Maiden and has therefore been confused with Asteria, a goddess of the stars, who was the daughter of Phoebe and Koios.
She is often depicted as a winged woman, carrying a torch and the scales of justice. In some stories she is said to have helped Zeus in battle, and is sometimes portrayed carrying his lightning bolts. Astraea can be compared to the Egyptian goddess Ma’at, who embodies the principle of right relationship to all things and weighed the souls of mortals after their death. She balanced a soul against her feather of truth in her scales of justice. In Greece, Astraea determined if departed souls could go to the Elysian Fields and eternal bliss, or be consigned to the Underworld for later redemption. She was closely identified with Dike, the Greek goddess of justice, and with Nemesis, the goddess of rightful indignation and due enactment.
Astraea’s nature is related to the idea of renaissance, or renewal of culture, and she is connected to poetry and literature. The English poet Edmund Spenser mentions her at the opening of Book V of The Faerie Queene, where he says she left behind her groom when she departed Earth. John Milton also mentions her in Paradise Lost.
In astronomy Astraea is a large asteroid in the main belt. She was the fifth to be discovered, and thousands have been discovered after her. Astraea’s discovery was the beginning point for the eventual demotion of the four original asteroids, which were regarded as planets at the time. It soon became apparent that these four were only the largest of a whole new type of celestial body. In astrology, I believe Astraea represents a subtle aspect of the principle of karma. Long ago the scales of Libra were the claws of the Scorpion, and before that part of Virgo. Because of the way the constellations have changed over time, I think Astraea partakes of the harvest, or reaping aspects of Virgo and the balancing and equalizing influence of Libra. Where she is placed in our natal charts can reveal what needs to be brought into equilibrium. We can call upon her to bring things into balance, helping us to reap the optimum results.
Astraea was said to be the last of the immortal gods to live among humans at the end of the Golden Age, offering hope as the turning wheel of the ages moved into darker times. She later abandoned earth as the increasing violence and ignorance became too painful for her to bear.
According to ancient legends, as the wheel of the ages turns once again toward light, Astraea will return to Earth as an ambassador of another Golden Age. Since she was the last of the gods to leave, perhaps she will be the first to return as a harbinger of a new dispensation. I believe that she has a literal and mythic connection to the brown dwarf star, our own sun’s binary companion, that scientists and scholars now believe exists. Astrophysicists have calculated that the star will appear in this part of the sky. This may represent an example of modern science proving the truth of an ancient myth. We can hope that the time is upon us and that Astraea will usher in the dawn of a new age, bringing peace and heightened consciousness.
Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com
About The Author: Julie Loar is the multiple award-winning author of six books and dozens of articles. She has a BS in Psychology, has done postgraduate work, and has been certified in numerous professional training and development programs. Julie was a Human Resources executive in two major corporations, and an independent training consultant, working with large companies. Her latest book, Goddesses For Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World, (available at Satiama) has won three national awards.
Her popular astrology feature appears in ATLANTIS RISING magazine, and she is a featured contributor on John Edward’s web site, InfiniteQuest.com where she has her own internet TV show. She has traveled to sacred sites around the world, researching the material for her books and teachings. Each year she leads a sacred journey to Egypt. Visit her at http://www.julieloar.co