planets orcusThe discovery and naming of Orcus in 2004 brings to astrology a second planet representing the Roman god of the underworld, and an enigma as difficult to discern as the underworld itself. The February, 2004, discovery of Orcus, then known as 2004DW, was quickly overshadowed the next month by the dramatic announcement of the discovery of Sedna, and astrologers, myself included, quickly scrambled to get up to speed with Sedna, leaving 2004DW (Orcus) aside until it had a name. Like the true god of the underworld he is, Orcus lurked in the background, giving few clues to his real nature while we were preoccupied with other things. By early 2005, when we turned to look at Orcus, the superficial part of this new planet was clear enough. He was discovered by the same astronomers who had discovered Quaoar and Sedna, no surprise there. The planet's name, however, belied the mystery which anything from the underworld contains. It was easy enough to see how Orcus was named. It's orbit is the same 248-year period as Pluto's orbit, and it's just a little smaller than Pluto. So it's easy to see how the astronomers took a quick look at Roman mythology, and seeing that the Roman god of the underworld had more than one name (in fact, three names: Pluto, Orcus, and Dis Pater), they simply grabbed one of the other underworld god names, Orcus, and named their new discovery. For the astronomers, that was the end of it, quick and tidy. However, for astrologers it was just the beginning.