A Gift of the Gods only for the Brave!
What is Thor’s Hammer?
There is an aspect pattern formed from two planets each sesquisquare (135degrees) (sesquiquadrate) a third planet, with the base two planets square (90degrees) to each other. I use an 8degree orb for squares and a 4degree orb for sesquisquares. I have heard various names for this figure ranging from Quadriform to God’s Fist.
God’s Fist conjures up a combative and fanatic image that might be quite appropriate in some cases but my personal preference is to call the figure Thor’s Hammer which, in understanding the myth, implies a special gift for survival. The story of Thor’s Hammer is one that fits the dynamics of the figure perfectly. This is a potent and powerful figure and one that is worthy of the astrologer’s attention whether it occurs in natal or mundane work.
(Sarah Ferguson – 9.03am – 15 October 1959 –London, England)
By way of illustration, the chart of Sarah Ferguson (Fergie) has such a figure, formed between Saturn in Capricorn square the Moon in Aries, each sesquisquare Uranus in Leo. Now who in their right mind would expect this woman to conform! No matter how she tried to ‘fit in’ with royal paradigms, the interior drive to upset the apple cart, to challenge the status quo, is insistent within her character.
To live a life without challenge, or being challenged, would be psychic death for someone like this. So within the walls of the palace we can imagine the exasperation and frustration that would lead her to ‘throw the hammer’, if only to see what effect it might have. That she is now surviving in the real world, making a place for herself autonomously, is in no small part due to her capacity to ‘catch the hammer’ on its return and not be defeated by the events that led to her being thrust out of the royal enclave.
As a general theme, Thor’s Hammer appears in the charts of individuals who exhibit a single-minded quality, an innate strength and the urge to survive. Activities in external life are a means to expressing an internal and unrelenting drive. The owners of the Hammer go the extra distance; they live life on the edge of the square and express the force in fields of endeavour and personal characteristics.
Even those who do not embrace particular activities are noteworthy for their typical self-confidence, capacity to stay the distance and readiness to grapple with life’s difficulties head on. This figure manifests in dedication to vocation, sometimes in political work, in sport, or activities that are challenging. There is a ‘stand out quality’ that makes the individual noticeable and, yes, there is a potential for fanaticism.
For some the Hammer is demonstrated as particular ‘giftedness’. For many it emerges in having ‘something to prove’. Resilience and staying power are marked in these people who rarely have ‘easy’ lives. A sense of personal power and the capacity to face challenges leads them to become either high achievers or frustrated fighters. Rebellion or non-conformist tendencies are often a feature particularly when the social planets are involved. Some fall from grace by taking things to the edge and putting themselves in either physical or social danger but regardless of the focus of the energies, the individuals are blessed with a gusto that cannot be squashed. When the going gets tough, they “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again.”
The myth of Thor’s Hammer expresses the allegorical meaning better than any words I can conjure. Thor is the Norse god of thunder. He is the son of Odin and Jord, and one of the most powerful gods. He is usually portrayed as a large, powerful man with a red beard and eyes of lightning. Despite his ferocious appearance, he is popular as the protector of both gods and humans against the forces of evil. There is an obvious correlation with the Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter in his characterisation, and we could be pardoned in assuming that Thor’s Hammer will characterise a Jupiterian motif.
One evening, while Thor was away hunting, Loki the trickster god entered Thor’s home and cut off all of Thor’s wife’s hair while she was sleeping. He ran off with her hair under his cloak but in his haste, he left behind a sandal. When Thor returned that night and saw what had happened, he lost his temper. Recognising the sandal, he sought out Loki and began to beat him. Loki pleaded for mercy, promising to visit the dark elves of the underworld and get new hair, lovelier even than the hair he had cut off. Loki sealed the deal by also promising to bring Thor a very special present.
Gold, and the crafting of gold was the art exclusive to dwarfs, who were dwellers in the underworld in a place called Svartalfaheim (Black Elves’ Country). Loki approached the skilful dwarfs and negotiated a fine head of golden hair in exchange for a life of servitude to the dwarfs. Whenever the dwarfs made something special, they would always make an extra item that was given to Odin, the supreme god. And so they also made a spear for Odin.
Loki knew he had to escape or be locked into servitude, and offered to deliver the spear to Odin. In his haste while carrying the gifts, he forgot about the promised present for Thor. As he travelled back up through the underground towards the light of day, Loki remembered but happened to pass the smithy of a couple of dwarf brothers named Brok and Eitri. Not being willing to risk his personal safety, Loki challenged them to make treasures equal to the three he had.
The two dwarfs liked nothing more than a challenge and began working. They soon created a live boar with bristles of gold, and then drew a golden ring and a golden hammer from the fire. The gold ring, they said, would give birth to eight new precious gold rings every ninth night. The boar would not only carry his rider over land and sea, but in the darkest night his golden bristles would shine so as to always afford light. And the hammer… well… this was a very special gift that the brothers assigned to Odin, as was the custom. Loki promised to deliver the hammer to Odin but gave it to Thor instead to appease him. He gave the beautiful hair, the ring and the boar to Thor’s wife, and delivered the spear to Odin without mention of the hammer.
The story goes that the hammer, named Mjolinir, never failed to achieve its purpose. It was equally as powerful as Odin’s spear, placing Thor in a position of equality with his father Odin. When thrown, the hammer always returned to Thor’s hand. Because of its potential destructive force, Thor was forced to wear an iron glove. Every time Thor throws the hammer, lightning flashes, it hits its target and returns to his protected hand.
Exploring the meaning of this, it seems that since the hammer was originally made for a superior god, those in possession of Thor’s Hammer should always ‘protect’ themselves against its power. They have been given a gift that is really meant for a higher entity and should use it with care! They should never forget that it came to them through the agency of the Trickster!
I believe Thor’s Hammer expresses a powerful thrust in the psyche that, without full understanding, can drive one beyond rational control and emerge as a dangerous tendency to go ‘to the edge’. It can develop a ‘mana’ personality that sees the individual pushing boundaries to the extent that they end up damaged in some way. Positively, it can develop into an exclusive talent that will not be repressed and often sets the individual on the path of the ‘role model’, or emerges as someone willing to give a great deal to humanity.
There is a price to pay when we play with the weapons of the gods. We have seen that only Loki, the trickster, manages to escape the fee.
In analysing the figure, the planets involved are the key to the manifestation. I do not use the angles of the chart in defining the pattern. All aspect patterns are dynamic, not directional, and rely on the energy generated by the archetypes of the planets’ energies. Each planet adds its energy to the figure since each planet has its own individual meaning.
I have been asked if the planet at the apex, or ‘pointy end’, is the main driver of the planets in square, or if the planets in square resonate back to the pointy end. Do not expect that the pointy end is necessarily going to be the point of discharge for the square. While the square is likely to manifest in some form of outer expression, it is being stimulated by and, in turn, stimulates the planet at the apex.
Aspects are not about giving and receiving; they are an exchange between two different archetypal sources. The type of aspect will indicate how that exchange occurs. The whole figure is a circuitous conduit for the transmission of energies. Those energies are expressed in accordance with the meaning of the planets and aspects involved. The conduit has no start or finish within the pattern’s complex. Have you ever seen what happens to a tide when it meets a river? There is a point where the waters meet that is a combination of sea and river. Some interesting swirls and exchanges take place at that point. Aspects are like that; it is never useful to think of them moving one way only.
The issues that arise from this figure will derive from three planets, and also depend on stimulation by transits and progressions, or the prominence of one planet in the figure. The issue may seem, on the surface, to be connected only to one significant point.
(Christopher Reeve – 3.30am – 25 September 1952 – New York, NY)
Of particular interest is the chart of Christopher Reeve. Most of us are aware that he was a famous actor, spokesperson for the Actor’s Union, and played polo at championship level. The life changing accident on his horse that claimed his mobility is a graphic illustration of the use of Thor’s Hammer, as the transits at the time led to him choosing to take risks with his personal safety. After his accident, Reeves became a forceful public figure advocating stem cell research for spinal injuries. Note in the chart that both Hammers involve Chiron. There is little doubt that Reeves pushed the boundaries of risk-taking to extreme levels. He was both a gifted horseman and a highly competitive polo player who paid a huge price, yet survived to become a social role model. This is the gift of the gods.
(The editor would like to acknowledge the creator of this article but regrets that she is unable to establish authorship. It came into her hands untitled.)