Nessus in the natal chart: The cycle of abuse

Updated: Apr 18



What is Nessus? Nessus is associated with abuse, and when we find it prominent in someone's chart, we know that abuse will be an important theme in someone's life.

What kind of abuse are we talking about with Nessus? Well, it's quite large, and the chart will tell more about the nature/manifestations of this possible abuse.

It can be verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, sexual.


I have seen articles on Nessus claiming that if someone has a prominent Nessus, it necessarily means they are an abuser. I find this statement deeply disturbing, but also completely disconnected from the reality of what abuse is and how it works.


The cycle of abuse


Abuse works this way. As a general rule, when someone experienced significant abuse, they respond in 3 different ways:

1. They treat others similarly to how their abuser treated them

2. They surround themselves with people who treat them the way their abuser did

3. Treat themselves as their abuser treated them


So if you find someone with a prominent Nessus, and we'll define below what prominent means, you know 2 things for sure:

1. Abuse has been a theme in their life

2. They responded to it in one way


So this brings a natural question: Can we see in the natal chart if someone is going to pick option 1,2 or 3? My opinion is - we can guess.

If someone has a strong Mars energy for example, we know that in their reaction to their environment, they tend to fight - as in "fight, flight, freeze, fawn". So, if we're able to determine with their chart that their natural coping response is fight, we can say they are likely to use option 1 as a coping response to being abused, and they *could* have for natural response to become abusers themselves. That being said, even with this assumption based on the chart, someone can also fight their way out of their natural coping response, so in a nutshell: No, you can't really know for sure, you can only see trends.


What is Nessus and how to find it?


Nessus is an Asteroid, numbered (7066). You can find it on diverse websites, my preferred one being Astro.com - add additional objects in the "Extended charts" section.


For Asteroids, the orb you use is 2°. That means, if your Sun is at 14°, Nessus forms an aspect if it’s located in between degrees 12° and 16°.

I would give a big priority to aspects by conjunction and opposition and square, and I’d look at other major aspects such as trine and sextile as an indicator, but I wouldn’t build too much on it unless there are other strong aspects in the chart. Do note though, one possibility of the trine is to "facilitate", and as Nessus represents abuse ... you can have someone who is easily falling in patterns of abuse.


Nessus prominent:


Conjunct, opposite, square a personal planet (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter), or an angle (AS / DS / MC / IC). I do not have experience on the subject with outer planets so I will not talk about it.





Here are a few examples I’ve gathered throughout my practice :


Nessus – Sun: Someone with Nessus conjunct Sun had a father who was deeply abusive. Sun was also square Uranus and Neptune. This person had a tendency to reproduce the abuse with the men she encountered in her life and also had a pattern of choosing men who had a tendency to be abusive. We could say that - she felt deeply wounded in her self-concept.


Nessus – Mercury: Someone with Nessus conjunct Mercury was deeply abusive with their words. They were on the receiving end of verbal abuse as a child and reproduced verbal abuse in their adult life. Words were deeply wounding in childhood and there was psychological abuse.


Neptune - Moon: I have seen several examples of Neptune - Moon, including Neptune square Moon, Neptune trine Moon and Neptune sextile Moon. Neptune square Moon was the most potent, and here we have someone who was really emotionally neglected and abused in her childhood, causing a lot of difficulties as an adult. Gaslighting was present in childhood, and as an adult they had difficulties in interpersonal relationships by both reproducing the pattern to some extents, choosing people who reproduce the pattern, and believing they "deserved" being treated this way. This person was embodying to some degrees all of the three options we detailed above.

The person with Neptune trine Moon had a less potent effect of Nessus but still suffered from emotional abuse and had a tendency of choosing partners who reproduce this "expectation" of abuse. It was difficult for them to see emotional abuse.

Same remark for Neptune sextile Moon - this person remained in an emotionally abusive relationship for the better part of their life, while their childhood involved heavy emotional abuse from their mother.


Nessus – Mars: Someone with a Nessus opposite Mars experienced sexual violence and assault, something that was also confirmed with a square Pluto – Mars. Here we had a deep wounding to the sexual self and large consequences on this person's anger.


Nessus – Ascendant: Someone with Nessus conjunct the Ascendant had unfortunately the concept of abuse present throughout their entire life, first with their relationship to their mother, then to their relationship with their husband. This person had difficulties realizing how the relationships in their life were abusive and had trouble walking away from these relationships. In this case, my read of this placement is that they "identified" with the abuse, feeling like they deserved it, or that it was an inherent part of their life.



Now, from these real-life examples, we can most definitely see a pattern and build on what it means for other planets. Please, do not read the interpretations below as fundamental, unavoidable, permanent truths. I do find that Nessus represents abuse, but it does not mean that you or someone else will become abusers yourself. I also do not believe that for example, Nessus in synastry means that the relationship will be abusive. We need to look at the natal potential, and see what's going on there. Only then can we start building conclusions about the synastry.


Nessus – Sun: Abuse with men, with children, with the father. Being abused in your identity. Identifying as an abuser, with the abuser, with the abuse.


Nessus – Mercury: Abuse with siblings, in the communication, intellectual abuse. Having been abused verbally, psychologically. Abuse being embedded in the brain.


Nessus – Moon: Abuse with the mother, with women, with the wife, in your femininity, emotional abuse, abuse in the household. Having an expectation of abuse in emotional bonds.


Nessus – Mars: Violent abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse. Abuse that has to do with rages. Abuse through sexual partners. Stronger possibility of acting out the abuse, perhaps.


Nessus – Venus: Abuse in the self-esteem, monetary abuse, abuse in relationships. Tendency to pick partners and situations that are damaging to the self-esteem.


Nessus - Jupiter: Abuse by authority figures, teaching figures, spiritual and religious figures, legal figures.


Nessus – Ascendant / Descendant: Strong identification to the concept of abuse. Abuse through relationships, abuse deeply prominent in the conscious.

If conjunct Descendant, more focused on relationships.


Nessus – MC / IC: Abuse through parents and within childhood. Fighting, uncovering abuse can become an occupation or part of.


Recommended therapies:

- Inner child healing

- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

- EMDR



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