Caption: 'Nessus Shirt' By Ramiro Rodriguez

NESSUS: Underworld Messenger
Denice Taylor

whispers of threat,
the scent of earth and flesh ripple through the air.
expectation drips from the walls.

the instinct of the predator,
the presence of power,
the effect of fear-
steps forward.

the adrenaline question is asked.

a long slow breath when truth is answered.

my eyes are open,
his face is desire.
past tears of my surrender and shame, I meet him
flames of orange and red consume, but we are not lost.
we are forged.

orgasm brings awareness, not wakefulness.

Is it a dream when I taste his tongue in my mouth
and my body is still soft with his weight?

ON APRIL 19, 1989, Trisha Miele, a 28-year-old white woman was brutally beaten and raped as she jogged through Central Park. Five teenage males, part of an informal gang of approximately 40 mostly African-American and Hispanic individuals who were in the park, were convicted and served prison sentences for the attack. In December 2002, after the five had served their terms, Matias Reyes, a convicted serial rapist, confessed to the crime from prison. Reyes was the only one linked to the attack through DNA evidence. For 24 years, Miele's identity remained a secret - she was known to the public only as the Central Park Jogger. Her story became a symbol of some of the deepest, most pervasive human fears.

The exact time of the attack is unknown, however, investigators estimate that the assault took place between 9:00 - 9:40 PM. The event chart for that time frame reveals Scorpio/Pluto rising, Nessus at 20 Virgo in the 10th,and Mars at 24 Gemini in the 8th . The violence and terror of the attack are beyond a private story -- they are archetypal themes of power -- the dark side of Nessus.

Nessus is a Centaur orbiting between Pluto and Saturn, a messenger from the Underworld. Nessus is a catalyst, a transformative energy that changes the structure of whatever it touches. Through the association with Pluto, and Mars as the lower octave of Pluto, the process of Nessus changes the power structures of relationship. Sometimes the changes are cataclysmic and Nessus is a monster, identified through the DNA of fear that is left behind.

Themes of violence and violation are central to the mythology of Nessus. In the most widely known myth, Nessus rapes Deianeira, the wife of Hercules, after promising her safe passage across a flooding river. In his horror and rage, Hercules shoots Nessus with a poisoned arrow. Before he dies, however, Nessus gives Deianeira a gift of his poisoned blood and semen, telling her it is a love potion that will keep Hercules forever faithful. Sometime later, Deianeira anoints Hercules' cloak with the potion, seeking to keep him under control. The myth does not say if Hercules was faithful upon his death.

As an expression of power and powerlessness, rape is a wounding aspect of Nessus and it occurs at several levels, not all of them physical. The heart rape that occurs through emotional abuse, the mind rape that occurs through mental abuse, and the soul rape that occurs through psychic abuse, are as real as a bodily attack. The damage of rape lasts long after bruises fade or the abuse ends, because, at every level, rape is a loss of power - a loss of choice -a loss of self.

          "To see the impressions of fingers,
          just fingers on both of her thighs,
          and on her calves, I just remember
          standing there, and thinking of the
          horror of rape, of thinking of some
          people holding her down while
          somebody raped her. I mean to me,
          just the whole sanctity of the
          person, the sacredness of a person
          was violated that day."

          --- Dr. Jane Haher, plastic surgeon

Before the attack in Central Park, Trisha Miele said she remembers "..running by myself, relishing the solitude and a feeling of ownership - it was my park. I belonged in the city spread out before me - it was my city. I had conquered challenges at work and made my body strong. I could run and run and nothing and no one could harm me." From her words you feel her strength and security. After she lost 75% of her blood, part of her memory and cognitive function, and was reduced to helplessness, she said, "the most difficult aspect of the healing is to be able to accept not being exactly as I was before." The hardest part was her loss of herself.

The processes of Nessus are intense, cellular and personal, but they are not individual. Like all Centaurs, Nessus also represents a collective, evolutionary effect. In the event chart, Nessus threads the dynamics of Miele's experience through the media and the legal system, bringing the story and its messages of terror, pain, distrust and retribution to the collective consciousness.

The dynamics of rape, the violation of sanctity and sacredness, are the energetic fingerprints of Nessus. Whether they rise in shadows of black and blue or are invisibly cloaked in words of love and promises of safety, we’ve all been touched. Rape affects victim, perpetrator, women, men, family, friends and strangers. It is present when we are afraid that we have no choice, or that we may lose our power to choose. Nessus brings these often unconscious, buried dynamics to our awareness. Melanie Reinhart says Nessus helps us "see in the dark."

To promote integration, the process of Nessus has to go further than that. We have to be able to see through the dark. To see through the dark is to connect with the essence of self - a core of power that cannot be corrupted. Noel Tyl has commented "Pluto is not a point of power, but rather a synthesis of identity strength". It is this synthesis of identity strength that is catalyzed by Nessus.

Trisha Miele was able to see through the dark. She refuses to live consumed by fear or bitterness. Although her public identity was as a victim, she did not accept that as a definition of who she is, and she did not base her life choices on being disabled. Recently, Miele published a book that details her healing - her synthesis of identity strength - as a message of what is possible. In her book, she says, "I’m proud to tell you that my name is Trisha Mieli. To be able to say this at all represents an important breakthrough in my healing."

She has recovered - her power, her choice and her self.++



NYPD, Central Park Jogger Case Panel Report Summary,

The Central Park Jogger Steps Forward,, 4/6/03

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