The Icarus Myth
Icarus and his father Daedalus were imprisoned in a tower by King Minos because they gave the king’s daughter string. She then used that string to help Theseus find his way out of the labyrinth. Imprisoned in Crete, Daedalus, a master craftsman (responsible for building the labyrinth), constructed wings for he and his son to escape with. At first Icarus was afraid to fly. Later, exhilarated by the sense of flight, Icarus flew closer and closer to the sun. Despite his father’s warnings Icarus continued until the wax that held his wings together melts. Icarus plummets to his death, in what is now the Icarian Sea.
The capacity for liberation and risk taking.
– Demetra George and Douglas Bloch, Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-Emerging Feminine
Icarus in the birth chart shows how and where we seek to be free of constraints. We will want to liberate ourselves from limiting mental (in air signs), emotional (in water), physical (in earth) or creative (fire) boundaries wherever Icarus is placed. The house position of Icarus shows the area of life where we seek to reach beyond our limits, positively or negatively.
On one hand, it’s important to take risks in order to free ourselves from limiting habits, learned behaviors, and constrictive relationships, situations or attitudes. On the other hand, we have to be careful not to get carried away by momentary success. There is a need to exercise caution and listen to guidance as we seek to expand our boundaries. Because it is the Sun that melts Icarus’s wings, and the Sun in astrology shows the ego, we have to be careful not to get too full of ourselves in the process or we will come crashing down to the ground. Icarus’s ascent to the Sun could be a metaphor for being too ‘high on yourself’.
We also need to recognize what we’re working with. Icarus forgot that he was flying with wings made of bird feathers and wax, not real wings. We need to have a grounded understanding of our own abilities and current level of mastery. It’s Daedalus, the creator of the wings, who truly understands the limitations of his own work. Although he is a master craftsman, he recognizes the inherent limits of his skills, but Icarus does not. Once the wax melted Icarus was left flapping only his arms in a vain attempt to keep flying. Know your skill level.
The Icarus myth demonstrates that we have to takes risks, but that we also have to work with what we have – the skill set, available materials, and current situation we are dealing with. Daedalus made those wings from what he had on-hand. We can achieve great things with what we have, but we have to be careful not to overestimate our own abilities. We must tread the fine line between soaring and crashing. The person who does not recognize his own limitations may take unnecessary and foolish risks against the advice of people who have more experience, and his own best interests at heart.
With Icarus there is also the possibility that the person never takes the leap in the first place, remaining imprisoned by fear, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” In this capacity Icarus can show an area of life where we do need to take a risk if we ever want to move beyond limiting patterns indicated by its house and sign placement.
- Inflation (over estimation of abilities)
- Defiance (denial, and not heeding advice)
- The Fall (burn out)
Icarus through the Houses in Astrology
Icarus in the 1st house
Image, the way you present yourself, physical appearance
Icarus in the 2nd house
Personal finances, possessions, spending habits
Icarus in the 3rd house
Communication (writing, journal keeping, teaching), sibling and neighbor relationships, mental activity
Icarus in the 4th house
Foundation, security, roots, personal private life
Icarus in the 5th house
Hobbies, sports, children, recreation, romance, personal expression personal love, gambling
Icarus in the 6th house
Work, health, analytical introspection, small animals
Icarus in the 7th house
The other, bosses, equal partnerships, close friends, contractual relationships
Icarus in the 8th house
Intimate relationships, intense interactions, peak experiences, life after death experiences, psychology, debt, support from others
Icarus in the 9th house
The search for meaning, personal philosophy and belief system, travel, publishing, religion, higher education
Icarus in the 10th house
Reputation, vocation, social recognition, authority
Icarus in the 11th house
Acquaintances, groups of like-minded people, hope and wishes, humanitarian causes
Icarus in the 12th house
Solitude, meditation, spiritual retreats, transcending cumulative family karma, dreams
Icarus through the Signs in Astrology
Icarus in Aries
Risk it all by being courageous and being the first to try something new. Come crashing down by being selfish and self-centered in pursuit of your dreams
Icarus in Taurus
Risk it all by simplifying, and creating beautiful objects that are made to last. Come crashing down by being stubborn and complacent.
Icarus in Gemini
Risk it all by staying connected, and being hyper-vigilant in your communication. Come crashing down through lack of focus.
Icarus in Cancer
Risk it all by caring, and daring to show your sensitivity. Come crashing down by being moody and defensive.
Icarus in Leo
Risk it all with dramatic self-expression. Come crashing down with vanity and haughtiness.
Icarus in Virgo
Risk it all by being true to your specific vision. Come crashing down through obsession with petty details and the quest for perfection.
Icarus in Libra
Risk it all by being the most charming graceful person in sight. Come crashing down when the gap between sweetness and manipulation closes.
Icarus in Scorpio
Risk it all by diving in deep and accepting the highs as well as the lows. Come crashing down when your quest for extreme experiences leads to destructive behavior.
Icarus in Sagittarius
Risk it all by opting for optimism and expanding your worldview. Come crashing down by being self-righteous and irresponsible.
Icarus in Capricorn
Risk it all by having goals and achieving them methodically. Come crashing down by being rigid and calculating.
Icarus in Aquarius
Risk it all by being original, inventive and humanitarian. Come crashing down through crankiness, rebelliousness, and inconsistency.
Icarus in Pisces
Risk it all with imagination, empathy, and poetry. Come crashing down down when you become vague, elusive, and unrealistic.