Have you integrated Chiron into your astrological analysis? An increasing number of astrologers - among them such notables as Richard Nolle and Barbara Clow - are saying that without Chiron, no contemporary astrological reading is complete. Calling Chiron "The Quest Guide, The Initiator," and "the most mystical of all the planets," Nolle insists that Chiron is, in fact, the key to understanding the natal horoscope. Is Chiron the key, or is Chiron, rather, a sign of the times, the herald of a regenerative 21st century approach to astrological analysis and self-gnosis?
Seer and astrologer Dane Rudhyar predicted the discovery of a new planetary position-he thought perhaps a ‘Higher Moon"-between Saturn and Uranus. Such a body would serve as a bridge, he postulated, between the gatekeeper's (Saturn's) protection of the finite world of normal human interaction and the adventure into Galactic or Christic Consciousness initiated by the outer planets. Charles T. Kowal of the Hale Observatory at Pasadena, California discovered Chiron on November 1st, 1977, only a few years after Rudhyar's death. In fact, Chiron is situated between Saturn and Uranus. Astronomers weren't sure what to make of it. Bigger than an asteroid, but smaller than a planet, they called Chiron a planetoid, which means planet-like. Some astronomers believe Chiron to be a comet that strayed into our solar system and became trapped for a cycle of time. Chiron's orbital period is about 50 years. This minor planet has gained some distinction due to an orbit 50 percent more eccentric than even Pluto, the most errant Major Planet.
Planetary discoveries historically have an uncanny synchronicity with a receptivity within the collective consciousness to the archetypal theme the particular celestial sphere comes to represent. What was happening in 1781, when Uranus was discovered? The times bristled with revolution, new awareness, heightened understanding, and freedom. When Neptune got its cue in 1846, idealism ruled the age. This was the time of the transcendental school of literature in America, of Theosophy, Marx and Engels, amanuenses were popular and mediums abounded. Painted dreams of Utopian societies, like their leaders, are not always what they seem. Neptune came to represent the dissolving of old ideologies, the bringing forth of dreams, as well as the danger of illusion and the torment of delusion.
Pluto was discovered in 1930. Aptly named after the ruler of the underworld, Pluto's discovery coincided with an increasing interest in the labyrinth like workings of the unconscious. As the Piscean Age drew to a close, it became increasingly apparent that to get to that better place we dream of, the golden age envisioned and prophesied by diverse cultures around the world, the shadow could no longer be ignored. We'd have to wrestle with and let go of self-created demons. Battles were more than mere battles, they became confrontations with the forces of evil. Drugs and gangsters, the manipulation of the economy resulting in the depression and WWII, the likes of Hitler, genocide in Yugoslavia, toxic smog and the plague of Aids are all Plutonian problems.
If Pluto stands at the portal of the human world and the underworld, Chiron surely stands at the bridge of the human world and the transpersonal world, the world of the spirit. Chiron was discovered post Vietnam, post the disruptive revolts of the 60s. Chiron was the name of the first and greatest of all Centaurs in Greek mythology. Like the Centaur, half-horse and half-man, the times were that of a people divided within themselves. The horse portion of the Centaur represents the animal, instinctual and carnal nature. The animal half could symbolize as well the sojourn of beings originally from spirit evolving through material existence. The human half represents the capacity for taming the lower nature through discipline, reason, and ultimately transcending such captivity through a spiritual Path. Sagittarians are all too familiar with the roller coaster ride of reaching for the skies and plummeting to the depths. They typically seek some challenge or philosophy, cultural framework or credo, to help them reconcile this warring of the members. Metaphysical movements teach that on Atlantis, Centaurs and Satyrs resulted from the experiments of genetic engineering. This tampering was largely responsible for the destruction of that great prediluvian civilization.
Chiron is related to Sagittarius, the philosopher's sign; during the 70s many young seekers were joining ashrams and communes, experimenting with new lifestyles and "free love." The Centaurs, with the exception of Chiron, were known for an egocentric hedonistic lifestyle. In Plutonian times, Uranus in Scorpio led to some wild times. The Uranian like revolt of the sexual (Pluto/Scorpio) liberation (Uranus) movement caused damage as Uranian cycles so often do, but was successful in shattering the old matrix (Saturn) of past generations. The fact that Chiron at perihelion comes within Saturn's orbit and spends a time between Saturn and Jupiter brings us to the realization that in all our Uranian madness, we come back to a practical spirituality, to universal and natural laws that provide a chalice for relationships that work. The time has come to not only rise above the lower unbridled aspects of self, but to actually transform those elements into a higher expression, a resource of creativity, spontaneity, healing and abundant supply and energy.
Melanie Reinhart, author of Chiron and the Healing Journey, believes Chiron expresses the need to reintegrate an ancient preverbal knowing into our western rational understanding. She envisions a "biospiritual consciousness, neither material-psychological nor exclusively religious-spiritual, but both." We will not all become shamans, but the current revival of interest in shamanism is due to our realization of the need to retrieve these missing natural parts of ourselves and to reconnect with cosmic forces.
Chiron has been given the poignant title of "The Wounded Healer." In Greek Mythology, Chiron suffers a grievous, seemingly incurable wound which causes him constant pain. In his search for a solution, he acquires skills and compassion that assist him in the healing of others. The Wounded Healer is reminiscent of St. Paul who exorcised demons and became the instrument of healing, revelation and illumination to so many but who was never rid of the persistent "thorn in his side." Especially those in the healing and ministerial professions are painfully familiar with the conundrum of being the instrument of healing while the solution to their own dilemma eludes them. The humanness of those who facilitate our own quest for wholeness hopefully prevents us from idolizing and leaning too heavily upon them, for indeed, ultimately no outside agent can totally release us from pain. Many counselors initially seek training in response to a personal search for understanding and wholeness. Chiron's placement in the horoscope often pinpoints an area where we do for others what we would, but cannot do for ourselves. Significant transits, whether from the Outer Planets or from Chiron to the natal Chiron placement trigger important developments in our dharma, that special something we've come to give to others. Through this process, often the journey of lifetimes, we ultimately secure our own freedom and release from pain.
Chiron, like so many of us, bore the pain of rejection and abandonment from parents he did not consciously choose, but whose burden he carried. The Greek myth reads that Chiron was the son of Saturn (Cronus) and the nymph Philyra. Cronus was hot on Philyra's trail. She couldn’t shake him so she turned herself into a mare to escape his advances. Cronus, however, saw through the ruse and turned himself into a stallion in which form he succeeded in mating with her.
Chiron was the child born of this instinctual animal tryst. Phylira took one look at her centaur son and was so revolted that she begged the gods to change her into anything other than his mother. They obliged by changing her into a linden-tree. Cronus continued his cavorting, through cosmos, showing no interest whatsoever for his offspring. Chiron, then, was effectively orphaned by parents who wanted nothing to do with him. If we are to enter that higher realm and be transformed into what Rudhyar calls "I Am Stars," we need to remember who we are which involves embracing a painful separation from our original parents. Chiron's fate, however, was not totally hapless. The god Apollo found him and became his foster-father.
In Metaphysics, Apollo is the Elohim of Wisdom. Apollo represents the Path, the Guru, and the Body of Spiritual Teachings. From Apollo, Chiron learns the arts of music, prophecy, poetry, and healing. He becomes known as wise man, prophet, astrologer, physician, teacher, mentor, and musician. In Galactic Astrology, the astrology of the New Millennium, Rudhyar says that for the person on the Path, the chart is read totally differently. He speaks of the process of metamorphosis — shatter (Uranus), dissolve (Neptune), purify (Pluto) - to which the aspirant to Higher Consciousness submits. What is a tragic event to someone else is to him a life transforming opportunity. Chiron represents the bridge from Saturnian limitation and order to an awareness of the opportunity of the Path. But how can we embrace the Path, take up the Quest, if we identify so much with the form, with Maya? Chiron brings us back to a lost but ancient GNOSIS, and we wonder how we have been asleep so long. Rudhyar and others envisioned the Aquarian Age as an era when Christ Consciousness would be the rule, rather than the exception. If the 20th century was a psychological century, the 21st will add the dimension of a common understanding of ancient origins, still couched as myths and legends to the majority of the populace.
Chiron in the chart often reveals wounds resulting from traumas that we have received in the very early stages of life. Sometimes, however, the wound is very ancient, seemingly inexplicable in terms of one's experience but always central to psychological themes that are repetitive and chronic. Or an event of little outer consequence takes on an exaggerated meaning because it ties into an old soul issue, a leitmotif in the tapestry of lifetimes. The issue at hand is very intrinsic to the person's spiritual quest.
Chiron takes on greater significance for those who consciously take up the Path or who, at least, consciously are inspired by a sense of mission. Dreams and revelations, intuitive understanding and mystical experiences often relate to the Chironic theme. In Chiron, Nolle explains how Chiron by sign reveals the kind of mentor the native will seek and to whom he or she will best respond. For example, for the Chiron in Taurus native, a mentor would appear who placed some kind of value judgment on a phase of human experience. The Chiron in Taurus person would respond by trying to put into practice the mentor's values. A client with Chiron in Taurus conjoined the Moon in the 4th house became pregnant at age 19 when Saturn conjoined this position. Her spiritual values, and the values of her upbringing (4th house) would not allow her to abort, the more convenient surface choice. Aside from the responsibility she shouldered, this circumstance became the turning point in her Quest. In choosing not to abort, and to give up drinking and other elements of her college lifestyle, almost unknowingly she was beginning the quest described in her chart.
Since Chiron is associated with the science of astrology, the prediction by Rudhyar of its discovery is almost a prophecy, not only of the future of astrology but of the role astrology can play in a time of mass awakening. In his groundbreaking book Galactic Astrology, Rudhyar writes:
"The time has come when the classical concepts and procedures should be transformed in response to the emergence of a new spirituality able to repolarize completely and to expand the consciousness of constantly larger groups of human beings becoming aware of new levels of existence and new possibilities as individuals."
Since Rudhyar's pioneering efforts, the works of humanistic and psychological astrologers like Robert Hand, Liz Greene and Melanie Reinhart and the transpersonal school who have taken up Rudhyar's lead have certainly brought the art of astrology to a deeper depth. Now its time for another leap.
Rudhyar poses a question all astrologers should answer, namely, "What is the value of astrology." Calling prediction the "hobglobin of lesser minds," Rudhyar believes the greatest service an astrologer can offer is to help the client bring forth keys to self-transformation. Chiron was an astrologer. He became the mentor of such mythic heroes such as Jason, Achilles, and Hercules. An experience Jason had while under Chiron's tutelage illustrates Rudhyar's point.
The youth Jason was restless to begin his Quest for the Golden Fleece. Chiron saw all but chose to not predict the outcome. Rather he admonished his student to treat all people with kindness and to be true to his promises no matter what. By and by, Jason came upon an old woman who beseeched him to carry her across a river of torrential waters. His reaction was to scoff her, but he remembered his teachers admonition to be kind. This was no easy task, and despite fleeting thoughts of regret, he kept to his promise. Finally, they arrived safely on the other side. The exhausted Jason was gasping for air when to his astonishment the old woman changed before his eyes into the Goddess Juno! Later Juno appeared in a crucial moment in Jason's Quest, providing him with indispensable aid. The wise astrologer always seeks to empower the client by providing clues that tie the client back to his or her own inner attunement.
At this time in history, more than in any other known era, the outcome of events often depend upon choices. You will find that Chiron squares are not karma descending as Saturnian flat tires but a moment of crisis and tension, a supreme opportunity for reaching for a higher dimension of selfhood.
Barbara Clow writes that for astrological counselors, the main objective for Chiron is in-depth examination for clients desiring maximum conscious growth. A major Chiron aspect is "a multidimensional realignment." She rightly notes that in the past this kind of experience was out of reach for most people, but is becoming increasingly accessible. The obvious implication and challenge is to astrologers themselves. Each generation has its testing and trials. The older generation fought for astrology to be recognized as a science, to be separated out from fortune telling. In the 21st century, astrology will make its mark as sacred science. This implies that to counsel others, the astrologer must also be an initiate.
Interestingly, Chiron is credited with bringing to mankind the medicinal use of plants. Chiron is associated with the principle of homeopathic healing, where a malady is healed by minute proportions of the same disease. The disease is healed by its cause. In interpreting Chiron's meaning in the astrological chart, the client provides clues that form a story often described by repetitive events and wounds. The abandoned abandons, the rejected rejects, the wounded lover seeks lovers who are abusive. The wound reemerges to make sure it is not forgotten. Only courage (the aging or wisdom of the heart) strenghthens us to embrace what we most want to avoid. To grasp the Chironic principle, remember the wisdom of the common cliche, "no pain no gain".
One client with Chiron in Sagittarius in the 8th house has a soul memory of rebelling against his spirit teachers in an ancient mystery school. He feels that many followed his lead. His current life is dedicated to providing job opportunities for others (8th house) in a spiritually based (Sagittarius) community. To balance karma, and of course this is true not only of Chiron but particularly of Saturnian and Plutonian positions as well, avoidance of the mistake or causal situation that led to the original wound causes the wound to become internalized and often result in physical sickness. Memories of failure may lead to a subconscious sabotaging of situations ideal for replaying the drama, this time hopefully with a different outcome.
Aside from the psychic wound of being grotesque and abandoned, Chiron suffered another physical seemingly incurable wound. The Centaurs invited Hercules, one of Chiron's most prominent students to dinner. All the Centaurs, with the exception of Chiron, were quarrelsome and drunk. A fight broke out among them. The Centaurs fled with Hercules pursuing them. One of Hercules arrows pierced Chiron's leg with a poison. Another version relates that Chiron received his wound in a battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, caused by the Centaurs becoming drunk and attempting to rape a Lapith bride.
Reinhart interprets this incident, "...the fighting factions symbolize the conflict embodied in Chiron's form-the Centaurs represent Chiron's lower half, the rejected animal part of himself, while the Lapiths and Hercules represent his top human half. This wound is the heritage of centuries of repressing and persecuting our instinctual selves, and it is the condition in which much of the so-called civilized world finds itself today. The conflict comes home to roost in Chiron's own wounding and heralds his unique destiny as an image of the potential reconciliation of these painful opposites." Somewhat similarly, Nolle believes Chiron offers the possibility for the synthesis of thought and action. Even amidst so much external and internal conflict, our times are certainly those of the reconciliation of opposites. In commerce, psychology and spiritual thought, East meets West, in education, the emphasis is on the balance of right and left brain learning. Men are taking on characteristics thought to belong exclusively to women and women are working in areas once thought exclusively the domain of men. New Age disciplines such as Heart Math brings esoteric teachings into the workplace.
Chiron has to do with the development of compassion, an aspect of love-wisdom. Part of the mystery of Chiron and of -it not gaping, then gnawing-wounds that defy healing may be to allow us to develop compassion for life, forgiveness of self and of others. Chiron was an immortal. Since he could not die nor heal his wound, he had no release from suffering. In his search for relief, he discovered how to help others. Chiron in the chart, somewhat similarly to Neptune, describes where we can best find assuage from chronic pain by bringing comfort to others. A client with Chiron square the Sun in the 7th house has helped countless couples through her counseling abilities but is bewildered by the imbalance of her own marriage which has caused her much grief and for which she constantly looks for resolutions.
Interestingly, Hercules, who caused Chiron's wound, also became his defender as he pleaded before Zeus to release Chiron from pain. It is perhaps significant that Chiron was not able to heal himself. Healing comes from the humility to openness to our helplessness and perhaps to forgiveness. Chiron took Prometheus' place who was bound to a rock by Zeus as a punishment for his theft of fire. He died nine days later, but was immortalized as the constellation Centaurus. Reinhart writes "The archetypal pattern of the Wounded Healer has constellated in response to our current global situation."
Richard Nolle refers to Chiron's house position as the Chironian - the cave where he dwelt. Pain and frustration associated with the area of life described by the house often become the stage of our own healing and search described by aspects and highlighted by transits.
We reclaim our divine inheritance, not as victim to an arbitrary or karmatically cruel fate, but as co-creators of Cosmic reality. Consciousness, not events, determines the outcome of our destiny. Nolle insists that Chiron is the most mystical of planets. I do not totally agree. Rather, Chiron unlocks an adventure in this most mystical of times. As a result of this journey in consciousness, not only Chiron, but all the players in the chart as well as the intrinsic value of aspects take on new meaning.
Copyright: Kathie Garcia
Bio: Kathie Garcia
In addition to being a professional astrologer, Kathie Garcia has also been a teacher for over 25 years. She used her background in Montessori methods and her experience with children to write Child*Star, a computerized astrological interpretation writer from Matrix Software.