Centaur Reading by Odilon Redon
In astrology, Chiron (Kheiron) is called the 'wounded healer', our inner shaman. His glyph resembles a key, with which to unlock our mortal pain and sacred teachings, through the art of our practice. It's tricky to define Chiron's expression by sign alone, the way we might with a personal planet like Mercury or Venus. For one thing, it has yet to complete an orbit to where it was found in 1977. The Virgo rulership assigned to Chiron is based on his selfless service, but he also has major Sagittarius and Scorpio characteristics. Chiron is now transiting Pisces. (More on that in Part 3).
Chiron's very elliptical path ranges from just within Saturn's orbit to just outside Uranus', but mostly between the two. We associate astrological Uranus with everything new or revolutionary, though mythical Uranus is even older than Saturn. (The outer planets' names were given in order of 'begat,' not by observing their nature over time, as the ancients did). Some think Prometheus would be more fitting especially since Prometheus, who gave fire to humans, was Chiron's liberator. Saturn (Cronos), Chiron's father, represents the past, that which binds or limits us and the limits of the ancient solar system, as well as hard lessons.
Obe Wan Kenobi and Luke, Star Wars 1977
Discovered by Charles Kowal on Nov 1, 1997, the planetoid Chiron was named after the famed centaur of Greek myth. The "enigmatic object" had been spotted by a camera the month before, but wasn't noticed on the photographic plate right away. Or maybe it was just waiting for the Sagittarius ascendant and Scorpio Sun. Nov 1 is also when the veil between worlds is lifted (Samhain, Dia de Los Muertos, All Soul's Eve). People born around this time have access to walk between them - a key, if you will. Kowal (b. Nov 8, 1940), was a real Scorpio sleuth, with Pluto and Part of Fortune both conjunct Chiron in his chart. The day he made the discovery, transiting Mars was in conjunction to them. That 'key' glyph for Chiron is really a stylized OK, for 'Object Kowal.' Access, OK !
Kowal's Pisces Moon was, incidentally, conjunct the Sun of Galileo Galilei. In 1980, he made another discovery - that of Neptune (ruler of Pisces), in a drawing done by Galileo in 1613, predating it's official discovery by 233 years. He was given an award for his "shockingly outre" finding. Also under his belt - a couple of Jupiter Moons, the 'centaurs' (of which Chiron is one) who roam between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune, and the co-discovery of other asteroids, comets and super-novas.
The Kuiper Belt - home of the Centaurs
In Greek mythology, Chiron is conceived when the nymph Philyra, changes herself into a horse to escape the horny Titan God. Cronus then turns himself into a stallion and has his way with her. Another version says he did this to avoid being caught by his wife, Rhea. When the baby is born, Philyra rejects him. This is Chiron's first wound - being the monstrous, anthropomorphic offspring of rape and then rejected by his parents. His physical wound doesn't come until later, when, unwittingly caught up in a drunken centaur melee (he is sober) he is accidentally struck by one of Heracles' poison arrows. Because the arrow was tipped with Hydra venom, the wound could never be healed. (Serpent power trumps all).
In a way, the arrow opens up his old wound, by reminding him he was born a Titan, and that, unless he can relinquish his birthright of immortality, he'll suffer in stinging agony for eternity…in other words, he really needs to let go. But it's all well in the end, Chiron trades mortalities with Prometheus and when he dies, magnanimous Zeus (Jupiter) puts him in the sky as a constellation, instead of sending him to Hades with all the other mortal souls.
Had Chiron not been abandoned, he likely wouldn't have wouldn't have learned all about music, medicine, martial arts, horses, hunting, astrology, art, poetry, and prophecy from his foster God parents, Artemis (Moon) and Apollo (Sun). Nor would he have gone on to tutor and care for heroes like Theseus, Achilles, Perseus, Jason, Heracles, the great healer Asclepius, or even Dionysus, to whom he taught dance. There was no other centaur, nor indeed any being quite like him.
Chiron teaching Achilles cameo brooch
Modern psychology tells us bad experiences in childhood can wreck us for life, unless we work on them in therapy and that bad parenting is mostly to blame. But what if we were to turn our thinking around and view that early wound as stage one of preparation for lessons we are to face later in life ? Parents may be the first to provide the environment, but we come into the world with prepackaged seeds and our own keys. Aspects and transits are what seem to gradually bring out an asteroid or planetoid's character over time. Some astrologers think that Chiron wounds are more the accidental or fated sort, rather than deliberately inflicted ones (those might have more to do with Mars, or Saturn).
The shaman's journey often 'germinates' during a serious illness, tragedy or other near death experience in their youth. In this altered state, the first visions are received. He/she likely doesn't see their childhood experience as a wound they have to heal or manage for life, but rather, as the experience through which they were initiated or called. I've become a bit wary of anyone who describes themselves outright as a 'healer'. Indeed, many who choose healing professions are working out their own pain, for better or worse.
"The patient's treatment begins with the doctor, so to speak. Only if the doctor knows how to cope with himself and his own problems will he be able to teach the patient to do the same. " ~ Carl Jung
Chiron with Apollo and Asclepius
Ultimately, one has to become their own healer, teacher, hero and artist. Chiron instructs our inner hero. By mastering a skill (a form of expression, art, martial art, etc), researching, seeking help from experienced professionals and being open to self-discovery, we activate our inner Chiron. Artemis and Apollo did not heal Chiron, but they provided him with all the necessary tools and a nurturing environment for gnosis - to know himself and develop his magical gifts. In alchemy, the mystical marriage of Sol and Luna represents the union of body and spirit. The midpoint (halfway mark degree) between Sun and Moon in a chart is where these energies are fused. It shows how and where we externalize our true purpose, focus on our life's work and discover what is at the heart of our well being. Absolutely essential to check in here during Chiron return ! For clues to the nature of your inner hero, look to Mars and Pallas, as well as planets in Sagittarius and Aries.
Chiron has been called the "Rainbow Bridge" by some astrologers. The first thing that came up when I googled the term was an actual bridge of this name, between Canada and the US, near Niagara falls (opened on Nov 1, 1941). On it is inscribed a passage from Genesis, known as the 'Rainbow Covenant'. Basically it's an agreement from God to Moses, promising that whenever he (God) sees the rainbow, he'll be reminded of his promise not to cause any more floods, but the deeper meaning has more to to do with the rainbow being the bridge to our own higher consciousness. A more gnostic interpretation, which sounds a lot like the description of Sagittarius, would be that the rainbow symbolizes a mystical bridge or bow between Heaven and Earth, our God self and mortal self :
"The rainbow appears in the story after Noah’s flood because it is God’s promise to humanity that union with the divine can be attained again. The deluge represented an end to the great ignorance of man’s spiritual estate in heaven. The story of Noah and the ark is also a story about higher and lower consciousness, not a literal flood that destroyed every living creature." ~ Joshua Tilghman
Rainbow Covenant on the Rainbow Bridge
In Tarot the card representing this bridge to higher consciousness is Trump 5, the Pope/Le Pape. It's actually Jupiter, our God-self, wearing the pontiff's garb. Planet Jupiter resides in the 5th sphere from the Sun. The 5 senses connect our spirit to the material world through the body. He rules the sign of Sagittarius, the centaur with the bow and arrow. That Chiron returns to it's natal position in our charts around age 50 (actual orbit is 50.7 years) is significant. Not least because 50 reduces to 5, but for women especially, it's a time of major change within the body and psyche. There will be no more child-bearing, welcome to the wise, crone years, here is your waxing Moon bow. Trump 2, the Priestess/Papess is 'sacred' or 'secret' feminine wisdom (the Sophia). Both the Moon and Venus have crescent phases (horns) but Venus resides in the 2nd sphere from the Sun. "No man has lifted my veil of sulphuric acid." So this pair of 'holy parents' represent the passageways to both higher, spiritual consciousness and ancient, soul wisdom.
To summarize, Chiron
- has Sagittarius, Scorpio and Pisces connections as well as Virgo.
- is a wounded healer archetype, as well as a teacher and artist/visionary who instructs the inner hero. Does not conform, but is not a 'rebel without a cause,' either.
- provides a bridge between past and future, Heaven and Earth, lower and higher self, creating room to roam in the present zone.
- returns to it's natal position at age 50 or so. Midpoint between Sun and Moon important.
Next: CHIRON - Part 2 - A Chironic Personality - Chelsea (Bradley) Manning
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