Chiron is the name of an asteroid as it was designated upon its discovery in 1977. The press of the day mistakenly called it the 10th planet but perhaps that’s not a mistake to astrologers. It was later found that Chiron was one of many solar system bodies orbiting the sun between Jupiter and Pluto astronomers now call a centaur.
Technically now called 2060 Chiron by astronomers it was also determined to have comet-like features in 1988 and holds that status still as 95P/Chiron. Now, these centaurs as they are currently called are maybe a plutoid, dwarf planet or minor planet after all say some astronomers–and yes that was six different suggested designations for Chiron over 43 years of our knowledge of its existence. Recently, in 2011 it was discovered that Chiron has rings like his centaur-cousin Chariklo named for his mythical wife Chariclo. Chiron has a lot going on.
It’s wonderful we’re learning more about Chiron and as with the other planets, his mythology seems to suit its name Chiron. Everything about Chiron is what we astrologers call “the maverick” or “wounded healer”. Astrologers have observed Chiron and many believe it is a major influence in the horoscope above any other asteroid.
As confusing as Chiron’s designation is he is an exciting addition to the planetary roster and this astrologer believes he should be given rulership of Virgo a near-obvious choice. I also believe an elevation or exalted status in Sagittarius is equally appropriate and these will be the topics of another article in the future.
The myth of Chiron details how he was the best of the centaurs and behaved more like a human than the other centaurs and mythical beasts who were more animalistic. In Greek mythology, although considered a centaur, Chiron was depicted with human front legs and only the rear legs and posterior of a horse perhaps due to his more human like behaviour. Chiron was fathered by the Titan god Cronus known as Saturn to the Romans, who pursued his mother an Oceanid nymph Philyra. She spurned the advances of Saturn by turning into a horse which unfortunately didn’t stop Saturn and she became pregnant.
It was said when Philyra saw her half-horse half-human child she was horrified, revolted and quickly abandoned him. Chiron was cared for because he was foster fathered by Apollo and although one story said he was born with increased psychic ability and wisdom, he was also educated in medicine, music, hunting and martial arts; skills that he later taught to others. He was seen as gifted and wise about many topics and said to have invented medicine and surgery.
Chiron is associated with Asclepius who with his wife Chariclo raised him and also taught him medicine. So gifted was Asclepius (secretly a son of Apollo) it was said he outshone the teacher yet all students of Chiron learned advanced medicine according to myths. The rod of Asclepius has this association with Chironic healing and health that includes alternative practices but it also is associated with medicine in general. The rod of Asclepius is a wooden staff with a single serpent coiled around it and is a universal symbol of medicine.
The caduceus is a very similar symbol and often confused with the rod of Asclepius. The caduceus is a pole entwined by two serpents. It was said to be a symbol of Hermes/Mercury as it represented trade, merchants, alchemy and wisdom. It’s association with health and medicine is a mistaken identity between the two and most commonly seen in the USA. This is an integral error that needs clarification as Mercury’s caduceus symbol has been often used to represent the 6th house of health. Rulership by Chiron who is more closely identified with medicine and service and the caduceus should be given to this health and service house and the zodiac sign Virgo.
Its association with healing and service as well as childhood and chronic health problems and woundedness is more obvious than Mercury’s. Chiron’s childhood is tragic and he suffered a lot. Also, he sacrificed his half-immortality to help humankind and obtain the ability to die by trading it with Prometheus. Chiron transcended his earthly pain through death and achieved transformation into the constellation Centaurus.
Chiron’s orbit is between Saturn and Uranus and an astrological connection to these planets cannot be unexpected. Chiron may represent elevated attitudes of greater discipline and responsibility, normally traits associated with Saturn. It also displays an energy that is almost Uranian in its unusual manner as an instrument of sudden change that is like Uranus. In some ways Chiron may be a bridge between the energies of these two powerful planets.
Chiron may take you to greater awareness or higher levels of vibration. There is a greater understanding of deeper unseen aspects of life when experiencing Chiron. Chiron appears to have an active energizing influence as a planet would in astrology. It activates experiences of transcendent change particularly and helps one transform and move away from longstanding pain.
Chiron’s influences are unusual but bring a few gifts especially in certain planetary relationships. Unfortunately, it may also be an influence that indicates significant pain or loss which may eventually transform or change the native.
Its primary association is as a symbol of “the wounded healer” or “wounded warrior”. In his primary mythology Chiron is accidentally injured by a deadly poisonous arrow by his friend and student Heracles/Hercules. Because Chiron was a demi-god as a son of Saturn/Cronus/Kronos he was half-immortal so he was destined to spend eternity in constant pain. He retreated to his cave where he tried all manner of healing to relieve his own torment but was not successful. He continued to serve the community as a healer and teacher for many years but eventually asked Zeus to relieve his pain by allowing him to die. Chiron endured the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life for that of Prometheus and was memorialized forever by Zeus as the constellation Centaurus.
Through these legends we see Chiron operate as a symbol of transcendence and growth by his mastering living through his pain to continue offering his gifts to humankind as a mentor and teacher to many. In a horoscope Chiron may represent someone who has achieved this status of mastery in their chosen field whether it is to do with health, education and science or not.
There is a nobility to Chironic energy in that it can bring peace to a mind whose awareness was stuck in an old and chronic pain but is now transforming into an energy of peace and acceptance. Once awareness of a higher understanding has begun the change or Chironic influence may appear to flow like a liquid light as this major life change permeates other areas that also will transform. It’s almost watery or liquid in it’s ability to absorb or be absorbed in certain interests, yet also is rather “earthy” in its influence too.
Chiron may also have a bit of a compulsive influence in that it may represent habits or coping mechanisms to deal with chronic or deep pain that sufficed to get you through a trauma, but that must be unlearned to move into the steps of anger or confusion, grief, and leading to a transformation to peaceful acceptance. It may take a long time for a Chiron cycle to manifest in a horoscope. It’s orbit is approximately 50 years and at that age when Chiron returns to its natal position most everyone appraises their life and makes transformative changes. Half-life Chiron cycles at 25 years may also manifest.
Chiron’s influence may be felt suddenly and oddly and perhaps more bizarrely than Uranus. At its worst it exposes old pain or is related to chronic pain. Pain is always a symptom that something is wrong. Chiron may be the deepest connection to pain as a transformational experience once the pain is processed and the native is in acceptance and moving on.
Chiron may provide an extra boost of healing (or pain!) in a horoscope and to planets it aspects. It may indicate current or past pain that is deep, dark, shadowy and sudden, definitely relating it to Saturn and Uranus. But it can become a more beneficial influence like the Sun, Venus and Jupiter and given the potential negativity of the outer planets it doesn’t hurt to have another minor benefic in the zodiac, especially as a force of healing and transformation. Its positive influence may be related to Apollo/Sun as his foster father and benefactor who raised Asclepius. This may also explain its inherent influence of alleviation pain and trauma. Healing itself is a transformation that is also restorative. In this way it shares traits with Jupiter.
Chiron’s influence has been described as “liquid light” by Barbara Hand Clow and others. Chiron’s expression of energy is separate and unique from any other greater light energy associated with the other planets. The Sun’s light in astrology is generally bright like a cheerful person. The moon’s light is about emotional connection and relationship. Mercury’s light is to inform, learn and pass it on, and so on. Chiron’s special energy is at times a “liquid light” of transcendence as it infuses the native with new wisdom, higher awareness, healing or psychic ability, and restored health. This gives it a unique force of influence unlike any of the other planets in astrology and this alone should earn it status as a planet within the horoscope and astrology.
The theme for Chiron’s influence is that we all suffer some great pain in our lives that leaves us feeling great pain, sorrow or loss. Carrying deep pain such as this may hold one back from progress in life; in others it carries them on to great success. Pain such as this must be overcome by some form of healing. If it is not released or redirected in some manner through an outlet Chiron’s energy is buried in the pain and this may carry on for some time. Eventually, a crisis aspect will occur between Chiron and another planet forcing a transformation, acceptance or change relating to what the planet, sign and house represented by where Chiron is located.
The fact that the pain is usually from the past shows the native the need to overcome it in the present and disallow it from preventing the experience of a pain-free or reduced-pain lifestyle. Chiron provides an opportunity to face a painful experience and transform and grow from it and therefore may be a wonderful catalyst to growth. One may be able to recover from a painful time, or is left wiser after a Chiron transit and be or feel healthier and wiser and start living a richer life.
Chiron’s maverick status is seen in how people with strong Chiron influences in their horoscope who persist and take largely different pathways than other people. They may be a bit different and they seek learning experiences between others. The unusual nature of Chiron is that they are not stuck to just one method or mode of experience like some other planets may be. With Chiron, there is much more the likelihood of the student becoming a teacher which manifests the true nature of what education and knowledge should be, which is to share it to help others once it is learned.
Chiron is unusual but not necessarily bizarre like Uranus and it truly is an influence in astrology quite unlike anything we’ve seen before. Chironic people tend to gravitate to fields of healing, medicine, therapy or anything that is relative to transformative experience.
Like Chiron of mythology Chiron in astrology is associated with natural health and healing practices but also all forms of medicine and healing. It is not so concerned with the rules or what is commonly practised or believed or dictated by “science” as Chiron takes into account healing energies commonly disputed or ignored by science. Chiron challenges the status quo but not always in a destructive manner as is more common with the outer planets. If anything there is a bit of a self-destructive or martyr influence with Chiron, often seen in the sign of Virgo. In the way that the Sun in astrology challenges us to be the best self we can be, Chiron challenges us to be the healthiest and wisest self we can be and to pass that knowledge along.
Chiron’s abandonment by mother.
Educator and Healer
Many myths of Chiron have him instructing gods, demi-gods and mortals in a variety of skills.
(Stay with us, more to come.)