This page is a work in progress as Rob Shaw is involved with ongoing research about this fascinating centaur asteroid. It may deserve full planet status in astrology!
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 collectively call centaurs.
Technically renamed 2060 Chiron by astronomers it was also determined to have comet-like features in 1988 and holds that status and name as 95P/Chiron. 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 6 different suggested astronomical designations for Chiron over just 4+ decades of our knowledge of its existence. Recently, in 2011 it was discovered that Chiron has rings like his centaur neighbour Chariklo named for his mythical wife Chariclo.
As astrologers learn more about Chiron, and just like the other planets, his archetypal mythology seems to suit the planetoid’s name. Chiron’s primary energy or influence appears to be in his role as “the maverick” or “wounded healer” of the zodiac. This brings an astronomical minor planet into play with people and situations in life that have great impact, especially on a psychological basis. Similar to Pluto perhaps who also appears at first to have little impact within a horoscope due to it’s matters being hidden from view. Chiron’s effects are also subtle and involve deeper psychology and wisdom.
As confusing as Chiron’s astronomical designation is he is an exciting addition to the planetary roster for astrologers and many feel should be given planetary rulership of Virgo a near-obvious choice when comparing Chiron’s and Virgo’s qualities. Your author also believes an elevation or exalted status for Chiron in Sagittarius is equally appropriate and these statements will be topics of other articles in the future.
Chiron takes about 51 years to travel through all 12 signs of the zodiac and spends about 4 years in each sign.
The myth of Chiron details how he was considered the very best of the centaurs and behaved more like a human than the other centaurs and mythical beasts who were decidedly 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 as a nod to his more human-like behaviour. He also was portrayed wearing clothing unlike Sagittarius the Archer and centaur. They are two separate myths.
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’s lust 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 is more closely identified with medicine and service than Mercury and should be given rulership over the 6th house of health and service and the zodiac sign Virgo.
Chiron was cared for however as he was foster fathered by Apollo, and although one story said he was born with psychic ability and wisdom, he was educated by Apollo in medicine, music, hunting and martial arts; skills that he later taught to others. He was seen as gifted and wise about many topics.
Chiron and his wife Chariclo are associated with Asclepius who both 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 (used commonly as a logo or symbol) has this association with Chironic healing and health that alternative practices include but Chiron 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.
Chiron’s associations with healing and service, childhood and chronic health problems, woundedness, and wisdom are greater and 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 great self-discipline and responsibility, normally traits associated with Saturn. Its effects may be revealed slowly over time like Saturn. A gradual acceptance of life’s pain and lessons may energise Chiron’s transformational affects.
Chiron also displays a symbology that is almost Uranian in its unusual ability to provide sudden change through insight. Moments of sudden revelation or insight are possible but whereas Uranus provides a “eureka” experience like a bolt of lightning, Chiron is a more sustaining liquid light.
In some ways Chiron may indicate a bridge between the energies of Saturn and Uranus harnessing the combined effects of these two powerful outer planets of transformation, higher knowledge, and change. The downside is that like Saturn and Uranus Chiron may also be the source of great and deep inner wounds and inner psychological conflicts.
Chiron may take you to greater spiritual awareness or higher levels of vibration. There is a greater understanding of the deeper unseen aspects of life when experiencing Chiron. Chiron appears to have an active energizing influence as a planet would in astrology but works on a mostly subconscious level. Once a more conscious awareness of Chiron is achieved it appears to activate experiences of transcendent change perhaps due to the new awareness of greater wisdom. Chiron may help one transform and move away from longstanding pain endured earlier. The pain may not “go away” but be left in a place where it no longer holds the native back from progress.
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 positively transform or change the native. In Chiron, pain becomes a spiritual experience.
Educator and Wounded Healer
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 then destined to spend eternity in constant pain. He retreated to his cave where he tried every known method of healing to relieve his own torment but he was not successful. He continued to serve the community as a healer and teacher for many years displaying great humility, nobility and extreme strength in spite of his pain. Eventually Chiron asked Zeus to relieve his pain by allowing him to die. He endured the ultimate sacrifice by exchanging his life for that of Prometheus and was memorialized forever by Zeus as the constellation Centaurus. Centaurus does NOT symbolise Sagittarius; he is Chiron the Centaur yet Chiron may be elevated in Sagittarius.
Through these legends we see Chiron operate as a symbol of transcendence and growth by his mastery of living through his pain to continue offering his gifts to humankind as a mentor and teacher. 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. Chiron has natural associations with mentoring, teaching and education all of which occur in schools, places of higher education and the workplace.
Chiron is cited for educating a few notable characters in mythology. His reputation as a great teacher would have kept him very busy. It seems likely that he would have had a joy for teaching. It may have helped forget about his own pain for awhile. It’s often been said that in service to others we have a chance to put our own self, our own problems and issues aside. And we are creating good karma. It makes even more sense for Chiron’s association with education and teaching when giving him rulership over the 6th house of service to others and dharma.
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. Whether by focusing on bringing healing to others or doing anything else it takes the mind of one’s own pain.
Awareness of pain is a constant with Chiron but learning how to go beyond the pain and transform that pain into wisdom is a process that can take some time, perhaps the 51 or so years it takes Chiron to return to its natal position. Due to their own woundedness, Chironic type of people possess great empathy and understanding of illness and pain bringing a more human and gentle approach to health than the standard purely clinical Saturn style of health care. Chiron understands the roles of kindness, positive intent and faith in the healing process because he has been wounded. He displays great wisdom and although not fully a god, a planet or a human he is one of the greatest mythological supporters of humanity through his empathy, knowledge and social service as an educator.
Once a higher awareness of life has begun the transformational change or Chironic influence may appear to flow like “a liquid light” as the major life changes permeate other areas in life that also transform. It’s almost watery or liquid in it’s ability to absorb or be absorbed in certain interests and activities. Education through an experience with Chiron is transcendental as well as transforming and making Chiron possibly the most mystical of all celestial bodies used in astrology.
Alternative Health, Arts and Sciences
Chiron is the perfect ruler of Virgo and 6th house matters as he is a perfect balance to Neptune and the 12th house. In astrology each of the 6 house axes are basically two sides of the same coin. In house 1, 7, the signs Aries and Libra rule the initial concept of relationship between the self and others.
In house 6, 12, the signs Virgo and Pisces is the concept of service to and being served by others or teamwork. In these houses we see how they and the signs represent services in health, hygiene, hospitals, banks, big business, corporations, government, and the work environment. These provide many of our basic needs in services required to thrive in today’s world. It’s notable that health care is so important to life that 3 different houses govern health; houses 6, 8 and 12.
Neptune has much to do with illness and health in astrology as well as calamity and it rules the 12th house of hospitals. Chiron as a health educator, specialist and compassionate healer seems to also lean to non-traditional health career choices. Many chiropractors, therapists or practitioners of alternative treatment modalities have strong Chiron influences. So too do those dealing with applied health arts and sciences. Working in health is not all about being a nurse or physician in the 21st century and Chiron like Uranus appears to lean towards new forms of health practice and sustainable practices. Chiron appears to have access to an unfathomable depth of health knowledge and the Akasha itself.
Chiron’s prominence in the horoscopes of followers and professionals of alternative or complementary health practices particularly makes it a wonderful adjunct in the pantheon of health associations in astrology. Saturn and Neptune have long been associated with medical doctors and traditional medicine. Chiron and Neptune together may have an amazing combination that leans more to the side of health care of the future. Chiron approaches health care in a way that intends to educate the patient and guide them to healing and recovery. Traditional medicine takes a person’s health out of their hands and treats only symptoms and never the cause of ill health.
Chiron may be an “earthy” planet in its influence and is sobering as people and situations relating to Chiron bring you down to earth with a dose of painful reality. Like the planets Venus and Saturn ruling earth signs Taurus and Capricorn, Chiron in rulership of Virgo has several earthly symbolic attachments. In Greek mythology, which gave Chiron the highest status as the greatest of all centaurs, the more human centaur they depict is attached to a horse’s behind (seems true to life in some relationships!). Centaurs were known for hunting, an earthbound attachment to nature and animals. Chiron was revered for his knowledge of medicine, mostly herbal and mineral forms in his time. The Greeks regarded him as the creator of botany and medicine, pharmaceutical and herbology.
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 forward. It may take you through the steps of anger or confusion, grief, and lead 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.
Rejection & Abandonment Issues
Chiron’s abandonment by his mother and father is a harsh symbol of human behaviour at its worst.
Many myths of Chiron have him instructing gods, demi-gods and mortals in a variety of skills.
(Stay with us, more to come in the future.)