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"We Went Back to See the Stars" - Chiron the Soul Wanderer

by Milla Basso

Chiron planetoidI decided to talk about the theme of Chiron because the symbol of the “wounded healer” has led me to profound thoughts regarding the human condition in general. It has also brought me to wonder why “destiny”, through different kinds of paths, has led me, in the end, to take care professionally of fragile and “different” people, of those who are often considered “outsiders” by the masses.

Knowing that “nothing happens by chance”, I started to approach the studies that influential astrologists (Melanie Reinhart and Paolo Crimaldi above all) had conducted on this planetoid or comet as you prefer, discovered in 1977 by the American astronomer Charles T. Kowal in Pasadena CA USA. As regards, however, the astrological study, the first astrologer who worked on it was Zane Stein in Philadelphia USA, establishing its natural Domicile within the Constellation of Centaur.

What caught my attention and curiosity was the fact that Chiron has a singular motion, different from the other Planets, to the point that it is in fact called “maverick”, the non-aligned, and it moves within an orbit between Saturn and Uranus with an eccentric motion.

Some think Chiron abodes within Sagittarius House IX – referring to the nature of Centaurus and of Spiritual Master expressed by the Sign – others, emphasizing the value of “corporeality” and of its healing, see it as aboded in Virgo House VI. Furthermore, others see it as aboded in Libra, considering it the higher octave of Venus (like Neptune, with who Chiron shares the self-healing value, but on a more trans-personal level). In Libra we find the exaltation of Saturn which, together with the skills of mediation and balance, typical of the Sign, would seem to emphasize these Chironian qualities.

I personally feel that the position of Sagittarius is more coherent with this symbol.

I feel it is appropriate, at this point, to briefly explain the myth related to Chiron.

He was born by the adulterous relationship between the Titan Kronos-Saturn and the Nymph Filira. When the two lovers were discovered by his wife Rea, Cronos fled changing into a horse. Filira gave birth to a son, half man and half horse and of which she was frightened and who she decided to abandon by asking Zeus to change her appearance. She became the tree of Linden. Young Chiron was adopted by Apollo who instructed him in all kinds of arts and knowledge; Chiron was wise and patient, so different from the other Centaurs who were rash, impulsive and rough. He would become in future the teacher of heroes such as Jason, Achilles, Asclepius and Heracles. The myth says that it was the latter that accidentally hit Chiron’s knee, with an arrow imbued with the poison of the Hydra, while he was killing the Erimanto Boar as one of his twelve labours.

Despite his medical knowledge and the ability to cope with pain, after some time during which the wound would not heal, Chiron was forced to beg Zeus to make him mortal so he could end his suffering. His request was granted at the condition that the Titan Prometheus was freed from his chains and his punishment for having given the “Fire of Knowledge” to humanity (Prometheus represents Uranus, the other Planet that, with Saturn, determines the orbit of our Planetoid). Zeus honoured Chiron by placing him within the Centaurus Constellation. 

I would now like to point out some interesting aspects on the psychological point of view.

  • The demigod nature due to his origin: his father is Kronos who covets the Nymph Filira, from this the double nature, divine and human; humans are by their nature ambivalent and often harbour contrasting feelings, thoughts and emotions; the psyche-soma or body-spirit dialectic that characterizes our nature.
  • Linden treeThe mother, after seeing the “monstrosity” of her son, abandons him at his birth and asks Zeus, pushed by her guilt for her adulterous love, to be transformed in something different from what she was. She was granted her wish and transformed in linden (tree with known healing properties and which bark could be used to vaccinate) while Chiron, archetype of the adoptive son, would be raised by Apollo, who would become thus his father in music and in the curative and medicine arts.
  • Following this, Chiron himself would become teacher of Asclepius and Heracles, recreating a sort of “family” that he never had by birth; here we have the “rejection” and the “abandonment” but also the possibility to “familiarize” with those akin to him, recreating the psychic nucleus that fulfills the need of love, acceptance and nursing of the first years of life.
  • Some believe that the etymology of the name Chiron comes from the greek “cheir-cheiròs”, literally “hand” (and for extension help, union): it is the hand that holds you during your journey, the cure ...; furthermore the glyph, composed by the letter K under which there is a small circle, reminds of a key that can open new doors (of conscience? of the soul?); lastly the greek letter “chi” is designed with a big X … how not to think, by suggestive analogy, of the symbol of Cristòs and if his sacrifice to save humanity?
  • So, “care” as the “healing process” as “introspective journey” and first of all spiritual.
  • The “healing” action of Chiron, within the Birth Chart, be it radix (meaning how it is positioned at the moment we come to this world) or in transit (meaning, during its passage on the Planets of the Birth Chart), expresses itself in its cycle - that lasts about 51 years before returning on itself - in a period of our life when we start “dealing with death”. We are not young anymore, not old either, but we start walking the road that brings to the end of some phases: children leave home, for a woman menopause is close, each of us looks at the results, more or less successful, that we have obtained, we have started to feel the mourning for losing our parents and sometimes our friends, we are more aware that our body is destined to get old by watching it change but above all, I would say, we spiritually enter the perspective of the impermanence of the Whole.

The Myth expresses these steps very well:

  1. Refusal and abandonment: it is the so called “wound of the soul”, the pain we come in contact with.
  2. Crisis: it is the awareness of the suffering and the challenge to want to look in its face and deal with it.
  3. Elaboration: our shadows, our demons have to be understood and integrated.
  4. Healing: the process that has started goes towards its resolution, with timings and modalities that vary from person to person. In our biographies, Chiron puts us in front of challenges that we know how to accept and manage nevertheless we are not able to sense … so what we don't face today (meaning the wound, problem, discomfort) we will find again, possibly exacerbated, during the next transit of Chiron. It must be said though that when we are able to listen to the message of our “inner travel companion” the transformative “healing” process of the soul will make us die to ourselves to be reborn to a new light so that we can “go back to looking at the stars”! We will have the new understanding that we are not “only” our body but also a Soul and that the laws that regulate the duality of human nature have to be integrated...to avoid becoming ill.

When I said before how the legend of Chiron had attracted and “called” to me, I meant to say that in that moment (years ago now) I started to take in consideration this symbol-archetype in my Birth Chart to start with and then to extend it, during consults, to the people who had a biography characterized by strong existential wounds and that where then able to transform these experiences in creative and healing modalities, first of all towards themselves, and then towards others.

I found, as predictable, important Chiron aspects in the Birth Charts of peers who worked to support and help others (social workers, psychologists, teachers…).

Chiron teaching AchillesComing back to the “double nature” I was talking about before: Chiron, says the legend, is the only non brutal Centaurus, and the fact of being born half human and half animal expresses the coexistence of soma and psyche, which brings the “therapeutic power” of this Centaurus.

It is known that there has to be a “wound” before beginning to talk about “healing” and it needs to be recognized: in Chiron the wound is the “rejection” of his parent, the “abandonment”. Wounds are often physical as the one to his knee brought by Heracles, best friend of Chiron, such an insupportable wound to bring him to ask Zeus to give him mortality in order to end the pain and this was accorded in exchange of ending the pain of Prometeo who had given men the “fire of knowledge” which had bought the Deities of the Olympus to be afraid of losing their power to the extent that they chained him to the Caucasian Cliff. Here is liver (and for analogy his courage, Jupiter and, again, Sagittarius) was constantly eaten by the eagle, in a cycle of death and rebirth: the liver would in fact keep growing again after it was eaten.

Wounds are often also spiritual, they bring us to the suffering of our soul ... they can seem to be healed but sometimes they come back to hurt …

Wounds of the soul, cure, healing: the symbol was gaining shape and significance for me already starting with these words.

I observed my Birth Chart to understand the message of my Chiron in house Pisces XI and in the meanwhile I tried understanding as much as possible regarding the myth and the astrological studies around this “symbolic key”...so I retraced my life as a sort of “autobiography”, knowing that this in itself has a certain “healing” valence: my wound was part of my personal biography, while the study of Chiron was taking me to the “legend biography” where the wound is collective and enters a transpersonal life story that transcends ourselves and regards the others we are taking care of.
The “cure” puts in motion a “healing” process: where we have Chiron (House, Sign, and Aspects), we identify the wound and we sense the cure, activating the healing process which is, in last analysis, a “transformational journey”.

The legend tells us how the Centaurus brought up by Apollo was  an expert in medicine, music and arts (all treatments for the body and the soul!); furthermore we know that these talents were fundamentally of a practical nature centered on the “here and now”, today we could say “learning by doing” (educational practice borrowed from American pedagogy of Dewey), learn to learn finalizing our knowledge to be transmitted after “elaborating and integrating it” personally, recognizing thus the value of our “diversity”, “individual originality” and so “creativity”.
To Cure is a “vocational act” and in this sense I feel that the collocation of Chiron in Sagittarius House IX intended also as vocation is appropriate.

Whenever we start an act of healing we create goals, we have expectations, that often talk to our projections: to resize our expectations can be helpful both for the healer and the “wounded”, most important is to not lose hope that the cure will work!

In astrology the symbols connected to this practice, in my opinion, are Jupiter and Pluto in regard to the fantasies of omnipotence and power over the client while, on the other side, we find Saturn who brings us back to a healthy “sense of the limit” versus the omnipotence, when it warns us also of the possible distrust and withdrawal from healing. As I was saying most important is to not lose the hope that the cure “can work”, and here again we find Sagittarius with the youthful value of trust!

Chiron and AchillesThe specific qualities of Chiron in the legend describe him as an “inner teacher”, “guide”, “shaman”, “catalizer”, “union of the opposites”, “healer”, all qualities that well describe the transformative and elaborative nature of the archetype.

The Chironian process in our life, when we put our hand on the experience of pain and suffering (ours or of others) brings us to travel alternatively between the worlds of Saturn (tradition / past / emotive stagnation) and Uranus (resilience / future / emotive elaboration) in line, on a metaphorical level, with the astronomical eccentric motion of the asteroid.

We also think that the “transgressive” and “transformative” value of Chiron when it heals wounds takes in account the personal history of suffering and pain (it is the lesson of Saturn, here intended as origin of reality), it looks at the scar but does not eliminate it (as Uranus would do by following his revolutionary nature), instead it transforms it, it elevates it on the evolutionary level of the individual healing process, integrating it in the life experience of the “healed”.

Jung, who integrated psychotherapy with astrology thus opening new horizons of thought and practice of healing of the human soul, would ask himself: “Who heals the wounded healer?” This fundamental question on an epistemological level, and why not, also astrological and mythical, can only have one answer: “the wounded healer must first heal himself to then heal others”.

In this way, Chiron, is “evolutive”; in particular during its transits, we have the opportunity to “recontact” the infected wounds and heal them, in fact it will only be after we have taken care of ourselves, having worked on our traumas, recognizing and integrating them in our consciousness, that we will be able to “take on ourselves” other people's wounds. Chiron here is our “travel companion” (other Sagittarius value) who takes us by the hand bringing us over suffering and towards a new light.

I would like to dwell, now, on the theme of the wound and the scar that it leaves.

The myth recounts that Chiron, induced by the pain brought upon by Heracles arrow, is forced to fall to the ground on his knees and by doing so in a certain sense “humiliates” himself: the soma-animal-selvatic-divine is wounded and the pain puts him in contact with his mortal part: it’s his human heart that calls out to Zeus asking to transform him into a mortal (at this point how not to see some likeness with the sacrifice of Christ?).

Independently of how we wish to see this character, I think that the important fact is given by the path that goes from the recognition to the elaboration and the overcoming of pain, of the suffering caused by the wound, by its acceptance, which often requires forgiveness towards those who have made us suffer and have abandoned us, who have betrayed us (I would like to stress how “forgiveness” can be reconducted to values of Neptune, archetype that is strongly connected to the “healing” processes as stated above) …

The teaching of Chiron in the Birth Chart, helps us to better understand the rejection we have received, especially in our first years of life, if not in our earlier lives for those who believe in reincarnation, not only but also starting from this awareness “key of our healing”... we can gift others with our “cure”, because we have first of all healed our existential wound. I think that the creativity of each of us, the recognition of our talent are the gifts Chiron gives us in order for each of us to give back to community that which is the “gift of our authentic diversity”.

Going back to my Chiron in House Pisces XI: after living for a long time with ambivalent feelings of uncomfortableness and inadequacy when in group contexts I found myself, without understanding why, at the same time to be afraid to be “assimilated” by the group, with the passing of years and experience I learnt to recognize the message of my Chiron.

Nightsky I believe that this coincided with the return of Chiron on himself and the end of the first cycle of Saturn, when I was about 27 years old ... well, I learnt that those feelings of exclusion, of inadequacy, and so of suffering, where in truth childhood affective needs that had not been completely satisfied, but furthermore due to my recognition of my “diversity”, unicity and authenticity, where the meaning of who I was really, for myself in primis.

As understandable, this did not happen in a short period! I started walking along an internal journey made of steps forward and stops, but at the end I understood that my diversity was my “keystone” as per the teaching of Chiron: to put my empathy, my understanding of feelings, my emotive intelligence to the service of who lives in discomfort, with insanity and with all kind of addictions, but recognizing at the same time the importance of the “limit” as per the teaching of Saturn.

I can heal other people’s wounds at the condition that I have first put myself in a “safe position” (emotionally and spiritually), setting boundaries to the suggestive invites of omnipotence of Jupiter and Pluto!

Today I can honestly say that “taking care” of other souls has not only helped the healing of some of my wounds, but is a source of daily spiritual enrichment and new energy for me and, I hope, for the people that are part of my life.

This is the lesson of my Chiron that keeps showing me the path with his arrow when the Light fades and the Stars are far away on the horizon. 

Notes and references:
Title quotation: D.Alighieri “DIVINA COMMEDIA” Inferno XXXIV, 139
E. Bernhard “MITOBIOGRAFIA” Adelphi Editore 1969
P. Crimaldi “CHIRONE” Edizioni Librarie Federico Capone 1996
J.Dewey “DEMOCRAZIA ED EDUCAZIONE” La Nuova Italia 1984
D. Demetrio “RACCONTARSI. L'AUTOBIOGRAFIA COME CURA DI SE'” Raffaello Cortina 1996
L.Greene “L'ARTE DI RUBARE IL FUOCO” Astrolabio 2005
J. Hillman “IL CODICE DELL'ANIMA” Adelphi 2009
C.G. Jung “L'UOMO E I SUOI SIMBOLI” Edizioni Tea 2007
C. G. Jung “LA SINCRONICITA'” Bollati Boringhieri 1980
L.Livaldi Luan “IL PROGETTO DELL'ANIMA” Edizioni Librarie Federico Capone 2011
L. Marinangeli “RISONANZE CELESTI” Marsilio I Nodi  2007
M.T. Mazzoni “IL MITO E L'ASTROLOGIA PSICOLOGICA” Edizioni Librarie Federico Capone 2012
M .Reinahart “SATURNO CHIRONE E I CENTAURI” Astrolabio Ubaldini 2003
R. Sicuteri “ASTROLOGIA E MITO” Casa Editrice Astrolabio 1978
I. D. Yalom “IL DONO DELLA TERAPIA” Neri Pozza I Colibrì 2015

Image sources:
Planetoid Chiron: By Celestia Team (Celestia) [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html), GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html) or GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Chiron and Achilles: James Barry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Chiron flying: John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Linden tree and night sky: CC0 Creative Commons, via pixabay.com

First published in: www.infinityastrologicalmagazine.com, Nov/Dec 2017.

Author:
Milla BassoMilla Basso was born in Milan June 22, 1963. She received a classical education, then a degree in Professional Education and is now dealing with mental health rehabilitation. Milla has been studing astrology for 30 years; first self-educated, then she completed four years of training with Eridanoschool of L. Fassio. She is currently attending the first year of CIDA in Milan. She  teaches humanistic evolutionary astrology courses. Principal authors in her education: Greene, Rudhyar, Arroyo, Sasportas and Crimaldi.

© 2017/18 - Milla Basso - Infinity Astrological Magazine

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Current Planets
27-May-2018, 11:01 UT/GMT
Sun67' 1"21n20
Moon1124'24"10s26
Mercury2447'29"18n03
Venus926' 1"24n54
Mars40'10"21s47
Jupiter165'35"r15s28
Saturn757'48"r22s19
Uranus036'24"11n11
Neptune1621'15"6s15
Pluto210'17"r21s33
TrueNode756' 0"r18n17
Chiron146'59"3n53
Explanations of the symbols
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