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Chiron, Pholus &.Co

See too: Other Celestial Bodies

On 1 November 1977, the American astronomer Charles Kowal discovered a small planet with an extraordinary orbit. A couple of weeks later, this planet was named Chiron. There are hundreds of asteroids in our Solar system - many of them bigger than this new object, with an estimated diameter of, at most, 160 km. However, Chiron's orbit, positioned between Saturn and Uranus, is unique. Chiron takes about 50 years for a complete revolution and at times leans strongly towards both Saturn and Uranus. His path is unstable, as he has probably only been travelling along it for a couple of thousand years, and will probably only be there for a couple of thousand more. In 1991, Chiron was classified as a captured comet. Astronomers don't completely agree on whether Chiron is an asteroid or a comet, so he can be found in the catalogues for both. His position can be reliably calculated for the period between 1500 B.C. and 4000 A.D. only, beyond this period, any calculation must be considered uncertain.

The position of Chiron's orbit, placed between Saturn and Uranus, is rather special. In spite of all attempts at classification, Chiron has, as it were, taken on the role of a planet. His path is severely eccentric, like that of Symbol of ChironPluto, so that he occasionally crosses the orbits of both Saturn and Uranus. Most astrologers regard him as a sort of "mediator" between these two, and as a link between the "Guardian of the Spheres" (Saturn) and the outer planets. Accordingly, Chiron is said to have both a Saturnian and a Uranian influence. Before Chiron was defined as a captured comet, he was regarded as an errant asteroid, far from the "herd", or belt, of the other asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, a loner and rebel, going his own way. The key-shaped glyph shown above has become widely accepted, and is part of the basis for interpretation - Chiron is regarded as a key to the outer planets, as well as to those spheres of life shown by his role in classical mythology.

Kronos and RheaAccording to myth, Chronos ( Saturn ) once became inflamed with passion for the nymphe Philyra. His wife, Rhea, caught him in the act, whereupon he turned himself into a stallion and fled. The centaur Chiron was the fruit of this union, a creature half man and half horse. Philyra was filled with aversion, when she saw this child, so she asked Zeus to turn her into a linden tree. Later on, Chiron lived in a grotto on Mount Pelion, teaching young heros the martial arts, the art of the chase, as well as music. His most famous students were Achilles and Asclepios. The end of his story is full of symbolic meaning: Unintentionally, he was wounded by a poisoned arrow belonging to his friend, Hercules. Being immortal, Chiron lived on with the terrible, incurable wound. When Prometheus was to be punished, Chiron offered to die in his stead. This sacrifice of his own immortality delivered him from torment.

Chiron is a creature both animal and human, combining the dark, natural, instinctive parts with the rational. Astrologically, he represents wisdom, patience and mastery over the inner darkness. Due to his own incurable wound, he has intimate knowledge of suffering, in all its forms. This enables him to tap a deep well of wisdom from within, to ease the pain of others. Because Chiron is not really on the same level as the "classical" planets, aspects to him are not shown in our chart drawings.

Chiron in the Astrodienst Product Range

Chiron is included in the data print-outs for the following chart types, but not in the drawings: Typ 2.AT und 2.GR. In addition to this, a new drawing type was created, identical with type2.AT, but with Chiron added into the drawing.

Neither the data print-out nor the drawing show the aspects to Chiron. The position of Chiron is not included in Lunar and Solar returns, progressions, transits, etc. However, Chiron is included in the data print-outs for natal charts with an additional chart ring, types 24.xx, 25.xx und 23.xx for all methods.

Pholus and Others

After 1992, Chiron was no longer the only small object in our outer Solar system. A number of asteroids were discovered between Saturn and Neptune. The first of these was named after the second-most prominent centaur, Pholus. Accordingly, this group of small asteroids is known as "The Centaurs". Apart from the Centaurs, another small planet was discovered in the area around and beyond Pluto, and beyond this, a new, great belt of small asteroids, probably consisting of more objects than the main belt, between Mars and Jupiter. Probably, Pluto himself should be considered a member of this group, in spite of being much bigger than the rest.

The outer extremes of Pholus' path cross the orbits of both Saturn and Neptune. Just as Chiron is considered an astrological key to Saturn and Uranus, so Pholus is a key to Neptune. His average distance from the Sun is a little greater than that of Uranus, a complete revolution takes 92 years. In myth, Pholus guards the centaurs' vines, the wine from these being the actual cause for the battle between Hercules and the Centaurs. Like Chiron, Pholus becomes embroiled in the battle by chance, and dies due to a tragic coincidence - while curiously inspecting one of Hercules' poisoned arrows, he is mortally wounded.

According to first astrological observations, Pholus gives unusual ability in a particular area, or unexpected results, due to a gift for experiment. Pholus' transits over the main axes of a chart, often mark radical and unexpected change, hinted at by his sudden and unexpected death in the myth.


Erminie Lantero, The Continuing Discovery of Chiron, Samuel Weiser Inc. (1983), 189 pages, ISBN 0-87728-549-7. A detailed and well-founded aid to interpretation based on a symbolic and archetypal approach.

Melanie Reinhart, Chiron and the Healing Journey, Penguin USA (paper), ISBN 0140195734, recommended.

Robert v. Heeren und Dieter Koch, Pholus. Wandler zwischen Saturn und Neptun, Chiron Verlag, Mössingen 1995. An extremely thorough work which, amongst other things, discusses Pholus in detail. Highly recommended. ( Not available in English. )

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