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Why Chiron?
Gifts of “the Wounded Healer”
by Joyce Mason

Don’t let its small size and unusual nature as part-comet, part-planetoid fool you.  The relative astrological newcomer, Chiron, is the missing key to chart interpretation. It opens the door to personal and planetary evolution. Because mythological Chiron was a mentor of heroes and the first astrologer, the discovery of Chiron in 1977 heralded a whole new way of using astrology and other lost esoteric arts--to bring out the best in each individual--to foster their greatest talents so they can go onto contribute them to the collective.  As to Chiron’s own work, turning out heroes, who would argue that these times call for heroism?
In its role as ambassador between Old (Saturn) and New (Uranus), reflected by its orbital path between these two planets, Chiron is connected with process and evolution. Imagine, as Barbara Hand Clow has called Chiron in her book title, a Rainbow Bridge. [1] Saturn is on one end, Uranus on the other.  In the past, the only way hard, institutionalized ways (Saturn) were changed in our world was by revolution (Uranus). Chiron brings us an alternative--step-by-step organic change, the slow but sure type that really sticks, because we as earthbound beings don’t handle change easily, much less drastic, unexpected change.  Once change is achieved--we cross the bridge from Saturn to Uranus--and we sit with it awhile, the New eventually becomes Old, and we start the process all over again.  (It is really an endless recycling loop, apropos because the centaur Chiron was keeper of the forest and is strongly associated with ecology.)  The individual with Chiron prominent (angular or significantly aspected) has a foot in both worlds--the Establishment and the Leading Edge--and is able to work within the system to convey new ideas to society and  catalyze change.

Chiron is complex and exciting.  It is the archetype connected with your individual journey to wholeness.  All key words for Chiron relate to wholeness or achieving it. Prior to Chiron’s discovery, Dane Rudhyar predicted that there would be a planet discovered between Saturn and Uranus that would act as a “higher Moon.”  Rudhyar had a glimmer of the reason why Chiron in his mythological story had an incurable wound.  It is being stuck in our wounding from the past that keeps us from achieving what we crave in the present.  There is no healing without healing the emotional body, and Chiron’s story emphasizes this point.  Chiron was wounded in a fracas with the wild centaurs that interrupted a wedding. The wedding is a metaphor for the inner marriage of feeling complete, where the parts of ourselves are wed in harmony.  Our ability to become all that we can be is interrupted constantly by our own devils, the wild centaurs within us that caused the scars of unresolved pain. Chiron was a great herbalist and surgeon, the teacher of Aesclepius, yet he could not heal himself.  This is what happens if we don’t confront our own inner demons.

The myth, astronomy, and events surrounding its discovery contribute rich metaphors to understanding Chiron.  The cultural phenomenon most connected with Chiron’s discovery is the “New Age” and holistic healing.  Both Chiron’s myth and astronomy tell us of the need to merge the opposites within us to achieve wholeness.  Our cultural wound is the split between instincts and intellect (represented by mythical Chiron’s centaur body, half man and half horse). The astronomer who named Chiron had great intuition, whether or not he realized it at the time: Only later did we was it confirmed that Chiron is a composite as a planet, too.  The American Astronomical Union has named them “centaurs” --the hundreds (and they suspect there are thousands ) of other objects like Chiron recently discovered beyond Neptune.  The term is in Chiron’s honor, the first centaur planet discovered..  Mythological Chiron was leader of the other centaurs, too--an unruly lot different from the wise, just teacher and healer.

Chiron’s energy has been rediscovered at a time when we need it most, and his story closely parallels the later life of Jesus.  Since one function/meaning of the “rainbow bridge” is to bring heaven to earth, we can see Chiron as a nonreligious, but spiritual archetype that gives us a prescription for wholeness and achieving it. Chiron is about healing where we feel misfit and unrelated and finding our place in the world--connected with each other.

In a birth chart, astrological Chiron is the point of chart synthesis, where old pain can be transmuted and the individual can become a model for mastery of a specific life lesson. By working through and finding the gift in our own suffering, everyone whose life we touch benefits by example.  This is true heroism and why Chiron mentored heroes. This is why we crave “human interest” stories.  Pain is our teacher, because within it lies the key to our healing.  Each of us has a job to heal our own wounds so that we can learn from each other. So often, where we were hurt the most contains the seed of our gift to give in terms of life’s purpose and “real work.”  Examples are the stutterer who becomes an orator; the kid who grew up in the ghetto, makes it rich, and becomes a philanthropist; or the domestic violence victim who runs a shelter to protect others who are still in the process of breaking free. [2]
If you’re not using Chiron, you don’t know what you’re missing!


[1] Clow, Barbara Hand, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets
(Llewellyn: 1987).
[2] I am indebted to astrologer Dale O'Brien for making me aware of the connection between the Chironic wound and career paths.

Copyright © by Joyce Mason
All rights reserved

This article first appeared in 'Welcome to Planet Earth' and on 'America On-Line'

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JOYCE MASON is an eclectic astrologer, writer, metaphysician, and certified flower essence practitioner with a BA in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). She has over 30 years' combined casework and astrological counseling experience. Her star studies began in 1980 and quickened in 1988 when she discovered Chiron. The missing link to understanding herself and the bigger cosmic picture, Chiron quickly became her passion and life’s work. Joyce was editor of the international newsletter on Chiron called Chironicles from 1992-95. Joyce lives in the Sacramento, California area. Contact her by e-mail: chironicle@aol.com

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