Chiron was discovered by Charles T. Kowal on the 1st November 1977 at about 10.00am in Pasadena, California. Since its discovery astrologers have reclassified it several times from asteroid, comet and to planetoid. According to Sue Tompkins and Melanie Reinhart, “Astrologers and astronomers co-operated in the naming process of several of the centaurs and this was the first time in recorded history that the divide between astrology and astronomy had been bridged. This rapprochement reflects Centaur themes: the bridging together of the Scientific and the intuitive, the rational and inspirational, just as the half horse, half human image of the Centaur brings together disparate opposites and challenges us to integrate that which seems alien“.
The Greek story of Chiron is centered upon a Centaur who is half man, and half animal. He was born of an illicit union between Chronus (Saturn) and sea nymph Philyra. When Chiron was born, his mother was so disgusted by his appearance that she abandoned him. Sun God Apollo raised (music, art, and prophecy) the rejected Centaur. The wound of Chiron’s perpetual suffering was accidentally inflicted by Hercules poisoned arrow. And because Chiron was immortal, he was trapped in a terrible dilemma, he could not heal his wound and lived out each day in agony. However, Chiron’s fate was not sealed, and Zeus (Jupiter) agreed that Chiron could exchange places with Prometheus (Uranus). The rebellious, God Prometheus had been chained to a rock, for stealing the God-like power and giving it to mankind. Chiron took his place and chose death to end his suffering, and was honoured in the sky as the constellation of Sagittarius.
Chiron is linked to Saturn and Uranus, following the same orbital plane as these planets. Chiron is a fairly recent discovery and represents some new form of consciousness to our current world affairs. Astrologically, Chiron can be extremely frustrating in interpretation. Firstly, there has been no agreed rulership (if there should be one). Secondly, many astrologers will not include Chiron in a reading and do not acknowledge that it has any effect on the birth chart. The orbit of Chiron is erratic, the asteroid will spend more time in some signs than in others. The most interesting motif to describe Chiron is a “wandering” comet that is “caught” in our solar system. Astrologers use the term “wounded healer” when discussing Chiron. And much emphasis in interpretation is often centred upon the education, healing and wisdom aspect of Chiron, and the wound itself is rarely elaborated. The final dilemma of interpreting this comet is deciding “how” to interpret Chiron in the natal chart, as a straightforward interpretation is difficult to obtain.
The word Chronic is very similar to Chiron and suggests a condition that is long lasting. The formal interpretation of something described as Chronic is, “Long lasting and recurrent or characterised by long suffering” for example, “chronic indigestion”; “chronic shortage of funds”; “chronic invalid”. Or even chronic unemployment, which could be observed through Chiron in the 6th house. Therefore, Chiron in Taurus or in the 2nd house, which represents individual income, self-sufficiency and self-worth, may describe an individual in chronic debt, or suffers from recurrent low self-worth and insecurity. Chiron in the 1st house or in the 6th house of the natal chart may represent chronic illness, or an accident that has put some kind of limitation on the physical part of life. When we are in chronic pain we are stuck in a trapped situation with no way out. An unfair situation or ailment where there is no cure for our predicament. In this light, Chiron represents where we feel impotent and where we overcompensate and build defences. According to Myth, Chiron tried many new and different techniques, healing methods and gained significant knowledge, trying to find the “cure” but he never did heal his own wound. Chiron may become highly skilled in the area of his wound, and this may be another defence system that guards the primal wound.
According to The Cotemporary Astrologer’s Handbook by Sue Tompkins – “The American astrologer Kim Rogers-Gallagher noted how similar the glyph for Chiron is to the symbol for wheelchair access. She points out that the wheelchair disability symbol was adopted 1968 when Chiron was at 0 degrees Aries, a potent point which often signifies the birth of something.” I have noticed that the Chiron symbol has relation to those people who are often on the “fringe of society” and another group that uses the Chiron symbol is a group for gay, bisexual and progressive men whose main objective is focused upon enhancing the quality of life by determining their rights as individuals in society, with the aim for enlightenment and justice. There are numerous of other healing groups which have adopted the Chiron symbol as their emblem representing the education and healing element of their work.
Chiron is classified as a trapped comet in the solar system and can symbolise where we ourselves feel “trapped”. The Chiron symbol is a way of unlocking the spiritual answers that we need. The key correlates to unlocking the primal wound and discovering what lies at the root of chronic wounding. This is not an easy task, and it is a similar challenge that we face when confronting Saturn. We have built defences and barriers to protect ourselves from further hurt and wounding. Unlocking the wound can lead an individual towards dedicating themselves to the spiritual and healing practices. However, I don’t believe we are all “profound healers” in that sense. Yet, a sense of understanding other people in the same pain bridge the gap of isolation (Saturn) and learning objectively to have compassion towards humanity (Uranus) and this is a powerful healing tool. It can be difficult to access Chiron’s wounding, as it is often “hidden” (locked) in its natal position.
Since the discovery of Chiron, we collectively recognise that there is a “primal wound” to all human beings. Healing takes place in the many self-help groups and recovery movements and usually some form of commitment is made for practical and spiritual healing. We seek to understand the primal wound and attempt to grow beyond our wound. The wound itself may be visible through a crippling illness or it may be a spiritual or mental wound. The Primal wound is a dark rage lurking below conscious awareness. The wounded-healer archetype has been difficult to embrace in astrology. Yet, suffering in the wounded sense is not about wholly identifying with the pain, but to view it as part of human growth and development. The Centaur’s name means “working with the hands” and through his own discomfort he helped to heal many others.
Chiron was released from his suffering into death and he entered Hades world in an act that signified transformation. To choose death is linked with Euthanasia. Animals too sick for treatment and in chronic pain are put down. Yet, human euthanasia and the “right” to die is a controversial issue. We humanly release an animal from its suffering, but there is strong debate over human beings having the right to end their suffering by “choosing” assisted suicide. And of course, the difficult choice on another’s behalf when they are physically or mentally unable to do so. Euthanasia is the final option after every option has failed and there appears to be no miracle cure to alleviate the pain. It is a hard and painful choice for all involved.
We may need to understand our limitations and the reality that we are not in fact “immortal” and are humanly flawed. Chiron wounds show us that we can be wounded by life, and it may be unjust and fill our bodies with toxic resentment over this predicament. It must be said that healers who survive trauma themselves, can go onto to become the greatest healers of our time, they open the door to healing power and the knowledge underlying it, and they do so with compassion and understanding. Chiron is the path to transformation and the wounded-healer archetype is only achieved through greater levels of consciousness. The first process is opening the wound and recognizing the pain, and a willingness to accept the wound. Many people may enter the healing professions intent on healing other people’s wounds, but they may be ineffective healers because they are not open to their own wound, and this is step we all need to take. The Chiron myth represents humanity and human limits. Chiron teaches us to have compassion for all, even if we too have been hurt by life.