Chiron is called the Wounded Healer. Its placement in our astrological birth chart is where we find our core wound, the theme of self-wounding, and a healing lesson that can take a whole lifetime to master. Understanding Chiron is a key to fulfilling our personal and collective destinies.
We find the archetype in mythology’s Chiron. Being immortal, his wound was persistent and never fully healed. This is a key point of learning. We commonly believe that health is absolute – good health or poor health and that to be happy and healthy, we must be devoid of all wounds, fears, and shadow. There is something to be said about the mere awareness of the yin and yang of where we are in the moment. Perhaps the biggest lesson for all humans is self-acceptance, which makes acceptance of others that much easier and true. That, and stop identifying ourselves and others by their wound!
Discovering Chiron the Maverick
Officially discovered in the late 1970s, people thought at first Chiron was an asteroid, then later a comet. It is about 10,000 times the mass of Halley’s Comet. Think back to the 1970s or google it, you’ll see how Chiron reflects the trends and changes especially in the areas he rules.
Barbara Hand Clow writes in her book Chiron that he was astrologer, an alternative medical practitioner, and a shaman, or initiator of others into their destiny, in ancient mythology”. For this book, she also interviewed many leaders in the healing and consciousness movements about their lives in the fall of 1977. Many of those she spoke to remembered that their teachings “broke out” late 1977 and 1978. What were you doing then?
The sighting of a new planet in our solar system … provides a metaphorical key to crucial trends arising from within the collective psyche.
Tony Joseph 1
One of the names or descriptors given to Chiron was “maverick”. We can see why when we look at its path and rulership. Even its classification confounded the community. A maverick, according to Urban Dictionary, is “someone who refuses to play by the rules. He/she isn’t scared to cross the line of conformity but their unorthodox tactics get results!” This is an unconventional independent spirit, a rebel. (Interestingly, it also means unbranded calf, eg a motherless calf. Chiron was rejected by his mother. See below.)
Chiron takes approximately 50 years to orbit the Sun, and through the 12 signs of the zodiac. Its highly elliptical path means Chiron does not spend equal time in each sign. Its stay in Aries and Pisces are the longest, around 8 years in Aries. The shortest period is in Libra, only about 1.5 to 2 years. So Chiron has more Arian qualities. We look also say that these attributes are just more pronounced or obvious.
Because life is really about balance and expression – balanced expression, through Chiron’s journey through our chart, we learn how to call through the strengths and gifts of all the archetypes in the zodiac. How do we balance the ballsy fiery Aries and the often over-compromising let’s-not-rock-the-boat Libra?
Where Chiron is in our astrological birth chart is where we find our core psychological wound. It’s what we pick at, hide from, and pains us. It is also the bridge we across from antiquity to the present, through transitional times, from our wounded to our loved self. An engaged study of your own Chiron can illuminate both practical tools and ways to release limiting beliefs about ourselves, the people in our lives, and the world at large. Yes, it is that profound.
Chiron in Mythology
Chiron is the son of Kronos (Saturn) and the sea nymph Phylia. Kronos had transformed into a horse to escape detection for his adultery with Phylia. Chiron is half-horse (some say unicorn) and half-man, half-earth and half-sea. He represents our dual nature and the bridge between them.
Abandoned at birth and left to die at Mount Pelion, the Sun God Apollo and the Huntress Goddess Artemis became his teachers. Later Chiron dropped one of Hercules’ poisonous arrows on his foot. Because Chiron was immortal, he did not perish. His wound though never fully healed.
He offered to die in exchange for the freedom of Prometheus who was being punished for stealing fire for humankind. After his death, Chiron was placed in the skies as the constellation Sagittarius.
Even though he suffered greatly from his wound, Chiron did not wallow. He was a renowned healer and wise teacher, with students including Jason, Achilles, Hercules, and Asclepius. He taught astrology, healing music, medicine, archery, for example.
From its starting point in the birth chart, Chiron moves through each zodiac sign and each house before finding itself back to the beginning. This is our Chiron Return, when it returns some 49 to 51 years later.
Along the way, we face different kinds of challenges, flavoured by the sign and house. The Chiron Return present a tremendous opportunity to finally, if we haven’t already, accept who we are. Perhaps we have healed our wound. Perhaps we have learned to accept ourselves, wounds, warts, and all.
He is seen as a bridge between our animal or primal instincts and higher self. Because Chiron travels between Uranus and Saturn, touching on both orbits at some point, we also see it as a mediator between these two planets, archetypes, and energies.
Briefly Uranus is about freedom, breakthrough, rebirth, redemption, sudden events, optimism, independence, genius, clarity, higher mind, and futurism. Its discovery coincided with the American and the French Revolutions.
Saturn is time, structure, limitation, and necessity. Saturn is practical and pragmatic, grounded, industrious. It contracts, delineates, and defines and thus it moulds and gives us substance.
A point to note from mythology is that Chiron’s wound is both a direct and indirect action on his part. It was Chiron who taught Hercules how to make poisonous arrows and it was Chiron who stabbed himself in the leg by accident.
In this way we are reminded that it is us who wound and re-wound ourselves. Perhaps we do this so that we can truly understand what our core wound is about and in that understanding, the pathway to healing becomes illuminated.
It is also us who heal ourselves, sharing the wisdom of what we learn on this journey to help others. Part of this wisdom is accepting that we may not perfectly heal our wound and while that may be true, what we know can help others heal themselves. It is essential we share our knowledge, even while we are far from being perfect. Furthermore, when we try to help others, we become more intimate with our own wounds and hopefully more compassionate with ourselves.