Most people who have heard of Chiron associate it with the words ‘wounded healer,’ but there is much more to his tale. Chiron’s first keyword, as described by its discoverer, astronomer Charles Kowal, was ‘Maverick’. With his eccentric orbit pattern, Chiron was indeed different from the other stellar bodies, and stood out as a unique scientific discovery. Often labeled an asteroid, Chiron may actually be an orbiting comet caught up by the Sun’s gravitational force.
Comets have always been viewed as harbingers of change. Chiron’s orbit stays mostly between Uranus and Saturn, but sometimes moves out beyond even Neptune. The trajectory of Chiron is highly elliptical like that of a comet, and astronomers question if Chiron will even stay bound within orbit of our Sun permanently. Of his 50 year orbit, the maverick spends the most years in Aries and the least in Libra. ‘Comets throughout history have been viewed as omens. Some believe Chiron’s discovery may point to the balance needed to move humanity into an alternative life-style of holism that will support Earth and all life upon it in abundance.’ (*1)
According to myth, Chiron is the abandoned child of a nymph and a philandering husband. Chiron is the first born of the race of Centaurs because his father Chronos (or Saturn), shapeshifted into a stallion at the moment of orgasm. His mother, shocked at the half bestial baby which she delivered, left it to die at the top of Mount Pelion. A human child would have succumbed to the forces of nature, but Chiron’s equine and immortal halves allowed him to thrive in the rocky slopes of Mt. Pelion. Thus, Chiron started out life abandoned and alone, forced to become self-reliant as well as face and ultimately heal his own darkness. And, true to the centaur’s archetype of healing, Chiron transits do often trigger wounding and consequential recovery events in astrology.
Chiron was educated by the twin team of Apollo and Artemis. From Apollo he learned ethics, philosophy, math, music, reason, logic and medicine; all that is redeeming about civilization. From Artemis, the huntress, he learned the way of the forest, and the use of herbs and all that is important about the wilderness and nature. Artemis was also considered a guardian of young children, a task which Chiron took on willingly.
He is regarded as a wise philosopher who taught a wide range of topics from astrology and astronomy to mathematics, and notably, healing. Chiron’s healing specialty was through natural methods. His name remains today as a root of the term ‘chiropractic’, which utilizes hands on adjustment of the body. Chiron was a compassionate instructor, and it would seem that he should also be assigned rulership of surrogate parenting. In his secluded home atop Mt. Pelios, Chiron raised and educated the mighty warrior Achilles, another mythological spirit who suffered from a debilitating vulnerability. Chiron is also remembered as the guardian and mentor of Jason, the warrior whose journey led him to fight a dragon which never slept. Jason’s destiny was to pursue a magical golden fleece which also caused him personal agony.
Being born the result of a shape-shifting event, Chiron is also associated with the shamanic tradition. The shaman in aboriginal cultures is the bridge between humanity and the outer forces, a concept very much akin to that of Chiron. The shaman is really there to serve the community or culture. And, like Chiron, the wounded healer, often in the life of a shaman there is an injury such as early disease, blindness, a near-death experience, or some other experience that causes him or her to gather strength and power and drives them to fulfill a destiny. Native American prophecy states that when the planet of healing is discovered in the sky, the ancient sacred warrior teachings will return to the Earth. Soon after Chiron’s discovery in 1977 the Native American Religious Freedom Act was passed which formally allowed Native American medicine man to practice in their culturally prescribed traditions.
Many astrologers have pooled their wealth of experience to the body of Chiron learning. One of the most interesting contributions is offered by astrologer Richard Nolle who points out appropriately, ‘the symbol for Chiron is a stylized key. Look at it and the meaning becomes clear. A key is a device used to open a passageway from one reality to another. That, in essence, is just what Chiron represents.’
Another astrologer who has added greatly is Barbara Hand Clow in her invaluable classic first published in 1987, ‘Chiron- Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets.’(*2) In the introduction she states ‘Chiron influence is not a thing, it is an energetic force; it is an action verb instead of a noun. The placement of Chiron in the natal chart functions like a hieroglyph. It is a vehicle in the chart to show where and how realities intersect. It is a doorway into feelings about events, …and a revelation of the cosmic influence. It is an occult or seeing tool.’ This book is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the wise Centaur and how he functions in any astrological chart.
Two other astrologers made early notable contributions. In 1983, Erminie Lantero wrote, ‘I come to my own position. Chiron means to me the principle of healing or wholemaking, on any level. It surprised me for awhile that although healing did not go unnoticed by other researchers, they were slow to recognize it as a primary theme ¬despite the fact that illnesses and deaths were found from the beginning to occur fairly frequently under Chiron transits.’ (*3)
Zane B. Stein is also noted for an early contribution to Dell Horoscope magazine in January 1981. He writes ‘the position of Chiron in the chart of the healer not only indicates the healer’s preferred methods – but also those tools that the healer will find most successful in treating others. Sleep itself is not ruled by Chiron; but Chiron does rule a very specific part of sleep – sleep as a healing tool.’ Other keywords assigned to Chiron by Stein are: common ground, personal imperative, turning point, pulling the plug or removing the dam, and loopholes.
The Wounded Healer
Most dramatic in the legend of Chiron are the circumstances of his death. The wise master was accidentally wounded by a poisoned arrow fired by his friend Hercules. Being immortal, he did not die, but suffered on in great pain. Finally, in a bargain struck with Olympus, Chiron agreed to leave his gift of immortality and descend through the gates of the Underworld to be relieved of his dreadful physical pain. In return, the rebellious titan Prometheus was freed from his captivity and torture decreed as punishment for the gifts he had given to humans.
The gifts to mankind from Prometheus were numerous. He is most remembered for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humans, but Prometheus also relayed brick and wood work, astronomy, numbers and letters, ships and sails, and the mining of metals. As an archetype, Prometheus is the Wild Man, or an expression of the planet Uranus. (*4) So, as a rainbow bridge between Saturn and Uranus, Chiron is a catalyst of courage, wisdom, and love, ingredients which set the human soul free.
For astrologers who are interested in calculating a birth chart for Chiron, astronomer Charles Kowal who is credited with discovery lists it as: November 1, 1977, 10:00 AM, Pasadena, California. The chart is rich in symbolism and there are two outstanding features. First, the ascendant is 26º Sagittarius, a degree which is also considered to be the center of the Milky Way or Galactic Center. Also notable is the Sabian Symbol message for the astrological degree of Chiron at 4º Taurus: ‘The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow.’
In his book ‘Genesis of the Grail Kings’, (*5) author and historian Laurence Gardner expounds at length on a theory that the great pyramids of Egypt were built using a superheated white powder known as monatomic gold. This altered form of gold functioned as an anti-gravity lubricant which helped workers move the giant building blocks. Gardner also suggests that monatomic gold was taken as a supplement by Egyptian pharaohs to enhance their creativity and self confidence.
Today, monatomic gold is said to be a substance which feeds and strengthens our light bodies and promotes ascension. In addition to mystical arts and healing, I propose that Chiron be assigned rulership of monatomic gold. How appropriate for Chiron whose function is to ground the pure energy of Uranus into the form and structure of Saturn; the maverick who holds the key to travel between the seen and unseen realms.
It is interesting to note that the Greek root of the word Christ is ‘khrien’, and the core meaning is ‘to anoint’; this is another action of hands on healing. Perhaps Chiron carries the archetype of a Christ like figure who has returned to our dimension with a mission of healing the Lucifer rebellion which fueled our feelings of separation from Source. Surely Chiron is both the alchemist who ignites our passions, as well as a shaman who accompanies us on our deepest healing journeys. And, as a shapeshifter, he conveys the transformative power of color and light to help us all on our healing journeys. Yes, Chiron is the rainbow, and he brings us to the gold of alchemy.
(1) Mason and O’Brien in “Chiron” Astrology Encyclopedia. James. R. Lewis, editor.
(2) Barbara Hand Clow, Llewellyn Publications 1987 ISBN 0-87542-094-X.
(3) Erminie Lantero, The Continuing Discovery of Chiron 1983 Samuel Weiser.
(4) Mythic Astrology, Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson, 1998 Llewellyln ISBN 0-87542-248-9.
(5) Genesis of the Grail Kings, Laurence Gardner, Barnes & Noble Books 2004 ISBN 0-7607-6197-3.