An exploration of Chiron
for Mateusz and Scorpia
“In the time of the Seventh Fire, a New People would emerge. They would retrace their steps to find the wisdom that was left by the side of the trail long ago. Their steps would take them to the elders, who they would ask to guide them on their journey. If the New People remain strong in their quest, the sacred drum will again sound its voice. There will be an awakening of the people, and the sacred fire will again be lit. At this time, the light-skinned race will be given a choice between two roads. One road is the road of greed and technology without wisdom or respect for life. This road represents a rush to destruction. The other road is spirituality, a slower path that includes respect for all living things. If we choose the spiritual path, we can light yet another fire, an Eighth Fire, and begin an extended period of peace and healthy growth.”
- Grandfather William Commanda, quoting the Prophecy of the Seven Fires of the Anishinabe
A year ago I published the first in a series of writings about new discoveries in the solar system and their implications for astrology. In that introduction to the topic I presented charts for Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Chiron and showed several mysterious patterns connecting them all together. In this article, which has two main parts, I will begin by sharing some of my personal experience of Chiron with you and then go on to begin to illustrate those patterns by looking in-depth at the chart for our discovery of Chiron. This article assumes some familiarity with Chiron and its place in astrology as set out in my book, but can also serve as an introduction to his influence.
In brief, Chiron is an irregularly shaped object about 180-200km in diameter, discovered by astronomer Charles Kowal in Pasadena at about 10am on November 1 1977. Please note that wikipedia has a discovery date of October 18th, but this is actually the date on which the photographic plate was taken, not the date that Kowal discovered Chiron’s existence.
Chiron moves in an elliptical path between the planets Saturn and Uranus, as shown in the image below:
More on this orbit will be said later.
It has taken me a long time to reach the point where I feel able to write this message. I have been working now with Chiron for 16 years, since 1998, when he first drew my attention. At that time, the article I read about him as my introduction implied that he was a comet – the first notable feature he presented being his tail – although initially he had been considered an asteroid and a ‘minor planet’. Since then, the definition we apply not just to Chiron but to other objects in our solar system has undergone an official revision. He is now officially classified as being both an asteroid and a comet – and we have a new word for these kinds of objects – centaur.
There are many reasons why I have taken my time in writing this down, but the thought that we as astrologers do not yet know enough about these new objects has never been one of them. The only way we can begin to commune together on their essential meaning and significance is if we share what we experience without being afraid that in 10 or 50 years time the astrologers of that era will laugh at us. Probably they will, because we have a lot to learn, but how can they begin to learn what they will know if we do not get it started here and now?
However, in journeying on this quest we have a very unique situation with some equally unique problems. Unlike those who have recently walked a similar path before us – the explorers of the 19th and 20th centuries to whom we owe our current astrological understanding of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – we now live in an era of mobile global communications, where (potentially at least) every single person has access to the accumulated knowledge and perspective of the collective. This ever growing web of social and cultural connectedness spans every nation and allows us to converse in real time, without delay, in great numbers. Information zips by at an alarming rate that is impossible to keep up with completely, leaving us with a haunting feeling that we are always perhaps missing something important, somewhere, and keeping us glued to our mobile devices while the world spins about us. Yet it also empowers us to develop and progress intellectually and socially with unsurpassed alacrity, with global discussions on everything from TV shows and movies to the latest political or ecological crisis occurring in social media every moment of every day.
As a child of the 1970s, this is still a breathtaking transformation for me to take in and I am sure that if it continues it will only be the first of many such ‘culture shocks’ I have to absorb. In fact we may have just entered an Aquarian type age wherein radical culture shock is the norm, with each generation being faced with successive technological advances that force a continued and ongoing revolution. In other words, we may have been overtaken by our own rate of progress, compelling us to keep up with it. It will only get faster. Older generations will have more to assimilate; they will see more radical change in their life spans.
Obviously, the implications of this emerging technology are staggering to try to take account of, but what does all this have to do with my little effort concerning Chiron? I am getting to that, dear reader; I am just taking a rambling, slightly elliptical path through some undergrowth, as Chiron is so very fond of doing.
Aside from the obvious benefits it deploys, any new technology always comes with unintended and often unforeseen harm to society. The motor car and the television are good modern examples, but literally everything that is invented comes with a price, and one we do not often look into before giddily letting the genie out of the bottle. That price is an inevitable alteration of not only our culture but most fundamentally of our awareness. Often, due to an impoverished sense of responsibility towards the planet, the things we unleash also have disastrous ecological effects. Again, these things merely highlight our own awareness, or lack of it, and the arrival of any new technology, from language to the modern computer, always changes our awareness.
This being the case, the revolutionary effects of our new communications technologies are today only appearing in their embryonic stages. We cannot easily say where they will have taken us in 5 or 10 years, let alone 25 or 50, or 100. Yet one thing should be obvious – with the advent of a new communications technology, communication itself is altered, and that means that the way we think of, feel about and what we perceive in the meaning of communication is changing with it. What a different world it is to the world of my childhood, where if I wanted to talk to my friend I had to go and knock on his door – today, it would not matter if my friend was in Saudi Arabia and I was in London, so long as we both had access to the internet. I can sit in the comfort of my living room and have conversations with an evoked image of him as he speaks. I can transfer data and images to him in seconds, wherever he is, I can invite other people to enter this zone with us and I can record everything for future reference. My life story is being gradually digitised.
As this capability spreads and becomes commonplace, even mundane, it should come as no surprise to us that we will perceive more disagreement, more difference and more dissonance between us – we are a growing family of 7,000,000,000 souls, each of us uniquely situated and so endowed with a unique perspective on the things we encounter, encounters which are of course much more diverse and numerous as a result of the increased exposure to remote events and circumstances that the technologies bring. Yet, collectively, this situation is typically responded to as if it were a threat and a competition between us, a dog eat dog world of winner takes all. Sure, it highlights our connectivity, the things that make us ‘like’ one another, but it also reveals the staggering array of differences between individuals, differences which are often given greater emotional emphasis than the commonalities because they are awkwardly navigated. The technology merely amplifies what is already present within communication, and what has always been present includes a potential for violent disagreement over issues which divide us, a need to resolve breakdowns in communication through war. So we end up moving inexorably towards a situation where it seems we are fragmenting, pulling apart, divided by our differences of opinion through the technology, when actually what is happening is we are being stitched back together.
Did you catch that – that tail swishing ahead of us through the autumn undergrowth…? Hello, Chiron…
If we, as a people, are to utilize the power inherent in these new tools without falling into increasingly fragmented splinter groups, each one focused on its own angle, we will have to learn to respect the differences, even celebrate them. This, I believe, will be one of the first tests of Chiron that we must satisfy. We will need to pass this test in order to be able to address the issues which affect all of us, the huge issues we know we have to do something about collectively. Simply put: more variety of opinion and greater opportunity to express it equals more opportunity for us to see ourselves as we always seem to have – a people who will never agree on anything, even when it affects everyone, even the entire planet. The only way we can get past this dilemma is through a transformation of attitudes to the differences we perceive in one another. They must become our strengths, a unifying force, and not a weakness that sunders us from one another. We must re-learn how to celebrate our differences as a unifying power, a thing that makes us whole.
It is the conjecture of this message that Chiron is the key to this whole process and that the end result or goal he has in mind, at least for now, is a painful birthing process, the birthing of a new and collectively organised human awareness, not a crippled, fragmented one. I have come to this conclusion after meeting with him and hearing this message from him directly. The year in which these meetings took place is the year of writing, 2014, because he requested that I present them quickly so that they remained fresh. I will share some of these encounters with you in this message, and I will pass on the guidance he gave me for astrologers and others seeking to work more closely with him for the purposes of learning what he represents. But the more important part of this message, for me, is the dire ecological warning I have been given to pass on, the urgency of which was passionately pressed upon me by the other centaurs, his brothers and sisters who are his heart and clan. If I am up to the task of faithfully conveying the essence of what I was shown and told I hope it will encourage everyone who reads this to think about the questions raised and to pursue the path towards their answers, no matter how thorny it becomes or where it might lead. Because we urgently need people who are prepared to forge completely new pathways. We need centaurs.
The Magical Quest
The first thing I would like to say about Chiron is that he rarely comes to you: you have to find him, and this becomes a magical quest that does not end once you do find him – that is when it truly begins. If he does come to you it is something that you cannot ignore, and you have probably been trying to do that for some time already. What I mean by this is that sometimes he will generate an extremely powerful effect that cannot help but draw your attention immediately, but most of the time his impact will not be so heavy handed. There is something of both patient, silent Saturn and thunderous, flashy Uranus in his nature, but the latter is subservient to the former. (See footnote 1)
So the Saturn spirit nature of Chiron is married to a Uranian soul, and what this means is that he tends to set inventive and time consuming tests and challenges to measure the maturity of those who try to reach him, often with very instructive consequences. In the beginning, you must often make an effort to connect with him, but unlike as with Neptune and to a degree Uranus, the quest to find him and tangibly lay hands on him has an end point. Once you do have prior experience with Chiron, he will then sometimes just ‘drop by’ from time to time to check in on you. These visits are always timely and offer us the opportunity to wizen in unexpected ways.
From my prior contact with Chiron, which have always been on good terms even when they (often) involved painful experiences, I had learned some of his story from him and thus had learned some of the ways to seek him out. This prior contact had been made using the techniques I describe in my book as well as my magical training. I will not give the details of those methods because it is not necessary and has already been written down, but my initial focus was on establishing the life history attached to my Chiron key (by mapping past events to it), tuning the Chiron key activations whenever I could, and using conduction to explore the implications of Chiron in my chart. Magically, I drew upon all of my training to facilitate this work, and it is this part of my toolbox that enabled me to eventually meet with Chiron objectively. However, there was a gradual process involved. I had to filter out my own subjective experience of Chiron in order to perceive him and eventually journey to meet him in his own realm.
I will also not share many of the personal details concerning what I learned about myself this way and will focus instead on what I learned about Chiron. Part of what I learned is written into my account of him in The 26 Keys. Another part, which by request from him was not included at that time, I am now able to share with you. As it is me who is going to share it with you, I am going to tell it to you as a story, for reasons that will become clear should you choose to read on.
And there is always a choice, even when it is only a painful one.
Once, not long ago the way the land remembers things, but in another world the way humans do, there was a mighty forest. Broad and high were her leaves, wide and far she stretched, across rivers and the sides of mountains. In her emerald canopy and on her floor she wore a million blooms and she danced in the eyes of the countless creatures living in her arms. In this realm, worlds within worlds co-existed in perfect harmony, and from this equilibrium came magical creatures – faeries, ancient tree spirits, river undines, the sylphs who gave voice to the trees and the centaurs, who were born from rainbow and stream. In memory of their watery origins many of them took names connected with moving water, for they were born to roam, never resting in one place but always seeking the great oceans of life they sensed were out there. Creatures of passion, ecstasy and zeal, they banded together under one who was different, for while his mother was a nymph his father was a god, Chronos the god of time, who was himself the son of Ouranos, the sky god. He was therefore immortal. Yet he had known mortal pain from the moment of his birth, for he had been born of rape and then abandoned by both parents. His father never acknowledged him and his mother – who transformed into a horse to escape Chronos, to no avail – was disgusted by his shape. Abandoned as a new born baby, he was found and nurtured by a spiritual mentor, a light that showed him who he was – a teacher and healer – Apollo.
Eventually, humans came to the forest seeking to explore it with the aid of doorways made by plants, and they were met by the leader of the centaurs, this foster child of Apollo called Chiron. Because of his wisdom and foresight, and because these early humans were not at all like us, they learned from one another and a communal relationship was born. These humans learned the ways of the forest from Chiron and his people, and from the faerie and spirit beings they befriended through having the respect of the centaurs they learned much of medicine, the arts, spirituality, magic, science, living not from but with the land (not just ‘hunting’), along with many other wonders, and thus a whole mystery school was born, centred around the forest and its inhabitants. This mystery school was located in Thessaly, then known as Aeolia, in ancient Greece, on the slopes of Mount Pelion.
This area has great mythological significance. It is home to Mount Olympus, the abode of the Greek gods, and it is a staging area for many of the heroic quests we are familiar with, including the quest of Jason to recover the Golden Fleece, the epic journey of Odysseus, and the site of the battle that took place between the Titans and the Olympians. This centre of spiritual power was also extremely vibrant and alive, and so it fertilised many of our legends. So it was that as time passed the reputation of this sacred place spread across the Mediterranean, and many came to be tutored and initiated there – famed bards, dancers, explorers, healers, oracles and warriors were nurtured by its wisdom. Some – including Asclepius, the legendary healer – were raised there from infancy.
Seekers did not always find what they expected here; Chiron tells a tale of the arrival of a hero who had prepared himself vigorously with the intention of impressing him with his physical prowess, only to be greeted by a worried look and the equivalent of the words ‘We have to get you into shape!’; for strength and power are not measured in muscle and sinew but in the connection we have with nature. The training was primarily spiritual, not martial, although the centaurs were happy to oblige the desire for a fierce scrap. Perhaps this explains why Hercules always seemed to have such…awkward encounters with them.
Long ages passed in which the lore of this place went out into the world, and also came into it from far away. In that time, it found need of hiding itself away from the outside world, of retreating into its caves and woods, and of testing those who would seek to find it. One of these tests, devised by Chiron, involved entering the forest and tracking a red hand through a series of encounters with the forests inhabitants, each of which had to be satisfied before the seeker would be allowed to pass. Apart from having to face the unique challenges of these inhabitants there was a further more significant challenge – only those who could correctly intuit the significance of the placing and direction of the red hand – what it meant when placed on an oak with fingers facing downwards, or on a rock that lay next to a stream, for example – would be able to find the centre of learning. It was an apt test, because in order to complete it one had to access ones own centre of learning first.
Eventually, though, even this protective mechanism was not enough, and the centre of learning disappeared. What happened to it and how and, perhaps most importantly, why, is a tragedy that is partly encapsulated in the mythology we have been given concerning the accidental death of Chiron and his sacrifice so that Prometheus could be freed – the same Prometheus who determined to bring the Fire of Creation to humanity. Variations exist, but the essence of the tale is that Hercules comes to the centaurs early on during his 12 epic labours, and he is welcomed and invited to eat. He demands wine with his meat and against strong cautions forces a potent flask – a gift from Dionysus – to be opened, releasing a substance whose mere vapours intoxicate everyone at the cave. In the ensuing drunken chaos, an arrow belonging to Hercules and dipped in the Hydras blood pierces Chiron’s leg, dooming him. For as an immortal Chiron could not die, but against the torment and pain of the Hydras venom, there was no cure but death. All remedies are exhausted in trying to treat his festering wound. And so, trapped in an eternal and ever intensifying torment, Chiron crawls into the depths of Mount Pelion, perhaps so as not to inflict his suffering on others. The tragedies of that day are not yet over, though, for Chiron’s brother, the centaur Pholus, grows curious as to how such a small arrow can produce such torment, and he picks it up and idly drops it onto his own foot, killing himself instantly. For Chiron, the wounds of that day were not just physical, they were emotional – he was crippled with agonizing pain and burdened with unbearable grief at the same time, and nothing could be done for either.
An unimaginable length of time passed this way for Chiron before Zeus released him. Hercules persuaded Zeus to exchange Chiron’s immortality for the freedom of Prometheus, allowing Chiron to die. Prometheus, whose name means ‘foresight’, had been chained in eternal torment in Hades as punishment for delivering mankind the gift of the Sacred Fire – the gift of creating life as the gods do – but if Chiron was exchanged with him he would immediately lose his immortality (some whisper that Prometheus also knew a terrible secret that Zeus wanted him back in Olympus for). So it was done, and for his sacrifice and for the great deeds he had accomplished in life Chiron was set amongst the stars, but…Zeus was unable to place him in the family of the Sun near the ecliptic because of the fierceness of Sagittarius which would allow no competition, and so he was placed away from the ecliptic in the southern hemisphere as the constellation Centaurus. Many will recognise the name Alpha Centaurus, the primary star of this group; it sits in the right hoof.
Centuries passed, and he watched the world turning in the night from this place in the high heavens. And as he watched he wept, and his heart ached, for the world grew dark and dim, and the illumination he had helped to bring it faded and disappeared from view. After so much suffering he witnessed only more still, perhaps worse than any he had known before, because now it was all that he loved that suffered, and seemingly without end. Heart aching as he wept he looked upon the Sun, seeing Apollo, the one who had nurtured him when he was born of rape and then rejected, scorned and abandoned by both parents, and the light looked upon his face again and gently drew down the tears from his eyes, tears which rolled towards the Sun and gave form once more to Chiron and his brothers and sisters, the centaurs. Now, having taken new physical form, they choose to reveal themselves and the race is on to catch them so that we can receive their wisdom again.
Returning to the Enchanted Forest
“Where are you really then?” I ventured, “And where is it you go to?”
The answer came unhesitatingly; there was no doubt or searching.
“Into myself, my real and deeper self, and so beyond it into her—the
Earth. Where all the others are—all, all, all.”
- ‘The Centaur’, Algernon Blackwood
In each of my meetings with Chiron I have learned something, something I had not considered before then, something fresh, often something about pain if that is what I am feeling, but not just about pain, more often I would say that I learned something small but significant enough to change the perspective on the whole, and often this would be tied to my initiation, my spiritual progress. During the writing of my book I had also learned of his keenness for astrology, because he had been hugely instructive on it for me when I asked him. So it seemed particularly appropriate that the next meeting I would have with him I would bring up the subject of his own astrological significance and how it was reflected in the chart for our discovery of his new body. This was a big part of my intention in seeking him out this year; the other big part was a personal crisis I am going through, a quest which has drained and exhausted me beyond any of my previous limits. I knew from past experience that just being in his company could help heal some of that, because he understood and felt the pain too, and more importantly he holds the key to transforming it – all of it. I will get to that later.
So it was that I packed my map – the chart that I will be discussing in this article –and re-entered the forest in search of him and, if I was lucky, the other centaurs. I sought not so much to commune with him about the strong threads and patterns I saw linking his chart with that of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto but more to explore the nature of his own chart as a starting point for that, and also to open my heart to him on my personal matters. I received immeasurable support from him in delving further into both.
Before I go on to describe what I learned about the chart I would like to take some time to describe my personal experience of Chiron the centaur, Chiron the entity and person. In every meeting he has been inseparable from the wild places, loving the overgrown and the concealed, the dark and the mysterious, yet there is nothing dark about him. He has a nature within that speaks only truth from the heart, a kindness and empathy that extends as generously as his spirit of inquiry and an impartial attitude to matters that will always hear all the arguments from every side before making his own judgment of it – a critical trait I urge you to consider carefully and remember for later. This has made him a wise and valued counselor in many disputes, a place of last resort when things are about to break down. He is deeply burdened by his suffering and by the suffering of others but he bears it well, it does not incapacitate him or leave him incapable of making decisions. He is soft spoken, sly humoured, a patient listener, an inventive adviser, gentle in delicate matters and firm in others. He has extensive and perhaps even all inclusive or rather holistic knowledge that especially pertains to healing, ecology, astrology and plant alchemy, but it is not the knowledge itself that conveys enlightenment, it is the processes he applies to it. When I first met him on his own ground, so to speak, he was dressed in the living plant life of the forest, vines twined around each of his legs and across his chest and down his arms, he wore a laurel wreath on his brow and there were summer flowers growing from behind his ears. He was carrying a strange musical instrument and singing to the birds, who were singing back. It was a sad song of the cruelties of winter that ached with sorrow for their lost ones. At the time this was especially pertinent to me and I knew I had found not only him but also a brother. I have the habit of feeding the local birds near my home and know just how suddenly human beings can cut down their entire habitat, just before the snows. I knew the song he was singing with the birds, so I joined them. That was our sole ‘conversation’ at that meeting. Nothing more needed to be said that day, but those flying feathered hearts were lightened by this encounter because the music and the singing transformed experience of pain into a gift that they could draw meaning from, a new song.
When it came to seeking him this time I did not have to look very far; he was waiting for me, and he carried with him a simple but large wooden staff, inside of which lived two baby birds. These, he told me, were the children of the birds we sang to. They flew out and began singing the song back to me, to my sorrows, and I felt the circle of healing complete as it entered my own heart. This was the first lesson and his Medicine greeting – that healing is holistic, the healer and the healed are one; or, ‘physician, heal thyself’.
He greeted me warmly, then, and asked about my travels since our last meeting. We walked through the trees, in no particular direction, passing rivers and rocks and plants, greeting all of it as we passed, and I opened my heart to him. In this process, I did not seek to unburden myself to him, but to share with him the journey I was making. Our communication was telepathic and empathic, visual, spiritual, emotive and mental, not verbal. His response was also telepathically and empathically transferred. However, the sequence of communication was not ordinary, it was not composed of statements and responses, or response following response, instead these things occurred in a state of awareness wherein both exchanges occurred together and the sequence of communication was rooted in the communication itself, a relative condition that was directed by my perception and awareness of Chiron as he was at that time, and by the surroundings we moved through in his realm. This is one reason why it is extremely difficult to write this down for other people to understand. It is also why, sometimes, the information conveyed by Chiron seems to arrive in my awareness after the encounter with him. The human brain has many tricks and stunts.
In the back of my head, I was mulling this tricky problem of how to communicate my experience of Chiron with you, and Chiron immediately perceived this and – to my surprise – brought it to my conscious awareness, and what dawned on me as a result was that I had lost touch with myself as a storyteller and songmaker, a thing I have always had a connection to, and this truth mirrored a deeper spiritual loss in me, the loss of my awareness that life is a story. Overwhelmed by my sadness and deeply embedded in exploring it, I had then become trapped in my story instead of being the individual person telling it. It is a matter of perception and can happen to any of us at any time by the way, and usually does. So in perceiving the connection between these two things, I also perceived the solution to my problem of how to write to you about Chiron – tell it as a story – and recovered a gift that I once had which had been covered over by my pain.
When we came to rest by a pool of water, he cupped his hands and refreshed me with it. Twilight had fallen, and as we watched the waters returned to stillness and the first stars began to appear on its reflective surface between our faces. I observed those stars carefully for a while, and then we began to speak about this chart:
Our ‘speaking’ at this point was akin to a form of shared telepathy as we turned our joined attention from one part of the chart to another. This was an organic process where one dimension revealed its connection to each other dimension of the chart, and the whole was gradually illuminated through the interconnected relationships. I made myself more receptive to him than he was to me in this process, and felt myself drawing very close to his heart. What follows is my attempt in this present moment to share some of that insight with you. To share it all or most of it would take me a very long time, so I will focus on the main points he impressed upon me.
The first thing that we pondered was what the chart was the chart of – what were its uses? A birth chart has a specific use applied to the life of that person, but what are we looking at here? It is not the birth of the physical body of anything. Literally, it is the chart for the moment when the first human being realised that Chiron was there, it is the moment when he entered the conscious awareness of our species, via its mental awareness. We might say it is the point at which ‘the game is afoot’; or ‘ahoof’, as the case may be. It encapsulates our conscious awareness of Chiron and thus also delineates his astrological nature, intention and how it will change as time passes, much like a composite chart created for a relationship. In fact, if you know how to interpret the chart for a relationship you have a good grasp of the way we need to approach this chart.
The sign Sagittarius rises, the Sun and Moon are in Water. The first of these factors, Sagittarius rising, describes the symbolic appearance of this force as…a centaur. Pretty apt. Once we are over this astonishing match, however, deeper layers begin to appear – Sagittarius is a sign representing teaching, mentoring, instructing, wandering, gathering information from far afield, optimism, hope, faith and good humour. It is also very direct and motivated. All of these things resonate strongly with the personal qualities of Chiron but these are the qualities he presents to the world at first look, below the surface there are much more complex qualities in his nature which are more resonant with his Sun and Moon. However, these are fundamental qualities that serve to represent all that he is to the world, and so they are important ones because without them he would have no form to take in our awareness, no way to connect with us. In other words our journey of relationship with Chiron will take a Sagittarian path; it is how he will relate to us collectively. Essentially, he is out to teach us something that pertains to universal truths, and we are about to get our minds expanded in some way. We are the hero, about to receive instruction and have a dangerous quest thrust upon us. He is drawing an arrow that points to a target.
A powerful feature of this sign which Chiron drew our attention to was its foresightedness. Here I was reminded by Chiron that Prometheus literally means ‘foresight’, and that his life was exchanged for that of Prometheus in one version of his story. I could write a lot about this at this point and go off onto a huge sidetrack, but instead I will just suggest that this implies that Chiron’s first and initial message to us is for us to start looking far farther ahead and ‘out there’ than we already are. One of the problems he perceives in the human collective is that it is terribly short-sighted and needs to consider the long term consequences and the moral implications of its actions. However, he is quick to point out that we must not fall to despair or hopelessness in looking ahead, we must instead take note of Jupiter (source of Sagittarius) when he says that the future is in our hands and can still be bright. By the hand of Jupiter there is ample and abundant reason to hope that the quest, whatever its nature, can be fulfilled, that the challenges can be overcome, usually because there are sufficient resources to make it so.
This counsel of Jupiter – not to lose hope on the Sagittarius quest, for there are abundant resources available – is elaborated on by the position of Jupiter in this chart, which also immediately draws our attention to the Moon, for they are in union in Cancer. Cancer is the ruling domain of the Moon and the exaltation of Jupiter, giving both a powerfully supportive boost. These are comfortable planets, astrologically, meaning they are behaving in conventional ways (like the way someone behaves at home, or a queen on a throne), and also that they are able to cause effects that have impact more easily (again, like someone at home or a monarch on a throne). It places emphasis on Jupiter and the Moon as if they are the parts of a foot or hand pressed into cement with greater weight, resulting in a deeper impression. They stand out and are written in bold type or italics.
What is it that stands out here, what impression is being made? The answer is not ambiguously written by Moon and Jupiter in Cancer in the 7th temple, it is very clearly expressed, and it is empathy, mercy. Finding common purpose. Sympathy, caring and kindness for one another. Being able to feel what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes. A comforting, nurturing instinct to love, a mothers and fathers instinct to protect home and family. This is the meaning of the symbolism adorning our abundant gifts, the gifts we have been given to meet the challenges of the quest. True, we do not yet know what that quest is, but it is interesting that we are first being reminded of the gifts we have to meet it with, perhaps because we have forgotten what they can do, or where to find them.
So – think further ahead, much further, and take care of one another, because you are family, your fortunes are bound together because you have one soul, the human soul, and it is a beautiful thing. It is a beautiful thing. There is nothing that we cannot accomplish together, if we learn to nurture each other. And – there is an important journey, a quest that we must now make. These are the initial messages.
When considered further, this Moon and Jupiter in Cancer also begin to hint at the nature of the quest. For what kind of quest could call upon us to put our differences aside and focus on what we share in common? Not a battle, or a war, though there may be monsters to defeat along the way. This is a Cancerian quest to find a home…one that is safe, secure and loving towards all that live there. It is also, in some way, a quest to give birth to, nurture and raise something through its infancy. It is a quest to return to the embrace of the Mother, to shield the vulnerable and make a sacred space. It is a voyage Home.
But it is an extremely turbulent voyage – the Sun, conjoined with Uranus in Scorpio – promises unexpected intensity and the danger of a fatal confluence of many factors, a ‘still birth’. According to Chiron it has happened before and hence the karma of this part of the chart. It is also resonant with the story of his death, as much as the Moon and Jupiter are resonant of his nurturing, teaching and mentoring of many legendary heroes. What am I trying to say? That we have to be on guard, that this part of the relationship we have to Chiron is deeply mysterious and prone to throw up unexpected challenges. Here is the Dionysian flask. The message of this part of the chart is, however, clear in its essence – this relationship will be emotively transformative, it will touch on deep issues like the uses of power, the nature of the occult, sexual freedom, self destruct complexes and the threat of mass destruction. Yet this is not necessarily the case, it merely describes the consequences of a failed quest. Another, more positive, outcome is that the relationship is regenerative and transformative and leads to a complete and radical renewal of the spirit.
The chart now begins to focus around the themes of this Sun in Scorpio. The observations we have made so far have led us to this point, and now we begin to see the crux or core of the relationship we have with Chiron. This part of the chart is not only resonant with the Dionysian flask; it is also resonant with the accumulated lore of Chiron, his wisdom and knowledge of hidden matters. It is here seen to be vast, encompassing every facet of life. Moreover, the implication of Sun conjunction Uranus is that it is an integrated network where all the many individual parts connect perfectly together to form a greater whole. A thing that is more than the sum of its uncountable parts. And the assertion of Scorpio is that this structure has depth as well as scope, it is a thing brought alive by intense passions and feelings of bonding and loyalty. Nothing remains hidden from this gaze when it is properly directed. It sees within and without itself in all directions. Nothing is excluded or dismissed, everything is taken account of and given the same respect and importance. It is, essentially, a holistic body of knowledge which has no limits other than those it imposes on itself, because it is able to relate everything to everything else. That is the secret of his magical remedies.
When we understand that, in this chart, the human collective awareness itself is symbolised by Uranus, we can begin to understand just how fondly he feels towards us, and we also can begin to decipher the nature of the quest. Clearly, it is closely related to whatever the planet Uranus has in store for us, which is a matter for the next part of this series of articles, where I will look at the chart for the discovery of Uranus. However as I have explained in my book this world has the initial task of bringing about the birth of a collective awareness that transcends all the boundaries – cultural, geographical, spiritual, etc – of the world we live in. It is about connecting us all together mentally so that we are able to communicate and share things with one another easily, at least at first.
So here we have some more very apt symbolism in that, astronomically, Chiron’s orbit extends to the orbit of Uranus, and astrologically, in the moment for the discovery of Chiron, Uranus was in conjunction with our Sun, around which everything orbits. Chiron is ‘speaking’ Uranian language, astrologically. It is interesting to note, as well, that mythologically the two are related, since Chiron is the grandson of Ouranos.
If we look a bit closer we see that Uranus is combust, as explained here. In my time together with Chiron focusing on this I stumbled upon the key to the message I have to bring you today concerning this chart and Chiron, which comes in parts.
The first part is that the combust nature of Uranus in Scorpio is indicative of where the collective awareness is hidden – it is a map to the goal of the quest. It is hidden behind the blinding radiance of the individual spirit. The great and supreme emphasis we have placed on outshining everyone and everything else around us is the destructive, blinding force that obscures the collective awareness as well as the damage we are inflicting on life from our awareness. Chiron is here to help us remedy that by seeing the importance of all things to one another.
The second part is that the combust nature of Uranus in Scorpio is indicative of what could potentially destroy the emerging collective awareness from within – egotism, too much insistence on individual freedom and not enough on personal responsibility, violent revolutionary actions which only end up causing destruction and mass manipulation by unseen conspiracies. Chiron is here to help us perceive these dangers and remedy them.
The third part is that the combust nature of Uranus in Scorpio in the 11th temple is indicative of the gifts of collective genius which will emerge if the turbulent process of a collective birth is successful. By ‘genius’ what is meant is not merely the intellectual kind but the light of genius emerging when each individual spirit is allowed and indeed encouraged to be the best of what it is within a network of equally encouraged individuals. Each person is unique and this uniqueness is wholly equal, wholly special, with its own unique gifts and contribution to make to our future and only a collective awareness truly cherishes this fact. Chiron is here to help guide us to these gifts, and thus through the extreme turbulence we must pass through to claim them.
The remaining insights relate to this turbulence and will take some explaining because they were deeper and proceeded from the understanding of certain laws of nature shared between Chiron’s mind and my own. Within nature, there is a fundamental polarity between light and dark. For complex theological reasons, our collective awareness has been brainwashed into fearing the ‘evil’ of the dark and equating the light with ‘good’. Scorpio often acts as a scapegoat for this skewed perception of darkness, its silences and penetrating perception leading to fear and suspicion in the minds of others. So there is first a layer of turbulence related to this suspicious distrust of Scorpio itself, which at the collective level is the notion that nobody can really be trusted and that all kinds of secret and even evil plots are in motion which are manipulating our lives for their own ends – power. Part of the turbulence here is that we feel we do not have any control over the direction the world is going in, that it is in the hands of these powerful, hidden forces. Chiron asserts that it is not, that this is all illusory, and that what is actually holding us back are emotional scars which we have not yet healed and which we must attend to. Understand that he does not claim that the dark forces themselves are illusory; he claims their power over us is illusory.
In essence we are collectively stuck in an emotional rut which arises from the numerous uncountable grudges against one another we are holding. Some astrologers reading this may now be smiling, recognising the Scorpio trait I am referring to. It feels the pain and hurt of emotional trauma more deeply than any other sign and so often finds it hard to forgive and forget. Looking around us, do we not recognise this everywhere in the human world? I am talking about the ‘blame game’ and the way we all stubbornly hold onto the hurt other people cause us, sometimes intentionally. We, as a collective species, person to person and nation to nation, find it hard to let go of past hurts and often feel the need to take revenge or see some kind of retribution visited on those who cross us. Some even take glee in this, but all of us feel it at some stage. Whole histories are drenched in blood because one generation after another could not let go of what has already passed. What is really going on here? Why do we cling to painful feelings, or they cling to us?
The answer I bring to you today from Chiron takes us back to light and dark, and the misconception that they equate to good and evil. It is not as simple or polarizing as ‘you must be one, or the other – right, or wrong’, despite what we may like. Essentially, the answer he gave is that we must remember that there are things hidden in the dark which we have become afraid to reclaim. What are these things? Well, they are beyond counting…you see, when human beings experience pain, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, there is a response to the pain which locks away the potential to learn from that pain, and this happens because an inner balance is disrupted, and is in effect rigged to tip a certain way when we are in pain. What happens to us is that we repress the capacity to perceive ‘good’ in life, the world around us looms large with whatever has tipped us into despair, anger, rage or whatever painful state we are in. Think back to a time in your life when you lost something dear and precious to you, or something happened that you really did not want to happen, an experience that caused you pain. Was that not naturally a time when you could no longer feel ‘good’ about many other things that had nothing to do with your problem? Is that not an intense, powerful feeling that you feel you had little control over, something ‘dark’?
We perceive at such times that something has come in, often from the external world, and happened to us to make us feel this way. But what if the reality is different – what if the pain you are in is not something that needs to be done away with and moved on from as quickly as possible, but is in fact a teacher and an opportunity to heal something within you, the part that is experiencing pain as a way of intensely drawing your attention to it? What if, instead of seeking a remedy for pain, a banishment of it, we should instead be seeking the gift contained within it, the teaching and the lesson – the meaning? And what if that meaning is being completely obscured by our attitude to the pain – would we not lose sight of the ‘good’ in the experience?
A woman loses her baby in giving birth to it…understandably; she is torn with immense grief. The laughter of children haunts her, her relationship with her husband suffers, she has no interest in any of her usual activities. Her relatives and friends gather round and comfort her, but what can they do?
They can help her experience her pain in a supportive and loving, caring (Cancerian) environment, and not encourage her to bury it under a mountain of false cheer, because if they do that they will drive the pain deep down into her being, un-dealt with. She will not see the end of it until she gets to deal with that pain, and furthermore, when she does get to deal with it – and she will – she will emerge having learned powerful truths and lessons about herself, perhaps even life itself. We do her no justice by trying to dry her eyes quickly and urging her to move on. We need to be stronger than that. It is hard to see those we love suffering, probably even harder than suffering ourselves, but we cannot give in to the urge to wish it all away magically. We must allow the pain to be, it is what they are going through and ignoring it makes it worse. We can attribute meaning to that pain and help her to discover what it is.
And what about her, what can she do for herself in such indescribably heartbreaking circumstances? What can she do to heal from such horror? Apart from heeding the same advice given above, she could think about this message: hidden within every torment is a gift, and a gift worth having, but it won’t be able to help if you shrink away from the pain, it will only become so when you commit to deal with it.
Perhaps, then, in time, our mother will be able to reclaim what she thought she had lost forever – the joyous love she once felt for her child. And in the process, she will have become a wiser, more loving human being. What we discover when we approach pain with an attitude of being open to what it has to teach us is the remedy to that pain – it magically comes to us because in actuality the remedy is the perception that there is meaning in the pain. This is why I said earlier that the gifts hidden in the dark are beyond counting – they are the loving feelings we have suppressed as a result of our pain, as well as its meaning. So what we find in there is always more compassion for anything that suffers and the wisdom that comes from facing pain. This is what our hasty and habitual repression of pain robs us of.
The alchemical transformation from seeing pain as something to be avoided and ‘fixed’ towards something that is instead a teacher and the outer shell of a gift that will make us more whole and restore hope when we find it is the essence of Chironic influence. This transformation is a perceptual one that, as it filters through into society from individuals, takes us away from seeing the problems in society as things that must be punished or corrected but instead as symptoms of the state of the whole collective. When one nation is at war, humanity is at war; when one person starves to death, so does humanity; for what happens to one person happens to all of us, it is only a matter of degrees. The things you have seen are all things that humanity has brought you, are things that are part of the human collective awareness, and so the potential for everything that happens is in all of us, again only differing by degrees.
But what Chiron says about all this is – rejoice! Because if you contain the potential for everything that every human being has ever done, the solution to all our problems is within you too, and more, because in facing your part of it, you are healing the wound. He maintains, as do I, that the transformation of the individual is a transformation of the entire universe, and that in facing the lessons in our pain – collectively and individually – we can actually heal not just ourselves, but the entire planet. The first step for us collectively is to look at what we have done and feel the pain, but not in fear so that it burdens us, instead in expectation and openness to the lessons it contains. It is this moment that he comes to prepare us for. For the moment will come when we must face the pain of what we have done to our home, our planet, the only choice is whether or not we will choose to face it or wait in fear until those lessons come to break us.
There are two more pieces of this chart I need to write about before leaving you, hopefully with enough guidance to continue pondering the rest. According to my experience with Chiron, these are parts that relate to the history of his relationship to humanity and contain clues as to his future intentions. They are the Head and Tail of the Dragon and its network of connecting aspects and rulerships. First, a parallel should be made between the Head and Tail being in Libra and Aries with the fact that these are the signs where Chiron has either an extended stay (Aries) or a shortened one (Libra). The elliptical, egg shaped orbit of Chiron and its inclination from the central disc of the solar system lead to this. We therefore end up with many more people born with Chiron in Aries than we do with Chiron in Libra. He also makes an extended stay in Pisces and a reduced one in Virgo. (See footnote 2)
So Chiron is placing a quantitative emphasis on Aries, and also Pisces, but especially Aries because of the length of time he spends there along with the fact that the Tail is in Aries in this chart. In considering the Aries Tail we might be reminded of the many Arien heroes Chiron is associated with in the mythic past, some of whom he adopted as family members (Tail is in the 4th temple). We might also be reminded that he was reputedly a hunter and a fierce warrior, as all centaurs were, and that mythically he is connected with the story of the theft of Divine Fire from the gods. His instructions were mostly given to men, and these men were often egotistical, brave, and even legendary. In this chart this resonates with the Aries Tail and Mars in Leo, ruler of the Tail, and what happened with Hercules is especially relevant here, given the 8th temple position of that Mars. In short, the warrior spirit is invoked by this part of the chart, and it was ultimately overwhelmingly destructive, but this is what was, the Head is about the current agenda.
The Head in Libra calls not for the warrior but for the diplomat, the mender of bridges not the burner of them. Today, Chiron comes to teach heroes not how to slay monsters but to bring peace and equilibrium – balance. For just as Chiron was renowned for solving seemingly irreconcilable disputes, so we too have the ability to restore balance to our world. The key to finding the way through this quest is to understand the deepest inner wisdom of Libra – that light depends on dark, and vice-versa. Here I would like to remind you of what I said about him earlier – that he has ‘an impartial attitude to matters that will always hear all the arguments from every side before making his own judgment of it’. We can call this attitude ‘maverick’, after a man who refused to align with any of the factions who were wrangling with one another over a cattle branding dispute. It basically means ‘non-aligned’, declining to throw your lot in with any particular political side of an issue.
This is part of the key that Chiron brings back to us, the wisdom to look at both sides, the joy and the pain of life, and perceive that they are one and the same. Life is an endless cycle of birth, growth, death, rest and rebirth. We are part of that cycle, and it exists within our lives in all dimensions and forms. Look around you and you can truly see it everywhere. Where we currently are on that cycle is relative to the fact that we are on that cycle, and so what truly matters is that we are all on it together and each have an equally valid view and stake in it. This part of Chiron’s agenda, then, is about restoring the balance that has been lost between light and dark, by forcing us into a situation where we are compelled to go into the dark and confront whatever we have hidden there. This is one reason why we see Pluto dancing around that Dragons Head. Chiron is teaching us that we must confront our destructive darkness so that we can be healed and bring things back into balance.
The rulership of this part of the chart by Venus is also telling, and we find her just a little way away in Libra, dallying with Pluto, adding deep emphasis to the karmic importance of the sign. Again, we are being told that the way of the Aries Tail and Mars in Leo – of heroes conquering our demons and monsters – is ancient history, and the way now is one of deep and intensive reconciliation, restoration of balance, equality and peace – mutual accord, not competitive discord. Feelings need to be weighed and considered with tact and consideration for the unique perspective of both sides, and we must learn to consider the impact our actions have on other lives and the way to the treasures concealed within our pain. More essentially, we must use our feelings to guide us towards this point of balance, and we must remember the need to look into the dark as well as the light for our truths. We must actually get a little bit compulsive (Pluto) about seeing things this way, as if it is something we can’t get enough of. This potent and emotive emphasis on Libra is strongly resonant with the empathic Moon and Jupiter in Cancer, which it squares. These squares are like touch paper waiting to be ignited – they describe, as a collective species, our ‘touchiness’ and over-sensitivity to personally felt insults and the role this plays in the painful situations we create. In meeting their challenges, however, these squares potentially make our collective a great force for peace and equality. We also see trines coming from that Moon and Jupiter to the Sun and Uranus in Scorpio, symbolising the great gift that our empathy for one another can be in solving this crisis.
The crisis itself is very aptly symbolised by Chiron himself, sitting in this chart in Taurus in the 4th temple, in opposition to the Sun. Taurus is the sign of Earth, meadow, living from the land, being in touch with the ground. He is saying we are deeply wounded here, and that our home and sanctuary is the focus of the crisis that causes him to appear for us (4th temple). It is an ecological and physical crisis (Taurus) affecting the place where the human collective lives (4th temple) – the planet, Earth. Her resources, capacities and what She must endure as well as how it affects not just us but everything that lives here with us are the focus of this crisis.
It is here that the importance of focal points became a central theme of my discourse with Chiron. Part of the art he wishes to teach us is the art of perceiving relevance and poignancy, even in seemingly trivial and mundane life events. By this I mean that every issue, every problem and situation, good or bad, huge or tiny, is an expression of the entire human collective, and this means that it not only affects everyone else when that issue is transformed, it also means that you can read the state of the human condition from any one part of it. Anyone would serve as an adequate representation of the human race if one of us were to be chosen by a curious alien species. Humanity is made up of all of us and so we are all equally representative of humanity, even if we do not speak for all of it.
And that is nearing to the crux of all this talk – the fact that despite all our vast and often shocking differences, we share a common bond and a common destiny that is actually far greater than the sum of all those differences, because the truth is that the universe is a Unity of parts experiencing itself in an infinite number of ways for eternity. Each part you meet, each expression you experience, is an expression of that whole, and within that whole there is also pain and suffering, loss and separation, or the perception of these things, because our perception is dualistic. It does not see the whole, wherein the truth of this eternal life is revealed to perception, because it represses things (pain, darkness, sorrow, death) and denies the wisdom, insight and healing that comes from embracing them. In this way, we stumble forwards into annihilation while the Earth mutates around us because we instinctively shy away from looking at our collective darkness and the horror it is unleashing. In essence, Chiron says we must face death (Scorpio Sun conjunct Uranus, Pluto conjunct the Dragons Head, Saturn in the 8th), either literally or metaphysically, and be transformed by it. It is time for us to be renewed and reborn, together, one way or another, and to ‘make Home’ in a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical way.
Focal points are critical in this process, because only a genuinely poignant focal point will be able to capture the collective imagination, with all its diversity. Poignant focal points are Chironic remedies for the chaotic influence of the diversity unleashed by the planet Uranus. Without a focal point, agreement tends to be haphazard and action paralyzed, as there is no reference point and disruption and disorder result. Chiron recommends, for example, that astrologers use his discovery data as a focal point for exploring his influence using their many and diverse practices, because he understands that the data is a poignant and practical focal point that all of their approaches will be able to share – it is a basic unit their teachings share in common, and his philosophy is always to build upon any and all such basic units. Pain itself is also a poignant focal point, because it sharply draws our awareness to the place where something needs to be done. When we understand that there are some things that bring all of us pain, we will all act upon them. But just as with any pain felt by individuals, the moment when we choose to dive into that pain with the healing attitude of being open to what it has to teach us is a moment that only we can ever possess, or use. There is a relative moment in the healing journey, in other words, when the healing is chosen, and accepted, and we hear the Song we have sung for ourselves.
1) This is resonant with his orbit, which brings him much closer to Saturn than to Uranus. According to computer models, the gravitational impact of his closest approach to Saturn in 720 AD actually contracted the arc of his orbit inwards towards the Sun. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint his orbit – and thus his zodiac position – before this event. It is also projected that, like the other centaurs discovered later, Chiron is not in a stable orbit – his orbit will continue to change due to the influence of the gas giants. The current consensus among astronomers is that Chiron originates in the Kuiper Belt, a region of our solar system beyond Neptune inhabited by Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and the many other new worlds we are now discovering there, and that it was captured by the orbit of Saturn and Uranus at some stage in its past.
2) This might make it seem that he ‘favours’ certain signs. Chiron himself does not see it just this way, however, he also sees it this way – that the signs he spends less time in are the signs with an emphasis too, just a different one. It is up to us to encourage equal expression for these types in order to learn their wisdom. Another interesting dimension of his orbit is that due to its inclination away from the plane of the solar system, the timing of his astrological stations is non-standard; unlike Saturn, which squares its natal position every 7 or so years for everyone, the squares of Chiron to Chiron occur at different times.