It’s easy to think of Chiron as the asteroid that always hurts. Maybe that’s true; maybe it is the arrow that will always find you, the hurt that will never entirely heal. If you have Chiron strong in your chart you likely identify with this. Chiron feels very Plutonian in that it is a wound. But it is different from Pluto, and I can always observe the difference during a client or personal transit. Unlike a Pluto transit, where we are a lone and sole dustmote in the galaxy wrestling with our own irrelevance, toxicity, shame and rage, with Chiron, healers are waiting in the wings. Always, within a stone’s throw, there are shamans and acupuncturists, astrologers and masseurs, energy healers and coaches. If we are on a Chiron journey, there are Chironian figures who have been there, who have been or who are wounded their self, who spend a lot of time attempting to heal their self, then use those skills to mend the world.
Many are called, few are chosen, and with Chiron, it’s a dubious honor. Indigenous cultures had Chironian figures: shamans, medicine people, druids. These people often experienced a life-endangering illness or psychological break at a young age which marked them as a wounded healer, by the tribe. The reason for this: if they made it back from the underworld alive, they were regarded as having secret knowledge. If they healed from an illness, they understood it and so had the power to heal others. Not just other humans but animals, living systems and whole tribes.
Alas, modern culture fears those who have psychotic breaks or chiron-ic illness. It think it’s because many subconsciously think “it could happen to me” and turn away, never recognizing the precious calling of illness in the lives of those who experience it. When fear (and helplessness) is the establishment’s prescription, it teaches Chironics to fear our own healing journey–which is a sad shame because illness is an (life-changing) invitation, as the skills we learn can become a vocation, the inner work, an act of soul mending. As Joyce Mason at her recent lecture on Chiron and Vocation in San Francisco said, “The stuck-ness of intolerable pain will set you forward into inner work.” Or not, I would add. As many people whine about the pain, all the reasons why they are stuck and so do nothing.
According to quippy Life Coach and Chironian Martha Beck, modern day shamans are needed in greater numbers right now. In her book, Finding Your Way In A Wild New World calls these people The Team. The Team share a slew likely demographics. Here, a partial list: high creativity; passion for the arts, music etc., difficult early life often with history of trauma or abuse, very high emotional sensitivity leading to predilections for anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, persistent or recurring physical illness, often severe, with symptoms that fluctuate inexplicably, intense connection to particular natural environments and animals, loneliness stemming from a sense of difference, a strong sense of mission or purpose involving human transformation even if its hard to articulate what that might be… it goes on, but if you recognize your self in most of these, you’re on “The Team”.
She also calls members of The Team, Wayfinders and Menders…which reminds me of sewing, a line in a song by Tori Amos “Calling for my soul, at the corners of the world…” when I think of Chiron, and the holy task of personal integration –the one word I’d use to describe the end result of Chiron’s teachings, healings and ministrations.
I’m identifying with Chiron more than I ever have before. My Birthday Solar Return this year features none other than Chiron strong, and Moon in Virgo in the Twelfth, oppose Jupiter, square Neptune/Chiron on the IC angle. With my progressed Twelfth House in the Twelfth House this all essentially means I’m learning, hibernating, convalescing and integrating at a deep level. Along with studying at the Institute of (yes) Integrative Nutrition (don’t you love synchronicity?), I had a recurrence of an illness I thought I had healed back in 2008. Fibromyalgia, it turns out, may never go away but go into remission for months, years. There’s a lot more information out there on Fibro than even 4 years ago, from other “Team” members, so I’m getting new tools. Also, the word “teacher” keeps coming up for me in my coaching. Like Chiron in his mentor guise (Chiron, a multi-talented fellow, mentored Apollo, Achilles and many others), I’m teaching clients new health skills, but not everyone is at the same place or learns in the same way. The onus is truly on the teacher. My Aries Chiron-Moon takes action, and wanting others to follow my expert advice, take action and get most excellent results, is very surprised when they don’t do my homework! I’ve been watching The King’s Speech, Anger Management – watching maverick teachers use “unconventional” teaching methods.
One question I’ve oft wrestled with: how can a person who is sick, be a healer? How is a person who needs help, be helpful? A: how else would we find the tools to help others? A Chironic individual is wounded and whole (those of you who have read my book recognize this paradox). We get out of our own pain, or even stop it altogether, through helping others. Healing, integrating, mending the world is our mission, so getting to work is not optional – unless you want to get sick. Every time I’ve strayed from this strange calling, which always involves helping others, I’ve gotten sick. This is paradoxical and flies straight in the face of the logic, which says: if you’re sick, there must be something wrong with you (therefore how could you possibly help others?) so stay home, in bed. This is probably the best way to stay sick. While I have very specific physical needs that need special attention, if I let my pain stop me from seeing clients and living on purpose, I get a heck of a lot worse. Weird? Apparently, my community needs the healing skills I am developing for my self. In myth, Chiron sacrifices his own life so Prometheus can live. Huh, there must be something to this.
Joyce Mason also said sometimes we choose pain because we need it’s gifts – and that if we have a
series of theme-related pains its to hone the rare gem of an authentic Self. I pretty much loathe it when people tell me I created my illness, in any capacity. I believe, unless your name is God, it’s impossible for you or anyone to know this about another being, and to tell someone they created their illness is a cruel and unfortunate side effect of the new age “you create it all” movement. However, there is another paradox here: suffering can become deeply meaningful, and any form of suffering – relationship, career or physical- can be used as a jewel-cutting tool. Earlier this year I began a process of understanding how I had not been valuing my self by not honoring my own thoughts, feelings, wants and needs in my marriage (Sixth/Seventh House Aries Chiron conjunct Moon). I thought “I” was disintegrating. It turns out I’ve been re-integrating the authentic Self that has been well-trained in meeting everyone’s needs but her own. From inner work, I’m seeing new facets in the rare gem of my authentic Self. Synchronously, my clients often need reminders about the power of their own choices. I’ve created a mirror, now hanging in my office, as a reminder for me and all.
Today I’m looking more and more for the upsides of Chiron. Because while the downside just sucks, the upside offers a path forward. I don’t feel as alone in this journey as I used to, say twenty-one years ago, when I experienced my first Chironic initiation; we may be a rare Centaur tribe, we’re not single Unicorns anymore. I read books, am taught by amazing Team members; my best friends are Team members. Team members are all around us — teaching, healing, hurting, creating and loving. Plus, I’ve got Chiron in Aries. Even though I need a lot more rest than I have in my younger, perkier and bloggier years, rest assured the healing journey is an active one, and it’s meant to be shared.