Pity and Rupture: Introduction to Chiron in the Birth Chart

Chiron: Breaking and opening in a black-&-white image of "Parting the Red Sea"
“Parting the Red Sea” (Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/amboo213/7429036760)

In Greek mythology, Chiron was a centaur (half human, half beast), albeit a very civilized one: his front legs were human-like, in contrast to traditional centaurs whose lower body would be horse-like. However, in transition from Greek to Roman mythology, Chiron lost his human front legs, and developed an equine lower body to become more of an average centaur, as it seems Romans did not have patience for too much ambiguity: they preferred an exact 50 / 50 ratio of man/beast, rather than a centaur which might be just a tad more human, and therefore not quite “balanced”. In this post, I will explore the meaning of Chiron from a Psychological and Evolutionary perspective:

 

“The dual substance of Christ- the yearning, so human,
so superhuman, of man to attain God…
has always been a deep inscrutable mystery to me.”

[The Last Temptation of Christ]

The story of Chiron in itself depicts the “subtlety” involved in interpreting this minor planet, and how like Romans, most astrologers have lost patience in dealing with this uncategorized being. For some astrologers, Chiron has no interpretive value, as the twelve archetypes implied in the zodiac are already complete in themselves. For others, Chiron is simply a “Wounded Healer”: where we feel wounded in ourselves, and thus where we have a potential to heal others. There are, of course, a number of valuable books written on the subject (e.g. works of Melanie Reinhart), yet the mainstream astrologer would often find it difficult to interpret Chiron in the natal chart of a client in an intelligible manner. I hope this introduction and what follows offer further insight into possible meaning(s) of Chiron in the birth chart.

Chiron in Relation to Saturn and Uranus:

Chiron is roughly situated between the orbit of Uranus and Saturn. From an evolutionary perspective, one may thus interpret this as what comes “between” the “individual unconscious” (Uranus) and the “individual consciousness” (Saturn). Therefore, Chiron in the chart of an individual seems to symbolize a “passage” from the realm of collected unconscious memories of past incarnations to the conscious realm of present life. Apropos its “ambiguous” nature in mythology, Chiron’s symbolic function in the psyche is also “ambiguous” in that it seemingly represents a “transition” from the “unconscious” to the “conscious”, yet we do not know which “side” of the equation it actually belongs to. Is it merely a “bridge” connecting the two realms, or is it more like a “shade” of color, spreading from one side of the spectrum to the other?

Chiron: Images and Metaphors

Such contemplation is necessary before embarking on conjecture about possible meaning(s) of Chiron in natal charts, as it would make us less inclined to adopt an over-simplistic approach to this symbol. I will offer some “imagery” here that may help us understand Chiron intuitively:

A– Moses “opening” the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass through (my brilliant astrology student, Stefano Soranzo, suggested this Biblical image as a “Chironic” moment). Moses, a Saturnian figure, associated with religious “Law” and “Ten Commandments”, opens the waters of Red Sea, a Neptunian symbol, for the Israelites to pass through. This “chasm” in the sea, which can also be read as a “departure” from the old world Israelites used to live in (Saturn), and a motion towards an unknown future (Uranus), can be symbolized by Chiron.

B– “Water breaking” that takes place during birth: the baby comes out of watery womb (i.e. the unconscious) into the airy life (i.e. consciousness). This “rupture” of the membranes of mother can be symbolized by Chiron [Incidentally, it seems that children born by C-section have a prominent Chiron in their charts]: the infant makes an “exit” out of the Neptunian womb and is then “transferred” into the Saturnian realm of mortality. Chiron can symbolize what lies in between these two moments.

C– A dialogue between two fictional characters, Judas and Jesus, in the movie The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) can hint at yet another dimension of Chiron:

  • Judas: Is there some secret? Tell me your secret.

    Jesus: Pity.

    Judas: Pity for who? Yourself?

    Jesus: Pity for men. Our enemies are men. I feel pity for everything. Donkeys… grass, sparrows.

    Judas: And ants? You feel pity for them, too?

    Jesus: Yes. Everything’s a part of God. When I see an ant, when I look at his shiny black eye… you know what I see? I see the face of God.

    At first glance, this dialogue may sound quite “Neptunian”: “Everything’s a part of God” is definitely a Neptunian declaration. Furthermore, most of us associate the character of “Jesus” (fictional renditions or biographical versions) with Neptunian qualities, including an all-encompassing love, a universal sense of compassion, and a will to sacrifice. Yet, the keyword here is “pity”, which gives a decidedly Chironic twist to this conversation.

    Chiron and Pity:

    Despite the fact that “Pity” and “Compassion” can be understood as synonyms, the word “pity” is etymologically connected to the word “piety”, which comes from the Latin “pietatem”, which, among other things, implies “faithfulness to natural ties”. Here, Jesus is not simply talking about an elevated and “noble” sense of “compassion” evoked by a knowledge that “all is God”, yet a very human and heartfelt “sorrow” aroused by a deep understanding that we are all unavoidably “hurt” by the inherent impossibilities of earthly life… an understanding which would inevitably create “natural ties” among us all.

    The character of Jesus in this passage (and throughout the entire film) knows that there is nothing “noble” in earthly existence: all creatures are doomed to suffer, despite all their efforts (including the little ant, with her “shiny black eye” which is a metaphor for “hope”). By extension, Jesus in this film perceives everything (including himself and God) “tied” to this condition. In fact, “pain” seems to be interwoven into the very fabric of being, and this — rather than a Neptunian belief in “perfection” or an eventual triumph of “goodness”– would make us truly com-passionate (i.e. “partners in pain”).

    In this sense, Chiron can symbolize a “departure” from spiritual nobility (i.e. the ideal realm of Neptunian “perfection”) and coming to an “earthly awareness” of the hopelessness and helplessness “naturally” implied in material existence (i.e. the Saturnian realm of time, and thus mortality).

    Chiron and Wounding:

    Apropos the possible connection of the word “Chiron” with the Greek word “kheirourgos” which means “surgeon”, I also believe Chiron in the birth chart tells us about our very first impression of earthly life, right after coming to the surgery room: we could not come to this world without inflicting a “wound” on our mother, the most cherished creature to us.

    The very process of birth is an apt metaphor for what Chiron stands for: the impossibility of life without suffering. As someone “cut” our umbilical cord and we cried through our first earthly breath, we registered that we had been expelled from the Neptunian Eden of our mother’s womb, where all was “perfect” and “one”, and we had been pulled into an “awkward” existence which contains “dualities”, carrying an “immortal” soul bound to a “mortal” body. This very first “cut” and what we registered immediately afterward is symbolized by Chiron: it represents an “aspect” of reincarnation we particularly identified as “wounding”, which invoked a sense of “pity” in us, for ourselves and for all creation.

    Chiron and the Twelve Archetypes:

    For those who do not want to deviate from the perfection of “Twelve Archetypes”, Chiron can be best understood as an earthy version of Neptune, less lofty, and more “pitiful” rather than simply “compassionate”. Alternatively, Chiron can be understood as a less traumatizing version of Uranus, as the “rupture” it may symbolize is generally “closer” to the edge of “consciousness”, and thus less difficult to work with. In other words, Chiron usually symbolizes a “wound” which makes us “softer”, rather than a long-term “trauma” which can emotionally “harden” us as is usually indicated by a challenged Uranus in the birth chart.

    In the following posts, I will address Chiron in association with astrological archetypes, trying to offer a very basic explanation of the possible meaning(s) of Chiron in the birth chart.

15 Replies to “Pity and Rupture: Introduction to Chiron in the Birth Chart”

  1. Although I have read some books and articles about Chiron, you have been able to give me a better understanding how to approach Chiron in the birth chart!
    I came into this incarnation feeling very wounded and the healing has been a struggle that has taken now two Saturn cycles and is still an important part of my path.
    Chiron in Aquarius 5th house, squaring Sun in the 8th, opposing Moon in the 11th, sextile Saturn 3rd house, while currently I live almost completely isolated. So I look forward to your next posting!

    1. Thank you for your kind feedback, and also for sharing your story with me, Paulus… I am sorry to hear about your feelings of woundedness and I hope as you grow older you can find ways of working with this energy in a less agitating manner. I will post on Chiron in association with Moon and Sun this week, so please stay tuned 🙂

  2. I’m going to quote myself from one of two articles I wrote on this subject because Chiron’s important role as a teacher/healer, and Chiron as someone who is good with their hands (massage therapy, for example, “chiro” being the word for hand in Greek) is part of what I’ve learned as I’ve researched this subject. “Long ago, even before Ptolemy, one of the West’s earliest accepted sources on constellations and their relationship to astrology, a Centaur had been placed in the heavens as a constellation. Part-man/part-beast images were not exclusive to Hellenistic astronomy; various myths illustrated the metamorphosis of a god into a horse, for example, particularly in the Indo-European tradition, wherein the taming and use of wild horses made entire civilizations possible. Further, hybridization of other specific animals with the human form can also be seen in Egyptian worship.” Chiron, therefore, is also a symbol of our ‘bestial’ or animal natures synthesizing or morphing with our more human qualities (intellect, language, persuasion, etc.). I will also add that Chiron aspects virtually every planet, my Midheaven, my Ascendent, in my chart, and I’ve come to really understand its nature, particularly since my first accident that led to hospitalization occurred the same year Chiron was “discovered.”

    1. Alison, this was probably the most unique insight I have ever received as feedback to a post! Many thanks for sharing this with me… food for thought . I am sorry to hear about your hospitalization… I hope Chiron’s energy has manifested in less intrusive ways for you after that incident.

      1. Thank you! That particular accident was a very long time ago (1977) and although I never really healed (a Chiron theme) I learned to work around the injuries. My belief is that we look to Chiron when we should be looking to Asklepios, the *actual* healer, who is “only” an asteroid (#4581) spelled “Asclepius,” the Latinized version of the original Greek god/healer. He was in charge of actually “fixing” you, rather than Chiron, who is so much more complicated an energy, less to do with actual, final healing, and more with how one deals with one’s permanent wounds (wounds that never actually heal). My take is that we have aligned ourselves with the idea of Chiron as ‘walking wounded,’ and I personally do not agree with that. We don’t have to be victims of our wounds; we might not be able to heal all our wounds, but we can become stronger because of them. Anyway, thanks once again for your writing. I very much appreciate your perspective and your work.

        1. Alison, thank you so much for sharing all this valuable information with me… I am not familiar with “Asclepius”, but what you wrote sparked my interest… I would love to know more about it. I also completely agree with “we might not be able to heal all our wounds, but we can become stronger because of them.” It’s always a pleasure to read your feedback 🙂

  3. Your analysis on Chiron is fascinating – I really like how you’ve gone into it further! Just a question here: would Chiron be of particular significance for the people born with the Saturn/Uranus/Neptune conjunction that occurred from 1988 – 1990? It’s something that cropped up when I was looking into Chiron for further explanations, other than the “wounded healer” description that’s bandied around so much.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, DeanJean! I would say Chiron can be significant in any chart in which it makes major aspects to personal planets and points (specially the four angles)… I have not done any particular research regarding the Saturn/Uranus/Neptune conjunction, but I am guessing, from an evolutionary point of view, this configuration would show a desire in the soul to bring “consciousness”(Saturn) to what is “unconscious”, on the individual level (Uranus) and on the collective level (Neptune). I would say these souls would naturally connect to psychological astrology or similar consciousness-oriented practices, as the borders between the “conscious” and the “unconscious” seem to be less rigid in the psyche of these individuals.

  4. Dear Tina,
    Thankyou for writing this post introducing Chiron. I have Chiron closely conjuncting my Sun and yes, I have striven all my life to be conscious and aware and free from being tied to the collective. I have found past lives a great way to help myself others and myself through astrology and through shamanic healing. I wonder more and more though how much we see through the veil past lives as perhaps genetic skericks. Sometimes I see more in glimpses of these fleeting unconscious sides of people wishing to see their astrological bits and pieces. Today I was asked by a lady who had Chiron in Aries in the first house, “Who am I?” What was overwhelming in the confused anger was a past life as a Scythian, tatooed warrior woman and all the ramifications of living in that Black Sea-Caspian Sea, Kurgen area that is a node for the Silk Route. I just referred her to Mark Jones’s book on moving to higher consciousness and your advice of moving to a growth of soul rather than pondering on recipe book astrology. Sometimes I is better to say very little. Thankyou again, Love, light and brilliant, shining wishes, from Hilary

    1. Dear Hilary… reading your feedback is always a pleasure… Your interpretation of your Sun/Chiron conjunction is fascinating… And yes, indeed an Aries First House Chiron would pose a question revolving around personal identity. I will write on possible connotations of Chiron in association with archetypes in the coming weeks… hope you enjoy those posts too! Love, and all the good wishes one can have for the other,
      Tina

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