“Chiron?” What The Heck Is That??
You may have seen my blogposts about Chiron and wondered “What the heck is that?” Chiron is not something they teach about much in grade school when you learned the planets of our solar system, but it is a member of the planetary pack. Not all astrologers use Chiron in charts, but those who do swear by its usefulness in understanding a human being’s primal wounding and how to heal that. Chiron is also very useful for healers.
Astronomically, Chiron is a planetoid, sometimes called a “centaur,” with its orbit placed between Saturn and Uranus. In our solar system, Saturn is the furthest-out planet that’s visible with the naked eye—Uranus, Neptune and Pluto lie in the further, more mysterious regions of space, and now Chiron too, like a bridge between the visible and invisible. One of Chiron’s astrological themes is that of the bridge or shaman, the one that connects the known world with the worlds of mystery and the unknown.
Chiron’s orbit is very elliptical, like a very long oval, bringing it at one end inside the orbit of Saturn and at the other end outside the orbit of Uranus. This means that its cycle is irregular. Chiron passes through some signs very slowly and others much faster. You’ll find many more people have Chiron in Aries and Pisces, because it takes almost 8 years to pass through these signs, while many fewer people have it in Libra and Virgo, because it takes less than two years to pass through them. Gemini and Sagittarius have Chiron for the average time, about four years. Chiron’s whole cycle lasts 50 years.
The 50-year cycle of Chiron leads to a significant life-passage all human beings go through in the year when they turn 50, and it’s the reason why age 50 is such a heavy birthday for so many people. Any Chiron transit, whether it’s Chiron transiting something in your chart or something in the sky transiting your own Chiron, brings up old wounds to the surface for healing. If you’ve been doing your healing work all along, your Chiron Return doesn’t have to be painful. But if you have repressed your wounds and focused on coping while ignoring unhealed pains (whether emotional or physical), your Chiron Return will be a time when all the old, frozen stuff comes rushing to the surface. For many people, this is overwhelming and they feel suddenly old. For healers it can be a wonderful time of the blossoming of wisdom. For healers who have been doing their own healing work on themselves, doubly so. (Please note that being a healer doesn’t mean being a doctor literally—it is much broader than that and encompasses any situation in which wholeness is restored.)
The elliptical nature of Chiron’s orbit has led astronomers to speculate that it may be a comet captured by the gravitational pull of our Sun. In this sense, Chiron may also be a bridge between our tiny solar system and the rest of the big, wide universe. Chiron’s orbit is subject to instability caused by gravitational perturbations by Saturn and Uranus, possibly causing it to shift its orbit or even leave our solar system entirely at some point to become an actual comet, and so this centaur may be a “brief” visitor to our solar system—for a few million years.
You can read more about the astrology of Chiron here, including a little trip into Greco-Roman mythology.