Chiron, the mythological centaur (half horse/half human) was sired by Saturn who turned himself into a horse to disguise his infidelity to the nymph Philyra. At birth Saturn wanted nothing to do with this deformed half-breed, and his nymph mother was so ashamed and repulsed by the grotesquerie of her offspring that she wished the gods would turn her into anything but his mama. They obliged, turning her into a tree.
From these horrible beginnings it was clear that Chiron would live a life that was different to the other children. He was markedly different, even from the other more rambunctious centaurs around. Showing an unusual sensitivity to nature, he exhibited a uniquely superhuman affinity with reading its subtle messages. Fostered by the Sun-god Apollo and hunter-goddess Artemis, he was encouraged to learn the skills of natural medicine, archery, hunting, prophecy, as well as astrology. He used music to express emotion in ways not many could imagine.
Chiron later became the esteemed teacher of many great heroes – the most famous of these were Achilles the Greek warrior, Asklepios the herbalist and surgeon, Orpheus the legendary musician, poet, and prophet, Jason (of the Argonauts), and of course Heracles, whose successful completion of the 12 labours would never have been accomplished without Chiron’s careful instruction and uniquely intelligent mentorship into the challenges of each mission. Even Dionysus, god of fertility and wine, learned how to drum, dance and chant from this great master.
Chiron was in many ways the original shaman. Ostracised by his community for his own grotesque appearance and strangely primitive rituals he learned to keep a safe distance from society, camping around the outskirts of town, maintaining sporadic connection between the ‘civilised’ humans and the wilderness of nature. He would regularly take on the tutelage of exceptional young students, intuitively divining into their unique potential and helping to unlock, nurture and develop these special qualities with earnest coaching and training, allowing each pupil to eventually master their skill or craft. By rite of passage, each would eventually graduate to be equipped with the necessary preparation to pursue their heroic journey.
Chiron’s role was therefore instrumental in inducting ordinary students into the pantheon of heroes and gods.
Not only was he intellectually agile, but possessed an extraordinarily perspicacious and holistic understanding of his subject’s destiny due to his instinctive attunement with nature. Chiron also knew about pain. Because of an accidental wound he suffered from a wayward poison arrow, he suffered great pain from a perennial wound. This made him an exceptionally compassionate, soothing and transformative healer to those whose own suffering found rare solace in the conventional world. Alas, he was unable to heal his own wound, which brought him much discomfort and shame.
His deep knowledge of music allowed him to introduce his students to the fine subtleties and nuances of this enchanting craft. Through the tuition of the musical instrument, Chiron encouraged his proteges to channel into the deepest recesses of the collective spirit, interpretively finding creative ways to reach even the most complex of human emotions, easily seducing, mourning and enchanting even the most hardened cynic.
” Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other in the integration of the human being because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the Soul on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the Soul of him who is rightly educated truly graceful.” – Plato
Yet at his core, Chiron was essentially a skilled hunter – a predator. He knew that to be a successful predator one must think like his prey. He possessed a peculiar intellectual symbiosis between himself as predator and his prey. He possessed the same quality that is evident in the behaviour of the big cats and other top carnivores.
Anthropologically, at the dawn of time, the central human figure in that equation was the shaman. In ancient society, the shaman was essentially a sanctioned psychotic. He was able to move into states of mind so extreme that his immediate social efficacy is arguable. In simple terms, the Chirotic archetype is a designated member of the social group who can mentally change into an animal. He can become so animal-like that other members of the social group are often quite appalled and taken aback. So, in a perverse sense, at the fractal boundary where human consciousness emerges, the first human consciousness was not human at all. lt was a human ability to draw effectively back into the thinking processes of the prey, with remarkable precision.
What we’re referring to with regard to hunting is the subject of strategy and warcraft. Strategic thinking requires the ability to contemplate possibilities not immediately present. It means being able to creatively use the prowess of our intellectual acumen, the skill and dexterity of our hands with tools and weapons, and to fuse those with an animal-like instinct to outplay nature at its own game.
This requires a holistic understanding which originates not only from dedicated study and practice, but from deep and silent meditation.
Chiron’s duality as a centaur represents the fusion between the most refined intellectual human qualities and the most primal animal urges. Although his appearance as half-man/half-beast poses a paradox which seems unsightly and grotesque to all other beings, he provides a most critical link between our atavistic predecessors and the most progressive vision of human endeavour. The duality that both the wounded and the healer must coexist within the same individual is a fascinating phenomenon that perhaps suggests that on some level of our humanity, one must endure the pain in order to holistically address it. As if entering a trance, he is able to momentarily journey between the sufferer and the cause of his pain, able to retrieve the vital insights needed to heal the affliction and deliver his subject to a more holistic state of well-being.
In astrology, Chiron’s orbit coasts between a conservative Saturn and the innovative Uranus, at times eccentrically crossing over into the path of each of these two planets. His role is therefore one of tuitional mediation between their two major energies. Chiron’s role is that of the ‘ferryman’, delivering Uranian insight across into the structured domain of Saturnian constriction, allowing freedom and relief from the irritation and anxieties of life’s abrasive and often limiting conditions.
The asteroid is accredited with the rulership over areas mastered by the mythological Chiron such as holistic healing, herbal medicine, astrological counselling, shamanic journeying, as well as prophetic mysticism and channeling into the vast areas of the unknown, performing ritualistic rites of passage, often using trance, dance, drumming chanting, meditation and yoga, or controlled use of psychedelic substances.
Discovered in 1977, this asteroid/planetoid/comet is assumed to only be in its “captured” mode for the past 2-3 thousand years and will most likely spin away from it new orbit as a comet in a couple of thousand years from now. This suggests his role as mediator of the energies between Saturn and Uranus is under a very limited contract, and this seems consistent with the development of humanity’s plight from its superstitious adherence to our primitive roots toward a more progressively innovative, technology-driven reality. The past four decades have seen an increasingly accelerated break-away from traditional rites and religious values and inclining more towards a holistic spiritual understanding. Through the introduction of alternative healing therapies and medicines, eastern forms of meditation, “new-age” approaches of coaching & self-help, and innovative healing approaches to astrology and shamanic rituals, mainstream society is slowly coming to accept these as a beneficial alternative to often reactive approaches of the western scientific methods of health-care. Of course, these are all still considered as “alternative” methods and are on the fringe of mainstream society who is still wary of their value. As the shift continues, so does our acceptance that Saturn will not necessarily always mark the periphery of our consciousness.
Chiron’s conjunction Solar Eclipse in Pisces in March 2016 unleashed the unique roles and functions of this archetype as an integral part of each person’s fundamental identity. It explains why we humans, as a species on earth, may currently be feeling stranger and stranger in a strange land. Our perceptions of reality and our own role in it had increasingly become unconventional since this time, causing many to feel like an outsider. Yet we are imbued with a remarkable ability to understand the subtle energies and spiritual realities in play. Our journey to heal ourselves, especially on an emotional level, will help us find the key to become both catalyst and guide for those who suffer from emotional meltdowns. Emotional meltdowns, depressions, nervous breakdowns, work-related failures, all arising from a rude awakening from unsatisfying pursuits into fantastical ideas and attitudes, evasive or delusional practices that we have been unable to process or discern, since they came to a head with the mutable Jupiter/Saturn/Neptune grand cross in June 2016.