Astrology as a Healing Art: Chiron & the Minor Planets
by Eric Francis
The Chironian, in the abandoned cement mines of Rosendale, New York.
Digital photo by Eric Francis. Planet Waves Picture Galleries
As of this writing, thre are are more than 65,000 catalogued orbiting objects our sun besides the 'nine planets'. The list has more than tripled since 2000, and as space observation technology becomes more sophisticated, astrologers will be presented with evermore planets to consider. This is stretching the limits of astrological techniques and concepts, another way of saying stretching the limits of long-held self concepts.
Although some asteroids caught the imaginations of a few bold and curious astrologers as early as the Sixties, it was the discovery of Chiron that first focussed serious discussion of minor planets toward the later in the next decade. Chiron appeared at the peak of something called the Human Potential Movement, a time of many experiments into therapy process, holistic consciousness and the undefined world where psychology, spirituality and physical healing merge.
Holonauts were slowly becoming aware of how seemingly different levels of reality work together, something that seemed to be unprecedented in our culture. Really it was a throwback to an earlier time, before the differences between mind, body and spirit were so pronounced in our perception. Integrated concepts like ecology, environmentalism and spirituality, common talk today, were first being used and understood more widely. People and technology were becoming more deeply integrated as well; the PC revolution would begin in 1980, shortly after Chiron's discovery in late 1977.
At the time of the discovery, there existed few commonly-acceped notions of healing besides conventional medicine. If you were sick, you went to the doctor or surgeon; if you were emotionally hurt, you 'got over it'. Herbs were relics of 'old wives tales', psychiatry was for the rich and psychology was for research. What we think of today as therapy was in development as pioneers in the Human Potential Movement did their work.
Today we know there are a lot more possibilities. On the cultural level, the process of alternative medicine (sometimes called complimentary care or natural healing) becoming part mainstream thought is intimately connected with Chiron. On the individual level, the work and experience that these methods offer is a major aspect of Chiron's experience. Chiron relates to the process of healing and its many factors in the seemingly separate mental, physical, emotional and spiritual realms.
As a kind of messenger orbiting our sun between Saturn (planet of convention and tradition) and Uranus (innovation and revolution), Chiron represents integration between the material and energetic worlds, between the visibleand theinvisble, the known and the unknown, the rational and the insane. Depicted in mythology as a man with a horse's body, Chiron helps us integrate the animal and human natures. This is no easy task, but for us, for humans, it is inevitable.
Many have noticed that Chiron appears prominently in our charts at the time of incidents that seem to hurt us, and some astrologers take their investigation no further. Chiron's most effective process often involves the many kinds of growth and healing that come as a result of having experienced an injury, sickness, change or loss. Chiron frequently bestows the gift of increased awareness that the process of becoming healthy offers or demands.
You could say, from Chiron's perspective, that all healing directly involves raising awareness. In my view, these are the two most important keywords for Chiron. My sense is that Chiron functions more or less neutrally — rather than being 'positive' or 'negative' — and presents opportunities to become curious, conscious and aware. Al Morrison called Chiron the inconvenient benefic.
Many have observed that the natal placement of Chiron stands in a place where we have experienced significant pain or struggle and have, as a result, mastered an aspect of ourselves or cultivated a gift that would otherwise be left in potential.
In this respect, Chiron functions as a 'power wound' that fucusses our attention over long periods of years assuring that we will apply energy into developing an aspect of who we are. Often the point where Chiron is found will represent the place where we've made the most progress in life, but fear we've made the least.
Chiron, in my experience, works better when considered as a living, moving process rather than as a static point. In other words, Chiron's personal message and method develop over time, and we need to track Chiron's transits in order to see this process in action. Seemingly separate events need to be considered in the context of one another and explored as growth, learning, healing and the cultivation of our humanity: our truly human potential.
These transits can include Chiron's aspects to its own position, which can vary greatly from generation to generation, as well as its contact with the ascendant,the meridian,the lunar nodes and other sensitive points. The point is not so much to relive the past as it is to interpret our own stories in a way that they become experiences of growth, learning and empowerment rather than struggle.
Holochi: Holographic Chiron
Chiron's 1895 prediscovery photo was taken the same year
D.D. Palmer discovered Chiropractic.
Sometimes minor planets are photographed long before anybody knows they are there. After discoverer Charles Kowal realized he had something in 1977, something he described as a 'maverick' because defied known rules and categories, earlier photos were checked and there Chiron was. The earliest was taken in 1895.
In that year, a doctor named D.D. Palmer tested his theory that thepositions of the vertibre affect the nervous system; he believed diseases of this system can be healed by working with the back. The first Chiropractic adjustment healed a man of his deafness.
While this was news to us, images of what was once called Aesclepian Manipulation have been unearthed dating back to ancient Greece. Chiron of mythology, himself a famed surgeon, was the teacher of Aesclipius, who became the Greek god of medicine and namesake of the procedure.
Chiropractic, as we call it, gets its name for much more practical purposes: the modern meaning of the root cheir in Greek involves having hands. Chiron was one who had hands, and whose hands are used for healing purposes, though his name seems to predate any known etymology in ancient Greek. In other words, it's a word root older than the language (ancient Greek, not modern). Researchers in Europe say it may be the remnant of a prior language and an older, forgotten civilization, much like horseshoe crabs and dragonflies are living relics from other eras in geologic history.
To whom the root cheir may have once belonged offers interesting speculation — as does the potential that a wholetechnology and cosmology were somehow passed along the spiral of time with it. And who was Chiron? Could he have been an historical or mythical figure from this earlier society?
From an astrological perspective, how does an ice and rock ball floating in silent space become associated with this whole story, body of knowledge and our personal life events? That's a really fine question. One answer is synchronicity; that the universe lined up this way in a grand coincidence. This supports the holographic theory of reality: that events, images and themes recurr and reiterate.
Another is the one thing they all have in common is our minds. Ideas are experiences that are happening in consciousness.
Astrology exists in our minds much more than it does in space, and consists largely of ideas we arrange and stories we tell ourselves that give meaning and reflection to life and its events, mirrored in outer space. We look into the unknown and see something there. In this way, astrology helps reveal what we could truthfully call secrets about ourselves. It's a process that points the way to our patterns and ideas, offering a map of the mind and a pathway to the present.++
Worlds Beyond Neptune
Here is a sampling of a few of the worlds discovered beyond Neptune since 1992, with astrological interpretation. These are proposed delineations, By Eric Francis
1992 QB1 was the first orbiting object discovered beyond Pluto (and its moon Charon, which together function as a binary system). Its orbit is 292 years. QB1’s discovery confirmed the existence of the previously-postulated Kuiper Belt, a region of space somtimes called the ‘comet’s lair’ and is home to perhaps hundreds of millions of small, medium and tiny planets. Namesake of the Cubewanos but as-yet unnamed by astronomers, in astrology it’s largely uncharted territory. QB1’s cousins are named for gods of creation, ascension and resurrection whereas the Plutinos (planets with orbits more similar to Pluto) are named for underworld deities from various cultures. QB1 may have associations with the Phoenix-like process of arising into new incarnations within our current lifetime, which often happens as a result of near-death experiences or with the experience of ‘ego death’.
Varuna was discovered in 2000 and has an orbital period of 285 years. A Cubewano, it was the first planet beyond Pluto ever named (bearing Minor Planet Catalogue Number 20,000). Once a vastly important god of the ancient Vedic world, he was demoted by invading Aryan conquerors to a god of rivers and waters, sometimes depicted carrying a noose. In earlier times, mortals who did not keep their word would meet his wrath. He could bestow immortality as well. Astrological associations include the impersonal laws of nature (as opposed to human nature) and the incomprehensible cosmic order (as opposed to the order of society). Questions of the gain and loss of reputation, and the issue of immortality through fame, seem inevitable with this planet.
Quaoar, discovered in 2002, is a Cubewano and is currently the largest known world beyond Pluto. It holds catalog number 50,000 and is a billion miles further from the sun than Pluto right now, orbiting the sun once in just over 284 years. Named for a Native American creation deity of the Tongva people from what is now southern California, Quaoar’s placement gives an intimate portrait of the dance of the family’s emotional process and its impact on us. Quaoar speaks to the rhythms and choreography into which we were born, as these manifest within the family pattern going back generations. It points to how we dance to the music of our own creation more or less unconsciously, and suggests that we have a conscious relationship with our personal creation mythology. It is very helpful in doing family-of-origin work.
Ixion, a Plutino discovered in 2001 and orbiting in just over 247 years, is named for a mythologized former king, a descendent of Ares and, notably, the first human to commit murder. Would-be rapist of the gods (in particular, Hera), betrayer of friends, master of ingratitude and squanderer of second chances, he’s the forefather of all Centaurs save one – Chiron, who descends from Kronos. Ixion suggests ‘what we are all capable of’ and points to the common thread among all forms of violence, physical or emotional. Ixion is the pattern or psychological construction which says we cannot change our inherent nature no matter what the consequences or punishment. He relates to the collective memory of ‘original sin’ (murder, not sex) and how this is recalled, perhaps subtly, in any experience of desire, transformation or passion. The remedy for Ixion afflictions is gratitude.
Chaos was the supreme Greek creation deity — the forebear of the primary gods including Gaia (Earth) and Eros (the love that softens hearts). A Cubewano discovered in 1998 with an orbit of just over 311 years, its theme is potential made manifest and the hidden order of reality. Its presence reminds us that the cosmos or creator is the source of all life and existence, and is our ultimate destination beyond the end of time. We return whence we came; we are infinitely connected with our own origins. In the psyche it’s the process of giving names to the unnameable so we can enter into relationship, and becoming a vehicle of creative expression so we can become like our source. Chaos is a personal access point to the fertile void, the space-out-of-mind that is the richest creative source available. To those attempting the uncreative use of power as a control method, Chaos can bring the condition for which it’s known in modern usage.