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‘Chiron and Achilles’ c1922-1925 By John Singer Sargent {{PD}}

What follows is an article re-printed from an issue of ECLIPSE. It’s been edited to remove outdated transit material, and has some new material added.

We reach our early 50s and have our Chiron Return. Up to that point, we’ll have had squares, oppositions, and trines of the transiting body to its natal self, and these have given us direct experience of our primal wound, and possibly our exceptional and unique Chirotic gift, in action. These contact points come at radically different times for individuals, as Chiron has an exaggerated elliptical orbit, and yet it returns to the birth point at a consistent average of 50.7 years. We don’t actually know if it’s a comet or an asteroid, as it exhibits properties of both; but we have been watching it since its discovery 18 October 1977 by Charles Kowal—so we’ve had enough time to get a clear idea of what Chiron stands for in the birth chart, which is a necessary step for any body entering the canon of regularly used astrological placements. Its minor planet designation is 2060, should you want to locate yours at serennu.com.

This is the one Return that really jars the life; it comes at a point when we are likely still feeling at peak professionally (or feeling poised to continue to climb), while personally we may become keenly aware that we are definitely closer to the end of life than we are to the beginning. We are, probably for the first time in our current conscious existence (the exception being for those who have had Pluto conjunctions by transit to the personal bodies of the natal chart), realizing we are vulnerable: to time, to the consequences of our own choices, to changes in the world that challenge our conceptions of ‘What Is’, and certainly to what ‘Could Be’, the threatening potentials for wounds that mostly just seemed theoretical, before.

Other Returns come much more often (even Saturn is headed for his second encounter with the natal placement by the time Chiron goes home), so that we have some personal reference point when they occur—we have been there before–and the outers that take larger forms—communal, spiritual, symbolic—don’t necessarily need that touchstone of personal viewpoint. With the outers we can only expect with any certainty to see phases where they form major aspects to their own natal spots (by square, trine, opposition) so that the natal energies are examined from a different viewpoint than we held at birth, offering a new take on who we are in relation to that energy—we see how far we’ve come, and how we’ve changed, in the energy’s expression or inclusion in the life, but we don’t review things from our initial point, the point of Return.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) roughly 38% of people can expect to live to see their Uranus Return at approximately 84 years, making seeing that Return a much-less-than-sure bet; considering that around 88% of individuals will see their second Saturn Return at approximately 60 years of age, that’s a big difference, a large span of years with only the minor cycles recurring, though Jupiter does make a Return at 72, bringing personal meaning as well as re-aligning us to the social order—but the Chiron Return is the only Return bridging the Saturn cycle and the Uranus one in terms of outer energy reassessment of itself (Astrologer Barbara Hand Clow describes the Saturn-Uranus connection via Chiron as the Rainbow Bridge). By its singular nature, the Chiron Return implies that things are going on there that won’t occur in quite that way anywhere else in the chart or the life.

Of course, any Return brings forward contemplation of the energy, a review of how we’ve handled it, and where that handling has taken us; with Chiron this is about processing not just the primal wound, the one that has been there even before we had language to name it, but also about all the wounds we carry, no matter how they were inflicted. It’s also about healing, with any contact of Chiron to itself setting us up to answer for what we’re not trying to make better. It’s as if the transit energies say, “Okay, you’ve taken inventory of all that hurts you–now what are you going to do about it?” with the silent addendum that it’s healing or nothing; during a Chiron transit to itself, no other measures will address the pain. Allowing healing is the only alternative, at that point in time—or we must face the fact that we are unwilling to heal this psychic, mental, and emotional space within ourselves.

Achilles and the Centaur Chiron By Pompeo Batoni {{PD}}

At any age we can have trouble processing our Chiron injuries, as other transits also stir things up, and in transit Chiron can ‘visit’ our other energies and show them a little hurt! Some ways of dealing that are particular to the Return (in fact, are in some form required at the Return) can be modified and used to address other transits of Chiron to itself. The Return requires us to refuse to be hurt anymore; we need to take the position that externals, including other people, are not the agencies of our pain–we are, in the way we process events and interactions. This is not a hardening of heart that’s called for, but some will misinterpret the energy in that way and close themselves off; we all know people who have suddenly become highly Self-focused and selfish, not with a healthy Self-interest and spirit of exploration and discovery, but in a way that says, “I’ve had enough of others and what they inflict/want!”—Chiron to Chiron is one of the transits that can do this.

We’re facilitated in the use of Chiron’s energies by the anticipated ‘end times’ of December 2012. What actually came to an end, in my view, was our personal inability to access the healing nature of our Chirotic gift directly. Up to then we’d been able to offer others our gift but found it blocked from our own use; we could do for others what we couldn’t do for ourselves. The energy situation was something like that story where everyone at a table has only a very long spoon and is served soup. They find themselves starving, until someone realizes they can feed each other. They succeeded by directing their efforts toward others, and for time immemorial that’s the way it has been; with the 2012 period we found for the first time that we possessed spoons short enough to feed ourselves. That doesn’t obviate the need for service to the community, but it does change the nature of our interactions: we can now give freely, without the background assumption that cooperative efforts are essentially an exchange; now that we can provide healing for ourselves, we don’t show up for others in our own state of need–we instead go whole, and can thereby offer that much more in interaction.

The Return (or another Chiron-Chiron contact) also requires we express the energy in a ‘new’ way; that is, new for us as individuals. Here we are talking about those Chiron-related gifts that may largely lie dormant, but which are still there, ours to give away, and post-2012, to use for our own benefit. Think of your Chiron as a highly unique talent or insight that only you have, shaped from your own experiences and directly related to your sense of compassion (we see this in the myth, when Chiron chooses to take on the pain of another and sacrifice his life, freeing them both from their agony). With each Chiron-Chiron contact, this must evolve, if only just a bit, toward a greater empathy and understanding that carries the ‘style’ of your Chiron placement. For instance, in Aquarius the mandate is to gain a greater intellectual understanding of the world, or it can be to find empathy with ‘the group’, or the courage to stand and act as an individual, with additional specifics related to your own Chiron aspects (and I suggest a look at the Sabian for this body as well, for a symbolic description of the heart of your Chirotic energy—round up, unless your Chiron is exactly on the degree and 00 minutes. For example, with Chiron at 12 Aquarius 19, one reads the symbol for 13 Aquarius).

Lastly, Chiron in contact to itself, but especially at the Return, demands that we have developed a means of communicating with the Universe, with the Divine, or with whatever we consider Greater Than Ourselves. This can be those methods described as divination, meditation, work, contemplation, through dreams or spiritual practice, or some other form of communion that has an underlying purpose of serving others. That’s the important part: that our spiritual practice (which from the outside may not look like spiritual practice at all) is engaged in specifically to aid not just ourselves, but humanity as well. I say ‘humanity’ rather than ‘others’ because what is required is a dispassionate compassion, a level of aid that does not judge to whom it’s offered—it’s offered to All.

With the Chiron Return we may enter a time of being a teacher or mentor, even if that was not a role we enacted before. At the Return point we are perfectly balanced between our store of accumulated knowledge and a mind still open to new things, which can make us both student and teacher in the most dynamic and responsive form possible–so not a bad way, I think, to enter later life.

Right now Chiron is in Aries, trine Mars in Sagittarius. This is a recipe to take personal responsibility for our own healing, to act on what we know, to do our best to share our gifts, especially those based in facts or in faith, the kind that says it’s up to the individual to make a difference. That sounds like a heavy load, and if what action’s needed isn’t obvious to you, just wait about a week (the end of the month)–that’s when the Sun will square Chiron, and shine a bright light on exactly what we need to turn our attention toward, in order to heal it. ˜