June 3, 2002 | Chirotica
Saint Stephen, with a rose
In & out of the garden he goes
Okay, it's time to lean into the astrology as we approach this eclipse, which is one short week from Monday. This is the first of five daily essays on different kinds of transits, the astrological term of art for when a planet "does you." I'm going to start with Chiron because it's a convenient place to open this discussion of transits, and because Chiron and eclipses have a lot in common in terms of how they work and how they feel. Both serve to take us places, in consciousness, growth and experience.
Chiron has three distinct feelings:
One, a sense of the dimensions opening up, like a cosmic door swings open and the real world is revealed. This can come as a threshold or gateway experience, such as an erotic experience with someone, a trip (of either kind, but in the sense that something inside you distinctly moves as a result), or a mystical encounter. This might last a day, or a whole season, but the door opens. The door can close just as fast, leaving us in the normal structure and purpose of our lives, but changed on a more or less subtle level, often profoundly, and we are often never able to forget the experience. Two, Chiron can manifest as a crisis, such as separation, illness, injury or an unwanted radical change, but this change always works out for the better, or it always can be worked for the better. Three, Chiron shows up as a major, intense, rapid and somehow unexplainable stage of growth, which is most distinctly a point of no return. In this regard, it is much like an eclipse, but with special properties.
Often, these three types of changes will be mixed and matched, though one may dominate. In the end, there is usually the sense that, somehow, one's life has healed as a result of the changes that came through. The difference is always determined by awareness, followed by the willingness to act. The less aware we are, the more Chiron manifests as crisis. The more aware we are, the more Chiron manifests as revelation. The same could be generally said about astrology, but Chiron has a lot to teach us about astrology.
There are three other important concepts to keep in mind when Chiron is the theme, all of which are among the earliest concepts. One is maverick. Chiron does things his own way. Two is bridge. Chiron always serves to connect spheres of consciousness, levels of reality, people or cultures. The third is holistic, or you could say, holographic. Chiron puts in touch with the holos, the complete picture. Chiron teaches that we don't live in a "universe." We live in a holoverse.
It seems like a lot to juggle. But Chiron represents no less than our quest for our true potential, our authentic healing, and our freedom to exist as individuals.
So, here is something I have not read. Through a certain phase of its orbit, Chiron moves through the signs rapidly. That happened to be between about 1993 and now, give or take a couple of years. In the early 1990s, Chiron was approaching perihelion, its closest point to the Sun (peri meaning near, helion meaning Sun, after the god Helios). At that point, it was whipping through one sign every 18 months to two years; now in Capricorn, it will stay for four years, still pretty fast. On the other hand, it takes about nine years for Chiron to go through Aries (which it last did in the 1970s). The faster Chiron moves through the signs, the more aspects it makes in a short time. So, as a result, in recent years, we've all been having lots and lots of Chiron transits in a short time. Not that there are not 145 other reasons, but these past 10 years have been very, very intense, and this helps fill in the puzzle a bit as to why. <>
There is an astrological theory that Chiron is, at different times, more or less active in the life of an individual, particularly when it is making contact with important chart elements. I'm willing to accept that, because it seems to be true, and has some solid astronomical data behind it. Yet if you look at the chart and the life that it represents closely (such as your own), you can always identify the activity of Chiron in some significant fashion; it's just more obvious at certain key times, and demands attention more loudly. In this essay, we can deal with certain of those key times, but not others -- for those, we need to be looking at your specific chart. But there is plenty we can do without it. Note also that Chiron is almost always working in concert with other major transits, and will tell an important part of the story of those transits when we look at it. Chiron will add to the speed and intensity of any other planets that are active at the same time. Some astrologers find its energy difficult to differentiate from that of other planets. But with practice it becomes exceedingly clear when Chiron is present.
At the moment, Chiron is in early Capricorn, and has been all year. The following people will have, for sure, some kind of major Chiron activity now: Anyone born with the first 10 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn rising or on the midheaven (you need your birth time for this, and to check with a chart service or astrologer); anyone born with the Sun in early Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn (in the first 10 days after an equinox or solstice, toward late March, June, September or December or a little after), or with the Moon in any of those first 10 degrees of a sign (check with a chart service to see -- this can be any time of any year); and anyone born in one of the following years: between 1949 and 1953 (you are at the beginning, middle or end of your Chiron return); anyone born in late 1944 or all of 1945, as well as 1995 or 1996 (you are in your Chiron first square, though the older kids are having it for the second time); anyone born between 1969 through parts of 1972 (you are having your Chiron second or upper square); and anyone born between the summer of 1988 and the summer of 1989 (you are having your Chiron opposition).
If you are born near one of these dates but not quite inside the range stated, you are either just finishing up such a transit experience, or getting ready for one. If you are born within one of these time frames but are not noticing anything, either you're in a odd corner of the phase and Chiron has yet to catch up with you, you're not sensitive to Chiron transits (some people are very sensitive, others are less so) or your experience is suppressed by denial, drugs, pain, or some other kind of experience that will hold down Chiron and may require Pluto or a combination of Chiron and Pluto to get you going. Or, give it a few months, weeks, or, as the case may be, minutes.
Now, Chiron transits typically work as a sweeping cycle that is active at different times in your life. As an astrologer, part of my job is to put the story together, to find the common threads, but you can do this too. If you're born within any of the date ranges listed above, you may have had intense Chiron experiences during any of those periods. For example, if you were born in 1970, you may have found the mid-90s really really interesting. If you are early Aries rising, you may have found 1988-89 to be especially intense, to give another example. Like most cycles, Chiron weaves a thread through time, and joins together different times in one's life with a common theme. But Chiron's orbital path is elliptical, so that cycle can show up at wildly skewed times, all of which are very closely related. In my view, it reveals a hidden cycle of growth. All Chiron transits work together as part of one process, which is closely related to the theme of the natal placement. But in my astrological theory, to find that theme, we don't look in a book. Rather, we put together the process of the transits, and get to understand it that way.
At the current phase, we are talking about the cardinal signs -- Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These signs deal with fundamental questions of existence: of what it means to be born and live on the planet in a body, to have an ego and individual identity, to be in relationship with others, and to exist within the structure of society as a distinct entity, or as a leader. They all deal with action, creative movement that gets us from one place to the next or one idea to the next. They are all about initiation of activity or experience (called cardinality in astrology). And they represent the "cardinal points" of life's major cycles, the most sharp turns in the road. Chiron in or involved with these signs will raise these issues to the highest levels of awareness, one way or another. "Why do I exist?" or "Do I have a right to exist?" are common questions when Chiron is active in one of the cardinal signs, or angular houses, and under a Chiron transit, the crisis or growth experience of life can be read in terms of this kind of major sweeping question. It's okay to ask! <>
A brief note to members of the generation born from 1969 through partsof 1977, who have Chiron in Aries. It would help immensely if you 'fessed up to the extent to which your life is dominated by an identity crisis. There is no need to couch this in spiritual terms. It will wind up as spiritual anyway, whatever that is -- your personal truth is your personal truth, so you do not need a cosmic permit. But if you can get closer to the truth that you don't really know who you are, you will be a lot closer to finding who you are. Meanwhile, keep in mind: you do have a right to exist. Really and truly. And what you may largely be struggling with is the sense that you do not. <>
It has been noted in the past that Chiron's activity can represent the presence in one's life of some kind of truly significant teacher or mentor, since that is what Chiron does best. This teacher may be older or younger, but he or she will likely have surprising or unexpected qualities, and will help us break the rules. Wherever Chiron is functioning well in the chart, we get a place where we're going to be different, so this teacher will be different! Chiron people just feel different, there is no other way to describe it, and when we're under the influence of Chiron, we want and need to be different and do things differently.
Another way Chiron can work is as a person who "injures us to help us" -- they may not see it that way, they may not see it any way at all, and it may take you time to notice -- but the result is (with any luck, or rather, awareness) what you might call a power wound, an injury or crisis instigated by our involvement with a person that ultimately serves to empower, and to get us to a higher level of consciousness, if we don't succumb to the urge to kill them in the process! It would be really nice if everyone involved could get conscious about what is happening; there would be so much more learning possible, and so much relief from the chaos. Unfortunately, most of the time astrology works unconsciously, and most people do too. So the best you can hope for is to pay attention yourself, to your life.
So this is a good time to say for the sixth time that around with Chiron, the real crisis is always one of awareness. I say this at a time in history when the whole idea of awareness is kind of foggy, so I am trying to brainwash you. We are usually more aware of what brand jeans someone is wearing, or whether they have a nice car, than we are about how we feel, or the color of their eyes. We are trained, through the media, to tune out more and more of what we really think, need and desire as individuals, and to basically go into a trance. If you feel yourself waking up from that trance, and opening up either to your need for healing, or to what you might call far greater possibilities for who you are, then it's likely that Chiron is working in your life in some major way. It might not be convenient. You might feel groggy and confused. You might feel life move through you like lightning. Look around!
I'll end with a bit of astrological theory that might make Chiron's way of working more clear. Up till the late 1700s, Saturn represented the edge of reality; it was the most distant planet. But in March of 1781, Uranus was discovered. If Saturn represents the process of structuring, Uranus represents the process of energizing and revolutionizing (there were many revolutions around the time of its discovery, for example, and many associated with its activities over the years). Chiron works to mediate these two energetic processes. In this role, it can jolt us when our lives are too structured. It can cool us down when our lives are too energized. It can help us revise situations so that we can get more energy moving when we're stuck. It can help us organize what is otherwise totally random and chaotic.
But always, Chiron will teach us to raise our awareness, in other words, to pay attention. Tomorrow: Saturn Returns and Oppositions