Chiron: Weaving Together Body and Spirit

Friday May 9th 2014
Tibetan Medicine Thangka. The “Tree of Diagnosis”

Tibetan Medicine Thangka. The “Tree of Diagnosis”

Our attention has been on the cacophony of the Cardinal Cross of late, but another actor in the solar system has been playing a subtle role in the drama of the skies.

The asteroid Chiron — teacher, martyr, medicine man — has been sextiling Pluto for much of the past three years.

Modern astrologers often assign Chiron’s rulership to Virgo, the sign of service and healing, citing the centaur of myth, who was a healer and a teacher. This would fit with the actual astronomy. Chiron reaches 0° declination (the equivalent of the Sun at 0° Aries) every 20 years in either Virgo or Pisces. This is the polarity of the body and the spirit, the 12th and the 6th houses. Here Chiron’s journey ends or begins.

Chiron has an erratic orbit, weaving between Saturn, Uranus and Mars. Because of this inconsistency, he spends much, much longer in some signs. So at the two extremes, he stays in Pisces for about nine years, and in Virgo for just over one. This certainly puts an emphasis on these signs for Chiron. Virgo is the sign of physical healing and Pisces of spiritual healing or, if things go wrong, the reverse, spiritual disintegration.

Currently Chiron is direct a 17° Pisces and will move just one degree further before turning retrograde on June 20. If you have planets at this point or in mutables at 17°/18°, pay attention. Chiron has been in Pisces since 2010, and he leaves in 2018. He spends longer around the mid-degrees of the sign than at either end, so right now Chiron is moving very, very slowly. When a planet (or asteroid) does this, you have to ask yourself, is he trying to make a point?

Much has been written about Chiron, but astrologers often seem to want him to mean something even if that does not quite fit the facts.

Horse from Hallikarnassos

Horse from Hallikarnassos

From my experience with real charts, Chiron is definitely involved in both physical healing and physical wounding. Chiron is involved with pain and with medicine. It is common for people in the healing professions, alternative and orthodox, to have Chiron on the MC or ASC or in the 6th house. It is common for a Chiron transit to bring some kind of pain – physical, emotional or mental. For a personal story on the Chiron transits around my broken foot, click here – (although I’d add that my love affair with Solar Arcs ended soon after this post). Chiron can be Healing Wounder as well as a “Wounded Healer”.

The last time Chiron was in Pisces was between 1960 and 1969, when he was in occasional opposition to Uranus and (widely) Pluto in Virgo. This was a decade when for some, drugs (Virgo) opened the doors of perception (Pisces). But Virgo is not just about medication but also about meticulous, daily practice and ritual, such as meditation or prayer. This was the decade when the hippie trail might lead to a sufi mystic in Morocco, a hare krishna ashram in Goa or a zen monastery in California. A place of religious retreat is ruled by Pisces.

It was also a decade when the modern environmental movement got started, thanks in part to the work of Rachel Carson and her seminal book Silent Spring, published in 1962. Environmentalism is, of course, connected to the earth signs, particularly Virgo and Taurus, those green-fingered gardeners. Uranus’ entry into Virgo in the 1960s awakened us to the  many ways we were destroying the planet. For some, Chiron in Pisces connected this physical destruction to the spirit of Mother Earth as well as her body.  James Lovelock began playing with ideas that became the Gaia Hypothesis in 1965. Although he may not consciously have wanted his theory to have a religious dimension, by using her name, he invokes her.

Piscean-style spirituality is, more than any other, about the immanence of the divine. Henry David Thoreau, the great-granddady of mystical environmentalism had Chiron in Pisces. And Chiron himself is half man-half beast; half-tame-half-wild, the product of a union between humans and wilderness.

Easier said than done.

Easier said than done.

If in personal charts and with personal transits Chiron often shows a wound or a wounding, how does pain work for the collective when Chiron is in Pisces? Two of the nastiest wars of the 20th century took place under Chiron in Pisces: WW1 and the Vietnam War, both of which were notable for the use of chemical weapons – poisoned gas being a Piscean murder weapon. Both wars would now probably be characterised as psychically wounding. The unresolved wound of WW1 led straight into WW2, when Chiron was racing through the opposite side of the Zodiac. Just to be precise: when war was declared in 1914, Chiron was at 17° Pisces; in 1939, he was at 17° Cancer (don’t forget that Chiron moves very fast through these signs) in a perfect emotional trine aspect to the WW1 Chiron. By the end of WW2, that is VJ day, Chiron was at 17° Virgo back exactly opposite to where it had been at the start of the Great War. Astrology can be very neat.

Back to kinder themes, Chiron in Pisces helps open the path to numinous spirituality and spiritual environmentalism which in the 1960s linked to a Virgoan need for ritual and practice. But today the path will be different since the current long-term aspects Chiron has made this time around are a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces (now over) and a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn (ongoing) – both different from the opposition to Uranus that was a feature of the 1960s.

The asteroid Chiron was only discovered in 1976. So this is the first time that Chiron has transited through Pisces when we have known of his existence. We have a new Chiron-consciousness now. It is especially important for the generation born in the 1960s, who are having a Chiron Return that lasts far longer than most people’s, but also for those with Chiron in Virgo – born in 1943/4/5 and 1993-1995 — who are having the opposition for far longer than most people.

It will be easier with hindsight to trace the larger story of this decade of Chiron in Pisces, but it is certain that we are dealing with the potential for both the healing and wounding. Already one of the features of the suppression of the uprisings in Egypt, Bahrain and Ukraine has been the unprecedentedly heavy use of tear gas. It’s a little unnerving to see that Chiron is approaching 17° Pisces again, where he will station in June.*

*Note that this was written before Ferguson, where again tear gas was used in unprecedented quantities. In Bahrain, 34 people have died from this. I have been trying to find statistics of teargas use and deaths on the net, but to no avail.

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  1. AstroBlog says:

    We’re all spinning under the grand cross and since March began I have especially been in a whirlpool of transformational transits, intensified by both of April’s eclipses exact on natals -Neptune & Saturn and brain function has dropped to about 30% – so I missed Chiron’s approach to 17 & the impact on my 18 M natal Mars-Jupiter opposition. I’m definitely getting a makeover & I can now see Chiron will be involved for another 4-5 yrs. Even the nodes in transit are squaring natal Chiron as May ends, so no escaping this one. I have been told my body is clearing out old stuff [wounds] & this is a positive sign of healing. I definitely connect Chiron to the shaman archetype and am using an artwork from 2 decades ago bearing that consciousness. This cosmology article talks of the upper paleolithic era when cosmology & shamanism arose:

  2. diastella says:

    thank you so much for sharing this fascinating insight into Chiron – mine natally at 29 degrees Pisces – especially the 17 degree crux which we enter into today. During the exactness of the grand cross I had surgery and for these past weeks have really felt the support and healing energy of Jupiter-Saturn-Chiron in trine – a level beneath – an extra doorway that needs opening to reveal deep strength and encouragement.

  3. mm says:

    Fascinating stuff. I’m being asked to surf the waves of the current Chiron/Pluto transits as well. (RP Mercury at 17 Gemini – 4 planets in Gem + Virgo Ascendant). My chart is also implicated significantly in the current Grand Cross. Health issues. Learning yet again how little control I have when the outer planets start taking action and how much my own personal journey seems to be mirrored in the events of the collective. Don’t know where this is taking me but it is definitely transformational.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the stationing of Chiron, I was so focused on the Venus/Mars opposition I completely forgot about my Venus at 16 Virgo. Had an amazing synchronistic experience just yesterday – Tremendously Healing. It all reverts back to something that happened in 2009 when I had my Chiron return at 27 Aquarius during the triple conjunction of Chiron/Neptune/Jupiter. I have a lot of respect for Chiron transits and can really relate to the deep psychic wounding/healing aspects of it’s transits.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can’t agree Virgo/Pisces = healing.

    To me healing = Scorpio/Pluto and nursing = Pisces/Neptune.
    Virgo for me has to do with hygiëne.

    I have Chiron in Sagitarius and suffer from lower back pains that also go into my right leg. This started when Pluto transited Chiron in my chart. Now Pluto is transiting my 6th house and I’m slowly becoming more and more conscious of how I can live with this pain. Pluto causes the wound maybe, but he also heals through consciousness.


    • Christina says:

      Hmm, I find that Pluto is involved in surgery, cathartic illness and then the elimination of disease. Pluto often identifies the illness and even “kills” it. But that is not the same as healing to me. You need the spiritual and practical dynamic of Pisces/Virgo as a continuum after a Plutonic catharsis.

      Pluto in the 6th does seem to bring illness quite often as do Pluto transits. I have seen the latter with transits to the Moon and Sun also.

  6. Isy Aweigh says:

    My career relates to my having a profoundly altering, deeply painful disease (CRPS, RSD, and neurodystrophy are some of its more common names)… I research and write about it, making some use of my natal Jupiter in Gemini, among other things. It’s possible that the health/wounding signals are stronger than the career signals, which the research I’ve read on Chiron indicates. Careers themselves can obviously be key media for both wounding and healing — and teaching and learning.

    Chiron is exactly between my natal Venus and Saturn/Chiron conjunction, and dead opposite my natal Pluto/Uranus conjunction. Dancing on the edge of my 11th house and a couple degrees off my 12th.

    I had a feeling this was the year for healing. Got most of it set up. Now for the real work to begin. I take the view that if I can’t get to healing, myself (this disease is technically incurable), then at least I should be able to shine light further down the path for others.

    I’m still trying to puzzle out “career but NOT healing/wounding/teaching,” but i cant make that work. There’s just so much empirical evidence for the teaching/healing/wounding energy being concentrated so intensely in Chiron’s energy. I don’t mean to sound argumentative; I see an additional component, sure, but not removing the injury aspects. That makes no sense…

    • Christina says:

      PS I meant to say, I am sending very healing thoughts your way too.

    • Christina says:

      Dear Isy — I have been thinking quite a bit about this as a year of healing too & I think this Cardinal Cross could be quite helpful. I have had several people like diastella who have actually had successful surgery under this aspect. In my own family, we have had a semi-miraculous recovery from long-term illness.
      And like mimi says, Pluto can also be involved in healing. The combination of Pluto-Uranus-Chiron does say radical shift in healing to me — but also a wound, of course, which we can see taking place on the news.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Christina,

    I like your blog a lot and I like exchanging views with people – I don’t have to agree with everybody all the time and they don’t have to agree with me. What I do know is that two know more than one and exchanging views will sharpen my knowledge of astrology.

    Anonymous may hate inaccuracy – I hate it when people don’t sign their name if they seriously disagree with you – I find this coward !

    Keep it up Christina – I like it very much !


  8. Christina says:

    Thank you mimi. I always enjoy your contributions, even when you don’t agree with me!

  9. nancy says:

    I like your site & always stop by. Maybe not on topic, but I think w/ Mars stationing/Libra you’re going to see lots more “swipes” at people this week the way the poster here did at you. Perfectly passive aggressive.
    I have Chiron/12th and am a healthcare professional. I’m good at 12th house stuff in my professional life–ie mental health nursing.

  10. Christina says:

    I have just republished this piece for subscribers and Nancy S. sent me an interesting email, pointing out that 17° Pisces is a “critical degree”. Go figure.

  11. […] There is the potential for spiritual healing, but only if we listen. The modern environmental movement started last time Chiron was in Pisces with the publication of Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring. (To read more about Chiron in Pisces, click here.) […]

  12. Christina says:

    Vesta wrote this comment today but couldn’t publish it, so she sent it to me directly.

    My chiron is 18 Pisces in the 6th house, conjunct saturn and ceres, opposite that u/plu conjunct in virgo in my 12th, and square mars/venus making a t-square, along with a whole host of other aspects. My chart is nuts.
    Disintegration is right. You don’t often see astrologers write so well on chiron, I think yours is the first to look at it with clear eyes. I had a terrible time with my chiron return, coinciding with uranus/pluto squares, neptune sitting on my saturn in pisces, and I can’t remember what else these last few years, Saturn coming after me probably, crossing my sun and everything in Scorpio and then my stellium in Sag. Rotten, rotten, bad, dangerous time.
    I’ve been reading about the worldwide suicide epidemic in recent years. I know it’s a taboo subject but it shouldn’t be anymore, we can’t let it continue under our noses and pretend it’s not happening. I took a good look and learnt it’s my age group who are affected most, and in particular, men. Talk about end of patriarchy, that’s a bit extreme.
    I got through these years not one day at a time, but one moment. I inched my way through it. I was constantly aware of surviving every step. I talked my way through it, encouraging myself, congratulating myself ‘well done, that step’s done, now let’s do the next’. And with uranus/pluto squares taking everyone away from me, I only had myself. It tears me apart even to remember it. But I have to bear in mind it’s not just me, and look, it’s worldwide, and so many people aren’t making it, I’ve got through another moment. It’s been a storm that felt like war.
    Oh I just remembered. When Saturn was in Sag, it stationed and crossed my Sag moon and south node over and over. Just to make really sure I had to go through this alone and not get any ideas of finding support or anything.
    It’s not about strength or being a wimp. It’s nature at it’s most ruthless and cruel. You either make it or you don’t. There’s nothing you can summon from within, it’s just a numbers game. It comes down to luck. It’s not personal and no one is lacking if they don’t survive or come out damaged or bruised.
    I learnt to surrender, which is common when you’re overwhelmed and traumatised, and also I learnt to meditate during these years. It helped a great deal. Surrendering helped me make leaps of faith and just trust the process. I did kind of dissociate from the pain and storm, but meditation can kind of teach you how to do that and then return to the fray. But yes, it is a disintegration. I am not the person I was anymore, I feel fragmented.
    And now Saturn is about to go into Capricorn, my IC is 9 Cap, pluto is still there in my 4th house. I’m reading good things but you know… (it’s mostly bs). And Uranus is about to go into Taurus, my 8th house. It does not sound groovy at all.
    Obviously, I have lived through Saturn in Capricorn before, but it wasn’t like this. I think this is an unprecedented time, which is as clear an indicator as any that every paradigm on every level is changing. Right now, we’re in transition. We’re in the inbetween, betwixt the old and the new (as they say). The lesson I learned about inching my way through, coaxing myself through each moment, is proving invaluable. I am watching people implode all around because they’re trying to keep things as they were and finding they can’t. Sometimes when I say something positive or hopeful, because I’ve learnt how to have faith and radical hope, people are irritated, because they’re out of their mind with fear. Annoying, but you have to have compassion, or tell yourself to find some. I’m not embarrassed about being low on resources and irritated back. I’d be dishonest to pretend I’m cool with everything. Oh, mars is in Scorpio isn’t it? There’s my sharp tongue then.
    I have no idea how things will work out for us all, but like the hobbits going through dark woods, I am focusing on a path through and not being distracted. If you stray, you may not find your way back. So, radical hope, radical happiness, firm resolution things will be ok, and a list of goals to work towards. You inch your way forwards carefully, one step at a time. Sometimes it’s too dark to see the next step, there’s your leap of faith, you don’t stop, you can’t go back, so you take the step anyway.
    My chiron is in my 6th house. I don’t know how I can be of service to others when I am still so upset after these recent years. Maybe there’s something useful here for somebody.

  13. Isy says:

    With the roughly 20 yr Chiron orbit in mind, I’m having an interesting minute thinking back over the decades.

    As you know, Christina, Chiron/Saturn in Pisces @radix 12th house is key to my whole chart, from the health point of view, reinforced by other factors.

    Anyway, quick look…

    10, 1976 (Virgo): left a NYC suburb to move to Egypt (where we met & you became my first friend :)) and some abusive patterns halted. I started writing with the intention of getting good at it. 3 yrs later, got into British school, with better instruction & more friends.

    20, 1986 (Pisces): started training in the health field. EMT, lay midwifery; started nursing school a year later.

    30, 1996 (Virgo): getting too frail to continue nursing. Immune system wiped out for no testable reason. Moved somewhere warmer & tried to change careers, but couldn’t afford to.

    3 yrs later, 1999, Dad suddenly died, which precipitated major changes in career, identity, and everything. I finally became a professional writer.

    40, 2006 (Pisces): normal life became impossible and I was officially unemployable due to CRPS (started between 99-2002). Discovered sailing in 2006 or 2007, which helped significantly.

    3 yrs on, 2010, I was technically dead, except I still had pulse, respirations, and will. Nobody was sure why. 2010-2012 was the nadir. 2012 I finally won disability.

    50, 2016 (Virgo): Got myself somewhere safe & affordable. The deep urge to make my own home and embody a notion of “stability” took root.

    Last year, 3 years on from that: the homing project blew up, taking most of my remaining health award ($ to pay for my care) and my old posse (friends of 30 yrs, or ~1.5 Chiron cycles) out with it.

    I’m intrigued by the 3 yr “manifestation OR total tear-down” phase. No idea what that might involve. Have you seen this pattern elsewhere?