by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chiron Retrograde: Unwilling, Yet Needed

 Centaur Chiron and Achilles by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (c 1695-1700)

When Chiron goes retrograde at 9 Pisces on Wednesday, June 13th at 5:14 in the morning UT/+0 time, most of us won’t even flinch. We won’t look up, we won’t stop, we won’t give it a thought.

We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. Those sleeping will sleep on, those busy doing will keep up the pace of their doing and nary a person will care.

Except that we will - care, I mean. We will like as not already have begun caring days in advance, given how run-ups to station/retrogrades seem rife with pressures of whatever sort fits the object about to go retrograde.

With Mercury, our minds are busy, busy, busy trying to get things done.

With Venus, we're trying to get to whatever it is that at the moment seems most meaningful and gratifying.

With Saturn, we aim to stabilize things and make sure they're on course.

And then there's Chiron. So...what is Chiron about?

The story of Chiron involves a centaur who as it happens, was a friend of the one and only, heroic Hercules – the guy who harnessed the bulls which could not be harnessed and who cleaned out some stinking stys without a scoop of poop ever crossing his shovel.

Hercules’ part in this story comes later, but it’s worth noting that these two were buddies simply from the like attracts like perspective. That they were friends suggests to us that their potential and their strength of heart and being is meant to be equal in our eyes.

Because it’s important to understanding Chiron, those of us raised in the Age of Disney generally have a slightly skewed perspective on centaurs. We think of them as artistic and graceful where the Greeks (a rather bawdy group) thought of them differently. Before Disney got around to cleaning up the centaur act, the body of a centaur joined the two bodies (human and horse) at the horse’s heart and human genitals.
Providing it doesn’t make you blush (and maybe even if it does), that image makes the nature of centaurs a whole lot clearer. The centaur is an image of great physical strength (the horse) and great mental strength (the human) with the question being which is going to dominate in service of the other – or can these attributes be made to work together?

In the chart, Chiron is often the point where people say but I don’t know HOW to – I have no IDEA how to do that!

Plainly – if unfortunately – those of us who say that are out of balance. Either we’re living more on our animalistic (purely physical or instinctual) side and thus lack a clue…or we’re living too far over on the intellectual side, without any idea of how to do things physical, instinctual and primal.

All centaurs had this challenge. Chiron we merely know about because he met up with Apollo (Mister Olympian Enlightenment) one day and Apollo offered to share his gifts with Chiron. He’d learn him a thing or two, one might say.

(I know…I just turned Apollo into a down home farmer boy. But can’t you see it? Apollo standing there chewing on the tip of a strand of hay, his blond curls all tousseled, that Olympian nose a bit sunburned?)

Apollo, being a versatile sort of Olympian, could have endowed Chiron with many sorts of gifts. After all, as god of light (not the sun – that was Helios), Apollo was, in Greeks philosophical theory, in charge of healing – which in Greek and mythic terms comes down to three central (spiritual) themes: medicine as physical healing, music as emotional healing and truth as mental healing.

So Apollo gifts Chiron with the spiritual gift to heal physical wounds. And for a while, Chiron pours knowledge and ability into his tasks. But then comes a fateful day when…

There are various forms of this story, the most common of which begins with Chiron’s immortality having been long ago given up to save Prometheus – who had been chained to a rock and left to die for the utter sin of stealing fire (another form of light) from the immortals to give to mankind.

 Prometheus by Nicolas-Sebastien Adam (Adam the Younger)
Housed in the Louvre, Paris (France)
(photo credit Jastrow 2008)

Every version of Chiron’s story ends in tragedy. Drink is always involved and though who gets intoxicated and who fights whom changes from version to version, Chiron ends up dead.

Chirotic Moral #1: Passion can undermine, defeat or kill the spirit of enlightenment.

Chirotic Moral #2: Those who abandon that they have worked so hard to learn often pay the ultimate price.

And this, dear friends, would seem to be one of the reasons why we all have such issues with our natal Chiron placement…by which I mean this: wherever you see Chiron in your chart (replete with aspects, sign, modifiers, etc.) that ‘totality’ of whateverness is something “you don’t know how to do.” Why? Because instinctively we each know that place, that issue is one which would ‘unleash’ us and expose us to our innermost, baseline feelings.

Remember – this isn’t someone else we’re talking about. In your chart, symbols are about your life. So sure…if your Chiron is in the upper (public and “visible”) half of the chart it could involve others. But that just means that you probably have some sort of ‘defense mechanism’ you put up from time to time.

Or always, yes. As in all things, it depends.

Chiron’s going retrograde in the week hours of June 13th (UT/+0 time) means we have a ‘station allowance’ which starts on June 11th and extends through June 15th. June 11th being the date that Jupiter moves into Gemini suggests much is in the wind, in the process and on our minds.

Since this turnabout is occurring at 9 Pisces and Pisces has such a well-deserved reputation for pitting us against our feelings in such a way as to create doubt, confusion, insecurity and their more physical cousin exhaustion, it wouldn’t be at all shocking if so much was going on that at one point or another you simply shut the door and say ‘eeee-NUFF!

Then again, I’m not sure anyone would blame you if you simply closed down the thinkery at the beginning of this station while hanging out a sign which says ‘Gone Fishing.’ (Pisces – get it? Fish?) In fact, with the closest modifiers at 5 Pisces (asteroid Lilith) and 12 Pisces (Bali) this last seems rather apt: for the moment, I’m done with people poking and prodding me (Lilith=emotional denial or denial of emotional access). I just need some time to do what I want to do. I need some fun! (Bali in Pisces = an emotional vacation.) maybe I should learn how to fish!
Bali Club Med (photo credit Tatsu66 June 2008)

Commonly, whenever we arrive at a station, thematic situations well up like violins swelling at the beginning of a love scene. Unfortunately with this being Chiron, it’s probably not going to be a love scene, since Chiron always pits us against our Self –mostly against some sort of unnamed and unnamable emotion which leaves us squirming (at least in our throat) not knowing quite what to do, say or feel.

Not to put too fine a point on it here – but don’t let anyone kid you…there isn’t anybody who has mastered their Chiron. Personally, I loved Barbara Hand Clow’s book on Chiron (The Liquid Light of Sex) and I’ve read several other books on the subject I also respect. But when it comes right down to it, the nitty gritty of Chiron is all about doing the thing we don’t know how to do.

And the answer to that is (gag) simple: do it anyway.
Yes, I said that. Why? Because in the end, Chiron is about learning by doing. When the situation is Chirotic, there isn’t any way to get it done except by doing it.

(If it’ll make you feel better, I know all this from stem to stern and Chiron is just as hard for me to manage as you.)

That Chiron is going retrograde while Venus is in retrograde may bring about a ‘what now?’ sort of vibe. 

You may feel impossibly wearied by having to ‘do everything’ all by yourself. You may feel  unimaginably put out. Or incredibly betrayed.

The truth is, you may have reason to be put out. But maybe not. You may have been betrayed. But maybe not. And you may be doing something all by yourself because someone else (that person you imagine should be helping you?) is busy doing something all by themselves and thinking the very same thing.

The obvious 'piling on' of reticence and discomfort atop stress and malfunction (or heaven forbid, malfeasance), it all seems so very too much. Then again, it reminds me to remind you that transits don't happen in isolation. This isn't just 'Chiron going retrograde' here in June after May's eclipse and after Venus has gone retrograde. They're all intrinsic to the evolutionary process. Astrologers are only human, so we can only tackle 'x' amount of the pie at a time. For me, it seems sensible to tackle each thing as it comes along. But if Venus in retrograde is red and the solar eclipse is yellow, we came into an orange-y hue before a blueish Chiron browned everything.

Life is a flow. Transits don't happen in isolation any more than your life of yesterday is isolated from your life of today. It's a continuum. It's a building of factors into something like a recipe does...except there aren't many cookies going around. (Apart from on computers, that is.)

Beyond this, a note of note which may give you hope, which may give you the creeps - depending on what's going on in your life. And, of course, what you know (but may not like 'knowing') way deep down inside. Chiron's extremes do often manifest in an 'instinctual knowing' likely to be prominent particularly in charts where Chiron aspects the Ascendant/Descendant axis, Mercury, Uranus or the nodes.

The fact which needs conveying here is that come June of 2015, Neptune will take station at 9 Pisces - the same degree Chiron is stationing at now. That draws a metaphysical 'dotted line' between today and June, 2015 with lots and lots of room for this to mean a whole assortment of things based on what's going on right now. A difficulty of today may melt away come 2015. Something you don't want to deal with today may come back to haunt you in 2015. Something you're trying to bring into being today may succeed wildly - but only once June 2015 rolls around.

It all depends. So much is under pressure at the moment it's hard to tell good from bad sometimes.

And in the world of Neptune - that's just the point. Just as Venus symbolizes our relationship with the concept of quality as something to embody, not to merely be enrobed in, Neptune asks that we accept and in accepting, give up the ego-position that 'it's all about me (and mine)' while not giving up on ourselves.

It's a touchy balance, that meeting of craving and altruism. And astrologically, we have another name for that debate in a nutshell. We call it Chiron.

It would be lovely if we could sit down and like Chiron with Apollo have an honest chat. It would be wonderful if we could be the healer in each other’s lives.

But this week…maybe it’s enough to take care of ourselves. Plus we do always have that option of being honest with that first-person-personal we all call 'me.'

Who knows...maybe by doing a bit of that we’ll realize it isn’t so hard to be the healer and reach out after all. We all have a Chiron, we all live in the sunlight (and because there is sunlight).

Will we choose to fight - or be enlightened?

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