by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chiron’s Station: Check Point Critical

 Shivering Girl with a Blue Ring by Jozself Rippi-Ronai (1916, pastel on paper)

I got into an email conversation about Chiron just the other day. Here’s an excerpt…

Chiron (at it’s basic process level) is about mastering our own instincts, good, ill, selfish and altruistic. And the thing to remember is that the centaur’s body joins the human genitalia to the horses heart. (At least until they got Disney-zied in “Fantasia”.) So here’s the question: will we rise above our ‘animal instincts’ which so ‘beat’ within us as a force of life? Or not?

The optimal with Chiron is to understand how to combine our animal (instinctive) skill and strength with our mind in harnessing ourselves and our life and our abilities to the service of some truth. That we know from Chiron having been the student of Apollo (enlightenment – the light which comes from the Sun/life). Apollo was the god of truth, enlightenment, music, art and medicine. Of these, he taught Chiron – his first protégé - only medicine. That says something about Chiron (and all centaurs – mythic and in the chart) too. Apollo, in making this choice, prioritized the healing of our divisions...the reality and the projection, which brings us to the saying ‘healer, heal thyself.’

Chiron failed this test. When push came to shove he gave in to his animalistic instincts and was killed. The lesson for us is that when we know better, we should do better and hold ourselves to that.

This wonderful sculpture of Chiron instructing Achilles by Rinaldo Rinaldi (c 1817 housed in Venice, Italy) shows the original centaur construct - the human body being merged with that of the horse's power at the horse's heart and the human's genitals. (How much more poignant than that does it get?)

The 'centaurs' out there in our solar system (and thus in astrology) are all variations on comets. Comets like Comet Halley and Thatcher take anywhere between 75 and 415 years to go once through their cycles. But the centaurs all originate from a place which is far closer in towards the Sun - and even more interesting than that (at least to this brain) is the fact that centaur orbits aren't precisely governed by the Sun - they're governed by planets. So when we talk about centaurs, in metaphysical terms we need to think not in terms of 'life' as a whole ('life' is symbolized by our Sun), but rather in terms of the planets the centaur metaphorically 'connects' as a cyclic facet which is specifically representative of the combination of planets which affect (govern) that centaur's orbit.

At the outermost point in its orbit, Chiron plays something close to solar sytemic footsie with Uranus. So we know that Chiron 'brings' to us - or represents - some change, need for change, some sort of breakthrough...or the urge to cut and run. With Uranus, many of the changes and discoveries timed out by transits are sudden and startling, whether they're devastating or delightful.

But unlike comets like Halley (which come all the way into the inner solar system) Chiron only comes 'in' to around 8 AU - which when you consider that Mars' outermost orbital point is at around 1.6 astronomical units (AUs) isn't all that close. In point of fact, Chiron only comes to a point just inside the orbit of Saturn - meaning it doesn't come in as far as Jupiter.

So are we surprised that Chiron is known as something we need to do (Saturn = effort) without really 'knowing' (Jupiter) how to do it until we do it?

Chiron forces us to go just beyond the very edge of what we conceive of (Jupiter) knowing. And in doing so, it teaches us what we are capable of (Saturn) achieving - which for many a person is a huge discovery.

And yes, maybe a relief. When we realize we can get through and achieve without having 'known' how to do it going in, we feel strangely (Uranus) liberated and freed in some way which isn't connected to all the 'should's and long term planning.

In other words, we have willed ourselves to undertake and (Saturn) master the task presented without guide rails, hand book or training.

That is utterly Saturn-Uranus. And the willing ourselves part is entirely in keeping with the mythic centaurs, who all had a problem with keeping themselves under control. Thus in parallel, the challenge with any centaur, be it Chiron, Pholus, Asbolus, Nessus, Typhon or whichever, involves using the energy knowingly for a good purpose.

The enemy of a centaur was their impulsiveness, occasional disastrous carelessness and their tendency to be completely driven by overblown emotional urges.

Could that possibly be (ahem!) true of us too? 

(I'm thinking yes. Alas, but yes.)

  This diagram is just a little misleading in that it appears that Chiron's outer orbital reach
 goes beyond Uranus, where in reality, while Chiron does come fully inside Saturn's closest
approach to the Sun, Chiron's outermost reach (it's 'aphelion point') is within the inner-and-outer
(perihelion and aphelion) orbital range of Uranus.

So what does this mean for us as Chiron goes retrograde at 13 Pisces come 9:17 in the morning on June 16th? Pisces being the sign all about our internal ability (read: willingness) to adapt to realities – as opposed to the ‘what we’d like to be true’ parts of life, Chiron’s turn to retrograde suggests that we’ll be experiencing less external prodding which provokes our Piscean debates and more reasons to be a bit more challenged by why we adapt… or why we don’t adapt… and what it is in us (or our belief system) which keeps us from accepting life’s realities simply for what they are.

So many folks have such a hard time dealing with life. Those having a hard time rail about not knowing how to fix things while those for whom things are pretty good don’t want to ‘see’ anything which would cause them to feel much that they’ve tried to protect themselves (or their families) against.

Who are we really afraid of? Probably our Self - and all our Self needs to feel and understand and accept in order to grow into a fuller, most human if universal form. 

Neptune’s years-long passage through Pisces is going to erode whatever defenses we try to put up. And that – in time – is probably going to force us...singularly and by family, by community, by profession, by recognize how much more we all have in common with others (even those we think are ‘not like us’) than not.

Thinking through how our solar system is organized (as every smaller concentric orbital rings) there is both the idea that our life – the Sun at the center of our ‘life system’ – grows outward. And as we do that, forces from beyond our personal life reach (as represented by Saturn, that being the last planet we can see with our unaided eyes)…those forces shape the world around us – that which we have to work with, and the challenges that we face.

So here we are. Mercury is heading towards a station on June 26th in Cancer, which elevates our emotional sensitivity, to some degree our reactivity, and the need to think plans through as we begin to construct more of the life we want to have. We know that the days leading up to any Mercury station tend to feel a bit rushed. Some things end naturally. Some things move on to a ‘next phase’ which will take some time to work out. Plus there’s a marked tendency to feel frustrated with whatever isn’t coming to fruition as quickly as we’d like. Or as we might have anticipatedon some pre-established schedule.

In honor of Cancer (today's Mercury and a soon-to-be tomorrow's Jupiter ingress) here's a
grand sort of photo of the Crab Nebula as taken by the Chandra Telescope in x-ray, radio and infrared
(photo credit: NASA, JPL Chandra, February 2006)

MakeMake has just moved into direct motion, so not only do we have some feeling that we need to ‘make things happen’ but life is bringing new things to the surface - in life and in our consciousness. And while all this is happening, expansive and ‘expansionary’ Jupiter is moving through the last degrees of Gemini. As this post goes up on the 15th, Chiron is already on station as Jupiter enters 27 Gemini – the degree which in opposition to the Galactic Center stirs up a lot of issues having to do with our relationship to the world around us. The “GC” (as the Galactic Center is known generally among astrologers) is a point which represents where we ‘contribute to the process.’ Sagittarius being about ‘how well things work’ (“application of information” and “viability of choices” seem two apt ways to put it) Jupiter at the opposition point can either represent the sinkhole or the jackpot, whether that’s mental, financial or experiential.

Before another week passes, Jupiter will have reached 29 Gemini. And that’s not just a really quick transit for such a massive planet (in our solar system Jupiter is second only to the Sun in size) but we can expect that to represent quick moving events, and things which ‘blow up’ quickly. Literally or figuratively, whether exciting or dismaying, this doesn’t seem to portend a settled time.

Chiron going retrograde on June 16th with Jupiter sitting in opposition to the GC in the zodiac’s chief sign of mentality may well manifest as a moment of critique – hence my calling this post “Check Point Critical.” Whether we’re doing due diligence as a matter of course or being ‘given notice’ of some problem or gap in our plans, it would be natural to take things either too seriously or not seriously enough.

Oppositions always represent balance points. And to have Chiron’s station occurring as Jupiter and the Galactic Center ask us to ‘balance’ what we’re doing, what we’re aiming at, how we’re going about living our life and all such suggests that many of us will find that we’ve either failed to ‘rise above’ our more base or basic instincts (or instinctual allegiance to something we’ve been taught) or that we’ve been all mind and not enough heart.

But while we’re doing that, it may be useful to think through what we know about 13 Pisces. The Sabian for this degree is ‘a lady wrapped in a large stole of fox fur’ which astrologer Dane Rudhyar has a very interesting interpretation of. Rudhyar points out that the symbol is about fox fur, and that foxes have long been regarded as clever and cunning creatures. To ‘wrap’ ourselves, he says, in a ‘fox fur’ is to try to garb ourselves or adopt a mask which is – again – animalistic and thus instinctive, and here used to protect the lady’s ‘soft’ flesh.

An orbital diagram of Chiron as of June 15, 2013
(courtesy of JPL) 

So given that this is Chiron we’re talking about, is this a restatement of the Jupiter opposition to the Galactic Center ‘framed’ so as to point out that the issue is really our willingness to feel vulnerable without some Gemini, Sagittarian or Piscean ‘mask’?

All three of these signs are mutable, which is to say they represent a process of learning which is incremental – an idea which in itself can be seen as an ‘echo’ (of sorts) of the native Piscean strength, that of eternal adaptability, in the form of a vulnerability?

This brings us to what may be the ultimate Piscean quandary. If there’s one thing people aren’t good at, it’s not knowing. By and large we’d rather believe a lie than not know – or to have some basic concept of how life works be proven invalid.

Yet ultimately, the Piscean lesson is to accept. This is not about accepting what we are ‘handed,’ it’s about accepting that we are who we are supposed to be, give or take our willingness to balance mind against heart, instinct against intellect and to create light through metaphorical fusion, not metaphysical fission as the difference between self-destruction and becoming a vessel of light.

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