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First, to get some vocabulary out of the way, as it would be good to be on the same page… Chiron is a physical astronomical body. It orbits between Saturn and Uranus, with a very eccentric orbit – sometimes straying closer to Saturn and other times veering off toward Uranus. Chiron is a large asteroid or a comet that got trapped by the Sun’s gravity (and therefore lost its tail). Chiron’s orbit is also eccentric, like Pluto’s, in that the plane of its orbit is significantly different from the plane of the rest of the inner planets (at its most extreme positions, Chiron can be more than 15 degrees above or below the typical declinations of the majority of the planets).
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Chiron spends the longest in the sign of Taurus (tropical zodiac) and therefore the shortest time in Scorpio, when it is closest to Saturn. It has about a 50 year orbit cycle around the Sun.
According to myth, Chiron was a centaur chieftan who was an excellent warrior. In some legends, Chiron did very well fighting for Zeus, securing victories for the King of the Gods. In return, Zeus (Jupiter) granted Chiron immortality. As a result, Chiron eventually tired of seeing his friends slowing aging and then passing away and he went to live in a cave. He was not a complete hermit however as he studied extensively the healing arts, astrology, poetry, literature, philosophy and he became very skilled in teaching others the chivalrous art of war. Hence Chiron is credited with training many of the famous Greek heroes including Asclepius (who would go on to become the God of Medicine and Healing), Achilles, Hercules and others. Chiron is known as the Wounded Healer however due to the myth that in a later war, when he was immortal, he was shot in the leg with an arrow that had the Hydra’s venom on it, meaning this poison had no known antidote. As a result of his immortality, he could not die, so he was in tortured anguish and pain and eventually he was forced to ask Zeus to revoke his immortality meaning he was doomed to die from the venom. Therefore there are many metaphors to draw from when interpreting Chiron’s influence in someone’s Natal Chart.
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Because Chiron is such a small astronomical body (a large asteroid is nothing when compared to Jupiter or Saturn), we use very small orbs when determining if Chiron makes any aspects in the Natal (Birth) Chart. Personally I use the 3 degree orb rule for Chiron and there are no exceptions (sometimes people make the Sun and Moon’s orbs larger but not here). Therefore, it is rare for Astrology Charts to have many (more than 2 or 3) major aspects involving Chiron. I think of the major aspects as the Conjunction, Opposition, Square, Trine and sometimes the Sextile although that is a touch flaky in this case. The inconjunct (quincunx) aspect needs to practically be exact for it to apply with Chiron in my experience – a one orb is best, but the individual might feel it if one planet is one degree in conjunct Chiron and the other base planet is two degrees.
I apologize ahead of time for talking about myself, however I feel a strong connection with Chiron and therefore I feel a personal anecdote or two will shed light on this subject. And I’m a Leo Rising so I am working on overcoming some innate pride and / or arrogance 🙂
With that said, I personally have Chiron conjunct my MidHeaven from the 9th house, square my Ascendant and trine my Saturn. Not many aspects, but I feel that Chiron is definitely involved in my public / professional life as it conjuncts my MidHeaven. In my limited experience of working with possibly three hundred charts professionally, it is very rare to encounter people with more than four major Chiron aspects in their Natal Charts. I also have experience of having practiced Tibetan Buddhism in a dedicated capacity for several years now, and as a result, I have seen the charts of numerous other sincere practitioners.
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Despite the fact that I mention Buddhism below, I think that you could easily substitute any authentic religion which leads to more openness, heart awareness and the betterment of its practitioners (so Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc etc). So in my limited experience, I have witnessed many occasions where major Chiron transits (when Transiting Chiron moves into a major aspect with a personal Natal planet or when an outer transiting planet moves into a major aspect with Natal Chiron) lead to spiritual unfolding or decisions to deepen one’s Buddhist practice. Here are some examples:
One friend of mine has Chiron squaring the Nodes of his Moon natally. He does not have much else going on with Chiron, but in this case, this is enough 🙂 So what happened when transiting Pluto came in the same position as his Natal Chiron? Well he had always been into studying and practicing Buddhism, but he decided at that point in time to become a Buddhist monk. Talk about a serious change!!! That required a significant reorientation of all of his friends and family members, but he is committed and he has made it work.
This was also the case with another friend who had Chiron square his Sun, trine his Moon and opposite his Jupiter. When Pluto moved to square his Chiron, Jupiter and conjunct his Sun, he took refuge with a well-known Tibetan lama. Taking refuge means to become a Buddhist in one’s mind and actions – see previous posts for more on this subject. But there are several commitments involved, so it should not be taken lightly. Then, about nine years later, when Uranus moved to conjunct his Chiron (squaring his Sun, opposing his Jupiter, trining his Moon), he also decided to become a (Western) Tibetan Buddhist monk. I believe this was also the time of his Chiron return – which occurs around age 50 or 51. For people with many Chiron aspects, if we put in the work, often the Chiron return is a significant time of spiritual realizations or deepening of awareness.
One of my lay-person practitioner friends and I always look to see what Chiron, in our charts personally and in the transiting sky (universally), is doing whenever we are about to attend a major teaching or ceremony with a high Tibetan lama (with whom it is very rare and precious to meet). It is typically fascinating how many aspects Chiron itself (or planets to Chiron) is making at these times. For instance, when I attended the Dalai Lama for a major ten-day teaching in Washington D.C., transiting Jupiter was conjunct Natal Chiron (a once-in-twelve-years occurence) and transiting Pluto was trine my Chiron (a once-in-a-lifetime-as-a-functioning-adult occurence).
I am not saying Chiron is limited to Buddhism. I am not saying that when you have a major Chiron transit that you will become a monk or nun (because I sure won’t!). Rather, the key is to know that we have inner-personal-growth work to do (emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, etc), to accept and acknowledge our many faults and afflictions, to gain right understanding about these afflictions (not feeling ashamed or guilty merely because we were born for instance), and then to get on with healing our minds and bodies and moving towards an understanding of universal loving-kindness. This is what Chiron speaks to in individuals who are willing to listen. And as I mention above, I believe that individuals with 3 or more major Chiron aspects have an innate attunement to Chiron and it’s many manifestations of dynamic healing energy.
Please do not fret however, if you are reading this, it means that you are seeking and searching, and these traits are also revealed in the chart with Jupiter, Pluto, Uranus and the 8th / 9th houses. Therefore we do not have to have a highly-geared Chiron to have spiritual realizations. Rather it depends on our intention, our motivation and our dedication as to how much we discover in this lifetime.
Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator who utilizes Spiritual Astrology, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation and Process-Oriented Bodywork in his private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also does phone sessions with individuals in addition to teaching occasional classes and workshops.