Chariklo’s Love: Healing the Pain of “I Am”

1-take-a-bow-yolanda-holmon

Painting- I take a Bow by Yolanda Holman

A big part of Chiron’s medicine and particularly when Chiron is in Aries is the healing of the Self. Aries boldly proclaims, “I AM!” while Chiron points to our deepest wounds- Chiron in Aries therefore indicates a wound to the Self on a core level. In this case the Chirotic journey is about healing through claiming, or reclaiming of the Self.

Chiron wounds are of a particular quality, they seem to permeate the body and seep into our mind becoming etched in our soul as distorted identity signatures. In working with the Centaurs there is often a thread of ancestral pain weaving through the generations and like puppets on a string it can feel like forces beyond our grasp are controlling our lives. This is a deep programming that needs to be excavated and released before we are finally free from the past. The Chiron return is an initiation that facilitates this process if we are open to it.

Collectively too there is trauma-based conditioning that affects whole generations of people… what will be the long-term effect of children born in the current Chiron in Aries group? The last Chiron in Aries group, particularly in the US, were born into a society in the grip of an increasingly brutal and shadowy war, racial violence and protests, and covert government social experiments. These psychic legacies infiltrate the collective consciousness shaping our societies and form the matrices that influence, either positively or negatively, our shared reality.

The pain of reclaiming the Self is the pain of “I Am”.

Recently a Chiron in Aries woman referred to herself as “Marmite”, and I knew exactly what she meant… not everybody loves her, and yet, she, like many of us are finding a way through the pain of “I AM” and learning to stand proudly in who we are regardless of whether we are liked, accepted, or approved of.  No matter how strong the individual, wounds of rejection run deep in our human need to belong; to leave the comfort and acceptance of the tribe and set out on the hero’s or heroine’s journey is no small undertaking. To see it through is a great achievement, it is the liberation symbolised in the Grail mythology… the Grail being the sacred vessel of the Self.

When it comes to reclaiming the Self we are essentially alone in our quest as we strive to release the heavy baggage of shame, guilt, not being good enough, being wrong, bad, faulty, less than, unworthy, mad, as well as many other denizens of self-loathing and sabotage.

The keys of Chiron can birth us into being our own loving parents who may have been sadly absent; the unconditional lover who never showed up because we were busy sending a message to the world that we are undeserving and unlovable. In the highest expression of Chiron’s initiation we become our own beloved loving ourselves unconditionally, recognising and cherishing our sacred divine essence.

From this state of grace no one can dislodge us from our seat of power.

This magical transformation is seen in the myth of Chiron specifically through the unconditional love and devotion offered by his wife Chariklo. If we accept Chariklo as an archetype existing on the inner planes and not an outside influence (although she can be), she is a symbol of the unconditional love that we finally uncover in ourselves.

Originally a naiad or water nymph, Chariklo shapeshifted into a Centaur so that she could become one with Chiron. For Chiron, this gesture of devotion is utterly healing and transmutes the initial wound of rejection by his mother.

In his book on Chiron, Zane Stein says,

Here was a woman who not only accepted his centaurean form, totally, completely and without judgment, but actually saw him as beautiful and willingly took his form herself so that she could be close to him. How could he not love her back with all of his being? And his unconditional love was the beginning of his healing, from that first deep wound of his mother’s rejection.

When go through the sometimes-excruciating pain of “I Am” and learn to love ourselves unconditionally, we activate our inner Chariklo. Of course it is wonderful if another person sees and loves us so deeply, but the true marriage is within. It is only by discovering union with ourselves on the deepest level that we can accept an outer union of the same depth.

The fact that Chiron is able to transmute the poison of rejection through Chariklo’s love speaks of our journey to wholeness when we finally realise that all the shame and self-loathing we have been carrying was a projection from the outside, and sadly often from our families of origin and communities. Chariklo’s love is the panacea needed to discover that the greatest love of all is found in the exquisite healing relationship with ourselves.

The Chiron return at around age 50 is the threshold over which we can begin the journey of self-reclamation. The Chariklo return at age 63 is in its highest expression an opportunity to radiate our love from a sphere of wholeness that is neither weakened or diminished by sharing our unique gift with others.

Are you part of the Chiron in Aries group born between April 1968 -April 1977?

If so, perhaps you would like to join me on a seven-week odyssey with a band of fellow travellers exploring the myth of Chiron and discovering how he operates in your life… and asking the question: what does it mean to experience the Chiron return during these times?

Chiron in Aries: Reclaiming the Self in a Time of Awakening begins on the Aries new moon on April 12, 2021 through to May 24th.

You can send me a message if you’d like to find out more, or if you would like a Chiron/Chariklo focused astrology reading.

Chiron: Bridging the Gap of Cognitive Dissonance

Image by Kelly McKernan.

Mars is the ruler of war and warriorship, when Chiron who is involved with healing fragmentation and claiming the true self is in Mars ruled Aries, things are likely to get heated in the quest to integrate disparate realities.

Cognitive dissonance is a mental state caused when cognition- beliefs, thinking, perception, etc. is not reflected in our behaviour and external realities. Collective dissonance is when the external reality is at odds with the feelings and experiences of sections of society. Forced compliance behaviour is one of the main causes of cognitive dissonance, such as being forced to comply with ethics or beliefs that go against our values. In societies where it becomes increasing difficult to challenge authority or social norms the tendency is to turn the conflict inward, or out to our communities leading to the fracturing of the individual, society, or both. Under these circumstances protest is likely

On 10th March 2021, the Home Office issued an updated Policy Paper on protests- Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill 2021: Protest Powers Fact Sheet, in which an official is recorded as saying,

“Ever since the first large-scale Extinction Rebellion protest in April last year I have been talking publicly and with the government about the potential for change to powers and to legislation that would enable the police to deal better with protests in general given that the act that we work to – the Public Order Act – is now very old, [dating to] 1986”.

Clause 1 of the policy sates,“The measures in the Bill will allow the police to take a more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests causing serious disruption to the public.”

In researching the period of history when Chiron was last travelling through Aries- between 1968- 1977 it has become clear that the first decan of Aries (1-10 degrees) is a political and social hotspot for the Centaur. Social unrest, protest, war, government manipulation, collective shadow, mass distraction, assassination, and a radical shift in consciousness all underpin Chiron’s placement in early Aries… not just in the last Chiron in Aries transit during the extremely turbulent late sixties and early 70’s but also in the previous Chiron in Aries cycle 1918- 1926.

An example of collective dissonance was in the summer of 1969 (Chiron at 6 Aries) when the horror felt by many Americans in relation to the Vietnam war was offset by pride and patriotism inspired by the Apollo moon landing. For many there was a deep distrust of the government who were exposed as lying to the American people, and yet it was a momentous occasion that placed the United States as winner of the space race. As the country was still recovering from the shock of the assassination of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, for a jaded youth the possibility of dissociation through psychedelics and getting high at Woodstock was an seductive invitation to drop out.

At the outbreak of the covid-19 epidemic on 31st December 2019 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) was informed about a number of cases of what was thought to be pneumonia was reported in Wuhan Chiron was at 1 Aries. On 12 January 2020, it was announced that a novel coronavirus had been identified as the cause of the outbreak and by the time of the launch the vaccination for COVID-19, Chiron had moved into 4 degrees Aries.

Despite many people including a large number of health professionals who did not believe that masks offer any protection against the virus, the wearing of masks was nevertheless mandatory. This along with other enforcements during the pandemic caused individual and collective dissonance.

Chiron’s medicine is the panacea for healing cognitive dissonance, it helps us to claim our authentic selves bringing us into wholeness though integration of the shadow and light, conscious and subconscious. Synthesis requires vigilance and a willingness to confront the truth no matter how painful.  It is not always easy for humans in our modern material culture to face the darker aspects of life… and yet while we do not, they run us a mock and the expression of the shadow is writ large.

Between the orbit of Saturn and Uranus Chiron is the bridge between the limitations of our personal and cultural worlds and the transpersonal or collective realm influenced by powers beyond our control. Uranus, the great awakener, and liberator offers release from the vice like grip of Saturnian oppression. Crossing the bridge between these two states requires untangling from worldly illusions created by ourselves or others which impede our true expression, or as Jung calls it individuation. Reclaiming the truth of who we are individually and collectively exposes the falsity and illusion that we have either presented or accepted as reality.

Events such as the Harvey Weinstein case (Chiron at 1 Aries) sent ripples of anger through the collective because it touched our deepest personal wounds. The merging of the collective and personal shadow opens a channel for catharsis when for a brief moment attention is given to issues that have been long festering in the collective psyche. But there is a danger here of the energy being co-opted by forces and powers that use the emotional charge to fuel other agendas and propaganda. The subtle illusion of the issue is in the appearance of things being “dealt with” while in reality only the surface is being scratched. That’s why the same themes surface in an almost constant loop, though each time they do we are presented with an opportunity to penetrate things more deeply and see more clearly. But while we remain unconscious of our wounds, we are vulnerable to manipulation at the drop of a news headline or traumatic image.

At the heart of these complexities is a prevailing dissonance- we arrest Harvey Weinstein and countless woman open up to tell their story of sexual abuse and harassment in the #MeToo campaign. We continue to watch Hollywood movies that depict sexual violence offering no recourse to a deeper engagement with the issues presented… in short, we normalise it. That’s just on screen… since the arrest of Weinstein many women involved with Hollywood have come forward to expose the institutionalised misogyny at the heart of the industry. On the silver screen perhaps more than anywhere we live out the fractures of duality… good guys/ bad guys, and sometimes the ones who are meant to be good are the bad guys and the picture’s not so clear. But Hollywood is not an adequate receptacle for our shadow, it’s a hall of smoke and mirrors… as indeed is the whole of mass media.

The most recent event to send shock waves through the collective is the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of a Metropolitan police officer. People who believe that the police force are operational at least in part to protect society- an image that is fast unravelling- are naturally horrified by this. Adding fuel to the fire of society’s unhealed wounds around safety and abuse of power is the police handling of female protestors who gathered yesterday in a vigil for Sarah Everard. On Mothering Sunday as men and women honour mothers and the Mothering principle, a sense of vulnerability, anger and shock coloured the day.

The reaction to Sarah Everard’s death is complex, there is bold talk of “putting a stop to this threat to women once and for all” but so far there is no proposal of how this might come about. One measure to ensure the safety of women against violence might involve more social control, and age-old technique of problem, solution that sometimes has other less tangible motivations in the mix. Failing that it would take a shift of consciousness and not just a media buffered campaign with a hash tag and a slogan.

While it was no doubt cathartic for women to share their history of sexual abuse and harassment in #MeTo, and while Hollywood as an industry of corruption was exposed, I wonder how deep the healing went. Alongside the campaign a proportion of men voiced their concerns at feeling attacked as the shadow masculinity fell under scrutiny. I noticed the same reaction rising in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death too. There is a disturbance in the field of our most intimate lives as the ancient wound of the masculine and feminine is repeatedly re-opened.

And yet, on the same day of Sarah’s murder, the University of Manchester issued a statement advising against the use of gender specific terms at all. Terms such as man/woman, mother/father, his/hers, etc are encouraged to become obsolete. On the one hand we are polarised and fractured precisely and obviously on account of gender while on the other hand we are being asked to move away from gender distinctions all together. Will rape and sexual harassment diminish in a gender-neutral society? Are women less likely to be abused if they renounce their womanhood? Here is another obvious case of cognitive dissonance.

It is our job to be vigilant and alert in how we respond to the heady cocktail of information and disinformation that is constantly filtered through the multiplex of society. If we are personally triggered by worldly events it is a clear indication of where our individual wounds lie, and there’s a good chance our personal wounds overlap with the collective- this is Chiron’s territory. In healing our own wounds we are in a stronger position to be part of society in positive and empowered ways. The problem with cognitive dissonance is that when it becomes too much, we simply switch off and become incapable of critical thought. Obviously from here we are easily led and all too easily hand our decision-making power to outside agencies.

The influence of these collective authorities is powerful and when through manipulation or coercion the collective unconscious is recruited in support of the cause, dissent is treated with contempt and sometimes violence.

Chiron reconnects us with our instincts giving us the opportunity to tune in with our true selves and discern what is real for us. Chiron is a bridge across which we learn to trust ourselves and stand confidently in who we are.

Chiron in Aries: Healing the Fragmented Self.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”

Today’s full moon is in Virgo which is under the rulership of Chiron. Chiron himself at 7 ° Aries is involved in a Yod aspect with the Moon and Saturn.

Intuitively I feel that while we may have a longing to break free from restrictive conditions, the restrictions we perceive to be on the outside are also within. Paying attention to our primal emotions (moon) and allowing them to lead us back to the root can illuminate our fears and self-sabotaging tendencies. This process is “chirotic” as it takes us back to preverbal experiences not understood by the mind but expressed in our physical, emotional, and mental bodies.

Relationships are strongly highlighted in this lunar cycle initiated with the Venus Jupiter conjunction at the new moon on 11th February. There is an opportunity to penetrate the mechanics at work in our personal (often unconscious) style of relating and consider if we are getting our moon needs met through dysfunctional, regressive or co-dependent ways.

With moon inconjunct Chiron it can be difficult to identify our habitual ways of acting out as part of our core wounding. With Saturn inconjunct the moon we may feel restricted and judged for expressing our feelings and emotions unconsciously spending a lot of energy trying to repress them while feeling that someone or something is doing this to us.

Chiron is currently moving through Aries where he spends the longest period of time- 8 years. The last time Chiron was in Aries the world, as now, was a shifting reality.

In 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated (JFK was assassinated five years earlier), students all over the globe were protesting, and Apollo 8 orbited the Moon as the space race reached its crescendo sending the first human to the Moon. On the outer planes rockets explored space while psychonaunts fuelled with psychedelics and visionary ideas opened new frontiers in inner space.

In 1969 Woodstock, billed as an “Aquarian Explosion”, attracted almost half a million people keen to “turn on, tune in, drop out” and find a more authentic root of their “Human-Be-In ness”

Joni Mitchell’s anthem for an increasingly traumatised youth- “Woodstock”- underscored the mood of a world ready to cast off the shackles of Saturn and go beyond the bounds of known reality to a Uranian awakening… some people never came back. This entire movement was itself chirotic as forces from the unconscious rose in protest of ways of being that no longer accommodated the collective need for authenticity, freedom, and a more holistic perspective of the human experience.

For the first time we saw on mainstream media footage of the carnage of war; We witnessed veterans returning from Vietnam in various states of dissociation and fragmentation. As the reverberations of “Shell Shock” were felt far beyond military personnel, collectively we began to acknowledge our own traumas which paved the way to new modalities in depth psychology and alternative spirituality.

Though Chiron remained undiscovered until 1977, in the late 60’s and early 70’s when Chiron was last in Aries, the world is seemed was preparing to cross the “Rainbow Bridge”.

What “Bridge” are we crossing now?

With the discovery of Chiron, the doors of perception while not necessarily cleansed had certainly been thrown wide open and the new age was birthed. Holistic practices, Eastern spirituality, astrology, rebirthing, primal scream therapy, and the anti- psychiatry movement were all instrumental in shaping a new era of soul searching boldly going where no man had gone before (at least not in the modern world). It was a time to rediscover technologies of the soul as the anima mundi- the world soul- Gaia, and countless individual souls were screaming out for healing.

The publication of “The Primal Scream” by clinical psychologist Dr Janov was the voice of the age- a “kairos” moment that demanded attention to human suffering. Janov focused on neurosis caused by repressed trauma from early childhood and one’s upbringing which he called “primal pain,” responsible, he felt, for a cornucopia of ills including mood disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcerative colitis, drug addiction, stuttering, and more.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, depicts the terrifying existential angst of a soul in captivity with seemingly no way out.

Coinciding with Primal Scream therapy, the anti-psychiatry movement pioneered by Thomas Szasz, R.D. Laing, and Michel Foucault, among others was taking hold. The premise was twofold-

  1. Mental illness is a myth.
  2. Reasons for disturbed behaviour were considered beyond the individual and reviewed in the context of oppressive system of power. Psychiatry itself was viewed as repressive and controlling.

The movement was fairly short lived though I wonder what those pioneers would make of our current situation.

As Chiron journeys through Aries once more- before reaching his own Chiron return in Taurus in 2027-what layers of consciousness are being unfolded as we spiral onto the next rung of Chiron’s crossing?

According to Astrologer Melanie Reinhart, the Chiron return is a reset moment which can be equated with rebirth. The period of time leading up to the return then can be viewed as the pre-birth or in utero experience. When Chiron reaches his own return in 2027, it is possible and perhaps likely that we will experience a collective rebirth. We know that the energy surrounding the in-utero experience is profoundly important and while there is much disturbance in the environment each of us can create the conditions to consciously midwife ourselves. Shielding ourselves, not from a virus, but from the prevailing toxic energies is crucial. Now conscious of epigenetics we may also have some power in deciding what old patterns are ready to be healed in us and therefore the collective so they don’t carry forward into the birthing process.

On a personal level I am just about to enter my Chiron return in April. I have also worked/ am working with clients who are also about to enter their Chiron return, or are experiencing it now.

We are the Chiron in Aries generation born between 1968-1977, now in middle age crossing a threshold into a new phase of life in which our youth is waning but something else is rising. While the physical luminescence of youth fades an inner light begins to rise and with that the wisdom of age… of being comfortable in our skin and a richness of being that no longer depends on the world’s approval. There is a certain freedom here… it is a force to be reckoned with.

Astrologer Barbara Hand Clow talks of a spiritual awakening…a kundalini rising at the time of Chiron’s return, a time when most women are either in peri menopause or full menopause. Women conditioned to believe that at middle age they are one step away from the scrap heap often attempt to control the aging process rendering themselves vulnerable to manipulation… think of the billions spent on anti-aging products and pharmaceuticals. The rejection of aging is a mass pathology of our culture… though I have long suspected the reason for this has little to do with the prize of youth and more to do with the fear of power that possesses a person who has awakened to their true nature.

Chiron’s medicine heals our deepest wounds, our core wounds, the primal ones that got etched into us at an early, often preverbal age, and beyond that too weaving back into our ancestral field. These wounds are ours and yet they are also more than ours, they surface from the systemic lesions in our kin, bleeding out in behaviours, attitudes, neurosis, beliefs, and repressions of our family of origin, communities, and cultures.

Transforming Chiron wounds serves not only our own healing but can also have a profound effect on others too… and our ancestral lineage. A well-integrated Chiron can be our call to a life of service- Chiron after all is the ruler of Virgo and is connected with the 6th house- the house of service.

As Pharmakon, Chiron knows that the cure is in the poison; as Alchemist he knows the necessity of the Nigredo stage, “the blackening” an ever-deepening descent into the unconscious to find illumination. As Hierophant, Chiron is the conduit between the material and spirit world, the one who knows the rituals, rites, and tools to invoke the divine.

Carl Jung- who had Chiron in Aries- coined the phrase, “The wounded healer” which has now become synonymous with Chiron. In Jung’s definition it refers to a need of the analyst to heal others because he or she is wounded. This interpretation focuses on the part of Chiron’s myth where a poisonous arrow shot to his thigh causes a wound that can never heal but facilitates his mastery of the healing arts. Chiron  passes on these skills and technologies to many young heroes and demigods including Achilles and Hercules.

The sometimes-overlooked part of Chiron’s mythology is his initial core wound of rejection at birth by his mother, Philyra, who horrified to discover that she has given birth to a horse/human hybrid wants nothing to do with him. The Chiron wound points to the places we may actually have been, or where we felt rejected. This is particularly strong with Chiron in Aries as rejection can be felt as a fundamental denial of the self and one’s very identity.

In healing our Chiron wounds- which I believe is possible- we get to choose consciously to be a healer rather than being driven by compulsion to try and heal our wounds through others… sometimes becoming the scapegoat or the sacrifice in the process. While our wounds remain unconscious, we are vulnerable to a host of abuses and manipulation.

As part of the Chiron in Aries generation I have been reflecting on my own wounds and also on the collective wounds. I’ve been wondering about the implications of experiencing the Chiron return in these “critical times”. Initially as I talked with others, I was stuck by phrases such as, “a raging fire that I don’t know what to do with”, or “ I just feel so angry”, or “I cannot handle the authority and being told what to do”. My initial thought was that experiencing the Chiron return during this time was above all a call to the Sacred Warrior archetype … even more so in Mars ruled Aries.

As I near my own Chiron Return, I realise without a doubt that whether the call is to the “Sacred Warrior”, “The “Shaman, “The Healer”, or any other archetype involved with Chiron, there is first the task of integrating ourselves before taking our place in the world as a beneficent influence.

Chiron’s blessing if we are able to accept it restores the fragmented parts of ourselves back to wholeness.

The Chiron return is a soul retrieval, it is the crossing between what we consciously acknowledge (our ego) and the parts of us that lay in the outer reaches of consciousness, both dark and light. The journey to integration can be painful and there is a danger of refusing the call by checking out into addictions and other self-denying behaviours. But… if we can open to the opportunity we are guided in a rare and sacred opportunity to become who we were always meant to be.

Rumi says,

Sorrow… it pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

Are you part of the Chiron in Aries group?

I am offering a seven-week Chiron in Aries support group beginning on the Aries new moon on  12th April and running until 24th May. The sessions are via Zoom and includes group participation, exploring particular charts, handouts, notes, and recommended reading. Please contact me if you would like to join.