Chiron in Aries

Chiron and Achilles, by John Singer Sargent, 1921

Chiron and Achilles
by John Singer Sargent (1921)

In Greek mythology Chiron was a teacher and healer who struggled with chronic woundedness. The hero Achilles was invincible, all but for his heel. Chiron was therefore a fitting choice to teach the young Achilles in the healing arts, since his vulnerable heel made him susceptible to be mortally wounded at any time. Curiously kindred spirits, both struggled with issues around woundedness.

More articles about Chiron:

Chiron in Aries

The Way of the
Wounded Warrior

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
~ Winston S. Churchill

Chiron has been in Pisces since 2010 and on Apr.17.2018 begins its transition into Aries. It actually dips back temporarily into Pisces from Sept.25 until Feb.18.2019, but starting now the tide is definitely turning.

Chiron in Pisces has been an exploration of how we deal with woundedness and how to endure through times of struggle when a clear solution isn't available. We have been challenged to find healing and transformation through acceptance of experiences that may seem impossible to tolerate, yet to also have faith that a path through darkness can still lead to the light.

Chiron in Aries, by comparison, will be about taking new steps to deal more directly with those struggles. Absolute solutions may still be elusive, but now a different kind of response is called for: we are called to action.

Chiron is associated with "the wound that cannot heal." Indeed, life always contains a component that can't be entirely fixed or dismissed. You can't un-ring the bell. You can't change the past. What's done is done, and sometimes it leaves an tender scar.

Yes, you can certainly change how you respond to these things. You can change how you express your experience of them, and the priority you give them within the context of your life as a whole. You can even make lemonade out of the lemons that life has handed you, becoming stronger from having survived the sour hardships.

However, in these situations, you can't simply undo what occurred. Certain events and circumstances leave their mark and cannot be conveniently wrapped up in a garbage bag and thrown away. Not all scars fade, and some can start to ache when life's weather revives the memory of how they came to be.

This is the essence of Chiron's "wound that cannot heal." It is not a curse but part of the continuity of life. Even if something can't be fully healed, it doesn't mean you are helpless or powerless. You still have the ability to do something about it ...or with it.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is a fitting expression of this concept, and especially of the differences between Pisces' and Aries' approach to Chiron's challenge.

The serenity to accept the things I cannot change reflects the Pisces approach of learning to accept that some of life includes adversity and discomfort. That acceptance means we're not using up energy fighting against the inevitable but are free to use it for other things.

The courage to change the things I can shows the Aries answer to the Pisces dilemma. It's not enough to merely accept suffering. At its worst, acceptance without action to balance it out can feel like helplessness. It could become resignation, indifference, cynicism, depression and despair. It's one thing to survive, but to thrive requires action, resolve, courage and spirit.

On the other hand, action without acceptance can become an obsession to dominate everything around us, always trying to outrun the tidal wave of events beyond our control. It means never allowing life to unfold in its own way but always having to orchestrate what happens to us.

Eventually that gets exhausting and counterproductive. A balance between the two is called for, but before a balance can be reached we need to embrace and get to know each side of that balance. Chiron in Pisces invites us to learn acceptance, and now we are brought to the other side of the equation: courage and action.

Different people need different supports and solutions. The key here is to work with a person where they are at, and to give them choices and options. Such interventions aim to heal the person as a whole.
~ Homeless Hub, on the philosophy of Harm Reduction

So: say hello to Chiron in Aries which is here to teach us how to find courage and endurance when confronted by discouragement, complications, and situations that aren't entirely within our control.

You may not be able to fully fix the problem, or at least not right away. The question is: What can you do NOW that will improve the situation in some way? That might mean simply maintaining the status quo to prevent the situation from becoming worse until something more constructive can be done.

It could call for a short-term fix that enables you to continue what you need to do until something longer-term can be put in place. Or it might involve breaking a bigger problem down into smaller components and steps that will at least keep you moving forward, even if it's not at the pace you would like.

This is like the concept of harm reduction. This is a term normally referring to an approach to drug abuse and addiction, when full treatment or optimal effects are unlikely, unavailable or not possible to achieve. Essentially, it supports a bad situation in order to avoid a worse one. As an example, it would allow the addict to stay alive and maintain a certain of health and dignity, indefinitely or until a more transformative treatment plan is possible. So, Chiron in Aries could well be about applying the idea of harm reduction to a difficult, complicated or persistent problem.

The challenge is to do what you can do, even if it's not what you'd hoped for. Little steps. Short-term expectations. Keeping your vision focused on the here-and-now instead of aiming only for the far distant horizon.

Your Inner Courageous Hero might feel frustrated and impatient about not being able to charge full tilt into the fray to vanquish the enemy (whoever or whatever that is). But it actually takes even more courage to go slowly and gradually, perhaps settling for winning the battle instead of the war ...for now. Storming into combat may seem like a great way to get all the hard stuff over with quickly, but if the situation requires a more delicate, slower hand, the fast approach could in reality do more harm than good.

On the other hand, Aries will say that by ripping off the bandage, the pain is over more quickly. Indeed, Chiron in Aries could snatch away resistance, denial, caution or procrastination, which may be a bit shocking at first but then you can focus on healing and recovering. However, using the same analogy, if the surrounding tissue is too fragile or if the bandage is stuck to the wound, you might just cause more damage.

Chiron in Aries is about doing what we can, even—especially—when that action won't solve the whole problem. The lesson here is not just what can be done, but how you do it in a way that doesn't create more problems than it solves. It's about learning how to walk that fine line between too much and too little, between courage and recklessness, and between taking action just to make your ego feel better versus doing something because it brings some true healing potential to the situation.

Being a hero doesn’t mean you’re invincible.
It just means that you’re brave enough to stand up and do what’s needed.
~ Rick Riordan, The Mark of Athena

Aries is not just about courage and action, but also about the impulse of your life force. It is the will to live and the spirit to survive and thrive. And in that sense, Aries is also about asserting who you are in a way that affirms your existence and seeks a positive, beneficial expression of the Self that you are.

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Chiron in Aries could therefore challenge your survival instincts in some way. When faced with what seems like an insurmountable obstacle, how do you respond? And more importantly, why? What actions are you moved to take, and what motivates you to do that? Are you simply looking to avoid difficulty, or are you focused on getting to what lies beyond it or seeing how you can grow stronger from the experience? The first allows you survive; the latter to thrive.

Whether you are driven to survive or thrive can reflect your sense of self and your belief about what you are capable of. Chiron in Aries can challenge you to take a hard look at yourself and what you see in yourself. On one hand, we often find it easier to see the worst in ourselves or to stay stuck in discouragement. Chiron in Aries may well shine a spotlight into that wound, pushing you to deal with it more directly and bring some healing to your wounded spirit.

This same wound can also show up looking like its opposite—that you want to believe you're invincible; that nothing will ever get to you. Therefore, Chiron could challenge you to acknowledge and accept your own human vulnerability by sending an arrow into your Achilles Heel. In other words, you may need to learn how to show and take care of your exposed underbelly without hiding it or pretending it doesn't exist.

Alternatively, if you tend to be perpetually immersed in awareness of your vulnerable areas, Chiron in Aries could spur you to acknowledge, develop and fortify your strengths. It won't make you invincible, but it may challenge you to tap into your inherent will to live and fiery spirit more directly. This could come through conflicts or obstacles that seem unwinnable, yet giving up is not an option. The point is not to discourage or defeat you, nor to insist that you must be an indomitable hero, but to challenge you to simply do what you can and not to think less of yourself for it.

Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you.
They're there to let you know that something is worth it.
~ C. JoyBell C.

As we work through Chiron challenges, there are usually issues, memories, hurts and apprehension that linger even after we have done all we can. The lesson in Aries is to become adept at steering ourselves between being indestructible and being helpless, as this territory becomes more familiar.

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As we cultivate the skill to navigate through this kind of liminal space, we tend to become more understanding and sympathetic toward those who share those struggles, as well as more able to help them along in their journey.

That's where the Chiron within us becomes the Wounded Healer. We understand what it's like to be tangled up in a situation that makes us feel like we're trapped or inept or both. We come to recognize that all the bluster in the world might serve to protect our fragility but doesn't eliminate our inherent human limitations. Indeed, those limitations can become our greatest strength.

You may also find you can heal some of your own Chiron-Aries issues by drawing someone into your life who is having a harder time with it than you are, and by helping them through their troubles you can make some progress with your own.

Or, you might cross paths—or swords—with someone who personifies that Aries energy by kicking your Achilles Heel, requiring you to acknowledge and work with it more directly. Alternatively, you may encounter someone who acts as your Wounded Healer, helping you find better ways to walk a healing path.

The house where Aries is found in your natal chart can show likely areas where this Chiron challenge could manifest in your life. The house, sign and aspects of your natal Chiron may also indicate themes of how the Aries challenge will affect you.

Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not 'How can we hide our wounds?' so we don't have to be embarrassed but 'How can we put our roundedness in the service of others?' When our wounds cease to be a source of shame and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
~ Henri Nouwen

Recommended Chiron Books

For more information about Chiron, probably the best book on the market is Melanie Reinhart's Chiron and the Healing Journey. She takes an in-depth psychological view, which I found very relevant to the Chiron growth process. Unfortunately, the book can be difficult to find. Both Amazon.com (in the US) and Amazon.ca (Canada) offer it only through 3rd party sellers, although the merchants in the US seem to have much better prices. This book is definitely worth checking out, though.

There's another excellent book that I highly recommend for anyone going through the mid-life transits (Chiron return, Saturn opposition, Neptune square, Uranus opposition or Pluto square). It's not an astrology book but it is mythological and archetypal in nature. In Once Upon a Midlife, David Chinen has compiled a multicultural collection of faery tales, legends and folk tales that show people in their "middle years" wrestling with the themes, issues and transformations that come up at mid-life. Chinen has a wonderful way of weaving these themes together that reassures you you're not going crazy, just evolving and growing in a way that's right on time for your age.

Another book on Chiron in general is Barbara Hand Clow's book Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner & Outer Planets. My own sense of this book is that she presents a lot of very intriguing and insightful ideas, although she also gets into an area of extraterrestrial connection that I personally found distracting and a bit too "out there" for my taste. However, many others have raved about the book and really relate to her "out there" ideas. You read and decide. Definitely worth checking out for the specific astrological insights alone.

The amazingly multi-talented Martin Lass has also written a book about Chiron. (Yes, that Martin Lass: the famous violinist who is also a professional astrologer – who knew? :-)  Lass' book, Chiron: Healing Body & Soul, is a comprehensive and insightful book that contains both natal and transit information, as well as sign, house and aspect interpretations, plus Chiron's role as a member of the major aspect configurations.

An excellent online resource for Chiron is Zane Stein's site, Chiron and Friends. Zane presents many excellent articles by himself and others, as well as information about the other centaurs (comet-like bodies that have unusual orbits in our solar system). Joyce Mason writes a blog, the Radical Virgo, that frequently talks about Chiron and she has written a great e-book called "Chiron and Wholeness - A Primer."


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