Synastry Q & A: Loving the Hurt–Venus/Chiron

I meant to write something a bit more lighthearted today, but I’m finding that the Mars/Vesta conjunction sitting on top of my Sun will not let me stray to the frivolous. Vesta is potent in Virgo; her inclination to turn inwards is enhanced by Virgo’s introspective, discriminating outlook. When Vesta comes through this sign it’s as though the door to the hearth is not only closed, but locked and bolted. Virgo is intact within itself. The symbol of the virgin is strong here–not the chaste virgin of common association, but she of the untouched soul. Purity of intent is Vesta’s goal. The current Vesta/Mars energy is causing all of us all to examine whether our actions are appropriate and purposeful. Are we frittering our time away or are we committed to a course of action? Vesta to Mars is asking us whether or not our actions are in alignment with our innermost being. I’ve noticed that phone calls, emails and poste escargot (otherwise known as snail mail) are down lately. Id like to think that we’re all taking advantage of the downturn and are using the time to just breathe, and re-focus.

So in the spirit of Mars/Vesta in Virgo, I’m going to clear the decks over the next week and answer any questions that have come my way recently. And if any of you have new questions, please send them. (If I have forgotten to answer any of your questions, please remind me.)

This is for Liz, who wrote in recently saying that she and her boyfriend have a ‘double whammy’ Venus/Chiron hard aspect between their charts:

Judging how Chiron is going to behave in a synastry isn’t easy. We need to go back to the individual charts to see if Chiron is in a particularly sensitive position (tightly aspecting significant inner planets, or conjunct an angle) and then we’d need to assess how each individual interacts with his or her own Chiron. One of the biggest mistakes new astrologers make is in giving equal weight to all planets in the chart. We all make a great fuss, for example, over Pluto transits–but for some of us Pluto is not really highlighted in the natal chart, and the transit will pass with a bit of disruption, but not the deep, internal transformation we were anticipating (though he will always make himself known). The same goes for Chiron–some of us are destined to feel our Chiron deeply, unable to shake the feeling that we are starving children with our noses pressed up against the glass of the bakery window. And some of us can bypass our Chiron, only becoming aware of its presence during the times when it squares, opposes, or conjuncts itself by transit. Some of us find our wisdom through suffering, and some of use use our pain as an excuse for not moving forward. For those of us attuned to Chiron, he causes us to seek ways to transcend our pain. For those of us not attuned to our own long term spiritual healing, the triggering of Chiron’s pain may cause us to seek band-aid solutions to relieve the sting and bury our head in the sand, until the next Chiron episode occurs in our lives.

There are entire books written about Chiron and how it behaves in the chart (the classic text is by Melanie Reinhardt). But not much has been written about Chiron in synastry. One of the reasons is that Chiron doesn’t often manifest in a direct, specific way. When an astrologer sits down to consult an individual or a couple about a relationship, it’s the more obvious things that come to the fore: feeling stifled and oppressed (Saturn), needing freedom (Uranus), equal partnership (Juno), power games (Pluto). The Chiron issues that need to be addressed in relationship often slink over to us in the middle of the night and whisper in our ear, and we’re not sure whether or not we should be disturbed by them. (Is this hurt real, or is this something I’m imagining? Is there something wrong with me, or is it him?)

Yet, Chiron is often a magnet in relationships. Much the way Saturn becomes an ardent lover when he knows he needs something from another person, Chiron becomes passionate when it senses the possibility of healing–either of itself or of another. Part of the reason for relationship itself, and our drives towards one another, both spiritual and sexual, have to do with healing the rifts within us. Being born into this world rips us from the Source, and most of us spend our lives trying to find some way to get back to that initial wholeness. Relationships are an avenue to that wholeness, for some of us the only way, with many of us not even aware that our impulse to relationship has an underlying agenda. We know we feel incomplete in some way, and having someone to love helps us bridge our own soul-gaps. It isn’t so much, “you complete me” as much as it is, “with you around, I find it easier to complete myself.”

But relationships bring out both the best and the worst in us, and this is doubly so when Chiron is dominant. When Chiron shows himself prominently in a synastry, one or both partners will have to face a sense of limitation and even incompetence. When Chiron is prominent between charts, the other person may touch our most deep seated wounds, fears and inadequacies. The cruelty of Chiron is that it exposes the very thing you would like to keep most hidden, even in the throes of intimacy. We feel raw and exposed, and vulnerable to inexpressible hurt. However, depending on the other elements in the synastry, by bringing this pain and limitation to light the relationship can serve to heal the very thing that has been holding us back. The thing that has been keeping us from accessing our higher powers (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) with any kind of efficiency or regularity. When we have gone through a Chiron experience, either by transit or through a relationship, we no longer fear our possibilities or potential. We may still suffer, but we know that we cannot be destroyed. Chiron’s immortality becomes our gift.

Because Chiron is part centaur and tied to our animal nature and our connection with the body, his wounds and his wisdom are often shared through our relationship to our own physicality, as well as our sexuality. People with Moon/Chiron are often natural healers, sometimes without knowing it–however, they must get past their own fears and limitations regarding the body before they can discover this gift within themselves. (Moon/Chiron has a hard time with body image, or simply just being a soul anchored in a body.) Chiron has an affinity for sexual healing. When Chiron is attached to any planet, that planet becomes a vehicle for helping ourselves and/or others towards wholeness, and this can be most evident in our sexual interactions. Dealing with the difficulties of the planet involved can advance our awareness of the way the spiritual and the material interact.

Chiron is the maker of heroes. Heroes must learn their weaknesses and limitations before they master their strength. (Everyone has their own personal version of Kryptonite.) When Chiron touches a planet, we have experiences that cause us to go beyond the limitations of that planet (Chiron can often take us to the edge of our understanding) and challenge us to utilize that planet via the transcendent powers of the outer planets. That planet is not meant to function in an ordinary way. This is particularly true when Chiron touches the lower octave of one of the outer planets–Venus/Neptune, Mercury/Uranus, Mars/Pluto. (Old rulerships count here as well–Chiron/Jupiter will cause us to look to Neptune and Chiron/Saturn to Uranus.) Chiron is where the lower and the higher energies meet, no matter whether or not there are aspects between the higher and lower octaves in the natal chart.

Venus/Chiron is a strange combination. The planet of self-worth and desire, the planet of beauty and balance, the planet of ownership and value, meets the Asteroid King of the Have-nots. Venus/Chiron appreciates the exquisite beauty inherent in human suffering. It is not a love of suffering itself, but of humanity’s ability to transcend it. If we cry when we hear a piece of music, that is Chiron/Venus at work. Many musicians and singers have Venus/Chiron aspects, and their work has a haunting quality. Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen have the square. David Helfgott, the Australian classical pianist who was both crucified by and healed through his music, has a Moon/Venus/Mars conjunction opposite Chiron. Jacques Brel, whose songs were all about the suffering inherent in life, had the conjunction. In Brel’s work, the soul searches for a respite in love, which is ever-elusive. His work celebrates both human bravery and human folly in the face of that endless hunger.

Venus/Chiron between charts is also searching for a respite, this time in the other, which may never be found. You may never be my island of consolation, and if I’m to love you, I must accept that. I am hurt by what you value, because I may never measure up. I may never be beautiful to you, or feel beautiful in your presence. We may unintentionally hurt one another all the time, creating experiences that erode self-esteem. I may make you feel that what you value is not worthwhile. This aspect can cause us to act with one another as if we are walking on eggshells, never knowing when something poisonous may crawl out from underneath. When Chiron touches a planet, it is trying to expand the horizons of that planet, to teach it to be the most it can be–so sometimes Chiron does the hurting back. The process is painful (Venus always wants to be adored), but Chiron can open Venus to greater horizons and a greater scope of loving. When Chiron touches Venus, it can take us beyond the ordinary, ego-based realm of Venus to something altogether more exquisite.

In a way, you’re lucky if you have a Venus/Chiron double whammy–both Chirons acting with both Venuses. Although it ups the Chiron factor in this relationship, your difficulties in accepting one another as you are will be mutual. At its best, this relationship will teach you both about compassion and forgiveness. You will learn to accept what the other loves, desires, values. The good elements of Neptune can run high, even if neither of you have Neptune emphasized. You will learn, over time, to be kind to one another, and to avoid hurting one another unless it is absolutely necessary for the survival of the partnership. You will teach one another about the values of partnership. You will learn to appreciate one another in spite of your individual limitations–in fact, you may begin to celebrate the limitations of your partner and love the human flaws. If you’re very lucky, Chiron will teach you both a great deal about love itself, about love as a power, rather than simply an experience or an emotional state. Chiron to Venus may prevent you from ever feeling completely accepted and appreciated, but if you focus on the love you can give, rather than the love you receive, you may be surprised at how quickly those feelings disappear. Chiron is always willing to help us become a channel for greater wisdom.

If either Chiron or Venus is terribly challenged in the individual charts, this road will be more rocky and the path not so clear. In this situation, it’s best to just let small hurts ride and focus on the larger issues between you. Chiron works best when we get our egos out of the way. With Chiron, we need to focus on what we are willing to sacrifice, which may very well be our own petty behaviour. When Chiron is involved with Venus, we may be asked to sacrifice our mundane desires for something more in line with what our soul is whispering to us in the night.

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