This is part one of an occasional series on Chiron in Synastry. I’ve already addressed Chiron/Venus here, and will be going through inter-aspects of Chiron with all of the relationship planets, the lights, and some interesting sensitive points. This is a little overview of Chiron’s function in a chart in terms of partnership.
I’ve had a lot of students come to me with questions about Chiron lately. I think it has a lot to do with Chiron and Neptune dancing together in Aquarius right now. We need a larger focus on how we can heal through connecting with others. But Chiron in synastry, one on one, can be very tricky to interpret. There is a lot of focus on the, by now infamous, Chironian incurable wound. The big question from students is always, “who is the wound-er and who is the wound-ee?”
It isn’t that simple. We have a tendency to forget that Chiron’s primary function was as a healer and teacher. It’s as if we’ve taken the most dramatic element of a story and blown it out of proportion. (Sure, we all like watching the Titanic go down, but without what came before and after we haven’t got much of a movie.) Where Chiron sits in our charts is where we’re meant to use our wisdom–not merely gathered knowledge, but the grounded knowledge of experience. Chiron is about the wisdom we’ve garnered from our soul-testing, from our pain and our isolation. He carries what we’ve learned from being rejected and excluded, ostracized. Where Chiron is, we feel different, banished from the norm, often because of the very wisdom that is inherent to Chiron. Chiron carries the results of our most difficult lessons. Where Chiron sits, we have an ability to see beyond ordinary reality/perception. This is our Outsider Wisdom. Alone amongst all the Centaurs, who were dominated by their animal nature, Chiron was wise, moderate, kind. But Chiron’s story reminds us that no wisdom can protect us from change. Wounded, in essence, by his own hand, he endured a suffering that could only be transcended by making a sacrifice for the greater good. No matter which version of Chiron’s story is used, the element of making an offering is always there. Where Chiron is, we cannot remain alone with our wisdom. We must make sacrifices, we must give it away. We must understand that there is a higher power at work, and we must make ourselves a vehicle to carry that power to those who need it.
So where do we learn about higher power? Mostly, from the transpersonal planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. I’ve never liked the term ‘transpersonal’ because it implies that there is a lack of intimacy and immediacy about the outer planets, which can’t be further from the truth. But they do carry that which we cannot recognize within ourselves, the seeds of our greatest growth. And often, because we don’t see these seeds within ourselves, the stimulus to growth comes to us in the guise of something or someone ‘out there.’
As individuals, the deepest wounds are usually represented by our experiences of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. And often one of these planets (or more than one) is dominant in a synastry. This is no surprise. The outer planets represent what is beyond the known, out of the realm of our ordinary experience, and are symbols of transformation in our charts because they carry the seeds of what we must become, but what we do not yet recognize in ourselves. This is, in fact, what relationships bring to us–our partners are the messengers of our inner being, the harbingers (welcome or unwelcome) of change. And often they are flying the flag of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.
Whatever house an outer planet falls in will be turned inside out by the end of our lives–our perceptions of the functions of that house will undergo dramatic shifts. When we are young, we are naive and innocent of the necessity of change, unaware that ‘happily ever after’ often means ‘shift as if your life depended on it.’ [The happiest couples are most often the ones who can move along with change and accept that there are times when they will not be developing at the same pace, and may not see eye to eye.] And often, our relationships become the vehicles for the outer planets’ agenda. Aspects between inner planets show how we rub along on a day to day basis, but aspects from outer planets to inner planets show where we must experience a little death. (When I teach the Advanced Synastry lesson on the Outer Planets, I tell my students that we have a choice between being shot (Uranus), drowning (Neptune) or being eaten by bears (guess who?). The outer planets always take something away from us– and they don’t replace it readily until we learn to take a higher road.
Chiron is the lynch pin between the transcendent function of the outer planets and the blockages that are represented by the reality of Saturn. Saturn is all about the limits of what we are in the here and now, and the outer planets are all about our potential, that which only exists in nascent form within the soul. Saturn is all about the known, and his reputation for defensiveness, paralysis and fear is well deserved. (Sure, we’re scared where Saturn is concerned, and there’s probably a darn good reason for it, if only we could remember back enough lifetimes.) The outer planets want to tear all that town, because it doesn’t serve the nascent new Self, and in a fight between Saturn and the three bullies I put my bets on the bullies. But sometimes Saturn puts up a good fight. Sometimes this fight is necessary, giving us a reality check and teaching us about healthy boundaries and allowing us to use our resources and talents to build something authentic of our lives. The three bullies don’t want to know from boundaries–every single one of them thinks boundaries are for kids. Chiron is where we are meant to turn the message of the outer planets around and learn to put our lessons to use in the world, feeding them back through Saturn again. But Chiron’s job isn’t an easy one.
What usually happens is that Chiron gets caught in the middle, and gets beaten up from both ends. This happens especially when we’re young, when Saturn just seems like a drag (stuff we have to do, or stuff that stops us from doing what we want to do) and the outer planets torment us because we don’t understand yet what they’re asking of us. We no sooner pick ourselves up from the pavement when we get smacked down again. We can’t win. Embrace Saturn, and the powerful entities knock down our houses. Embrace the bullies, and we may find ourselves swept up in a hurricane of perpetual drama, then abandoned, with nothing to show for it. No wonder Chiron is often hurt, dazed and punch drunk.
Chiron’s wound is comprised of the inability to make anything constructive out of this argument. The outer planets inspire us, and Chiron hears soft, distant, enticing whisperings of life the way it could be, if only we could get it together. Yet whenever we get beyond our fears and make brave attempts to make our visions a reality, Saturn’s leaden foot comes around to stomp our delicate visions down. Where Chiron sits, we have a perpetual hunger: we can smell wonderful things going on in the kitchen, but no one offers us anything to eat.
When Chiron is prominent in a synastry, particularly if it makes conjunctions to relationship planets or hits an angle, both people are drawn into the relationship because the healing vibe is strong for both parties. We sense that something is missing in our lives, and we want it back, now. We may not recognize Chiron’s pull as a healing vibe, but we get the sense that this relationship is the only thing that can make us feel whole again, just in the place where we feel most empty and forlorn. This is very seductive. The other person promises to become the vehicle for all the transforming powers, our own personal conduit between the earth and the stars and back again. This person can deliver the goods that I didn’t think I would/could ever get. It’s not the illusion of spiritual melding that Neptune implies, or Uranus’s promise of perpetual stimulation. The initial vibe with Chiron contacts is deliverance: this person appeared in my life specifically to take me where I need to go. The implied thought being: ‘and I don’t have to be hungry anymore. This relationship is the answer. The Struggle Bus stops here.’
Chiron contacts are powerful and passionate at first, with the combined promise of innate hungers fulfilled and innate flaws mended. There is also a physical, earthy element to Chiron that taps into his animal nature, and Chiron contacts can be highly sexual. Like any planet or asteroid in the chart, Chiron has his good and bad side, and Chiron contacts indicate that a great deal of healing can be achieved. Unfortunately, the process involves hitting all the most sensitive, painful buttons whilst trying not to lose love for one another. Chiron can be a real test of the depth of feeling between two people, because the hurt, usually, is inadvertent. I’m not so much targeting you in a Plutonian way as I am constantly, accidentally, shredding your heart, because I can’t help it. Chiron contacts can be remarkably long-lived as well, depending on how much we have associated pain with love.
What begins of as a promise of wholeness often ends with a ruthless tearing–real healing can occur only when whatever is festering inside can be cleansed. Only then can a wound be closed. Chiron-dominant relationships provide this soul-searing. Without this cleansing, we cannot have the kind of inner balance that translates to spiritual strength. I’ve often noticed with Chiron-dominant relationships that one partner is more conscious and aware than the other, and it is this more aware partner who suffers the most from the partnership. Chiron, the wise healer and teacher, is always pushing us towards the awareness of what is best in us, and guiding us away from what is holding us back. This is Chiron the maker of heroes, who allows us to see the god within.