Pisces New Moon: Healing with Chiron

This new moon is at 26.53 Pisces on Saturday, March 17th at 9:11 am (ET)

howardena pindell.jpg

This new moon is right next to Chiron, the Wounded Healer. As I wrote in an email to members recently:

Chiron the outer-space-thing is difficult to classify. Once thought to be an asteroid, it's now considered both a minor planet and a comet, and it hangs out with other such space rocks, called centaurs. It orbits between Saturn and Uranus. It might have rings. There's a lot we don't know.

We do know that in Greek mythology, Chiron was a centaur who stood out from the other centaurs for not being a sloppy, drunk, horndog frat boy centaur like the rest of them. Instead, Chiron was civilized and learned. He was skilled in medicine, music, archery, hunting, gymnastics and the art of prophecy. (How centaurs do gymnastics is a research project for a classics major somewhere.) He mentored most of the monster-slayers of Ancient Greece. And he is called the Wounded Healer because Hercules once accidentally hit him with a poisoned arrow that was intended for the drunk gang of centaurs who were trying to steal their wine. Seems harsh, shooting them with poisoned arrows, but maybe it was incredible wine. Chiron couldn't die because he was immortal, but living forever with a poisoned wound inflicted by his clumsy student didn't sound awesome, so he traded his immortality for Prometheus's freedom (story for another time). The point is, Chiron was wounded, and even though he was a healer, he couldn't heal himself, but he could teach other people.

You might see where this is going. The pain you've experienced, the things you've had to overcome: these are the trials that give you compassion for other people. It can be much easier to see the same wound in someone else and help to heal it for them than it is to heal your own. You also don't have to heal all of your own wounds. That's the good news. This is why we have other people; we can help each other.

The days leading up to this new moon have had a particularly low-energy waning moon energy, for me at least: doing battle with the inner demon of anxiety, a slew of deadlines competing with my need for rest, hours spent on the phone with people filing insurance forms for us. All is well, but the challenges faced bring up Chiron: the fears that are easy to soothe in others are not always as easy to soothe in myself. In opposition to Virgo, Chiron in Pisces asks you to accept your imperfections and see that the separateness you feel between yourself and others is an illusion. Most of the poisoned arrows that hit you come from your own inner critic. You stab yourself with that arrow again and again when you replay hurtful things others have said or done to you.

I don’t do a ritual for every new and full moon. Sometimes, when I do one, it’s as simple as leaving an offering or doing a meditation. So take it or leave it, but I think this particular new moon is a good one for a healing ritual. I’m not going to give you specific directions. You could write about what you’ll feel like when the wound is healed. You could do some basic self-care: take a bath, do some yoga, have a rest. You could ask for an answer to appear in your dreams tonight. You could just have a complete meltdown (like I did last week) and name every fear you have and sob over it and then, through the power of catharsis, emerge lighter. Because once you name the fears, you realize how much of this is just a story you’re telling, and you can retire the parts of it that no longer work for you, inventing a new story in the process.

Mars enters Capricorn, sign of his exaltation, on the day of this new moon, and on Tuesday we have the Spring Equinox. We’re moving out of this emotional, watery, Pisces season into a season of motivation and fire. Let this be a season of growing something new.


Image Credit: Howardena Pindell, Autobiography: Water (Ancestors/Middle Passage/Family Ghosts), 1988.

Virgo Full Moon: A Gardener First

This full moon is at 11.22 Virgo on March 1 at 7:51 pm (ET)

 from Emily Dickinson's Herbariam,  Houghton Library, Harvard University

from Emily Dickinson's Herbariam, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Emily Dickinson was known locally as a gardener long before she was known as a poet. "I was reared in the garden, you know," she wrote once in a letter to her cousin. Her north node (her destiny, and what she hungers for) was next to Saturn in Virgo, the sign of the gardener, herbalist, and writer. Her herbarium, recently digitized by Harvard University, is arranged with a Virgoan sense of elegance and attention to detail. The scientific names are pasted on each one in a charmingly Piscean scrawl (nodes come in pairs; her south node was in Pisces.)

If women's botany was seen as a contribution to science and not only as a hobby back then, perhaps Dickinson's meticulously curated herbarium would have been noted as a professional achievement, rather than only a personal one. Between Pisces and Virgo runs a current of art and science, both quite alike in their attention to the details of life, their responses to the wonder of it all. With Saturn conjunct her Midheaven, she was powerful, serious, lasting, even if other people in her world had no idea at the time. 

This full moon is opposite Neptune and a full stellium of other celestial bodies floating through Pisces, the sign of the poet and bard, and trine Saturn in Capricorn. Virgo is the unassuming sign, the person who is likely to be known as a home gardener, even as she's privately creating a legacy of poetry that will still be read over a century after her death. This is a full moon that reminds us, however we're known, however humble, anything we dream is worth doing. Saturn in Capricorn, in a time when women seem to be rising to power, supports you in achieving what you set out to do. Done is better than perfect, practical Saturn reminds us, and it can still be done well. At this full moon, turn your attention to whatever your own private herbarium might be. Work on it without seeking permission from the outside world. Small work, unseen work, can be powerful. It may still outlast the time when you thought you were doing it purely for your own enjoyment.

Horoscopes for March are Up

You might want to know what's going down for you in March. With two full moons, Mercury retrograde in Aries, Mars meeting Saturn in Capricorn, and Venus sashaying into Taurus, it's a lot. Horoscopes are up. Let the March madness begin!