On April 17th, the day that Chiron moved into Aries, I received an email from the library. An eBook hold request I had forgotten about was finally available for download. The book was Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. It was a clear download from Chiron in Aries, sending a simple message: lose the perfectionism, embrace self-compassion, and find the courage to be authentic, even when it hurts. Welcome to the next Chiron cycle.
What even is Chiron?
For those who are unfamiliar with Chiron, here’s the explanation I’ve used before:
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. He is called the Wounded Healer because Hercules once accidentally hit him with a poisoned arrow 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. 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.
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.
Chiron’s symbol is the key. It’s a loaded symbol. The key locks and unlocks doors, giving access to those who possess it and creating barriers for those who don’t. The key clarifies solutions to problems. It’s the stone that holds an archway together, the book that holds the answers, and the musical note around which a system of tones is founded.
When Chiron enters a new sign, or touches a sensitive degree of your natal chart, he unlocks the closet where you store your wounds. These could be wounds you didn’t even know you had. Chiron shows you fears that you’ve lived with so long you’ve forgotten there was another way. By the end of the transit, Chiron will also give you the key to healing those wounds. The only way out is through.
Chiron in Pisces: 2010 - 2018
Chiron has an erratic orbit, so he spends more time in some signs than others. He has been transiting Pisces for the past eight years. Both Chiron and Pisces are in many ways about suffering, compassion, woundedness, and healing. While Chiron has been in Pisces, the lesson has been about Suffering with a capital S: do you idealize it? Do you numb yourself to escape from it? Do you suffer for others as a martyr because you make it your mission to heal those who won’t heal themselves? These are all Pisces’ pitfalls, and potential wounds that may have been opened while Chiron was here. Pisces also represents the collective, the reality of our Oneness despite the illusion of separateness, and the divine. Suffering and martyrdom are certainly a part of most of the world’s major religions. Healing a relationship to spirituality, religion, and the divine may have been one of your Chiron in Pisces projects. Healing the illusion of separateness, and feeling our collective suffering has been a project too, as is compassion and healing for the wounds of others. Because Pisces is the twelfth and final sign of the zodiac, Chiron’s move out of Pisces is in many ways the end of a larger cycle.
Vintage Chiron in Aries: 1968 - 1977
April 1, 1968 - October 18, 1968
January 30, 1969 - May 28, 1976
October 13, 1976 - March 28, 1977
Chiron was in Aries for the very end of the 60’s and most of the 70’s. The 60’s, with Chiron in Pisces for most of the decade, was about the ideal of world peace. In many ways, the 70’s was a continuation of the 60’s. The fight for equality continued. Anti-war protests continued. But there was also, predictably, a conservative backlash.
The 70’s was nicknamed “The Me Decade” by novelist Tom Wolfe, in his essay “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” published by New York Magazine in 1976. He wrote, “. . . The new alchemical dream is: changing one’s personality—remaking, remodeling, elevating, and polishing one’s very self . . . and observing, studying, and doting on it. (Me!) . . .”
The self of the 60’s was merged with the collective, eschewing consumerist markings of identity in favor of the true self or spirit that people believed would be revealed through transcendent experience (say, tripping on LSD). The self of the 70’s was something to be alchemized, made, and polished through a series of discerning purchases and experiences. Emphasis shifted from the inner self to the outer self-image. Sound familiar? It’s not over yet. This kind of focus on the outer self-image has only become more prevalent with the rise of social media.
Chiron’s transit was not the only one shaping this period. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto, and Neptune are always somewhere too. From 1969 - 1975, on and off, Uranus in Libra opposed Chiron, emphasizing social upheavals including steps toward more equality for women and LGBTQ people, and fueling anti-war activism. The outer planets are in different places now, and the conditions will be different this time around. The cycles do not repeat exactly, but they do echo each other.
Chiron in Aries Now: 2018 - 2027
April 17, 2018 - September 25, 2018
February 18, 2019 - June 19, 2026
September 17, 2026 - April 14, 2027
On a broad scale, we can expect some of the same themes to arise. The sign of Aries, as the first sign of the zodiac, does represent the self. Aries is ego: me, myself, and I. Aries understands the value of their unique, individual identity. Aries is brave, always trying new things, putting themselves out there, and diving in headfirst. Aries is masculine fire: motivation, assertiveness, and righteous anger. The lesson of Aries is to be yourself, love yourself for who you are, and do what you want to do. The pitfalls of Aries are egotism, selfishness, and aggression.
Healing the Wounds of Toxic Masculinity
One of our collective experiences as Chiron left Pisces and entered Aries has been the chorus of women’s voices as we tell stories of harassment and abuse at the hands of men. We finally reached a tipping point where our stories are being heard, and men have to listen. Bridging the shift from Pisces to Aries, Tracee Ellis Ross recently gave a short TED Talk titled “A woman’s fury holds lifetimes of wisdom,” a title that acknowledges generations of collective experience (Pisces) and the resulting fury of every individual woman (Aries).
Her advice to men is to “be accountable, self-reflective, compassionate, open; ask how you can support a woman and be of service to change, and get help if you need it.” This is Chiron in Aries territory: calling on each individual man to alchemize toxic masculinity into divine masculinity. Look inside yourself to reflect. Look outside yourself to see and understand another point of view.
Her advice for women: “Acknowledge your fury, give it language…your fury is not something to be afraid of. It holds lifetimes of wisdom.”
Healing the Wounds of Anger, War, and Destruction
We could call this one “healing the wounds of the wounds of toxic masculinity.” It is hard for women to be angry, because we are not supposed to be. But we have to acknowledge and give voice to our fury. When we use it wisely, anger is not bad. It tells us (and others) where our boundaries are, and when they have been crossed. It is often the spark that fuels action, and subsequently change. It is cleansing, in the way that fire can be, burning through the old to make way for the new. It is clarifying and transformative.
War is another story. Centuries of empire, the industrial-military complex, and patriarchy have put us in a state of perpetual war. Chiron in Aries, the sign of the warrior, may spark another much-needed wave of anti-war activism. The wounds are global. I don’t need to spell that one out for you. On another level, blaming, shaming, and starting a two-sided war is not the answer to healing the wounds of toxic masculinity either. We are all in need of this healing: victim and victimizer, oppressor and oppressed. Accountability is necessary, but if anything is really going to change, we will need a collective solution. Similarly, healing environmental destruction has been and will continue to be a focus, especially with Uranus moving into Taurus next month. Think eco-feminism. It’s all connected.
Healing the Wounds of Self-abnegation
When Chiron transits here, we are called to heal the wounds caused by denying ourselves in favor of pleasing others. This is the more personal side of the transit, but I also think it's radical activism for women to practice putting themselves first.
Perfectionism, as defined by Brene Brown, is “the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.” Healthy striving, she notes, “is self-focused--How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused--What will they think?”
Chiron in Aries calls on you to be brave, making your decisions based not on what others think, but on what you actually want, who you really are, and what makes you happy. Easier said than done in our world. Good thing you have years to practice this. Practice compassion for yourself. Consider self-love a radical act, in a patriarchal and capitalist world that benefits when you live to serve others. Be brave enough to be vulnerable and authentic, regardless of what others think.
A Short Guide to working with Chiron in Aries
From now through September 25th, you will get a taste of what this next Chiron cycle holds. Here are some of the keys to this transit on a personal level:
Find a place in your life where you are hiding because you are afraid of what other people think.
Acknowledge your darker aspects: your anger, your shame, your fears, your flaws.
Accept yourself for who you are, practice radical self-love, and extend the same compassion to yourself that you extend to others.
Be vulnerable to be brave: risk connecting with other people, making mistakes, and showing your imperfections.