“Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen”
– Kahlil Gibran
This quote begins the seminal work “Chiron and the Healing Journey” by Melanie Reinhart and starts the unlocking of the mystery of the shadow self…
It’s daunting and mysterious work – all about getting to the deeper, root cause of any problem or emotional block that you’re experiencing in life.
It’s not easy and it’s not pretty, but it’s a vital practice for anyone who’s invested in their own personal development and seeking to expand their consciousness. Because without peering into the dark side of your soul, you’ll never truly know yourself.
These dark places, the roots, and origins of so much of our personal pain are often the result of traumas – points and places of suffering that you and I experienced somewhere in our personal histories. It could have been in this lifetime, as a child perhaps. Or in lifetimes past – very often the deepest wounds, and the darkest shadows we hold are ancestral in nature.
But what’s always tricky with the shadow self, is that we deny it. We unconsciously hide it away, as Jung so famously wrote in his many books and essays, so it can be near impossible to reach – most of the time, we don’t even know this part of us exists!
So how do you find the Shadow Self?
How do you actually go there and begin to unwind these traumas, understand your emotion, and access these roots of pain, and begin the human healing journey?
Lucky for us, Astrology provides the perfect tool for understanding your psychology (and that of those around you) and getting to the root cause of any matter. Especially the shadow.
Chiron: The Rainbow Bridge
Known in astrology as the “Wounded Healer” Chiron is a minor planet (once an asteroid, recently re-classed as a comet) that orbits erratically between Saturn* and Uranus. This is important. Author Barbara Hand Clow refers to Chiron as the “Rainbow Bridge” because of the particular cosmic role it plays, etherically joining together these two disparate planets. Saturn is the purveyor of conventional wisdom, discipline and limitation whilst Uranus shakes us free and drives us forward into a radical new future. So by orbitally connecting the dots between this inner and outer planet, Chiron also yokes these fractured aspects of the self.
As above, so below – what you see in the skies (or your astrological chart – is mirrored in your own soul. The journey that this Wounded Healer takes through your star-map, will always involve the drawing together of these two divergent parts of you.
But it’s the mythology of the wisest of the Greek centaurs – Chiron’s namesake – that reveals a story most full of significance when it comes to understanding this minor planet’s role in astrology.
As the illegitimate child of a violent and lusty encounter between his father – Cronus, or as the Romans named him, Saturn (*he just can’t escape his father, eh?) – and the sea nymph Philyra, the boy was born a centaur. Halfway through the act, to avoid being caught by his actual wife, Cronus had turned himself into a horse, and when Philyra gave birth to this half-man, half horse, she was repulsed. This, on top of the shame she felt at the memory of her violation, she abandoned the baby.
But let’s not forget that the child was descended from royalty! His wit, wisdom, and acumen were so impressive that Apollo and his twin sister Artemis took him under their wing, and taught him about music, medicine, astrology, and other such artistry. In time, he became a teacher and one of his many apprentices was Hercules.
Here the story turns to tragedy again, when one fateful day Hercules accidentally shot him in the thigh with a poisoned arrow. Despite being trained in medicine and an astrologer and healer of high reputation, the Wounded Healer was unable to heal the wound caused by the arrow. And ironically, being an immortal demigod, he couldn’t even escape the pain of his wound through death. So he continued, stoically teaching others to overcome their greatest pain through sheer strength and perseverance, until finally a deal was struck and Chiron was, at last, allowed to die.
The reason it’s worth knowing even the outline of this myth, it that stories of abandonment, shame, and repressed and unhealable wounds play out wherever Chiron shows up in your personal astrology – the shadow work you’re led to do, will likely follow very similar themes to Chiron’s story. And what will also play out, if you let your own narrative complete itself, is the gift that comes from the pain. Although Chiron was ultimately unable to heal himself, he developed the gift of healing others. The story shows that deep, deep in the depths of the shadow self, resides a treasure that will be your redemption.
And this is why shadow work is worth doing.
One Eccentric Orbit & the Chiron Return
Because of this minor planet’s eccentric orbit, it spends up to 8 years in some signs, whilst speeding through others in just 18 months!
It takes around 49 years to swing through every sign of the zodiac, so just before your 50th birthday, you’ll experience a Chiron return. This means it’ll return to the same astrological sign it was in at your birth, and will often demand a renewed and deeper round of shadow work, especially if you’ve been resisting the work your healing journey requires of you.
Your Natal Chiron Sign
Find out which sign the Wounded Healer was transiting at the moment of your birth, using the free chart HERE. This will be your first clue, as to where to start looking, where to pick up the threads of your own dark side and start your healing journey. Then take your very first steps towards becoming your own healer with our mini readings below…
Chiron in Aries (or 1st House)
Shadow: Haste, restlessness, selfishness, an inability to delegate. Traits of inflated ego cover up deep-seated insecurities and feelings of low self-worth.
Healing gifts: Naturally daring and heroic. Huge potential for strong, powerful leadership. Highly influential and encouraging to others.
Chiron in Taurus (or 2nd House)
Shadow: Possessiveness and materialism. Fear of never having enough, obsession over money and earning potential. Potential for the shadow to manifest as physical health issues.
Healing gifts: Huge heartedness and unconditional love. Holding space for others healing with humility and generosity
Chiron in Gemini (or 3rd House)
Shadow: An inability to communicate freely. Problems with speech or anxiety around expression. OR over-sharing and constant chatter. Also feelings of not being ‘educated’ or worthy enough to be listened to. Self-skepticism.
Healing gifts: Able to create shifts in perception. Influential, funny, witty and charismatic. Unique.
Chiron in Cancer (or 4th House)
Shadow: Extremely sensitive, nervous, fearful. Hermit-like tendencies. Unable to receive any help or closeness, whilst offering an abundance of support to others. Possible neglect or abuse in childhood
Healing gifts: Learning and openly expressing self-love will encourage this in others. Huge healing qualities, mentoring and counseling others.
Chiron in Leo (or 5th House)
Shadow: Feeling (and resentment) that you’ve been unable to fulfill your potential. Unrequited ambitions. Creating drama and needing attention. OR blocked or repressed creative expression.
Healing gifts: Encouraging and facilitating creativity in others. Also able to instill enthusiasm and sense of wonder. Art and entertainment!
Chiron in Virgo (or 6th House)
Shadow: Workaholism, perfectionism and a compulsive addiction to routine and restriction. Sarcasm and a critical personality.
Healing gifts: Practical mentorship. Incredible attention to detail and supportive of others, especially as a coach, guide or trainer. Selfless Service (as opposed to martyrdom)
Chiron in Libra (or 7th House)
Shadow: Resentfulness, an inability to let go. Problems with clear-speaking, fear of ‘rocking the boat’. Overgiving OR taking too much in relationships.
Healing gifts: Diplomacy and fairness (finding it between people, exhibiting it as an individual). Compromise, setting clear boundaries
Chiron in Scorpio (or 8th House)
Shadow: Living and seeing life as extremes. Over-reacting. Competitive, manipulative, obsessive behavior.
Healing gifts: Transformation – moving through it and facilitating it for others. Doula work (birth/death). Sexual healing.
Chiron in Sagittarius (or 9th House)
Shadow: Issues around ethics and belief systems. Trouble with self-acceptance, feeling like “the grass is greener” – always chasing something else. Impulsiveness.
Healing gifts: Radical self-acceptance as medicine for others. Inclusivity, celebrating diversity. Teaching through deep-seated wisdom.
Chiron in Capricorn (or 10th House)
Shadow: Issues with authority (rebelling against it yet also aspiring towards it). Need for control. Over-emphasis on materiality and status.
Healing gifts: Devotion as a practice. Wise leadership, immense encouragement of others. Ability to invest and plan for future generations
Chiron in Aquarius (or 11th House)
Shadow: Fear of commitment, and an inability to connect with people, despite having friends. Radical, illogical idealism
Healing gifts: Strong, progressive, dynamic leadership. Revolutionary, inspiring ideas – ability to spark paradigm shifts.
Chiron in Pisces (or 12th House)
Shadow: Escapism, over-active imagination. Confusion and disorder in personal life. May have a demanding family member who takes us much of your time. Self-sacrificing to a fault (lack of personal boundaries).
Healing gifts: Spiritual leadership. Creativity and creative facilitation in others. Healing gifts.
Your turn – tell us where Chiron sits in your astrology chart? What’s the mission of your inner Wounded Healer in this lifetime? Share with our community and let’s rise together!