Whoever is interested in mythology or astrology will bump into him, sooner or later: Chiron, the wounded healer. But this greek archetype is more than a dusted anecdote or an object of astrological interpretion. Chiron is a powerful symbol of our time. He has hooked me from the very first moment.
CHIRON IN MYTHOLOGY – SYMBOL OF OUR TIME
In greek mythology, Chiron is the son of Chronos and half-brother of Zeus. He is a centaur, half horse, half human. For his figure, his gets rejected by his mother who leaves him behind in a cave. But Chiron does not stay alone for long. Sun-god Apollo adopts him and teaches him the art of healing, medicine and poetry.
Chiron becomes a famous healer and teacher. However, he never succeeds in healing his own wounds. As if the rejection of his parents was not enough, his friend Hercules accidently hits him with a poisoned arrow. Since he is immortal, he suffers unspeakable agony and only finds peace once he sacrifices his immortality for another (Prometheus) by taking on his deadly guilt.
CHIRON IN ASTROLOGY
Chiron makes his entry into astrology on October 18th 1977 when Charles Kowal discovers a big asteroid with a very excentric orbit. Some celebrate this discovery as the “tenth planet”, and the celestial object is given the name of his greek role model.
Historically the discovery of Chirons happens during a time when holistic medicine and thinking begin to spread. In a horoscope, Chiron represents our deepest, most secret wound and our repressed parts. Interestingly enough, his astronomic symbol resembles a key.
CHIRON IN US
Concurrent with the spread of holistic ideas, psychology and psychotherapy increasingly become a normal part of our lives. Many start to search for personal meaning. After the challenges and trauma of war, they turn inwards and try to understand and explore not only their personal, but also their family history as well as their general historic background.
However, much damage needs much healing.
These days, people of all ages turn their lives upside down and question themselves as well as their environment – amongst them a remarkable part of seniors. More and more older people are looking for counselling or therapy, clear up their lives or grow out of decades of marriage and life concepts.
Our collective and personal wounds now show up everywhere. We can find them reflected in our distorted relationship with nature, animals, our work, our resources, our closer or not so close neighbours. Arno Grün called this the loss of empathy.
BETWEEN OLD AND NEW
We currently experience a generation “in between”, a very painful yet necessary transition. In fact, it encompasses more than one generation. It affects us all: the current parental generation as much as their parents and children.
In the book “Indigo Adults” I found a very accurate description of that state we are in. Externally we are conditioned by the old, even stuck in it. Internally, we feel and want the new. But we not only are the change. We also witness it. The change comes through and with us.
THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING “IN BETWEEN”
The inherent difficulty of our Zeitgeist is just that – the disunity between old and new. I experience that particularly as a mother. And I can see it in many others, probably even the majority of parents. We struggle. Intensely. With the old. And the new. And ourselves.
The difficult and yet rewarding part in this role is this double burden, this double task that comes along with this transition. More and more parents face their own neediness, their inner deeply wounded child while at the same time carrying the responsibility for their offspring.
I know many for whom this double task is a true act of strength, an ongoing challenge. A Herculean task (there it is again, the mythology). And the requests are not trivial: it requests consciousness (work), balance, the ability to self reflect and detach from our our story, insight, foresight, empahty, willingness to change and the ability and necessity to heal ourselves and/or find suitable help. Most of all, it requires the will to face the pain of generations. We are a generation of wounded healers. We live forward and heal backwards.
And even this insight hurts badly. I had started into parenthood – largely naive, but full of good will – with the intention to guide my children through their childhood with as little damage as possible. And while I had managed to solve my biggest stumbling blocks before my first pregnancy, there was enough work left to be done. The remaining blocks line our path, and there is hardly a day where I don´t stub my toe on some forgotten, scrapped or carelessly dumped old debris.
A GENERATION OF HEALERS
But we are a generation of healers. I know many, and there are yet more to come. The art we have stepped up to master is to find a new balance between introspection and public image, self-care and service to others.
We won´t be able to solve all problems that have been piled up for centuries. That is impossible. But we can initiate the turnaround. We can set now the course for generations to come. However, like Chiron, we are asked for a sacrifice. We must turn towards our wounds and face our suppressed self.
We must bring home the outcast son and learn to regard our inner Chiron with new, loving eyes.
Chiron instructs young Achilles, Public Domain
Peleus verfolgt Thetis, die sich in Seedrache und Hund verwandelt, Public Domain