Review © 2014 by Anne Whitaker
To my pleasant surprise, astrologer and writer Anne Whitaker—colleague, friend and periodic guest on this blog—sent me an unsolicited review of my latest Chiron book. It seemed like the right time to share it during Book Month on The Radical Virgo. ~ Joyce
Weaver - Mentor - Centaur - Stuck - Stringed Instruments - Healing Humor - Shame - Left and Right Brain - Abandonment - Evolution: just a few of the keywords Joyce Mason uses to unlock the doorway to deep, deep wisdom contained within the archetype of the mythical being known as Chiron: half man, half horse – best known in Western popular culture as the Wounded healer.
Joyce is a healer herself with many strings to her lyre: prolific writer, seasoned astrologer, flower essences practitioner, dreamworker, to name but a few. Here in her own words is the essence of her book:
“ Seldom in life do we get such a personalized prescription of what’s wrong and how to fix it.” ~ Joyce Mason, Keywords to Unlock Chiron
These 50 keyword essays will help you identify where you’re stuck and suggest how you can get from pain to breakthrough and healing–and ultimately to being yourself in your full glory. Your personal message lies in which keywords ‘hit home’ for you.”
As the reader will discover from Other Astrology Books by Joyce Mason on pp 279-281, Joyce has written extensively on Chiron in the past, both in published books and on her blog The Radical Virgo. This book, however, is somewhat different in that Joyce’s focus is on the Chiron archetype itself and an exploration of 50 branches arising therefrom.
Chiron symbolises the deep wound present to a greater or lesser degree in all of us, fallible imperfect creatures, uneasy blends of body and spirit; endlessly curious, forever seeking answers to why we are here and what we are supposed to do with our brief time on Earth. Chiron also symbolises the depth and wisdom we can gain by addressing and seeking to heal that wound, both in ourselves and others. Ultimately, facing and accepting our vulnerability, together with realization of our inter-connectedness with the whole of life, and the healing power of love: these are our salves and our saviours.
Joyce’s Keywords to Unlock Chiron is surely a ‘wisdom book’. It is a wonderful distillation of her knowledge, personal and professional experience drawn from a deep and wide range of sources: science, myth, symbol systems including astrology and Tarot, astronomy, and culture both contemporary and ancient.
She writes so well, with wit, reverence, irreverence and above all compassion both for her own frailty and ours. Open sharing of core aspects of her personal story demonstrates that she is not trying to tell us how we should live from her somewhat higher plane of existence. She makes it clear that, in the struggle to come to terms with the wounding which hopefully in the end makes us a bit wiser and more skilled in the fraught business of living, we are all in it together.
There are many examples which I could quote of deeply helpful wisdom offered in this book. In Chapter 24, Disowned, there is a very challenging question posed: ‘What would you rather die than do?’ Joyce’s answer to this is ‘I’d rather die than move (house)’ which leads into a discussion of how we all to a greater or lesser extent, disown parts of ourselves, to our detriment.
Joyce then offers seven “Tips for Not Disowning Yourself” including ‘Listen objectively to things others point out that you’re missing or denying, especially if you hear the same thing from several different people.’ I commend this section to any individual honest enough to be working towards personal growth and change, as well as any therapy practitioner looking for some inspiration to bring to their client work
In Appendix 3, p273, Joyce provides information for people with little or no knowledge of astrology who wish to obtain a copy of their own horoscope and find out where Chiron is placed in their case. The whole book is also filled with useful web and other references to a wonderful range of resources – arising from the core Chironic keyword of Wholeness.
The book is of value also to students and practitioners of astrology. From that perspective, this reviewer certainly felt as though she had been comprehensively re-acquainted with the depth and practical value of understanding Chiron’s natal position as well as Chiron transits.
But it is important to stress that Keywords to Unlock Chiron should not be seen primarily as a book for astrologers or those interested specifically in astrology. As I said earlier, it is a ‘wisdom book’, a great resource for anyone of a reflective nature, or who may be practising as a healer of others, to have in their library to turn to for inspiration, information or support in difficult times. Be guided by how you are feeling in seeking help from the book’s wisdom. As Joyce says herself:
“Your personal message lies in which keywords ‘hit home’ for you.”
Joyce, thank you for this wonderful compendium. It truly deserves to be widely read.
Cover Art for Keywords by Karen Phillips. For more on the contents of Keywords to Unlock Chiron, now available in PDF, please visit the launch post.
Postscript - Thank you, Anne! As my newsletter subscribers already know – and I wanted to share this update with all my readers for its irony – my personal Cardinal Grand Cross Year has me facing my "rather die than do," as I'm prepping to move to a new home. The reason couldn't be more Chironic. We need to relocate to a more user-friendly place because of my husband's disability. He can no longer safely navigate the stairs in our split-level home. Trusting I will actually survive: Once I get to the other side of rocking my 4th House off its foundations (Jupiter crosses the IC in mid-June), I'll have the time to bring Keywords to paperback and eBook formats such as Kindle and Nook. Meanwhile, the PDF version works great on most devices, as described in the launch post. ~ JM