Monday, June 21, 2010

Chiron and Vocation: Do What You Love and Wholeness Will Follow

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

This is the thing that I was born to do.

~ Samuel Daniel

The Chiron myth suggests that astrological Chiron has influence over many areas of life—and much more than a chosen profession. Chiron is that force inside you that hones a multitude of skills to prepare you to perform, for the rest of society, that special thing that only you can do. Your unique skills and style of delivery are needed in a certain time/space continuum. One aspect of Chiron insists that you do what you love or suffer an incurable longing for lack of doing it.

Wage Slaves and the Price of Postponing Your “Real” Work in the World

Most of us have had experience with this pain. I began to realize it the first time I heard the term “wage slave.” For most of my 31-year civil service career, I really wanted to do something else. The lure of a steady paycheck and the kind of benefits you no longer even hear of—these things kept my nose to the grindstone for the long haul. For my spirit to survive, however, I had to do what I loved—on top of it. I multi-tasked and spent many of those years doing at least two jobs, working as an astrologer and writer on the side. Those of a certain age will understand my metaphor: I was a one-woman Ed Sullivan Show, riding my unicycle and spinning plates on long rods with both hands, while balancing a ball on the end of my nose.

Eventually, once I added marriage and the weight of a number of personal losses to my spinning plates, I needed to let go of my side jobs and take a time-out for the sake of my health and well-being. I continued to suffer for not having the financial moxie or risk-taking capacity to make the full leap into doing what I loved. The concept behind book title, “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow” became a bitter cliché. (Sure, in how many years while I starve in the meantime?) For me, the more right-on title would be the title of this article, do what you love and wholeness will follow.

Chironic Counsel

In a perfect world, this would have never happened to me—or you. We would have had a Chiron who assessed our talents, skills and gifts, as mythical Chiron did with his heroes in the making on Mt. Pelion. He would then proceed to give us whatever training we needed to actualize ourselves. There would never have been a moment of putting a round peg into a square hole or a writer into the cubicle/box of a government analyst. We would have been honed from adolescence to be our best selves and to contribute our unique gifts. We would have been fed, clothed, and housed equally, no matter what role we would play once we matured. I’m not sure to whom in society I’d assign this Chironic role in a modern context. It’s probably too “Native American” for most high school guidance counselors, but whoever is the shaman or wise one in a kid’s life—that’s a good place to start. It has more to do with how they see themselves, their heart (what they love) and their unique perspective on living. It probably has little to do with college entrance exam scores. Here’s to a day when making money and making a difference in our own inimitable way are easily one.

"The talent given to you and me, we must develop faithfully—so we can be good Mousketeers!" ~The Original Mickey Mouse Club theme song

The Gift in the Wound

I talk often about how the Chironic wound contains all the gifts we’ll ever need to be fulfilled. In addition to whatever else it holds, our natal Chiron sets up a series of theme-related pains and projects to keep honing the gift of the rare gem inside us that is our authentic self. Whether or not we want to admit it, we sometimes choose the pain. Something inside us knows we need its gifts.

My utopian, “every kid has his Chiron” fantasy, is not how it works for many, if not most people. My biggest regret: That I didn’t do whatever it took to start my adult life as a writer instead of having to beg scraps of my own time to become one by the slow boat of work on the side, decade after decade.

Now I’m retired from my government job, and it’s all coming together for me. I feel like myself for the first time in my life. Bringing the disparate parts of a person back together sounds remarkably like the shaman’s role that many people so clearly see mythical Chiron playing. There were things I learned being a social worker, a government analyst, and all the other roles I played—things I needed to have for wholeness. I needed those jobs to have the content, depth, and experience to write and “read” astrology charts in a soulful way.

I’m old enough to have gone through my midlife transits, Chiron Return and many of the major astrological initiations, including my second Saturn Return. At times along the way, I got glimmers that Do What You Love Deprivation might actually be a curriculum that ultimately ends in becoming the hero of your own life—and heroic in contributing your special something to the world.

What you need for yourself is exactly what others need from you.

Before we get there, each of us is a shaman being torn apart, sometimes by competing realities like making a living and living our true vocation. Before we’re put back together again, in the underworld, it feels like hell—because it is. Being pulled apart that way is akin to being drawn and quartered.

When you’re on your own Chironic journey, looking to find truth, examine what makes you angry. One of the things I cannot abide from my Catholic roots is how, as a kid, people in my home religion talked about priests and nuns getting “a vocation” or the calling to religious life. The word vocation is used only in this context, as if the only calling on earth were the seminary or joining a religious order. Ire rising cued me into how important vocation really is to everyone. No one has a copyright on vocation. It’s as essential to fulfillment as breathing. Most of us need more vacations, but we cannot fulfill ourselves without one good vocation.

Summer Solstice may seem an odd time to write about vocation, but it’s actually perfect. Vocation is something you enjoy doing so much, it feels like play. While you’re out having fun this summer, you might just stumble over your vocation.

If you doubt you’ve found your true vocation, ask yourself from a totally centered place, to fill in the blank: “I am a _____.” My answer has been writer since before I knew the question. Vocation does not necessarily equate to job. Your vocation could be mother, friend, confidant, or life of the party.

I am lucky that despite all my side roads to “make a living,” I still stayed on course with my essential vocation. I used those side trips to hone my craft. I wrote extensively in every job. Chiron tells you something about your vocation, and you begin to become whole when you live and breathe that essential part of yourself. You need it, and your tribe (society) needs it. It’s your calling.

How Will I Come Together?

This think piece offers no simple answers, only an opportunity to explore deeply one area of Chiron’s influence.

Ask yourself these questions about Chiron in your chart: (My own answers are in parentheses for examples)

Chiron’s House – It will tell you about the subject of your vocation (6th/ writing, healing, service)

Chiron’s sign – Style of vocation (Scorpio/drama, depth, mysteries of life)

Chiron aspects – How easy or difficult it is to express your vocation (square Pluto, sextile Moon)

If you’re looking for that Chironic skeleton key to unlock the secrets of your own vocation, remember to look at the path of least resistance when you explore your aspects to Chiron. If you have a trine or sextile or another easy-flow aspect, take a look at what it might have to tell you about getting to vocational wholeness. We are so used to doing things the hard way; we sometimes forget that there are hints in our charts for shortcuts, too.

When Chiron was relieved of his immortality and suffering for an act of self-sacrifice, he was raised to the heavens in a constellation—a group of stars. Helping others and finding our place in a group is the world put right. It’s the happy ending we all crave. There’s no more important fit than how we fit in.

Lastly, when contemplating Chiron’s message and your vocational path, don’t forget those things you said as a kid that you wanted to be—or do—when you grew up. Mine are embarrassing to write down, but here they are. I wanted to save the world (I actually said that out loud as a college freshman!), and I wanted to make people happy.

As a writer, I have the capacity to do both of those things in my own way as I twinkle my distinctive light in the constellation of my community, now as big as the planet, thanks to the Internet. You’re grown up now, too. You have the same capacity share those visions of who you are and what you have to offer. They were conceived from your childhood innocence, the home of great truths. And it doesn’t matter whether your vocation is butcher, baker or astrology maker.


Photo Credit: PUZZLE TOGETHER © Eric1513 |

Thanks to Zane Stein for first publication of this article on his wonderful website, Chiron and Friends. If you’re interested in Chiron and the centaurs, bookmark Zane’s site and visit often.

Summer Solstice Shares


Tony Vowles said...

Lovely article Joyce - your wisdom and experience shines through. So happy for you on your new breath of life :-)

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Tony. I appreciate the positive feedback and encouragement! This is one of my favorite articles I've ever written. As I sit here musing on what makes it so, I think you said it. When I wrote it, it was totally spontaneous, a sort of mental download of what I know on the subject and have gleaned from experience. I want to remember that feeling and those "lab conditions" so I can write more things that "just come out" whole, like a baby gestated the perfect amount of time and ready to make his debut! Thanks, again.