Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wholeness and the Inner Marriage

The Chiron Sector and Relationship

© By Joyce Mason, 1992 - 2009

Key Words and Concepts

The many keywords for Chiron fit into a one-word concept—wholeness. For instance, Chironic people and things act as a “rainbow bridge” between Saturn and Uranus, synthesizing the best of the old and new. Chiron's job is to intercede between tradition (the way things have always been) and (r) evolution (the way things need to become). Chiron is the ambassador between these extremes, helping us to weave all polarities within the fabric of ourselves. The tapestry that results is wholeness. The threads for weaving into the fabric of our Selves include male/female, light/dark, and the pairs of astrological opposites: Aries/Libra, Taurus/Scorpio, and so on.

Another key word, alternatives, clearly points to Chiron's balancing or equalizing function. When the Establishment becomes too Saturnian (like the American Medical Association), we seek alternatives (in this case, we even call the alternative holistic medicine, another Chironic term).

One of my favorite Chironic words is shamanism. The shamanistic journey creates wholeness by dismembering the shaman. The dark night of the soul involves being ripped apart, facing death and/or demons, then being put back together again. Only when a member of the tribe has successfully faced this initiation does he or she become convincing (and trustworthy) as a healer and guide to help others become whole. Metaphorically, astrologers and other healers fulfill this function by dealing with their own “stuff,” be it physical or emotional dis-ease or other issues. To be perceived as authentic, modern-day shamans, too, must be willing to face their own darkness. We often face darkness by recreating the original wound (Chiron's wounded healer dimension), thereby experiencing some form of psychic death in order to be resurrected.

In another classic exercise in the integration of polarities, shamans were often required to cross-dress and live as the opposite sex. [1] In a modern-day parallel, we're all being asked to put the shoe on the other foot—to try on the recessive characteristics of the opposite sex within us. While we’re getting there, more than thirty years after the women’s movement, many people still aren't used to this, the real sexual revolution. Perhaps if we remember the Chironic balance-to-wholeness function, we'll keep trying to walk in each other's moccasins until we find a pair of comfortable “cross-trainers.” This thought may be difficult to hold while the fabric of how we relate as men and women is being ripped apart, like the shaman-in-training. After all, new shoes often pinch until they're broken in.

Kicking off our shoes for the moment and getting back to key words, some of the following qualities of Chiron are associated with various signs of the zodiac: synthesizes (Virgo), balances (Libra), dies and resurrects (Scorpio). Chiron was a teacher and mentor, dispensing a balanced “higher” education (Sagittarius). Chiron's students learned physical, metaphysical, and artistic skills. Heroes came out of this holistic body-mind-spirit training.

A hero is someone who demonstrates the ability to contact and act unselfishly from his or her Higher Self in urgent circumstances.

The height of wholeness is to be able to give your best with spontaneity, trusting Spirit to flow through you, where instinct and knowledge merge into just the right action.

This ability comes from the development of intuition, and is part of our lost "…oracular and divination skills ... This level of skill is simply reaching a holistic level of integration where we act without the intervention of conscious thought.” [2]

How can wholeness be just one thing?

While Al H. Morrison suggested the subject of rulership became moot once we knew Chiron was a comet, [3] I still believe that any astronomical body can be linked by metaphor to any sign, idea, or process. Because the characteristics of several signs of the zodiac appear within the Chiron myth, single-sign rulership is precluded, but those “signs of many signs” support Chiron's consummate keyword, wholeness. In previous writings, I've suggested that Chiron is most strongly affiliated with Virgo, at least “for now.”[4] From this conviction, coupled with my belief that the sign Virgo has been maligned and misunderstood, [5] I've lived up to my Catholic confirmation name, Joan (of Arc), jumping on my white charger to save the sign of Virgo. At first, I thought this mission was self-serving due to my own Virgo Sun sign. It took awhile before I realized that I was on to something much more: Virgo is the key to understanding Chiron's connection to a process of inner marriage that ultimately leads to wholeness. The process of becoming whole—Chiron's process—is linked with the Virgo-to-Sagittarius sector of the zodiac, with Virgo as the pivotal sign.

From as far back as the first years following discovery, the major theories on Chiron's rulership have focused on Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. Collective first instincts often give us the best information we'll ever get about the meaning of symbols in our culture. It’s much like taking a test as a student. Your first, instinctual answer is usually correct.

There have been two primary assumptions about Chiron. Because mythological Chiron was a centaur and a great teacher, some astrologers (e.g., Melanie Reinhart) [6] believe Chiron rules Sagittarius. Others (particularly Barbara Hand Clow) [7] make a case for Virgo rulership based on Chiron's work as a holistic healer and herbalist, as well as his unselfish service to the many heroes he mentored. The surge in holistic healing and the reawakening of esoteric knowledge around the time of Chiron's discovery further supports this connection.

Yet others presume some link between Chiron and Libra, the sign it occupies at perihelion or its orbital point of closest approach to the Sun. [8] Since Chiron guides us to wholeness by way of a balancing act, this is easy to see—more so as this article touches on Chiron's role in relationships. A less held, but significant early theory focused both on Chiron's legendary skills as a surgeon and the observation of Chiron's transits, which can involve pregnancy and birth, sex, parenting, illness and death. Tony Joseph thus made a case for Scorpio co-rulership (with Sagittarius). [9]

My answer to the question, ‘Which sign does Chiron rule?’ is “all of the above,” with this qualification: I agree with Dale O'Brien that the concept of rulership is out of mythical character with Chiron. [10] To rule at some level implies domination, which was never Chiron’s way. He never tried to rein in the other centaurs, the rowdy ones so different from him, who could have well used a dose of leadership and Saturn. So rather than “rule,” I think Chiron enlightens, a concept consistent with his teaching and mentoring role. Chiron enlightens us about this special one-third of the zodiac from Virgo to Sagittarius, where we begin to shift the focus from Self to Other. If we choose to, we can take the trip to wholeness, which centers on integrating the masculine and feminine, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Chiron can even tell us the steps we have to take to get there.

The Inner Marriage
The path to wholeness and Chiron's purpose cannot be understood until we correct our centuries-long misuse of the word virgo. Liz Greene writes that virgo once meant intact or self-contained. Virgo was represented by the Great Goddess, the Magna Mater, the Great Harlot… and in a sexual sense; she was ‘no virgin.’ [11] As an archetype, she is her own person, offering her femininity freely, as she chooses. To clarify:

A virgo or virgin is not someone who doesn't have sex. She isn't a whore, either. She doesn’t have sex for money or other gain or for any other reason except wanting to give herself.

A virgo does not use her sexual power to manipulate; her purity lies in her integrity. She is whole in and of herself, and therefore has her whole Self to offer

This kind of woman or “virgoness" drives the

patriarchy wild because no one can control her. A woman in total abandon, uninhibited in her shakti or life energy, is awe-inspiring, and can raise fear, even in the heart of the maleness within women. Historically, the matrifocal earth religions, characterized in part by shakti running rampant in drumming and ceremony, scared the male powers-that-be. It scared them enough to bring on the Inquisition. (Their charbroiled past lives could be why some of today's women have had the shakti scared out of them.) Psychologists speak of men's envy of women's creative function, which is much more than baby making. The path to wholeness starts at Virgo, where men (and women with dominant male energy) can develop their feminine and full creative potential.

A true Virgo has done the difficult work of self-betterment, aiming for perfection or the best possibility. She chooses carefully to whom and to what she will give herself. She is very self-reliant, merging the mental (left-brain) aspects of traditional Mercury rulership with her feminine (right brain) sign. It is the same for the male Virgo. I am using the feminine because of Virgo's female symbol.
This is the first step to wholeness and can be easily skipped due to our desire for Cup-a-Soup, instant relationships. For love to work as a deep and lasting bond, a person needs good material in a partner. The Virgo of the zodiac symbol would not have a successful harvest if she planted her seeds in poor soil. This aspect of Virgo asks us to analyze our chances; to be sure we take calculated, reasonable risks in love.

Virgo also tells us this about the Chironic process to wholeness: we will not find salvation in another. In order to find joy and happiness with another, we first find our own integrity, or integrate ourselves—that means balancing our masculine and feminine. We think of Virgo as often choosing to remain single. An evolved Virgo will remain single until she finds good material, because masculine and feminine are in balance. She has relationship because she wants to not because she has to. She partners for synergy, where two wholes are more than sum of their parts.

The more intact we enter relationship, the more problems are averted. Most of us try to do Libra and the 7th house before we have successfully learned the Virgo lessons. For sure, marrying ourselves is hard work. Inner marriage means we can't blame anyone but ourselves for our happiness or lack thereof. It demands tough loving our inner child, the sometimes-bratty part in all of us that wants her own way and someone else to be wrong. We all talk about how we have to give 100% in relationships—we know that at some basic level—but if we don't do Virgo first, we don't have 100% to give.

Typically, Cupid-struck, we enter Libra, unaware that we are looking for qualities in our partners that we have not personally developed. Here's where we begin to get into a lot of trouble. I think the reason the sexes have been at war for eons boils down to the fact that they're sick and tired of doing each other's work. When we project our recessive inner male or female onto our partners, we are handing over our power and asking them to be responsible for us instead of developing our own wholeness. Then we get furious when we lose ourselves, when we discover a piece of us is missing. No wonder we feel controlled. No wonder when we break up, a part of us dies.

Perhaps the most important point about the inner marriage is that it must come before a successful outer marriage or committed partnership is possible. The Chiron Sector of the zodiac not only gives us a step-by-step prescription to wholeness, but it also tells us that those steps must be taken in order.

When we develop Virgo and the 6th house first, the partnership in Libra and the 7th house is much more positive. Our partners then tend to reflect our recessive qualities back to us in a gentler way; we see our Selves in the mirror of the Other. This brings a sense of merging, and focuses on our likenesses instead of the alienation that invariably comes with projection, which involves not owning our recessive masculine or feminine halves. When you or someone you know often verbalizes sentiments like, “men are jerks” or "women are bitches," it’s a symptom of projection in progress. The prescription is to go back and do Virgo—get self-contained and develop the inner opposite before the next trip to Libra.

Outer Marriage
Once we've mastered Virgo, we're ready to give our Selves in partnership, but before you breathe a sigh and figure you've arrived at Happily Ever After, here's another caution. It won't work if you let lust dominate and try to skip over to Scorpio and the 8th house before you've done Libra and the 7th. While the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s was so crucial for balance—to counteract the repressive upbringing most of us did not enjoy—it created, at least for the baby boomer generation, the lousy Neptune-in-Libra illusion that sex is synonymous with intimacy.

Brian Clark gave a brilliant presentation on the 8th house at the April 1992 United Astrology Congress (UAC) in Washington, D.C. According to Clark, the 8th house (and Scorpio) is where we touch into our infantile rage. In a nutshell, we were bonded to mother in utero, and then she abandoned us (kicked us out by the contractions of birthing). Later, we awaken to find out she's in love with somebody else! (Father) All 8th house relationships replay this scenario and the Oedipal triangle. There can be no passion without anger, death, jealousy, and possessiveness. They all go with the territory.

This is a very charged area of life, and if we go there before getting to know one another and developing the romance and trust that goes with the 7th house and Libra, we're bound to have high drama and the worst of Pluto. With a strong 7th, there is a basic bond of good will. We're likely to acknowledge the other's faults and darkness (and our own), and allow each other to express them and therefore to let go of them. Libra has to do with merging based on an ideal, whether that ideal is a shared project, children, or a similar worldview. There's something about being “in it together” for a purpose larger than ourselves that minimizes the tendency to project our darker parts onto the other. When partners view each other as the enemy, it's a sure sign this step has been skipped.

The sexual revolution separated the body from the mind and spirit. Without the entire trinity, sooner or later sex becomes empty. In the 7th house, we have an opportunity to become companions and close friends—the best kind of relationship for facing all that of 8th house darkness that comes with the bright heat of intense sexual merging.

Microcosm to Macrocosm
Why is one-to-one relationship so important? If we learn to love an individual, we can extend love to other ethnic, religious, and political groups—to other nations. The 9th house is the boundary between one other and many others. We meet groups of others the 10th, 11th, and 12th, where we can better the world by giving ourselves to the collective. The 9th house is related to the sign of higher philosophy (Sagittarius) and ruled by the planet of prosperity (Jupiter). Now married, both inside and out, we receive the cornucopia of blessings, and in Jupiter’s typical fashion, we want to give back generously by sharing the higher view we've learned from our experiences. We may want to travel—now that we can relate to one human being intimately, we can relate to the rest of the world.

Chiron appears to have had a positive relationship with his wife, the sea nymph Chariclo. [12] He gave his students a well-rounded education, the kind they would need to balance anima and animus—to become heroes. In these turning-point times, good relationships, both inner and outer, are necessary to equalize the masculine and feminine principles on a global level, to assimilate polarities for the sake of wholeness and survival.

Throughout history, people have considered comets to be omens. The half-comet Chiron, discovered at a critical juncture of human evolution, points to the balance needed to move humanity into an alternative lifestyle of holism that will support Earth and all life upon Her in abundance. By his very nature, both astronomical and mythical, Chiron teaches us that healing is a composite job. The cream of life is actually half ‘n’ half. It’s those opposite illusions that blend somewhere in the middle and add a sweet taste to life.

In the 1960s, the vision of peace, love, and harmony was so ahead of its time, its champions were called the counterculture. During this same era, marked by Pluto conjunct Uranus in Virgo, we started a sexual revolution, but it was just the beginning. Now we are on the brink of a revolution in relationship to ourselves and others that demands nothing less than a whole new world.

Mayan Prophecy of 2012 tells us we are about to transition from one world to the next. It’s not the literal end of the world, but rather the end of the world, as we knew it. I believe this is a time where we will create our personal and global reality from the inside out—the insight out, too—with our thoughts and intentions. Never has it been more essential to have good self-esteem and self-development, the pivotal lessons of Virgo.

The ‘60s were a premonition. The peace sign is back. This time ‘round, we’re right on time.

Photo credit: ZODIAC CLOCK ©

[1] Rogan P. Taylor, The Death and Resurrection Show, Anthony Blond, 1985, pp. 28-30.

[2] Barbara Hand Clow, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, Llewellyn, 1987, p.7.
[3] Zane B. Stein, Essence and Application: A View from Chiron, 3rd Edition, CAO Times, Box 75, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10013, 1988. Update/Forward by Al H. Morrison, publisher. Note: Since this article was written in 1992, astronomers have confirmed that Chiron to be the first discovered among a new breed of composite planetary bodies, aptly called centaurs—half-comet and half-planetoid or asteroid.
[4] Joyce Mason, "The Radical Virgo," The Mountain Astrologer, April/May 1992, pp.57-60.
[5] Joyce Mason, "A New Look at Virgo," The Mountain Astrologer, April/May 1990, pp.31-33.
[6] Melanie Reinhart, Chiron and the Healing Journey, Arkana, 1989, 431 pp.
[7] See Clow, Reference #2.
[8] Erminie Lantero, The Continuing Discovery of Chiron, Samuel Weiser, 1983, p. 50.
[9] Ibid., pp. 25 and 51.
[10] Dale O'Brien, The Myth of Chiron, recorded 6/21/91 at The Mountain Astrologer's Planet Camp Conference in Philo, California.
[11] Liz Greene, Star Signs for Lovers, Stein & Day, 1980, p.194.
[12] See O'Brien, reference #10.

This article first appeared in Chironicles in December 1992 and in The Mountain Astrologer in October 1993.


Anne Whitaker said...

Hi Joyce

have just discovered your site via Dipali Desai's Celestial Space, and I really like what you write and how you write it!

I too have been an astrologer for a very long time - since 1983 - and am now concentrating on writng. Check out my site - Writing from the Twelfth House sometime.

I will re-visit your sites when I have more time. Love the Pisces definition especially!

Best wishes

Anne Whitaker

Virgo Asc, Mercury conj Sa/Pl, semi-sq Uranus, sextile Neptune

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks so much for visiting The Radical Virgo, Anne! I'll definitely check out your site. Sounds like we're on the same track, changing our focus to writing. Look forward!

Harriett Broughton said...

This is absolutely excellent, eye-OPENING.

I'm nearly completely setting-hemisphere, evenly divided between above horizon and below horizon. Or, Virgo through Capricorn.

Your article makes so much sense when I compare it to my chart.

Plenty of good stuff to ponder and ponder. :)