Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chiron’s Keyword Corner: Halves and Composites

© 2010 by Joyce Mason

Chiron of mythology was a half-breed—half-human, half-horse. His top half represents our divine nature in human form, his bottom half our baser instincts. Many scenes in Chiron’s story contrast his gentle nature as a mentor of heroes to the wild centaurs that ran around raping and pillaging the Greek countryside. Those two types of centaurs represent the extremes of character in our human adventure.

We, too, are half-breeds as spirits in bodies, trying to realize the pains and pleasures of bringing heaven to earth. Chiron is a symbol of incarnation and how we do not leave our divinity behind when we inhabit a body. Sometimes we forget it’s there. Finding it means using our heads or upper halves. Many of us probably have had phases of our lives where we lived in our lower chakras or energy centers, where our drama involved pure survival, unrestrained sexuality, and/or fear.

For perspective, it’s good to remember that the Greeks had a flair for drama. After all, they invented it! Leave it to Greek mythology to make the point about coming to terms with our dualities by creating a giant, misfit—the outcast that got wounded at a Big Fat Greek Wedding. A wedding is another metaphor for a merger of two parts of a pair, the marriage of opposites where, with a little work and a lot of love and luck, the opposites morph into complements. Normally in ancient Greece, Chiron with his bizarre birth defect would have been left on a hillside to die. Fortunately, instead, he was saved and fostered by the Apollo and Artemis in the guise of the Sun and the Moon. When I was growing up, Chiron would have been forced to make a living as a circus freak. Thank heaven for our evolution toward accepting diversity.

Accepting Our Own Diversity

I was thrilled when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. As mentioned in my recent Chiron in Pisces post, what a Chironic character and symbol of personal integration. He has one of the most prominent placements of Chiron in the 1st House. From a racial perspective, he is both black and white. Because his genes for dark skin dominate, people identify him as black—the first black President. However, he is just as white as he is black from an ethnic and cultural perspective, raised primarily by his white mother and her family.

One of President Obama’s biggest challenges in office parallels the blending of his own Chironic halves. Our bi-partisan political system (two halves of our body politic, Democrat and Republican) must be integrated to tackle the huge issues of the day. Who would know this better than someone who grew up bi-racial? Someone who had to learn to be comfortable in his own skin as a composite being?

We are all composite beings, in one form or another. One form finds our spiritual and earthy halves competing for some semblance of balance and wholeness. We have other parts of us that are mixed bags, too—the opposites or differences within us that beg us to come to terms with them. (From an astrological perspective, it’s your oppositions and squares and other tense relationships between planets, representing parts of yourself that don’t blend easily—or at least not right off the bat.) Blending the competing parts of our selves is not much different from bringing Republicans and Democrats together to solve national health care or other significant issues. “I’ve gotta get it together” is a universal mantra. If we succeed at the personal level with this blending bit, maybe we can decide on a doctor, health care plan, or whether or not we should take a medicine that has a list of side-effects the length of an arm … or if we should go Chiron’s route of more holistic healing options. When you consider our personal struggles on this topic day to day, small wonder there has been lively debate on health care in Washington, before you even add the political and economic dimensions.

Exaggerate + Humor = Help

Humor is healing and very Chironic. Exaggeration can help a person visualize the patchwork of his or her competing parts to bring them into a tapestry of wholeness. I was e-mailing a friend recently, writing about my own ethnicity—half Greek, a fourth each Hungarian and Slovakian. I envisioned myself in goofy, archetypal terms as a plow woman in my great grandparents’ little village of Kista (Slovakia), pushing my plow in the field with a table in my teeth (à la Zorba the Greek in a drinking/dancing scene) while wearing a black Dracula type cape from my Hungarian roots near Transylvania. What a mental sight!

Have you ever noticed how often people of mixed heritage are exotic and beautiful? From a physical perspective, nature seems to have no issue with diversity. This is certainly not limited to humans. The most gorgeous cat I’ve ever had is a mixed breed. Who hasn’t had a “mutt” that’s not only good looking but has a better temperament than many dogs with a pedigree?

In my mind’s eye, my silly ethnic fantasy scenario represents my hard work/hard play opposition (ploughing fields and bringing the taverna and scent of ouzo with me). The touch of Dracula adds my love of mystery, both the cloak-and-dagger type (I was wearing a cloak in this thought bubble) and the bigger mysteries of life. Those life mysteries are what I always want to sink my teeth into—they’re my life’s blood, all puns intended.

You can as easily apply this concept to the planets in your chart or the issues they represent, and the more comical you make your mental images, the more insights you’ll likely mine from the experience toward integration. Maybe your Sun is in Aries but it’s in the 7th House—the ultimate Me planet in the consummate house of Us. What image would represent that daily dilemma? (I might create a batch of Me Clones so I’d have reinforcements to not lose myself in relationship with others. Safety in numbers!) Two of my friends have Grand Water Trines, and in the case of one of them, we refer to it as her Grand Whine. When she gets going to one of her own pity parties, she drowns her sorrows in a wave of misery and everyone else’s within a 10-mile radius. I picture Niagra Falls barreling out of her eyes, her loud moaning that sounds like an air-raid alarm, and people evacuating in life boats. It makes me laugh to myself when the strength of her emotional tsunami is sending me for the life boats myself.

Not Either/Or but Both/And

Chiron helps us see choices and life in shades of gray. Decisions and approaches to spirited living do not have to be either/or. The best of all worlds is both/and. This talent for alchemy and blending our mixed bags of energies, personality facets, and character traits (or flaws) is why Chiron was an herbalist, surgeon, and his discovery coincided with a surge in holistic or complementary healing, the latter term combining the blend of the best.

Only in the most radical circumstances of a severely diseased part do we “perform surgery” and cut off a part of ourselves. The rest of life is about putting ourselves in a mixing bowl and seeing what we can whip up with our own special blend of ingredients.

Happy Healing, and to quote that beloved kitchen character, Julia Child, bon appétit! Don’t forget to spice yourself up with some good medicinal/cooking herbs.


Photo Credit: CENTAUR © Esplendido...

Chiron’s Keyword Corner was a feature in the former Chironicles newsletter (1992-95). Most of the Keyword Corners from the original newsletters have already have been republished on The Radical Virgo. (Use the Search feature to locate others.) This is a new Keyword Corner. The feature lives on.

Queen of Synchronicity - Don’t miss my post on Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights about how to court synchronicity and its role in staying in tune with the “divine symphony.” If the stars guide, synchronicity is cosmic feedback that you’re heading in the right direction.

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