Friday, February 27, 2015

Name Your Poison: Hydra in the Chiron Myth

Article © 2015 by Joyce Mason

According to WiseGEEK, the Hydra or Lernaean Hydra was a many headed monster in Greek mythology. Hydra terrorized visitors near the Lake of Lerna in classic Greece. This region of springs and a former lake was located near the east cost of the Peloponnesus, and its site became the famous lair of the horrendous water snake. It was an arrow dipped with her poison blood that led to Chiron’s incurable wound. Everything in a mythical story is symbolic, and I had a light bulb moment about Hydra’s meaning that made me want to explore her further and share it with you.

Hydra was the epitome of the word diehard. Killing her was beyond challenging. Two heads grew back whenever one was cut off. Hercules, Chiron’s dearest student, got the idea of cauterizing the neck before new heads would have a chance to sprout. He ultimately defeated the monster as part of his tasks known as the Twelve Labors of Hercules.

The Hydra myth is as diehard as she was, and “hydra” is sometimes used to describe a challenge that gets bigger and harder to handle, no matter how hard someone tries to “behead” it. The monster is often described as a bouncer, of sorts, at the entrance to the underworld—very Plutonian. Hydra has been described as having anywhere from five to many heads, though nine is the most repeated number. According to Greek Mythology Wiki, it is generally said that eight of her heads were mortal and one immortal—the immortal head being the only one which could not be harmed by a weapon. She had poisonous breath and blood which compounded her treachery.

If myths express psychological patterns and are culturally ingrained teaching tools, why did the poison that couldn’t quite kill Chiron come from this strange beast?

Playing the Symbols

First, the Hydra is a water creature. She epitomizes feelings out of control. What we think about something determines how we feel about it. This was one pissed-off lady. If she had a shoulder, she’d have a chip on it. (Make that chips.) Feelings become poisonous when we don’t use our heads to control our impulses. The control of impulses what was the wise centaur Chiron was all about, because we have the wild centaurs as examples of what happens when half-men or humans don’t.

But, second, Hydra had way too many heads. And if she was fomenting things in all those “minds” that led to her extreme toxicity, she is an icon for “thoughts are things” at its worst.

Many of us are only too familiar with the poison of endless, negative thought loops. When we are wrong-headed, we can try to cut off our thoughts, but it seems that ten more heads full of monkey mind crop up to replace the original toxic mantra until we chop off and cauterize our own poisonous thinking.

Lastly, Hercules thought he had killed this beast, but he did not really let her go. He carried her with him. He harvested her poison for his own purposes, which backfired terribly in the arrow that went astray, wounding his beloved mentor Chiron. How many of us take the poison of past relationships and battles with us? I don’t think there’s a partner alive who hasn’t found him- or herself projecting onto their current mate the toxins of battles fought with people from the past. This is a cautionary tale about letting go completely.

In the end, we are wounded by rage and pain we don’t let go and often, inadvertently, by those who love us the most. Hydra seems hyperbolic as a choice of the poison that caused Chiron so much pain, but as we see in patterns of abuse of all kinds; the abuse lives on until someone cuts off and cauterizes all those heads and leaves the poison behind. Many innocents suffer the consequences until that happens.

These are my thoughts, so far, on Hydra and her part in the Chiron myth. I’d love to hear yours.


Photo Credit: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons, Hercules – 1921 by John Singer Sargent

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chyron: A Homonym for Chiron

Article © 2015 by Joyce Mason

When I announced this year of Radical Reposts, I said I’d pop in now ‘n’ then to share tidbits or poems, especially when I can’t resist commenting on something. I had an insight that popped my eyes open wider about the word chyron. It’s pronounced the same way as Chiron, the centaur planet.

I first encountered chyron a couple of years ago. You see it nearly every day, but many people don’t know what it’s called:

From Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

n. Graphics or words at the bottom of a TV screen usually unrelated to the current viewing content.

The chyron usually contains a moving band with news flashes—often the stock market fluctuations or headlines. You see a big chyron on New Year's Eve if you watch the ball come down in Times Square. According to the official Times Square website, "The 3,685-square foot electronic icon in Times Square is known to millions worldwide for its signature wavy LED ribbons and eye-catching curved ticker ..." The ticker ribbons make up the chyron.

I heard the character Mac talk about the chyron in one of the final episodes of  my favorite TV program, The Newsroom.  She made me aware of the word again, and here’s my insight. The chyron on your TV screen gives you information flashes on the bottom of your screen—therefore at the bottom of your visual attention or awareness. Chiron the planet does the same. It gives information from the bottom of your awareness—often your unawareness—of things that you need to know to complete your quest toward wholeness. It helps you get to the bottom of what issues need healing to move on. Sometimes the information it shares seems unrelated to what's currently going on, but it's your unconsciousness of these matters that's the trouble. Chiron—like the chyron—helps you tune into the news you need to get the full picture.

I have no idea how the chyron got its name. (If anyone knows, please share). But I have to love how language is instilled with subtle meanings and astrological references.

What are you starting to discover about your Chiron that could go on your chyron? In the TV show of your life?


Photo: Watching CNN on 19-Jan-15. CNN makes more liberal use of the chyron than most networks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Radical Reposts: The Planets – Venus

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I just had to come back to the Radical Reposts for some Venussy inspiration. Being a Venus Girl myself, there have been plenty of posts on the topic of the love-and-relationship planet. Enjoy, re-enjoy—or simply bask in some virtual hearts and flowers of the season.

We’ll be back with more on Chiron next week …

Exploring Venus

Now's the time to fish for beauty. We'll be exploring Venus, the planet of relating, everything lovely and the craving for peace and justice.

Valentine's month is the perfect time to think about where your love lives. Your Venus sign is your love style—its house, your base of operation. There are so many aspects of life to love, but the house where your Venus resides will tell you about the slice of life where your love shines.

Last Minute Valentine Gift Ideas!

Venus as a planet is about our one-on-one connections with others, so the art of gift giving has to do with observing those we care for and making mental and physical notes of their needs. If it doesn’t come second nature to you—and it doesn’t for everyone—here’s a trip around the Venus signs with tips on how to polish yours to gift-giving perfection. Apply the suggestions, with minor modifications, to relationships of all kinds.

We all have to deal, ultimately, with fading looks and how we “do Venus” over time. Just take out your albums and look at your “young” pictures. Admit it. With few exceptions, you looked great then compared to now, especially if you’re past your midlife transits. It’s all relative.

While this article focuses on love on or after the Chiron Return, I think you'll find what I've learned about love, packed into this post, to be ageless wisdom synthesized from the pain and pleasure of being a Venus Girl.

Doesn't matter who owns which one; the pillow talk will be similar. See what certain astrological aspects do for—or do to!—love.


Photo Credit: © Al -

Radical Recommendation
Had enough of Mercury Retrograde? Are you ready to think straight again and tackle cognitive tasks with gusto come February 12? Celebrate with a low-cost eBook from The Radical Virgo Store! Or check for links and book descriptions in the sidebar.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chiron: Key to Our Careers

 © 2015 by Aubrie De Clerck, Guest Blogger
All Rights Reserved

Mythical Chiron coaches Achilles on how to play the kithara.

We’re taking a break from the Radical Reposts this month for some shares on Chiron, the “patron saint” of this blog. There’s nothing like Mercury Retrograde to remember and revisit how healing and the quest for wholeness are the gifts of astrology.

In this first article, it’s my honor to introduce Aubrie De Clerck, who combines career coaching and astrology with an understanding of Chiron’s importance in this essential area of life. Consider Aubrie when you need a consultation. She's as an astrologer whose work you’ll want to read and get to know.  Her insights and integrity are impressive, and for you big fans of Chiron, you’ll want her on your radar—and Centaur—screen!    ~ Joyce

In the Career Coaching profession, few of us talk about the deep pain that career and work can cause. There are how-to’s and prescriptions on LinkedIn every day, but not much conversation around the feelings of hopelessness that conflicts on the job, purposeless tasks, or layoffs can bring. 

In one-on-one sessions, clients speak more openly about this pain and it has become clear to me that it is a bigger barrier than ageism, gaps in work history or any other common concern. Underneath their worries was a universal feeling that there was something wrong with them, something Adam Gainsburg calls a “subconscious belief or pattern of assuming we are permanently damaged, wounded, broken or unfixable in specific ways necessary to our fulfillment.” Work troubles can trigger this pattern in short order. 

I looked to astrology to help me find a commonality in client charts that would help explain the pain, change the lens they were seeing through and help them see possibilities. At first, I looked to Saturn, where fear and work can overlap. It seemed especially obvious with the material losses and hard times people were facing. Yet Saturn placements, aspects and transits were not indicative of the pain they were describing. 

Then I looked for transits of Pluto and/or Uranus and they came up short as well. Houses associated with work and career, while important, didn’t hold the key. Informed by intuition and years of hearing the hurt underneath my clients’ fear, anger and despair, I looked at Chiron.

Since that first look, I include The Wounded Healer in my career readings for clients and use it as the focus of talks and workshops. Over and over, I see clients shift when Chiron is added to the picture. They were able to see not only their inner challenges, but also their innate gifts and talents.

Let’s look at a client example, a woman with Chiron in Aquarius in the 5th:
This client continually worked in toxic non-profit environments over her career. Her creativity and innovation were unwelcome in each workplace, the very things she identified as giving her energy and satisfaction in life. She wondered if no healthy non-profits existed out there, but when she went deeper she shared her worry that there was something wrong with her that was causing this struggle—something she couldn’t fix. Her Chiron placement affirmed that she was here to contribute her ingenuity. 

She realized that she was wired up to give this gift and had been choosing organizations that only supported the woundedness. She was able to conduct a search that focused on understanding the culture of the organization and how to find the place that would welcome her fresh perspectives. She landed in a healthy non-profit that was a fit. A year later, she sent me a note saying that leadership was changing the organization in ways that might limit her contributions and that she was keeping a close eye on it, ready to move on if necessary. 

There are a few things I love about this example. 

1.   It shows how applying Chiron placement simply can be powerful.
2.   It illustrates the practical career applications of the placement.
3.   It shows how the client is empowered, using the knowledge as her career continues. 

How clients orient towards Chiron is important. I think of it as two sides of the same coin—the wound and the gift. Many people identify with the wounded side  (especially prominent when Chiron has harder natal aspects) and stop there, trying to protect their vulnerability from the light of day. When we can acknowledge, as in the Chiron myth, that we all are born with the notion that we are separate and imperfect in a way that will cause rejection, we can look at the wound differently. It can inspire compassion for ourselves and others. Once in the light, we can see that in actuality, the wounded place is exactly what is key to our fulfillment—and our purpose. By going into the wound, we find the very thing we are here on the planet to contribute. 

How do we know when Chiron might be at work in our clients’ work lives? The following are some of its telltale characteristics: 

• What they do well for others is difficult to do for themselves
• Inability to identify how they are unique and special
• Feeling understood more by people who are older than them by about 50 years, such as grandparents or mentors
• Swinging between denial and over-achievement

Chiron shows up uniquely for each person, however there are common ways it has been pivotal in my work with clients: 

• Identifying gifts: Giving name to the gifts and the comforting idea that they are innate within the client already. This paves the way for motivation and self-acceptance.
• Defining healthy work environments: Encouraging clients to advocate for themselves at work in a balanced way and guiding clients to structure searches that support the expression of the gift, rather than furthering the wound.
• Finding empowerment: Helping clients understand that the key to change is right in front of them and does not require outside circumstances to change in order for them to access it. 

To deepen your understanding of Chiron’s influence on the careers of your clients, consider looking at sign, house and natal aspects to start. It can provide specific information about a client’s gifts, areas that create roadblocks and paths to healing and purposeful expression. Why not look at your own, too? :)

Aubrie De Clerck is a career coach and astrologer with over 8 years’ experience in corporate, non-profit and education environments. Aubrie was featured in Willamette Week’s 2012 Best of Portland as “Best Cosmic Career Coach” and named of one of the 100 Most Powerful Women by the Northwest Women’s Journal. Aubrie is known for being highly inspirational and deeply practical—with an innate capacity for supporting people in going after what brings them joy. Visit Aubrie’s website at

Photo Credit: Chiron and Achilles by Pompeo Batoni,