Today is the last day of June. It is also the eve of what may be one of the most subtle yet significant astrological moments of 2017. Tomorrow, shortly after 3 am EDT (07:09:23 UTC), centaur object 2060 Chiron commences a retrograde in the next-to-last degree of Pisces. You will not regret taking note.
How the 2017 retrograde station of Chiron matters is a subject as complex as the object itself. Even so, you will probably be able to get to the heart of how the event relates to you by remembering one of the most brilliantly concise astrological characterizations ever made.
Shortly after Chiron was discovered in 1977 (and named in 1979), the late, great Al Morrison called it “The inconvenient benefic.” It did not take long for that one statement to prove itself as one of the most prescient ever made by an astrologer. Perhaps because Al Morrison and Chiron shared a certain facet of personality.
Charles Kowal, the astronomer who discovered Chiron, called it a “maverick” because of how and where it moved. Analogous to Pluto, Chiron has a very eccentric (elongated) orbit that is steeply inclined to the ecliptic plane of the solar system. Much as with comets, Chiron crosses the orbits of better-known planets (in this case, Saturn and Uranus). At first, Chiron was thought to be an asteroid.
Yet, Chiron is much larger than (and does not exhibit the periodicity of) a comet. By the same token, Chiron does not quite qualify as either asteroid or planet. With time, a whole new astronomical category (“centaur object”) was coined to define it. Maverick, indeed. Just like Al Morrison.
During his professional lifetime, Al Morrison upset a lot of astrologers with his challenges to tradition and precedent. Even so, he exhibited proficiency, and got results nobody could deny. Even now, decades after his transition from this biological coil, Morrison remains both highly controversial and deeply influential — just like Chiron. It would be fair to say that astrology, as it is now practiced (on Planet Waves and elsewhere) would not be the same if it were not for him.
It is almost as if Al Morrison recognized himself in Chiron. It would not be too much of a stretch to say that he somehow lives on through his fellow maverick. For those reasons alone, Morrison’s succinct (if not complete) expression of how astrologers might interpret Chiron is worthy of remembering and putting to use.
You might wonder what the term “inconvenient benefic” means for you. First off, when it comes to Chiron, it is important to recognize its implicitly complex and subtle nature. No single phrase (neither Kowal’s nor Morrison’s) will do. You can’t pin Chiron down like a euthanized butterfly. That being said, there is one practical interpretation of “inconvenient benefic” you can apply to your own life: ultimately, Chiron is not exclusively about inconvenient problems, it is also about beneficial solutions.
You might also ask how this particular Chiron retrograde is so significant. For that reason you need only look ahead to the total solar eclipse coming up on Aug. 21.
The Great American Eclipse will take place in the last fraction of the next-to-last degree of Leo. Tomorrow’s retrograde station of Chiron will take place exactly (to the arc minute) 150 degrees away in Pisces. One arc minute, by the way, is one-sixtieth of one tiny degree. For astrologers, at least, such precision cannot be disregarded.
Yet, saying what the aspect between Chiron’s 2017 retrograde station and our next solar eclipse means is a task similar to translating Chiron itself. It’s subtle. It’s complex. Nonetheless, there is a way to work with it.
When two objects are separated by 150 degrees on the zodiac, astrologers call it a quincunx. It is the midpoint between the better-known trine aspect (a separation of 120 degrees) and an opposition (two things on opposite sides of either the sky or zodiac). Trines are considered easy; potentially too easy, as with a proverbial ‘slippery slope’. Oppositions represent a climax at the middle of a cycle, preceded by a build-up and followed by a denouement (think of a Full Moon opposition between the Sun and Moon to get the point).
It is therefore logical that many astrologers consider quincunxes to have something to do with adjustment. To cite just one example, a well-adjusted person knows when (and when not) to depart from the path of least resistance to confront a challenge and get stuff done. Therein may very well be a key to Chiron’s final retrograde station in Pisces.
Make note of the beginning of Chiron’s retrograde tomorrow. Then, make a note on your calendar for the end of Chiron’s 2017 reversal on Dec. 5, 2017. In between, keep two words in mind: ‘adjustment’ and ‘solution’. Every once in a while, think about how those two words might combine to indicate a possibly inconvenient yet also probably beneficial course of action in your life. Above all, don’t think too narrowly.
During what remains of 2017, adjustment might mean redoubling your efforts. At other times it might simply imply letting go and releasing attachment to the outcome you previously envisioned.
Similarly, efficacious solutions might sometimes be what you want, need or have in mind. On other occasions what ultimately proves to be the best and most appropriate solution could very well be something you would not have previously accepted.
Finally, between now and the total solar eclipse in Leo, watch what other people are doing — not to compete and compare, but to learn. Much as Al Morrison found himself reflected in Chiron, the extent to which others are consciously aware of adjustment and solutions could well provide you with an example that will open your own doors of perception as never before. Or did you think it meaningless that the glyph for Chiron looks like a key?
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