Chiron in Pisces: The Missing Piece

Dear Planet Waves Subscriber:

On April 20th Chiron enters Pisces for the first time since it left in 1969. In a recent edition of Planet Waves, I described our current era as the anti-Sixties, but Chiron in Pisces is very much a true-to-Sixties factor. Think of it as being a little like the Beatles. The Sixties were a tumultuous, often frightening time in history, featuring social upheaval, protests, lots of people taking weird drugs, assassinations of beloved leaders, nonstop war in Southeast Asia, and students at protests getting shot. But in the background, there were the Beatles, putting out a constant stream of peace and love. The Sixties would have sucked without the Beatles, and they would have sucked without Chiron in Pisces.

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The famous first live performance of “All You Need is Love” at Abbey Road Studio, on June 25, 1967 — also the first-ever worldwide television performance, called “Our World.” Every country participating got to contribute something; this was England’s contribution. Chiron was in the last degree of Pisces that night, beginning its process of ingressing Aries.

In case you’re not familiar with this odd little planet that goes round our Sun every 51 years, I will cover the basics in a moment — but first let’s review the basics of Sixties astrology. What we usually think of the Sixties was the product of a conjunction: Uranus conjunct Pluto. This meeting of two ‘modern planets’ — planets discovered by science, rather than planets of antiquity — is a cycle of revolution and innovation. Uranus bestows a surge forward. Pluto grants depth, intensity and soul. Put them together and you get an era like the one that brought the French Revolution.

In the Sixties, Uranus and Pluto were conjunct in Virgo, with explosive results. Yes there were many positive developments, but always that constant sense of change and tension and the fear of where it was all going.

Across the sky in Pisces — unknown to astronomers or astrologers at the time — was a small planet called Chiron. Though it would not be discovered until 1977, planets are active long before we’re aware of them, and Chiron’s influence in this era was a protective spiritual backdrop that provided a kind of refuge, a source of inspiration and focal point within all the madness that could make a song like “All You Need is Love” meaningful. If you were born in the Sixties, Chiron in Pisces is likely to be a prominent factor in your astrology, and you’ve been working with it all your life.

Think of Chiron as a condensing device, gathering the viewpoint, imagery, sensations, feelings and the soulful quality of Pisces and concentrating these things into something tangible: call it a sense of contact with the world beyond this one, no matter how mad this world becomes.

In an earlier article on this subect, I write, “In Pisces, Chiron calls us toward the numinous, the mystical, the unknown. Barbara Hand Clow described it beautifully as a Siren’s voice calling from the ocean, beckoning us nearer to God or cosmic consciousness, but as a direct experience rather than as a theory. Chiron serves mainly to focus awareness, but it always does so through experience…The lessons of Chiron in Pisces, if we may call them that, are distinctly spiritual in nature, involving the life beyond the body, the vast mysteries and the surrender of concrete definitions.”

Chiron Basics

Let’s go over the very basics of Chiron, with which (thanks to Laurie Burnett) I’ve been working since my first days as an astrologer. Though Chiron was actually discovered in 1977, there are photographic plates on file going back to 1895 where Chiron can be seen. These are called pre-discovery photos, and the year 1895 is interesting because that’s when D.D. Palmer discovered or invented chiropractic — named for the centaur from Greek mythology. Chiron was a physician, surgeon and herbalist. The French word for surgery is still chirurgie, and the actual meaning of Chiron from old Greek seems to be “one who has hands.” However, by the time of the discovery in the late ’70s, the mythology of Chiron and the other centaurs was a meek footnote to classical literature.

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The Education of Achilles by the Centaur Chiron, by Jean-Baptiste Regnault (French, 1754-1829). Chiron mentored a generation of the greatest Greek heroes, including Jason and Heracles. Part of his delineation includes the idea of mentorship.

Then came our awareness of [the minor planet] Chiron and, true to form, information started coming to the surface. Charles Kowal made his discovery the morning of Nov. 1, 1977 using what is called a blink microscope, a tool astronomers use to analyze photos of the sky for movement. The new body was the size of an asteroid, it had the orbit and composition of a comet, and it was described in a popular journalism article as a planet with an orbit between Saturn and Uranus. This made sure it got unusual attention. It was given minor planet catalog number 2,060 (in order of discovery) and, somewhat miraculously, astrology took notice.

Kowal — an astronomer, not an astrologer — gave Chiron its first keyword when he said, “This thing is a maverick.” Among other discoveries, Chiron stood out as highly unusual and as it works out, people with Chiron prominent in their charts also tend to stand out. They do things their own way. They thrive on being different.

He named it after a centaur presumably due to its hybrid nature; a centaur is a morph of a horse and a man. Naming it after the famous physician of Greek myth, the one who taught medicine to Asclepius, the god of medicine, brought in the dimension of healing. Chiron, an immortal, was injured in a battle, and this brought in the paradox of the wound or injury factor that is so often involved with Chiron, and so often misunderstood. On one level, we have an image of what we face as ‘spiritual beings’ inhabiting the mortal coil, rarely having that sense of being all the way here.

Remembering that mythology is based in symbolism, the ‘wound’ in most situations is the sense of imperfection and spiritual disconnection that we often drag around here on the physical plane. Where Chiron stands in our charts describes how and where this sense of imperfection might manifest, with lots of intensity, drama, effort and focus. Because Chiron is a centaur, we have an image of the paradox of whether a human is an animal or, you know, something else. Notably it was Chiron’s animal half that got hurt, suggesting that the injury we carry involves our deeper, older, primal and instinctual nature.

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Charles Kowal, the discoverer of Chiron.

Yet this has another dimension. Under Chiron’s influence, often the things that seem to hurt us or challenge us make us not only strong, but also able to excel in some outstanding way. Chiron can represent the sense of debility, of not fitting in, or of constant struggle that brings out our greatest talents and develops our strongest character traits. In essence, Chiron is where we’re doing the most significant work on our human potential — or where we get hung up over and over again. Each time we have a Chiron event in our astrology is an opportunity to refocus the cycle.

In careful readings of Chiron in thousands of my clients’ charts, I’ve noticed a few other properties. One involves the holistic nature of Chiron; it wants us to take a whole system approach to any issue, such as our own lives. This also makes it an environmental harbinger: what we think of as ecology is about taking a holistic approach to life on our planet. Another is about raising awareness, which (not coincidentally) is often related to seeing the whole as opposed to a collection of parts. Chiron wants us to see the connections. Chiron transits are often described as ‘intense’ but that which is so intense is the attention factor. There is always a call to action, but it might take us quite a while to get there.

Where we have Chiron in our chart is a place where we tend to put enormous energy, often thinking we’re getting nowhere. Then we find out just how much progress we have made; how much we have learned, developed and given to the world.

A profoundly influential 20th century astrologer named Al Morrison noticed that often, significant benefit came from Chiron events, but that it often arrived with a challenge: so he called it the inconvenient benefic.

Chiron is an intense influence: it accelerates processes, it pushes us to be independent, to look at ourselves, and to deal with our growth. Chiron will try to get our attention gradually; if we ignore the messages, eventually we will experience a collapse of some kind. Then if an astrologer checks the chart he or she might blame Chiron. This is why it’s necessary to look at the whole Chiron cycle when working with this body, which will reveal a hidden pattern of experience and bring together events that we previously thought were unrelated. I cover this in an earlier article called, “When Astrology Listens.”

Chiron in Pisces: Focusing a Vision

Chiron has an egg-shaped orbit that lasts about 51 years. Because of how stretched out the ellipse is, when Chiron is close to the Sun it will cover a sign in about 18 months. When it’s far from the Sun, it will take between seven and nine years. Chiron was close to the Sun in the mid-1990s as it passed through Virgo and Libra, so we all had a rapid succession of Chiron transits then.

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This diagram shows the orbit of Chiron, in blue. Note how Chiron crosses the orbit of Saturn for part of its trip around the Sun, then extends out nearly to the orbit of Uranus. Nearly all centaurs cross the orbit of other planets, providing a symbol or image for many of their qualities. The first orbit-crossing body ever discovered was Pluto, in 1930. Graphic courtesy of

Now Chiron is approaching its most distant point to the Sun, so it will take about eight years for Chiron to cover Pisces. Chiron enters Pisces for a 90-day visit on April 20, retrogrades back into Aquarius on July 20, then returns to Pisces to stay on Feb. 8, 2011. So this spring and summer we get a 90-day introduction to what this energy feels like.

If you like synchronicity, here is something interesting. Through all of 2009 and part of 2010, Chiron was in a conjunction with both the ancient and modern rulers of Pisces — Jupiter and Neptune in late Aquarius. So Chiron enters Pisces all charged up on Pisces energy, and we have been getting wave pulses of this combination for many months. The combination of Chiron with any Pisces factor is focusing that which was previously invisible.

So what do we think of when we think of Pisces? What is our experience of this energy? It’s a fairly wide spectrum, ranging from the highest reaches of the imagination to our direct experience of God or soul to the most liberating and soulful erotic pleasure; to the depths of denial, deception, drink and drugs. (Neptune has a lot of keywords starting with the letter D.) In all, Chiron in Pisces is about helping us see what we have been missing or not paying attention to.

If we focus the strengths of Pisces, that would feel like clarifying our vision for our lives. Most of us have a really hard time with this; many people have no interest at all. Pisces is full of ideas, ideals, and the desire to transcend physicality. Which of these work and which do not? Chiron is calling for a sober assessment of these, to test for what are authentic values and which are things we see through our rosy, New Age glasses.

To put it bluntly, we might discover that we’re not as spiritual as we thought, in the sense that we need to apply our beliefs and ideals to the world in a real way. Chiron calls for a practical approach to whatever it touches. If you believe you’re spiritual, what is the working end of that equation? Where does that quality make contact with society — not just your altar or your yoga mat? You could look at Chiron in Pisces as the focusing of dharma: acting as if to hold the world together. Chiron takes us out of the theoretical realm and directly into what comes with evidence and documentation.

Many people find that the whole spiritual thing is really elusive. Chiron in Pisces draws this ‘elusive’ quality into focus. It’s about making conscious contact with the deepest level of who we are, be it soul, or our true creative impulse, our deepest emotions or our erotic core.

The Missing Piece

Does it ever seem like something is missing from the world? Does there seem to be a lack of compassion, or empathy, or contact with the deeper nature of existence? We see all kinds of evidence of this, in contradictions like: someone opposes abortion allegedly for spiritual reasons, then they support war and the death penalty. That ‘missing thing’ is often the ability to see the whole picture.

Planet Waves
Pisces is one of the most erotically focused signs. Aquarius gets you there on an intellectual level, in theory first. Pisces gets you there in the senses, in fantasy and with imagination. Chiron in Aquarius has given us the theory to back up being horny. Chiron in Pisces is saying sex is of the soul, so let’s go there. Illustration from Imago.

We live in an impressive — though certainly not unprecedented — time when many religions are bashing it out for political supremacy; waging war; are involved in child sex scandals; and spending as much time taking advantage of the poor as they are taking care of them. And five years of Chiron in Aquarius has certainly brought us deeper into the digital dimension.

You could say that the missing piece is the actual experience of God or the human spiritual attribute. Of course, mood-stabilizing drugs are being sold by the kiloton to mask over the spiritual or psychological progress that we need to make, which is an attribute of toxic Pisces. So, too, is the raw, unabashed negativity we get on networks like Fox, to which tens of millions of people are addicted, watching for hours and hours a day, thinking they are being informed. (Toxic Chiron in Aquarius.)

And in a time when we need to be working together and focusing on our common interests, our culture continues to push us toward false individuality and separatism every day. The more we indulge these things, the more we really can believe that we don’t have anything in common; that we gain no real benefit from cooperation. Chiron in Pisces is here to open our hearts and our eyes to these factors and to provide options so that we can see we have a choice in the matter of how we perceive and live our lives on the planet together.

Characteristic of Chiron, as the denial becomes transparent, this may come with a crisis. The crisis seems like it will be about noticing what is missing — perhaps what has been missing for a long time, and then wanting to do something about it. But if we’re talking about spiritual, then it’s right within reach: compassion, cooperation, and helping out a little when you see something needs to be done. Love is always available. We have the option to dismiss the notion of ‘separate’ interests. We have the option to act on our creative ideas and desires and not just hang out thinking about doing so. And you who have done a thousand yoga classes, gone to retreats and intensives and trained in different healing modalities who isn’t quite doing anything with all those gifts: I’m here as Chiron’s personal spokesperson to let you know it’s time to get busy.

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis




By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Examples abound of politics being personal in these challenging times. They are also local. Here in Southern Missouri, I belong to a Political Action Committee that holds a yearly contest for high school kids. In each of several counties, participating students are asked to write an essay on “Why We Should Vote.” We had a sizeable turnout last year, given the presidential election; this year there were not so many. Still, reading through forty essays that all sound alike is a brain-numbing experience. The talking points obviously reflected their teachers’ instruction, and a thread of militarism disguised as patriotic duty ran through every submission. The repeated, effusive honoring of those who “died for our freedom” exposes the deep taproot of American nationalism.

In the end, choosing a winner came down to selecting an entry with a bit of originality and a unique presentation. There weren’t many contenders. We haven’t raised taxes for schools in decades, and it shows.

Yes, politics are local. We read the news to get the larger national picture, but in this age of information deluge, we get a big dose of local politics with every link we open. West Virginia comes to mind. The recent disaster at Massey Energy Company’s Upper Big Branch mine snuffed out the lives of 29 miners, filling our screens with photos and film coverage of anxious, grieving families awaiting news of their loved ones. Sadly, those not killed by the explosion perished from toxic levels of methane gas. The inherent dangers of coal mining became national news, exposing the political machinery that begets such tragedy and the systemic lack of worker protections that threatens us all.

The Sago Mine disaster in 2006 killed 12 and sparked calls for more safety regulation and industrial safeguards. Bush gave lip service to reform without enforcing mine safety laws — or any other laws distasteful to his corporate cronies. Aided by the Chamber of Commerce, coal companies have used loopholes to file appeals on 18,000 pending citations, leaving $210 million in contested penalties yet unpaid. While an appeal is pending, business goes on as usual and the resulting profits more than cover any eventual fines. As recently as March, Massey was twice cited for a build-up of lethal coal dust and a failure to conduct inspections. Massey appealed at least 37 of the 50 citations issued against the company for serious safety violations last year. Massey Energy Company is the current poster child for classist, corporate greed resulting in deadly mismanagement.

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Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 16, 2010, #812 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Face your challenges over the next few weeks as inner mental puzzles rather than opportunities for contention. You could take this astrology either way, depending on your theory of growth or personality. What is coming into conflict are two different aspects or levels of your mind, one of which would be better described as emotional and the other more appropriately called intellectual. Yet there is another dimension that is opening up for you that goes beyond both. You have had tastes of this over the past year, but you’ve been so busy trying to stay oriented that you may have missed some of the subtler aspects of the hidden world trying to get your attention. Beyond mind, personality and emotion is imagination. Humans are mainly limited by what we can envision, and some of those limits are about to disappear.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
I just checked the classifieds and there are no jobs available for moss growing on a rock. You will have to strike that off your list of potential careers. However, you have a few other possibilities: author of love letters or erotic novels; antique dealer; folk historian; marriage counselor or sex therapist; social coordinator. You would see many more, if you chose to be less critical of your creative talents and instead let them guide you to a productive place. For the next few weeks I suggest you conduct a review and inventory of your talents and skills, as well as the desires you’ve previously hidden from yourself but now, for whatever reason, you have the confidence or at least the need to embrace.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
You need to keep a line of communication open within a relationship or partnership, which will provide an opportunity to talk about matters that are usually too sensitive or embarrassing to bring up. You or someone close to you may be keeping secrets; the aspect structure calls for an even exchange of hidden material. I suggest beginning the conversation with an understanding of amnesty; even if you cannot make that request, you can, in your heart, agree to let go of whatever you learn. The changes are excellent, if everyone is honest, that you will come out of the conversation closer rather than more distant. Yet the seeming paradox is that you will be more distinctly individual: in other words, a space of both closer and more liberated. That’s not a paradox at all: it’s a formula.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Any career move you make in the coming weeks needs to meet one qualification: that it be authentically you. By this I mean based on your actual talent; your true values; and what you want to be doing with your time. It’s likely that you’ve been aware of what that is for a long time; you’ve said the words and you understand the values involved. What you’re about to experience is the opportunity to make visceral contact with those values and move forward with the sense that you are embodying what matters to you rather than ‘trying to be’ something. It’s not even necessary that you believe in yourself; rather, all you really need to do is be honest with yourself. And I suggest you trust that those who have the power to help you will also have the inclination, though you will need to initiate the discussion.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
You tend to be the keeper of faith; this has been true lately, and now you’re going to be the keeper of putting faith into action. As you do this, your role involves being conscious of the past while helping orient on the future. Being aware of the past will have the obvious benefit of avoiding the errors strewn there, but also learning from what you’ve done right. Yet this analytical exercise will have another benefit, which is to focus your mind on the question in a new way. One way to look at this involves agreements. Yet what you are really looking for is a way to frame the issue in a way that lends itself to the best solution. In other words, remember that the answer to any puzzle, problem or situation depends mostly on how you phrase the question.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Making long-term plans needs to be an exercise in creating the future rather than determining in advance what you think is possible. If you’re thinking reductively, that is, crossing things off the list to see what you’re left with, I suggest you go the other way and see if you can make the list as interesting as possible. You will come up against some stuck thinking as you do this; you may feel like you’re violating someone’s rules for how you should be; mostly you will encounter your need to stretch your creative muscles. For too long you have existed within a limited set of beliefs of what is possible, and haven’t yet acknowledged that these are a collection of past relics belonging to people you’ve never met, who left the planet long ago.
Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
You seem to be trying with all your energy to get beyond an issue that has been lingering for years. There is an optical illusion quality to this: some ways you look at the situation, it seems entirely to your benefit. Other ways you look at it, you see a lingering problem that defies rationality, communication or normal means of effort. When one feels true, the other doesn’t exist; and it makes no sense that something could be helpful and detrimental at the same time. As you move back and forth between perspectives, ask yourself where the process is taking you. Are you learning anything from considering the different possibilities? Are there circumstances you’ve noticed that present a tendency toward one viewpoint or the other? What if you were to get out of your own way?
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Nobody can challenge your authority — if you remember that all you have is authority over yourself. From the look of your charts, people will try. Certain individuals may want to go back on agreements, and they may imply a creative interpretation from the past that didn’t really exist. All you need to do is hold steady: you don’t need to defend yourself, nor do you need to engage in much discussion. The more energy you feed into the situation, the more someone will think they may be right. In fact you have the option to ignore any communication that you’re pretty sure doesn’t actually impact your life. Be conscious of your own obligations: ask yourself, quietly: do I owe anything to this situation? Have I lived up to what I promised? Even if you determine that you have not, you have time to take care of business. Don’t let anyone rush you.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
I’m sure I’ve told the story at least once of how my first web developer, then-16-year-old Jordan Laughlin, created a new sign — Sagittaurus. Part of why this is funny is due to the wildly differing nature of these two signs: freewheeling Sagg and cautious Taurus. This week his vision comes true. Jupiter and Venus are in an unusual dialog right now, feeding one another’s potential. The key is to let the energy or impulse you feel move quickly into manifestation. You won’t finish everything you start, but you’ll get a feel for how different ideas translate from concept to expression. Where you sense unpleasant tension, try something else; where you sense an easy energy flow, see where it leads. You’re looking for the sweet spot that translates approximately to emotionally satisfying work.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
How do you respond to people who seem less stable than yourself? People who seem erratic, unpredictable or a bit flaky? There seems to be someone of this nature in your environment, and you seem to be getting your buttons pushed. The difficult part is, you don’t have direct power in this situation. Your emotional responses and mental judgments don’t translate well to situations where your authority means anything. And it’s difficult for you to see precisely where your responsibility exists. How about this: it involves how you learned to deal with someone in the distant past. You seem to have had at least one parent who specialized in being extremely self-critical and therefore judgmental, which was papered over by charm and a nice outfit. You are now peeking behind the veil to let go of any similar tendencies you may discover in yourself.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
You seem to be longing for some old version of yourself, but you’re swiftly being carried away from even the memory of who that was. Yet one situation remains, where the prior and future “editions” of you stand in a face-to-face standoff. Take your time with this. Notice who, in your life, supports what you consider to be the direction of your desired growth, progress and creativity. There is never a compromise between good and evil, but fortunately this situation is not so black and white. You are in a process of synthesizing elements of past and future; inner and outer; structure and energy. The result — who you become — will be significantly different than any of the constituents.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You struggle with being different, though you persist in doing precisely that. What you have yet to discover is how different you really are, and how productive that can be, including in the financial sense. What happens over the next week is designed to focus your energy on the most creative and innovative attributes of who you are, and I suggest you never duck from that distinction. Rather, keep firmly in mind how far you’ve veered from a conventional life, and more significantly, why you have done so. The person you are on the inside is often different than who you present yourself to be on the outside, though as Chiron makes its way into your birth sign, the two are being united in a way that has never quite happened before, and that has never succeeded this well before. Allow every event over the next few days to teach you how to become the person you know you’re destined to be.


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