Chiron was a son of the Titan Cronos, and the first of the centaurs, though he was not directly related to them. Unlike most centaurs, which combine the torso of a man with the body of a horse, Chiron is traditionally depicted as a fully formed man, including the front legs, with the rear of a horse’s body and its hind legs and tail attached. Chiron was also more cultured, intelligent, and kind than others of his race, performing a teaching function for many Greek heroes in their youth, including Achilles, Jason and Heracles.

The son of the Titan Cronos, Chiron’s unique physicality was a result of his father’s passion for the nymph Philyra, with whom he was having an affair. Cronos’ wife Rhea was suspicious, and shadowed her husband’s movements. Coming upon him in flagrante, sporting with Philyra on Mount Pelion, in the midst of the act Cronos transformed himself into a stallion to avoid Rhea’s detection, and so the child born of this union was half-human and half-horse in appearance. Philyra was so disgusted by her child’s monstrous form that she abandoned him on the slopes of the mountain, and begged the gods to change her into any non-anthropomorphic thing; she was transformed into a linden tree.

Apollo took pity on the orphan, and raised him up, teaching him the arts of healing, which he later passed to Asclepius. Chiron was noted for his wisdom and compassion, becoming the tutor and friend to many Greek heroes. He is instrumental in the story of Achilles, whose father Peleus he taught how to ensnare the nymph Thetis, whom he later married; when their son was born he was given to Chiron to mentor. Chiron was also teacher to Ajax, a hero of the Trojan War; Aeneas, progenitor of the Roman race; Theseus, slayer of the Minotaur; and even the god Dionysos, whom he taught chants and dancing.

Sadly, Chiron was accidentally wounded by his friend Heracles, in his battle with the centaurs at Pholus’ cave (see the entry on Pholus for further details), pierced by a poisoned arrow. As he was immortal, Chiron could not die, but neither would his wound heal, leaving Chiron in constant pain. Burdened by his guilt, Heracles appealed to Zeus for a solution to the problem, and Chiron was allowed to trade his immortality to replace Prometheus, who had been chained to a rock, tormented by an eagle which ate away his liver daily, as punishment for giving fire to mankind. Chiron agreed to take his place, but after nine days of suffering the eagle’s attacks, Zeus took pity on him and set him in the heavens as the constellation Centaurus.

The astronomical body Chiron was the first of its kind to be discovered, in 1977, prompting an entirely new astronomical classification, the centaur body. These orbit between Saturn and Uranus, bridging their energies in many ways. Subsequent observation showed Chiron to be a comet, though it is still designated as a minor planetary body.

Astrologically, Chiron represents not only healing, but also the wounded healer, one who carries a defect or flaw but who aids others in their suffering and pain; non-traditionalists who perform against type; unique and nonconformist behaviors; mavericks; and teaching, tutoring or mentoring roles.

Share this:
Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal, due in 2018. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and currently a board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

2 comments, add yours.

Robert Wacker

Hi Alex,

Great site! Many thanks for your contributions.Just stopped by to check out your thoughts on Requiem. Hey, just a note or two on Chiron in a Natal chart. Its worthwhile to mention that the placement of Chiron is often consistent with problems of integration, specifically -as has been suggested elsewhere- difficulties in bringing instinct and even compulsive emotional reactions to experience to a higher level of individualized function and refinement . Think of the difference between responding to a challenging remark with ad hominem versus a brilliantly articulated , logical response. In the first case the processing of the emotion driving the less than brilliant response simply hasn’t been brought to a level where it serves the intellect and higher reasoning .Naturally that can be due to an inability of the mind to summon the language necessary to articulate ones response. The question of what is lacking and why can of course be answered by sign , house and aspect…as well as Asteroid placements ! Anyway, this is not an original Idea and what I have said is supported by the work of others but my observations have sustained the truth of the idea. Naturally it’s not the only thing that we can attribute to Chiron as a symbol, but its useful. These are great times we are living in when it comes to the language. Thanks for the grace in accepting comments out of the blue.

Robert Wacker

Hi Alex ,

Regarding my previous message, it can also be seen in the following way. Wherever Chiron is suggests where our powers of reason can be used to control , channel and usefully utilize our more instinctual, compulsive energies , drives , inclinations , etc. Chiron’s placement does suggest where that evolutionary process has been thwarted in some way. I actually made a leap while reading a book by Dane Rudhyar some 23-24 years ago in which he was describing Sagittarius . It seemed reasonable to look at Chiron through the lens of more efficient function and bringing the subconscious into a more harmonized existence with what we call the “Conscious” mind. Ok, enough for now. Have a great week and thanks again for the site!

Leave a comment