What Does Chiron Retrograde Mean?

Chiron, the Wounded Healer
Chiron, the Wounded Healer

Our society as a whole seems to have learned just enough about Astrology at this point to fear retrograde periods…which might actually be worse than not being aware of them at all.

It’s not super-helpful to think of retrograde periods as being necessarily “bad.” Yes, depending on the specifics of a given retrograde interval, and also depending on the specifics of your own unique chart, then it could sometimes seem that things do go off the rails for you during retrograde times. Then again, if you were to keep a journal in dedicated fashion, you’d probably also find that plenty of things tend to go off the rails in your life even when no Planets at all are moving in retrograde fashion…

More helpful than adopting a viewpoint of “retrogrades = all bad, all the time,” it’s wise to always consider first which Planet it is that’s going retrograde…and then look at your own chart to see if you have any features in it that might be on the receiving end of that Planet’s shifting energies when the retrograde event happens.

But what does that mean in plain-speak, without all the Astro-jargon…?

Basically, the first part (“Which Planet is going retrograde?”) is saying that Mercury going retrograde, for example, won’t cause the same effects or ping the same themes that, say, Venus going retrograde will cause and ping. And the same holds true for Mars, and Jupiter, and Saturn, and on through the entire cast of planetary characters. Each Planet has its own unique set of functions, so you need to focus on which Planet is doing the retro-work in question.

And then the second part – the bit about looking at your own chart – means that a given retrograde event won’t generally affect any two people in quite the same way. Think of the Planet going retrograde as a transmitter, beaming out a signal. Now think of yourself and everyone else in the world as being receivers in the shapes of humans. Each of us is different, and we’ll each receive that Planet’s transmissions in slightly different ways. Some people will be reading the broadcast so loud and clear that it will hurt, while others will have to strain to hear it at all.

So what happens when the Planet going retrograde is that interesting Planetoid, Chiron? This is a pretty good question to be asking right about now, as Chiron is set to station retrograde this coming Saturday (July 1, 2017)…

We need to start off by focusing on what makes Chiron a unique force… Chiron the Planetoid is named for a figure from out of classical mythology who was known as “the Wounded Healer.” Chiron was an immortal centaur (= half-humanoid/half-horse) who was scratched with an arrow that happened to have been coated with the blood of the Hydra, one of the most fearsome monsters ever to slither across the ancient Greek landscape. Being an immortal, Chiron couldn’t die, but the Hydra’s blood was so toxic, that he couldn’t metabolize it out of his system, either. He couldn’t heal from the wound. Chiron was therefore trapped in this horrible state of perpetual agony.

Rod of Asclepius
This is the Rod of Asclepius, a symbol associated with healing in our society. Asclepius was one of Chiron’s students – he became the greatest mortal healer of his day, in part due to the wise teachings of Chiron…

When his own already impressive medical knowledge failed to offer up a cure, Chiron traveled the world, looking into more and more exotic possible remedies. Nothing helped, but he did at least pick up so much new healing knowledge and skill that he became one of the greatest healers of all time.

Perpetually wounded + medical wizard = “The Wounded Healer”

In our birth charts, then, Chiron points out an area where we bear some sort of deep-rooted “soul-wound,” some trauma or condition that causes us ongoing pain in our lives until we can hopefully learn to heal it. This can be an actual physical condition, or something less tangible (a spiritual, emotional, or mental “wound”). The good news is that our experiences with our own Chironic wounds can allow us to become great healers of the same kind of wounds in others.

All of which is the backstory… Let’s jump now to this Saturday, when Chiron up in the sky will suddenly look to us here on Earth as if it will be stopping in its tracks, and then moving backwards in the sky. This is just an optical illusion caused by the realities of us observing Chiron from a different body in space that’s moving at a very different speed than Chiron is…but in Astrology, this kind of event carries an important meaning.

The gist of it is that whereas Planetary energies are generally beaming themselves all around us in the external world, when a Planet goes retrograde, its energies will then seem to manifest more within our inner worlds. This Chiron retrograde period will therefore be a five-month window of opportunity during which we can possibly make great strides in recognizing and even healing our own deepest soul-wounds.

The Healing Touch
“The Healing Touch” by Tim Holmes – Chiron retrograde periods are terrific times for manifesting some real healing in our lives…

Your best bet will be – as always! – to start by analyzing the Chiron situation in your own birth chart. What Sign and what House does your natal Chiron reside in? The Sign will give you some clues about the nature of your intrinsic wounds, while the House will flag some area of your life in which those wounds will most often and most intensely be felt.

Next, examine any Aspects that connect your natal Chiron to any other Planets in your chart. Squares and oppositions will be especially useful in understanding more about the characteristics of your wounds, and grasping what might cause you to keep aggravating them all over again. Meanwhile, the more harmonious trines and sextiles will be more likely to suggest ways in which you might soothe and even heal those wounds.

After you’ve put in some time analyzing your own natal Chiron, take a look at where the actual Chiron Planetoid is in the sky right now – the very final stretch of Pisces – and see if you have any important Planets or Points in that same area in your own birth chart. If so, you may be especially inclined to feel the Chironic energy-waves during this five-month period. You might also want to examine the corresponding sections within the other Mutable Signs (Gemini, Virgo, and Sagittarius) in your chart, and the same thing will hold true: if you have any important placements in the last few degrees of any of those Signs, this retrograde period may be an eventful one for you.

Chiron will remain in this retrograde state until December 5th, when it stations direct (“goes back to normal”), so you have five months during which you can hopefully tune in and really gain insight with respect to your deepest, most longstanding sources of spiritual pain. Chironic healing is a tremendous gift when it comes, so it might be terrific policy to encourage it during this retrograde interval.

Gentle and versatile healing and other holistic practices will be especially helpful at this time: Reiki, meditation, and yoga are a few examples of some modalities you might consider. You can also make use of any techniques that can be keyed more precisely into your own specific Chironic situation.

Try viewing this period not as a time for wallowing in self-pity about your wounds, but as a positive opportunity to bring about some deep and profound healing…

Full Moon on May 10th

Full Moon 5-10-17This coming Wednesday, the Moon waxes full in the rather intense realm of Scorpio. That means a lot of light shining into a lot of darkness, as Scorpio is the province of such weighty concepts as sex, death, secrets, power dynamics, psychology, and transformation.

If you’re in the Providence, RI area, please feel invited to drop in on the meditation/healing session I’ll be running at the headquarters space of the phenomenal Thrive Tribe! Several Reiki practitioners will be on hand for the event, so infusing the proceedings with positive, healing vibes is part of the central concept. We’ll also be focusing specifically on the idea that this Full Moon will be illuminating that shadowy Scorpio terrain.

And if you won’t be in the area, you can still do something in your neck of the woods to mark the event. An opportunity to carry some light down into the depths of Scorpion-territory is not to be missed!

Pluto Retrograde

Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld…and when Pluto gets active, all of the hidden, buried things come crawling up to the surface…

It’s been some season of retrograde activity lately here on Planet Earth. For a moment there, we were toiling under no less than four Planets that, from our ground-bound perspective, looked to be traveling backwards through space. A few days ago, on the 15th, Venus halted her retrograde ways and returned to more standard direct (= “forward”) motion, but that still leaves us with Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn all seeming to backtrack along their usual orbital pathways.

And two days from now, on the 20th of April, cold, dark Pluto will join them.

So what does it mean when a Planet named for the Lord of the Underworld seems to cease its creeping progress around the Sun and then roll backwards…?

As you may know, astrologers generally tend to describe retrograde periods as times when the energies symbolized by the Planet in question will be more likely to manifest in our inner worlds rather than as concrete developments out in our external consensus reality as they normally might.

In the case of Pluto, we’re often talking about deep, often long-buried psychological material emerging into the light. This can be a terrifying sort of occurrence, but it can also ultimately be very healing and empowering. Keeping a secret can often enslave us to that secrecy, and it can be profoundly liberating to expose such hidden material. Doing so then frees up all of the bandwidth that had been dedicated to preserving the secrecy.

And it’s important to note that when Pluto gets active, the secrets in question can be of the deliberately and consciously kept variety, or they might be things that are hidden even from the person doing the hiding. Humans can display astonishing powers of denial and suppression. Sometimes this happens due to concerns revolving around self-protection: for example, someone might suppress memories of traumatic experiences simply so they can continue to function in the wake of the trauma. At other times, people can bury thoughts, emotions, and memories in the depths of their psyches due to triggering pressures such as guilt, fear, shame, or doubt. Might it not be better in the long run, though, to deal with such issues in a conscious manner rather than letting them fester in the darkness, where hidden things tend to patiently bide their time, while growing in potency and influence…?

It’s very often true that when we don’t deal with our issues…our issues deal with us. And when they do, at times and places of their choosing, it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t enjoy the results.

In addition to “hidden stuff” in general, Pluto can also symbolize intense power dynamics, transformation, intensity, issues in the realm of sexuality, and at times, great wealth.

So when Pluto turns retrograde, we enter intervals of time during which all of these themes may turn inward. We may be invited to descend into our own internal Underworlds, and confront our own inner demons. We may have to face parts of ourselves that we fear or despise. We may need to identify self-imposed blockages and other unhelpful programming that we’ve taken on over the years. We might have to come to terms with certain threads of darkness that lie within us. It’s also possible that this is an opportunity to acknowledge and embrace aspects of our own power that we’ve been denying or avoiding. In some cases, this might even be a chance to bring about some remarkable transformation within ourselves.

But whether the overall effect is one we might label “positive” or “negative,” Plutonian events are generally going to feel heavy, stark, intense, and often frightening. Taking an active hand in their development, or at least recognizing their approach and bracing for them, can be helpful techniques in dealing with them.

And as always, it’s a good idea to see where the event is occurring as related to your own birth-chart. This Pluto retrograde will be happening at about 19 degrees into Capricorn. Do you have anything at or near that location in your chart? Or do you have anything at around the 19 degree mark in any of the other Cardinal Signs (= Aries, Cancer, Libra)? These are the places where this particular event will deliver its strongest impact. Also, if Pluto is naturally strong in your chart, this retrograde may make itself felt in your life.

Pluto moves very slowly as compared with the other Planets in our solar system, so its retrograde periods last for some time. This one will remain in effect until September 28th. Until then, it may be good policy to tune in to your own internal worlds. Meditation, recording your dreams, various forms of therapy, shamanic practices, and naked honesty with yourself about yourself may all prove to be helpful tools in navigating this particular retrograde period.

It’s not always possible to avoid being caught in the darkness…so maybe view this interval as an opportunity for gaining some skill at navigating within it.

Guided Meditation in Providence – 2/22

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One of the questions I find myself asking clients again and again during counseling sessions is this:

“Do you meditate…?”

And most of the time, the answer is an uneasy and somewhat apologetic or guilty-looking, “No…”

Our society gives us a somewhat inaccurate and often unhelpful picture of what meditation is, can be, and “should” be. Meditation can actually take many forms, and very few of them demand that you remain in lotus position for hours on end while levitating.

Later today, I’ll be hosting a guided meditation at a local nexus of benevolence here in the greater Providence, RI area called The Empowerment Factory. TEF lies within the confines of the Hope Artiste Village complex in the town of Pawtucket.

The event will run from 6:30pm – 8:00pm, although we won’t be sitting in silence or chanting without pause for 90 minutes straight. This is meant to be a beginner-friendly, undemanding session. All are welcome, and this is a donation-based gathering (in other words, if you want to contribute something to help TEF defray costs of operations, that will be cheerfully accepted, but it’s not required).

If you’re in the area, please join us!

Reiki Share and Crystal Wands

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Crystal wands – from L-R: Tiger Iron, Ruby in Zoisite, and Fluorite

Last night, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to lead a Reiki share event at The Empowerment Factory, a non-profit organization working to help the underprivileged in the Providence, RI area. This was the second such share in what we now expect to be a monthly series.

At the beginning of last night’s share, we entered into a sort of group meditation…only instead of the more typical variety of meditation you might expect to encounter at an event like this, everyone indulged me in my desire to experiment with our ability to perceive different varieties of energy. I had brought along the three crystal wands pictured in the accompanying photo, and I wanted to see if any of the group might be sensitive to the different energy-signatures of these three very different substances.

I asked everyone to close their eyes and link hands, and then I picked up the first of the wands. I described its characteristics, and then I asked the group to take note of any changes they might be experiencing in terms of their incoming impressions while I was holding the wand, including any sensations, thoughts, and emotions that might be cropping up.

After a minute or two of focusing on that first wand, I let the group know I was setting it down, and I gave us all a minute to sort of cleanse our energetic palates of the “taste” of the first wand. Next, I repeated the process with the second, and then the third wand.

It was a very interesting exercise! I, myself, am not extraordinarily sensitive to input of this nature, but as it turned out, some of the people in the group are, and they had some very vivid and significant responses to the different wands. Because we were all connected by touch, it had seemed possible to me that this could be a possible outcome, but it was fascinating to see it play out with real feedback from real people!

After the exercise, we held the share itself, and it was a terrific session. We had several newcomers to Reiki joining us, and as always, it was very gratifying to see people coming together with positive and selfless intentions. It was also fun to pass the wands around during the Reiki share to see if anyone could sense greater stimuli through the wands (like the difference between listening to someone’s heartbeat with your unaided ear, and then trying it again with a stethoscope), or if the wands might enhance the ability to channel the Reiki energy outward. Again, some of the attendees got really good results from this technique! Reiki and crystals do tend to play well together…

Our next share is scheduled for the evening of Feb. 15th, and it will again run from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at The Empowerment Factory. Reminders to follow, but if you’ll be in the area, please mark your calendars now, and make plans to join us!

New Year’s Evolution: Take Care with This Phase of Self-Care…

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My January 1, 2017 involved a sort of holistic program of both yoga and Reiki. I loved it in the moment, it felt great on multiple levels…but then I had a bit of a stormy weekend afterwards, anyway (emotionally-speaking), and not always for reasons I could pinpoint, which felt sort of baffling and unsettling. Why would I be angry or sad (or both at the same time) for no apparent reason, and especially after I just spent half a day engaging in a terrific healing session…???

But then here’s what I decided was going on:

  • Just as humans can accumulate plaque on their teeth and in their arteries, we can also collect up the psychic equivalent of gunk…and this psychic gunk can be just as detrimental to our well-being as the physical kinds, but it can be controlled maybe even better, with good self-care.
  • But self-care, in any of its many forms, (including both Reiki and yoga, as it happens) can, as a part of its process, knock loose some of that collected psychic gunk and then release it into the ol’ psychic “bloodstream”…and until it then washes itself away, and out of the psyche-system entirely, it will be felt.
  • And feeling it isn’t so super-pleasant for the person whose system had been playing unwitting host all this time to that particular helping of psychic gunk.
  • Even this is good and healing overall, though, because with something that’s kind of insidious and creeping like plaque, the “better out than in” principle definitely applies…and better to feel some old and unsettling feels for a few days and then be done with them, than to let them fester beneath the psychic floorboards until they become truly horrific! But so the whole thing is a purging of sorts: not fun while you’re going through it, but purifying and a real way-paver for good healing.
  • Healing modalities across the board (from exercise to energy-healing to psychotherapy) may not always make you feel instantly “better,” but this doesn’t mean that they’re not doing their work, and doing it well…

To sum up:

Reiki!

Yoga!

Happy New Year…

Reiki Share in Providence

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Last night, I hosted a Reiki share here in the Providence area at this great space called The Empowerment Factory. I’ve hosted shares before, but not in this town, and not at that venue (and it was also the first-ever share held at TEF).

Even with all that being true, it was still an excellent experience! We have a couple of minor wrinkles to iron out, but everyone seemed upbeat and actively positive about the share, and we now have it shaping up to be a monthly deal. Drop me a line if you’ll be in the Providence area and looking for a Reiki-centric event, or keep watching this space for updates!