On April 20 Chiron entered Pisces for the first time since 1969. In last month’s edition of Planet Waves, I described our current era as the anti-Sixties, but Chiron in Pisces is very much a true-to-’60s factor. Think of it as being a little like the Beatles. The ’60s 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 ’60s would have sucked without the Beatles, and they would have sucked without Chiron in Pisces.
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 ’60s astrology. What we usually think of as the ’60s was the product of a conjunction: Uranus conjunct Pluto (in Virgo). 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 ’60s, 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 a focal point within all the madness that could make a song like “All You Need Is Love” meaningful. If you’re born in the ’60s, 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.
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 prediscovery 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 from old Greek seems to be “one who has hands.” However, by the time of its discovery in the late ’70s, the mythology of Chiron and the other centaurs was a meek footnote to classical literature.
Then came Chiron and, true to form, information starts coming to the surface. Charles Kowal made his discovery the morning of November 1, 1977. The body he discovered 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.