Planet Waves | May 2018 | Monthly | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Planet Waves | May 2018 

Be Yourself, No Matter What They Say

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTINE YATES
  • Illustration by Christine Yates

Chiron is now in Aries. Its eight-year trek through Pisces is ending, and a new era in astrological history is beginning. By any metric, the theme is individuality.

I don't mean individuality in the sense of being a member of a tribe, or a movement, or an organization, or a TIKI-torch brigade. I don't mean drinking Pepsi, which makes you different from someone who drinks Coke. This is not about something you tattoo onto your skin, but rather the cultivation of your soul.

Chiron in Aries can be summed up in two words: self-actualization.

This is usually defined as a noun, which is a thing: "the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone."

I think of it more as a verb, a process, and both a journey within oneself, and the experience of growing, and bringing what you contain outward to the world. This process and the natural impulse that drives it are often buried beneath thick blankets of denial and hazy self-awareness, lost in habit, and worn down by resistance.

Perhaps most of all, the desire to self-actualize is often sacrificed to what seems like a more primal need to conform to what others expect of you, or what you think they expect. This style of conformity is propagated in early childhood, by what Wilhelm Reich called the miniature authoritarian state, the family. Usually, curiosity is its first casualty; independent-minded people are always curious.

Why This is About Chiron in Aries

Aries is the sign related to self, to identity and to self-concept. You can take it on many different levels, from vanity to the quest for being. Part of what determines one's particular style of experiencing Aries are the planets placed there.

In many ways, Chiron is the very symbol of self-actualization. It was discovered in 1977, at the peak of what was called the Human Potential Movement. The concept "holistic" was finding its way into culture, and this is another idea represented by Chiron. Holistic means being a whole person, a meta-theme of Chiron.

The first keyword for this new planet came from its discoverer, Charles Kowal, who declared, "This thing is a maverick!" Old Samuel Maverick (1803-1870) was the rancher who refused to brand his cattle. Hence his name became synonymous with someone who refuses to conform. This turns out to be one of the most practical delineations of Chiron: People who have it prominently placed tend to stand out whether they like it or not. They're unlikely to do as told unless it suits their own purposes. If you have a prominent Chiron (which you can only tell from looking at your natal chart), you need to make peace with being different, and master the art of doing so.

Chiron is now prominently placed for everyone, hanging out near the first degree of the zodiac, called the Aries Point. The Aries Point is the location of the Sun on the day of the vernal equinox, when it enters Aries. The Aries Point's energy extends out to all of the cardinal points (the first degrees of Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, where the seasons begin); it's the big intersection between the personal and the collective.

Said another way, what happens involving the Aries Point can be multiplied over a large population, and also manifests in deeply personal ways. There can be seemingly external events with wide-scale but unusually personal impact. Waves can course through society and give the effect, or the reality, of significant change and progress.

Consider Chiron's hyper-self-awareness, its drive for distinction, and its ability to put a lens in front of anything and magnify all the details.

And Chiron often arrives with one other thing: a healing crisis. This typically happens when one makes a commitment to get well. You might think of it as the "things get worse right before they get better" phase of the process—and it is the getting worse that many people resist, and therefore avoid embarking on their healing journey.

Waking up to oneself, which is the only waking up there is, is not all sweetness and starlight. If you have reasons to stay asleep, awakening can be messy, though there's plenty of anticipation anxiety. One of the first things someone may have to admit is the extent of their pain and unresolved material; their still-unpacked personal baggage. It may seem easier to drag around, though this has a natural limit.

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