Not another retrograde?! You may cry in dismay, but before you get your pretty little head all in a tizz, I’m here to tell you that retrogrades are actually pretty handy, and in particular Chiron’s retrograde period (till 2019!) is gonna help us to bust some serious blocks, like a planetary Pacman, eating up all our ghosts and helping us find those sweet sweet cherries.
So, first up, what IS Chiron?
Chiron is actually an asteroid, rather than a planet, and it has a 50 year orbit, so usually, unless it’s well aspected in our charts or we’re having a transit to one of our personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars), it doesn’t do a huge amount, BUT, a retrograde tends to affect us a little more because it feels different. Think of it like sitting backwards on the bus, some people don’t notice the feeling, others get queasy and want to get off, that’s kind of like a retrograde.
But, just like riding the bus backwards, we’re still going somewhere and Chiron retrograde is usually taking us on a long, bumpy, yet rewarding ride into our pasts.
If there’s anything you know about Chiron, it’ll probably be that it’s nicknamed ‘The Wounded Healer’. This is referring to the ancient Greek myth where Chiron the centaur was pierced by a poisoned arrow and gave up his immortality to save Prometheus, thus freeing his own pain and helping another in the process.
Wherever Chiron is in our charts is where we’ll have our deepest wounds, yet these wounds are what we can use to heal others in our similar situations. It’s not so much the blind leading the blind, as the blind who can now see, helping others learn to see too.
Claiming our baggage
Chiron, more than any other point in our charts, tells us where we’re carrying the most baggage.
So, for me, my Chiron is in Cancer in the 11th house, so my baggage looks like unconscious wounds from childhood that make me overly sensitive to other people’s needs, incredibly private and a bit touchy. The 11th house placement means it’s hard for me to really show up in a group and so I tend to shy away from public attention (yet here I am, doing the complete opposite – whaddya know, this astrology shit works).
Now before I get into specifics of how Chiron retrograde will affect your own placement, let’s delve into this Wounded Healer business a bit more.
- The general rule is, before we get into healing others, we must have at least claimed some of our own baggage and begun to work on lightening its load a little.
That means really getting in there, pulling all the stuff out and taking a good hard look at it all before deciding what’s helpful and what’s not. This is what Chiron Retrograde is so good for.
A retrograde is all about reviewing, reassessing, renewing, all those good RE- words. So when we’re delving into this metaphorical suitcase of shit that we carry around every day, it can be painful, we’re going to have to look at stuff that we wanted to leave behind us.
And that’s ok, it’s understandable that we want to ignore stuff that makes us feel bad, but usually what happens then, is it’s stuffed into our unconscious (or the bottom of our big suitcase) and it weighs us down, making us act in ways we don’t really want to.
This might be stuff from our childhood, our family, school, growing up, the neverending struggles of being a teenager, something someone said or did, something that made us feel small or unsafe or unloved.
We carry all this shit around with us and over time, if we don’t sort through it, it gets heavier and messier and we just don’t know why because it’s all buried underneath more recent shit.
So Chiron retrograde is about sifting through this shit, activating our Pacman powers and eating up the ghosts we find there.
That’s the ‘wounded’ part. Now what about the healing?
Aside from the obvious of becoming an actual healer, there are some simpler ways to activate your healing powers.
I want to give you a practice that’s really helped me with my own personal wounds.
Activating compassion with Tonglen
In Tibetan Buddhism, there’s this practice known as Tonglen. Tonglen is a great way of activating our Wounded Healer energies as its designed to use our own suffering as a tool to heal others suffering the same pains.
And while it sounds complicated, it’s so simple to do. You can do it anywhere – at your desk, walking down the street, on a mountain or even on the bus.
Here’s how you do it:
First take a few deep breaths, three is enough.
Then, when you’re focussing on a particular issue, say stress, abandonment, loneliness, pain, you breathe in and imagine that you’re breathing in for all the people and animals that are suffering the same as you. You’re recognising that you’re not alone in your struggles and creating solidarity with those that carry the same burdens as you.
Then, when you breathe out, imagine that you’re giving relief to all those sufferers, including yourself. With a single outbreath, you’re offering release, calm and compassion for everyone who feels as you do.
And that’s it!
When you do this, you’re actually activating compassion (or Bodichitta, as it’s known in Tibetan Buddhism, but we can talk about that in detail another time) for yourself as well as the world.
You’re recognising that you’re not the only one who feels that pain and instead of shutting yourself off, you’re offering some of your attention to relieving this suffering for yourself and others.
This is the path of the Wounded Healer.
So now, what might those specific pains be?
You can take the reading for your Sun sign, or you can use astrolabe.com or similar to find out where Chiron is in your chart and use that one, or both! Whichever resonates most with you.
Think of a time when you weren’t able to be yourself. Perhaps someone made fun of you for who you were, or you weren’t allowed to do something you really wanted to do. How did that make you feel? Do you now feel like sometimes it’s easier to be what other people want you to be, than to show your true colours?
Remember a time when you felt unsafe. Was it when you were left alone, somewhere new, or perhaps something happened that you didn’t have control over? How did it make you feel? Are there ever any times now when you feel like you have to have control over your environment in order to feel safe?
Have you ever experienced any times when you felt like you weren’t being heard? Perhaps at school you were ignored or told you were wrong? Or maybe someone didn’t listen to you? Has this ever affected your ability to speak your mind with confidence, or to follow through on something that means a lot to you?
Did you ever feel like your emotional needs weren’t being met? Perhaps you had busy parents, or you were too shy to speak up when you needed something? Do you recognise your own needs today, or do you stuff them down and focus on making sure others are happy first?
Think of a time when you didn’t get the attention you wanted. Perhaps from your parents or friends? Did you ever act out because of this, or did you withdraw into yourself? How has this affected your confidence now? Do you ever seek attention and feel insecure when you don’t get it?
Were you a responsible type who liked to help everyone and make sure everything was just so? When someone didn’t give in as much in return, or you weren’t praised as you deserved, how did you feel? How does that play out in your life now?
Did you ever change yourself to fit how someone else wanted you to be? Perhaps in a friendship group or with a parent? Nowadays, do you ever try to please others above yourself? And does this affect your confidence in who you are?
Can you remember a time when you felt powerless or afraid? Perhaps as a small child who has no power over their circumstances? Has this affected your ability to trust people and to trust the world around you? How does this play out in your relationships?
Have you ever felt like your freedom was compromised? Perhaps you weren’t allowed to do certain things, had an overbearing parent or felt trapped in school? How has this made you react to commitment? Do you ever resist it? And how does that affect your daily life and potential future?
Did you ever feel like you tried really hard yet still didn’t get the results you wanted? Perhaps at school, in some event, or emotionally, with your parents? Has that ever made you feel like you have to work twice as hard to get what you want? In work, love or life in general?
Were you ever made to feel like an outsider, because you were different or had unique ways of looking at the world? How did this make you feel? Did you rebel against the status quo or try even harder to fit in? Do you feel like you are completely and confidently yourself nowadays?
Have you ever felt like your creativity and imagination held you back? Were you a daydreamer or not good at traditional school subjects like maths or science? Were you encouraged to follow your creative side, or did you stifle it and try to fit in? How do you see yourself now because of this?
So, my lovely Wounded Healers, I wish you strength on this path of digging! Be gentle with yourselves when you pull up this stuff and just know that you are becoming all the more stronger because of this work, for yourself and for the world in general.
If you need a little extra help, let me know, I’ve been down this path many times and I’m still here!
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