Hi Clarissa, I would like to hear more of your take on Art and Astrology as I found your David Bowie music article very inspiring. – Adrian
In February, I wrote this post asking readers to submit ideas for articles they’d like to see covered on my site. This article is of course in response to the above suggestion, but also an idea that sprang out of my previous Q & A article The Times That Try Our Souls. That previous article covered the shape of global astrology transits to come, and how to work with them rather than be worked over by them. While writing that article, it occurred to me that many solutions in the short-to-medium term will be of the DIY (“Do It Yourself”) variety. DIY was a major component of the punk music scene in the 1970s which was when Chiron was discovered. Most folks who are interested in astrology know Chiron as the “Wounded Healer” but its discovery in 1977 has interesting ties to alternative health, alternative music and the Do It Yourself ethic, which I’ll attempt to tie together here.
First off, the astronomy and mythology. Chiron was discovered either October 18 or November 1, 1977. (There are conflicting dates.) A minor planet, it was originally thought to be an asteroid but recently has been viewed as a comet and likely has rings around it, a feature it of course shares with Saturn. Chiron is a centaur (bodies orbiting between the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt) and erratically orbits between Saturn and Uranus. It is not believed to have been in orbit for very long.
The name Chiron derives from one of the Greek mythological centaurs. In the mythology, Chiron’s appearance was very different from the other centaurs, making him stand out and easily identifiable. Chiron was a great healer; the root of the word chiropractic derives from the same Greek word for Chiron (which loosely means “hand”; chiropractic literally means “done by hand”.) Chiron the centaur was revered and respected for his knowledge and skills of not only medicine but also music and, oddly enough, astrology as well. One of the ironies of the Chiron myth was that even though he was known as a healer, he was unable to heal himself and endured a lot of suffering.
Hence, “wounded healer”. It is commonly accepted in modern astrology that wherever Chiron is in a chart it represents a thorn in the flesh, a dull aching pain that can be masked but never really goes away. It represents past hurts, old injuries, whether to body, mind, or spirit. With time and effort we can learn to work with it and turn pain into an inimitable badge of pride, but given the right weather the injury can feel just as raw and belittling as the day it happened.
The Chiron astrology connection to medicine and healing is also well established. Saturn rules the bones and the bone structure; Uranus rules the brain and the electrical responses in the body. As Chiron travels a highly erratic path between the two planets, Chiron rules the spine and the other parts of the body where bone intersects with nerves. (A Uranus transit to my natal Chiron resulted in a slightly bulging disc in my neck, the discovery of spinal narrowing aka spinal stenosis and carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.) Chiron has more to do with chiropractic than the origin of their names; Chiron literally rules chiropractic care and more loosely other “alternative” medicine practices. The transition of chiropractic care from being seen as snake oil nonsense to legitimately healing practice reached its zenith in the mid to late 1970’s, coinciding with the discovery of Chiron.
What isn’t talked about quite as often in astrology is Chiron’s connection to music, although it really should be. Zane Stein was one of the pioneers in understanding the astrology processes of Chiron (and was a long time member of the Tribe.net astrology forum, where I was also a member) and Stein wrote this of Chiron in his book Essence And Application: A View From Chiron:
“One of the most potent uses of music is to help you to enter into alternate realities by making meditation easier. With music, one can leave the realm of Saturnian time and enter Chiros [‘God Time’].”
If you’ve ever listened to a really sad song while feeling down and depressed, and wondered why it ended up making you feel better, it is because the song helped you identify the source of your pain and brought it to the surface for healing. It also reminds us than pain is a feeling shared by everyone. (All together now: “everybody huuurts…”)
When trying to determine the astrological processes and associations of any given body, astrologers look to the time frame of the “birth” or discovery of the body for clues. The major astrological bodies that required discovery often revealed themselves at moments in history that coincided with their own themes. One such planet was Uranus, which has an appropriate and sufficiently weird discovery story. Chiron has already established it’s connection to physical health and alternative therapy. It is its connection to music and in particular the music at the time it was discovered that is interesting.
Chiron entered Taurus in 1976 and of course was still in Taurus at the time of its discovery in 1977. (Chiron did not leave Taurus until 1983.) Taurus, as we know, is the earthy Venus ruled sign of money, materialism, valuables, personal values, leisure, and has also very much been associated with music since ancient times. 1977 was of course the year punk rock officially took over the music scene and tried to kill off the heavy corporate influenced sounds of disco, cheesy pop and soft rock. It was also the year Elvis Presley died. Though punks generally like early rockabilly Elvis, his ridiculous persona in 1977 and subsequent death can be seen as a symbolic passing of one era of music, allowing a new, more visceral one in synch with the struggles and politics of the times to have its day in the sun.
Chiron is punk. You might think with all the talk of hurt and healing that Chirotic music would be sappy mushy emo crap. Not so. In daily practice, Chiron deals with being a misunderstood outcast, a loser and a reject in the eyes of others. The thorn in the side can stem from being poor or ugly or a weirdo or a strongly individualistic person. Since Chirotic pain never goes away, the challenge is to turn the liability into an asset. Pain becomes character which becomes inimitable charisma; not charisma in the movie star glamour sense, but in that je ne sais quoi way. The ugliness won’t ever become mainstream-definition beauty, so it instead becomes art. If you’ll never be accepted, why not just say “fuck it” and do your own damn thing? Punk was and is music for people who can wear their insults as a badge of honor.
Chiron’s discovery while in Taurus and coinciding with punk becoming visible and a lasting influence is a literal example of Chiron behavior in Taurus. Subversion is another thing not as frequently associated with Chiron as it should be, but remember Chiron travels between Saturn and Uranus and so picks up influences from both but uses it in its own distinct manner (this is why Chiron is sometimes called “the maverick”.) Chiron simultaneously and uniquely bucks structures and authority (Saturn) while building its own eclectic structures supportive of individual quirks (Uranus). In the chart, the subversion can manifest as self sabotage if not actively worked with, such as trying to find acceptance from people you know you will never truly get accepted by, or latent masochism wherein you allow others to steal your talents and do not try to get recognized for the talents as you deserve. On the broader scale, subversion during the punk era can be seen manifesting through Taurean things such as the somewhat sick and warped clothes and styles, rejection of corrupt jobs and money systems, valuing music made by people who genuinely loved music rather than boasting pretentiously of skills and a wealthy lifestyle.
The DIY ethic was part and parcel to punk, as well. The idea that the only music worth listening to would have to be done on their own whether or not it found mainstream acceptance is highly Chirotic; remember that Chiron is the root of chiropractic which translates to doing it by hand. Chiropractic healing and musical healing are DIY things. Part of turning pain into beauty is recognizing that no one can do you quite like you do you, and the creative process fosters the authenticity that is the signature of Chiron when done right.
Again, though, the pain can never be completely healed, and as people with Chiron strong in their charts know all too well part of the Chiron pain is either not being taken seriously at all or seeing your hard earned originality stolen by others who do not give you credit. Punk was as famous for plagiarism and ripping each other off as it was for anything else. One small example is Ian Dury –
– seen above wearing the recognizable safety pin and razor blade earring first, long before Johnny Rotten stole the look and passed it off as his own. Dury’s story has always interested me. It’s probably the most simultaneously punk and Chirotic story of that whole scene (in my opinion.) Having a Saturn-Uranus conjunction and probably his Sun as well (the time of birth looks suspiciously “rounded off”) in the 12th house, he contracted polio at age 7 which crippled him. He spent most of his remaining childhood in a home for disabled children, where he was regularly abused. He went to an art college figuring he’d be accepted as an artist and illustrator more than in any other “respectable” profession. He actually didn’t even start a music career until nearly 30 years old (his first Saturn Return), which even today (maybe especially today?) he’d be considered past his prime for starting on such a path. His most famous song is “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”, a phrase he coined, which I personally see less as a song glorifying them as much as his thumbing his nose at society which told people like him that they’d never achieve those things, particularly rock and roll which is usually seen as being for young and beautiful geniuses only. (One of his albums was also called “Do It Yourself”.) The safety pins and razor blades sold at bourgie malls to suburban kids still today was his creation, an “arts and crafts” aesthetic he came up with in college that made use of mundane items and second hand clothes.
Unless a person knows the musical history, though, one would associate punk as being The Sex Pistols or The Clash or The Ramones and not see the vibrant characters that weren’t as famous but contributed as much or more to the music and the DIY sensibilities.
(Speaking of The Clash, oddly enough their original drummer actually became a chiropractor…)
The lifetime chore of healing a pain that won’t heal and turning it into a strong character trait ultimately means Chiron energy is a living thing, one that dies when its originality is stolen by others and reproduced as if formulaic. This too can be seen in the contrast between the creative output of the original punk scene and the increasingly watered down versions of modern times. (Anything that the younguns of today would refer to as “try hard” or “basic bitch” is the antithesis of Chiron.) Chiron itself is set to expire in a million years or so, ironically. Chiron needs to subvert and organically grow based on the unique individual at that time and place. When I wrote my last article These Are The Times That Try Our Souls I sort of understood during the writing process that the times we’re going into will require a new subversion and organic approach that is done ourselves; the current structure and system as it is will not do for us what needs done. This extends to just about any area of life at this juncture on planet Earth.
As this unintentionally funny anti-punk poster (distributed around Tulsa in anticipation of The Sex Pistols playing at Cain’s Ballroom) points out: “there’s a Johnny Rotten inside each of us…”