I had the pleasure of interviewing Astrologer Barry Cowger about Chiron, and the meaning of Chiron's placement in an individual's astrological chart.
You must have an Astrological Chart generated to find your Chiron placement. This is very easy to do online. You can go to Astro.com to get a Chart generated for free, but you will need to enter your birthday, time of birth, city of birth, and country of birth. You can save your Chart in MyAstro (link on upper right hand side of the page) for future reference, as well as save Charts you may generate for others. You can access your Chart by clicking on the Chart Drawing, Ascendant link (under Horoscope Chart Drawings). Or, I can generate a chart for you (click here), but you'll still need the necessary data like birth time, birth city, etc.
The symbol for Chiron looks like this:
Interview - Chiron the Wounded Healer
Janet: Hello Barry! Tell me about Chiron, the "Wounded Healer". Chiron is an asteroid, correct?
Barry: It is thought of now as being a comet. The symbolism here is that it will eventually burn itself out. The metaphor here is that through Chiron we have to "die" to our own wounds, you might say. The myth of Chiron might be a good place to start. Chiron was immortal, being born from godly heritage but he was struck accidentally by a poisoned arrow from Hercules, one of his students. He was wounded but because he was born from a God and Goddess (immortals themselves) he could not die. So to get out of eternal suffering he had to create an exchange. So he cut a deal and swapped positions with Prometheus, who of course was chained to that nasty rock He ripped off fire from the God-realms himself and so was being tortured. This is another myth altogether. Anyway, Chiron was able to give up his immortality and was finally placed in the sky by Zeus, as the legend goes, in the Constellation Centaurus. Chiron is the Centuar. You know...that half human half horse animal.
Barry: Even if you look at the creature you see that he embodies a bit of the human and a bit of the divine. Metaphorically, this is what we're made of too: a bit of the mortal and a bit of the immortal or spiritual. So, in this symbol (there's a symbol for it that looks like a key) we are supposed to find out a bit about our own personal wounds.
Janet: I never thought of the key symbol. Interesting. Chiron was discovered in the 1970's correct?
Janet: Was this decade significant in some way? In other words, "why now"?
Barry: Well, yes...You can look at the discoveries of planets and such as being synchronistic with earthly events. 1781 Uranus Revolutions that changed the course of Western civilization, 1930 Pluto Stock market window leaping, etc. The 70’s were about a lot of things, depending on who you talked to. During the 70s many were joining ashrams and communes, experimenting with new lifestyles and "free love." Chiron was in the sign Aries for most of that decade. If the wound of individuality had been festering up to that point, then was the time to express that impulse. The Centaurs, with the exception of Chiron, were known for an egocentric hedonistic lifestyle. We also had revolutions in role equality and interchangeability through marriage; this was supported by the Neptune in Libra generation, born between 1944 and 1956. This generation came of age in the 70's. Chiron in Aries may have fueled the desires in these people to break out of the "carbon copy" '60's.
Janet: So how does the myth of Chiron come into play as it relates to the individual?
Barry: Chiron embraced "death" and found release from his suffering. This is really the cool part because we can look at death in many ways. Astrologically, Chiron’s placement in one's horoscope indicates one's experience of the wound that does not heal. We have to die to it in order to gain from it. So if we hold onto our wound we will suffer needlessly. This would be a living death, yes?
Janet: (nodding) Hell, in my estimation
Barry: Like our half human and half divine friend Chiron, we have to "let it go", to put it in the common vernacular.
Janet: Is there any connection to Scorpio, since Scorpio is associated with death issues and even the Phoenix?
Barry: Sure. It's by accepting our mortality (Scorpio) that we take the first step. What does that mean? It suggests that we have to go into it as best as we can. Going into it is not something we do naturally! So we have to get ourselves a mentor or teacher. Chiron was one of the best teachers. In fact he taught the Gods and Goddesses himself. So to go into our own wounds, our black Scorpio stuff you might say, our death, we will be reborn. This process is totally Scorpio/Pluto stuff.
Janet: Does the "teacher" have to be a person? What might qualify as a "mentor" to aid in entering the wound?
Barry: Someone who has gone through the same wound him or herself. "I can't do it. I need someone that I trust to lead the way", you might say.
Janet: Going around the astrological wheel, can you talk about the wound for each sign, starting with Aries? What if a person has Chiron in Aries, for example?
Barry: There are so many levels of course. I can’t do justice to them all, but I'll try to keep it concise and to the point, and useful, too, of course. In astrology there are three levels: signs, planets and houses. So Chiron can be in the 2nd House in the third sign, in which case you need to synthesize the two. This is the art of astrology. In Aries/1st House, the nature of the wound is about identity. The wound has taken this person out of their own instinctive nature. This can happen in many ways. "Identity" has been wounded. This can manifest as discounting, criticizing, and the person not being able to connect with their own 'guts' you might say. If the parents are not related to their own instinctual nature, their sexuality, etc., the child will not be connected to that either. They need to discover their own teacher (Chiron) who will show them what that looks like for that person. Here in the 1st House/Aries, the person has to experience that first hand. No books here.
Janet: Does "experience" apply to all the houses/signs...or just Aries?
Barry: Just if Chiron was in the sign of Aries at the person's birth or if Chiron is located in that person's 1st House. Either or.
Janet: I see. What if Chiron were in Aries, but in the 12th House?
Barry: Well then he/she is connected to the archetypal realms of experience. This would be more akin to a "collective" (12th House) wound that this person is bringing forward from many past "deaths" (incarnations perhaps) into the current life. This is a situation about this person getting conscious of not only their own personal stuff, but of stuff left unearthed from family, society, past lives, etc. This would be great for an artist who is connected to wounds that have happened to people past, which this person is bringing forward into the current lifetime. 12th House is the 'collective wound'. What does a person think of when a person thinks of that?
Janet: I just checked my own chart, and realized I have Chiron in Aries in the 12th House! Fascinating. So, since the 12th House is collective/Archetypal, who "shows the way" as a mentor in this case?
Barry: Other people who have experienced wrongs that they did not personally perpetuate would be one. Victims of all kinds. If you connect with that, a great compassion should come out of you. After the anger of course.
Janet: This sounds a lot like the Judge Archetype. According to Caroline Myss, the Judge Archetype experiences a lot of injustice and "false" accusations.
Barry: There ya go, right.
Janet: And yes, compassion is the result of this. Excellent!
Barry: Hits home?
Janet: In a major way! That's why I checked my chart! I thought "Wait...this sounds like me!"
Barry: Chiron shows the way in which a person can guide others.
Janet: Which is why it's called the "wounded healer", correct?
Barry: "Healer, heal thyself".
Janet: Would this explain why I'm drawn (driven?) to help people move away from victim mentality and "get to the root" of things (as opposed to merely treating symptoms)?
Barry: The thing with a 12th House Chiron is that the ego needs time to form first. You can't get away from that which has not been incarnated. Incarnating… that usually means a lot of suffering first. You accept it, and then you can heal/"die" of it.
Janet: Absolutely. The first 25 years of my life was nothing but. Now I've been (mostly) coasting and taking a break from the intense suffering. As a Scorpio, embracing death comes pretty naturally. For a good portion of my life, I was drawn to Christ and the whole death/resurrection cycle. “No cross, no crown", in other words.
Janet: On to the second sign. What if Chiron is in Taurus?
Barry: Taurus/2nd House is the archetype also of earthly pleasures but also of survival. Physical survival. What is the suffering? Loss of ability to sustain oneself. Loss of material, worldly things. The wound of having nothing to sustain oneself on this material plane. Poverty. Things being taken away. Not having in one's own body the things that are necessary to live in the body! How is your liver? Was it ripped out by an Eagle?
Janet: Ah. Like Prometheus.
Barry: I know a bit florid, but the symbolism is still intact. Does one have something in their bodies that doesn’t work well or has it been "fatally" injured? Good starting points for those who have Chiron in 2nd/Taurus.
Janet: Interesting! So their "mentor" would be someone who has gone through suffering in the physical realm and came out just fine?
Barry: Yes. It would also be one who donates their organs to the Chiron/2nd House person. See?
Janet: The symbolism is amazing.
Barry: People who can't speak. People who can't assimilate the things that their body needs to survive. Taurus rules the throat
Janet: Ah. I didn't know that. So there would likely be 5th chakra/will stuff going on as well.
Barry: People who have lost everything, thinking that if they go into that fear (which is hellish) that they will die. But often they don’t. Ideas like Material things are not good...you should learn to go without them...they are not "spiritual". The list is endless relative to this kind of wound.
Janet: Let's move onto Gemini, the 3rd sign of the Zodiac.
Barry: Here in the 3rd we have all kinds of common "learning disabilities". People, coming out the other end are great teachers and educators. Multi-talented people. 7's in the Enneagram!
Janet: How come? Why "learning disabilities"?
Barry: The ability of the organism to correctly discriminate nput from the environment leads to information processing which leads an organisms ability to adapt (Gemini/3rd is a mutable sign/house) in order to survive and stay on the evolutionary learning curve. If that is "wounded" the person's ability to adapt/survive is severely limited. Gemini/3rd House is a mutable sign/house. Changeable…ability to do and learn about many things. To have lots of skills because of their ability to learn/take in information.
Janet: Ah! I see...you mean the result of having coming through the "wound" then?
Barry: Yeah, thanks.
Janet: Got it! Let's move on to the 4th sign, Cancer.
Barry: This is the parental wound, the family found. Specifically, it revolves around the father’s psychology. "Family wound". "Family can be one's own family, the clan, race, tribe, racial heritage. So it really goes on beyond one's own primary family. Here, one has to go into the wound that was evident in their own family. There are many possibilities. The family as a whole could have suffered. They may have lost their home, their roots. Having had no place to live, go or put down roots. One's own father could have suffered and passed that wound onto his family/offspring.
Janet: Would ethnic cleansing/forced migration fall into this category?
Barry: Ethnic cleansing, sure. It can also be the mother too. It can be either one. The person's chart will usually tell which parent is the one that carry's this wound into their family.
Janet: So, what about the 5th sign, Leo?
Barry: How's your heart? Purpose to life and living. Wandering aimlessly. "What is the reason for my existence?" Who fathered me? Darth Vader? The father quest is indicated here with Chiron in the 5th House or in the sign Leo.
Janet: How is this different than the "father issues" of the 4th sign, Cancer?
Barry: Father in the 4th goes down pretty deep. Father in the 5th is about how do I find him "out there." Chiron in the 4th can be relative to the emotional loss and pain of the actual biological father. The 5th House is like the archetype of the father. One who shows the way for the aspirant. Apollo. The 4th House Chiron can also get into feminine goddess energy too. Connection to the earth, my roots and past in terms of its feminine symbolism.
Janet: I see. I was thinking of the feminine aspect of Cancer and couldn't figure out how that connected. Now it makes sense!
Barry: Nowadays, role interchangeability is happening with respect to the nurturing figure and the protective figure. Mother and father can be either one. It's tricky in the 4th. Same with the 10th House
Janet: (nodding) Is the interchangeability a result of a collective healing of 4th House issues, do you think?
Barry: It helps!
Janet: Speaking of the feminine, what about Chiron in the 6th Sign, Virgo.
Barry: Oh, this is a good one. Chiron was a healer. The 6th House is all about that. Some say that. Chiron here gives natural abilities in this area of life.
Janet: For example?
Barry: We are back to the general issues of health in its many forms. Music can be healing, love is healing, peace is healing...even work is healing! Also, chronic (Chironic) health. Illnesses that never seem to heal! Illnesses that are healed through the "strangest" means. We can be sick and healthy at the same time! We can use our sickness to heal ourselves, yet never heal. The pain of the ego as it feels sick, and this can give a person a breakthrough: they can "die" to that little self that they thought they were! People who are dying have this experience.
Janet: So it's a "good" sick, then?
Janet: It sounds like Virgo is very much like the "Wounded Healer" Chiron, then!
Barry: Service as a benefit to humankind. All kinds of careers are there. Doesn’t matter what it is, it matters whether or not the person is able to heal themselves and the wounds of others through their chosen work…their calling, you might say. They might be a ditch digger. Doesn’t matter, right?
Janet: Right. So it's about healing the wound through work/service for Virgo, correct?
Janet: Let's discuss Libra/7th House. What does Chiron look like in this placement?
Barry: Those people who "wound" us are the openings to what would only be possible for us to be because of the wound itself. Of course we can also be privvy to many people who guide us and teach us and whom we like. But many times this is also a wound because we have to say goodbye and live our own life, and they theirs.
There are many facets to love. Love between child/parent, lover/lover, student/teacher, enemy/enemy, even. We can also have many conflicting feelings about the one's we love. Chiron here is trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff in our relationships and from within ourselves through any, all, or one relationship loss in particular that may still or will open the wound within us. Love is the greatest of wounds.
The best example I can think of right now is the character Shirley MacLaine played in Terms of Endearment. The way she got through the loss of her daughter, was by having someone to hate. But she really didn't hate the character played by Jack Nicholson, but her loss made her confront all the inner conflicts that she already had about herself and life, and he was a good "hook" to place all of her conflicts upon. But she would not have, let all of her anger go, to "die" to it, had her daughter not been taken from her. So with the wound of the loss of a relationship, Chiron opens the door to a new relationship with oneself.
Now you can place signs on it to get a more personal flavor of the way the person may subjectively experience the loss; the meaning of the loss itself. Maybe Aurora had Chiron in Cancer --a family member.
Janet: What about 8th House/Scorpio? Chiron is probably right at home here.
Barry: Definitely! This can get pretty ugly here. Rape, abuse, violations of all kinds, etc. Chiron was the result of a rape actually. So, when we go into our 8th House Chiron we're likely to have to meet the darkest aspects of what humans do to others for all kinds of roots or reasons. On the other end, these are the people who are able to pull others out of the flames of their own self-destruction.
Janet: An example would be?
Barry: Psychologists and people who work with those who have been abused and abandoned. One thing always leads to another. So here you have a theme of the collective again. If one is willing to go into ever deeper and deeper levels of their own stuff, it will reveal deeper strata within the psyche. Jung and Grof come to mind.
Janet: The realm of "Mysteries", too?
Barry: Yes, good. Rituals of death, rebirth, dying to one form of our identity and moving into another.
Janet: Kubler-Ross comes to mind, too.
Barry: Yes, great! I'd like to know where her Chiron is placed.
Janet: Me too! Now, what about the 9th House/Sagittarius?
Barry: The teacher. Chiron was one of the best. In the largest sense it would be the aura of the teacher. If one is within that kind of space many answers can be realized. You came in with questions, but through contact with him/her you know what you came here to discover, intuitively. Have you had that experience?
Janet: Sure, I've thought I was going to "get" something from a speaker/teacher, but in their presence, I find I already know what I need to know. As if their mere presence touches off that which is intrinsic and already known on some level. Does that make sense?
Barry: Yes. Many people have had this experience. This comes from someone who has been there. Teachers pull out of us what's already there. They don't stuff things in our brains.
Janet: Reminds me of stories about Buddhist masters. The 9th House covers spirituality, so this would go along with Chiron in the 9th House, yes? Spontaneous/spiritual healing?
Barry: Yes. A teacher teaches you what the teacher knows you need to hear. The Buddha taught the same subject matter to different people depending on where that person was in their consciousness. The Buddha knew where they were internally, which allowed him to get his message across in ways that people could hear, relative to their level of development. The Buddha knew where that was for the people he was speaking to. A true teacher.
Janet: Jesus was similar in that his parables "hit" those who were ready to hear it. On the other hand, it angered those who couldn't "eat" it!
Barry: He taught that way. Parables. He had 6 planets in Pisces in his 3rd house. Talk about speaking in ways that were misunderstood (Pisces!).
Janet: Is this based on his birthday? I didn't know it was ever pegged.
Barry: There are different charts floating around. This is one that makes the most sense to me. It was the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in March, 7 AD.
Janet: It was believed he was born in the Spring, since that was when the flocks would be out. (Not Dec 25th!) Makes sense.
Barry: Dec. 25th is purely symbolic. The death and resurrection. The end of the year, when the Sun is at the nadir, ready to be reborn.
Janet: So, onto the 10th sign Capricorn. What does Chiron mean here?
Barry: Here we enter into the crush of history and time. Chiron, the nature of Chiron...then image that meaning into time, history and all that has happened in history with respect to politics, governments, political leaders, wars, and all that! A lot of healing. Governments dominating and suppressing others, people who get caught in that and lives are lost in the millions! China and Tibet! So, we get into the wound of political and economic forces that impact and affect (wound) personal lives. Capricorn/10th house is about the above political forces and such. The father and mother too.
Janet: Capricorn? And how is this different from Cancerian mother/father issues?
Barry: It is about things that we have inherited in terms of our cultural background. This would be different for those born into different political and social systems. Cancer and the 4th House (as it is linked to the other) is about genetics; our genetic heritage which comes from mom and dad, but the roots come from mom. It is how we are linked in a genetic sense.
Janet: So Capricorn is more ancestral/cultural?
Barry: This is a tricky one. Again it is mixed, depending.
Janet: Not to complicate things further, but it's my understanding that the 8th House is about "inherited things". (And Scorpio rules the 8th House) Is there some type of connection between Chiron in Capricorn and Scorpio?
Barry: That's right. Inherited can be about things, yes. It’s also about psychic inheritances. This is something I haven't thought about it terms of distinctions.
Janet: How does one inherit something "psychically"?
Barry: If a parent has not integrated something the child will live it out as an unconscious inheritance, like rage for example. A child can pick this up.
Janet: Not to jump ahead, but how is this different than the 12th House that we discussed earlier?
Barry: The 12th House is not directly linked to the parent him or herself per se. The 8th House is less vast. The 12th House is endless. The 8th House is not as limitless.
Janet: I see. So the 8th House is more about inherited things in the direct genealogy, whereas the 12th House is about the whole collective.
Barry: That would be a useful way to think about their differences, yes. How is it that people in South America are having the same dreams and art as people in Europe? This is an example of the collective consciousness. If there is no direct contact that we know of, again, the 12th House would be the "answer."
Janet: Right. This would be the realm of the Akashic Records, too. Getting back to Capricorn, how would someone with Chiron in the 10th House/Capricorn "enter" their wound? Any examples?
Barry: Entering their wound in terms of how the larger political and economic forces clashed with their own personal wishes and desires of their own personal lives. We have to see ourselves as being wounded. And many times we do feel as if we have been victimized....
Janet: So to heal the wound, it must first be acknowledged in some way. Boy, what a challenge if you're not on a path to awareness, don't you think?
Barry: Of course. If one has pain, and one does not know where it is coming from you have to look. This is the healing journey. Chiron’s house and sign position will give clues as to where that might be for a person. Mine is in my 4th house. My whole trip was about the family wound. I went through about 3-4 years of therapy. I put myself into therapy at 20 because it was obvious that something was very wrong. Didn’t take a genius to figure that out. Individual, Couples, Gestalt, TA, Men’s groups, Rebirthing, past life regression, even astrology!
Janet: Me too. I put myself in therapy in college not long after my 21st birthday.
Barry: I was a mess at 20.
Janet: Weren't we all. (smiling)
Janet: Through your astrological practice, would you say that there is a theme of helping to heal wounds fraught by "family"?
Barry: Absolutely. I wrote a book on family psychology (Chiron 4th) and astrology. It was my healing of that in many ways.
Janet: On to the 11th House/Aquarius.
Barry: This position also connects to the myth as Prometheus was the light bringer. Knowledge. Knowledge as Gnosis. In Buddhism this is relative to getting a "transmission."
Janet: A cosmic "download"?
Janet: How would a person with Chiron in Aquarius experience their wound?
Barry: The trick with Aquarius is that many leave it in their heads. They would not want to go there. They would experience it in terms of being excommunicated, thrown out, banished, and burned, left for dead and altogether being cast out of the fold.
Janet: Because of what they "know"?
Barry: Not necessarily, although this can be. Sometimes a person is just too “fringe” to be accepted, whether they "know' anything or not.
Janet: So Chiron in Aquarius is a type of "social" wound?
Barry: Yes. How many of us are able to recognize, let alone accept, what may be too threatening to our states of mind and what we think we know? Gives you an idea of this kind of wound.
Janet: What about when a culture advances in some areas (head knowledge/technology for example) but their heart hasn't caught up. Would this be an Aquarian/Chiron type of manifestation?
Barry: That's a good one. Total depersonalization. Geniuses come from this kind of wound, too. Crazy/Genius. Leaving things only on the mental plane and never really risking being different is another type of self-wounding.
Janet: This sounds a lot like the realm of Type 5 in the Enneagram.
Barry: Yeah! I have Chiron in Aquarius.
Janet: Ah! And you're an Enneagram Type 5, correct?
Barry: Yes. Actually Chiron stayed in Aquarius for a long time, due to its eccentric orbit. Had I not wrote the book and not gone into therapy, which I know was the truth to do, I would not have found my way, you might say.
Janet: And we come full circle to the 12th House, Pisces which we touched upon already.
Barry: The 12th House is the final house. We come to the end of one story and into the opening of another. We find that our own personal wounds open into areas that we had not anticipated. We realize compassion for ourselves; we have that to give to others. There is no difference between anybody. Total empathy with the wounds of others, and this can heal them, just by "being there" with it. Not trying to fix it. We don't hold onto it anymore, it's not a drama that interests us really.
Janet: This sounds a lot like tenets of Buddhism. Just "being" with something.
Barry: The Buddhist notion of lives going from one to the next. Where did that life begin? No one knows. Aren't we spiritual? (laughing) Sounds like a Type 5 and Type 7 conversation!
Janet: (laughing) I can't help myself.
Barry: Well, there we have it.
Janet: Thanks so much for this interview, Barry.
Barry: Thank you!
About Barry Cowger: Barry authored a book titled Reconstructing the Real You where he explores family dynamics and developmental psychology through Astrology. A professional astrologer since 1985, he is an expert in both locational astrology and forecasting. His success and popularity are a result of helping clients bridge from their own psychology, viz., clusters of self-images and identity patterns, to a more self-aware and "present" experience of living.
An adventurer at heart, Barry has worked in many countries over the last decade including China, India, Nepal, Egypt and throughout Eastern and Western Europe.
The teachers that most influenced Barry are Jeffrey W. Green, Diana Stone and the late Jim Lewis.
Before focusing on astrology, Barry was a professional rock drummer in Seattle.
Meditation and Anusara yoga are part of his daily practice.
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