Last time we looked at the pattern of transits in the Chiron Cycle and how that relates to the process of awakening. The cycle completes with the Chiron Return when the planet returns to the place it was when you were born. Your experience of this will depend on whether you’ve been working consciously with your wounds and growing towards wholeness and individuation. It also depends on other transits to Chiron at the time of the return, as well as any other major transits to your chart.
As we saw in the last post, the Chiron Cycle provides multiple opportunities to heal and discover the gifts hidden within your wounds. The Chiron Return marks the end of this cycle of growth but also the start of a new one. It represents a critical turning point in your life and another opportunity to align with your soul’s true intention – if you haven’t already done so.
Anything that still needs to be healed from earlier in the cycle will come up during this transit. You may experience a healing crisis or have to deal with the consequences of choices you’ve made in the past. But you could also have a sense of completion, of coming home to yourself or your true calling. You can finally break the pattern of wounding because you can see the whole cycle in a larger perspective. This allows you to let go of destructive habits, reintegrate your shadow, and accept the parts of yourself that you’ve denied. You can stop fighting against yourself and finally choose to allow yourself to heal.
By putting your wounds into a larger perspective you can come to terms with the reality of the person you’ve become. This gives you a greater sense of the meaning of your life, the purpose you’re here to serve, and the gifts you have to share with others – and how your wounds were essential to the development of those gifts. You may even feel gratitude for your wounds and accept that your life couldn’t have unfolded any other way.
As Chiron approaches the return you may go through a kind of life review. Memories come up from the past, or synchronicities that provide connections and new perspectives on how you can integrate all that you’ve experienced. Everything that you’ve lived through has made you who you are. Now you can extract the wisdom and distil it down to carry it forward into the second half of your life.
The Chiron Return happens at age 50 to 51 and begins the process of growing towards maturity so you can embody the archetype of the Crone or Wise Old Man/Woman. It’s one of many transits that mark the transitional period of midlife when your body goes through big changes and the ageing process becomes impossible to ignore. Chiron encourages you to make peace with your mortality and decide what you’re going to do with the time you have left.
The inner work you do now will take a new form at the Saturn Return in your late 50s when you enter full Elder status. But if you can’t deal with your wounds and let go of the past, the years following this transit are more likely to involve serious health problems and continued suffering. If you’re still tormenting yourself about something that happened many years ago, it may be time to let it go. In fact, the more you heal now, the better.
You can heal after this transit, but it may be harder because as you age, you get more stuck in your ways. You’ll continue in the same vicious cycle of re-wounding yourself and then the Saturn Return could lock you into a miserable future. In Chiron: Healing Body and Soul, Martin Lass explains what can happen if you’re too trapped in your wounds when this transit arrives:
“…the Chiron Return can be, paradoxically, a time we hardly notice due to the success of our long-standing patterns of avoidance and evasion. Conversely, it can be a time of monumental regret. The Chiron Return can open the Pandora’s box of our core wounds and long-standing unresolved issues. Unable to deal with or answer the tortured callings that arise from our fragmented consciousness, we go into crisis or, alternatively, even deeper into retreat. Only in the final moments of death, maybe many years later, will we have an opportunity to feel healing and sense the truth of the love around us and in us. It is only then that the stranglehold of our personality mechanisms finally relaxes with the weakening of our physical vehicle.”
But you don’t need to get yourself into this kind of pickle. It’s never too late to change – it just takes more effort when you’re older because there’s more baggage to unpack. However, most of that baggage is in your head so you can just drop it – there’s no need to keep carrying it around. But there may be physical consequences of that baggage that you do need to heal. So this transit may trigger an illness or crisis that forces you to deal with your old wounds and release yourself from the past.
How you respond to what comes up depends on the work you’ve done on your journey so far. You can respond with acceptance and love, or with fear, anger and guilt. If you respond negatively, it’s a sign you may be too attached to suffering and the idea of being a victim. But your pain isn’t there to punish you – it’s encouraging you to change and grow into the person you’re meant to become. In The Astrology of Midlife and Ageing, Erin Sullivan says:
“Chiron adds an urgency to this life change by offering a choice. The choice is between assuming your own destiny and character and living it out fully or finding ways and means of avoiding that responsibility.”
If you avoid accepting responsibility for your life and the choices you’ve made, then the Chiron Return can be extremely hard on you. Many people are so traumatised by old wounds that they self-destruct because they can’t face the pain of the past. For example, Michael Jackson died at his Chiron Return, unable to face his own wounds or accept responsibility for the wounds he had inflicted on others as a result.
But however bad things get, it’s important to remember you always have a choice. You can either accept responsibility for your life or not. But if you don’t then you’re handing your power over to others and that means choosing to be a victim. You may not have had a choice when you were a child, but you do now.
As the pain of the past resurfaces, you may need time to grieve so you can let go and open yourself to creating a future that isn’t burdened by old fears. You may also need to let go of hopes and dreams that no longer reflect the person you’ve become, or allow them to transform into a new shape. As Erin Sullivan explains:
“Many of us find that we avoided our ‘wound’ in a personal way, transferring it to cause-related action. Whatever it was you did before your Chiron return, and, more significantly, why you did it, will alter radically, and your deeper, interior motives for life and action will change.”
The process of discovering the next step in your life can be challenging because the pain of your wounds can distort your perception of what’s happening. You may feel lost and confused and feel like you’ve failed. You’re suspended in a liminal space between your old life and the new, and the temptation is to get ahead of yourself and force a resolution. This is really just an attempt to make yourself feel better, but in the long-run, it won’t help.
If you find yourself feeling lost and don’t know what to do next, the best response is to do nothing – at least for a little while. You need to get out of your own way and allow the path to unfold in its own time. Chiron is guiding you to slow down and turn inwards so you can pay attention to what your soul or higher Self wants you to do. It’s an opportunity to make peace with yourself and surrender to the life that wants to live through you.
In fact, doing this is the goal of the Chiron Cycle – to grow towards wholeness and individuation. And that means healing the split in your psyche and reconnecting with your true nature as one with the divine. You may have had access to higher levels of consciousness before, but by accepting the reality of being human, you can now ground that awareness in your body and manifest it fully.
Accepting the reality of being human means accepting the wound and the reality of suffering. The wound of Chiron is the pain of being alive and separated from your original unity with life. But this wound serves a purpose – it’s not just an evil plan to make you suffer! Accepting the wound opens your heart to compassion and reveals the deeper truth of life – that you were never really separated from the divine.
If you can accept yourself as you are – warts, wounds, and all – then you can come home to yourself in wholeness. That doesn’t mean being perfect or that you always know what to do. It just means being you. And who you are is more glorious that you can imagine…
“You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. That’s what gives you dignity, that the whole existence will miss you. The stars and sun and moon, the trees and birds and earth – everything in the universe will feel a small place is vacant which cannot be filled by anybody except you. This gives you a tremendous joy, a fulfilment that you are related to existence, and existence cares for you. Once you are clean and clear, you can see tremendous love falling on you from all dimensions.” – Osho
Next time: my personal reflection on the Chiron Return in Aries…
More on Chiron:
- Planet Myths: The Story Behind Chiron
- Chiron: Initiation and the process of Individuation
- The Chiron Archetype in the Horoscope
- The Chiron Cycle and the process of Awakening