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wounded healer, earthly bounds, brother of zeus, animal side

Chiron, Teacher of Achilles

Author: Mirjam

Brought to you by Archetypal Astrology

I chose to look at Chiron as the teacher of Achilles rather than the more usual naming of him as the wounded healer, which in later times has been used frequently by astrologers, post-Jungians and other therapists. Why? Not because I think the aspect of Chiron as a wounded healer is invalid, but because his teaching aspect is just as interesting, and it is mostly passed unnoticed or at least not mentioned to the same degree.

The myth is probably well known to most people by now, but it goes more or less as this:

Chiron is the brother of Zeus, he is a centaur and a god at the same time; an animal and a god. The animal side of him is connected to the world of Nature and its wisdom, he knows the herbs and their medicinal value, in that sense he has the knowledge of a healer. At one occasion he is wounded by one of the poisonous arrows dipped in the blood from the hydra, something which makes the wound incurable, even his own wisdom cannot help him. It is not lethal though, and he suffers daily from this wound. This makes him search for more and more wisdom in an effort to ease the pain but the more he learns, the more he suffers, maybe because he understands more and more abut his wound. Even when he teaches his wisdom to others, thus giving it away and not keeping it for his own benefit, it does not greatly diminish his suffering, it only makes it endurable, but in turn it teaches him to understand the suffering of others. The story seems sad and hopeless, but there is something to be learnt from it:

The Connection to Sagittarius

There are two parts to Chiron, the animal one and the divine one, it says. It could be interpreted to mean there is one earthbound, instinctive part of him, and another one which has to do with the search for recognition and betterment. Together, this suggests to me, we can see something of the dilemma in being human. In Sagittarius this latter side is strong, he wants to roam free of earthly bounds and reach new levels of awareness and knowledge, but as soon as he stretches too far, he feels the pain from the wound in the animal part of his being. It calls him back to the mundane and the earthbound experience of existence, and he can never be free enough to expand and discover all that his soul hungers for.

This duality seem to underlie the lives of many Sagitarians and there seems to be an eternal task of juggling them into an endurable compromise. Yet the wisdom they gain stems from their wounds and this is their gift to humanity. It is like an offering in that it has to be given without thought of recompense for in essence it belongs to that kind of knowledge which is grown out of a natural attunement with life's inner workings, and as such it belongs to all of humankind. It is not owned by Sagittarius, it is only a loan to be passed on.

But to be able to connect with this inner source Sagittarius has also to connect with his wound. He cannot walk around it, he cannot make a shortcut. There is only one way towards wisdom and it goes through the domains of pain and suffering. If he doesn't he will only have common knowledge to pass on, such things that can easily be acquired because they do not cost any pain. In short, there is something in Sagittarius that suggests a service to humankind, often on a social level. What is gained has to be shared to be of lasting value.

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to his brethren Chiron was intelligent, civilized and kind. He was revered as an astrologer, healer and a great teacher to the likes of Ajax, Heracles and Achilles.

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There he was mentored by Apollo and as a result became a gifted teacher and healer. His students were the sons of the great men and gods such as Jason, Hercules, and Achilles; he taught them to be the heroes they were meant to be.

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I chose to look at Chiron as the teacher of Achilles rather than the more usual naming of him as the wounded healer, which in later...