Observations on Chiron
James A. Eshelman
I’d like to share with you some of my preliminary observations and ideas on Chiron, the planetoid discovered by Charles Kowal a year and a half ago. Before going any further, though, I want to underline that word “preliminary,” and emphasize the extremely tentative nature of these conclusions. It took over thirty years before astrologers really had a handle on Pluto’s meaning, so we can’t expect to know everything about our new craggy plaything overnight. Perhaps more so than anything else you read in this issue, consider anything I say in this article a theory to be tested. Before you accept it, test it yourself, in many, many horoscopes and situations.
I first became interested in Chiron after receiving the provisional ephemeris issued by Al H. Morrison. Out of curiosity, I placed it in the nativities of the thirty or so people who had been, or currently were, extremely close to me, people I have known especially well and who therefore provide a good starting point for investigating a new astrological toy. What I discovered was that in about 80% of these charts, Chiron was either near an angle or in close, major aspect to a luminary. Checking twenty random charts in my client files, and another twenty radices of famous people produced no such pattern. So, I thought, it seems this piece of orbiting gravel seems to have some significance. At the least, it appears to mark a personality type to which I have been particularly attracted most of my life. (On the basis of this data, Malcolm Dean privately suggested “friend of Eshelman” as Chiron’s first key word.)
But what is that pattern? To make a long story short, after many hours of looking, sorting, and considering, I proposed the keyword SPIRITED as a characterological description of the Chironian individual. Recently I learned that Al Morrison’s group in the East has proposed MAVERICK as a basic keyword, which is exceptionally close to my intent in suggesting “spirited.” There is something fiery about the personalities of those folks who have this planetoid prominent at birth, again in the sense of “a fiery spirit,” though in the vernacular sense; it doesn’t seem quite the same as what people mean when they speak of a fire sign type in the astrological sense.
The closest analog in our current astrological arsenal is the free-spirited, unbounded, and at times rebellious side of Chiron’s neighbor, Uranus, with a great deal of Martian fire added. I think this should also have a measure of Jovian temperance. “Benevolent” isn’t quite the right word to describe the Jupiter qualities I have seen in Chiron; perhaps “noble” is a bit closer. Many of the words which Gauquelin found common to the Martian and Jovian temperaments seem appropriate to many Chironians, including: bold, brave, enthusiastic, and animated, with lesser emphasis on keywords like imperious and eager. Unless other factors interfere, I attribute a guileless, straightforward sense of honesty to the body, though under severe affliction I have seen the Mars side come out in a vengeful way, perhaps supported by a Jovian “holier than thou” self-justification. However, I want to repeat, it is still too soon to pin down these details. I’m merely listing some of the variations I have seen about a common theme which may be somehow connected to Chiron, and therefore useful.
To date, I have seen much more consistent and dramatic manifestations of Chiron than of the four asteroids many astrologers have been using in recent years. The feeling tone of Chiron, that spirited thrill of independence, the capacity for fiery delight in life and refusal to be cowed, is unmistakable to me. Of the comparably small bodies, only Vesta comes close to matching it in strength of astrological presence.
Several Dutch astrologers have claimed to have found a major link between Chiron and relationships. On this I must disagree vehemently. Because the other asteroids are all strongly relationship-geared, I examined this possibility very early. At the time I acquired the Chiron ephemeris published by PHENOMENA Publications, I was surrounded by people in relationship crises, divorce, despair. I placed Chiron in all of their charts, as well as examining it in many ways for every major pairing, separation, and other relationship highlights in my own history. In no way could I find even a glimmer of significance. It was astoundingly absent, considering how prominent a part it played in the lives of the people with whom I have most closely related. The only instances when natal Chiron showed its face in my own relationship history was for certain big arguments—and that’s quite reasonable, since it conjoins my Mars within 0° 8’!
(Incidentally, it is possible that my sensing a Uranus-Mars-Jupiter quality about Chiron has to do with my own Chiron being conjunct Mars and opposite Jupiter-Uranus. Researchers and students, beware! Cover my blind spots for me rather than dulling your own eyes in my wake.)
The most recent Chiron ephemeris from the Morrison people states: “In comparing charts for compatibility, Chiron in one conjunct or square another planet in the other chart confers on the one individual an advantage in competition, an extra strength in clash of wills, a tendency to make relations harsh and subject to bursts of conflict.” I can’t vouch for this in detail, since I haven’t adequately explored this facet of the planetoid’s operation. However, if the above is true, it shows the individual’s natal Chiron as bestowing an essentially fiery, competitive, willful quality which isn’t too different from what I have described, although somewhat too harsh to fit with my experience to date.
Shortly after Chiron’s discovery, Zip Dobyns and I both speculated, based totally on mythology, that Chiron should have some connection with Letter Nine/Sagittarius. This was a starting hypothesis, nothing more. However, events which have seemed Chiron-connected continue to surprise me with strongly Sagittarian themes.
In writing this, I want to advise readers not to generalize this principle too freely, but nonetheless to remain open to any Sagittarian-themed possibilities that may seem linked to Chiron. To date, while the character-nature of Chiron seems fairly apparent, and the types of events it sponsors also follow a consistent theme, the character and events seem disparate, not obviously related to each other. I haven’t found what I consider a unifying principle to synthesize all operations of this body. The psychological, behavioral components seem to fall in one neat pile, and the experiential eventish ones in another, which is foreign to my normal experience in astrology.
What are these events? I suggest a definite linking of Chiron with EDUCATION, especially the “receiving end” of an educational experience. It has been a key factor at the time of a book’s release, hinting at a publishing theme. Recently I was shown the chart of a commercial pilot killed in a plane crash where the pilot’s natal Sun-Chiron conjunction was conjoined by transiting Chiron, all squared by transiting Mars, indicating a possible aviation principle. These are some of the more obvious varieties of Sagittarian experiences. Nonetheless, something related to learning seems to be the single most important issue to emerge in watching this planetoid predictively.
Where do we go from here? Hopefully, straight for our chart files, Chiron ephemeris in hand. Mythological speculation can be a fruitful way of creating theories, but only the acid test of repeated application can ever guarantee anything workable. Should it turn out that everything I have written in the last few pages is rubbish, so be it, provided I am debunked as I should be, by documented facts rather than philosophical imaginings.