This Thursday we encounter the numinous Full Moon in Aries. This is a culmination of a cycle which began 6 months ago, on the March 24th New Moon in Aries. If you think back to that time — where you were and what cycles seemed to be beginning — you may be able to trace a thread back to now.
Full moons are ripenings, maturations. They represent the fruit of our labours becoming manifest, readying for harvest. In the lunar cycle, the period following the full moon is when we begin to actually see embodied in physicality the themes that up until that point have been experienced more on an emotional, psychological, spiritual plane.
So we can look to the 3 months following this Full Moon as the collective consolidating of these themes, the birthing, the “making real” of these patterns we have been working with since March. Over the coming fall and early winter, you can expect the thread tracing back to late March to take shape.
This process of watching lunar cycles bloom is especially potent if you are familiar with your own natal chart. In the ancient tradition, each sign corresponds to a”house” in an individual birth chart, which in turn govern specific areas of life. The placement of these houses is determined by the time and place in which you were born. If you know your birth-time, you can look at your chart to determine which house is ruled by the sign of Aries. This house is the area of life that you will personally find the most meaning when looking for what may have begun in March, and is now reaching some culmination.
For example, if you have a Scorpio ascendant (or “Scorpio Rising”), you have Aries in the 6th house. This Full Moon would personally reflect themes of service, day-to-day routines, health challenges, fitness regimes, and your daily energy flow. As another example, if you have Gemini Rising, Aries forms your 11th house: expect culminations in regards to your community, social circles and tribes, friendships, and your general vision and expectations for “the future.”
If you don’t know where Aries falls in your chart, you can use this tool to cast your chart: https://cafeastrology.com/shop/astrology-birth-chart-calculator-whole-sign/
Look for the little red glyph that looks like a pair of ram horns. For example, in the chart of the Full Moon below, Aries is in the 5th house. Then you might do some googling based on which house you find, to read more about the meaning of that house and the area of life you can expect to be highlighted now.
We look to the most recent New Moon to see the way that the tide has risen energetically and archetypally since then — September 17th, 2020. This was a window of energy that was especially auspicious. Everything in life has a birth chart, including lunar cycles, and this previous Virgo New Moon offered blessings of discernment, practicality, embodiment, and the holy, sacred, and impossible quest for perfection. We now reach some kind of first ripening and maturing of that moment.
As we meditate on this Full Moon, the idea of the impossible quest comes up strongly again. This Full Moon, as well as the New Moon in March which seeded it, is strongly associated with Chiron. Chiron is a minor planet in our solar system which was discovered in 1977. Chiron’s use in Astrology has been based primarily upon the archetypal association with the myth of Chiron, the wounded healer, whose impossible quest made him a hero. When we see lunation cycles strongly influenced by Chiron, we can expect themes associated with this myth to be prominent. (Some keywords: healing, limits of the individual, falling short, humility, self-sabotage, self-acceptance, narcissism, transcending the small self.)
In Greek Mythology, Chiron is a half-man, half-horse (Centaur) who is abandoned at birth, taken up by Apollo, and under his instruction, becomes a renowned wisdom keeper. He is the epitomic polymath and teacher, mentoring students in medicine, astronomy and astrology, ethics, music, and the arts of war, among many other subjects. The crux of the Chironic myth is his wounding, which comes by accident when one of Hercules arrows pierces Chiron’s leg — substantive to kill an ordinary being.
“Note that Chiron’s wound is not his ‘fault’. Note also that it is Chiron’s animal half that is wounded, highlighting the vulnerability of our bodily existence. This wounding can be seen to parallel how we earthlings have wounded our own sacred earth-ground with the Herculean endeavour to satisfy our collective greed and acquisitiveness. The result is that our survival as a species is no longer assured.”
Melanie Reinhart, “Chiron and the Healing Journey” — Pg 111
Because Chiron is immortal, this wounding can’t kill him, yet it also cannot be healed, thus spurring him onto ever deeper pursuits of the healing arts. Chiron scours the known world for ways that could relieve him of his agony, yet because of the nature of his wounding, and despite the merits of the numerous healing arts he attains, he remains wounded. The irony and beauty of the story is that as a result of this process, Chiron becomes even more renowned as a healer and medicine man, translating his pain into a divine service of others.
Eventually Chiron finds release by way of what Reinhart calls a “Destiny-Swap.” Prometheus, who’d stolen fire from the Gods (thus bringing it to humankind), was punished for his audacity by being chained to a rock, where a huge eagle would daily peck out his liver, only to have it grow back again at night. The only chance at his release was by having an immortal take his place, which Chiron eventually volunteered to do. Hercules (by way of redeeming himself) personally arranged the deal with Zeus.
“Note that Hercules, the one who wounded Chiron, also facilitated the healing, symbolizing how the courage and perseverance of ‘the heroic way’ can be enlisted for the purpose of the healing journey. Indeed, much invisible heroism is required to work through our suffering. Chiron duly took the place of Prometheus and eventually died; after nine days Zeus immortalized him as the constellation of Centaurus.”
Melanie Reinhart, “Chiron and the Healing Journey” — Pg 116
These are lofty themes to contemplate at the time of this Full Moon. To bring them back down into the earthy present, let this myth percolate your imagination, while contemplating its significance for your personal journey at this time, as well as for the collective. The Sun is in Libra, directly opposite the Moon and Chiron in Aries, thus creating the tension between the individual, heroic, potentially narcissistic, lone-wolf habits we all share, and our interdependence on others — the Libran ideals of justice, balance, and integrity in close relationships.
This Full Moon gives us a glimpse of where we all chronically isolate ourselves in images of heroic effort, themselves habits of our contorted masculinity. Where we carry wounds, we try to heal them on our own, to no avail. In this we will be confronted by hard limits — the ways in which we personally fall short and cannot cross the divide between our imagined heroism and reality. In other ways, this time may contain significant “healing” opportunities disguised as crises or ordeals, in which our necessary reliance upon others becomes clear. As pedestrian as that word “healing” can be, it nonetheless demands great things from us and those in our lives.
When I work with Chiron in a natal chart, I speak to clients about areas of secret wounding, self-belief, self-sabotage, and transfiguration of these tendencies, through contemplation of life’s strange ways of humbling us. These Chironic processes take place amongst the backdrop of long decades of life experience — Chiron’s orbit is roughly 50 years. Humility is a key word with Chiron — the kind of true humbling that can only sprout as a result of loss of egoic control over a situation or goal. Over and over again, life moves us into deeper humility. It seems that only when we fall short of ourselves, do we really actually find ourselves — or become more intimate with the actual, sacred finitude of our bodily existence. This in turn leads to more humbling, and, with time again, a path of service to others begins to emerge. Those with a prominent Chiron in the natal chart know this process innately.
“Never good enough but always getting better.” This is one phrase that was passed to me by one of my teachers in astrology, with reference to Chiron. The idea is a translation of the myth itself, and its sophistication is hidden by its nursery rhyme cuteness. In fact, this process of coming to terms with our imperfection is a road to grace. Once we know ourselves to be eternally “in process,” the divide between our eternal soul and our lived experience of imperfection becomes fertile ground for compassion.
The Heruclean ideal Reinhart references can be associated with Aries, as Aries is ruled by Mars, the great god of War, warriors, conflict, strife, physical energy, assertion, willpower — traditional ways of seeing masculinity. Seeing as the cracks are beginning to widen around the efficacy of this kind of masculine, the co-mingling of the Chironic, Aries, and Mars themes at this full moon is significant for us. It suggests a moment of initiation into a wider encounter with Life, a moment when our overheated, hyper individual yang is offered a step down into deeper waters. The current Mars Retrograde amplifies these ideas, as our ways of asserting ourselves into the world undergo a major renovation.
Chiron’s glyph (symbol) in astrological charts resembles a key. One mystery of Chiron is the cliché (but for good reason) of finding a key to our suffering in its transformation into gifts for others. Since March, we have been more isolated in our own experience as individuals than in recent memory. Now that we have more of an emphasis on this Libra axis, our cumulative process of suffering and moving through these recent shifts on an individual level begins to find expression within relationships and community. We begin to see how, despite our wounds, imperfections, stagnancies — we need each other, and vulnerably. The limit on what we can do on our own — both in terms of self-healing and our Heruclean efforts at achievement — has been reached. This is a hard wall.
To ignore these intimations now would invite burnout. Tempting the gods is easy now — whether we feel these limits intuitively or not, we may righteously continue along with our old ways, plowing forward, ignoring signs. Instead this chart invites caution. Self-sabotage inevitably involves a stepping over of intuitive knowing, a systematic denial of the relational principle, even if the domain of relationship is internal. This Full Moon, experiment with a different, relational, humble lens.
Some questions for journaling:
1. Where have I been carrying a wound? In what way have I guarded it or protected it, not wanting to involve others? What would it be like to invite it into relational space? How could it be transformed into a gift?
2. What feels like it’s burning out? What has reached its limit? Am I ignoring that, steadily plowing on? What are the subtle hints?
3. Where do I find patterns of self-sabotage, denial, or lack of confidence or belief? What is at the root of these contractions? Can I approach these roots with compassion and curiosity, rather than making a project out of it?