“Let Sun-Chi brew as you work on tonight’s article,” Eric typed on Tuesday. He was referring to the Sun-Chiron conjunction, exact on Friday. You can think of that event as the capstone to this last week, which has involved the Sun’s ingress of Pisces and Tuesday’s New Moon situated midway between Neptune and Chiron.
I quipped, “Is Sun-Chi the spiced version of Sun tea?” (That’s when you put tea bags in a glass jug of water and let the sunlight brew it for iced tea.) “Get it?” I continued. “Like Sun Chai? Oooh – or maybe more like ‘Sun Qi?!” And wouldn’t you know it, there was more to my bad puns than I thought. He replied, “It would not be as funny if it didn’t describe the astrology perfectly. ‘Spicy Sun’ is Sun-Chiron in Pisces. And then Sun Qi/Chi is even better: Chiron is focusing the vital force of the Sun.”
Let’s rewind a bit. Today and for the next few days, the Sun is conjunct a minor planet called Chiron. Discovered in 1977, Chiron was the first discovery in the centaur class — a group of planets whose members are named for the morph of human and horse from ancient Greek myth. They all have unusual orbits; they’re fairly small (asteroid sized) though Chiron has the distinction of being a very large comet that takes 51 years to go round the Sun.
Chiron is the embodiment of seeming contradictions: man and animal, man and immortal, a doctor and a mentor to a generation of Greek heroes (Achilles, Jason and Heracles among them), an immortal who sustained a mortal wound in battle — and who in the process of healing it, developed numerous remedies and cures that benefited mankind. He was taught medicine by Apollo, and in turn taught the art to the god of medicine, Asclepius. Over the years, astrologers have translated elements of the myth, data about how the planet’s orbit works and information from clients into a delineation of Chiron in astrology charts.
One thing to know about Chiron in any configuration is that it grants a distinction of some kind. Chiron’s first keyword was maverick, given by its discoverer, Charles Kowal, an eminent astronomer (not an astrologer) who just died last November. Where there is Chiron, something is unusual, or stands out, or must be itself in some bold way — that, or in not doing so it stands out in a negative way.
That pair of puns we came up with is an easy way into the aspect — spicy Sun and the focusing power of Chiron to gather its Qi. Chiron-spiced Sun speaks to intensified vitality, though often there was an initial compromise, such as a childhood injury or illness. How we handled that determines how spicy the Sun Chai is. If the injury was not handled well, maybe the intensity is strong, and it may feel uncomfortable or overwhelming. It may act as an irritant but one that gets us to notice where we’re struggling. Sun-Qi brings to mind the idea that life force is always flowing, always available to us -– but that it often takes some sort of focusing act or agent (such as T’ai Chi, a healing art, or any other discipline) to be able to access and use it creatively.
Sun conjunct Chiron in Pisces, on one level, speaks to the common perception of men as being ‘so wounded’: that allegedly, they’re emotionally unavailable, cannot process emotion, can’t be a man if they can’t get a hard-on (or that’s all they can get), or that they aren’t in contact with their feminine side. These ideas are often tossed around casually and deeply influence the self-image of sensitive men and indeed the rest of them as well. Some rise above the conflict and stand in their true solar power. Others act out a sense of injury or victimhood in a way that can strain for a productive purpose. For everyone, this is a deep question of their inner identity and contact with their creative strength. For men there is a special focus on their masculinity, and questions about that are big business for advertisers (a business that would fall mostly under the spell of Pisces, as an illusory art).
If you’re a woman, the question includes how you relate to your father — and subsequently other men — in a world where these perceptions run rampant. Also included is the question of how all of us relate to our creative drive, our sense of initiative and self-direction. Where do you locate that? If you have not been locating it in yourself, this Sun-Chiron conjunction in Pisces may call your attention to that, in ways that may be gentle, elegant, compelling or jarring.
Adam Gainsburg, author of Chiron: The Wisdom of a Deeply Open Heart, put it this way in an email this week: “Our image, identity or persona starts rumbling from inside. It’s no earthquake, but the structural tremors caused by the shake-up to the protections we’ve placed around our heart.” He notes that, in particular, people with sensitive points in the first ten degrees of mutable signs may now “begin swimming in an ocean of questions as to which people and what future are we feeding our energy in any way. Once we awaken to this, we then make a choice, invisible perhaps even to us: re-solidify our loyalty to our old heroes or stroll hope-less for a time, seeing what arises in its place.”
That “hope-less” state is not, of course, an absolute loss of all hope. Rather, it’s the situation –- frightening and destabilizing for many -– of being shown that one’s previous location of guidance, orientation or sense of identity in anyone outside of oneself is untenable. The hope that would be lost in hopelessness is a false sense of self. And until we’re able to find our inner Sun Chai spice, and give ourselves permission to heal, to stand out and ultimately to exist -– life may feel more like a crisis than an awakening. But with the Sun conjunct Chiron, awakening is as inevitable as anything gets in astrology. How long it takes, and what it takes to get there, is another question.
– Amanda Painter, with Eric Francis