By Len Wallick | Additional material on the centaurs by Eric Francis
The objective of our Daily Astrology this week is to avoid the disorientation that can conceivably take place when the Sun changes signs, followed the next day by a Full Moon, during the early days of a Mercury retrograde all in the midst of an unprecedented cardinal point T-square which becomes a grand cardinal cross upon occasion. It is in this spirit that your nomad astrologer wishes to begin today’s post by passing on a bit of wisdom.
One of the greatest pieces of wisdom yours truly has ever received was when Eric Francis wrote that fraud exists, in part, because people want to be lied to.
My reflexive reaction was to resist that statement. Thinking prevailed. The truth was always there, covered by a veil of my own making. Yes it is true. Most of us have made up our mind what we want to believe. That’s what we want to hear. We reward people who tell us what we want to hear. We punish people who tell us the truth.
No wonder P.T. Barnum was able to become rich even though he had the decency to reveal his underlying assumption. He knew it would not matter. Everybody believes the sucker is somebody else. No wonder the greatest spiritual figures of history were outcasts, repaid with horrific deaths. They told the truth. That is just asking to be stomped. Thank you, Eric. You helped a few things fall into place on that day.
What does this have to do with astrology? Well, this after all is a time when Mercury is in retrograde. If you will recall last Thursday’s blog, that’s an illusion. You will also recall that Mercury assumed the role of trickster in Greco-Roman mythology. You may already know that the trickster personified is a pan-cultural concept, part of every pre-industrial human culture. Finally, you may remember that your faithful correspondent averred that for us modern folks, the trickster is located within. The part that wants to be lied to. We simply assign the role to someone outside of us because they are kind enough to oblige.
So today, just like every August for the past seven years, this e-mail gets forwarded to me. It always comes from someone who is more intelligent than the recipient — usually a good friend with the best of intentions — to share exciting news: that Mars will soon be as large and as bright as the Full Moon in the late August sky. After seven years in a row, this forwarded hoax is provoking no small amount of despair and anger. It is just another lie that we, for some reason, want to hear.
So it is that one week ago this date, your devoted servant observed that one of our tasks during this particular Mercury retrograde is simply to think. To clear our mind of that which we can know in the body: the T-square, a Full Moon, which direction is what, so that we can be aware and focus and allow reason to prevail during the time of the trickster and beyond. If we cannot think clearly enough to co-create a future derived from truth then someone else will do it for us, based on the lies we want to hear. Assuming your curmudgeon correspondent is allowed to continue writing in this space, we will continue this line of discussion next week with an offer to you — to participate in an act of sedition. But now, on to tie up two more loose ends.
This last Tuesday our kind blog commenter, Kyla, asked me “to elaborate on Elatus/Chiron.” One will now attempt to do so while telling you no lies.
Elatus and Chiron are among the minor planets known as centaurs. They are a group of small bodies orbiting our Sun, most of them about the size of asteroids, though some are made of rock and others are made of ice. The difference is that they have odd orbits — they always cross the orbits of other planets. Chiron crosses the orbit of Saturn, for example. Looking back in the history of astronomy, the first orbit-crossing planet discovered was Pluto, discovered in 1930 — though not a centaur, it dips inside Neptune’s orbit for a few decades each time it makes its 250-year trip around the Sun. The second was Chiron, discovered in 1977. Chiron and Pluto have many similarities.
Chiron was the first of what became known as the centaur planets. Most of them are named after the centaurs of ancient western mythology (Pholus and Nessus are two you may be familiar with). Centaurs were sentient creatures that physically resembled the result of some sort of gene splicing experiment — upper body human, lower body, steed. In the words of the Finnish astrologer Kirsti Melto, most but not all of them were ‘troublemakers’ from the human point of view. They could not hold their alcohol. They were formidable adversaries. Most took what they wanted without bothering to say please. They were famous for rape and mayhem. Eric’s astrology teacher David Arner once called them the Hell’s Angels of mythology — and that might be true for all but a few of them. Chiron and Pholus were wise and old; Chiron was the surgeon who taught medicine to Asklepius, the god of medicine. Pholus kept the ancient temple given to him by Dionysus.
In astrology, their interpretation is still in development but it seems to be along the lines of what psychology calls shadow material. They are always present for experiences of transformation. Eric’s keywords for Chiron start with raising awareness, which is a key element for conscious change.
So you can see how the myth and the astronomy and the astrology have some common themes for centaurs: profound, beautiful, unpredictable, dangerous mongrels who steer a reckless course between blessed upside and cursed downside.
Most folks who read this space know about Chiron. The phrase ‘wounded healer’, commonly used to describe Chiron, deceives more than it informs. Most of the wounded healers we know (for example, false prophets, paranoid ministers, psychiatrists who molest their patients, and so on) bear no resemblance to the ethical, wise, devoted character of Chiron. In addition to being a healer he was a teacher, a counselor, a warrior. Mentorship is one of the best concepts Chiron offers; he raised a generation of Greek heroes — among them Heracles and Jason. He could see the big picture. He would test you as no other being could. As an immortal centaur (the only, in fact) he served as bridge between gods and mortals just as he intermediated human and beast. He was whole.
Elatus we don’t know so much about, though there is one episode that stands out. It helps to understand the story of Heracles going to war with the centaurs, because that is where he appears; that story would take a long article to tell. The scene of mayhem was the cave of Pholus. Elatus had an idea — maybe if we lead Heracles back toward the cave of Chiron, he will calm down in the presence of his teacher. That didn’t work — the battle went toward Chiron’s cave, and in the process Chiron was hit with one of the arrows shot by Heracles.
By some accounts, Elatus was accidentally shot by Heracles by an arrow which passed through him; Chiron was hit by the same arrow. Since Chiron was immortal, the arrow could not kill him. Since the poison was of supernatural origin, the wound could not be healed. The main thing is these two centaurs were linked, bound forever by a single arrow. The path of that arrow is like an axis tracing the opposition of mortal and immortal.
Astronomically and astrologically, Chiron and Elatus are also bound. Their orbital characteristics and periodicity resonate closely in several ways. Discovered almost exactly 22 years apart, their discovery chart Suns are essentially conjunct. There are other chart similarities that one could spend an entire blog on, especially having to do with Uranus. It is their current astrological relationship that matters.
Chiron and Elatus have been holding a pattern of opposition since 2003, oscillating back and forth sort of like Pluto, Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter going back and forth over their respective cardinal points over the last two years or so. There is a powerful parallel for your intuition to toy with there. That tableau of opposition will continue for the two centaurs until 2015.
You don’t have to be Jung to make an intuitive correlation between the flight of an arrow and the axis of an opposition, an axis that currently bridges the early degrees of Virgo and Pisces. There is a powerful implication for you to play with there as well. Especially when you superimpose the Sun and Moon’s opposition over that axis.
Finally, there is the timing and its connection to Uranus. The oscillating opposition between Chiron and Elatus began in 2003, the year Uranus moved from its ostensible sponsoring sign into Pisces. The behavior of water started to become a bit like the behavior of a typical centaur around that time. The opposition will finally drift apart in 2015, about the time the last remnants of the cardinal T-square (Uranus and Pluto) relax and and head for the showers.
So, Kyla, without telling you what to think (no lies, remember) does that answer your question? As to any etymological connection between the name Elatus and the word elation, I’ll leave that to our birthday scholar, Anatoly Ryzhenko.
Finally there are some very interesting number sequences on today’s ephemeris but I honestly, truly, really don’t want to get fired so just call Swami Lenn at fie-fie-fie, fo’,fo’fo’, fie-fo’, fie-fo’ and have your Visa card ready.
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