Chiron in Your Child's Birth Chart by Eric Francis
In this article, I'd like to cover some basics about using Chiron in your child's birth chart. It might be more useful to start with an article about what to do with your kid's birth chart at all, but I think some of that will come through, and besides my head is all mixed into Chiron with the sign change to Aquarius.
When approaching the chart of a young person, I recommend that extreme care be taken. I suggest that the chart be used for the limited purpose of identifying the child's special needs. By special needs, I would include health needs, or emotional, or nutritional; space needs; and potential relationship needs. Needs might also include identifying a potential talent or two and giving him or her a chance to explore it. However I would stay away from any form of prediction, any ideas about destiny, or making up any complicated stories about who this person is. You're not going to like everything you see. Some things, you're going to like a lot. Some things, you're going to start taking personal responsibility for.
Try to keep your perspective, and an arm's length distance as far as judging the chart is concerned. Remember that looking at the chart is a way of inviting increased awareness so that you can bring love and care where it's needed. And it can prepare you somewhat for how a child will respond to certain situations, as well as show that certain traits are merely their particular style and not some kind of personal affront. Some people are dramatic. If someone has seven Aries planets, count on it. Some people are dark and brooding. A lot of Earth, and an earthy Moon, would key you in to that being within range of healthy.
Looking at a chart is a way of empathizing with a person. It's fair, I think, to look at the chart and say, "If I had a Pisces Moon squared by Pluto, what would I need? How would I feel?" And then see what comes up. It's probably best to avoid astrology cookbooks, as they almost all contain little explosive charges that can turn you against an aspect or form a deep prejudice. However if you're going to use a cookbook, I recommend Isabel Hickey's true classic, Astrology: A Cosmic Science. Even this goes a little heavy on concepts like karma, so take it with a grain of salt -- but I trust it more than most others.
As for Chiron. I've posted a fairly extensive (new) introduction to Chiron to Jonathan's site this week, which is a good place to start, and I've covered a number of basic questions as well. There is also a Chiron homepage at Planet Waves, which I'll link below.
If you read a variety of articles and viewpoints, you will slowly start to assemble a composite picture of this interesting, useful and relatively new energy in astrology. The new part is important to remember because many people don't have the words, pictures or ideas to describe just what Chiron is. But we start to find them when we work with holistic healing methods that are able to consider 'whole system' or integrated approaches to life. However, more than just the language, what we're often missing with Chiron is the conceptual framework to hold the information. This we acquire by practice and learning, and by making associations with other aspects of life.
Chiron is a point that we use -- both in the natal chart and exploring transits -- that helps us integrate our reality, raise our awareness and go through transformational changes. Transformational is a word that's used a lot, and the root of the word is 'form'. But Chiron also deals with content, and the substance can change as well. So I would add, 'trans-substantiational' as well. Where Chiron is involved, there can be long delays and also rapid changes. Often the rapid changes follow long delays, and then are set off by a transit.
To sum up the less subtle points, the process of Chiron has a few prominent expressions, which tip us off that it's the particular thing that's in action. They will act in different ways at different times of life. They include:
1. Standing out. Chiron's placement shows where we must stand out of the crowd, from the family, from society. Look to the house placement for the place in life we do the standing out, and the sign placement for the underlying energy, style and associated planetary expression (the ruler of that sign, i.e., Mercury if Chiron is in Gemini). This standing out can be a positive expression of self, or it can be in compensation for fear or other shadow material; but it seems to matter little.
2. A hurt place where we gather strength. Chiron often represents someplace we've experienced many injuries, a sense of invisibility or a sense of disconnect or loss. But these can work like acupuncture needles and spur the flow of vital energy and provide a point of concentration for that energy. What can happen, consciously or not, is that people will gather unusual talents around their Chiron placement. If we process this all consciously, it can become a great asset; if we don't, the shadow material can gather strength and create disruptions in life.
3. A gift we have to offer society. In people who choose to evolve consciously, Chiron functions as a resource that can be made available to many people. It's a place in our charts where we gather wisdom, talent and the drive to serve, and when given half a chance -- that is, when allowed to be a conscious part of life, and when the healing mission of this life is taken seriously -- it comes out beautifully and can help many people. Often, this is as what we currently call a 'healer' -- that is, someone in a helping role, or in another role that is seen as such.
4. The quest for experience. We will always seek actual direct experience where Chiron is, which can offer lots of insight into why people need to do what they need to do. Don't fight it; you might as well go along with the program.
Now, if you project these qualities into the life of a child, you might get the idea that it's a pretty important planet to understand. Kids feel their charts! The Chiron effect is doubled because much of what occurs with Chiron begins when we are children, and the experience for the rest of the life is set up. So by looking at a child's birth chart, you can see something about where their likely source of pain, talent and desire to serve are concentrated. You can see aspects of life where they must stand out. And you can see where they are going to focus a lot of awareness, probably far more than the adults around them.
You assess this with a simple eyeballing of the chart: what's the house of Chiron's placement? What is the sign? You don't necessarily need a book about Chiron to understand something about the placement; you just need to remember that Chiron is going to give added emphasis to that house and sign, and also any associated planets (for another example, Jupiter, if Chiron falls in Sagittarius).
While the Sun, Moon and ascendant can represent aspects of the personality, the identity and needs, as well as represent our parents and how they perceive us, Chiron represents a psychological engine and a psychic process. It can be identified with by a person more, or less. Dale O'Brien gives a pointer for checking whether people are likely to feel or sense the process of Chiron consciously, or not. The more aspects Chiron makes to personal planets (that is, ascendant, Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, or Mars), the more personally we identify with it. That may seem like a lot of planets for Chiron to potentially connect with, but there are plenty of charts where there is no solid dialog between Chiron and any of these bodies, or it meets up with one or two of them in an obscure way and that's it.
The more aspects to the inner or personal planets, the more 'chirotic' the person is.
So have a look at the aspect table (aspectarian, which lists all the angles between planets -- one comes with most natal charts) in a chart where Chiron is included and count the number of aspects Chiron makes to personal planets and points, then find them in the chart, and see what's going on. Even if you're not a terribly experienced astrologer but you know the glyphs and the houses, I suggest you spend some time working to figure out the placement, before going to a book. The book is always there, but your ability to look at the chart in an unprejudiced way is temporary. Jot down your first impressions. Often, the esoteric arts have a way of pointing out very obvious things we ordinarily might have missed.
You can look at the planet and ask yourself: What would it feel like to experience the effects of that house in a really, really intense way? (You can definitely use a book for the house interpretations, which are fairly consistent from astrologer to astrologer and which really do apply to most people.) Then you add Chiron and imagine it's a kind of laser beam focusing the energy into consciousness, in a way that other people may not seem to relate to or understand.
An Example: 4th House Chiron
Let's take the 4th house, for one example, which deals with security, safety, the parents, often particularly the father, the environment, the early surroundings and what kind of emotional effect they have on the person. The 4th is also an angular house -- one of the four 'master' houses that dominate consciousness. These are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses. Planets in these houses are the ones we can usually feel the most poignantly and are the fastest acting.
You can begin with the obvious. With astrology that is always a good idea. It all comes down to the houses. So you see a planet and start asking about the basic themes of the house. What is the child's relationship with their home and with dad? Do they feel safe, and why or why not? What is the relationship between the parents like? There doesn't need to be anything particularly shocking, but if you sketch out the obvious facts, the basic who, what, where and when, and mull it over for a couple of days, you may see a pattern. It's always fair to look at the chart and ask, "What's that planet doing that house?" You can assume it's there for a reason, and that it has a few messages for you.
Now, the 4th house is a sensitive place. Children, and all people, with this placement feel their environments poignantly. Much that supports or hurts them is likely to be right in their immediate environment. If there is sickness of any kind (a good theme to bring to Chiron) the cure will likely be found or contributed to through factors the environment. With astrology you need to think in a little different way. The feelings a person is surrounded by are as much a part of the environment as is the window cleaner.
And the extreme sensitivity of the 4th house can come out in many different ways, but if a 4th house Chiron child is pushing certain issues or displaying certain needs in an intense way, you might want to ask what the emotional connection is, even if there is no obvious one. This is why we have astrology.
Often, it's enough to ask the question, whatever the specifics: "Hmmm, that's an interesting idea. What's the connection?"
As for what to do when you get data. Let's use the fictitious example of the 4th house Chiron child. Let's say the father is not around, or has a struggle that makes him unavailable. Let's say the child has an issue feeling safe. And let's say he gets a rash on his arms. It's a real gift when astrology points to the connections we might miss: for example, the missing father and the feeling of not being safe. So, we have a clue, something to be aware of. If you catch the child in a moment of feeling not so safe, you can ask: "Do you miss dad?"
With this child, it would be a very good idea to keep an eye on surrogate father figures. They are as likely to present opportunities for repeat injuries as they are to present opportunities for healing. It would probably be a very good idea for the mother or caregiver to make sure there are some older men in the child's life who are NOT transient (i.e., lovers). The need some lasting stable relationship with a man who understands how to create a safe space for a child.
One last thing to do would be to ask directly, "What do you need to feel safe?" And then try to do whatever they need. You might also consider taking them on a perimiter check each night, so they can see and feel in their body that the house is secure.
There is a homeopathic connection here. It works out that a group of homeopathic remedies address father issues and security issues -- the calcium group, such as calcium carbonate. This might be a place to look for some help, once environmental and emotional factors have been investigated and addressed.
Example: 12th House Chiron
For the next example, let's use a very different kind of house, and a real child. This is a young girl in the UK. She has Chiron in Sagittarius and just above the ascendant, in the 12th house.
I know enough about her personally to know she is an extremely vivid dreamer (12th house focus, with healing for most problems to be found in dreams and sleep), and has a lot to say about religion and God. I also know she is in Catholic school, despite not being Catholic, because it's the best option in her area. However, she has a very intense relationship with religious symbolism; it's quite real to her and she takes the stories literally. But in a similar way she is also able to see through them, to their inner themes, and how damaging they can be. "She is very worried about Catholicism," her mom wrote to me. This is all typical enough of Chiron in Sagittarius.
"She cried like she'd had a personal bereavement because Jesus died," her mom added.
Early Chiron pioneers pointed out that Chiron often works as a stand-in for the Christ energy. It's kind of how someone experiences their own personal Jesus -- the healer, teacher and one who 'takes on sin' -- and where in their chart they go through many resurrections. The 12th house placement is a good visual for this, with the chart of a child who dreams vividly and has a lot to say about religion.
What we find in the 12th can often seem so far away, as if it has gone missing, or has died. And sometimes it can be all the more vivid for not being readily present.
Our Chiron in Sagittarius girl has some exposure to goddess-based religion and to astrology; she had heard of Venus. Her mom wrote, "Venus seemed to be her salvation [for her grief around Jesus], which is opposite her Chiron." Also, she has made up her own version of mythology, about Jesus and Venus being lovers, which is quite real to her -- as real as anything she has been given in school.
Now, the one thing to do with a child like this is mainly to take her seriously. Listen to her ideas, her stories and her dreams. They will be interesting at worst and helpful at best. They are likely to be extremely interesting, actually, and provide plenty of food for thought for her caregivers.
The next thing not to do is get triggered or be defensive. If the parent happens not to be open minded about spirituality and religion (fortunately, her mom is well informed and open-minded) then the girl could certainly provoke some religious or authority issues in the parent. She is certainly presenting challenges to her teachers in Catholic school, who love when you go along with dogma without asking questions. Chiron in this placement will stand out as a kind of natural born mystic, and is not going to take bullshit; Sagittarius Chiron is like having the Sun, Moon and rising in Sagittarius (she happens to be Sagittarius rising and have other energies around her ascendant -- including Quaoar and Pluto).
I suggested that her mom keep a dream diary and also keep artifacts of her early religious books so she has them to deconstruct when she is a little older.
To sum up...
It seems from this introduction that understanding or exploring a child's Chiron placement could be an important part of their holistic care. There is not much published literature that I know of dealing with the subject -- so it's best to be extra careful, conscious and to proceed slowly. If you take the spirit that the chart is a better source of questions than it is of answers, than exploring your child's Chiron position will be helpful and useful without creating prejudices. Remember that charts excel at providing a viewpoint, subject matter for questions and a way to approach a subject. It's always important to allow anyone, including children, to speak for themselves and for their charts.
Chiron encourages experience, curiosity, and awareness. Chiron also thrives with documentation, so in all cases, keeping track of the things associated with your child's Chiron sign -- or chart in general -- will bear fruit, even if it's in the long run. A relationship with one's astrology is a lifelong process and these early looks are just the beginning.