What a terrible thing it is to wound someone you really care for – and to do it so unconsciously.”
Chiron is a minor planet known as a centaur whose orbit around the Sun travels between Saturn and Uranus. In modern psychological astrology, Chiron represents wounding and healing; it signifies the area of life where we feel physically or emotionally wounded. Typically, the Chiron wound is not something that is easily fixed. We tend to spend a lifetime trying to heal the wound. But in so doing, we gather wisdom and compassion. And even though we may never completely heal the issue in our own lives, over time we gain skills that allow us to help others who are suffering from the same condition. Because of this, Chiron is associated with the phenomenon of the Wounded Healer.
But what happens when someone has not consciously faced their Chiron wound? During the first part of our lives, we tend to spend a lot of time repressing our Chiron wound or running away from it. In most cases, we do not willingly face the pain until outside circumstances force us to. Illness, grief, a break-up, or other types of loss, trauma and suffering might finally bring us to our knees and force us to take stock of our selves. Until that happens, however, our personal Chiron wound will remain buried and unacknowledged. And thus the Shadow Chiron is born.
The shadow side of Chiron is a dark and destructive side that doesn’t get as much air time in astrology textbooks as the Wounded Healer theme does. One could argue that this is a disservice because in today’s world, undigested Chiron pain is rampant, and the shadow side of this centaur is much more active. And when people act from their shadow sides, they can inflict a lot of damage to those around them.
Chiron’s Shadow Side: The Role of The Wounder
In her classic book: Chiron and the Healing Journey, Melanie Reinhart attributes three roles to Chiron:
- The Wounded
- The Healer
- The Wounder
When we express our natal Chiron, we unconsciously select one of these roles and will act it out. Astrologers tend to write a lot about the first two roles and much less about the last one. While your personal Chiron signature shows how you are likely to feel wounded, or what kind of healing gifts you have, it also shows how you tend to wound other people and things.
At this point you might be saying to yourself. “But I am a nice person! I never hurt other people!” And I don’t dispute that. However, assuming you are not an internet troll who simply enjoys hurting others, most folks are unaware of when they hurt someone else. We might have no intention of hurting others, but it can happen anyway, and we can be totally oblivious when it occurs.
Don’t forget that in the ancient myth, Chiron was wounded accidentally. In one version of the myth, Chiron’s student accidentally shot an arrow into Chiron’s leg. In another version of the story, Chiron unintentionally wounded himself, by dropping an arrow on his foot. So Chiron in the natal chart shows where you might unintentionally harm others, cause damage to things or even hurt yourself.
And hey, let’s admit it–nobody is perfect. Sometimes we consciously act in ways that are unkind. But we often downplay the fact that we are hurting others. For example, should we find ourselves in an argument, we might get defensive, hostile or aggressive and end up saying things that are hurtful. But in the heat of the moment, we do not think of it as hurting someone else–we see it more as self defense. And we will view the other person as being the hurtful one. Our own hurt blinds us to the fact that we are also hurting others at the same time. Plus, if we are really angry, we might even feel justified in hurting others at that particular moment. Simply put, most of us don’t want to face the fact that no matter how nice we generally are, at various times in our life, we do hurt other people, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.
If your natal Chiron is well-aspected, and you have done a lot of psychological self-healing and shadow work, then the Healer archetype is set in motion and you can have a positive healing influence on other things and people. Nevertheless you still possess the potential to inflict harm from time to time. By its very nature, Chiron lends us that ability, especially during challenging Chiron transits.
However, if your natal Chiron is poorly aspected and you are largely self-unaware, have never done shadow work or never been in therapy, then you are more likely to take on the role of The Wounder, especially during the moments when you yourself are in pain. Wounding often begets more wounding.
Note also that if your Chiron pain is so great that you need to focus all of your attention on your own survival, then you might not be able to give someone or something in your environment the care and attention it needs and deserves. And so accidental damage can happen that way, too, from neglect or simply because of your own physical or emotional limitations.
So to become conscious of how Chiron operates in your life requires the courage to face the shadow side of your personality, the hidden suffering in your life and your own limitations. Plus it requires enough self-esteem to be able to own up to your darker and potentially more destructive side. Nobody is off the hook here–this article is an effort to make all of us a little more conscious. Having said that, this is not intended to be a personal walk of shame. Shame and embarrassment are two keywords of the Chiron wound and the purpose of this article is NOT to pile on more guilt on top of your suffering. Rather, this is about becoming more conscious, healed and whole.
Ironically, owning up to the fact that you are capable of hurting others and taking responsibility for that can be really liberating and self-empowering. It takes the focus off your own victimhood and shows you that you are more powerful than you think–powerful enough to affect the well-being of other people with your actions or words. And of course, the next step after that is to acknowledge that you are also powerful enough to choose to behave in a different way when your pain is triggered–a way that is more positive, constructive and healing for yourself and for those around you.
A Chiron Cookbook of Wounding
Chiron’s house position shows who you tend to emotionally wound or what you tend to physically damage, while the sign that Chiron resides in gives the reason why you tend to have this wounding or damaging effect. Also, when analyzing your Chiron signature, much depends on the house placement and aspects to your natal Chiron.
Shadow Chiron through the Houses: Who You Tend to Wound, What You Tend to Damage
Chiron in the 1st house You carry the potential to hurt other people’s sense of self or their self-identity. You could unintentionally cause problems for others when you fail to take the initiative on something or stand up for something. You might also inadvertently kill the initiative of others, putting a bug in their new plans and projects or their new beginnings. You might unconsciously jeopardize your own physical body and your own health and because of this, you might unintentionally do this to others as well, such as those in your care. Try to be more mindful of your body. Also, strive to be sensitive when interacting with your grandparents, in particular, your grandmother on your father’s side and your grandfather on your mother’s side.
Chiron in the 2nd house You might have a tendency to damage possessions–your own as well as the possessions of other people. You also might have a habit of mis-managing your finances and ending up in hot water. As a result, you could inadvertently have a negative effect on other people’s finances or livelihood, too, should you go to them to bail you out. You might have a knack for accidentally damaging food via improper storage or cooking. Be mindful of the things that you value (and what other people value) and try not to injure other people’s self-esteem.
Chiron in the 3rd house You carry the potential to wound your siblings, cousins, people at school or your neighbors. You might have a knack for breaking bicycles and motorbikes or you might be unusually hard on your auto vehicles. You might find that you tend to damage things while you are in motion or while travelling. Take care not to wound people with your words, either written or spoken. Yours carry extra impact.
Chiron in the 4th house You might have a knack for causing accidental damage to your home or to other people’s homes, if that is where you live. You carry the potential to damage fields, tracts of land and gardens Take care not to emotionally hurt a parent, especially your father. Also be sensitive when interacting with your mother-in-law.
Chiron in the 5th house You carry the potential to hurt other people’s creative process or their need to feel special. You might accidentally inflict damage while on vacation, during parties and celebrations, during sports, or when you are out at places of entertainment. You might harm others when you gamble or take risks. Take care not to inadvertently hurt the feelings of your children or young people in general. Also take care with the people you date romantically.
Chiron in the 6th house You carry the potential to hurt your co-workers, your employees, service workers that you hire, tenants, or small animals in your care. You might have a tendency to cause damage to growing plants or to the tools or machines that you use daily. Take special care not to inadvertently hurt people who are physically ill. Be mindful when dealing with your aunts and uncles, especially those on your father’s side.
Chiron in the 7th house You carry the potential to hurt your spouse, romantic partner or business partners. If you have an open enemy, you might easily hurt them without even trying. Take care when you interact with your nieces and nephews and your grandparents, in particular, your grandfather on your father’s side and your grandmother on your mother’s side.
Chiron in the 8th house You carry the potential to damage other people’s finances, possessions and resources. You might accidentally hurt others by giving psychological advice or you might cause harm in matters having to do with sex. You might also clumsily trod on other people’s value systems. Try to be sensitive toward people who are dealing with issues involving births, deaths or trauma as well as people who are dealing with surgery. People with this placement who work in the health field or in banking should be extra mindful of how their actions emotionally impact others.
Chiron in the 9th house You carry the potential to hurt your religious community, your spiritual adviser or your teachers at school. You might cause hefty damage during legal disputes, and not just to your opponent–take care you don’t accidentally burn your lawyer in the process, too. You might inadvertently hurt foreigners or immigrants or accidentally cause damage to nature or wilderness areas. Be careful of what you publish because it could have a harmful effect on others. Be mindful when interacting with your grandchildren.
Chiron in the 10th house Take special care not to accidentally hurt a parent, particularly your mother. Also be sensitive when you are dealing with your father-in-law. You carry the potential to hurt your bosses, government officials, authority figures or other powerful people in your life. Perhaps because of this, you could inadvertently hurt your own career or public reputation.
Chiron in the 11th house You carry the potential to hurt your friends, patrons, or benefactors along with any group organizations, clubs or political parties that you belong to. Take special care when dealing with your step kids, adopted children or your sons- and daughters-in-law. If you hold public office, be careful because you could negatively affect large groups of people or do damage existing social structure. If you are an activist or fighting for a cause, you need to be careful not to inadvertently cause harm in your zeal to do good.
Chiron in the 12th house You might hurt others due to secrets or scandals. You could also unwittingly sabotage things for others from behind the scenes. You carry the potential to hurt your aunts and uncles, especially on your mother’s side. You might inadvertently hurt large animals in your care. Be cautious not to accidentally hurt people who are vulnerable, sensitive or spiritual. Take special care with those who are in seclusion, in prisons, institutions or hospitals and those who suffer from addictions. Be mindful of your impact on your ancestral lineage.
Shadow Chiron through The Signs: Why You Wound Others
A lot of the following information comes from Melanie Reinhart’s book: Chiron and the Healing Journey. In this classic work, Reinhart provides extensive information about the Chiron wound itself. I am taking some of that information and presenting it here to demonstrate the motivating forces that lead us to hurt others, accidentally or otherwise. For more info on how to heal your Chiron wound, and thus reduce your capacity to hurt others, be sure to check her book out.
Chiron in Aries You might hurt others when you feel secretly weak or empty inside. This occurs when you lack a strong sense of self or self-identity. You might also hurt others when you feel you are not in control of a situation. You tend to have trouble being assertive in healthy ways. You might struggle knowing when is the right time to show anger, and how much anger is appropriate for any given situation. You might vacillate between being overly aggressive and being completely passive. You might benefit from assertiveness training. Work on gaining the courage to take the initiative: you have the right to go after what you desire.
Chiron in Taurus You might hurt others because you lack self-esteem and do not value your own creativity. You might tend to lash out when your sense of security is threatened or when an unwanted change is looming and you feel threatened by it. Your fear of change could cause you to act in harmful ways. You can also accidentally hurt others when you are being overly possessive of them or smothering them. Your trigger issues are likely money, possessions, physical survival and, perhaps, body shame. Learn to trust your instincts and 5 senses, and strive to love your body, exactly as it is.
Chiron in Gemini You might lash out at others when you secretly feel that you lack intelligence or are not “smart enough”. This might be the result of previous negative experiences in grade school, or it might stem from having a learning disorder or other condition that affects your thinking processes or speech. You might accidentally hurt others due to a tendency to mis-communicate your thoughts; you might be unaware of how your words sound to others. It might help to work on making your communication more clear. Learn to love and value your own innate intelligence and your own special way of communicating.
Chiron in Cancer You might hurt people when you are unconsciously taking on the role of a child and expecting others to play the role of “good parent.” You might lash out in a hurtful way when you feel small, insecure, helpless or unsupported. You might have issues around the theme of nurturing–either nurturing yourself or nurturing others. You might become hurtful when you are trying to suppress your own emotions. Try not to manipulate others when you feel scared. At some point in your life you will need to address and heal the issues that you have with a parent.
Chiron in Leo You might feel angry when you feel unseen, unheard, or overlooked. You might feel hostile when you think people are treating you as mediocre or when they are not acknowledging your special gifts. You might be overly sensitive to teasing or ridicule. Another major triggering subject might be your children. You might respond in a hurtful way when people refuse to acknowledge you as a leader, or when they do not appreciate your creativity. Try to forget what others think of you–focus on the sense of joy and strength that occurs when you are expressing your own special talents. However, first you might have to address some childhood wounds regarding the issue of creativity or self-expression. This can help you to become more playful and spontaneous and can even improve your relationship with your children (or your own inner child, if you do not have children.)
Chiron in Virgo You might cause others grief due to your issues with being tidy, organized or efficient. You might be untidy and hopelessly disorganized, or you might be the other extreme–a voracious clean freak. In either case, it can affect those around you. You might have issues with guilt, criticism or perfectionism. Wanting to be in complete control of yourself or others can cause problems. You might lash out at others when you feel like a martyr. Do you hyper-focus on small details to everyone’s annoyance? Or do you completely ignore them altogether, again, to everyone’s annoyance? You might need to practice seeing both the forest and the trees. It might help to strive to “get out of your head” and get more in touch with your innate body wisdom.
Chiron in Libra You might hurt people when you feel that you have been subject to unfair treatment. Inequality is a trigger for you. You might lash out at others as a defense mechanism, attacking them before they get a chance to criticize you. You might have a tendency to project your own motivations, desires and faults onto others. You perhaps have trouble seeing the other person’s point of view or you might erroneously believe that everyone is exactly like you are. Others might feel hurt when you don’t see who they really are. Work on learning to tolerate disagreements–try not to run away from arguments. Strive to learn healthy conflict resolution skills.
Chiron in Scorpio You might accidentally hurt people because you have issues around trust, betrayal, loss, jealousy or abandonment. There is likely to be unhealed trauma lurking in your depths that needs addressing. You tend to hurt others when you feel powerless and your weapon of choice might be to become manipulative and controlling. Or you might use sex to hurt other people. You might suffer from the mistaken notion that deep down inside you are somehow “bad.” You have the potential to hurt others when you are pessimistic or paranoid. Work on letting go of the need to punish others or seek revenge. Consider seeking support from skilled people to help you get past your previous traumas.
Chiron in Sagittarius You might accidentally hurt people because of your philosophical views or your spiritual beliefs. You might feel that you alone have The Truth and might not realize when you brow beat others with it. Conversely, if you have completely lost your faith, you might react by criticizing other people’s belief systems. You have the potential to hurt others when you lack optimism or when you carelessly shoot down another person’s Happy Balloon. Try to let go of rigid notions about what is sacred and what is not.
Chiron in Capricorn You might accidentally hurt people because you have issues regarding your career, your reputation, your social status and being approved of by your peers. Your personal triggers might be power and authority. You might lash out when you feel like a failure or because your standards are too high or because your are taking responsibility for burdens that are none of your business. You might inadvertently hurt others when you take on more than you can handle or when you take on too many responsibilities. A part of you might wish to be secretly looked after and that is okay. You don’t always have to be the strong one. In order to heal you will need to face the issues you have with one of your parents.
Chiron in Aquarius You might accidentally hurt people because you have problems when dealing with groups (three or more people at one time). You might feel overly sensitive to being influenced and therefore might over-react when faced with peer pressure or societal rules. You might have trouble accepting people who have ideas that are different from your own. You might hurt others when you are hung up on achieving perfection or Utopian ideals. It may help you to become aware of your Black and White thinking. Learn to accept that human nature is a lot more messy and gray.
Chiron in Pisces You might accidentally hurt people because you feel like a persecuted victim or because you are over-identifying with your pain. You might hurt others when you feel disconnected, excluded, outcast or alienated. Separation anxiety can be a trigger. You might lash out when you feel scared of chaos, especially the chaos you feel inside. You might get defensive when you feel that too many people are looking to you to help or rescue them. You might cause damage to things or people due to a physical or mental illness that you have, or because of an addiction. Healing comes when you strengthen your sense of connection to a Higher Power, God/dess, the Universe or Source.
Remember once again that this article is not intended to be a personal laundry list of all your failings, but a step toward higher consciousness. So don’t take this article as an exercise in self blame and shame. If you have read the interpretations above and recognize some negative tendencies in yourself, well, then, great. You have just become more self-aware and can now interact with others in a more conscious fashion. You have just shed light on the shadow side of your Chiron, which ultimately can help you heal. The point is not to beat your self up, but to lighten your shadow load, and help you heal.
When we take responsibility for our own actions and the effects they have on other people, we empower ourselves. We then create better lives and healthier relationships. By shining the light on the shadow side of Chiron we can take a step toward becoming more whole and healed. This results in compassion for ourselves and for others who struggle with the same wounds. We can then bring our wisdom and knowledge to those around us in order to help them heal, too, which, ultimately, is what Chiron is all about.
Want to know more about Chiron and how it operates in your own chart? You can book Danielle for a personal Astrology consultation.
3 thoughts on “How We Hurt Others: The Shadow Side of Chiron”
No Chiron in Leo ??
Whoops! Thanks for the catch! I’ll get on that and fix it, Wow, kind of ironic isn’t it, because Chiron in Leo’s wound is about being overlooked and not being seen! I am very sorry!