Chiron and the Healing Power of Horses


Our boy Heartsong ❤️🎶

My wife and I have become very involved with horses recently. While she has had a good deal of experience with them, as a lifelong city dweller horses are completely new to me. I have revered them for their symbolic power, but until recently I had not had the kind of direct experience with horses that is medicinal and even mythical. Their massive size, terrifying power, friendly countenance, and helpful purposefulness make them seem impossible to exist. Interacting with a horse feels like interacting with a dream creature, some wild thing from another dimension, five times my size, that looks me in the eyes with equal puzzlement about me. And yet, despite seeming so otherworldly, the horse has been a partner to human civilization for millennia.

Domesticated horses have been essential to everything from transportation and farming to policing and the military. Now that technology has largely supplanted their traditional roles, we are discovering that horses have a new way to partner with us — as healers. Research has shown that equine-assisted programs help with healing war trauma, depression, substance abuse, and can help improve motor skills. Our relationship with horses is transforming from domination to alliance in our mutual journey towards healing.

The centaur — a creature that is half human, half horse — is a central image in Greek mythology, and also in astrology. The symbol for the constellation Sagittarius is a centaur, and the half-comet, half-asteroid centaurs that orbit our solar system, such as Chiron, Chariklo, Pholus, and Nessus, carry meaning in astrology of their Greek mythological counterparts. While most centaurs from Greek myth were bawdy and gregarious, possessed as they were by their instinctive, horsey nature, these more exceptional centaurs lived in balance with their human side, with care, artistry, and spiritual grace.

Chiron is of particular interest, as he represents a kind of pinnacle of centauric evolution. Chiron was a master of art, music, archery, and medicine. He mentored many of the great heroes, including Achilles, Heracles, and the god of medicine, Asclepius. Despite Chiron's wisdom as a healer, when he was wounded by an arrow dipped in magical poison that pierced his leg, he could not heal himself and suffered greatly. Eventually, with the help of Heracles — whose arrow had accidentally wounded Chiron — he exchanged his immortality to save Prometheus, and was elevated to the stars, given unto the constellation Centaurus.

Astronomically, Chiron is a celestial body with an eccentric orbit that cuts across the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. Astrologically, in resonance with his myth, Chiron represents our own journey as a "wounded healer." A question we can apply to Chiron in our own charts is, what core wounds do we carry that, by virtue of carrying them, have taught us wisdom that can help heal others? How does that wisdom bridge the hard tests of life (Saturn) to an awakening of inner liberation (Uranus)?

For Sagittarius, the centaur represents that sign's bawdy nature as well as its ideal potential as an integrated animal and spiritual being. Anyone with a strong degree of Sagittarius in their chart can attest to the rowdy horseplay they enjoy, preferring to find the adventure in life rather than take a sober, measured, and thoughtful approach. This is akin to the more common centaur of Greek myth, but in Sagittarius's more evolved form, as an integrated human animal in search of truths that enhance life as a whole, the Sagittarian centaur-archer shifts into a form more akin to Chiron. The image of the centaur then becomes an apt symbol for the healer and the healing path. Being an animal on the ground that is merged with the human capacities for intellectual heights and spiritual flights, the healer is in touch with the powers of wildness as well as the powers of meditation, dreaming, and forethought.

The Centaur Chiron instructing Achilles, 1755, by Louis Jean Francois Lagrenee

The Centaur Chiron instructing Achilles, 1755, by Louis Jean Francois Lagrenee

However, one crucial factor is required so that these powers do not split and cause neurosis: The wisdom of the heart. When animal nature and spiritual nature are mediated at the heart center with compassion and connection, the real power of the healer is awoken. Most of us can relate to the tremendous difference it makes when a doctor works with us on a difficult health problem with compassion, attention, and understanding, versus detached intellectual indifference. It is well established that stress is a major factor in complicating the healing process, and nothing raises levels of stress more than believing we are not cared for or cared about.

But we do not need to pursue demanding degrees in medicine, or be an ancient mythological being, to embody truths about healing. We all have access to healing power, and many of us have healing effects on the people and world around us that we are not normally aware of. Sometimes all it takes is a statement of simple truth, a sharing of a personal experience, a shared laugh, or an artistic creation, that sparks a healing realization in another.

Today, Chiron as a celestial body is in Aries and will be transiting that sign for the next four years. On April 8th, Chiron will be part of the powerful total solar eclipse in Aries, which cuts across the United States as the country enters its fifth Chiron Return. The symbolism is rather clear: We need fierce healers, people willing to take leadership with the courage to stand up to aggression in support of humane action. As Chiron moves along in Aries, we are put in touch with psychological wounds stemming from physical violence, wounds created as we were made a target for someone's rage. While Aries is of course linked with violent attack, it is also connected to our shared vulnerability. Chiron, ever the mentor to each of us, is teaching us how to use our precious contact with that vulnerability as a means to awaken our courage in the face of fear and rage. His lesson is not about willpower over fear, it is about awakening to the truth that fear quickly shrinks when met with the fierceness of a loving heart.



The horse side of Chiron guides us, like all horses do, to our own natural, immutable truths deep within. Horses are healing because they remind us who we are prior to any concepts or names, and from that primal place can emerge a truer sense of ourselves than our minds can conjure. When we are still with that deeper truth, we know what we are here to do — to be healers in our own way.

The image of the centaur as a master healer is a potent and poignant symbol as humans and horses get involved in healing each other. We are used to seeing images of humans riding horses, commanding them from above. But healing integration does not happen by dominion from above, nor by undifferentiated assimilation. It occurs by way of relationship, consciously mediated between aspects of life, whether between parts of our own psyche, self and other, or self and animal. As we learn to heal, we can see a new image forming, that of human and horse walking side by side.

Please share your thoughts...

6 Responses to Chiron and the Healing Power of Horses

  1. Merilee Novinson says:

    Hello Brian! Thank you for this information on Chiron. When I studied astrology 40 years ago I do not recall this body being included in chart constructions and analysis. Much has changed over the years and your observations help update my ancient training. I hope these healing energies help our country find it’s way to love and kindness.

    Happy spring!

    • Hi Merilee,

      Chiron was discovered in 1977 and didn’t enter the canon until sometime in the 80s, I believe. Astrological scholars dedicated to Chiron include Melanie Reinhart, Barbara Hand Clow, and Sue Tompkins. I had the great privilege to study with Melanie a few years ago, her work with Chiron is quite profound, I highly recommend her work.

      Also interesting is that we are approaching the Chiron Return of the discovery of Chiron! Should be around 2027. We’ll see what lessons around healing have been integrated, and maybe get a sense of what to expect for the next round.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. anna chapman says:

    Hi Brian,
    A wonderful article! So happy to know of Chiron’s position for this new moon and it’s influence globally and nationally. Helping to heal the wound we all carry of feeling separate. Spiritual warrior and messenger of truth join forces to deepen our experience of Self!
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *