Reflections on Healing and Wholeness
In the presence of Chiron we encounter the issue of healing. When retrograde, Chiron asks what it means to us, what we foresee when we contemplate personal healing and how we view those aspects of our self we consider in need of ‘repair’. It encourages reflection on the standards we set when it comes to the notion of becoming ‘whole’. There can sometimes be a subtle (or at times not so subtle!) judgement placed upon physical, emotional and mental dis-ease. Opinions about the cause of disease, what it says about the individual and the part they’ve played in their own health (or lack of it) can be under-pinned by an inference that if you’re suffering in some way it’s because you’re not really up to scratch, not ‘spiritual enough’ to be well, not taking full responsibility for your own well-being: your thoughts are wrong, your beliefs are skewed, you’re not living in the right paradigm.
Astrology reveals that dis-ease has many root causes and plays many roles. For some, the more expansive nature of being is intimately encountered from within a failing body; for others the onset of disease is a wake-up call to rearrange life in dramatic ways, or an opportunity to develop humility or gratitude amidst the challenge of limitation. Some discover amazing abilities to heal themselves while others face the frustration of suffering that will not abate no matter what they do, only to eventually discover the blessings of wisdom in adversity. The heavens assure us that healing comes in all shapes and sizes and is not only characterised by unbounded physical, emotional and psychological well-being. Chiron keeps us humble, reminding us we are all wounded to some degree and it is those seemingly broken places which, as Leonard Cohen once said, let in the light. They call us into life’s great mystery. Without them we would be so rigidly ‘whole’, there would be no need to seek the grace of intimacy with sacred source.
In myth Chiron healed others but was unable to heal himself. In this aspect of his story we are reminded that our goal is not to achieve a ‘whole’ that equates with ‘better’, but to be whole-heartedly what we are, wounds and all, and still offer ourselves up to the greater good knowing we each have a role to play. Objective perfection is not a requirement to fulfil our potential as sparks of the creative god-force. We are what and who we are, hobbling along or running gazelle-like to the finish line, emotionally wrought or at peace, intimate with our inner selves or living life on a surface we seem unable to penetrate no matter how hard we try.
To embrace the values of others or compare our different journeys can become a competition for who’s the healthiest, the fastest, the most spiritually adept. But if there’s one thing that’s not a competition it’s healing! And if there’s another thing so profoundly personal that no one else’s opinion matters, it’s our own wholeness. This doesn’t mean we need never seek out the opinion and skills of those who can support us. But it does mean no-one has a right to an opinion about our healing path unless we invite it, just as the path of another is not for us to judge. At the end of the day we must each decide for ourselves what healing truly means, and in doing so recognise that it may mean something entirely different for those around us.
To allow the life force to flow through us unbounded and free enables the body, heart and mind to be as balanced and vibrant as they can be. Resolving unfinished business, facing difficult emotions, making life-style changes can all facilitate this and promote healing on many levels. But Chiron retrograde reminds us that the complexity of who we are, the physical and emotional legacies with which we are born, karmic forces and circumstantial conditions, all play their part in wellness at all levels. We may be rebalancing more than just ourselves. A whole ancestral line of experience and energy may be culminating in us, requiring a lifetime’s work of exploration, healing and reshaping of ourselves and our lives at all levels. Whilst someone else may have eradicated the very same symptoms we have in a miraculous blink of an eye, that we cannot replicate their success means only that we are a different person in a different life with a different energy system to manage and monitor. Equally, our own healing miracles do not single us out as better than those who continue to struggle.
When retrograde, Chiron invites each and every one of us into its healing embrace, not to be made perfect but to be reacquainted with our imperfect selves, knowing them as whole even as they lay broken before us. It reminds us that humility can be a door to grace, that in the divine eye all things are perfectly as they need to be, no matter how much we may judge them (and ourselves) as wanting. To be whole is simply to be who we are, no matter what shape we take. Thus we fulfil our purpose and find our place amidst all the other ‘imperfect’ beings with whom we share the world, each of us uniquely flawed and beautifully formed to respond to the divine call as best we can. The wounded healer reminds us that the cracks have a place, as does the healing; that both weave their magic through our lives, creating the vibrant expression of Sacred Source we cannot help but be.